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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Witness for the Prosecution -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    One can only but wonder what the quality of a new series will be, when sub-licensed from a copyright holder.  In this case, the great Billy Wilder's 1957 Witness for the Prosecution, via MGM to Kino, the quality is quite good.

    From what I'm able to see, any problems arise from built-in dupes, but even in dupes, aside from a slight loss of resolution and minor mottling, the image harvest holds up very nicely.

    From blackest blacks to whitest whites, the gray scale yields a high quality image.  Likewise, audio, in DTS-HD MA 48k represents the film nicely.

    A great film, from a superb filmmaker and an absolute A-list cast.  Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester and John Williams.  The film was nominated for six Academy Awards inclusive of Best Picture.

    Bottom line.  Forgive this Blu-ray the look of the dupes, as this is the way that the film has always appeared.  They are properly brought to Blu-ray.  Focus on the beautifully represented original material, and enjoy.

    Image - 4.5

    Audio - 5

    Highly Recommended.

    RAH

     
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  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    RAH,

    You have a problem with film ratio on the disc? The purist in me has a minor issue with it, but it's not something that's going to stop me from enjoying this disc. Now, if it was 1.37 then it would be a major problem for me.

    Anyway, thanks for the recommendation as I can't wait for my BD.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Sorry. Don't understand your question. The presentation is either 1.66 or 1.78. Seems perfect.

    RAH
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Correction Edit: Well, that's the question. The disc is 1.66, but Bob F. says it should be 1.85 Now, I know there isn't much difference between the two ratios. As to which one is correct, I know you have to look at the film elements to know for sure. I think this issue will apply to several of the MGM/UA titles as many of those titles were shown in movie theaters at 1.85, but MGM is providing 1.66 ratio for video release.
     
  5. Mark-P

    Mark-P Screenwriter

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    There was so much hand-wringing due to the Marty thread, but I was never really worried. The first Kino Lorber Studio Classics release to make it out of the gate is deservedly a home run. Looks like these releases may be more in league with Twilight Time than Olive.
     
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  6. DavidJ

    DavidJ Premium
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    I'm glad to hear good things about this disc as this is pretty high up my list of favorite films and is one I watch fairly often. I too was wondering about the aspect ratio. In this case, 1:66 instead of 1:85 won't stop me from purchasing it, but I would obviously prefer 1:85 if that was the filmmakers' intent.
     
  7. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    Glad to hear this looks good. Really interested to see the reviews of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, as it's one of my favorite Wilder films and the DVD transfer could really stand improvement on Blu.
     
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  8. TheSteig

    TheSteig Supporting Actor

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    I have the Sherlock Holmes blu ray and I thought it was a really good presentation- but not breathtakingly great if that makes sense :) It is an improvement - and I wasn't disappointed...nor was I blown away.
    But truthfully I am very happy - it is certainly a very serviceable blu ray for me
    DVD Beaver has a review up for it actually
     
  9. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, the Beaver review had me a little concerned over whether it was worth upgrading - "serviceable" seems to sum up Tooze's thinking. I'll probably take the plunge since I'm really just looking for a moderate improvement over the DVD, and it sounds like that's what Kino has delivered. That's enough for me.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Difficult to tell, as the image is filling my panel, with just a couple of pixels missing at side. Could be either 1.66 or 78. A bit of head room in a few shots, but I'm seeing nothing problematic.Not certain where 1.78 comes into the equation, as it is not a theatrical aspect ratio, but rather "open matte" video for modern home theater.Very good looking disc. We have a tendency to over-read (and sometimes over-discuss) aspect ratios, as video ratios are very, very different from theatrical ratios, in the sense that video is far more accurate, has less lost image, and is rectangular. Theatrical is not.Let's not get caught up in the minutia of each release. Best to go in and allow oneself to enjoy a terrific film without fretting about the concept that we may be seeing a few too many pixels.If one is following my thought pattern, it rises to the fact that very few theatrical screenings completely sync'd to filmmakers' intent, as they could not.RAH
     
  11. JohnMor

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    Kill joy! :D
     
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  12. Wade Sowers

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    I have the 2001 MGM DVD of WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION which is 1.66:1 non-anamorphic (as we all remember, at this time MGM was doing all 1.66:1 non), consequently, I am thrilled to finally have this anamorphic, as I will be any of the other MGM 1.66:1 DVDs, like the recent Twilight Time Blu of THE TRAIN which now looks glorious.
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Well, you're not going to get any argument out of me regarding your comment in bold because I have a tendency to get caught up with the film itself as these technical issues get pushed to the background once the film begins in my HT.
     
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  14. Mark-P

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    Your panel must have some significant overscan. The ratio is precisely 1.66:1 with 62 black pixels on each side.
    I'm fine with 1.66:1 on vintage releases. Disney also uses this ratio on a lot of their catalog product, and I think it's an aesthetically pleasing choice despite the fact that it may not be historically accurate.
     
  15. PaulDA

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    If you are missing a few pixels on each side, then it is almost assuredly a 1.66:1 ratio (assuming you have a 16:9 display).
     
  16. ROclockCK

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    For a pragmatist like me, this is the crux of it Wade. 1.66:1 standing in for 1.75:1 or 1.85:1 on home video is piddly*. The larger benefit is no longer having that 1.66:1 frame letterboxed within a legacy 4:3 DVD master. Mild pillorboxing in HDTV is fine; I just can't stand having to zoom to eliminate severe windowboxing on an already upscaled DVD image.

    And FTR, Twilight Time is not the only other licensee accepting the reality that most HD transfers from MGM/UA will be at 1.66:1, rather than 1.85:1. Even Criterion ran with 1.66:1 for 12 Angry Men, because that's all MGM had available. I'm sure there will be many other examples along the way.

    * assuming all other aspects of the transfer are sound (e.g. TT's superb release of The Train).
     
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  17. Bob Furmanek

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    I don't know where the 1.78:1 suggestion came from, it was certainly not me.

    Theatrically, the film was supposed to screen at 1.85:1.

    Witness for the Prosecution.jpg
     
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  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Sorry, I corrected my previous post that reflects 1.85 ratio.
     
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  19. Bob Furmanek

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    Thank you, Robert!
     
  20. Robert Harris

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    Interesting piece of history.

    The aspect ratio for Kwai is incorrect, as while it was discussed early on to be 2.55, it was only released in 2.35, with the left side of image cropped.

    The publication is incorrect.

    RAH
     

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