A few words about…™ A Matter of Life and Death — in Blu-ray

Upgrade from DVD - yes, please! 4 Stars

I have very little to say about this film, except that those who have never heard of it, should immediately jump on this release. Those who do know, will already have it on pre-order.

Powell

Pressburger

Cardiff

Technicolor

An absolutely magnificent Blu-ray from a new 4k restoration by Columbia, with extras, and released via Criterion.

One of the films I’d take to a desert island, along with most of the other Powell/Pressburgers.

Makes many modern films look like insignificant pipsqueaks.

As an unfortunate aside, this film is fully digital, having been restored from surviving nitrate elements at 4k resolution.

Which proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that digital technology has no roll in true film restoration.

Analogue is the only way to go!

Image – 5*

Audio – 5

Upgrade from DVD – yes, please!

Pass / Fail – Pass

Very Highly Recommended!!!

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

author,member

31 Comments

  1. Part of my rather huge Barnes & Noble/Criterion order. Not released until later in the month, so I won't be seeing it for awhile, but can hardly wait until I do. It's a memorable film, for sure.

  2. haineshisway

    I knew this would be a winner and I want it NOW! On the other hand, Ms. Dietrich and Mr. Von Sternberg will arrive on the 'morrow.

    You’ll appreciate the fact, that whilst the b&w negs were problematic, the work was performed from the magenta negatives, which are the dupes toward matrix creation.

    Magnificent job. I believe the filmmakers would be extremely pleased.

  3. notmicro

    By any chance did the restoration start from B&W separations?

    I believe it was from the original negatives. There are no “separations! per se in 3-strip Tech. There are negatives and masters, as there is nothing to separate.

    Only seps derived from 3-strip of which I’m aware were those made from Fox CRIs.

  4. Matt Hough

    Part of my rather huge Barnes & Noble/Criterion order. Not released until later in the month, so I won't be seeing it for awhile, but can hardly wait until I do. It's a memorable film, for sure.

    Whereas I am willing to forfeit 2 Criterion titles at 50% off, in order to have this one potent "Must" at full-price.

  5. PMF

    Whereas I am willing to forfeit 2 Criterion titles at 50% off, in order to have this one potent "Must" at full-price.

    Well, we can have them ALL at 50% off with a little patience. It's a small price to pay.

  6. PMF

    Whereas I am willing to forfeit 2 Criterion titles at 50% off, in order to have this one potent "Must" at full-price.

    Why do you have to forfeit? The pre-order is half-off right now at B&N!

  7. I will gladly preorder this. Can't risk my B & N not getting it in. So happy this is getting released. I wonder how restoration expert Christopher Nolan feels about this being restored digitally and how he would do it photochemically?

  8. PMF

    Whereas I am willing to forfeit 2 Criterion titles at 50% off, in order to have this one potent "Must" at full-price.

    Both Barnes & Noble allow you to pre-order this film at $19.99 + tax and have it sent to you around July 24th Hence … Although you'll have to wait for Heaven … as "Heaven Can Wait" is not currently available for pre-order at the 50% off sale as of yet as it does not come hither until August 21

    Courtesy of David Norman:
    https://www.hometheaterforum.com/co…i-annual-50-off-criterion-sale.324983/page-40

    Each sale tends to have something unique in the rules, but general rules

    1) 50% off is taken off MSRP and not normal prices.
    2) Online and in-store Items
    3) Current Release and items officially releasing during a sale so Dec and Jan releases will not be officially half off (possible workaround below). BN usually doesn't allow backorders on items that are OOS at the fulfillment warehouse.
    4) Member 10% discounts for instore purchases are taken off the sale price. Online member discount do not apply
    5) DVD, Bluray, Eclipse, Essential sets have all been eligible in the past.

    YMMV
    1) Extra coupons (Member coupons, non-member coupons, instore/online, Anniversary Coupons, New Member Welcome Coupons etc) have been allowed some sales, but not others. The last 2 sales most coupons have been mostly disabled both online and store where in prior sales most stores allowed extra to apply (some stores/managers did make their own rules and rejected coupons even if the POS computer said they allowed). It doesn't matter whether the coupon specifically excludes them in the fine print or not — http://www.bn.com/couponexclusions This webpage updates on the fly and the coupons seem to be linked to this page, but all excluded items or groups aren't always explicit listed.
    2) The July sale allowed 50% off pre-order items plus member discounts on Criterions ordered in store as "Ship-to-Home" orders.

    In General, if you order anything over over $5.01 + your $19.99 selection you will get free shipping (without being a B&N member). The other selection (if it's available) will usually be sent before your pre-order item …

  9. Robert Harris

    You’ll appreciate the fact, that whilst the b&w negs were problematic, the work was performed from the magenta negatives, which are the dupes toward matrix creation.

    Magnificent job. I believe the filmmakers would be extremely pleased.

    Robert,
    I have a question: The header for this thread shows an image of the operation and staircase and has significant color registration issues. Is this an accurate representation of the film ?

    I've only seen Colonel Blimp, Tales of Hoffmann, Black Narcissus and one of my favorite films of all time The Red Shoes .

  10. Thank you, Mr. Harris! This is wonderful news. “A Matter of Life and Death” is one of my absolute favorite films – ever. I first saw it some (50?) years ago on the tube in an all B&W print with the title “Stairway to Heaven,” and thought was a terrific film then. I was gobsmacked when I eventually got to view it in a slightly faded color print with the original title in a little local (now gone) art house. “A Matter of Life and Death” just gets better every time I see it. Naturally, it’s pre-ordered from B&N – along with the Von Sternberg-Dietrich box set. It is a great movie month for me. Thanks again!

  11. CarlosMeat

    Robert,
    I have a question: The header for this thread shows an image of the operation and staircase and has significant color registration issues. Is this an accurate representation of the film ?

    I've only seen Colonel Blimp, Tales of Hoffmann, Black Narcissus and one of my favorite films of all time The Red Shoes .

    I’m not seeing an image, but the new BD has no issues.

  12. And those are his usual ill-taken caps – can you imagine what this actually looks like? And clearly Mr. Harris did not post anything actually having to do with this transfer in the header other than his text.

  13. I should also point out that Gary does not appreicate people "using" his screens. It used to be an understandable concern over bandwidth and storage issues but maybe not so critical now? In any case I really recommend you do your own screens, not quote his. They have always been problematic anyway.

  14. Trancas

    Look at the review here: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film5/blu-ray_reviews_67/a_matter_of_life_and_death_blu-ray.htm

    Beautifully composited!:dancing-banana-04:
    View attachment 47404
    View attachment 47406

    Thanks very much for this. This looks absolutely gorgeous. What is it about the beautiful Technicolor that gives the film something extra. This is the type of film I watch alone but also one of the reasons I built a room in the first place.

    Who selected the image in the header for Robert's "A Few Words About.." I wonder ?

  15. Randal Gist

    Thank you, Mr. Harris! This is wonderful news. "A Matter of Life and Death" is one of my absolute favorite films – ever. I first saw it some (50?) years ago […]

    50 years ago for "Life and Death"; whereas "Colonial Blimp" is always marked by 40 years ago.;)

  16. Mark-P

    Why do you have to forfeit? The pre-order is half-off right now at B&N!

    I've been taken too literally by our good membership. I was simply placing my value system on the importance of this film's release; that is, if all came down to a choice. With this one and only film, I would be very well content to go without others. In truth, though, I'm not buying any films – sale or not – be it WAC, Criterion, et al; until October; as I am saving my paper and coins for a community fund drive.

  17. Brian Husar

    I will gladly preorder this. Can't risk my B & N not getting it in. So happy this is getting released. I wonder how restoration expert Christopher Nolan feels about this being restored digitally and how he would do it photochemically?

    What?!!! I was of the understanding that Nolan was behind this project. I mean, I had read it on-line; and if its on-line then it's got to be true. Well, if Nolan's not involved with "Life and Death" then all bets are off and I'll wait until his edition is finally released.:lol:

  18. CarlosMeat

    […]Who selected the image in the header for Robert's "A Few Words About.." I wonder ?

    I believe it was Thelma Schoonmaker who made the selection.:roll:
    [And just to be certain and not create any on-line rumors, I was only making a joke.]:)

  19. PMF

    What?!!! I was of the understanding that Nolan was behind this project. I mean, I had read it on-line; and if its on-line then it's got to be true. Well, if Nolan's not involved with "Life and Death" then all bets are off and I'll wait until his edition is finally released.:lol:

    I think it's a travesty that on Colonel Blimp they scanned the 3 strips Technicolor neg individually and with digital technology they were able to align the strips. The registration needs to be off because film shrinks, so that image header is how I want it to look, because it's film. LONG LIVE ANALOGUE. If that's how Life and Death was done, it's blasphemy. Sarcasm. (Just being sarcastic)

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