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A few words about...™ Strangers on a Train -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#1 of 27 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted September 26 2012 - 03:16 PM

Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train is a classic, and it's nice to finally have it on Blu-ray.   The image harvest is decidedly okay.  Nothing extraordinary, but nothing problematic.  Main titles are a bit soft, and are window-boxed, without reason.   Blacks seems reasonable, with decent, but not wonderful shadow detail.  Grain seems natural and consistent.   The preview version is in standard definition, and does not appear to be flagged for wide screen.  Nothing new in special features, the most recent being M. Night chatting about fate or some such thing.   Great film.   Very nice, but not wonderful Blu-ray.   Image - 3.5 (preview version -1)   Audio - 3   RAH   Updated:  Have taken another look at this, and upgraded to a 3.5 (which would have been a 4, had it not been window-boxed).  There should be no concerns about purchasing this one.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 27 OFFLINE   Doctorossi

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Posted September 26 2012 - 03:27 PM

Thanks, Robert. About what I anticipated, really.

#3 of 27 OFFLINE   JohnS

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Posted September 26 2012 - 04:20 PM

I'd like to own this. I will down the road. At least it's decent enough to get us by. Thanks RAH.

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#4 of 27 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted September 26 2012 - 04:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris /t/324038/a-few-words-about-strangers-on-a-train-in-blu-ray#post_3980496 The preview version is in standard definition, and does not appear to be flagged for wide screen.
  As with any 4:3 SD content on a Blu-ray, the player/monitor should properly add sidebars to the image to preserve the 4:3 presentation when watching on a 16:9 monitor.   Too bad it's in SD, though.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#5 of 27 OFFLINE   ShellOilJunior

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Posted September 26 2012 - 05:17 PM

I'm glad it appears to be acceptable. I just wish they put more effort into the release. I guess "film is film" to some...

#6 of 27 OFFLINE   haineshisway

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Posted September 26 2012 - 05:22 PM

I don't get it, frankly. Why would this and Dial M not receive the proper treatment? I don't need an "okay" version of Strangers on a Train - I have the DVD for that.

#7 of 27 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted September 26 2012 - 06:08 PM

I don't get it, frankly. Why would this and Dial M not receive the proper treatment? I don't need an "okay" version of Strangers on a Train - I have the DVD for that.
Exactly. The DVD is fine and even upconverts quite nicely. A Blu-ray should constitute a solid advance on that. Otherwise, why upgrade?

#8 of 27 OFFLINE   David_B_K

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Posted September 26 2012 - 06:14 PM

Geez, it looks like I may be cancelling another Hitchcock pre-order. Shame, really. The first DVD I bought was Strangers on a Train.

#9 of 27 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted September 27 2012 - 04:44 AM

Updated:  Have taken another look at this, and upgraded to a 3.5 (which would have been a 4, had it not been window-boxed).  There should be no concerns about purchasing this one.   Unless the preview version no longer exists, which is possible (although it should have been duped), a 2k scan as a new extra would have been proper here.  We're talking about a very minimal investment.   RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#10 of 27 OFFLINE   Johnny Angell

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Posted September 27 2012 - 05:28 AM

Ok, I'm not clear on what the preview version is. There is an HD version of the movie on this blu, isn't there? If that's ok, do I need to be concerned about the preview version?
Johnny
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#11 of 27 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted September 27 2012 - 05:47 AM


Quote:

Originally Posted by Johnny Angell /t/324038/a-few-words-about-strangers-on-a-train-in-blu-ray#post_3980728

Ok, I'm not clear on what the preview version is. There is an HD version of the movie on this blu, isn't there? If that's ok, do I need to be concerned about the preview version?

Only if you have an interest in how films went from preview to final versions.


 


From matthewhunt.com


 


Strangers On A Train, one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, was previewed in a form that's slightly different from the final release version. The preview version is sometimes mistakenly described as the British version, though the film's final American version was the only one shown on general release. 



Hollywood studios routinely modify films after they are previewed, though the preview versions are seldom released commercially. The Big Sleep, My Darling Clementine, and Blade Runner are notable exceptions.



There are relatively few differences between the two versions. One rather superfluous sequence from the preview - in which Bruno and Guy order food - was shortened in the final version, to reduce the overall running time. Also, the build-up to Guy entering Bruno's father's room is more suspenseful in the preview version: a brief additional sequence, with shadowy lighting and ominous music, misdirects the audience by implying that Guy actually intends to murder Bruno's father.



The film's ending represents the most significant alteration. The preview version ends rather blandly, with Guy's telephone call to his fiance; the final version inserted a new coda in which Guy is recognised by a vicar on a train, a more ironic and amusing ending.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#12 of 27 OFFLINE   David_B_K

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Posted September 27 2012 - 05:55 AM

I'll keep my preorder on this one, as it is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. The windowboxed credits are not a deal breaker for me; and it's a nice price. RAH, I thought the ending with the vicar was actually in the preview version, and that the phone call ending was the official release. I definitely like the vicar ending the best. Maybe I have them mixed up in my mind. ---EDIT--- Don't know why I got them mixed up. Took a look at the DVD last night.

#13 of 27 OFFLINE   mikeyhitchfan

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Posted September 27 2012 - 04:10 PM

Unless the preview version no longer exists, which is possible (although it should have been duped), a 2k scan as a new extra would have been proper here.  We're talking about a very minimal investment. RAH I have the preview version in HD from a TV broadcast, and it's looks quite nice. So, it does exist. I guess WB didn't think it was worth the effort. A great film at a great price. Can't wait!

#14 of 27 OFFLINE   Professor Echo

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Posted September 27 2012 - 05:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattH. /t/324038/a-few-words-about-strangers-on-a-train-in-blu-ray#post_3980572 Exactly. The DVD is fine and even upconverts quite nicely. A Blu-ray should constitute a solid advance on that. Otherwise, why upgrade?
I agree with this, Matt. So many catalog titles are coming out now in Blu, it's getting to the point where I can't justify alleged upgrading on every title I already own in SD. I would much rather save my money for titles I don't already have or ones which represent a significant improvement over the SD.

#15 of 27 OFFLINE   Johnny Angell

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Posted September 27 2012 - 05:48 PM

RAH, thanks for the preview explanation. It being in SD won't stop me from buying the disc.
Johnny
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But a family cat is not replaceable like a wornout coat or a set of tires. Each new kitten becomes its own cat, and none is repeated. I am four cats old, measuring out my life in friends that have succeeded but not replaced one another.--Irving Townsend


#16 of 27 OFFLINE   David_B_K

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Posted September 28 2012 - 11:12 AM

I agree with this, Matt. So many catalog titles are coming out now in Blu, it's getting to the point where I can't justify alleged upgrading on every title I already own in SD. I would much rather save my money for titles I don't already have or ones which represent a significant improvement over the SD.
When Blu-ray started, I said I would not rebuy my entire collection on Blu-ray. However, as my primary interest is in catalog titles, I seem to be doing precisely what I said I would not do. If I were to make a list of titles I most want on Blu-ray, I'd probably find that I already own them on DVD. If it's a title I never watch very often, I stand pat with the DVD. Certainly, I'll pass if it is not a significant upgrade. I was going to pass on this, but RAH now has it rated a '4' if you discount the windowboxed credits (which I will). For a significant Hitchcock film like this, it's a good enough price for me to upgrade to the Blu. I'm still going to pass on Dial 'M' until it has a better price or comes out in 2D only.

#17 of 27 OFFLINE   Everett Stallings

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Posted October 07 2012 - 03:29 AM

When Blu-ray started, I said I would not rebuy my entire collection on Blu-ray. However, as my primary interest is in catalog titles, I seem to be doing precisely what I said I would not do. If I were to make a list of titles I most want on Blu-ray, I'd probably find that I already own them on DVD. If it's a title I never watch very often, I stand pat with the DVD. Certainly, I'll pass if it is not a significant upgrade. I was going to pass on this, but RAH now has it rated a '4' if you discount the windowboxed credits (which I will). For a significant Hitchcock film like this, it's a good enough price for me to upgrade to the Blu. I'm still going to pass on Dial 'M' until it has a better price or comes out in 2D only.
Same here.:D
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#18 of 27 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted October 07 2012 - 03:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor Echo /t/324038/a-few-words-about-strangers-on-a-train-in-blu-ray#post_3981023 I agree with this, Matt. So many catalog titles are coming out now in Blu, it's getting to the point where I can't justify alleged upgrading on every title I already own in SD. I would much rather save my money for titles I don't already have or ones which represent a significant improvement over the SD.
Another one that agrees.  I have made the decision to pass on this one and DEAD RINGER.  I want to support the release of classic titles on Blu-ray, but these past two quarters have been over whelming to the wallet. 
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#19 of 27 OFFLINE   Matthew Anderson

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Posted October 07 2012 - 07:55 PM

Thank you Mr. Harris for your review of this great Hitchcock film. It is one of my favorite Hitchcock titles and I always appreciate your honesty. Thanks also for your prior work on Lawrence of Arabia. I saw it on the big screen last Thursday night and it was good to see your name in the credits.

#20 of 27 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted October 08 2012 - 06:17 AM

I agree that both versions should have been HD.  If they would author with branching, it would probably take up less disc space to do than including the entire SD version version of the preview cut.
Ken McAlinden
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