A Few Words About A few words about...™ Von Ryan's Express -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    While I've always found, that at times, Mark Robson's Von Ryan's Express, seems to drift strangely between moderate comedy and escape drama, the almost half century old film stand the test of time quite well.

    This is a film that has never looked great on home video, and the new Blu-ray from Fox, while it's okay, doesn't sing out as it might.

    The fact that many will say that it's the best the film has looked on home video, is an old excuse that just doesn't cut it. Contrast and color, is occasionally lacking. Flesh tones are generally off just enough to be obvious.

    While I can guess at the problem, I'd prefer not to.

    A very good WWII action escape drama.

    Image - 2.5

    Audio - 4.5

    RAH
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    My grade would be more like 3 on a grading scale of 1-5. Will the industry ever release every BD title like it should look in 1080p? Unfortunately, I think we know the answer to that question.






    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    I haven't seen the Blu, but I recorded an HD transfer from Film4 (UK), & it didn't look bad, it all looked a bit yellow & on some scenes some dark areas were magenta. I think most people will be pleased with it. My main problem with it, is it never looked like HD, it looks like good DVD, only I have a lot of DVD's that look better. They obviously haven't gone back to the original negs for this Blu, I suppose it's not a big enough title.
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I don't think what you've seen on that HD channel is the same of what is on this BD.








    Crawdaddy
     
  5. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Yeah you could well be right there, but I looked at the caps over at caps-a-holic (don't tell hainshisway!) & they looked identical to me. It's only lately I've been able to get & record HD on Film4 (UK) & most HD old movies look really good. I saw McLintock last night & Shenandoah & Wincherster 73 & Tora, Tora, Tora & they all looked great in HD, & I just didn't get that from Von Ryan.
     
  6. seangood79

    seangood79 Stunt Coordinator

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    How are the subtitles? I remember years ago watching this movie on AMC, back when they were American Movie Classics, back when their movies didn't have commercials.
    In those days, they would air the prime time movies pan and scanned, and repeat them later in the night letterboxed.
    I remember watching this movie in P&S, and the German dialogue was subtitled. When I watched the letterbox showing, there were no subs.
     
  7. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    I am in agreement with Mr. Harris' assessment of this. (I wonder if the import looks better, but I doubt it).
    The color shifting is so frequent that adjusting one's set at any given point is useless -- flesh tones and contrast are all over the map. What a shame! Yes, the overdark image of the first DVD and the oversoft of the 2-disc second DVD have been corrected -- this Blu is bright and sharp enough -- but now we have rather palid and inconsistent color and contrast levels. This is such an awesome movie, but I suspect we'll never see it look "better" on video, but this was a wasted opportunity. Sorry, Fox, again this is a fail.
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    They may have an element problem.

    RAH
     
  9. RobHam

    RobHam Stunt Coordinator

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    This is one that was on my list to buy on BD - mainly because the UK DVD is distractingly poor, and it's a film I grew up with on television back in the day when we used to have special bank holiday presentations of movies (The Great Escape is another in the same vein).
    It appears to be region free - not sure whether to pass on this, or settle for it being the best it's ever likely to look in a home environment
     
  10. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    I'm ditching that generic Blu-ray cover and using the collector's edition DVD slipcase to store the new disc, which features terrific original artwork. But ugly artwork is the least of my concern - I was looking forward to a crisp and clean transfer for this film. Sadly, it doesn't look like this will win any PQ awards.
     
  11. Brent Avery

    Brent Avery Supporting Actor

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    I will agree on the color shifting - but still found it quite viewable at 128" ( 2:35 ). I imagine anyone who enjoys this film can appreciate what improvements there are over the dvd. Eventually I have no doubt the price will drop to the point where it will offset the fact that Fox did not fully restore it. I have to say that some scenes - when they were well saturated and detailed certainly looked very good - it gives one an idea of what the entire film could have been - still glad I purchased it.
     
  12. DP 70

    DP 70 Supporting Actor

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    I also agree with Mr Harris on his assessment of this.
     
  13. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Second Unit

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    Agree with Mr. Harris mostly.
    I'd have given Von Ryan's Express a 1 not a 2.5 in the video department. Flesh was terrible looking throughout. Color fading or vinegar syndrome? Not sure.
    But the colors were abysmal in my opinion. Reds often looked pasty pinkish. Blacks in shadows occasionally had an either slightly blue or purplish tint and granite surfaces that ought to have been grayish brown looked jaundice yellow.
    I grow weary and impatient with studios releasing substandard product in hi-def thinking that the consumer is just too daft or too lazy to care. Dear executive brain trust - WE CARE! Stop releasing junk to Blu.
    Do it once. Do it well. Or just don't do it at all. The days of your multiple re-issues money grab are over. Enough said.
     
  14. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    I got this today - couldn't tell the difference between the DVD and the Blu-ray. It doesn't look bad, it's just not high-def. Fox, go back to the drawing board with this release. It's too fine a film to be relegated to such poor quality.
     
  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    If that's the case then you should return the BD to your retailer.






    Crawdaddy
     
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Von Ryan is absolutely HD, and a decent transfer. The problem seems to be with the element.
    RAH
     
  17. RobHam

    RobHam Stunt Coordinator

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    A review on another website unequivocally states "vinegar syndrome"
     
  18. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    I've seen the same broadcast, and my immediate thought was that it was a helluva lot better than the DVD, problematic as you describe, but certainly better.
     
  19. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    There is not one shot in this transfer that has accurate color and if that inaccurate color is saturated (it's not) it's still not correct. A mess.
     
  20. moovtune

    moovtune Stunt Coordinator

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    It doesn't sound like true stereo either to me ... more a processed "fake" stereo. But interestingly the isolated music track does seem to have some real separation. When they go back (yeah, right) to redo the picture correctly, maybe they could reassess the audio elements as well.
     

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