The new Criterion Blu-ray solves a single problem, which is availability of the Twilight Time original. 4 Stars

The new Criterion Blu-ray solves a single problem, which is availability of the Twilight Time original. This is important, as Leave Her to Heaven is an important film, that should be available. Hats off to Criterion for making it so.

That noted, there seems to be some misinformation regarding the transfer.

These are not restorations. Rather, they are digital clean-ups derived from second and third generation elements, which allow a decent hint as to the appearance of the Technicolor original, while never replicating it.

The two releases appear identical, and are both based upon the work performed at Lowry Digital in 2006. Our working continuity is dated 28 June 2006, and that work was based upon our process of recombining alien layers of disparate elements.

I’m unaware of anything that might be construed as a 2012 restoration. Possibly someone came up with that date, presuming whatever might have been done, to have pre-dated the Twilight Time by twelve months or so.

Below are my original thoughts published on 15 May 2013, for the Twilight Time Blu-ray release.

I’ve always been an easy target for a great ghost story, or especially in the cinema, noir.

While there have been dozens of great noir projects over the years — at least since the mid-1940s. There have been very few played out in open vistas and bright sunlit exteriors.

Which makes John Stahl’s 1945 Leave Her to Heaven, with what were originally magnificent Technicolor set-pieces, one of those anomalies.

Acted by some of the best from the Fox stock company of players, and with the luminous Gene Tierney in the lead, the film is one of those of which it can be said — “the stuff that dreams are made of.” Or in this case, nightmares.

You know I don’t give away plot, and I’ll certainly not begin here.

Like the rest of the Fox library, all of the original elements for Leave Her to Heaven were poorly copied, and then junked in the mid-’70s. What was left seven or eight years ago was not a pretty picture.

But here’s where some interesting digital technology comes in, and led by Fox’s Schawn Belston, with support from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and The Film Foundation, the film is once again far more than viewable.

This isn’t a restoration, mind you, in any sense of the word. It’s very much a digital triage, using extant elements and making something very nice out of them.

While Leave Her to Heaven looks nothing like it would have from pure three-strip Technicolor negatives or fine grains, with the work performed, we can get a very good peek inside that look, and still come away impressed.

Grain is a bit soft, but the film looks fine, even in projection. Shadow detail a bit lacking. Color overall is very acceptable.

There are a handful of problematic shots. Dupes and thinner exposures generally, and an occasional bit of mis-registration, but considering the alternative, Twilight Time’s new Blu-ray from Fox, is nothing less than miraculous — literally a sow’s ear turned into a silk purse.

Image – 3.5

Audio – 4

One of the great and timeless films of the era.

Highly Recommended.

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

Stephen_J_H

All Things Film Junkie
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2003
Messages
6,358
Location
North of the 49th
Real Name
Stephen J. Hill
It does have a pretty cover. I wonder why Criterion and other labels don't have the music only track like Twilight Time.
Licencing issues. While we might assume that since they're getting the film from Fox and as such, the rights would be a holus bolus package, music only rights would be subject to the moral rights of the composer and therefore separately negotiated.
 

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
13,242
Real Name
Robert Harris
Mr. Harris, what do you consider to be the best restorations of original Technicolor classics?
I’m not sure that I would reference them as restorations, but one could begin with GWTW, Oz, Caine Mutiny... Any number derived from original three-strip elements.

The term “restoration” comes into discussion, as the main functions, presuming the negs are intact, are toward placing the film back into post-production, inclusive of color.

There are some magnificent three-strip releases out there.
 

Patrick McCart

Premium
Joined
May 16, 2001
Messages
7,925
Location
Georgia (the state)
Real Name
Patrick McCart
Seems an odd choice for Criterion since they can't provide a new transfer.
It's been OOP in the US, which is enough reason to get it back on disc. I missed the TT release, so I'll be picking this up for sure.

I have a few other of the "problem" 3-strip Fox films like Heaven Can Wait (Criterion) and The Gang's All Here (TT). Color is odd, but you get used to it and the quality of the films themselves outweigh the imperfections.
 

lark144

Premium
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
1,145
Real Name
mark gross
Why, the Beaver is saying this is the best yet in his opinion and based on a 2K transfer (I believe he used the word "new")
I'm not sure if the Beaver is to blame as according to the transfer info on Criterion's website about "Leave Her To Heaven":
"New 2K digital restoration by Twentieth Century Fox, the Academy Film Archive, and The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray."

Since Mr Harris states it's the same master that was on the Twilight Time Blu from 2013 , both the words "new" & "restoration" are a bit puzzling.

Since I'm here and we're having this discussion, I'm glad Criterion is releasing this, as I watch the Twilight Times disc all the time, and sooner or later it's going freeze-up from scratches, so I'm happy knowing I can easily replace it.
 

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
13,242
Real Name
Robert Harris
I'm not sure if the Beaver is to blame as according to the transfer info on Criterion's website about "Leave Her To Heaven":
"New 2K digital restoration by Twentieth Century Fox, the Academy Film Archive, and The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray."

Since Mr Harris states it's the same master that was on the Twilight Time Blu from 2013 , both the words "new" & "restoration" are a bit puzzling.

Since I'm here and we're having this discussion, I'm glad Criterion is releasing this, as I watch the Twilight Times disc all the time, and sooner or later it's going freeze-up from scratches, so I'm happy knowing I can easily replace it.
I believe that the info Criterion is offering is precisely what they’ve been given.
 

david hare

Supporting Actor
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
529
Real Name
david hare
Seems an odd choice for Criterion since they can't provide a new transfer.
I think it’s a clear case of the path they’re taking now, Bruce. No risk, safe, nothing out there. much of their new releases already available in good to very good international label releases.
 
  • Like
Reactions: haineshisway

RMajidi

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
1,292
Location
Australia
Real Name
Ramin
DVDBeaver graphs the bitrate of the releases he reviews. Now these graphs are not particularly meaningful to me - the average bitrate figure that he also supplies is probably a good enough indicator of the compression severity.

However, in reading his review of Leave Her to Heaven, I noticed that the bitrate graphs for the Twilight Time edition and the Criterion are virtually identical.

So far as I know, this could come about if the exact same compression choices (be it human or software) were made throughout the encoding process against two different masters for the two editions; or alternatively, if not only the same master was used for both releases, but the same compression-encoding of that master.
 

warnerbro

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 22, 2010
Messages
762
Location
Burbank, California
Real Name
Darrell
Why didn't Criterion provide at least a commentary? The commentary on the Twilight Time is notorious. Darryl Hickman trashes the director and Gene Tierney throughout and complains about his treatment during the lake scene.
 

Josh Steinberg

Premium
Reviewer
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
19,035
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
I'm not sure if the Beaver is to blame as according to the transfer info on Criterion's website about "Leave Her To Heaven":
"New 2K digital restoration by Twentieth Century Fox, the Academy Film Archive, and The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray."

Since Mr Harris states it's the same master that was on the Twilight Time Blu from 2013 , both the words "new" & "restoration" are a bit puzzling.

Since I'm here and we're having this discussion, I'm glad Criterion is releasing this, as I watch the Twilight Times disc all the time, and sooner or later it's going freeze-up from scratches, so I'm happy knowing I can easily replace it.
Ive noticed this quite a bit with restorations and new masters just being described as “new” with no clear definition of its age. The master that was created to make the “Vertigo” Blu-ray and theatrical DCP back in like 2012 is still called “new” when it shows in repertory here.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lark144

lark144

Premium
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
1,145
Real Name
mark gross
Ive noticed this quite a bit with restorations and new masters just being described as “new” with no clear definition of its age. The master that was created to make the “Vertigo” Blu-ray and theatrical DCP back in like 2012 is still called “new” when it shows in repertory here.
Yes; well, all of us like to get our hands on something "new" along with "fresh" sparking" "exquisite" "faultless" & "dazzling" ; all adjectives, btw, that are continually used by Criterion in ad copy to describe their HD masters. Hey, if they called them "slovenly" "half-assed" & "execrable" I'd probably still buy them, as I want to own those films.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MatthewA

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
13,242
Real Name
Robert Harris
Lest readers are confused, I answered a query at BD.com, and am posting relevant images here.


Test frames - Black Swan

CRI - CC

r402_cri_000004.jpg



CRI - CC + Y

r402_CRI-+-Y.jpg


CRI - CC + Y + Silver

r402_CRI-+-Y-+-Silver.jpg
 
Last edited: