HAMMER FILM BLU-RAYS IN THE U.K. ... getting closer to the Holy Grail (DRACULA, 1958)...

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Dick, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Indeed.
     
  2. Reed Grele

    Reed Grele Screenwriter

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    I'm very happy to report that the new U.K. Blu-ray of Hammer's 1958 DRACULA has finally arrived in my "crypt" today.My fears of a "too blue" color timing have now been alleviated. Colors (especially reds, greens, and blues) are always bright and robust even in dark scenes. The screen captures that have been circulating that appeared overly cold and bluish do not come off that way when watching in real time. Yes, the night time scenes, especially the ones with fog and mist do come off a bit colder than indoor and daylight scenes, but they look right to me.

    The 2 instances where the sexier / gorier restored Japanese footage has been integrated into the 2007 BFI restoration are of somewhat lesser quality than the rest of the film, but not jarringly so. I'd definitely recommend watching the 2012 Hammer restoration version. These 2 realatively short sequences really do make a big difference.

    The extras are marvelous, but I noticed that most of these segments on the Blu-ray are in SD, albeit 16x9 enhanced.

    I think that most fans of this classic film will be satisfied with the transfer. IMHO, it's the best the film has ever looked and sounded on home video.
     
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  3. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    To Robert Harris:

    When restorative work is done on a film (I honestly don't know if this is the right term, so my apologies if not, Mr. Harris), is the ultimate goal to make the final product reflect the image directly from the negative (though in positive) or to look like it would've appeared from a print at the time (in the case of DRACULA, a Technicolor print)?

    I ask because I received DRACULA the other day and watched it last night. I watched the doc on restoring the feature and after listening to what the BFI chap had to say directly (with my own ears and in context of the program), I now understand what their aim was decided to be (more than I understood before). But this led me to wonder - was it right for them to aim to make the movie look as it was shot (which they did, according to the doc) or should the BFI have aimed to make it look like a Technicolor print when released. In context of what their final decision was, the disc looks very nice, very pleasing, very colorful and detailed (though soft at times, which is likely due to materials).

    Thanks.

    Ben
     
  4. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Sounds promising! Thanks for the mini-review!
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Your terms are fine.

    Short answer. Except base information as to image, the goal toward a final product has virtually nothing to do with what is seen on the original negative.

    The goal should be to replicate what was seen on the final approved answer print. Nothing less.

    RAH
     
  6. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    Thank you, Mr. Harris!
     
  7. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Can't wait to see that, Reed!
     
  8. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I've watched the first hour. As always, the usual suspects have done their damage - they've used screen caps to wreak havoc and cry to the high heavens about BLUE TINT and whatever they cry to the high heavens about. Another textbook example of why screen caps should be abolished from every forum. The DVD transfer of Horror of Dracula, taken from a faded low-con element, was and is a travesty of epic proportions. This new disc is mostly pleasing in terms of contrast and color timing. It has not ONE shot with a blue "tint" whatever that is. It has not one shot that is too dark - it finally looks like - wait for it - a MOVIE, with movie lighting. That is always the problem with the stupid caps - they are ONE FRAME of film, a still frame. Movies are MOTION pictures. I can take a still frame, one shot, from any movie ever made, and by being selective about which frame it is I could say, "Look at this disaster" and it would look like one because it is out of context and not in motion. These people on other forums are just so ridiculous. One of them who was the loudest and longest complainer, finally saw the actual disc and is now saying it's a worthwhile transfer - but without any backing off his original position - which makes him look like a complete dweeb.

    I might have wished the transfer to look a little sharper, but it's so far above any other video incarnation of this film, and ten thousand percent better than the Curse of Frankenstein travesty. Buy without fear - no blue tint or wash - never, not one shot ever.
     
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  9. SWFF

    SWFF Screenwriter

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    This restoration was gorgeous, plain and simple, and was crisp and vivid as never before.
     
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  10. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Having now finished it, I am very pleased with the transfer - the color, at long last, is just about right, with deep reds and greens and blues and thankfully the brownness and over bright awful looking Warners DVD is nowhere in sight. Some shots are breathtakingly good, although, for me, the first ten minutes or so are not as good as what follows, color-wise. Again, no blue wash EVER. No revisionist color timing EVER. No overly dark scenes EVER. Scenes where Dracula and company's caskets are are of course darker than the Warners DVD, which was like daylight - I do think we know that vampires would not put their coffins anywhere near bright light - I think we know that. And the light source would dictate that blue is the order of the day down there. It's just so stupid even having to defend this stuff that's finally correct.

    Again, buy without fear and for all the brickbats that Hammer had to endure for their heinous disc of The Curse of Frankenstein, they deserve major kudos for this, as do the BFI. Sorry if that's not what people want to hear, but fans of this film who actually KNOW the film and its look will be VERY pleased. It's a wonderful transfer of an absolutely terrific Hammer film.
     
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  11. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    Any word on a US release of Dracula?

    EDIT: Never mind. Saw the announcement of the Milennium deal. Guess we'll have to wait for Warners for Dracula?
     
  12. kinzoels

    kinzoels Agent

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    Hello ALL..I like his transfer save for 2 things...It is dark at times and the optimum way for me to view it is "house lights off at night". Because I run my contrast a little high, the scene where Harker and Dracula enter Harkers room to the end of Dracula leaving the castle appeared somewhat noisy (video) compared to how clean the rest of the disc looked. I had a friend of mine who is very educated in film take a look and he felt that there could have been either "restorative efforts" done at this spot or possibly a different source was used. I'd like to hear from others on this matter..Now that the disc is out I would hope Mr. Harris has had a chance to see it, and thats one opinion that would be very important for all of us to hear.
     
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  13. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    There is no scene that is too dark in this transfer. You should check your viewing settings - there are dark sequences which look as they should - with both shadows and moodily-lit sections. I'd have to look at the other scene you mentioned, as I don't recall anything like that.
     
  14. Dick

    Dick Producer
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  15. kinzoels

    kinzoels Agent

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    I want to hear Robert Harris's opinion of this disc!
     
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  16. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    I'm curious, too. Plus, I'm excited to see some of the frame caps from Bob and Jack from an IB Tech print.
     
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  17. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    We watched DRACULA, projected, at Reed's house yesterday evening. It was stupendous. I'm ordering my own copy as we speak.

    For my money the image is beautifully film-like and as colorful, bright and detailed as you could ask. I was so taken with it, and so enjoying the film, that I actually forgot about the screen grabs I'd seen posted. Didn't even think to compare my memory of them with what I was seeing. At no time was an image too dark, or cast in blue, or any such thing. Those lovely Hammer colors were all there, in spades, and I truly felt I was seeing an acceptable equal to a nicely projected 35mm print.

    I have a sort of personal benchmark for that -- not that I can claim to have eyes as trained in this as others here, so someone like Peter Apruzzese, if he reads this thread, might correct my impression -- but a few years back, I marveled at Hammer's BRIDES OF DRACULA in an original pristine 35mm print at the Lafayette Theatre, and that is the kind of texture and light and color and detail I see on this BD. The audio, too, is rich and powerful. Crank it up.

    And what a treat to have the original main titles, and the additional restored shots which add a welcome boost in overall effect. If only the rest of the Hammer catalog could be the equal of this release.
     
  18. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    More Hammer on BD coming in the UK, Final Cut Entertainment are releasing The Brides of Dracula in June and The Evil of Frankenstein in July as duel DVD/BD packages. Final Cut are using HD masters supplied by Universal and there will be supplements in each case.
     
  19. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Hi Charles,

    Glad to see another positive impression on this title.

    That print of Brides of Dracula I ran in 2005 is still the best color print I've ever seen of a Hammer title - it was flawless and rich. However, it was not an original Technicolor print; it was a newer printing (from the late 90s, IIRC, and according to the labels in the cans was only run twice) but was definitely from the original negatives. I don't have a region-free Blu-ray player yet, but I will order the HoD Blu-ray at some point anyway.
     
  20. Reed Grele

    Reed Grele Screenwriter

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    How is their track record on quality?

    Now that I've been spoiled with the latest DRACULA transfer, I'd demand that BRIDES of DRACULA, and EVIL of FRANKENSTEIN to be nothing less than stunning.
     

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