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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Bird with the Crystal Plumage -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    After a dozen or so outings as screenwriter for other filmmakers, the now legendary Italian Dario Argento made his first mark as a director in his own right with the 1970 The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.

    Screening the new release on Blu-ray from Blue Underground was initially a bit of a puzzler. The BD has all of the attributes of a transfer from original negative, but lacks that look of solid HD OCN resolution that has become standard on quality transfers. And this IS a quality transfer. Other than that, and a bit of red push during the opening, the film looks terrific, especially for a 1970 low budget Italian affair.

    A quick question to Blue Underground's guru Bill Lustig provided the answer.

    Crystal Plumage was not shot 35/4, but rather 35 2-perf, which provides the answer to the overall look. This makes perfect sense, as the format was originally conceived for printing directly from a 2-perf OCN to Technicolor matrices, which with its slight softness hid the grain, while filling in blacks beautifully.

    Grain goes untouched, and is apparent especially in the many dark scenes -- and Crystal Plumage is a dark film. Argento has become a cult figure among horror aficionados, and many consider this to be his best work after Suspiria (1977).

    From the time of its original release, TBwtCP has been linked with the name Hitchcock, and those who have not yet had the opportunity to view will understand why with immediacy.

    I could not be more pleased to see Blue Underground hitting their aim for quality in what is still one of their very early Blu-ray releases.

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. TravisR

    TravisR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review, RAH. I haven't had a chance to pick this up yet but it's one of my favorite Argento movies so it's good to know that I have a quality presentation to look forward to.
     
  3. RDarrylR

    RDarrylR Well-Known Member

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    I just put it to the top of my queue for rental and will likely buy it at some point. I have never seen this one before but it's good to hear it is top quality. I am a fan of his other films.
     
  4. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Well-Known Member

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    I bought this one tha day it came out and I'd never seen it before but so far Blue-Underground has been releasing top-notch transfers based on the source materials they have. I love the grain and I think the transfer is really good. I can't wait to buy more releases from Blue Underground.
     
  5. Edward Schatz

    Edward Schatz Well-Known Member

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    I was surprised when I put this disc in because I thought the picture was really soft, especially after watching Stendhal Syndrome. Glad to know it's the way it was shot and not the disc. Blue Underground, despite their initial reluctance for hi-def discs, has made a fantastic start. I've bought them all! Two Evil Eyes in only a month.
     
  6. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Well-Known Member

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    I Take it its 2.35:1 ?? This is a Storao picture
     
  7. Jari

    Jari Well-Known Member

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    Need to pick this up soon.

    Please tell me Blue Underground has the rights for Suspiria? That movie must have an A-grade transfer and disc. Recently released Italian Blu-ray doesn't have english subtitles/audio.
     
  8. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Well-Known Member

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    They might be with whoever bought the remake rights. I think the remake is coming next year so we'll probably have a wait. To be honest I'm rather confused all around because I've also read several sites claiming that Anchor Bay lost the rights to a lot of their films and the same is happening with BU. I hope it's not true in the case of BU as I'd like to see several AB titles fall into their hands.

    To me BIRD is middle ground Argento and I'm somewhat shocked BU didn't break into Blu with something like ZOMBIE, which certainly has a bigger cult following.
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Unadulterated Storaro.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Blue Underground is taking the concept of cinema, quality, and the appearance on home video very seriously.
     
  11. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Well-Known Member

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    While I've been very happy with Blue Underground's Blu-rays, there has been one nagging issue with them- they've been leaving off the original audio mixes in favor of multiple, redundant versions of the remixed tracks. Do we really need both DTS-HD Master Audio AND Dolby True-HD versions of the remixes on these discs, especially if it means dropping the original sound mixes? Hopefully, Blue Underground will drop the redundant remixed soundtracks on future releases and start to include lossless versions of the original sound mixes in addition to the remixes in the future.

    Re: SUSPIRIA- I believe the Weinstein Company has the rights now, or will soon when Blue Underground's license expires. They bought the rights to the "restored" SUSPIRIA when it played at Cannes in 2007. Let's hope when they get around to releasing it, they include the original 4-track stereo soundtrack from 1977.

    Vincent
     
  12. Edward Schatz

    Edward Schatz Well-Known Member

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    Vincent, I agree about the audio. Since Blue Underground's inception, their MO appears as if no original audio will ever be included. Most of the time you get, as you said, multiple mixes in DTS and Dolby for no obvious reason. There is plenty of room for a simple mono mix, even in Dolby Digital. Oh, and the Weinstein company is the worst. Take a look at their Dragon Dynasty label for Asian cinema. Absolutely wretched. I do not hold much hope for euro-horror.
     
  13. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Well-Known Member

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    Their EUGENIE DE SADE disc was originally announced with an English-only track but thankfully enough people got to them where they eventually included the French one. I believe he has said in interviews that "most" people want the English track and the added cost of subs and so on might not be an option for niche titles.
     
  14. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Well-Known Member

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    But the "added cost of subs" or whatever is not an issue with a title like DEAD AND BURIED, an English-language, American film to begin with. Nor is it really an issue with the Argento titles, since most of those were filmed in English anyway*.

    Nor is it an issue when we're talking about the cost of doing a 7.1 remix vs. the cost of including the original soundtrack and offering subtitles (does it cost more to do subtitles than it does to do a 7.1 sound mix???)...

    All we're asking for are original soundtrack mixes along with the 7.1 remixes.

    Vincent

    *And let's not forget THE STENDHAL SYNDROME DOES offer the superior Italian-dubbed soundtrack, WITH English subtitles...

    BUT, said Italian soundtrack is only offered in lossy Dolby Digital, whereas we have both DTS-HDMA and DD-THD lossless versions of the English-language remixed soundtrack...

    Why couldn't one of those lossless remix tracks have been offered up and a lossless version of the Italian soundtrack been offered up in its place?
     
  15. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you Vincent. For the most part BU has does a great job with their titles. As a Franco fan I wasn't too worked up over the French-less track on EUGENIE but it was nice for them to listen to the fans and licence the track. I'm not sure if this would put them over budget on a title like this but hopefully it did sell well enough.

    I've scratched my heads at the titles they've released so far to Blu but I'm sure Lustig has sales charts in front of him helping pick out what to release and how. I've yet to pick any up but will eventually get STENDHAL when I can find a good price on it.
     
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As Mr. Lustig is tuned in to this thread, he is aware of your comments.
     
  17. BrettGallman

    BrettGallman Well-Known Member

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    I know this doesn't have anything to do with Blu-ray, but I'd sure like to see Maniac Cop II released on DVD at some point. I'm aware that First Look apparently released it, but it wasn't available for long, and I'm still not sure what the story is on that.

    As for Blu-ray, I'd love to see BU release some of their Fulci catalogue, particularly House by the Cemetery and New York Ripper. I also really enjoy The Prowler, which is another film in their catalog. [​IMG]
     
  18. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Well-Known Member

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    THE NEW YORK RIPPER would be a great one as well but I'm confused over the rights of these as well. Again, I haven't heard anything official but rumor has it that a lot of these rights that were with AB went to BU for a "limited time" and then will be gone. I hope this isn't true as BU is the best studio out there for these type of films. I mentioned ZOMBIE earlier but this too had a "double release" with S. Show.

    I own the majority of their SD titles and being a die-hard Franco fan I will buy whatever they release but the tricky thing is I'm not sure I'd upgrade many of them to Blu. Most of his movies are watch once and move on but I'd upgrade to EUGENIE.... and VENUS IN FURS.

    I'd love to hear about who owns the rights to some of this stuff. TENEBRE is my #1 want right now as we've yet to even get a good SD release. Not to mention the best and most underrated horror film of the 1980's: MANIAC, directed by Lustig.
     
  19. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Well-Known Member

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    The only Argento films I had seen until BD releases was Suspiria , I bought Stendhal and now Bird w/ C. Plumage, so I am looking forward to more of Argento's classic films on Blu - I plan on getting Two Evil eyes also.

    I also think it would be cool to have the original mono tracks including.
     
  20. BrettGallman

    BrettGallman Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking that Maniac was announced as part of BU's launch plans, but it obviously hasn't come out--what's the deal there?
     

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