A Few Words About A few words about...™ "Bullitt" -- in HD & Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I must begin this piece discussing the wonderful documentary on film editing entitled "The Cutting Edge," which I've noted in the past. It was previously available on SD disc, but with the release of "Bullitt", this great documentary, which beautifully explains (with great examples) the art of motion picture editing has arrived on high definition disc.
    It's important to know that the documentary alone is worth the $20 or thereabouts, which is the street price of the disc.
    "Bullitt" was reviewed upon release in 1968 as "a terrific movie." It has held up through the intervening decades in perfect fashion, and 40 years later is still "a terrific movie."
    I've noted Eastman 5254 negative stock on HTF in the past, and "Bullitt" looks to have been photographed on this stock as opposed to the slightly earlier 5251.
    This is an emulsion that was the taking stock for some of the greatest films of the era from 1968 through 1974.
    My point is that Warner's HD release of "Bullitt" (and I'm certain that when I view it on BD it will look the same), perfectly reproduces the look, the textures, and the grain structure of that stock. Too many post houses are attempting to lower visible grain for HD and BD releases, and this is wrong, as it changes the look and texture of the film.
    From my perspective, which may take on a bit of a purist position, Warner's new high definition DVDs of "Bullitt" perfectly reproduces the film as it was meant to be seen in theatres almost 40 years ago.
    Bravo for Bullitt!
    Bravo for Peter Yates and Steve McQueen!
    and Bravo! to those technicians who made the film look as it should.
    This is a brilliant film, backed up by a brilliant documentary on film editing that should be in everyone's library.
    Note: Since viewing the original HD release, and having not had the time to view the BD version, it now seems that something untoward has occurred, and frames have
    been removed. Whether I missed this and blinked during the HD screening, or whether the BD is derived from a new master, which I doubt, the beautiful transfer
    moves into the problematic zone, and cannot be recommended.

    As of May 2011, Bullitt is a Fail.
    RAH
     
  2. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Once again, Warner releases a classic film on HD DVD that I haven't seen before. But that will soon be the end of that! [​IMG]
     
  3. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    Robert, while we are on the subject of editing, are the impact flash frames during the car chase still removed?
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I didn't notice the impact flash frames, and was looking for them, but didn't have the time to go back and re-check. As I recall from prints, it was 2-3 frames.
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    And it should be noted that the editing documentary is in HD too!
     
  6. EnricoE

    EnricoE Supporting Actor

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    WHOA!
    i wasn't gonna sure if i should upgrade from 2 disc sd dvd but this is very good point towards an upgrade. well, not right now, but surely in the future [​IMG]
     
  7. Geoffy

    Geoffy Extra

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    That's a gushing 'few words' [​IMG]
    Excellent news indeed; I can't wait to receive my copy of this - have already palmed the SD off onto a family member in anticipation.
     
  8. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

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    Mine's on the way, and like my doppelganger above I've also gotten rid of the SD version. Bullitt looked great on DVD, and after RAH's recommendation I can't wait to watch the HD-DVD. I didn't get round to watching that editing documentary before, but to have it in HD is an unexpected bonus.
     
  9. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    Wow. I actually bought the SD of Bullitt more for that documentary than the movie. In my case, the movie was the "extra." Still, I don't know that I want to double dip on this one. I will have to think about it.
     
  10. ppltd

    ppltd Producer

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    You can keep the new James Bond (s) and Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, I will take Bullitt and Dirty Harry any day.[​IMG]
     
  11. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Just bought this for my parents...but plan on watching it beforehand. [​IMG] Can't wait. Only seen bits and pieces on TNT many years ago...[​IMG]
     
  12. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Really enjoyed watching Bullitt tonight. Very suspenseful and a taut thriller. This was the first time I have seen Bullitt in it's entirety.
    Steve McQueen was just too cool. Understated but packs a whallop of a presence. I'm sure he was an actor that women of course loved and one that guys wanted to be like. [​IMG]
    The action was good and the legendary car chase still remains one of the best ever filmed. Very neat seeing that old Dodge Charger used and now Chrysler has resurrected it. I'd seen the chase before but this time in HD. [​IMG]
    Jacqueline Bisset. [​IMG] ...Whew. A real knockout back in 1968. I think the first film I remember seeing her in was in The Deep. Looked good then but looked fabulous in Bullitt.
    Bullitt is a film that could be made today. The style of it all and the way things are edited are very modern. Peter Yates knew what he was doing.
    The HD DVD is rather terrific. The image was very clear and just looked marvelous on my 720p monitor. Bravo to Warner Bros. Again. [​IMG]
    Steve McQueen has made me a fan and now I want to check out his other films.
     
  13. Vegas 1

    Vegas 1 Supporting Actor

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    How is the audio on the HD disc, I have the SD dvd SE which I think sounds rather lame, just too quite.
     
  14. Johannes S

    Johannes S Stunt Coordinator

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    "Bullitt" is one of the most interesting films of the late 60's, some kind of "predecessor" in style to the cop films of the 70's like Dirty Harry, e.a.
    I can highly recommend this HD DVD along with "The Getaway". Both films are presented in an outstanding, high quality presentation, completely preserving the "look and feel" of "film" with wonderful artifact-free grain and superb definition.
    It is shocking to see that "Bullitt" only sold about 500 copies on HD DVD and even less on BD, "The Getaway" not even 300. (according to that ominous sales data list: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htf/...5&postcount=19 )
    As Robert Harris stated, the almost 2-hour long documentary on film editing (in full HD) is worth the price of the disc alone. Take a close look at those clips in high definition from "classic" films like "Psycho", "Ben Hur", "Bonnie and Clyde", "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", "Jaws"..... Awesome!
    To everybody interested in "classic films": Get "Bullitt", "The Getaway", "Casablanca", "The Searchers", "Forbidden Planet", "The Adventures of Robin Hood", "Mutiny on the Bounty", "Grand Prix"....in high definition! The quality is top notch and you support the future release of great classic films.
     
  15. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Excellent point. I hesitated about 'Bullit' and 'The Getaway' on HD, but your thoughts pulled me over. [​IMG]
    Cees
     
  16. KurtEP

    KurtEP Supporting Actor

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    That's not so shocking to me. I went to buy it a few days after it was released and couldn't find it anywhere. I looked at two Best Buys, Wal Mart (ack..) and two different Targets. None of them carried it. I finally bought a copy at a Circuit City in Nashville while I was down there on vacation.
    I still haven't seen movies like Casino or Casablanca anywhere on HD-DVD. The stores just don't seem to want to stock those titles. Oddly, though, the local Best Buy just doubled the shelf space it has reserved for both formats, so I guess that's a sign of hope.
     
  17. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I finally got BULLITT on Blu-ray. If I can find some time tonight, I'll watch it. If not, tomorrow. Looking forward to it.
     
  18. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

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    I really dig Bullitt but even after having seen it 4 or 5 times over the years I still don't know what the heck is going on in the story.
     
  19. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    I have the non-SE edition of this film. The film looks very soft in a lot of places. Details in peoples faces disappear in medium shots and the shots of the cityscape look blurry. Is this a function of the film stock or is it just a bad transfer? Does this HD version vastly improve upon the soft looking image of the original release or did the movie originally have a soft, defocused look to it?
     
  20. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    As Yates indicated on the audio track, he shot much of this film with long focus lens, but I don't remember much softness in the most recent dvd release nor the BRD, I viewed a month ago. The original dvd came out in 1997 and probably from a transfer used for LD. The BRD replicates my recollection of the film's look that I viewed 2-3 times during it's theatrical run back in 1968. I can still remember those silly arguments I had with my buddies in regard to the Mustang versus the Charger preferences.[​IMG]
    Crawdaddy
     

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