All right then. Let's get some things straight first: I have been called a "Twilight Time apologist" on every Blu-ray board there is. Never mind that the people doing the name-calling are Twilight Time haters - people who seem to live and breathe to bash the company anytime they can. Nick Redman is a friend of mine for close to twenty-five years now. But Nick knows I call it like I see it and he'd have it no other way.
So, The Fury. As most here know, I thought the Twilight Time Blu-ray was excellent - it very much represented what the film looked like in theaters and that includes the occasional flecks of dirt which are printed into the opticals, of which there are many in this film. I don't believe I saw any instances of dirt in the non-optical shots. I thought detail was excellent. Mr. Harris in this very thread felt the same. At the time I had no idea what or which element was used, although if I'd had to hazard a guess I would have guessed an internegative, but certainly not an ancient one from a decade ago. An internegative would yield a transfer that resembled what a release print would have looked like - in other words a generation or so away from the camera negative.
Along comes Arrow, and with several other companies in tow to split the cost, they ask Fox to do a scan off the camera negative, or so their literature tells us and I'm happy to take them at their word for now. Instantly on other boards people loudly start saying hooray because in their perception this automatically makes Twilight Time look bad - what they live for. Then the first reviews appear online and they are raves, absolute raves. Interestingly, not ONE of those early reviews had seen the Twilight Time disc so there were no comparisons made - in essence the raves were very much like Mr. Harris's right here for the Twilight Time disc - his rave obviously not having had the benefit of seeing the Arrow transfer. Caps were soon posted - carefully chosen caps that showed a few of the dirt or scratched sections of optical shots - very easy to choose single frames to illustrate but a little biased in that those frames are few and far between, only in the optical sections, and pass by instantly. But we know what's at play here. And then Arrow caps are posted that are supposed to show us that the Twilight Time disc is now rendered completely useless. Only the caps are apparently not full rez or whatever that all is about and there is no detail in them whatsoever. But on the pundits go about how beautiful those low-rez ill-done caps are. In fact, if those caps were from another film and if Twilight Time were not in the equation, I can assure you the outcry of DNR would have been very loud and very clear. But we know what's at play here. But again, I took everyone at their word that those ill-done caps were not really a fair representation of the Arrow disc, because I just don't do the caps game, no matter how perfectly or imperfectly they may be taken. A gentleman who sometimes works for Arrow posted on one of the boards that there was nothing wrong with the Twilight Time disc and that it was perfectly decent, but basically saying the Arrow was much better because it's off the camera negative. End of preamble.
I've been comparing the two discs for two days now - carefully. And, as I said in the earlier post, it's been really fascinating. Here's what my eyeballs tell me: The biggest difference between the two transfers is the color. Not the sharpness, not the quality, the COLOR. The Twilight Time disc is a bit on the orange side - you don't really notice that a lot until you watch them side by side. The Arrow disc has removed the orangey look and made their color more blue. Now, normally on those boards anytime a new transfer takes a turn to the blue, people automatically assume the older transfer was correct and that the new one has had a "blue push." Over and over they say this. But not now. Now the blue push is good. But we know what's at play here, and yes, it's amusing. For me, the color on the Arrow disc is more pleasing. I cannot say it's more accurate, but it's a look I like better than the orangey hue. In some scenes the color difference is not as pronounced, especially in scenes with a lot of brown. The opticals still look like opticals, and a couple of them look just as bad in the Arrow as in the Twilight Time because they ARE bad.
I'm afraid to say that the Twilight Time disc, to my eyes, has more detail. Sorry. Some will say that's because of sharpening, and I wasn't there when the transfer was made and have no idea what was or wasn't done, I can only tell you that for me the skin and clothing textures have more detail on the Twilight Time disc. That is not to say that the Arrow disc is not pleasing, because it is - but when viewed side by side it's very clear. Arrow has chosen to clean up the occasional dirt flecks built into the opticals. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing in terms of leaving films the way they were is up to the individual, I suppose. Obviously there are some who want the film as it was, warts and all, because that's what it's always been. Others don't mind the cleanup, but if you want what's accurate to the way the opticals were made, then the Arrow is revisionist and the Twilight Time isn't. But that's minor stuff. Now we get to the famous car scene, which was shot in low light and has always had that super grainy look because the film was pushed. Many on the boards have called that "noise" not grain. And yet on those same boards they LOVE the look of The Driver - a film with sequences very similar, shot in low light with pushed film and which have that exact same look - not noise, BTW - grain and the look of pushed film. How does Arrow deal with that shot? The way they've dealt with several others in the film - they've made it dark. REALLY DARK. The car shot is so dark now that, yes, it hides the overt grain of the pushed film (but not quite) but in so doing you can barely see Mr. Douglas at all and it is in no way representative of what that scene looked like in the prints. Sorry. There are other shots that are darkened like that where you lose too much of the face - it happens early on with a close shot of Cassavetes.
To sum up - in the end, I was very happy with the Twilight Time disc. If I loved The Fury, I'd probably want the Arrow disc, too, and for some, the Arrow transfer will be more pleasing, while for some others they will continue to lambast the Twilight Time disc without having actually seen the Arrow disc. I'm of a like mind to the person who occasionally works for Arrow - there is nothing wrong with their disc and it's perfectly decent. Just as the Twilight Time was. For me, darkening the car shot was not the option I would have chosen because it's not true to the way that scene looked - ever. But the colors are nice, it's super clean, and if one isn't comparing it side by side, it's got decent detail. I know many people who were very happy with the Twilight Time disc - and I've seen many nice comments posted about it, although those are usually derided by the usual suspects. And I've now read enough comments here and elsewhere, that many are super pleased about the Arrow disc. For me it's a toss-up - I prefer the unmolested car sequence in the Twilight Time, I give the color to the Arrow, and I could watch either and be perfectly content - I'm not in love with the movie, but it's enjoyable on certain levels. I'm sure the extras on the Arrow are interesting, and I'll give them a look. Bottom line - the Twilight Time disc is sold out - so there's only one choice right now and that's Arrow (or Carlotta or the Australian company) - so buy away and be happy
And there you have my two centimes for whatever they're worth.
Edited by haineshisway, November 01 2013 - 09:38 AM.