A Few Words About A few words about...™ Gandhi & Kramer vs. Kramer -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

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    Arriving literally on the heels of WB's release of the 1984 Best Picture, Amadeus, come two from Columbia / Sony -- Gandhi and Kramer vs. Kramer.
    I've spent some quality time with both. Over an hour with Gandhi, and probably half that amount of time with Kramer vs. Kramer.
    The visual differences as portrayed on Blu-ray between the three could not be more different. Gandhi as photographed by Billy Williams (On Golden Pond) and Ronnie Taylor (Sea of Love -- and camera operator on The Innocents and Barry Lyndon,) has the highly detailed look and feel of the finest British craftsmanship. It has a certain visceral feel, setting me to wonder what it might have looked like had it been shot on 65mm.
    Kramer vs. Kramer, via Nestor Almendros (Days of Heaven) is an entirely different animal. Much more natural, smooth, modern and less classical, which to me isn't a bad thing, just different.
    But unlike Amadeus, the two Columbia titles not only have all of their visual information intact, but look quite like running a newly struck film print at home.
    Three Academy Award Best Pictures released virtually simultaneously.
    Three great films.
    Two Blu-ray keepers.
    Kramer and Gandhi have arrived on Blu-ray in style, having been given wonderful treatment throughout their scanning, clean-up, compression and authoring processes, and the details show in spades!
    Both are necessities for the serious home theater library.
    Very Highly Recommended.
    RAH
     
  2. MatS

    MatS Screenwriter

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    my home theater library is serious .... but, even though I don't need these I am giddy to hear some good news when it comes to catalog being done right

     
  3. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Agreed!
    Gandhi is stunning (haven't seen K&K). The picture of Gandhi is utterly film-like. The impression of a pristine projected print was exactly what I thought as well. Sony really seems to be setting a wonderful standard for how to properly handle film when transfered into the 1080p domain.
     
  4. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I just recently purchased the special edition of Gandhi on SD DVD but I will be getting the BD as well (I use Gandhi in the classroom a fair bit, so I need an SD copy anyway). While I have some concerns about it as an historical portrayal, as a cinematic epic it is quite well done and I look forward to an even better presentation than what the SD DVD has provided me thus far (and it has been satisfactory).
    Glad to see it get the RAH stamp of approval.
     
  5. SD_Brian

    SD_Brian Supporting Actor

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    Am I missing something here? Kramer vs. Kramer was released in 1979, Gandhi in 1982 and Amadeus in 1984. 1989's Best Picture was Driving Miss Daisy.
     
  6. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    Phew, I was beginning to think it was me. I read some buyers complain about Gandhi. That it looked too soft, etc. It looked fine to me, judging from the caps, but now I know I can safely buy it.
    Kramer vs. Kramer was part of a discussion between me and somebody else (not in this forum [​IMG]) who though grain should be removed, because it made the film looked less detailed. I'm still trying to convince him.
     
  7. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    Gandhi is one of the movies from the 80ies that come to mind when I think about productions that were ideally suited for a 65mm shoot, another one being A Passage to India that ironically also takes place in India and that also has been released to Blu-Ray by Sony.
    I am glad that Sony released both movies in excellent quality and I have said it elsewhere and would like to repeat it here: I have yet to buy or even hear of a classic title on Blu-Ray from Sony that is not competently done - Bravo !
     
  8. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins Supporting Actor

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    It's great to have my early impressions (Gandhi) confirmed by the professor.
    The price was right, too. This should happen more often.
     
  9. Danny_N

    Danny_N Second Unit

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    It's easy to praise a company for their quality of classic releases when you can count them on the fingers of one hand. I wish someone would remind Sony that they (or rather Columbia) made movies before 1970 too. They've released the excellent Ray Harryhausen set and recently In Cold Blood but other than that nothing from before 1970. And they have only released 3 movies from the 70's if I'm not mistaken. Not very impressive. On SD they do release some more classics but a day and date release on BD is something thay they reserve for modern crap. I would love to have seen the Budd Boetticher set (which was remastered in HD) on BD for instance.
     
  10. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    Sony is lacking in numbers for movies before 1970, but so is every other studio except Warner.
    In Cold Blood is a recent production by the way, but there is one more pre 70ies movie: The Professionals - I know because I have it [​IMG]
    Here is a great website where you can look up the numbers and sort by production date, kind of depressing especially for Paramount and Universal:
    Blu-ray Disc Movie Statistics
    Still I think that some praise for Sony is justified as I would rather have less transfers of excellent quality than more that are just OK or bad. For just OK or less I prefer movies aired on one of the numerous HD stations available by now both in the US and Europe.
    100% agree on that Boetticher boxset - they could have put these on SL Blu-Rays or two movies each on a DL and also could have put them in a box, that would have helped to keep costs down and would have made for a great day and date release. Could it be that they did just that with the Harryhausen collection with disappointing sales ?
    Of the Scott/Boetticher westerns Buchanan Rides Alone has been aired by SkyHD in the UK and it looked excellent.
     
  11. Danny_N

    Danny_N Second Unit

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    What makes you think that if they increased their output of classics that the quality would suffer?
     
  12. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    I never said that. It is just an observation that currently no studio has the lead in both quality and quantity of releases.
     
  13. Ken Volok

    Ken Volok Stunt Coordinator

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    I decided to roll the dice on Kramer vs Kramer. The only time I've seen it was an ABC broadcast on a small b/w set as a kid. Hoping it's better than my memory of it, suddenly find myself intrigued by the film.
     
  14. Ken Volok

    Ken Volok Stunt Coordinator

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    I really hope somebody releases An Unmarried Woman on blu soon.
     

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