A Few Words About A few words about...™ Panic in the Streets -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Elia Kazan's 1950 Panic in the Streets is a quality film, with a great cast, and an interesting plague-based story.  I've always been a huge Richard Widmark fan, and in Panic, he does fine work.

    Bottom line.  It's a film that deserves your attention.

    Technically, and this has nothing to do with the film's handling by the current team at Fox, but rather goes back to the junking of elements and creation of safety "protection" elements in the mid-1970s -- same old story -- we have some huge problems.

    To my eye, it appears that a fine grain master was produced -- quickly, and without inspection.  Much of the film is soft focus, with the lower 25% of so of the frame being decidedly out.  This is a pity, as generally, the image, especially black levels, which are important, are quite decent.

    Is the film worth $20 in it's current state on Blu-ray.  I don't believe so.  However, it still seems to be available via Fox Connect for $45, along with Gentlemen's Agreement, Boomerang and Pinky.  At least one gets some quality for their dollars in that format, along with three other superb films.  For $11, I'd go for it.

    A superb noir film.

    Image - 1.5

    Audio - 4

    RAH

     
  2. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Screenwriter

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    From what you've said, is this then the best the film could possibly look, given the elements which remain?

    And, if that's the case, may I ask the dreaded question? Does it at least look better than SD DVD?

    Steve W
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    yes
     
  4. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Screenwriter

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    I wonder what the rationale was for releasing this particular film on Blu-ray if the image quality is so poor. There must be other films in the Fox Film Noir range that would produce a better Blu-ray with consequently better sales. People who like this film will surely question whether it is worth upgrading.
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Because most people won't give this BD as low a grade as RAH. For the most part, I think many will be quite happy with it.
     
  6. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    I have thus Blu and upgraded from the DVD and would not give it that low of a grade. And it is better than the DVD IMHO. I have speculated that Fox released this title not as Film Noir but as part of the Elia Kazan films collection, which Fox has greatfully been releasing on Blu this year.
     
  7. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    This title was originally released on Blu-Ray as part of the complete Elia Kazan at Fox Blu-Ray set. If it had been made by anyone else, it quite probably would have been passed over for something that showed off the format better.
     
  8. lark144

    lark144 Stunt Coordinator
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    It is most defintely better than the DVD. I do not have a projection system like RAH, so for my 38 inch screen with a four foot distance (I live in a small manhattan apt.) it not only looks fine, but visually and aesthetically it was much easier to understand Kazan's breakthrough, which led to ON THE WATERFRONT. The night for night photography, the extended takes, the use of real locations (such as a mourge) with only one light source, all this and more is in much sharper visual detail on this Blu. Because of this, the film itself is more immersive. As RAH states, this movie is one of the great achievements of post-war noir, and this Blu ray, though far from perfect, brings out the details of that achievement that simply does not comes across on the DVD. On the DVD, you have to stop the disc, look at the image and think about what it means. On this Blu, it's there for you to see. Yes, I wish it was even better, but I'm happy to have it just the same and have already watched the film multiple times.
     
  9. Garysb

    Garysb Screenwriter

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    Its currently available at Costco for $12.99 so perhaps that will be an incentive to purchase a less than perfect blu ray. Hello, Dolly is same price and part of the same odd promotion.
     
  10. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    For me personally, I don't think elements have to be in perfect condition to merit a release on Blu-ray. The advantage of Blu-ray is that it can replicate the look of 35mm film which DVD can't, even if the film elements are poor. I don't mind so much if a film is released on Blu-ray without a million dollar restoration process. Warner Home Video disagrees with me as they will only release Blu-rays of the highest quality and anything that doesn't pass muster, like Red Dust, gets relegated to the Archive.

    This rationale, by the way, is why I am delighted with many of Olive's releases that so many are pooh-poohing.
     
    Robin9 likes this.
  11. Jacksmyname

    Jacksmyname Second Unit

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    I'm also a big fan of Richard Widmark, and of this film.
    It may not be perfect, but it will soon be part of my library.
     
  12. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

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    I bought it at Costco for $12.99 yesterday.
     
  13. Yorkshire

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    Many thanks. I think that probably means I'll buy it when the price drops, or when I have a 'cheap month' (in my dreams that will happen again).

    Steve W
     

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