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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Miracle on 34th Street -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Fox's 1947 Miracle on 34th Street, for which character actor Edmund Gwenn won an Academy Award, shows what one can do with a quality black & white film element when it isn't digitally over-processed. Shot on the same stock as It's a Wonderful Life, and possibly a generation down from that title, Mo34S glistens with beautiful blacks, a rich gray scale, and exhibits no digital artifacts, presenting a rendering of the film that is decidedly film-like.

    Viewers will note the generation loss for printer functions, built in to the fades and dissolves, which creates an occasional analogue edginess, but this is in the film element, has been there for 62 years.

    The film holds up beautifully, with superb performances, including that from a nine year old Natalie Wood.

    The Blu-ray of Miracle on 34th Street is everything that IaWL should have been, and was not.

    Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Mark-P

    Mark-P Well-Known Member

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    In addition to allowing the natural film element to come though, Fox also saw no need to tack on the colorized version. I'm wondering how the DTS master audio remix sounds - not too gimmicky, I hope? Though it is great that the original mono track is included as well.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    To be a bit more precise, there are no surviving nitrate elements on the film, and all safety elements are less than superb. The look of the Blu-ray comes from Warner's MPI facility, which did the work.
     
  4. Brian McHale

    Brian McHale Well-Known Member

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    In my first year having Dish HD, I took advantage of a special deal to get Cinemax for $0.01 for the year. A while back, I noticed they had Miracle on 34th Street showing on one of their HD channels (which I thought was odd, because it was summer time). I recorded it (via DVR), figuring it would be an upgrade over my DVD.

    The other night, my wife and I sat down to watch it. I commented early on that it looked a lot cleaner than the DVD and there was certainly more detail. After several minutes, however, my wife made some comments about various artifacts she was seeing, which I had also noticed (but was trying to ignore). A few minutes later, we put in the DVD. Even though it was not as clean and had less resolution, it was also less distracting. (And, oddly, the audio seemed clearer.) So, we stuck with the DVD.

    We don't have the largest TV (50") and we don't sit really close to it (10-11 feet), so SD is often good enough. Whenever we watch a DVD, I try to figure out if it’s one we’ll need to upgrade (I'll be watching everything by myself after my wife leaves me if I try to upgrade all our DVDs to BD). While I’m sure my wife would say that the DVD of Miracle on 34th Street is good enough, I will be keeping an eye out for sales. This is one movie that deserves to look its best.
     
  5. AbbyNormal

    AbbyNormal Active Member

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    The DTS remix sounds fine and was not distracting one bit. I also agree with Robert on this disc vs. the IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE disc-while not perfect, MO34S shows some care was taken with the transfer and that someone at least was looking at it while the mastering was being done.
     

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