Best Looking Catalog DVDs

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Dr Griffin, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    Forgive me if this topic has been discussed in another thread; I did several searches and couldn't find a specific thread on this topic.

    I recently watched the DVD of "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" and was very impressed with the DVD's video quality. Upscaled to 1080, this DVD is very near Blu-ray quality. In fact, this may be the best looking DVD of a catalog title I have seen. This got me searching for those titles that are not on Blu-ray that have exemplary video quality for the format. It was a pleasure to watch a catalog DVD release that didn't have any major issues with the transfer. I would like to know of any other DVD-only titles that meet or exceed this criteria. Any additions would be appreciated.
     
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  2. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    With the caveat that it has been awhile since I viewed the DVD and my eyes might be a bit more finicky after a steady diet of HD content over the past 6 to 8 years, one title that always impressed me on DVD (and is still not available on Blu-ray) is Steven Soderbergh's The Limey. When this hit DVD, I was really impressed with how well the film's cinematography was presented.

    - Walter.
     
  3. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    Thanks - just added it to my list.
    Another title that looks great on DVD is Luchino Visconti's Ludwig (1972); I think it's split over 2 discs and has a high bit-rate - it runs about 4 hours.
     
  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I've always thought the DVD of Doctor Dolittle (1967) looked simply splendid upconverted. And I watched Funny Lady a month or so ago (right after Funny Girl came out on Blu), and I was astonished how well it looked upconverted.
     
  5. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    Yes, I did see Doctor Dolittle a couple years ago and thought it looked very good also. I've never seen Funny Lady and look forward to it.
     
  6. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    The DVDs of Doctor Zhivago and Ryan's Daughter both have astonishingly good picture quality.

    There are many, many DVDs that look really good. I don't understand those Blu-ray converts who claim they can no longer watch standard definition.
     
  7. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    Doctor Zhivago is available on Blu-ray in all its 1080/24p glory, but we are still waiting for Ryan's Daughter on Blu-ray. I have seen the DVD of Ryan's Daughter and agree it is very good. The thing about The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, while watching it, was the constant urge to get up and check to make sure it wasn't a Blu-ray Disc. There are a lot of very good quality DVDs out there; it's these exemplary examples of the older catalog titles that stand out for me.
     
  8. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Screenwriter

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    Most widescreen films I have on DVD cannot be watched anamorphically, because they look fuzzy when they fill the screen or some of the picture info on the edges is cropped off. Very rarely do I find one that fills out the screen anamorphically and retains all its image and looks just great.

    Some DVDs I recall that fit the latter qualification:

    VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964) - Elvis
    HOW TO SAVE A MARRIAGE AND RUIN YOUR LIFE (1968) - Dino
    MURDERERS' ROW (1966) - Dino
    CHISUM (1970) - Duke

    There are probably others, but that's what I recall off the top of my head.

    The problem with foreign films is that if they fill out the screen anamorphically, the subtitles get cut off at the bottom, so I have to watch them in "normal" mode, as I do with 90% of all my DVDs, which means my 32-inch screen becomes, in essence, a 26-inch screen.
     
  9. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Are you artificially zooming your movies? If you play anamorphic DVDs straight through and upconverted by your bluray player, they should not be cutting anything off.

    I've been impressed by a couple of DVD only releases by some of the independent companies that are putting big studio titles to shame. Distribpix have released classic porn from the 70's in feature packed editions that rival Criterion in quality as far as grain structure and what not. Vinegar Syndrome are doing the same kind of thing transfer wise with exploitation films.
     
  10. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Sounds as if you are talking about watching non-anamorphic widescreen DVDs on your TV and using the zoom feature on your player or TV to keep from watching them in a black box. These will always look somewhat crappy when zoomed. A good example is the Star Wars Original trilogy, released non-anamorphically a few years ago. Yes, some side info can be lost, and the subtitles invariably end up in the wrong place. It's basically the same as watching a laserdisc on a 16:9 TV.

    There are two ways that I know of to (slightly) improve the situation. You could get an Oppo player that features "subtitle shift". This allows you to adjust the position of subtitles by moving them up or down so that they don't spill off your screen.

    Another method is to recode the DVD with a program like DVD Rebuilder. You would have to rip the DVD to your HDD and then run it through the Rebuilder. You would set it to output to 16:9, and the Rebuilder will crop the picture so that when you then watch the DVD, it will fill up the screen like an anamorphic DVD with no picture loss and with subtitles in the correct position. It will, however, still look like zoomed DVD.
     
  11. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    Another title that is not available on Blu-ray yet that I recently watched is The Sun Also Rises. This is another fantastic looking DVD transfer with stunning cinematography. The movie just kind of lays there, and as mentioned multiple times in the extras, didn't translate well from Hemingway's book to film. Two of the lead stars, Tyrone Power and Erroll Flynn, would be dead within 3 years of making this film - with both dying way too young. Ava Gardner gives a fine performance and is also stunning. The DVD gives a satisfying cinematic-like presentation.
     
  12. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Two really great looking DVD's of older movies:DeMille's Unconquered '47 & Scaramouche '52
     
  13. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    Yes, Scaramouche is a very good DVD. (I'd buy a BRD without hesitation because it's such a good movie)

    Another excellent DVD is Point Blank.
     
  14. Worth

    Worth Screenwriter

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    Below, the 2002 submarine-horror film, is one of the best looking DVDs I've seen.
     
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  15. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    Point Blank (1967) with Lee Marvin?
     
  16. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    Yes.
     
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  17. David Weicker

    David Weicker Cinematographer

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    I'm curious about Scaramouche. The original DVD came out in '03 (6 years into DVD), and is basically OOP. It is now available via Warner Archives. But it has their standard CYA message about not being remastered and from the best available elements.I don't disbelieve that the DVD looks good, but the WA message is confusing.
     
  18. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Screenwriter

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    Silk Stockings.
     
  19. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    I watched the DVD of "Around the World in Eighty Days" recently after not having seen the film in many years and have to say it is a very good presentation. Though the TODD-AO format in the perfect (IMO) aspect ratio of 2.20:1 would probably look better on a curved screen, I thought this 2 DVD release looked stellar. The film, spread over 2 DVD's, was a joy to see again after many years. This one needs a Blu-ray release.
     
  20. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    One DVD that is so good that you'd be forgiven for thinking it was Hi-Def is the Region 2 DVD from Eureka (Masters Of Cinema) of Meet Danny Wilson. It's time I watched this one again.

    I tried, for the first time, yesterday to watch the BRD of Marnie. Forget it! It's unwatchable. A total disgrace. I'll stick with my DVD.
     

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