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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979) -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    In a career that encompassed seven decades, Alec Guinness was always at the top of his craft.

    Whether enjoying his work in the incomparable Ealing comedies of the '50s, or any of his performances thereafter, when you watch Sir Alec, you're in for a treat.

    His two turns as master-spy George Smiley are no different, except that rather than visiting him in your local cinema, he came to us courtesy of the BBC.

    Both are masterworks, but from technical perspectives are quite different, as the first http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006Z4LP72/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=afewwordsabout-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B006Z4LP72http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=afewwordsabout-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B006Z4LP72
     
  2. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I know there are good reasons for the poor quality of this release, but it's still disappointing. It's are even harder to swallow when I see Amazon wants $50 for this release. I'd like to have this, but I'll have to wait.
     
  3. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    I didn't know this was coming, and just a month or so ago I bought the two series on DVD when I saw them at Costco.
     
  4. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    I have the R2 DVD version of this and Smiley's People. Doesn't sound like I need to upgrade.
     
  5. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I just glanced at what you wrote and at first I thought you wrote "I have the R2D2 version...":)
     
  6. PaulDA

    PaulDA Screenwriter

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    I tend to watch my TV DVDs on my smaller monitor rather than on my PJ, so I don't think this will be a problem for me. I nearly went with the DVD instead of the BD but the new extras (though not copious) tipped the balance.
    I suspect I will keep a smallish setup for quite sometime for a good portion of my material as I have a lot that simply would not be all that good on my PJ screen. Additionally, I'm fairly forgiving of material that I don't expect to be visually impressive for various reasons (the cost reasons invoked by Mr. Harris in this review are not limited to this release, for one; original material not able to be made any better, like the I, Claudius series which I bought on DVD last week---didn't bother to wait for a BD as I doubt there would be any benefit whatsoever and it seems rather complete in terms of extras).
    As I find my visual acuity diminishing at a slightly faster pace than my aural acuity, I find myself less bothered by imperfections than I was even 2 or 3 years ago. I make an effort to get the best quality version of a release that I can find but if there are reasonable explanations for why quality might not be up to snuff in particular cases (like this one or I, Claudius), I find it easier to live with the shortcomings than I used to. At some point, content becomes important enough to offset some quality disappointments if such disappointments are owing to understandable circumstances. Where cost is not an issue and the source material is capable of providing us with top-notch quality, then I will hold out for better (as seen in remasters for Gangs of New York and others).
     
  7. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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    Acorn has done a great job bringing the Poirot series (at least the first 4 sets released so far) to Blu. They were also shot on 16 mm but I guess they will sell enough of these to justify the additional expense. Too bad they didn't think even the new TTSS movie would revive interest in the BBC show enough to make the additional effort worthwhile.
     
  8. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    There is a UK DVD available.
     
  9. Spake

    Spake Auditioning

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    I was curious about the reference to Smiley's People supposedly being shot on 35mm. It was relatively rare for the BBC to shoot anything entirely on 16mm film, so it's hard to believe that they would have sprung for 35mm, especially for something that wasn't getting shown theatrically. Were you told this by someone at the BBC?
     
  10. WinstonCely

    WinstonCely Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I've been waiting to get this release for some time, so I'm definitely springing for it.
    It's nice though that they are releasing this on Blu-ray even if there is no quality gain, because I appreciate having more episodes on fewer discs. That is actually a big factor in me getting this release. Granted, in this case, I think it's only saving one disc (I believe the DVD is 3 discs, and the Blu-ray is 2) but still. I'd like to see more shows that are standard def either as the only format available or because it's the format that the series was produced in, get a release in Blu-ray to save on the number of discs. Monty Python, Golden Girls, Kids in the Hall, are all series that I have that take up a huge amount of shelf space, and having them on fewer discs would not only be good for shelf space, but easier to watch when you don't have a multi-disc player.
    Anyway, back on topic.... I can't wait to re-watch this terrific series!:D
     
  11. JParker

    JParker Second Unit

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    Mr. Harris, you wrote:
    FWIW, Acorn replied briefly to me via e-mail. I suspect you're looking at (I've not seen the release) a 1080i up-conversion from a videotape source. Ms. Logan, after I sent a link to this post wrote:
    The e-mail address, not shopping service, of Acorn is: feedback@acornmedia.com. I did not get an answer when I followed-up to ask whether the source was in fact video. In the event, 'it is what it is'.
     
  12. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    The BBC's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is The Godfather of espionage films. The follow up, Smiley's People, is The Godfather Part 2 of espionage films.
    The British DVD released by Network is steadier, cleaner and sharper than the American DVD issued by Acorn (it also has a longer interview with LeCarre which is priceless). I can't help but wonder if Acorn even bothered to ask for the better transfer for the Blu-ray.
     
  13. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    A question worth asking, however.

    RAH
     
  14. JParker

    JParker Second Unit

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    I truly don't know except my impression is that the onus should not be put upon Acorn, because, Mr. Harris and Richard, they did (or ITV on their behalf) a remarkable job of restoring the Poirot series, which received glowing reviews on this site. Here's a link:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/319977/agatha-christies-poirot-series-4-blu-ray-review
    And from a business standpoint, how smart is it for Acorn to release a Blu-ray with such poor video quality? It is possible that the film elements were destroyed or ruined or that BBC would not turn them over to Acorn. Note that Ms. Logan said,
    Therefore, it is highly probably that they were only given video of the original film. But BBC has a restoration division, separate from production:
    http://www.bbcstudiosandpostproduction.com/dm_services/restoration.html
    Of course, the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. She never replied to my follow-up, even though I asked it be elevated with management.
    I am disappointed at how things have turned out and have no intention of buying such a product.
    However I can recommend the Acorn Blu-ray Poirot series to anyone who enjoys Agathe Christie and the marvelous David Suchet, God bless him, still playing the part.
     
  15. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Supporting Actor

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    wasn't this shot in 16mm,so I don't think it ever looked good,am I wrong ? watched only the first ep and haven't seen it before,at least its all film
     
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    What you're viewing is video. And the problems do not stem from 16mm
     

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