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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Wild Bunch -- in BD & HD

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    "If they move, kill 'em!"

    The late 1960s were a turning point in the American cinema. And though it may today sound as if one is simply spouting words, to say that there are gangster films before and after Bonnie and Clyde, there are absolutely westerns before and after Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch.

    The cinema would never be either the same or safe again.

    I'm a great fan of Mr. Peckinpah's work, and especially of The Wild Bunch. In order to properly appreciate the film, I used to own a beautiful roadshow print in dye transfer, which as all rare prints should, is now in the possession of AMPAS. It will survive there as a record.

    In place of that brilliant 35mm print, I now have a beautiful disc.

    The frame is more stable, the color virtually a match, and the image cleaned up. One thing that used to trouble me were emulsion scratches that were built into the OCN of the Mapache sequence. As far as color goes, The Wild Bunch could easily be mis-timed, but this release replicates, with absolute perfection, the precise warmth originally seen in the brilliant blue skies. Dead on perfect!

    They're gone.

    Short of the Intermission and Entr'acte, Warner's new HD and BD variants of The Wild Bunch replicate the film to perfection.

    As far as audio is concerned, the new DVDs faithfully reproduce in 5.1 the original 70mm 6-track mix used in blow-up prints. While it may sound a bit
    thin at times when compared to huge new digital mixes, at the time it was state of the art. Keep in mind that this was an era well before sub-woofers,
    and when a "surround" was still considered a effects track.

    Whether one selects HD or BD, it makes no difference. Just select one.

    What a glorious home video release!

    No more needs to be said.

    Extremely Highly Recommended!

    RAH
     
    Everett Stallings likes this.
  2. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    My resolve is dissolving.... I'm going to have to upgrade soon.
     
  3. ppltd

    ppltd Well-Known Member

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    Robert, thank you for another fine assessment. I had a chance to watch this release and could not agree more. This is another fine Warner release of a classic.
     
  4. Nick Graham

    Nick Graham Well-Known Member

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    Been waiting for payday so I could pick this one up, and already sold my two-disc SD release in anticipation. Really glad Warner is on the ball in regards to classic releases where other studios are non-existent.
     
  5. Jim_K

    Jim_K Well-Known Member

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    Mine finally shipped from Warner. I really can't wait for this one.

    Wild Bunch has been one of my Top 10 favorite films ever since I first discovered it 15+ years ago and even though I was always into movies for as long as I can remember it's the film that really began my quest into seeking out many classic and cult films that I'd never seen before.
     
  6. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Well-Known Member

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    I've been meaning to introduce my wife to my favorite Western since the 2-disc set came out, but haven't gotten around to it. . .now it looks like it'll be replaced before it even makes it out of the shrinkwrap. [​IMG]
     
  7. Bob_L

    Bob_L Well-Known Member

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    I watched this last week on HD DVD on my front projector and can only second the endorsement. This is an excellent HD transfer. "The Wild Bunch" has gotten some solid transfers to home video but, once again, I was reminded that the difference between standard definition DVD and HD discs is the difference between seeing big TV and actually seeing a film screening at home. No comparison.
     
  8. Seppo

    Seppo Well-Known Member

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    I watched the BD release of "The Wild Bunch" last Saturday and it looked excellent. Great job, Warner!
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Heh, heh, heh ! (Sorry for that.)

    I'm so glad now I double-dipped and pre-ordered this one. It's on its way and I just hope it will arrive before the weekend.


    Cees
     
  10. PaulDA

    PaulDA Well-Known Member

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    Just picked this up today and, with a little luck, I'll be able to screen it sometime in the coming week. Sacriligeous, I know, but I've never seen this film (and I'm 40, not 20). Wasn't a big fan of non-Eastwood westerns (or rather, I never bothered with non-Eastwood westerns) until about a year ago in serious fashion. Since then I've been watching a lot of them--old and new.

    (along with this I picked up Rio Bravo--both in HD DVD. I'd rented Rio Bravo about 5-6 weeks ago in HD DVD and quite enjoyed it)
     
  11. PaulDA

    PaulDA Well-Known Member

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    Well, it took a lot longer than I thought (for a variety of reasons) but I finally saw this last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I do have a question about the colour in one scene--everything looked "off" (pink and green). I thought something was wrong with my PJ but the colours returned to normal. I can only assume it was intentional (in the valley after the first trip to collect gold for guns, IIRC) or that short sequence was not properly restored (which I think unlikely as it would have been noted in reviews, I'm sure). In any event, a great film.
     
  12. Thivanka R. Perera

    Thivanka R. Perera Well-Known Member

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    I loved the movie, and the Blu-ray was great too. It still packs a punch.
     
  13. Xylon

    Xylon Well-Known Member

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    I saw this on a Laserdisc rental from Dave's Video a loooooong time ago. Haven't seen the high-def version.
     
  14. Gary Murrell

    Gary Murrell Well-Known Member

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    Xylon, as Robert says this is a piece of work for sure, amazing stuff

    -Gary
     
  15. Dick

    Dick Well-Known Member

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    I just received the Blu of this movie and was drooling with anticipation waiting to get home to watch it - It's my favorite western and I've bought it about six times in various configurations over the years. Based on RAH's review, I had no reason to believe I'd be less than blown away.

    I own a Sony 46" KDL-46S4100 Bravia and a Sony BDP-S301 player, which more than often gives me outstanding flesh tones. With this disc, however, I could not, for all my efforts at adjusting both set and player, find a pleasant flesh tone. Faces look pasty, either too brown or two pink, with no happy medium. I just watched the standard-def SOUND OF MUSIC last night, made 4 years earlier, and the flesh tones were spot on. True, different film stocks were used, but am I not doing something I could do to make this disc look better?
     
  16. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    Gonna watch this week while on vacation (found it in the 2/$10 bin on HD @ Wal*Mart). I'll post my thoughts @ that point.
     
  17. OliverK

    OliverK Well-Known Member

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    I would suppose that a more brownish/warm color palette was intended for the Wild Bunch, if you look at the first post by RAH you will find this confirmed.

    Apart from that you would be better off to use a calibrated display and try not to adjust flesh tones differently when they do not please you - not every movie has accurate lifelike fleshtones.

    I have not watched The Wild Bunch yet (own it for over half a year now) but when I sampled a few scenes with closeups they looked a bit disappointing, so detail is probably not as strong as with other westerns like for example Blazing Saddles that IMO is just about reference quality for a HD disc looking like older and grainy film.
     
  18. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    I only found one scene with possible issues:
    When Crazy Lee gets shot inside the train station, he falls to the ground and is laying on his side. The blood on his clothing seems to be a dull pinkish brown. I can't tell if it's a case of a bad batch of fake blood or element fading, because the scene is in varying shades of brown. Anyone?

    Other than that, stunning. It looks like film with less apparent grain because it is likely taken from dye transfer materials.
     
  19. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Hi Robert.

    I'm curious - would you, two years later, give this release a "Not Recommended" considering the level of DNR applied?

    Thanks
     
  20. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Certainly not!

    While The Wild Bunch may have had a bit of "help," the final result very accurately mimicked the original dye transfer prints. Wild Bunch was absolute state of the art. Today, with a 4k scan, and the resultant new archival film elements, the grain would show through a bit more because of the overall increase in resolution. The final result might actually look a bit less like an original print.

    The Wild Bunch is still eminently viewable and a wonderful example of our archaic 2006-7 technologies. Those were the good old days!

    I stand behind my original comments.

    RAH

     

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