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An in-depth look at...™ DIAL M FOR MURDER


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#21 of 36 Stephen_J_H

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Posted October 12 2012 - 08:23 AM

Unsurprisingly, one of the best reviews, which takes into account the limitations of WarnerColor and the attendant artifacts, is from DVDSavant. A lot of people tend to slag on him when he talks about quality of transfer, but he really hit the nail on the head this time out.


"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#22 of 36 JamesNelson

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Posted October 12 2012 - 09:04 AM

Unsurprisingly, one of the best reviews, which takes into account the limitations of WarnerColor and the attendant artifacts, is from DVDSavant. A lot of people tend to slag on him when he talks about quality of transfer, but he really hit the nail on the head this time out.

You're right. It's an excellent review. My favorite part:

...Why do home video reviewers insist on critiquing 60 year-old movies as if they were filmed yesterday? Big mistakes get made, but by and large experienced transfer people know a bit more than you and I about their work, and do the best with what they're given....



#23 of 36 Bob Furmanek

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Posted October 12 2012 - 07:51 PM

An excellent post from another DIAL M thread that is worth sharing.

1.85:1 was Hitchcock's intended composition and should be respected. It was his first widescreen movie.

I was relieved to see that with the proper 1.85:1 framing (or 1.78:1 for the Blu-ray?) we no longer get an unintentional peek of the scissors effect device pre-set on actor Anthony Dawson's back when he is hunched over Grace Kelly at the desk right before she finds a new home for the blade. That was always a problem, among others, with the open matte version. You couldn't help notice a shiny object of some kind poking up from his back at the top of the frame before she can get the scissors there. Obviously a device of some kind is spring loaded and ready to create the stabbing effect. Unless there was some digital masking involved in the production of the Blu-ray or I'm mistaken about one or two theatrical presentations of it in the distant past, that tell-tale giveaway was something I've seen in every theatrical, television and home video version of DMFM I've ever seen. And I've seen theatrical presentations of it in 3-D at the Tiffany Theater in Los Angeles decades ago and a few years ago at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, Ca. at one of their 3-D festivals. I'm not as certain about those theatrical presentations, but I know it can be seen on the earlier open matte standard DVD. No sign of it on this Blu-ray though, thank goodness.

Bob Furmanek

www.3dfilmarchive.com

 

As there has been some colorful debate about the meaning of "Director-approved" transfers and how it relates to how widespread 1.66 was in the UK, I will make the following point. The dominant aspect ratio at British Studios between 1955-1970 WAS 1.75. This is based on research going through trade listings of hundreds of British films, as well as studio archives and other primary sources. 1.85 was the second most listed aspect ratio, with 1.65/1.66 a distant third.

 

Tom Crossplot - July 2013


#24 of 36 Persianimmortal

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Posted October 13 2012 - 01:24 AM

Fascinating read, thanks for the article! Reading comments about Dial M 3D being "the utilization of available technique at its best" really makes one appreciate (a) the mastery of the film medium that Hitchock had to so quickly adapt to new technology, and (b) how lucky we are to finally be able to see the movie as it was intended without the technical issues that appear to have plagued the 3d of the 50's. I've yet to receive my copy of the movie, and when I do, I'm actually saving it to savor it (along with Creature and other recently released classics) over my (Australian summer) holidays. Your article has made it just that much harder to wait until I see it!

#25 of 36 Charles Smith

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Posted October 13 2012 - 02:59 AM

Got a chance to take an abbreviated tour through the film yesterday.  In spite of the built-in shortcomings of the WarnerColor, etc., it's such a gorgeous thing, and what a pleasure to finally have it right at my fingertips.


Yes, it's dark, even on my plasma, but definitely watchable.  Not horrible.


But oddly, I see ghosting!  I don't get it on any of my several other 3D features, and I don't believe anyone has mentioned seeing it on DIAL M yet.  It's noticeable in high contrast areas, the most obvious example being right at the top of Chapter 11, the shot of Dawson walking toward us on the street at night.  The streetlamps, Dawson himself, everything has ghosting.  As I understand it, the extent to which ghosting is seen is wholly dependent on the display itself, so I have to wonder why I don't have the problem at the places in other films where a lot of other people are seeing it, and do have it here where apparently no one has (yet).  Weird!  It's all still watchable and highly enjoyable -- this is not a complaint, trust me on that!



#26 of 36 Charles Smith

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Posted October 13 2012 - 03:02 AM

And, what Bob and others are saying .....


There's no question that, contrary to the common notion of this being a weaker entry in the 1950s 3D lineup -- I'd say it's one of the strongest!  It's right up there with INFERNO in brilliant use of 3D in a drama/suspense film.  More, please!



#27 of 36 Scott Calvert

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Posted October 13 2012 - 03:22 AM

Got a chance to take an abbreviated tour through the film yesterday.  In spite of the built-in shortcomings of the WarnerColor, etc., it's such a gorgeous thing, and what a pleasure to finally have it right at my fingertips. Yes, it's dark, even on my plasma, but definitely watchable.  Not horrible. But oddly, I see ghosting!  I don't get it on any of my several other 3D features, and I don't believe anyone has mentioned seeing it on DIAL M yet.  It's noticeable in high contrast areas, the most obvious example being right at the top of Chapter 11, the shot of Dawson walking toward us on the street at night.  The streetlamps, Dawson himself, everything has ghosting.  As I understand it, the extent to which ghosting is seen is wholly dependent on the display itself, so I have to wonder why I don't have the problem at the places in other films where a lot of other people are seeing it, and do have it here where apparently no one has (yet).  Weird!  It's all still watchable and highly enjoyable -- this is not a complaint, trust me on that!

I had the same experience with ghosting. I don't see it in my other 3D titles, Titanic and Tron Legacy. It's pretty bad in the scene you mentioned and many others. Still, I can't complain too much as otherwise it was great. Very good transfer and really effective use of 3D. And a great movie too...something I never really thought before viewing this 3D version. I watched the 2D version as well. It looked great too, keeping in mind the way it was made. I.e. it looks great in the same way Hondo does...extremely soft shots and all. The ringing noted in some "reviews" is obviously a photochemical anomoly. Why would someone subtract points for that? It's not digital edge enhancement or other result of overzealous kob-twiddling in the mastering suite. This particular review even claimed Dial M was produced using anaglyph...which mysteriously dissapeared after the review was published for a day or so. Still a 2.5 out of 5 for transfer quality...such a shame as studio folks read that and probably think "well, so much for vintage 3D titles on BD" EDIT: Just to be clear, I am not referring to the HTF review.

#28 of 36 Bob Furmanek

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Posted October 13 2012 - 05:34 AM

It's been my experience that some reviewers on other sites do not like to be told they made a mistake...

Bob Furmanek

www.3dfilmarchive.com

 

As there has been some colorful debate about the meaning of "Director-approved" transfers and how it relates to how widespread 1.66 was in the UK, I will make the following point. The dominant aspect ratio at British Studios between 1955-1970 WAS 1.75. This is based on research going through trade listings of hundreds of British films, as well as studio archives and other primary sources. 1.85 was the second most listed aspect ratio, with 1.65/1.66 a distant third.

 

Tom Crossplot - July 2013


#29 of 36 haineshisway

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Posted October 13 2012 - 07:27 AM

I had the same experience with ghosting. I don't see it in my other 3D titles, Titanic and Tron Legacy. It's pretty bad in the scene you mentioned and many others. Still, I can't complain too much as otherwise it was great. Very good transfer and really effective use of 3D. And a great movie too...something I never really thought before viewing this 3D version. I watched the 2D version as well. It looked great too, keeping in mind the way it was made. I.e. it looks great in the same way Hondo does...extremely soft shots and all. The ringing noted in some "reviews" is obviously a photochemical anomoly. Why would someone subtract points for that? It's not digital edge enhancement or other result of overzealous kob-twiddling in the mastering suite. This particular review even claimed Dial M was produced using anaglyph...which mysteriously dissapeared after the review was published for a day or so. Still a 2.5 out of 5 for transfer quality...such a shame as studio folks read that and probably think "well, so much for vintage 3D titles on BD" EDIT: Just to be clear, I am not referring to the HTF review.

We know exactly who you're referring to :) A hard head is not always a good thing - I think someone said that once.

#30 of 36 haineshisway

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Posted October 13 2012 - 07:30 AM

It's been my experience that some reviewers on other sites do not like to be told they made a mistake...

Exactly. If someone is apprised of something, and if that someone is a "reviewer" and they've made a mistake in their review or attributed something as a transfer problem rather than to the film elements themselves then they should go in and adjust their review, say they've gotten information about what they perceived as a problem and adjust their scores accordingly. But they don't. Ever. Even the DVD Beaver with all his silliness will at least post comments from people who know - he doesn't change what he wrote (not that anyone would take it seriously) but he at least prints the comments that correct him.

#31 of 36 Brandon Conway

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Posted October 13 2012 - 07:50 AM

Originally Posted by haineshisway 


Exactly. If someone is apprised of something, and if that someone is a "reviewer" and they've made a mistake in their review or attributed something as a transfer problem rather than to the film elements themselves then they should go in and adjust their review, say they've gotten information about what they perceived as a problem and adjust their scores accordingly. But they don't. Ever. Even the DVD Beaver with all his silliness will at least post comments from people who know - he doesn't change what he wrote (not that anyone would take it seriously) but he at least prints the comments that correct him.


The best approach is to leave the initial comments (though preferably lined out) and add the corrections. That way everyone knows what the original review said and also what the new corrections clarify.


"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


#32 of 36 RolandL

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Posted October 14 2012 - 02:09 AM

Got a chance to take an abbreviated tour through the film yesterday.  In spite of the built-in shortcomings of the WarnerColor, etc., it's such a gorgeous thing, and what a pleasure to finally have it right at my fingertips. Yes, it's dark, even on my plasma, but definitely watchable.  Not horrible. But oddly, I see ghosting!  I don't get it on any of my several other 3D features, and I don't believe anyone has mentioned seeing it on DIAL M yet.  It's noticeable in high contrast areas, the most obvious example being right at the top of Chapter 11, the shot of Dawson walking toward us on the street at night.  The streetlamps, Dawson himself, everything has ghosting.  As I understand it, the extent to which ghosting is seen is wholly dependent on the display itself, so I have to wonder why I don't have the problem at the places in other films where a lot of other people are seeing it, and do have it here where apparently no one has (yet).  Weird!  It's all still watchable and highly enjoyable -- this is not a complaint, trust me on that!

When there is high contrast, you will see ghosting on some titles with LCD or plasma displays. With DLP's you should not see any.

Roland Lataille
Cinerama web site

 


#33 of 36 Brandon Conway

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Posted October 14 2012 - 06:21 AM

Originally Posted by RolandL 


When there is high contrast, you will see ghosting on some titles with LCD or plasma displays. With DLP's you should not see any.


Yes. It's in that one shot outside at night (mainly because of the reflected light if the street lamp), as well as on white shirts / dark collars. The credits having extreme positive depth also has ghosting on some setups.


"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


#34 of 36 Richard--W

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Posted October 15 2012 - 02:20 PM

Our new article is now on the website. We present our review of the new Blu-ray plus the background and history on this landmark 3-D production. We also clear up a few long-standing myths along the way! http://www.3dfilmarc...-blu-ray-review Greg Kintz and I hope you will enjoy it. Bob

Instructive. Thanks for teaching this class. Looking forward to the next one.

#35 of 36 Bob Furmanek

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Posted October 16 2012 - 05:26 AM

Thank you very much, Richard. Our in-depth look at Creature should be finished in the next day or two...

Bob Furmanek

www.3dfilmarchive.com

 

As there has been some colorful debate about the meaning of "Director-approved" transfers and how it relates to how widespread 1.66 was in the UK, I will make the following point. The dominant aspect ratio at British Studios between 1955-1970 WAS 1.75. This is based on research going through trade listings of hundreds of British films, as well as studio archives and other primary sources. 1.85 was the second most listed aspect ratio, with 1.65/1.66 a distant third.

 

Tom Crossplot - July 2013


#36 of 36 Bob Furmanek

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Posted October 19 2012 - 04:23 AM

For those that may have missed it, here's our CREATURE Blu-ray review, including some never-before-seen 3-D posters: http://www.3dfilmarc...-black-lagoon-1

Bob Furmanek

www.3dfilmarchive.com

 

As there has been some colorful debate about the meaning of "Director-approved" transfers and how it relates to how widespread 1.66 was in the UK, I will make the following point. The dominant aspect ratio at British Studios between 1955-1970 WAS 1.75. This is based on research going through trade listings of hundreds of British films, as well as studio archives and other primary sources. 1.85 was the second most listed aspect ratio, with 1.65/1.66 a distant third.

 

Tom Crossplot - July 2013





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