It will take me a few more days to compile my reviews of Touch of Evil and Double Indemnity, both of which have just been released by Universal on Blu-ray.
But I felt it important to post this note about them, in appreciation of the work that went into them, and in hopes that people will seek them out and purchase them.
Both titles will be Highly Recommended, with 5 star ratings on picture quality.
I have come to this determination after viewing them at Joe Kane's home projection system today, along with Robert A. Harris. All three of us are in agreement that the transfers on display here are quite lovely.
Touch of Evil is presented in a similar manner to the earlier 50th Anniversary DVD, which I reviewed here some time ago. The special features have all been carried over, including all the commentaries and even the little booklet of Orson Welles' memo. All three versions of the movie are available on the Blu-ray, as they were on the 50th Anniversary DVD. The difference is that the movie is now presented in solid high definition. We noted that the theatrical cut starts a little softer during the opening sequence, given that the titles are effectively a generation or two away from the original negative. The restored cut does not have this issue as they were using a version without the titles and thus a generation closer to the original. This does not mean that there's a problem - just a clarification for anyone noticing that Janet Leigh looks a little softer until after the kaboom. (We started speculating what the heck was in the fountain to cause it to catch fire - I'm going to check the commentaries to see if anyone has an answer there...)
Double Indemnity is presented in a similar manner to the 2006 Legacy DVD, with what looks like all the special features carried over from there, and adding a little envelope of promotional materials and stills. For the new 70th Anniversary Blu-ray, Universal has provided a new transfer that looks extremely good in projection on a 7 1/2 foot wide screen. Going from what is likely a fine grain master, the new transfer shows plenty of detail and what we saw as velvety grain. This is not the same transfer as the UK Masters of Cinema Blu, which apparently used an older HD transfer of the movie. The transfer on the new Universal Blu is superior.
Again, both of these releases are Highly Recommended for the excellent picture quality and for the quality of these films and their place in cinema history.