A few words about…™ – Chinatown — in 4k UHD

Chinatown 4K UHD Screenshot Review
Roman Polanski’s 1974 Chinatown, based upon the screenplay by Robert Towne is a film that belongs in Paramount’s “Presents” series.

I’ve always considered it, even with it’s bright California sunlit exteriors in all their heavily warm-timed glory, to be daylight noir.

Paramount’s new 4k is a beautiful affair, rendering the film as it was originally seen in the first run of dye transfer prints, only struck for the original release, and just before the Technicolor lab went off the dye transfer standard, which occurred in December of 1974. From my memory, all additional prints struck were Eastman Color.

Beyond color, this release eschews the more recent desire to reproduce every grain, and more properly (in this archivist’s opinion) reproduces the appearance of the original prints.

Colors, density, the subdued grain structure, and black levels all seem correct.

I was going to call this one of the great films of the ’70s, but I’ll make a step forward.

Chinatown is one of the great films. Period.

And belongs in every serious cinema library.

There will be some who mourn the fact that the track has been re-recorded as 5.1, but the original monaural is still there in 2.0. The 5.1 works beautifully.

Most important is the bifold slip, collectible by some standards, which ups the normal printing of the paper insert to include a metallic layer.

Great extras should seal the deal.

Image

Forensic – 10

NSD – 10

Audio – 10 (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors – Yes

Makes use of and works well in 4k – 9

Upgrade from Blu-ray – Yes

Worth your attention – 10

Slipcover rating – 4

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

Robert has been known in the film industry for his unmatched skill and passion in film preservation. Growing up around photography, his first home theater experience began at age ten with 16mm. Years later he was running 35 and 70mm at home.

His restoration projects have breathed new life into classic films like Lawrence of Arabia, Vertigo, My Fair Lady, Spartacus, and The Godfather series. Beyond his restoration work, he has also shared his expertise through publications, contributing to the academic discourse on film restoration. The Academy Film Archive houses the Robert A. Harris Collection, a testament to his significant contributions to film preservation.

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Carl David

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Great news!

Been waiting for a review of this release with much anticipation.

Never purchased the blu ray so really looking forward to getting this and seeing it as close to how it should in cinemas on film.

No better time than now for home movie enthusiasts.

Long may it continue.
 

SD_Brian

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Has the included Blu-ray of The Two Jakes been remastered, or is it the same as the previously-released disc?
 

Jeff Fearnside

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There will be some who mourn the fact that the track has been re-recorded as 5.1, without the original monaural, but the 5.1 works beautifully.
Mr. Harris, I'm curious, is including the original mono a difficult and/or expensive proposition? I've often wondered why studios don't include it as an option to go with their reconfigured audio tracks.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Glad to hear Paramount apparently didn't (over)do it this time w/ their oft controversial "reimaginations" and what not...

_Man_
 

Konstantinos

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There will be some who mourn the fact that the track has been re-recorded as 5.1, without the original monaural, but the 5.1 works beautifully.
Mr. Harris, I'm curious, is including the original mono a difficult and/or expensive proposition? I've often wondered why studios don't include it as an option to go with their reconfigured audio tracks.

Here it says that the original mono, is included. (thankfully)
(unless it's a downmix?)
 

FincherFan

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what was this 4K digital version created from if this is NEW to 4K? i don’t recall how long ago i purchased it, but it was at least a year or more ago.

also, when i look this up on blu-ray.com, the iTunes version that i already own has no release date. somehwat confused here . . .


iTunes 4K Chinatown?.jpg
 

ManW_TheUncool

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what was this 4K digital version created from if this is NEW to 4K? i don’t recall how long ago i purchased it, but it was at least a year or more ago.

also, when i look this up on blu-ray.com, the iTunes version that i already own has no release date. somehwat confused here . . .


View attachment 224060

Not quite sure what you're asking, but if you already own it on iTunes, you could just watch it, no?

Of course, that alone won't tell you if it came from the same transfer as this new 4K disc -- it probably is outside of whatever possibly small tweak(s) and necessarily diff encode/compression (for streaming vs disc master).

I also have that iTunes 4K digital myself -- IIRC, it's been available in 4K digital for at least a couple years now.

_Man_
 

FincherFan

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umm, not sure why you said i could just watch it? i've watched it a few times.

as i mentioned, i was just wondering if this "new" 4K disc is from a different source than the apparently years old digital version.

also, would anyone happen to know if the digital version would be upgraded like the HD to 4K versions usually are? i realize it's already 4K, but has anyone seen an example of an existing 4K be "upgraded" to a newer 4K version?

FF
 

Lord Dalek

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Mr. Harris, I'm curious, is including the original mono a difficult and/or expensive proposition? I've often wondered why studios don't include it as an option to go with their reconfigured audio tracks.
If its the same 5.1 track that was on previous releases, its really not that much different from the original mono. Full multitracks and stems do not survive for Chinatown so most of it is derived from the original DMEs.
 

Robert Crawford

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what was this 4K digital version created from if this is NEW to 4K? i don’t recall how long ago i purchased it, but it was at least a year or more ago.

also, when i look this up on blu-ray.com, the iTunes version that i already own has no release date. somehwat confused here . . .


View attachment 224060
The Chinatown's iTunes HD digital upgraded to 4K/Dolby Vision, five years ago today. It was June 11th, 2019, which was a Tuesday like today. Furthermore, around that time, members were saying that Chinatown had a limited theatrical run advertised as being derived from a new 4K scan.

I seriously doubt Paramount would do another 4K scan since then unless there were serious issues. I don't remember any chatter from people reporting such issues as plenty of us purchased that 4K digital back in 2019 and 2020 and thought it looked gorgeous.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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The Chinatown's iTunes HD digital upgraded to 4K/Dolby Vision, five years ago today. It was June 11th, 2019, which was a Tuesday like today. Furthermore, around that time, members were saying that Chinatown had a limited theatrical run advertised as being derived from a new 4K scan.

I seriously doubt Paramount would do another 4K scan since then unless there were serious issues. I don't remember any chatter from people reporting such issues as plenty of us purchased that 4K digital back in 2019 and 2020 and thought it looked gorgeous.

Forgot it's actually been quite that long, heh... but I do recall seeing some occasional, subsequent complaints that it's been overly DNRed/grain-managed (like many other Paramount titles), which was partly why I wondered about that for this 4K disc release in another thread today...

_Man_
 

Robert Crawford

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Forgot it's actually been quite that long, heh... but I do recall seeing some occasional, subsequent complaints that it's been overly DNRed/grain-managed (like many other Paramount titles), which was partly why I wondered about that for this 4K disc release in another thread today...

_Man_
I don't remember such comments. I do remember several people being happy with it and wondering when a 4K/UHD release was coming.
 

Robert Crawford

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By the way, it appears this upcoming 4K/UHD release is going to be in short supply. Several retailers are showing it sold out or unavailable for pre-ordering.
 

dpippel

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Forgot it's actually been quite that long, heh... but I do recall seeing some occasional, subsequent complaints that it's been overly DNRed/grain-managed (like many other Paramount titles), which was partly why I wondered about that for this 4K disc release in another thread today...

_Man_
It's extremely hard to judge quality or identify issues based on nothing more than a stream. Too many variables, too much compression.
 
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