A Few Words About A few words about...™ Buck Privates -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Arthur Lubin's Buck Privates is quintessential Abbott and Costello, c.1941. As only their second film, their work had the spark of life that it lost in later years, doing the same old routines.

    Set at the opening of WWII, at the time of the new draft, it's 85 minutes of good-natured fun, with one of the top comedy teams to ever hit the silver sheet. It also didn't hurt to have the Andrews Sisters along for the ride, as part of the charm of BP is being able to see and hear them do their famous Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy number.

    As part of the Universal 100th Anniversary, I was hopeful that we be seeing something that looked like film, as that seems to be the direction in which the studio is heading. And it does look very nice. Clean, with good black and nice shadow detail. But as my friend Jeff Wells over at Hollywood Elsewhere, refers to me, I'm a "grain monk,' and to my eye, Buck Privates has just a bit too much digital magic going on, and I don't believe it was necessary.

    One can clean up an image without removing the appearance of cinema. When you view it, keep in mind that it was shot on the same stock as Casablanca, and you'll get the idea.

    It just isn't what it should be, or could be.

    A few interesting extras, inclusive of a very okay 46 minute Jerry Seinfeld piece made for TV back in 1994.

    Not quite what I was expecting, especially as they've gone the book route, along with a second disc fort those who wish the film on DVD.

    Mastered for and pressed to a BD-50, I come away with a single question.

    Why? When a BD-25 would have done the job just fine.

    Image - 3

    Audio - 4

    RAH
     
  2. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Hmm. My heart just sank a little. I love this film, and I am a touch sad, but also, now worry for The Sting and in particular Frankenstein.
     
  3. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Ron Palumbo and I did a great deal of work on the audio commentary for the 2008 release. I'm disappointed that it wasn't included in this edition.
     
  4. John Sparks

    John Sparks Screenwriter

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    When they released "King Kong" on BD, everyone thought it was the best there was. Unfortunality, if you had a HT with a PJ and were able to compare it to the SD, there wasn't that much of a difference.
    I know, because i have a Epson 9500 and I wasted my money on the BD!!!
    Unless someone does the PJ compariison, they're not going to get me to double dip...even if I want to or not!!!
     
  5. RKR1970

    RKR1970 Agent

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    Wait until you see "Pillow Talk".
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As am I,especially with no shortage of space on the disc
     
  7. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I, too, wonder why BD 50 on a lot of films - under a certain running time and it makes no difference at all - perhaps they read the message boards and see when people complain that something is a BD 25 even though they don't really know what that means? :) I don't know, but I had an authoring house thoroughly explain it to me and there is no need for BD 50 if you're of a certain running time.
     
  8. AnthonyP

    AnthonyP Stunt Coordinator

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    Is that a BD-50 was used a concern? Does it increase their costs enough to impact its profitability for the studio and/or increase costs for the consumer unnecessarily (in this case)?
    Is there much of a cost difference for studios using a BD-50 versus a BD-25? I'm sure there must be some but don't think I've read how much or if it saves any time/money on the encoding end either way.
     
  9. Guest

    Im passing on it since Im happy with the DVD box set I have
     
  10. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    I'm sad for the inconsistency in the quality of the new releases.

    And, in this case, in the lack of the commentary.

    A digibook (read: top retail dollar format) release -- and these are their decisions as to quality and what to include?
     
  11. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer
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    By PJ, do you mean projector? Would a projector allow a much better judge of quality than a high def tv?
    Also, Does a BD50 just allow for more data than a BD25? I did not know there were different types of disks.
     
  12. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    RAH, given your expressed disappointment with the transfer and the way this was handled, are you still recommending the disc? Your review doesn't say either way, and I've NEVER owned this title for my home theater library. Bottom line question: Is "Buck Privates" BD still superior in technical quality to the previous commercial incarnations of this disc???
     
  13. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    For many of us (including, I think, Mr. Harris), the bottom line question is "does the BD look like the film it's a representation of?" Improvement over DVD is no trick at all.
     
  14. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Since we have seen this time and time again, a film with an existing supplement, being released without it, I have a question. Was this a financial decision on the studio's part. I presume the two of you would have rightly expected compensation for the use of your commentary.
    If my question is out of bounds don't hesitate to say so.
    My favorite commentaries have been those by film historians on older movies. They are usually well researched and full of information.
     
  15. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Ron Palumbo and I co-authored "Abbott and Costello in Hollywood" published in 1991 by Putnam Publishing. I suspect we might be considered film historians.
    We were paid a one-time fee in 2008 and they can use the commentary as often as they'd like.
    Bob
     
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  16. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    A 120 min film even maxed out at 42mbps constant bit rate (variable bit rate is most common) would only take up about 37 gigs, leaving plenty of room for extra features on a 50 gig disc. Now 42 mbps is massive over kill for the vast majority of visual material, and about 20 mbps is the realistic top end where the BD copy becomes transparent to the HD master. At that rate, even peeking at 42 mbps, a 2 hour movie is only going to use up about 19 gigs.
    Buck Privates, being in black and white and pillerboxed is probably more than sufficient at 15 mbps with a peek of 35. At 85 min, I'd doubt if the whole movie would take up more than 10 or 15 gigs.
    Doug
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    It's nice, if Universal is using 50 as a standard. While I presume things in the production arena have changed, one had to get in line to access the 50 production line, and if you missed your slot...

    RAH
     
  18. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    So they saved no money by not including the commentary. It makes no sense at all. Thank you for your answer.
     
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  19. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Is the 15-disc "chest" still the all-around set to own, all things considered?
     
  20. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    I went back and listened to the commentary last night and it is a shame it was not ported over to the BD.
    You did a great job providing lots of great information while keeping it interesting.
    Its lack of inclusion on the BD just makes it appear that they did not extend any effort to review possible supplements for this BD.
    I am so very glad I bought the chest DVD complete set!
     

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