A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Cat People (1982) -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    While I'm a huge Val Lewton fan -- those who have no idea who I'm talking about need to immediately purchase the RKO/Lewton productions as released by WB several years back on DVD -- I hold a special place for Paul Schrader's take on the legend forty years later.

    I should make it clear that while Val Lewton was behind the unit at RKO that produced some magnificently atmospheric horror films in the 1940s, the original Cat People was directed by Jacques Tourneur.

    This is a film that works on multiple levels - one realistic, the other totally fantasy - but it works.

    As photographed by John Bailey, Nastassja Kinski is totally believable in a difficult role.

    As released by Scream Factory, and prepared by Universal, Cat People is a film that has been lovingly de-grained, and delicately sharpened.  Those viewing from a proper distance will be pleased.

    A strong score by Giorgio Moroder, is unleashed in DTS-HD MA 5.1.

    Love the film.  Wish the imagery was a bit less massaged, but we have what we have.

    Image - 2.5

    Audio - 5

    Recommended.

    RAH

     
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  2. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    What a disappointment.
     
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  3. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    Watched this last night. At least it looks miles better than PREDATOR.
     
  4. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    I guess it was too much to hope for a new film scan to be made, this type of release is why Universal got a bad rep in the first place.
     
  5. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    Does the HD DVD look better, or is it the same video master?
     
  6. WadeM

    WadeM Supporting Actor

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    I didn't finish this the other night because the "massaging" of the image was distracting to my eyes. It's okay, but after seeing so many fantastic blu-rays from various companies, this release was relatively disappointing/annoying. It didn't look like a 2013/2014 release to me. I guess I've become spoiled. Surely, I'll finish watching it soon. I enjoy the movie enough.
     
  7. Oblivion138

    Oblivion138 Second Unit

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    I don't think that expecting new scans (or at least masters that aren't overly processed) means we're spoiled. And maybe it would be more forgiveable (if no less lamentable) if Universal (in this case, outsourcing their outdated, overprocessed master) only gave this treatment to niche "cult" titles like Cat People...but they have a tendency to treat MOST of their catalog as if it were worthless. Which is why, when a transfer like Jaws or High Plains Drifter comes along, we're all so shocked. Because when they put in the same kind of effort that has become standard for the rest of the majors, Universal can turn out some gorgeous work. But sadly, they're still far more "miss" than "hit."
     
  8. FanboyZ

    FanboyZ Second Unit

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    Do the people at Universal know how terrible their work is?
     
  9. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    They have marketing meetings in which bean counters tell them what to release but nobody at the studio has thought to gather feedback on what people really think about their botch jobs. My beef with the studio isn't so much their over-reliance on digital tools to "modernize" the look of older films but with their use of dated masters. The combination of a dated master AND the use of DNR could spell disaster but then again they don't bother with feedback. At least reps from some of the other studios come on HTF and interact with us.
     
  10. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    I remember reading about Gladiator and the astonishment by Universal staff at Ridley Scott not wanting additional processing, this of course was the re-release after the very poor first botched one, a comment i read from Universal suggested that they thought DNR and EE was standard practice for catalog titles, it's the guy in charge of the video department, he has the power to stop it, you wouldn't find Grover Crisp ( Sony ) allowing this, i'll take an old master as it is, don't add any additional rubbish to it, of course these studio's were so short sighted about the future that they often baked issues right into the master they made.

    Go right back to Universal's first blu ray releases, The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, the HD-DVD editions had film grain, they looked okay, not perfect but good and filmic, but for the blu ray release they decided to add in some DNR to the mix and make it all smoother, i have ended up purchasing some older HD-DVD editions of Universal films just to get more film texture, i don't know why they felt blu ray needed the smoothavision treatment, it almost makes me wonder if they hated the fact blu ray won the format war and decided to put out inferior catalog releases on purpose.

    I really wanted Cat People, i like this film a lot, i can't purchase this rubbish though.
     
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  11. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Thanks for the review RH. As you can tell from my avatar I'm a big fan of this film, and much prefer it to the Val Lewton classic, blasphemy I know.

    I bought the Giorgio Moroder soundtrack LP as soon as it was released, and later the CD. Still listen to it.
     
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  12. FanboyZ

    FanboyZ Second Unit

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    I always thought they wanted to stick it to blu ray.
     
  13. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Yes, that makes sense. Spend current millions to release products that they hope fail in a continuation of the format war that ended 6 years ago.----Occam's razor, folks.
     
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  14. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    It makes about as much sense as using DNR on high definition titles and destroying the fine detail and then using edge enhancement to add some fake detail back into the image, oh and for the record i stayed out of the format war and didn't buy into any system until it was all settled.
     
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  15. WadeM

    WadeM Supporting Actor

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    I think you made the right decision, IMHO.
    In addition to Universal's issues, it also frustrates me that Shout (I believe honestly) thinks it looks fantastic.
     
  16. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins Supporting Actor

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    Oh, my…I wonder if this is an indication of what to expect from the Werner Herzog catalogue?? I wish to hell Criterion would have got the rights to at least three or four of his classic titles.

    Meanwhile, 'Nosferatu the Vampyre' is up for pre-order at Amazon, with a May 20th release date.
     
  17. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I wouldn't be that worried since I don't think they're Universal titles. It's Universal that is going overboard with the DNR and Scream Factory is just releasing what they are given by each studio.
     
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  18. EddieLarkin

    EddieLarkin Supporting Actor

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  19. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins Supporting Actor

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    Great news about the BFI's. Especially appealing are the steel book editions of Aguirre and Nosferatu, not being tied to a massive boxed set. But…I don't have a region-free player. Might have to get one.


    I've always heard them referred to as Shout! Factory, now I'm hearing them referred to as Scream Factory.
     
  20. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Cinematographer

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    Scream is a division of Shout.
     

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