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A Few Words About A few words about...™ White Christmas -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    One of the quintessential Christmas films, along with It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, Irving Berlin's 1954 VistaVision production, White Christmas, is a bit of a mixed bag on Blu-ray.

    Generally, the film looks very good, although not sharp as one might expect from a VistaVision production. The audio, as offered on the disc via DTS-HD Master Audio is as good as one is going to get, and sounds very nice for a more than half century old production.

    But while we have rich blacks, superb blues, and outstanding reds, it is in the flesh tones, at least during the opening reels, that the Blu-ray falters. Flesh tones take on a decidedly cyan-blue tonality, making Mr. Crosby's eye pop, but giving everyone an unpleasant pallor.

    The film looks very clean, and reasonably film-like.

    During one sequence there is an odd vertical hop, which is odd for a horizontal format production, but with very minor exceptions, the release holds its own.

    A classic '50s musical makes it to Blu-ray, and that a very good thing. With the exception of the off-color flesh tones, no real problems here. The film is good, old-fashioned fun, with great music.

    RAH
     
  2. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Well-Known Member

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    Good to know that Paramount delivered a good transfer on this one, Robert...I just received my copy from Amazon will see it for myself later this week. This is one of my favorite holiday movies of all time, so I'm gratified that the video transfer and cleanup technicians didn't botch this one up!!!
     
  3. Guest

    No one celebrates Christmas as much as I do, and this is one of the best! My first week of Christmas movie viewing begins the night after Thanksgiving with the original Miracle on 34th Street and ends the following Friday night with White Christmas. In-between are A Christmas Carol (1938), Holiday Inn, The Bells of St. Mary's, and Babes in Toyland (L&H). Good to know that this year will be a Blu Christmas with Bing, Rosemary, Danny, and Vera!
     
  4. john a hunter

    john a hunter Well-Known Member

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    I hope there is something on the BD about VV. The dvd ignored the process completely which is surprising given that much of its box office success was due to its being the first release in that process.
     
  5. Sebastian1972

    Sebastian1972 Active Member

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    [FONT= 'arial']I agree with Mr. Harris on the skin tones issue of this blu-ray transfer. From the DVDBeaver screen caps, the flesh tones indeed looks way too cyan-blue it makes everyone on screen looks unhealthy and sick. Perhaps the colorist responsible for the grading of this blu-ray edition is color blind (?) [/FONT][FONT= 'arial'] [/FONT]
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Quote:

    A couple of points yellow added, and we could easily be looking at a preview of the musical Wicked.
     
  7. Brianruns10

    Brianruns10 Well-Known Member

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    I've always been curious about the preservation status of this first film in VistaVision, considering later negs like those for "The Searchers" and "Vertigo" had problems. Was the o-neg for "White Christmas" still usable, or is the blu-ray from the separation masters?

    BR
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Quote:

    You would have to ask the studio what element(s) were used. Generally, the older the Eastman Color element from that era, the better it will look.

    RAH
     
  9. John-Mg

    John-Mg New Member

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    Thanks for the review. I'm glad it seems to be a good transfer. I've not been totally satisfied with the quality of the transfer on the DVD. It nearly looked like three-strip color fringing/blur in some scenes to me, not as bad as Quiet Man's transfer (Ultra-Resolution please!) but bugged me nonetheless. I can't wait to see it myself. Is this a new transfer? Does it appear cleaned up or color corrected when compared to the previous DVD?
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This title was available at Amazon for 15.99 for those interested in buying it.






    Crawdaddy
     
  11. Adam_S

    Adam_S Well-Known Member

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    we watched it this weekend, and I noticed the cyan cast, especially in the blue heavy Sisters numbers. The timing kind of surprises me, the cyan cast doesn't appear to be there in red scenes, until you block out the rest of the frame and just iso the face, then you see the cyan popping through (the optical color illusion makes them look normal when there's a lot of red around). Overall it's relatively subtle, and not something that bothers me very much. I probably would not have seen it if I hadn't been tipped off before hand by RAH to look for it. I have to wonder if they thought the cool cast appropriate for a Winter themed film, though. I can't imagine a hollywood film from the fifties exposing for such a cool color balance, not with the lights they were using on sets (and I only saw one location shot in the film, at the train station.
     
  12. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Robert , and according to DVD Beaver , its a region free Blu as well. Just placed my order at amazon.
     
  13. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Well-Known Member

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    Is it just me, or is there a problem with the audio levels? Dialog is going along just fine on the stereo speakers, but when a song starts the volume jumps and comes out of the back speakers too. I'm continually lowering volume (on the songs) and raising it back up again when the song ends.
     
  14. William Miller

    William Miller Well-Known Member

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    The BD of White Christmas is a dramatic improvement over the DVD versions which were horrible. The clarity and the detail of the new BD are outstanding. But Mr. Harris is correct about the color. There's something missing here. The colors look accurate but are lifeless and drab. They need a shot of something. Paramount films from 1954-1959 have some of the best color I have ever seen. (Li'l Abner & Artists and Models being prime examples). When you see them correctly, the color should be vivid and eye-popping. The color on the BD of White Christmas is neither of these. However, I will give it a rating of 85% as opposed to the previous DVD's which I will rate as 10%. Maybe in a few years, Paramount will give us a 60th Anniversary edition with a 100% transfer.
     
  15. benbess

    benbess Well-Known Member

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    I'm really enjoying this film. Compared to the blurry vhs I saw 20 years ago this is amazing, and at times jaw dropping. At one scene in the hotel at one point I felt I could almost reach out and grab a radish or an olive. And emotionally blu-rays bring things to life. At 46 I'm more sentimental than I used to be, and so this film is making me laugh and tear up more. The danger of Bing almost being crushed by that wall barely existed before, I think, but this time it was real. Great songs. Anyone who likes musicals should pick this classic up.

    And hooray for Danny Kaye! Just looking at him makes me laugh sometimes, just like with Charlie Chaplin.

    And what dresses by the great Edith Head. Wowza. I'd forgotten much of the film, and so it was a surprise when the guys get in the dresses-- and me and my 9 year old daughter were laughing a lot.
     
  16. allanfisch

    allanfisch Active Member

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    When Paramount made a new IP on this title back in 1991 the negative was aleady showing signs of YLF as Mr. Harris calls it. I'm pretty certain the blue that are seeing is the compensation for that issue. I know we were fighting the yellow all the time, as well as strange breathing and other such issues. I really want to see this, but also, regarding Bing's eyes, YES they do POP..That's Mr. Crosby for you...
     
  17. Harry-N

    Harry-N Well-Known Member

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    I've wanted this for some time now. It's a perennial favorite and I love being able to upgrade it and make it even better than prior year's showing.

    I first discovered WHITE CHRISTMAS as a teenager in the '60s when NBC would show it on SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES. Being early adopters of color TV, we were able to enjoy this colorful romp each year. It was an annual tradition to watch it on network TV every year, and it was almost always the Saturday before Christmas when it played.

    The home video age arrived by the '80s so capturing the movie on VHS made it possible to schedule my own showings, and when it arrived on produced VHS with some kind of fake stereo sound, "upgrade fever" was in full force. Then came the LaserDisc, and we were finally treated to the film in widescreen VistaVision (on our 27-32" TVs!)

    DVDs arrived and the clarity improved from the LaserDisc - and that format has served for a decade. Each year though I'd watch and think that it could be better. There was an alternating color palette, noticeable mostly in the flesh tones that I found annoying. But Blu-Ray to the rescue.

    I finally broke down and bought this one on Blu-Ray - this year's Christmas movie upgrade to Blu. I saw that our local Best Buy had one in stock so I made a point of going there today and picking it up. Since it's a tradition to watch this closer to Christmas I didn't watch the whole thing - I just put it on to see the magnificence of the HD picture as I chapter-skimmed the disc, stopping to watch the "Snow" number on the train. Looking at details like never before I spotted a slight continuity error in the positions of Vera-Ellen's and Rosemary Clooney's drink glasses on the club car table. Watch as they shift locations as the camera setups move back and forth - fun stuff that you spot with multiple views of a movie.

    Anyway, I thought I'd come here and see what has been said of the Blu-Ray and am surprised to see the mention of faces looking too cyan/bluish. I didn't see that at all in my quicky view of some scenes. I submit that the wartime scenes at night would have a natural dim/bluish look about it. Is that what is being referred to?

    Harry
     
  18. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    The color on this transfer, IMO, is absolute perfection - in fact the transfer is absolute perfection. I base that solely on having owned one of the most glorious 35mm IB Tech prints ever and this transfer took me right back to that.
     
  19. Harry-N

    Harry-N Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Bruce. It sure looked eye-popping to me!
     
  20. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    A so-called "Diamond Edition" has just popped up on Amazon.

    It is not yet available for preorder, but I suspect will be in the next few hours/days.

    My guess is that it is simply a repackaged edition.
     

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