A Few Words About A few words about...™ High Noon -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The 1952 Fred Zinnemann, Carl Foreman, Stanley Kramer High Noon has been one of my favorite films since I was a kid. I was a huge Gary Cooper fan, and this is a film that seemed so simple, until you really take a close look at it, and found that there was far more going on than what was on the surface.

    With stellar performances, cinematography, the music score by Dimitri Tiomkin. It all fits together to form one to of the greatest films ever created.

    Why, then, is it so difficult to release it on home video in a "stellar" state?

    Always prepared from dupes...

    The earlier DVD releases were some of the worst ever created.

    And I was hopeful that Olive Films would finally get it right.

    They didn't.

    And it's a pity.

    From the very opening, the main title sequence is so far away from original, that the hi-con information is soft.

    After the opening dupes, we're at what appears to be fine grain level, and that should be fine, but they've given the film a wonderfully electronic look.

    If you like that sort of thing.

    I don't.

    Grain is sticky. It sticks to people. It hangs, motionless, in the air. There are occasional scratches, but I can live with that.

    While this new release is a far cry from the old DVDs, which were worse than horrific, and to many it will seem very acceptable, it's just not there.

    It would have been so easy to do an image harvest -- where is the original nitrate? -- in 4k, down-rez it, leave the grain where it was, do a clean-up, and get it out there. We're not talking about a lot of expense here to do it right.

    Yours truly is not a happy camper.

    The gray scale is fine. Good blacks. Decent shadow detail.

    Electronic sharpening. Naturally.

    Aliasing. A bit.

    All in all an embarrassing Blu-ray, considering how easily it could have been something very special.

    There are many films for which we can say, "they deserve better." This is one of them.

    Image - 2.5

    Audio - 4

    RAH
     
  2. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

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    I don't know, I thought the 2-disc anniversary looked really good for SD.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I had a feeling you were going to crap over this release based on prior dvd releases. Anyhow, my copy will be here tomorrow and I'll judge for myself whether it meets my less demanding standards.







    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    Is this one of those instances where Olive has to take what they are given when it comes to the condition of the transfer? Could they choose to spend the money on a new harvest? Would an "older" title like this generate a payback on that investment?
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I think that might be the case and that those Republic titles that Olive will be releasing will meet a similar fate in which RAH won't recommend them either.
     
  6. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Wow, what a letdown. I'm glad I didn't pull the trigger on that preorder.
     
  7. Guest

    I'm getting it. The original dvd was awful.
     
  8. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    I agree. I'd like a comparison to that particular edition, since prior editions that came before it are far inferior. I have a feeling the Olive Blu-ray is the same transfer in HD, since the 2008 SE wasn't exactly perfect.
     
  9. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

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    http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare/highnoon.htm - That's what it looks like from Beaver's caps. I don't get it.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Tells you all you need to know about screen caps. And Beaver tries very hard.

    Nothing worse than hanging grain. Always liked Spanish moss, but this...

    RAH
     
  11. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

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    Yep. Another release with that crawling forcefield grain. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers has some of it too. The elements are what they are I guess and look acceptable enough but the electronic bugaboos really suck. I'm not even sure it's the result of intentional DNR or just bad compression...
    To those of you who think the original DVD looks good, it's been DNR'd to heck and back and sharpened, one of the all-time worst examples on the DVD format.
     
  12. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    Noooooo! What a bummer. I held off waiting for a review (that I trust) and now it looks like I'll be waiting even longer.
     
  13. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    All "blame" should go directly to Paramount and what they provide Olive to work with.

    These are more than likely the last ever home video releases of these titles. Thems the breaks.

    Also, for what it's worth, blu-ray.com gave the video 4.5/5. http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/High-Noon-Blu-ray/43719/#Review
     
  14. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    No offense to RAH, but I would suspect many others to agree with that grade because of lesser expectations and expertise on how the BRD should look like.
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    None taken, as that's what its all about.

    The question that needs to be asked is, "Under reasonable circumstances, and a decent, but not extraordinary budget, how good can a film look?"

    An electronic look, sticky or crawling grain, has nothing to do with budget.

    Just inattentive work habits.

    It would be extremely easy to make High Noon look like film.

    RAH
     
  16. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    Let's not kid ourselves - Paramount will not give a movie to Olive that has gotten the treatment that RAH describes in his opening post and Olive does not have to release something they are not happy with. So yes, one could blame Paramount, but one could also blame Olive for not being more selective with what they release.
     
  17. DennisBassi

    DennisBassi Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I looked at my Lion's Gate edition last night and was reasonably satisfied with it. Also, it has all of the copious extras. I was looking forward to the Bluray but will wait until it hits the bargain bins or pass altogether hoping for another release.
     
  18. John Morgan

    John Morgan Supporting Actor

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    Since HIGH NOON and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS are a couple of the very best, and probably will be most popular in sales, it doesn't bode well for other Republic-Paramount releases. I love both films. I wonder what PURSUED and "lesser" (popularity) titles will look like. It would seem to me, these two titles would get the royal treatment for Blu-Ray as so many will base their future purchase plans on these releases.
     
  19. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I asked a DVD producer who worked on them once, eight or nine years ago, why High Noon and Quiet Man looked so bad, and the answer was really simple, "They won't give us access to the elements and they won't give us access to better transfers, we have the home video rights and they don't so they only give us junk to work with." The producer then implied strongly that they had offered to pay for a new image harvest for Quiet Man at least and had been rudely shot down.
     
  20. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer
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    How exactly do they wind up with "sticky or crawling grain"? As someone without a lot of technical knowledge, I get confused about film grain. If the stuido electronically scrubs the flim to remove the grain that's bad, but some reviewers complain about too much grain, and here you say the grain was sticky. What's the best way to treat film grain?
    The other question I have is that I have read that around 2009, Paramount gave a presentation in Hollywood about a new process they had developed for creating low cost high definition transfers. I have assumed that most of the Olive blus resulted from that. Do you know anything about the process they are using.
     

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