Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#501 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:24 pm

Minkin wrote:I suppose that's what everyone is thinking with this announcement, but I'd imagine a Criterion edition would follow a few months to a year later (as has been the case with almost every 80s/90s Universal licensed Criterion movie on bluray).
Do The Right Thing?

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EddieLarkin
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#502 Post by EddieLarkin » Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:22 pm

Beaver on both versions of Imitation of Life.

The OAR for the 1959 Imitation of Life is 1.85:1, not 2.00:1 as Universal has gone with here. There is of course more information on the sides compared to the DVD (a given, though perhaps not to this extent; there really is a lot!), but to prevent cropping at the top Universal have seemingly adjusted the "matte" upwards so that the top line is actually higher than the old DVD, and there is quite a bit of cropping on the bottom instead.

Whilst Universal did regularly flip between both ratios at first, everything was 1.85:1 by 1956, let alone 1959. This is actually becoming a common thing with Universal, they seem to be under the impression much of everything they did in the 50s and 60s should be 2.00:1, and they've gone with that for Captain Clegg, Brides of Dracula and I think Midnight Lace, despite them all being 1.85:1 (or in the case of the Hammer films, possibly even 1.75:1). In those examples too they've cropped the bottom rather than the top (which surely suggests they know they're doing something wrong!).

I have heard the German BD of Imitation of Life is 1.85:1, but it presumably does not use this otherwise gorgeous 4K transfer (and so overall will have less information anyway).


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david hare
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#504 Post by david hare » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:57 pm

I watched the Imitation of Life double on a single BD very carefully last night. The 34 Stahl transfer is a thing of beauty.

The Sirk alas is NOT. The "new" 2.00:1 ratio is a completely unmitigated disaster and whoever decided to impose it on this movie should be read the riot act. There is no archival or historical reason to remask it from its always intended OAR of 1.85. The most substantially egregious cropping keeps happening whenever Sirk shoots profile two or three shots of the girls as kids in the apartment with heads being lopped of mid hairline, and the same clumsiness keeps messing up carefully planned composition and staging and volume in other MCUs throughout the picture. I was hoping the added side room and the substantial cropping of footroom might alleviate problems but it doesn't. Wrong wrong wrong.

Next the color timing itself which somebody has decided to ramp up to a kind of Tech IB ultra saturated "look" like ATHA and Written on the Wind. The film was shot on Eastman and printed originally by Pathe, and the look was similar to Late 50s European Eastmancolor, quite rich, but definitely not hot or red biased with a decidedly neutral color temp. This is far too hot. And bright. And completely wrong. If you had never seen it before you might think it's ok but the whole transfer from the 4k in this disc is frankly a case of absolutely overcooked digital manipulation, right down to some very poor optical transitions and management of density and grain. They also - absurdly - seem to be trying to ramp up the grain to "sharpen" what were very obviously soft focus lensing of Lana. It doesn't help of course that the movie file is a meagre 21 gig for 2 hours plus of widescreen and color.

Really disappointing I'm afraid.

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Drucker
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#505 Post by Drucker » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:49 pm

Did anyone catch the screening at Film Forum? I've been saving my pennies for the Sturges prints playing next week, so didn't venture out to this. Now I wish I had to see if the restoration matched the blu ray and what the AR was!

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tenia
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#506 Post by tenia » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:56 am

david hare wrote:The Sirk alas is NOT.
Very sad to read this. :(

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david hare
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#507 Post by david hare » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:22 pm

Some people on the web think it's just dandy. Not me, but take it in for yourself.

I get the distinct impression the disc was authored by people who weren't really ideally suited to the project. The way it opens with flash cards for digital versions and copyright/piracy notices and then, only then the first menu page looks like it's been authored by a small child. I've never seen a disc opening like this unless you count some of the absolutely dreadful region B locked Optimums which have unskippable series of trailers for five or six other titles at the top. I fear it was the same careless, uninformed attitude that gives us the 2.00 AR which is simply unforgiveable. But that assumes Universal did either an open matte 4K master or else a correctly matted 1.85 4Kmaster. Only people who've seen the DCP can tell us that.
'

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captveg
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#508 Post by captveg » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:23 pm

The authoring people would have had nothing to do with the video assets. They would have assembled what they got delivered, and as long as it matched the spec they were provided they would be good to go.

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david hare
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#509 Post by david hare » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:41 pm

Thanks!

I hope the work done on this isn't a forecast for the forthcoming 4K of Spartacus. (Although they presumably had 70mm elements for that.)

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EddieLarkin
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#510 Post by EddieLarkin » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:02 pm

They worked directly from the Technirama negative for that one (that is, the 8 perf 35mm negative, rather than a dupe 65mm element), scanning in 6K. RAH was consulted on it as well. I have very high hopes for it.

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david hare
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#511 Post by david hare » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:53 pm

Yes, thx Nick, I forgot RAH had input.

I seem to be a lone voice on Imitation I'm afraid.

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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#512 Post by Zot! » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:59 pm

david hare wrote: I get the distinct impression the disc was authored by people who weren't really ideally suited to the project. The way it opens with flash cards for digital versions and copyright/piracy notices and then, only then the first menu page looks like it's been authored by a small child. I've never seen a disc opening like this unless you count some of the absolutely dreadful region B locked Optimums which have unskippable series of trailers for five or six other titles at the top.
'
I have seen your collection David, and I am shocked that the forced trailers and legalese are news to you. Disney is particularly insidious.

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david hare
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#513 Post by david hare » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:20 pm

I'm familiar with the usual rigmarole for most labels now, and the worst are so far Disney and Optimum UK.

This disc has a slightly new arrangement for the deck of cards. Disc opens with the 25 second Universal flying logo. then the menu screen to select 34 or 59 version. Then a flash card for the fabbie new BD/Combo and digital experience; then the copyright title card, then the FBI piracy card, then a little piccie of your pop up menu visualized as a remote with the suggestion you access it and how to do just that. Completely boggling!

It's fairly unique among my disc experiences. I suspect they figured the likely audience for these old chestnuts would be grannies and other defectives in aged care facilities who needed help along the way to start the fucking movie program.

When did you "See" my collection? Was it those photos back when? Or are you a secret time traveller to these shores who passes through during the deep of night while the inhabitants slumber through your visitations? I too now have secret Maori guardians who protect the house and its inhabitants from naughty people, and others. My balcony is painted Haitian Voodoo Blue as a signal.

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Cagliostro
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#514 Post by Cagliostro » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:00 pm

David, I always assumed you lived at Minyago Yugilla

Image

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david hare
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#515 Post by david hare » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:18 am

No longer in Australia. Now in NZ. Preparation for the voodoo painting last year. Note prehistoric lizard on table.

Image

Zot!
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#516 Post by Zot! » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:57 pm

oh sorry David, didn't intend to make myself out as some nostalgic rentboy from your past, waxing poetic about a visit to your inner sanctum. Just saw the pictures you had posted.

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david hare
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#517 Post by david hare » Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:22 am

Dude, I was the damn rent boy you were just some John. And I probably peddled you some weed for an extra fiver.

Jesus those were the days!

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jedgeco
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#518 Post by jedgeco » Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:17 pm

david hare wrote:This disc has a slightly new arrangement for the deck of cards. Disc opens with the 25 second Universal flying logo. then the menu screen to select 34 or 59 version. Then a flash card for the fabbie new BD/Combo and digital experience; then the copyright title card, then the FBI piracy card, then a little piccie of your pop up menu visualized as a remote with the suggestion you access it and how to do just that. Completely boggling!
I have nothing to add about this absurdity, except to complain once again that Universal's Blu-ray menus are the fucking worst.

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Black Hat
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#519 Post by Black Hat » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:33 am

Drucker wrote:Did anyone catch the screening at Film Forum?
I did. Thought it looked great, first time I had seen the film and despite the unintentional comedy from being dated, much of which was in the beginning, it blew me away.

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captveg
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#520 Post by captveg » Tue May 19, 2015 1:20 pm

8/11/15

Dead Silence (2007)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) - Not sure how this will differ from the Shout Factory release
Hellfighters (1968)

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EddieLarkin
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#521 Post by EddieLarkin » Tue May 19, 2015 1:40 pm

captveg wrote:Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) - Not sure how this will differ from the Shout Factory release
Last month, on reviewing The Breakfast Club BD re-release, which featured a brand new and wonderful looking transfer (unlike the earlier BD from 2010), Robert Harris had this to say about Universal:
RAH wrote:We're going to be seeing more impeccable releases from Universal. There's an entirely new mindset in place, seeking perfection.

No more heavily degrained product. New, rock steady, image harvests on the finest of scanners. And generally, a very professional team in place from top to bottom.

I consider this the new Universal.

While older transfers will still appear, as creating new masters from original elements is both expensive, as well as time consuming, you're going to be seeing fewer of them, as new product makes its way through the production arena.

My advice is to read reviews, and grab that new product when it appears. If a release is noted on the packaging to be remastered, it will be a safe pre-order.

Much of the new work is being performed in-house, by the studio's own tech team, and they take things Very seriously.
In a couple of weeks Universal will re-release Apollo 13 on BD, and it too will be from a far more modern, wonderful looking transfer than its earlier release. And we already know Spartacus will be here before long, transferred in 6K from the OCN. This then will hopefully be a trend (I think you can lay money we'll see The Thing by 2017), and the new Halloween III release may just be a whole new transfer (the SF release uses the DVD-era master and offers very little upgrade).

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domino harvey
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#522 Post by domino harvey » Tue May 19, 2015 1:43 pm

Universal has a history of releasing barebones Blu-rays of titles licensed to other labels for more deluxe treatment, I see no reason to expect any new work done for one of these cash-in releases

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EddieLarkin
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#523 Post by EddieLarkin » Tue May 19, 2015 2:18 pm

I guess you're probably right, but, this being the best Halloween sequel, I can dream*!

*if I conveniently forget that no one else feels likewise

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tenia
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#524 Post by tenia » Tue May 19, 2015 2:29 pm

EddieLarkin wrote:In a couple of weeks Universal will re-release Apollo 13 on BD, and it too will be from a far more modern, wonderful looking transfer than its earlier release.
There is a comparison on caps-a-holic, and it looks as if it's more a new 4K remaster than anything deeper than this. Still, it's much better than the former release, but I wouldn't expect a revolution.

However, if even Universal is getting a new more professional and quality minded strategy, it's quite reassuring in terms of old turds being stuffed over and over again on BD (see Weird Science for instance).

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domino harvey
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Re: Universal Catalog Titles on Blu

#525 Post by domino harvey » Tue May 19, 2015 2:43 pm

EddieLarkin wrote:I guess you're probably right, but, this being the best Halloween sequel, I can dream*!

*if I conveniently forget that no one else feels likewise
If it makes you feel better, it's my favorite of the four Halloween sequels I've seen thus far. Perhaps parts 6-8 will be better (stifles laughter) once I finally get around to them, but I do like III a lot

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