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Just because some classics are on dvd in Region 2 doesn't make them good quality!


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#1 of 20 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted August 17 2001 - 09:13 PM

Well, since I received my new Malata dvd player, I got in the mood to buy some more Region 2 dvds. I chose some film classics such as the original King Kong, Fort Apache, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, and The African Queen. Well, my super vhs copies off my satellite looks better than both Fort Apache and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon dvds. Also, the special feature on King Kong with footage from the film in the feature looks much better than the actual dvd presentation of the film. Now, The African Queen wasn't that bad but it too needs some major restoration as do the other three films. It was strange seeing RKO releases being a Universal release but that's overseas film ownership for you. I've read that King Kong has been restored by Warner so hopefully, in 2002 they will release a Region 1 dvd. However, both John Wayne films are in bad shape with lack of detail, film grain, scratches, and in the case of Yellow Ribbon the technicolor is badly faded.

So I guess what I'm saying is that even though some classics are on dvd in other regions, they are not good dvd presentations and are in serious need of restoration so in which case it might be best to not buy them and just wait for Region 1 releases.


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#2 of 20 OFFLINE   Dan Brecher

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Posted August 18 2001 - 01:03 AM

Quote:
So I guess what I'm saying is that even though some classics are on dvd in other regions, they are not good dvd presentations and are in serious need of restoration so in which case it might be best to not buy them and just wait for Region 1 releases.

Absolutely agree. The big situation here is that R1 is more open to better produced discs, there's more money to put into restoring older releases and doing them as SEs over in the US, it's a stronger market. The same can even be said for modern film releases on R1 and R2, with R2 often having to use different (read: worse) source material to make their transfers from.

Again, I have to highlight this GREAT little article from the Bullets and Babes website detailing common approaches in how R2 transfers are often done for DVD, many which would seem likely on release of these classics. I believe Neil Jenkins of this website is a member here.

Dan (UK)

#3 of 20 OFFLINE   Roger Mathus

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Posted August 18 2001 - 12:31 PM

Robert, are you referring to R2 as in Europe or the R2 Japan releases? There are a lor of classics in Japan, but many are of poor quality. I have learned, however, what labels to trust. One of the biggest problems I have encountered is high contrast in the old B&W titles that masks far too much detail. I don't think that any of the classics are receiving any restoration in Japan.

#4 of 20 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted August 18 2001 - 01:41 PM

Roger,
I was referring to European versions, which are also not restored.

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#5 of 20 OFFLINE   Roland Wandinger

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Posted August 20 2001 - 04:24 AM

Quote:
I chose some film classics such as the original King Kong, Fort Apache, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, and The African Queen.

These titles are all released by some independent studios here in Europe which sort of explains the poor quality.

Regarding King Kong: it sure look a hell of a lot better than the NTSC LD. In fact I have found it to look very good. I'll be picking up the R1 release also however.

Quote:
So I guess what I'm saying is that even though some classics are on dvd in other regions, they are not good dvd resentations and are in serious need of restoration so in which case it might be best to not buy them and just wait for Region 1 releases.

Yes.

Quote:
Again, I have to highlight this GREAT little article from the Bullets and Babes website

This comparison is in my eyes worthless since T5E is released by a indy in Europe!
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#6 of 20 OFFLINE   Gunnar Syren

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Posted August 21 2001 - 06:37 AM

I'm not sure why you have to drag regions into it. I would say "Just because something is available doesn't make it good quality". That goes for any region.

Check reviews before you decide if it's worth buying or not.

Some R2 releases are better than their R1 equivalents. Some titles that are available in R2 but not in R1 are excellent (Hong Kong Legend releases come to mind).


#7 of 20 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted August 21 2001 - 08:23 AM

Crawdaddy, I have always enjoyed reading your posts on classic films. I also own a R2 copy of 'She Wore A Yellow Ribbon'. Mine was manufactured in France (I ordered it from Amazon's French Web site), and I was pretty pleased with the quality, with the lone exception of a sequence where a red thread was visible on the print.

If, after your experience, you are still willing to try another R2 classic, I suggest 'Out of the Past' or 'The Narrow Margin', which I also ordered from Amazon's French web site. Again, I was pleased with the quality of 'Out of the Past' -- I thought it was better than the domestic LD. (BTW, the best way to search for 'Out of the Past' at Amazon's site is by using the name 'Mitchum', because to find the film by the title, you would need to know the exact French translation.)


#8 of 20 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted August 21 2001 - 08:26 AM

Quote:
I'm not sure why you have to drag regions into it. I would say "Just because something is available doesn't make it good quality". That goes for any region.

Gunnar,
It seems like you're taking my comment about regions very personal, why is that??????????

My message about buying Region 2 dvds is to give those people in Region 1, who are thinking of buying classic American films released on dvd in other regions but not yet available in Region 1, some warning that just because it's on dvd, doesn't necessarily mean that the dvd presentation is of high quality. Most of these classic movies need major restoration on their film elements which is required for any good dvd presentation. As stated by others, many of the film elements are not available for proper restoration in those other regions which is my only point of warning to others, who aren't patient enough to wait for those films release on dvd in Region 1.

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#9 of 20 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted August 21 2001 - 08:33 AM

Quote:
If, after your experience, you are still willing to try another R2 classic, I suggest 'Out of the Past' or 'The Narrow Margin', which I also ordered from Amazon's French web site. Again, I was pleased with the quality of 'Out of the Past' -- I thought it was better than the domestic LD. (BTW, the best way to search for 'Out of the Past' at Amazon's site is by using the name 'Mitchum', because to find the film by the title, you would need to know the exact French translation.)

Dave,
Thanks for the heads up. My love for classic film is too great for me to give up buying some of them on the dvd now.


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#10 of 20 OFFLINE   Dan Brecher

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Posted August 21 2001 - 10:47 PM

quote:
This comparison is in my eyes worthless since T5E is released by a indy in Europe![/quote]

I didn't highlight the article to specificaly target that Fifth Element comparison. I linked to it for the excellent information found within the first few paragraphs regarding how a number of R2 transfers are often done, though since you mention it, independent labels releasing DVDs is again, often cause for concern in regard to the quality of materials used to make the transfer along with the attention given to making the transfer.

Dan (UK)

[Edited last by Dan Brecher on August 22, 2001 at 05:47 AM]

#11 of 20 OFFLINE   Ted Todorov

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Posted August 22 2001 - 07:36 AM

When you start on your other region adventure, also keep in mind that there can be multiple releases of vastly differing quality within the same region.

The canonical example is Citizen Kane. Bad DVD in R2 U.K. (lousy film elements), excellent DVD in R2 France (first rate, restored film elements and good extras). There are many other considerations ranging from forced (French, German, etc.)subtitles on English language films, to lack of English subtitles on non - UK DVDs of foreign language films.

The informed consumer however, can find that R2 (and other regions of course) are full of treasures.

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#12 of 20 OFFLINE   Gunnar Syren

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Posted August 22 2001 - 07:48 AM

Quote:
It seems like you're taking my comment about regions very personal

Eh, no... It just seemed so obvious to me that you can't take from granted that anything is good quality.

If you found [whatever classic] released by Madacy (for example) on R1 you wouldn't buy it without doing some checking first, would you? You wouldn't assume that just because it's Region 1 it's good quality.

So why should anyone assume that just because it's available on Region 2 it would be good quality? Or on any other region, for that matter?

I'm sorry if I come off sounding like I took it personally. I didn't, and I didn't mean to sound like I did. Posted Image

#13 of 20 OFFLINE   Roland Wandinger

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Posted August 22 2001 - 09:19 PM

Quote:
The informed consumer however, can find that R2 (and other regions of course) are full of treasures.

This is so very true! I have to emphasize "informed customer" here. If you don't know your way around a bit with R2 you can be pretty badly disappointed.

Quote:
I didn't highlight the article to specificaly target that Fifth Element comparison.

Though so. Posted Image

The article states that there are people how really think that a PAL DVD has to be automatically better than the NTSC counterpart?!

To educate these people and show then that this is often not the case this comparison has its validity. I'm always a bit skeptic toward such comparisons because they should not give the impression that this is the norm for all R2 DVDs.
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#14 of 20 OFFLINE   Dan Brecher

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Posted August 22 2001 - 11:20 PM

I think the article sets out to destroy that myth, yes, Roland. I know a lot of R2 lovers who just insist that, because its PAL, its always going to be better.

Dan (UK)

#15 of 20 OFFLINE   Roland Wandinger

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Posted August 23 2001 - 01:02 AM

Quote:
I know a lot of R2 lovers who just insist that, because its PAL, its always going to be better.

Their loss!


While we are at it, a word of warning considering the following two classic Val Lewton movies which are available in R2 France:

Cat People

The Leopard Man

Badly compressed!! A smear feast!


...and one recommendation:

The Thief Of Baghdad

R4 Australian edition. Of surprisingly good video quality.


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#16 of 20 OFFLINE   ChristopherM

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Posted August 24 2001 - 04:41 AM

Thanks for the warning, Roland, I was thinking of picking up that French DVD of "Cat People". Guess I'll wait for another edition now.

So, I wonder if distributors of shoddy products realise the damage that they do to their future sales?

Some time ago, here on HTF, a US studio rep said that "Citizen Kane" was not in a fit state to be released and would have to be restored. About a week later the UK edition appeared in the shops. Needless to say I didn't buy it, and I made a mental note to treat future releases by that UK distributor with a degree of caution.

Similarly, some of the early UK R2 releases by Entertainment in Video (EiV) were absolte travesties compared to their R1 New Line counterparts. I even got refunds on "Last Man Standing" and "The Long Kiss Goodnight" because the transfers were so bad. (For the record, the US transfer of "The Long Kiss Goodnight" is also better than the Canadian one.) Although I've read that EiV has improved, I still import New Line editions rather than risk buying EiV again.

Finding the best version can be a real pain, though. I bought both the French and Dutch editions of the movie "Nirvana" before I discovered the definitive Italian edition (and in DTS, no less).

#17 of 20 OFFLINE   Gunnar Syren

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Posted August 24 2001 - 07:14 PM

Just thought I'd mention that DVD_Basen indexes DVD reviews in regions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

So you can always check there and see if there is one or more links to reviews for the DVD you're interested in.

They did have a link to a Franch review of La Feline (The Cat People). I speak almost no French at all, but even so I could tell that they had given it 5 out of 10 for both picture and sound, and that would have been enough for me to have second thoughts about buying it.

Still, you have to be careful with reviews, too. I checked the two British reviews for the R2 Citizen Kane. One said that it looked good, the other said that it looked bad. So take everything with a grain of salt...

/Gunnar

PS There seems to be some dispute over the domain name dvd-basen, so if you can't access it, try later. It's been on and off for me...

#18 of 20 OFFLINE   DonaldB

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Posted August 25 2001 - 03:12 AM

I'd like to second Gunnar's recommendation of DVD-Basen. It's an indispensable site that I seem to consult daily.

#19 of 20 OFFLINE   Roger Mathus

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Posted August 26 2001 - 02:03 PM

Found "Boy With Green Hair" in Japan Region 2. Avoid this one. I bought it and doubt that I can watch it. Bad print, high contrast, poor color.

#20 of 20 OFFLINE   Roland Wandinger

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Posted August 26 2001 - 08:29 PM

Quote:
Similarly, some of the early UK R2 releases by Entertainment in Video (EiV) were absolte travesties compared to their R1 New Line counterparts.

People, don't buy New Line titles anywhere else than from R1. New Line does not have the international distribution right to their titles. 99.9% of their titles are not going to look as good, let alone better, than the R1 version.
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