A Few Words About A few words about...™ Rio Grande -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The great John Ford's Rio Grande (1950), was the final installment of his cavalry trilogy -- the others being Fort Apache (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). Like the others, a beautiful film, this one photographed by the incomparable Bert Glennon, who between 1935 and 1959, shot eight films for Mr. Ford.

    Olive's new Blu-ray, while finally allowing us to view the film in quality via Blu-ray is imperfect.

    While there is no rationale for the use of window boxing for main titles on Blu-ray, that's the format we're given. Even if this were an older master, it would have been an easy fix to re-instate the credits in their full and proper format. Unfortunately, this is something that never fails to remind me that I'm not watching film. And this Blu-ray is film-like.

    In a general sense, this transfer is very pleasing. Grain appears natural, with good blacks, grays, and shadow detail. I like it.

    Dirt is a bit of problem, but minimal. Had someone bothered to give the transfer a minimal number of hours of clean-up, even 10, the Blu-ray could have appeared far more finished. There are some huge chunks of dirt left on the film for us to ponder.

    The series of releases is apparently produced in a cookie cutter fashion, as the featurette, which I presume is a carry over, as it comes up in the wrong aspect ratio, and inferior quality, is aptly entitled Making of High Noon in the menu.

    My only other annoyance is the waste of paper for the extremely cheap slipcase. Why bother if it simply replicates what's on the packaging, and allows the case to slip out when you pick it up? Seems senseless.

    With just a bit more attention to the HD master, Rio Grande could have been a stellar Blu-ray. Not that its bad, but it would have taken so little to raise it up.

    Image - 3.5

    Audio - 4

    Without the window boxing, this would have received a recommendation. It does not.

    RAH
     
  2. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Supporting Actor

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    if this is 3.5 whats the dvd? is it the same transfer?
     
  3. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I starting to think that Olive is nothing more than a data-packing plant. Bring in the data, package it, and ship it out. They've had several releases lately and the comments (at least what I remember) are all similar to Robert's.
    And they want almost $21 for their lackadaisical efforts. Be nice if Olive would earn the price.
     
  4. JoshZ

    JoshZ Second Unit

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    Which studio is this licensed from? Warner has a frustrating habit of windowboxing opening credits on discs like The Adventures of Robin Hood.
     
  5. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer
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    Is this the best unrecommended review you've ever given?
     
  6. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Glad I cancelled my pre-order. I'll wait for it to go on sale.
     
  7. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Paramount controls the film which was a Republic release.
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I've been buying mine for 14.19 plus shipping.
     
  9. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I should have said that was the current price on Amazon.
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Amazon has stopped being my retailer for Olive titles because of their high pricepoint.
     
  11. Guest

    WB is terrible about windowboxing credits: The Wizard and Oz and Willy Wonka come to mind, but they do it a lot. And I can't stand it.
     
  12. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Olive is cheating consumers by not cleaning up these films for release. No one demands an extensive restoration, but a basic clean-up is the professional thing to do and the least of what the company administrators should expect from themselves. As long as this unprofessionalism continues, Olive Blu-rays and DVDs are priced too high no matter where they're sold. Right now Johnny Guitar is $25.85 and Rio Grande is $20.85 on amazon. I won't be buying Olive titles from amazon anymore. True I will miss the free shipping, but the product does not support the price. The same Blu-rays sell for $14.43 at ImportCDs. Even with shipping charges, it's cheaper than amazon. Without more attention to quality, even $14.43 is exorbitant.
     
  13. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    Olive isn't the one cheating consumers by not cleaning these titles up. It's Viacom/Paramount who owns them, and ultimately bears responsibility for the failure to deliver a higher quality product. Olive is only the distributor and has little to no control as to how the films they're getting from them is handled from a QC standpoint. If you want to point the finger of blame, do it to the owners of these films!!!
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    By virtue of the Olive interview, this does not seem to be what they're saying. Even if it were not the case, simple digital cleanup could be performed, the owner's permission, to the delivered HD master.
    Very simple procedure.
    RAH
     
  15. JoshZ

    JoshZ Second Unit

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    Does Paramount have a history of windowboxing the titles on other movies?
     
  16. Kurosawa

    Kurosawa Agent

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    If we want to point the finger of blame, let's point it at ourselves. Oh, not us in this forum, necessarily---we, the demanding connoisseurs of classic filmmaking and film presentation (tongue in cheek). No, I refer to the "undiscriminating masses" that comprise the overwhelming majority of home entertainment consumers. I know this sounds insufferably elitist and pretentious, and I don't mean it that way. I simply refer to Americans' curious lack of discrimination as to what constitutes true quality; their indifference to excellence and tolerance of mediocrity, or worse; and their unwillingness to insist upon better standards across the spectrum. It's why we have among the lowest high-definition broadcast television standards and slowest Internet bandwidth infrastructure among the world's more advanced economies, and why we blissfully tolerate the appalling state of our cinema, in both its content (an endless stream of mindless violence, sitcom-silly "comedies," pointless and inferior-to-the-original remakes, and sequeled-to-death-and-then-rebooted "franchises") and its presentation (a steady parade of advertising, followed by a dark and out-of-focus feature).
    It's to this larger category of consumer, and not us, that Olive and other distributors target their product. Collectively, we get exactly what we demand--nothing less, and certainly nothing more.
     
  17. dana martin

    dana martin Cinematographer

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    And before we all jump on the bandwagon that it is Connie Coupon or Joe Sixpack’s fault that these are being released the way they are, its not the Walmart crowd because i haven't seen one single release on a shelf, consider this. It’s not the least bit elitists in saying, whom do you think at the moment is buying these disc. My money would be on the same people who frequent this forum, after all we are the ones who are asking and waiting for these titles. So yes, some of the responsibility of accepting what is delivered, falls with Us as well, that is why this forum is so important, read the reviews, make a concerned effort to see if you can accept the flaws.
     
  18. Kurosawa

    Kurosawa Agent

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    I have no empirical data to back this up, but I venture to guess that even among those who buy titles like Rio Grande, the type that frequents forums like this are in the minority. There are a lot of classic film buffs who couldn't care less about the nits we pick here. Witness the reaction to RAH's comments on High Noon that appeared in other forums that shall remain unnamed. Very few posters saw anything wrong at all with the release, and took the opportunity to poke jabs at RAH and other (to paraphrase) elite, perfectionist snobs of his ilk. There are powerful forces aligned against those who promote the highest of standards; just try posting anything on most forums that comments obliquely on someone's egregious grammatical or spelling errors and see if your tail doesn't get tucked between your legs PDQ.
    It's not only Connie Coupon or Joe Six-Pack that I'm talking about. And that's what concerns and depresses me.
     
  19. dana martin

    dana martin Cinematographer

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    case in point Spartacus...... nuff said, i do see what you are saying
     
  20. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Some of this comes down to respect for the film being released, along with that for the eventual consumer.

    I'm currently working on a small project to release an early sound film via a favored distributor.

    Finally prepared to move forward, I received and screened a Blu-ray test disc of the entire film.

    The data had been handled by three post facilities, and the final result was not a pretty picture.

    Beginning with a 35mm dupe fine grain master, which was quite dirty, scans were produced at MPI / WB. The scans were then sent to a facility which shall go unnamed, where it was corrected for densities, after which it went through some basic digital clean-up.

    Even before I was able to view the result, I was told that the first post house didn't handle clean-up properly, as there were obvious problems, even within a project that can, and will never be pristine.

    That data was then sent to a second facility for additional clean-up, which again failed at making complete and proper corrections.

    Viewing the Blu-ray, I found that the aspect ratio was incorrect. An early film, which should be 1.19, was heavily cropped with a standard 1.37 mask, with no one at the facility asking whether the ratio should be cropped to that of a later era.

    Next stop was to download MPI's .dpx files. All properly scanned, perf to perf and mid-frameline to mid-frameline.

    A comparitively huge amount of funds have been expended on this project, thus far.

    And we could have allowed it to be released, as most people would never realize that problems existed.

    How was it handled?

    The final product has been pulled, and will not be released.

    We're returning to the .dpx files, and will go through density and clean-up a second time.

    Making note of this, may explain to some why, when I look at a studio project that needed a few thousand dollars of additional clean-up, and that project has been released into the wild as is, I'm not smiling.

    RAH
     

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