A few words about…™ Dracula aka Horror of Dracula — in Blu-ray

Warner Archive has attempted to work their magic with the easily attainable elements, as worked upon by the BFI, and fans should be thrilled. 4 Stars

When [Horror of] Dracula was released, in 1958, its director Terence Fisher, was doing B pictures, and a spate of horror films / thrillers, for Hammer.

Although Horror of Dracula, as it was released here in the Colonies is generally consider to be the creme de la creme of the series, it’s still very much a high-end B production, by studio standards. It had rather inexpensive effects, and from an acting perspective, now (at least to my eyes) seems nicely over-acted.

What it did, was to make a star our of the 6’5″ “discovery”, Christopher Lee, then in his mid-30s, who had been playing bit and small roles in films, and had previously play the monster in Mr. Fisher’s Curse of Frankenstein.

From an archival perspective, Horror of Dracula has been rather problematic. It’s a huge fan favorite, had apparently been over-printed, with a handful of deletions to meet different censorship requirements, and even with (finally) a superior Blu-ray version, that solves many of the color timing issues, still appears to need a proper restoration from the OCN.

While color works nicely, I’m seeing a decided loss of shadow detail in many scenes, along with an image that might be sharper, if attained from a superior element.

It’s an odd one.

And while I don’t wish to denigrate the work performed, feel that for the record, need to make the point that it isn’t quite there yet.

Warner Archive has attempted to work their magic with the easily attainable elements, as worked upon by the BFI, and fans should be thrilled.

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Certainly

Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

188 Comments

  1. With this release, as well as the last two Hammer Dracula titles, The Sea Hawk, and The Thing, it looks like Warner Archive has relaxed slightly its "perfection or nothing" stance. While I'm sure they will come under criticism for it, I cautiously applaud them for accelerating their release schedule and getting these desired titles out on Blu-ray.

  2. Peter Apruzzese

    With this release, as well as the last two Hammer Dracula titles, The Sea Hawk, and The Thing, it looks like Warner Archive has relaxed slightly its "perfection or nothing" stance. While I'm sure they will come under criticism for it, I cautiously applaud them for accelerating their release schedule and getting these desired titles out on Blu-ray.

    Disagree.

    I don’t believe that Sea Hawk and Thing can be improved.

    Sea Hawk, is for the most part, gorgeous.

  3. Robert Harris

    Disagree.

    I don’t believe that Sea Hawk and Thing can be improved.

    Sea Hawk, is for the most part, gorgeous.

    I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in my post. I'm happy they're considering releasing titles that are less than A+ condition. The fact that Sea Hawk & The Thing have little to no room left for improvement shows they've done their work and we're the better for it. While it would be great if Horror of Dracula got the full restoration it appears to warrant, it's good they've released what they have to satisfy the fans who've been waiting for it.

  4. Just a note of correction on ". . . Christopher Lee, then 38, . . . "

    Lee was 35 when filming "Horror of Dracula," as he was born in May 1922
    and
    Dracula aka Horror of Dracula was filmed several months prior to his 36th birthday in 1958.

  5. aPhil

    Just a note of correction on ". . . Christopher Lee, then 38, . . . "

    Lee was 35 when filming "Horror of Dracula," as he was born in May 1922
    and
    Dracula aka Horror of Dracula was filmed several months prior to his 36th birthday in 1958.

    It was England, so maybe 38 is in metric years. 😛

  6. Malcolm R

    It was England, so maybe 38 is in metric years. 😛

    B-ROLL

    But the English were on the um English system until 1965 …

    But the "New Math" started in the 1950s … 😉

    Don’t forget they drive on the wrong side of the road over there. That’s GOT to age a person dramatically. 😀

  7. JohnMor

    Don’t forget they drive on the wrong side of the road over there. That’s GOT to age a person dramatically. 😀

    Perhaps he was using the Victoria Principal/Charo method of determining one's birth-date 😉

  8. Peter Apruzzese

    I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in my post. I'm happy they're considering releasing titles that are less than A+ condition. The fact that Sea Hawk & The Thing have little to no room left for improvement shows they've done their work and we're the better for it. While it would be great if Horror of Dracula got the full restoration it appears to warrant, it's good they've released what they have to satisfy the fans who've been waiting for it.

    I wonder/hope if this means that films that don't have pristine elements are no longer off-the table for a Blu-Ray now. There are a number of 1930's films that would benefit from this.

  9. Robert Harris


    And while I don't wish to denigrate the work performed, feel that for the record, need to make the point that it isn't quite there yet.

    Warner Archive has attempted to work their magic with the easily attainable elements, as worked upon by the BFI, and fans should be thrilled.

    Damn!

  10. Reed Grele

    Does this transfer use the US title "Horror of Dracula" or the restored UK "Dracula" with the fancy "D"?

    Also, was this sourced from the BFI restoration, with the only difference being the color timing?

    Correct

  11. tanaleaf

    Still very anxious to know whether this release also contains any of the brief additional long-deleted disintegration footage discovered in Japan a while back… or not….

    It's somewhat confusing because, if they used the BFI restoration only then no, it won't, because the existing Japanese reels were only used in the expanded Hammer restoration. The existing UK disc has both versions on it but RAH mentions Warner using the BFI as a basis.

    There are few additional seconds from the Japanese reels that Hammer didn't include in it's restoration and I wouldn't hold out too much hope of those appearing.

  12. The Warner press release is reasonably unambiguous:

    Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, Britain's premier masters of the macabre, bring the Horror of Dracula to vivid, full-color death in this retelling of Bram Stoker's spellbinding vampire tale. Dracula (Lee), a centuries-old Transylvanian nobleman damned to an eternal half-life, regularly finds new victims. He also finds Dr. Van Helsing (Cushing), a scientist who becomes the Count's implacable foe in a deadly game of bat-and-mouse. This is the UK version titled "DRACULA", and featuring footage previously restored by the British Film Institute and Hammer Films. Warner Archive's new release restores the original color palette of the film, using dye-transfer Technicolor prints as reference, and has been meticulously cleaned of film-related damage for a superior presentation.

    The dread is here – as are the power and pathos of this genre landmark by which Hammer Studios ushered in a new era of screen chills from classic evildoers. Tremble through that era again. Unleash the horror. Special Features and Technical Specs:

    • NEW REMASTER SOURCED FROM THE HAMMER/BFI RESTORATION OF THE FILM
    • Original UK Theatrical Trailer
    • Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature
  13. Are there two UK Blu-rays or one? I have one from Lionsgate – I assume that's what everyone is talking about. On the other board, one particularly dim person is still going on and on about how the BFI color timing is baked into the scan so Warners couldn't really fix it. Color timing isn't baked into a scan – a scan is raw and then work is done on it. These people are beyond help.

  14. John Hodson
    • NEW REMASTER SOURCED FROM THE HAMMER/BFI RESTORATION OF THE FILM

    Thanks I hadn't seen that (or, if I had I didn't remember it) It SOUNDS like we'll get either both or, at the very least, the final Hammer restoration which should please most people!

  15. So this is the UK version that I have from Lionsgate titled Dracula ? With a New Remaster. Why are they calling it Horror of Dracula then ??? I was hoping for the Horror title, just to have both versions on Bluray, the UK and US. The UK bluray has No trailer. WB should have released both versions. Can't wait to see the far superior color Mr. Harris mentioned.

  16. According to a Anthony Hinds quote. from Scarlett Street Forums…..”We made a special version of Dracula for Japan because we know they love that sort of thing…” (what is that supposed to mean?). Also, from Bob Furmanek 10/24/2002 on Scarlett Street Forums ….”Also, on further inspection, I had my information backwards. Concerning the aspect ratios (for Dracula I presume) The second unit material is printed 1:37, and the principal photography is hard-matted at 1:66. Sorry for the mistake!”. I am assuming that means1:66 is the image composition Asher and Fisher shot the film in. What theaters screened it at could be a different matter. Whatever, I really like 1:66. I wonder if the new WB Blu Ray Dracula also made corrections to the brightness of the film, probably just as important as the color grade argument, but no mention is made regarding it in their pre- release article. And why wouldn’t WB answer doubts or questions about the Japanese footage being used…..It’s a simple matter. I hate this kind of unnecessary “mystery”..could you please clear this up WB before I spend my hard earned cash!!!!!

  17. If it says HORROR OF DRACULA on the box surely the main title should say the same?

    And to add even more confusion. My Super 8mm sound feature film print has vivid colour but the previous BR issue was very muted I find. At the moment I prefer the 8mm film prints colour but I await to see how the new BR on release looks.

  18. 3D Projectionist

    If it says HORROR OF DRACULA on the box surely the main title should say the same?

    And to add even more confusion. My Super 8mm sound feature film print has vivid colour but the previous BR issue was very muted I find. At the moment I prefer the 8mm film prints colour but I await to see how the new BR on release looks.

    If this Archive edition is, in fact, based on the BFI restoration, the title card on the film should be DRACULA, regardless of what the cover art or advertising say. We'll have to wait a week or two before it gets reviewed.

  19. 3D Projectionist

    My Super 8mm sound feature film print has vivid colour

    That (HORROR OF DRACULA) was a feature-length Super 8 film that I missed. I did own BRIDES OF DRACULA, which was sometimes great but at other times way too dark. And talk about film collecting being an expensive hobby…8mm and 16mm (and, if you had the disposable resources, 35mm) prints were almost prohibitively expensive, and if you got a print with crumby color or exaggerated contrast, tough — you could not send it back or adjust it. For what I paid for a Mountain Films 10-reel Super 8 pan-and-scan print of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST ($300.00), I could now add, with inflation since 1984 figured, about 25 or more fairly pricey Blu-rays. But, oddly, no regrets.

  20. I thought with the long wait for The Horror Of Dracula, that when it finally did come, Warner would have done their own work on it from scratch & not piggy-backed on the BFI effort. Oh well, I suppose VERY few films get the Spartacus treatment & I'm not going to judge this 'till I see it, & I'm very pleased to hear that the colour is improved.

  21. haineshisway

    Hard-matted at 1:66 doesn't mean it wasn't framed for a different ratio.

    Correct. And if a camera has a 1.66 aperture, the resultant film would be projected slightly cropped on all four sides to retain 1.66 in projection – possibly 2.5 – 5%.

    A video master would not necessitate cropping to that extent.

    But once again, none of this matters, as films were heavily cropped in projection.

  22. Forgive me, and I'm genuinely not being combative, but if 'none of this matters' what is the point in having a shooting ratio, a recommended aspect ratio for projection? What is the point in home cinema constantly attempting to improve viewing quality, in trying to present films as they were originally photographed?

    When I was a kid, my local fleapit used to project film on the side curtains; there was a huge stain down one side as if a carton of ice-scream had been hurled from the front row and slid down the screen. Is that what I want to reproduce at home? Episodes of Zorro shot through the prism of a six-year-old eye?

    To quote the late, great Tony Hancock; stone me, what's the point eh?

  23. Suffer me please, but if a film was filmed on Eastman stock with prints produced by Technicolor, which would be the true look of the film? And wouldn't a "recommended" aspect ratio leave open the possibility of a projectionist having a choice?

  24. John Hodson

    When I was a kid, my local fleapit used to project film on the side curtains; there was a huge stain down one side as if a carton of ice-scream had been hurled from the front row and slid down the screen. Is that what I want to reproduce at home? Episodes of Zorro shot through the prism of a six-year-old eye?

    Ha, times don't change that much. The last film I saw at the cinema was, Three Billboards at a cinema in Tottenham Court Road (London) & there was a dirty great stain on the screen, & it really showed-up on panning shots. I was with an old work colleague & the first thing she said on leaving the cinema was, did you see the state of that screen!

  25. It's known in British trade journals from that period as "Standard Wide Screen" which means composed in camera by the DP during principal photography (Jack Asher) for 1.75:1 but protected/masked (hard-matted) for 1.65:1.

    1.75:1 was the intended primary non-anamorphic theatrical widescreen aspect ratio in the UK for many years.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

  26. kinzoels

    Suffer me please, but if a film was filmed on Eastman stock with prints produced by Technicolor, which would be the true look of the film? And wouldn't a "recommended" aspect ratio leave open the possibility of a projectionist having a choice? If this is true, there is no OAR but an RAR.

    The properly color-timed release prints would be the look – or the use of the color timing notes of the cameraman at the time. The original negative is not color timed.

  27. kinzoels

    Suffer me please, but if a film was filmed on Eastman stock with prints produced by Technicolor, which would be the true look of the film? And wouldn't a "recommended" aspect ratio leave open the possibility of a projectionist having a choice? If this is true, there is no OAR but an RAR.

    It's always recommended. The actual ratio is totally dependent upon the physical attributes of the venue, and that venues technical abilities.

    1.66, 1.75, 1.85 are just shapes, with no real value as to what is in them.

  28. tanaleaf

    Just saw in another forum a review indicating no additional Japanese footage has been incorporated into this release.

    Well I rather hope not, I'd prefer to see it as I saw it in the cinema, & there's the quality drop off of using a scratchy old print.

  29. Billy Batson

    Well I rather hope not, I'd prefer to see it as I saw it in the cinema, & there's the quality drop off of using a scratchy old print.

    Yeah I saw the footage on the UK release and it was nothing special after all the hype. Too be honest it made the disintegration scene just seem to drag on.

  30. tanaleaf

    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/mon…f-dracula-1958-coming-via-wac-t71617-s60.html

    Thank you!!

    Now I AM confused. On that forum (though I realize it's only a single poster) he's saying that the Warner release doesn't contain ANY of the Japanese footage at all?? Not even that which was already in the Hammer 2012 restoration?

    The press release says this is based on the BFI/Hammer restoration which SHOULD include the Japanese footage from the Hammer work (which was just the earlier BFI resto with the newly found footage added in), else why not just say it's based on the earlier BFI restoration alone and leave it at that?

    I'm so confused now. (I wonder if he just means the additional 'new' Japanese footage that was released in Germany?)

  31. Will Krupp

    Thank you!!

    Now I AM confused. On that forum (though I realize it's only a single poster) he's saying that the Warner release doesn't contain ANY of the Japanese footage at all?? Not even that which was already in the Hammer 2012 restoration?

    The press release says this is based on the BFI/Hammer restoration which SHOULD include the Japanese footage from the Hammer work (which was just the earlier BFI resto with the newly found footage added in), else why not just say it's based on the earlier BFI restoration alone and leave it at that?

    I'm so confused now. (I wonder if he just means the additional 'new' Japanese footage that was released in Germany?)

    This guy is someone who either still works at or worked at MGM/UA. I'm not sure how he saw any of this or, if he did, what kind of system he saw it on, but I would take anything else he said with a grain of salt.

  32. Could be worse. I went to see a re-release of Lang's METROPOLIS (the one just previous to the current, nearly complete, version) and the theater wasn't set up to screen films at 1.33:1 and simply cut off the top and bottom of the frame. It totally ruined the composition and, at times, cut off text from the intertitles. I was there with a buddy who works for the Library of Congress in their Motion Picture Conservation department. We were both so disappointed, since it would likely be the only time we'd see the film projected from actual film and the screening was jacked up. Nothing the theater could do, unfortunately, since they rarely showed older films and had to use the setup they owned.

  33. Brian Kidd

    Could be worse. I went to see a re-release of Lang's METROPOLIS (the one just previous to the current, nearly complete, version) and the theater wasn't set up to screen films at 1.33:1 and simply cut off the top and bottom of the frame. It totally ruined the composition and, at times, cut off text from the intertitles. I was there with a buddy who works for the Library of Congress in their Motion Picture Conservation department. We were both so disappointed, since it would likely be the only time we'd see the film projected from actual film and the screening was jacked up. Nothing the theater could do, unfortunately, since they rarely showed older films and had to use the setup they owned.

    Similarly, first time I saw Citizen Kane in 35mm, it was run 1.85.

  34. Brian Kidd

    Could be worse. I went to see a re-release of Lang's METROPOLIS (the one just previous to the current, nearly complete, version) and the theater wasn't set up to screen films at 1.33:1 and simply cut off the top and bottom of the frame. It totally ruined the composition and, at times, cut off text from the intertitles. I was there with a buddy who works for the Library of Congress in their Motion Picture Conservation department. We were both so disappointed, since it would likely be the only time we'd see the film projected from actual film and the screening was jacked up. Nothing the theater could do, unfortunately, since they rarely showed older films and had to use the setup they owned.

    I was stuck with that once on a one-shot projection job at a venue without proper gear – the way to get around it is use the scope lens, take off the anamorphic adapter, use the scope aperture plate, and set the screen masking to scope height. You'll have an image that's windowboxed and small, but at least it won't be cropped.

    Robert Harris

    Similarly, first time I saw Citizen Kane in 35mm, it was run 1.85.

    A theater here in northern New Jersey ran Kane in scope sometime back in 2000 or so. They said that if they "ran it the other way, all the heads were cut off". They seemed perplexed when I mentioned there was a third way to show it…

  35. Peter Apruzzese

    I was stuck with that once on a one-shot projection job at a venue without proper gear – the way to get around it is use the scope lens, take off the anamorphic adapter, use the scope aperture plate, and set the screen masking to scope height. You'll have an image that's windowboxed and small, but at least it won't be cropped.

    A theater here in northern New Jersey ran Kane in scope sometime back in 2000 or so. They said that if they "ran it the other way, all the heads were cut off". They seemed perplexed when I mentioned there was a third way to show it…

    That's what I suggested. Scope prime without adapter, and scope aperture plate. Projectionist understood, but explained that he didn't have right lens to fill screen in 1.37.

    We left.

  36. When I played in that orchestra for "The Freshman" last month they rolled the picture up a couple of feet from the bottom of the screen so as to avoid musicians' heads. However, no image size adjustment was made, so the top part of the picture was cut off, resulting in what probably looked like 1.85.

    During the rehearsal I tried glancing up a couple of times to see how much of a disaster that was going to be. I *think* they just managed to avoid losing heads most of the time, but I'll have to guess at that next time I watch it at home. I believe none of the titles on this film extend close enough to the top or bottom to have gotten lost. Finally, no masking was employed, even though I'd like to think those curtains might have been usable since this room was designed for multi-use in the first place.

    View attachment 53012

  37. I remember taking my young daughter (she must have been four or five) to the Fine Arts here in LA – they were showing Singin' in the Rain and I wanted her to see it. Of course like all movie theaters then they could only show 1.85 and scope. So, I sat there trying to figure out how to explain that none of the dancers had feet. Thankfully, a month later a friend showed his 16mm Tech print and she saw the feet.

  38. haineshisway

    I remember taking my young daughter (she must have been four or five) to the Fine Arts here in LA – they were showing Singin' in the Rain and I wanted her to see it. Of course like all movie theaters then they could only show 1.85 and scope. So, I sat there trying to figure out how to explain that none of the dancers had feet. Thankfully, a month later a friend showed his 16mm Tech print and she saw the feet.

    Do you remember a Warner Bros. retrospective at the Fine Arts sometime in '76-'78? I went on a few evenings, and though I was marginally aware of this stuff then, I now have absolutely no idea what the ARs were. From what you're saying, those '40s noirs and such would have been shown in 1.85, and it's so hard to believe now that I watched a bunch of those movies that way.

  39. haineshisway

    I remember taking my young daughter (she must have been four or five) to the Fine Arts here in LA – they were showing Singin' in the Rain and I wanted her to see it. Of course like all movie theaters then they could only show 1.85 and scope. So, I sat there trying to figure out how to explain that none of the dancers had feet. Thankfully, a month later a friend showed his 16mm Tech print and she saw the feet.

    So she experienced the Agony of De Feet ;):dance::rock:?

  40. Charles Smith

    Do you remember a Warner Bros. retrospective at the Fine Arts sometime in '76-'78? I went on a few evenings, and though I was marginally aware of this stuff then, I now have absolutely no idea what the ARs were. From what you're saying, those '40s noirs and such would have been shown in 1.85, and it's so hard to believe now that I watched a bunch of those movies that way.

    Correct – they could not show Academy ratio there at that point.

  41. haineshisway

    I remember taking my young daughter (she must have been four or five) to the Fine Arts here in LA – they were showing Singin' in the Rain and I wanted her to see it. Of course like all movie theaters then they could only show 1.85 and scope. So, I sat there trying to figure out how to explain that none of the dancers had feet. Thankfully, a month later a friend showed his 16mm Tech print and she saw the feet.

    I had the same experience. I believe there was a limited re-release of the film that played ‘regular’ theaters in the mid-70s, and I was quite upset at the way the film was shown. I complained to the manager, and they had no understanding of what I was talking about. They thought it looked fine!

  42. Bob Cashill

    https://trailersfromhell.com/horror-of-dracula/

    Welp, that answers that then. I find no reason not to trust what Glenn Erickson says, he's pretty definitive…..

    The movie matches the standard cut of the film, but with the original U.K. title card from the BFI restoration, that reads simply ‘Dracula.’ The new WAC disc also retains the original Universal-International logos, that Hammer dropped for their ‘tweaked’ version. Five years ago the reconstituted Hammer company obtained some alternate shots for both Dracula’s assault on Mina and his disintegration at the finale, and fans hoped these would be interpolated into WB’s version. The answer is no — you’ll still have to invest in all-region capability to have those extra three or four seconds of alternate footage on disc.

    It feels like a wasted opportunity to me but it is what it is, I guess.

    What concerns me more is what he says about the transfer itself

    In terms of image quality, what transfer is better, the 2013 Lionsgate UK disc or the WAC’s new release? Choosing is not a simple matter of taste. The Warner Archive’s disc has much truer colors, but it’s also softer, more grainy, and far more contrasty. Blacks are indeed crushed, so there’s less detail in dark areas of the frame, or Dracula’s cape, for instance. It’s not a bad look, but faces in middle distance have less detail, and some reds seem to form into a solid block.

    I suppose I'll pick it up but I have to admit I'm less enthused about than I was earlier.

  43. One problem I have with Warners is that they should be putting commentaries on their blu-rays. They used to be very good with extras when they first put films out on dvd but have been lagging for a while now. Almost every other company that releases blu-rays now, add a commentary track. C'mon Warners! Get with the program!

  44. It does not contain the Japanese frames, as outlined in this very thread. 😉 However, the disintegration scene is obviously still in the film, as it is the climax of the movie. If you want the two seconds of additional frames, you'll have to stick with the UK disc.

  45. dpippel

    It does not contain the Japanese frames, as outlined in this very thread. 😉 However, the disintegration scene is obviously still in the film, as it is the climax of the movie. If you want the two seconds of additional frames, you'll have to stick with the UK disc.

    And if you really believe the 2 seconds amounts to anything then you also need to buy the german version from Anolis to get the additional 1.5 seconds to bring it up to 3.5 seconds that all doesn't amount to much. So the U.K. disc doesn't contain the complete disintegration scene either. For me give me the film with its proper Technicolor and I will be happy. The U.K. and German discs have nice extras but the color or lack of color is terrible and reminds me of watching it on VHS.

  46. My research appears to show that the true original cut of the film, did not include the extra seconds, that were requested by the Japanese, and were classified as inserts, extraneous to the final cut of the film.

    Regardless of what personal desires may come to the fore, this entire endeavor seems to be the veritable “storm in a teacup.”

  47. Kevin Hovis

    One problem I have with Warners is that they should be putting commentaries on their blu-rays. They used to be very good with extras when they first put films out on dvd but have been lagging for a while now. Almost every other company that releases blu-rays now, add a commentary track. C'mon Warners! Get with the program!

    Some of us don't give a damn about commentary tracks. We do however appreciate the very reasonable prices charged for Warner Archive Blu-ray discs.

  48. Kevin Hovis

    One problem I have with Warners is that they should be putting commentaries on their blu-rays. They used to be very good with extras when they first put films out on dvd but have been lagging for a while now. Almost every other company that releases blu-rays now, add a commentary track. C'mon Warners! Get with the program!

    Robin9

    Some of us don't give a damn about commentary tracks. We do however appreciate the very reasonable prices charged for Warner Archive Blu-ray discs.

    Kevin, welcome to HTF.
    I'm a big fan of commentaries and supplements, as well;
    but, with that said, Robin9 also makes the point that without the commentaries – as I am surmising – enables WAC to keep their prices down and "very reasonable".
    Criterion averages about 40 bucks with every supplement under the sun;
    but leaves other consumers without the option of purchasing just the film on its own, for a lower price.
    Twilight Time averages about 30 bucks with commentaries and isolated music tracks, but a smaller amount of supplements.
    Warner Archives averages about 20 bucks with scant extras.
    So there it is. Kinda like Goldilocks and the three bears.

  49. Yup, I really don't mind the lack of extras with Archive releases. I do love that Warner do a complete picture clean-up. Mind you, the more I read about Dracula, the more I'm thinking, why didn't Warner do their own thing from scratch, it's a popular title, worth spending a few bob on.

  50. Billy Batson

    Yup, I really don't mind the lack of extras with Archive releases. I do love that Warner do a complete picture clean-up. Mind you, the more I read about Dracula, the more I'm thinking, why didn't Warner do their own thing from scratch, it's a popular title, worth spending a few bob on.

    I believe they only have the rights for certain territories…as with RKO material … I'm sure in the mind of WB the monies they spend might be better spent on assets they control all the rights. They have done some excellent work with these other properties as well (eg Ambersons and Citizen Kane) …

  51. Billy Batson

    Yup, I really don't mind the lack of extras with Archive releases. I do love that Warner do a complete picture clean-up. Mind you, the more I read about Dracula, the more I'm thinking, why didn't Warner do their own thing from scratch, it's a popular title, worth spending a few bob on.

    Actually, far more than a few bob.

  52. dpippel

    It does not contain the Japanese frames, as outlined in this very thread. 😉 However, the disintegration scene is obviously still in the film, as it is the climax of the movie. If you want the two seconds of additional frames, you'll have to stick with the UK disc.

    I'll be happy to have both, as the UK also has a boatload of supplements.

  53. haineshisway

    I know it's here, but can someone confirm the exact number of seconds missing from footage that was never in the US release of the film. Can someone do that?

    Its 2-3 seconds on the U.K. disc. The German disc has another 1.5 seconds that was missing sound so they used sound from earlier in the sequence which makes the audio slightly out of synch for that sequence. I own the U.K. disc and have viewed the german one. To be honest after reading and hearing about this extra footage for 30 years I found it extremely disappointing and it doesn't really add up to much. In fact it just makes the disintegration scene feel dragged out. It needed cutting imho.

  54. Please keep in mind that the trims/lifts were done as far back as three months before release, during the post-prod and governmental censorship processes, and presumably before the creation of printing matrices.

    So it would have all been via b/w slash dupe, and color work pix.

    Virtually all films went through the same process, with 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 cuts and versions before final.

    My presumption, and it’s a qualified guess, is that the Japanese distributor requested harder material, and it was pulled from trims in early 1958, specifically for that purpose, before the unused footage was junked.

    If Japanese prints were from Eastman dupes, they could have been inserted, along with an adapted track neg. If they were running dye transfer prints made in the UK, they would have probably been inserts, cut in during release printing.

  55. Randy Korstick

    Its 2-3 seconds on the U.K. disc. The German disc has another 1.5 seconds that was missing sound so they used sound from earlier in the sequence which makes the audio slightly out of synch for that sequence. I own the U.K. disc and have viewed the german one. To be honest after reading and hearing about this extra footage for 30 years I found it extremely disappointing and it doesn't really add up to much. In fact it just makes the disintegration scene feel dragged out. It needed cutting imho.

    So, to sum this up: We are talking about under five SECONDS of footage that was never in any release print of this film in the United States of America? And the only place these under five SECONDS were seen was Japan? And THIS is what the brouhaha is about? THIS is what people are screaming about?

  56. Randy Korstick

    Its 2-3 seconds on the U.K. disc. The German disc has another 1.5 seconds that was missing sound so they used sound from earlier in the sequence which makes the audio slightly out of synch for that sequence. I own the U.K. disc and have viewed the german one. To be honest after reading and hearing about this extra footage for 30 years I found it extremely disappointing and it doesn't really add up to much. In fact it just makes the disintegration scene feel dragged out. It needed cutting imho.

    The problem I have with the additional 2-3 seconds on the UK disc is that it lingers on Drac's decomposing face just long enough for one to tell that you're seeing 2 electric light bulbs with cigar ash. The original version is in many way more disturbing, because the quick cutaways make you use your imagination. As many people like to say, less is more.

  57. haineshisway

    So, to sum this up: We are talking about under five SECONDS of footage that was never in any release print of this film in the United States of America? And the only place these under five SECONDS were seen was Japan? And THIS is what the brouhaha is about? THIS is what people are screaming about?

    Now, if we were talkin' 22 seconds then we'd be heading straight into Eli Cross territory.;)

  58. haineshisway

    Are there two UK Blu-rays or one? I have one from Lionsgate – I assume that's what everyone is talking about. On the other board, one particularly dim person is still going on and on about how the BFI color timing is baked into the scan so Warners couldn't really fix it. Color timing isn't baked into a scan – a scan is raw and then work is done on it. These people are beyond help.

    Every time I look at that "other board" I'm reminded of how sane and almost LOVELY we are over here! 🙂

  59. Will Krupp

    Every time I look at that "other board" I'm reminded of how sane and almost LOVELY we are over here! 🙂

    Beyond help eh?
    The Haines way?

    BFI scanned in 2007 and did their color timing.
    Color was not good and parts are too dark.

    This is what was given to Warner's…complete with baked in mistakes courtesy the BFI restoration.

  60. babybreese

    Beyond help eh?
    The Haines way?

    BFI scanned in 2007 and did their color timing.
    Color was not good and parts are too dark.

    This is what was given to Warner's…complete with baked in mistakes courtesy the BFI restoration.

    From my understanding, there are no baked in mistakes, it’s merely a purposeful re-imagining of color and densities.

  61. Something has been troubling me with HoD.

    Toward the end of the film, the good Count is on the floor, hear back, mouth open wide…

    And all that I see is dental work.

    Now, as I recall Dracula “lived” in the 14th? century.

    One might presume that vampires are not affected by tooth decay, so that if our fair Count had dental problems while still in human form, it would have been some 500 years ago, which I would believe was before the dawn of modern dentistry.

    So…

  62. Sadly, you see that lack of attention to detail in a lot of period films, where the characters, especially the leads, still have all their teeth and they're all usually sparkling white and perfectly aligned or show evidence of modern fillings.

    I recall watching 10,000 B.C. and wondering who was the resident orthodontist at the time that gave all those pre-historic people the perfect white teeth.

  63. Malcolm R

    Sadly, you see that lack of attention to detail in a lot of period films, where the characters, especially the leads, still have all their teeth and they're all usually sparkling white and perfectly aligned or show evidence of modern fillings.

    I recall watching 10,000 B.C. and wondering who was the resident orthodontist at the time that gave all those pre-historic people the perfect white teeth.

    The local newspaper review of Blue Lagoon commented the the,now, mature kids would have not had access to good dental care, but they both had pearly white smiles 😀 …

    If you check teh "goofs" section on IMDB for just about any historical film there will be anachronisms listed …

    And that Willie Shakespeare guy piratically invented anachronisms
    Hamlet went to University of Halle-Wittenberg, in Germany. The school was not founded until 1502, so Hamlet could not have possibly been a student there.

    There is also the Benevolences Tax in Richard II. This would have been more obvious to theater goers in Shakespeare's day. Benevolence taxes were termed gifts and were not mandatory. This came into existence almost 75 years after Richard II's death (1400).

    In The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare keeps his Bohemia coastal while it is actually a landlocked territory…

    Cleopatra wanting to play billiards. Billiards was invented almost 2000 years after her reign, but was a game of luxury and masculine entertainment during Shakespeare's times.

    In King Henry IV, Richard the Third compares himself to Machiavelli, who would have been but an infant during the time the play is set.

    In Midsummer Night's Dream, characters are bestowed dukedom (a concept that wasn't in existence during the play's times, and given guns.

    In Troilus and Cressida, Hector talks about Aristotle, who in reality was born centuries after the supposed time of the Trojan War.

    And the most well-known:.

    Julius Caesar,Act II, lines 193-195.

    BRUTUS
    Peace! count the clock.

    CASSIUS
    The clock hath stricken three.

    There were no mechanical clocks in 44 BCE ,,,

  64. babybreese

    Beyond help eh?
    The Haines way?

    BFI scanned in 2007 and did their color timing.
    Color was not good and parts are too dark.

    This is what was given to Warner's…complete with baked in mistakes courtesy the BFI restoration.

    Ooh, thanks for coming over and making a pithy comment and referencing me – I feel so honored. As Mr. Harris has already posted and as I will now reiterate, please don't regurgitate the nonsense that is being posted there – learn from here: They got the RAW scan – all color correction for the BFI release was done AFTER the scan and that is what's on their Blu-ray. Warners took the RAW scan and did a different color corrections actually based on the IB Technicolor prints. Is there really something you're having difficulty understanding about this or what a raw scan off a negative is?

  65. Well I dunno. I have a few questions I'd like to ask Warner. Why did Warner say they were using the BFI restoration, if they were just using a raw scan, what element did the BFI scan from? (& did they do the scan or did Warner send it to them, but if they'd done that, there'd be no need to mention the BFI on the announcement blurb). I'd have thought that Warner held all the main film elements, are the original negatives suffering from fading issues? Whatever, I've read two reviews & they both mention black crush, which really shouldn't happen, & RH here gives the picture a score of 3.75, which is a tad disappointing.

  66. In The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare keeps his Bohemia coastal while it is actually a landlocked territory…

    This is one of the 'errors' constantly quoted by people untroubled by any reading of research and evidence.

    At that time the Kingdom of The King Of Bohemia stretched to the coast. Repeating disregard of this long discovered fact is part of the repertoire of those who choose to ignore all evidence that the writer of the Works of Shakespeare was not Mr Shakspere of Stratford Upon Avon. There are numerous obscure but accurate facts and observations in The Works and many that have been ignorantly regarded as mistakes have been proven true.

    Altlhough there is no evidence that Mr Shakspere ever travelled there is plenty that the Plays were written by somebody intimately familiar with foreign territories. I refer you to:

    The Shakespeare Guide To Italy by Richard Roe.

  67. Malcolm R

    Sadly, you see that lack of attention to detail in a lot of period films, where the characters, especially the leads, still have all their teeth and they're all usually sparkling white and perfectly aligned or show evidence of modern fillings.

    I recall watching 10,000 B.C. and wondering who was the resident orthodontist at the time that gave all those pre-historic people the perfect white teeth.

    Ha, & perfect teeth in The Walking Dead despite no dentists & the leads forever punching each other in the mouth. That's it with films, no matter how authentic they try to be, the leads will always have perfect Hollywood teeth (although in 30s-80s British films a lot of the actors, even leads, have far from perfect teeth). I was walking around London's National Gallery & the National Portrait Gallery the other week, & all the hundreds of portraits have one thing in common, everyone has their mouth closed…everyone.

  68. Billy Batson

    Well I dunno. I have a few questions I'd like to ask Warner. Why did Warner say they were using the BFI restoration, if they were just using a raw scan, what element did the BFI scan from? (& did they do the scan or did Warner send it to them, but if they'd done that, there'd be no need to mention the BFI on the announcement blurb). I'd have thought that Warner held all the main film elements, are the original negatives suffering from fading issues? Whatever, I've read two reviews & they both mention black crush, which really shouldn't happen, & RH here gives the picture a score of 3.75, which is a tad disappointing as I really don't like the BFI blue look & had high hopes for this.

    The original negative was the source of the BFI restoration although some footage had to be sourced from lower quality elements also provided by Warner.

    The BFI performed clean-up and other restorative work after the initial scan but prior to grading. This was the starting point of Warner's remaster and it's only natural to give credit where credit is due when working from something that isn't your own work.

    The goal of the Warner presentation was to replicate the look of the original dye-transfer Technicolor prints as closely as possible. What is described as black crush was intentional as this is how the prints looked and exposing more shadow detail resulted in certain illusions being exposed which worked perfectly for their time on the prints. Previous home video releases presented the film with incorrect brightness and gamma levels in addition to inaccurate colors.

  69. babybreese

    Beyond help eh?
    The Haines way?

    BFI scanned in 2007 and did their color timing.
    Color was not good and parts are too dark.

    This is what was given to Warner's…complete with baked in mistakes courtesy the BFI restoration.

    This is libel and may dissuade others from purchasing a release which doesn't suffer from what you falsely claim it does.

    It's a travesty that these damaging lies are allowed to be spread. I have no doubt that armchair experts such as yourself and others from that site wouldn't be saying a fraction of what you are if you were all to be held accountable for your comments. It's safe to say this stuff on the internet when one can hide behind VPNs and false names, but if confronted in person by the people who handled the elements and files, you would be as quiet as a mouse.

  70. Thanks for your reply JM1504, but I remain a bit unconvinced. The way you describe it, it sounds like perfection, but the RH score of 3.75 is unusually low for an Archive release, & the absence of detail in the dark areas is a worry, it may not be technically crushed (below the line), it could be something to do with the scanning, or what they were scanning. I'll probably end up buying this, but no rush, I'll see what people say (& I know there's a lot of cobblers talked online, esp. at the other place), & look at a cap or two, & I know that's a hanging offence in some states 🙂

  71. JM1504 posted pretty much what I was going to post. The Warner transfer is of the BFI Restoration that was performed back in 2007 but was re-timed for this release. The Lionsgate 2014 (?) blu-ray used the BFI Restoration as well and ALSO used the "Hammer" restoration from 2012 (which was the 2007 BFI with the addition of previously unseen footage from the Japanese reels) in a presentation that made both cuts available with a new, cooler timing. The CONFUSION, (and ultimately mild disappointment) as I see it stemmed from Warner mistakenly announcing that THEIR new transfer was based on the BFI/Hammer restoration when they really probably should have just said it was based on the BFI. I'm sure it was an honest mistake but I think it caused some confusion and elevated some hopes.

    Billy Batson

    Thanks for your reply JM1504, but I remain a bit unconvinced. The way you describe it, it sounds like perfection, but the RH score of 3.75 is unusually low for an Archive release, & the absence of detail in the dark areas is a worry, it may not be technically crushed (below the line), it could be something to do with the scanning, or what they were scanning. I'll probably end up buying this, but no rush, I'll see what people say (& I know there's a lot of cobblers talked online, esp. at the other place), & look at a cap or two, & I know that's a hanging offence in some states 🙂

    This is my worry, too, (as I don't ever remember Warner, or any studio, "purposely" adding black crush to mimic dye transfer "prints" in the past, which I still think is kind of wonky) but I've determined to just wait for the disc's release to see what we ultimately see. I was going to hold off on getting it until it was already out but, of course, my resolve has ALREADY crumbled to dust. Lol

  72. Malcolm R

    Sadly, you see that lack of attention to detail in a lot of period films, where the characters, especially the leads, still have all their teeth and they're all usually sparkling white and perfectly aligned or show evidence of modern fillings.

    I recall watching 10,000 B.C. and wondering who was the resident orthodontist at the time that gave all those pre-historic people the perfect white teeth.

    Dr. Bronstein.

  73. JM1504

    The original negative was the source of the BFI restoration although some footage had to be sourced from lower quality elements also provided by Warner.

    The BFI performed clean-up and other restorative work after the initial scan but prior to grading. This was the starting point of Warner's remaster and it's only natural to give credit where credit is due when working from something that isn't your own work.

    The goal of the Warner presentation was to replicate the look of the original dye-transfer Technicolor prints as closely as possible. What is described as black crush was intentional as this is how the prints looked and exposing more shadow detail resulted in certain illusions being exposed which worked perfectly for their time on the prints. Previous home video releases presented the film with incorrect brightness and gamma levels in addition to inaccurate colors.

    No

  74. Robert Harris

    My research appears to show that the true original cut of the film, did not include the extra seconds, that were requested by the Japanese, and were classified as inserts, extraneous to the final cut of the film.

    Regardless of what personal desires may come to the fore, this entire endeavor seems to be the veritable “storm in a teacup.”

    You are correct Mr. Harris as Producer Anthony Hinds, in an interview, stated Hammer made a special cut of the film because "the Japanese like that kind of thing". This also might explain why, in the entire world, only the Japanese have this different version with the extra footage.

  75. The BFI did remark in a pre-release that the OCN was in great shape..They did not use terms like existing elements, or other sources. Wouldn't it be a strange comment to make about the OCN and then not use it?

  76. kinzoels

    The BFI did remark in a pre-release that the OCN was in great shape..They did not use terms like existing elements, or other sources. Wouldn't it be a strange comment to make about the OCN and then not use it?

    From what I’m seeing on the Blu, the OCN does not appear healthy.

  77. aPhil

    In other words, not the OCN but another element was used by the BFI ?

    When they restored the film in 2007, the Bfi said:

    …The film was restored from the original negative, except for the original British title and the censored scenes, which were from dupe negatives found in Warner Bros’ vaults. The original prints were released on IB-Technicolor prints, and Richard Dayton at YCM Laboratories in Burbank worked with Ben [Thompson] to achieve this particular look…

  78. My copy arrived Saturday morning. It is much darker than the UK Lionsgate bluray. I was comparing them going back and forth last night. Not Blueish either like the UK disc. But darker. Why Darker ? The trailer is the UK Dracula one, it has Green spots all through it. ? Oh well, what are you gonna do !

  79. According to a 1976 interview with Terence Fisher in Little Shoppe of Horrors magazine #19, The only scene Hammer ever asked him to film for export was The Hazel Court nude scene from The Man Who Could Cheat Death.

    He aslo seems quite certain that Hammer never added anything to his films.

    That suggests the rediscovered Japanese footage was not shot specifically for Japan, but was intended for all markets.
    On the other hand if Anthony Hinds is on record saying it was shot specifically for Japan who are we to belive?

    Just another Hammer mystery we may never get to the bottom of.

    I don't know if I'm allowed to link to the interview with Terence Fisher as it's available online, but if you Google 'Terence Fisher Interview' you'll find it easily enough.

  80. martin kent

    On the other hand if Anthony Hinds is on record saying it was shot specifically for Japan who are we to belive?

    I don't read the reporting of Anthony Hinds' remarks as saying the extra material was shot specifically for the Japanese market. It was just included for them, having already been shot but trimmed from the official UK cut. So I don't see any discrepancy here.

  81. The WB Archive BD arrived here Tuesday.

    So, having compared both, If I had my choice, I'd chose a version with the UK's shadow detail and the WB Archives color timing. I have no idea which is correct. If an IB Technicolor print should have less shadow detail, then so be it. But once you see what's there in the shadows, it's hard to unsee it.

  82. Mine arrived – how nice to have blue in the sky in the opening credits – watch the BFI UK disc – muddy brown. I'll watch it today at some point but just spot-checking it I'm certainly happy with the color. As for "shadow detail" I'd like to know who the first person was who came up with that term. Bob F. has spoken about this here or elsewhere – his IB Tech is darker like this Blu-ray and looking at the UK Blu it's simply too light.

  83. I'm frequently confused by the language used in describing discs and I went to film school. I know that it's easy to get used to the way movies have looked on past broadcast and television masters but it's amazing how few people posting have any idea what a movie should look like.

  84. People complained with the recent 4K restorations of the classic Universal horror films because they went back to the original theatrical timing. I have seen 35mm nitrate prints on several and the new masters match them perfectly.

    Many vintage horror films have been overly brightened over the decades for television and home video masters. I am very pleased to see new restorations go back to the original theatrical timing as it replicates the atmosphere intended by the filmmakers.

    I have personally screened a 1958 35mm Technicolor print of this film many times. It is not a visually bright and cheerful movie!

  85. I had a British 16mm IB Technicolor print of this film and no matter what settings I use on my video projector, I can't replicate the look of that print with the UK disc. I think the UK disc does look nice overall, it just doesn't look like how the Technicolor print looked. As has been mentioned, the original prints were darker than what we're used to seeing with video versions. And you combine that with Technicolor's dye transfer printing you get a very rich looking image, with velvety blacks.

    I may have to get the Warner Archive version as it sounds like it compares more favorably with the Tech prints.

  86. Bob Furmanek

    People complained with the recent 4K restorations of the classic Universal horror films because they went back to the original theatrical timing. I have seen 35mm nitrate prints on several and the new masters match them perfectly.

    Many vintage horror films have been overly brightened over the decades for television and home video masters. I am very pleased to see new restorations go back to the original theatrical timing as it replicates the atmosphere intended by the filmmakers.

    I have personally screened a 1958 35mm Technicolor print of this film many times. It is not a visually bright and cheerful movie!

    The blu ray of Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman is a revelation, almost like seeing a different movie.
    I’m excited to get the Warners blu ray of Dracula as well as Shout! Factory’s Dracula Prince of Darkness.

  87. I’ve been watching the Universal horror movies since the late 60s when they were already 20 – 30 years old and always thought the opening scene of FMW is the scariest scene of the cycle. The correct timing makes it even scarier.

    My remembrance of seeing the Hammer movies theatrically in the 60s and 70s bears little resemblance to what’s generally been available for the last 40 or so years. They’ve been timed way too brightly.

  88. But that's the way home video and TV was – low-con prints. Now we can get the theatrical timing but of course it bears no resemblance to previous releases and these people, as has just been pointed out here, have never seen these films projected or they would know how foolish it is to compare things to previous releases. As to the catchphrases – shadow detail just showed up one day and is now in the top five of things that reviewers say – but no one really knows what it even means because it was made up by someone. 🙂

  89. haineshisway

    But that's the way home video and TV was – low-con prints. Now we can get the theatrical timing but of course it bears no resemblance to previous releases and these people, as has just been pointed out here, have never seen these films projected or they would know how foolish it is to compare things to previous releases. As to the catchphrases – shadow detail just showed up one day and is now in the top five of things that reviewers say – but no one really knows what it even means because it was made up by someone. 🙂

    That may have been me. The problem is poor quality dupes with lowered black levels.

  90. Robert Harris

    That may have been me. The problem is poor quality dupes with lowered black levels.

    I know they've picked up a lot from you 🙂 OCN, O-neg – it always makes me laugh when I see people using these terms. But I'm not sure you got to shadow detail first. I understand what it means when you reference it – but I'm not sure they know what it means.

  91. I believe that it comes down to what is meant to be seen, and the way a shot was captured.

    Some people complain of a lack of shadow detail in The Godfather, with an expectation that there might be an exposure on the negative, when it’s virtually clear.

    Poorly made dupes, with higher than proper contrast (think 1950s – 60s films, or the nitrate era), can create havoc with an image.

    And then there’s fade, which is entirely different problem, with its own set of parameters.

    There is a presumption that all post houses know how to handle problems equally well, or can at least identify them, and seek a solution, toward a perfect home video master.

    Nope.

  92. Reed Grele

    So, there appears to be a happy medium somewhere between a "decided loss of shadow detail", and the correct replication of a Technicolor film. Apparently, Horror of Dracula isn't it?

    The color is correct. What is up for debate is if the brightening of previous home video editions to reveal what is partially hidden in the shadows is a good thing or if not seeing that shadow detail was the intended look. I am leaning toward the later.

  93. Randy Korstick

    The color is correct. What is up for debate is if the brightening of previous home video editions to reveal what is partially hidden in the shadows is a good thing or if not seeing that shadow detail was the intended look. I am leaning toward the later.

    I agree with you.

  94. Randy Korstick

    The color is correct. What is up for debate is if the brightening of previous home video editions to reveal what is partially hidden in the shadows is a good thing or if not seeing that shadow detail was the intended look. I am leaning toward the later.

    To my mind, the issue with the Warner release isn't that it's dark so much as it's that the blacks are pumped to the point that they become oppressive and threaten to take over the entire image at times, with details on clothes and hair vanishing into inky darkness. A darker transfer is fine but those details are now gone. You only need to take a look at the scene of Van Helsing discovering Harker's body in the crypt at approximately the 30 minute mark to see that something isn't right. No matter how "dark" it is in that crypt, Van Helsing's fur collar shouldn't disappear into his coat. Looking at the same scene on the UK disc, it's still dark in that crypt but there are details that can be made out within that darkness.

    For all of it's re-imagined color faults, I don't get the impression that the Lionsgate disc was "brightened." It's plenty dark but it lacks the oppressive, crushing blacks of the Warner.

    Just my two cents.

  95. Well I've been put off buying this with everything I've read about it. I think they should be able to do dark & moody & still have a decent grey scale (taste & judgment are needed). But that's me, I found some scenes in the latest Blu-ray of Casablanca were too dark.

  96. haineshisway

    I know they've picked up a lot from you 🙂 OCN, O-neg – it always makes me laugh when I see people using these terms. But I'm not sure you got to shadow detail first. I understand what it means when you reference it – but I'm not sure they know what it means.

    I'm guessing it's the detail (or lack thereof) in shadowy areas on an exposed piece of film stock. I like catch phrases when they come along. This one, if used literally, is pretty self descriptive, unlike let's say "color timing", which I had to look up when I first heard it. If it means something else I'd like to know….

  97. I'm watching this now and I have to say I am very disappointed. I agree with the last few opinions (#123 to 128). It appears Warner's intentions are good but for some reason the range to be able to darken it is not there. I thought there would have been more range in that area on the original scan without going to crush, but apparently not. If the range is there, for some reason the grader decided to crush it instead and I am seeing black crush all over the place. Any area that is close going from light to dark is gone.
    My memory of 35mm IB prints, which I saw mostly in the sixties and seventies in the UK, were as described here, subjects such as external passageways in the background hard to see but detail is there, but here, instead of being able to raise the black level to the point of flat and milky and seeing 'shadow detail' it is non-existent.
    Warner's technical department must be aware of this and they have obviously ignored the consequences of pushing it to the level of darkness where they wanted it and ruined it.

  98. That part of the transfer is clearly off and a bit weird – you can especially see it on the sides of the interiors. Several of the exteriors, of course in bright light, don't have it at all and look much better. I'm happy to have proper color, frankly, and any minor disappointments beyond that are made up for by the proper color.

  99. haineshisway

    That part of the transfer is clearly off and a bit weird – you can especially see it on the sides of the interiors.

    Yes, that's very well put. It's almost like 'vignetting' (if I'm using the correct term) on the interior scenes.

  100. haineshisway

    . I'm happy to have proper color, frankly, and any minor disappointments beyond that are made up for by the proper color.

    That aspect I agree with but the level of black crush has created a thin margin where detail gets lost at a certain point higher than normal. I don't consider this a minor issue, in fact, I think Warner ought to recall it, keep the same color etc. and avoid crushing the black.

  101. haineshisway

    That part of the transfer is clearly off and a bit weird – you can especially see it on the sides of the interiors. Several of the exteriors, of course in bright light, don't have it at all and look much better. I'm happy to have proper color, frankly, and any minor disappointments beyond that are made up for by the proper color.

    I think your opinion is probably shared by many and as a result Warner will do nothing about it. It just amazes me that a film of this caliber can and never will be a hundred per-cent which is a shame.

  102. Will Krupp

    Yes, that's very well put. It's almost like 'vignetting' (if I'm using the correct term) on the interior scenes.

    That what you are describing is caused probably by the level of black crush which is abnormally high.

  103. Stephen PI

    That aspect I agree with but the level of black crush has created a thin margin where detail gets lost at a certain point higher than normal. I don't consider this a minor issue, in fact, I think Warner ought to recall it, keep the same color etc. and avoid crushing the black.

    I agree:
    This would look rather well were it not for the blacks being totally lost —
    I've never seen so many blue coats get turned to inky black!

    I will add that, in addition to the far better color, the thin layer of grain on the new Warner transfer results in a slightly sharper image —
    The BFI version left me looking around my room for something to focus on and tell me that my eyeballs were not going soft.

  104. aPhil

    I will add that, in addition to the far better color, the thin layer of grain on the new Warner transfer results in a slightly sharper image —
    The BFI version left me looking around my room for something to focus on and tell me that my eyeballs were not going soft.

    Judging from Valerie Gaunt's first appearance, she looks slightly out of focus, which indicates to me that the first A or AB reel wasn't focused properly as reel 2AB (from Harker recovering on bed) looks fine.

  105. Stephen PI

    Judging from Valerie Gaunt's first appearance, she looks slightly out of focus, which indicates to me that the first A or AB reel wasn't focused properly as reel 2AB (from Harker recovering on bed) looks fine.

    I agree as you really can't get a sharp focus on Ms. Gaunt's eyes during her first meeting with Jonathan Harker.

    Much of the 1st-reel original photography seems a touch soft until the first appearance of Dracula (Christopher Lee)–
    It looks this way on IB Tech prints and the Warner DVD and the BFI "revisionist color" version (both Blu-ray & DCP) and the new Warner Brothers color-corrected Blu-ray.

    That first shot where Jonathan Harker becomes aware of Dracula's presence at the top of the stairs is definitely out-of-focus, then the next shot of Harker (after we see Dracula) is sharp and most of the movie looks reasonably detailed after that moment

    On the new Warner Brothers Blu-ray,
    the second meeting with Valerie Gaunt
    (prior to and including Dracula's attack in the library)
    shows nice sharp focus in both her eyes plus there is detail on the large globe which she walks around —
    The Warner Brothers Blu-ray really is a step-up in this department.

    The British revisionist-color BFI Blu-ray always bothers me as the human eye of every character is always just a bit soft (like a back-focus problem with a lens but more likely a slightly DNR'd transfer) during the entire film.

    On the Warner Blu-ray, the increase in sharpness makes for a far more pleasing image to me:
    Having pulled focus on many movies and having shot a few thousand commercials, I'm really sensitive to this —
    If I can't make sharp contact with the human eye, then I find myself needing to look away from the movie and find something in the viewing room to reassure me that my eyes are working fine and that it is just the film that has a problem.

    To repeat from my previous post, if this constant encroachment of inkwell darkness were not so prominent and oppressive on the Warner Blu-ray, then I would be satisfied with this colorful transfer.

  106. aPhil

    I agree as you really can't get a sharp focus on Ms. Gaunt's eyes during her first meeting with Jonathan Harker.

    Much of the 1st-reel original photography seems a touch soft until the first appearance of Dracula (Christopher Lee)–
    It looks this way on IB Tech prints and the Warner DVD and the BFI "revisionist color" version (both Blu-ray & DCP) and the new Warner Brothers color-corrected Blu-ray.

    That first shot where Jonathan Harker becomes aware of Dracula's presence at the top of the stairs is definitely out-of-focus, then the next shot of Harker (after we see Dracula) is sharp and most of the movie looks reasonably detailed after that moment

    On the new Warner Brothers Blu-ray,
    the second meeting with Valerie Gaunt
    (prior to and including Dracula's attack in the library)
    shows nice sharp focus in both her eyes plus there is detail on the large globe which she walks around —
    The Warner Brothers Blu-ray really is a step-up in this department.

    The British revisionist-color BFI Blu-ray always bothers me as the human eye of every character is always just a bit soft (like a back-focus problem with a lens but more likely a slightly DNR'd transfer) during the entire film.

    On the Warner Blu-ray, the increase in sharpness makes for a far more pleasing image to me:
    Having pulled focus on many movies and having shot a few thousand commercials, I'm really sensitive to this —
    If I can't make sharp contact with the human eye, then I find myself needing to look away from the movie and find something in the viewing room to reassure me that my eyes are working fine and that it is just the film that has a problem.

    To repeat from my previous post, if this constant encroachment of inkwell darkness were not so prominent and oppressive on the Warner Blu-ray, then I would be satisfied with this colorful transfer.

    Thank you for elaborating on of what I just touched upon. It looks like it's just 1A and the switch to the B reel must be right in that area. I've always noticed that Harker's reaction was always soft and I guess it was done that way in production. It look like it may have some diffusion added.

  107. haineshisway

    That part of the transfer is clearly off and a bit weird – you can especially see it on the sides of the interiors. Several of the exteriors, of course in bright light, don't have it at all and look much better. I'm happy to have proper color, frankly, and any minor disappointments beyond that are made up for by the proper color.

    I remember the rift between you and another poster(Epic Fail) over the BFI release of Dracula. I agreed with you on that one as you defended the "no blue filter" school. I must say though that the crushing of the blacks on this new release is a MAJOR flaw. Corrupted blacks was the phrase Mr. Harris used I believe, and those are strong words. The focus isn't too pleasing either at times. I'm warming up to the Anolis edition. It's not an IB Tech. look but the colors do pop (more so than the BFI), focus is better ( though video enhancement is evident), much less crushing of the blacks and the most complete version of the film (if one believes the Japanese cut to be the definitive one) to date. When all is said and done, I respect your opinions and look forward to future ones…..

  108. haineshisway

    That part of the transfer is clearly off and a bit weird – you can especially see it on the sides of the interiors. Several of the exteriors, of course in bright light, don't have it at all and look much better. I'm happy to have proper color, frankly, and any minor disappointments beyond that are made up for by the proper color.

    I agree the disappointment is minor, for me extremely minor but getting the proper color is major. I can't watch the lionsgate version. Once was enough. The Annolis edition was reported to be the same print as the U.K. print with a 1-2 seconds of more Japanese footage that was missing audio. The replaced audio makes the crucial music score out of synch and ruins the whole disintegration scene. They may have made some minor adjustments to the transfer but I viewed it once at a friends house and it looks the same as the U.K. to me.

  109. To my ears the 1-2 seconds of Dracula grimacing is not missing audio. In fact, all of the necessary Japanese audio for a smoother and more accurate finale is present Some was actually used on the BFI/Hammer-Anolis ending, but in the wrong spots. The BFI is a superior attempt over the Anolis as Anolis had to add that extra scene, but both are a somewhat disappointing experience. I'm enlisting the assistance of an excellent engineer friend of mine (who's worked with John Lennon) to see, as an educational challenge, if we can work the original/restored video into a cleaned up, Japanese soundtrack. That's one of the nice things about the BFI edition as they have the Japanese reel in their Blu Ray set. Besides the audio clean up, we'll extend or shorten long musical phrases as necessary in pro tools….If it succeeds, we'll pitch it to Hammer for a future improvement….

  110. kinzoels

    To my ears the 1-2 seconds of Dracula grimacing is not missing audio. In fact, all of the necessary Japanese audio for a smoother and more accurate finale is present Some was actually used on the BFI/Hammer-Anolis ending, but in the wrong spots. The BFI is a superior attempt over the Anolis as Anolis had to add that extra scene, but both are a somewhat disappointing experience. I'm enlisting the assistance of an excellent engineer friend of mine (who's worked with John Lennon) to see, as an educational challenge, if we can work the original/restored video into a cleaned up, Japanese soundtrack. That's one of the nice things about the BFI edition as they have the Japanese reel in their Blu Ray set. Besides the audio clean up, we'll extend or shorten long musical phrases as necessary in pro tools….If it succeeds, we'll pitch it to Hammer for a future improvement….

    Possibly I’m not fully understanding the situation, but the “Japanese” footage originated somewhere. Presumably the UK or The Colonies.

    Which means that pre-print should be in a vault somewhere. What became of the “Japanese” dupe neg?

  111. I'm cool with the color, finally, but the absence of the Japanese footage kinda sucks. Once you've seen it, it's hard not to miss it. Plus, the shadow detail i just about nonexistent. Still, for the first time, I have the trailer, and the hues are far closer to correct.

  112. Robert Harris

    Possibly I’m not fully understanding the situation, but the “Japanese” footage originated somewhere. Presumably the UK or The Colonies.

    Which means that pre-print should be in a vault somewhere. What became of the “Japanese” dupe neg?

    Hello Mr. Harris. The Japanese footage used for the film restoration of Dracula (AKA Horror of Dracula) was from a badly water/fire damaged print found by a fan in Tokyo. It had scenes that were never included in world distribution other than Japan. These scenes included a different take (sexier) when Dracula enters Mina's room, and a longer, slightly more gruesome finale. The problem seems to be the sequences are now musically sloppy. Two attempts have been made, the second one adding an additional few seconds of Draculas demise, made for an even more disappointing result. Anyway, in answer to your question, I've never heard any discussion of a dupe-neg being discovered, or if one even exists…only the restored Video, which by the way looks good considering the damage, but you can still notice it when it pops in and out during the ending. As part of the special features on the BMI edition, Hammer included the un-restored damaged Japanese reels which was a nice touch. Many of us think this whole thing can be made better. Thank you sir….

  113. And yet, even though these five seconds were ONLY seen in Japan, these people go on and on how they're not buying this Warner Archive release because it doesn't have footage that was never seen anywhere else. Color my mind officially boggled.

  114. haineshisway

    And yet, even though these five seconds were ONLY seen in Japan, these people go on and on how they're not buying this Warner Archive release because it doesn't have footage that was never seen anywhere else. Color my mind officially boggled.

    Once you see the "new" footage from Japan, you can't unsee it, and it is missed when not included. I am guessing, Bruce, you must have been a reader of Famous Monsters Of Filmland magazine, which numerous times featured a photo from DRACULA that showed his face all peeled away. I was pissed growing up when I saw this film theatrically and on t.v. and that view was never included. The Japanese footage contains a shot very close to that in the FM still. Also, I think the slightly longer climax is better paced — it doesn't feel as rushed as in the theatrical. I am fine with having both the UK and the Warner Bros. Archive editions, and like them both equally but for different reasons. I certainly would not discourage people from picking up the latest rendition.

  115. Well, I have the Blu with the Japanese footage and I didn't really care one way or the other, frankly. And yes, I was an avid Famous Monsters of Filmland FANatic – in fact, Mr. Ackerman live two blocks north of me on my street and I used to visit there quite often – that was long before the official Ackermansion.

  116. haineshisway

    And yet, even though these five seconds were ONLY seen in Japan, these people go on and on how they're not buying this Warner Archive release because it doesn't have footage that was never seen anywhere else. Color my mind officially boggled.

    Film geeks are weird. I believe it was on this very forum that someone said he refused to buy a certain foreign film because the subtitles were printed in yellow rather than white! Go figure!

  117. haineshisway

    And yet, even though these five seconds were ONLY seen in Japan, these people go on and on how they're not buying this Warner Archive release because it doesn't have footage that was never seen anywhere else. Color my mind officially boggled.

    Which is totally bizarre since film fans (especially at HTF) are usually about wanting the original theatrical presentation at all costs (see fights over the years about aspect ratio, color timing, cut/censored/"revised" versions, etc.). So it sounds like what is available on this disc represents the original theatrical presentation in 99% of the world. Adding footage seen by only a few moviegoers in Japan would be a modified/revised version to anyone outside of Japan.

  118. Malcolm R

    Which is totally bizarre since film fans (especially at HTF) are usually about wanting the original theatrical presentation at all costs (see fights over the years about aspect ratio, color timing, cut/censored/"revised" versions, etc.). So it sounds like what is available on this disc represents the original theatrical presentation in 99% of the world. Adding footage seen by only a few moviegoers in Japan would be a modified/revised version to anyone outside of Japan.

    That's my perspective. The effects are extremely cheesy in any case. The shorter the better.

  119. To me the original theatrical presentation is what was released in the US. Yes I am not happy with the “crushed” blacks. But I understand from more learned men than that this was the best it could be. The 2 to 3 seconds i

  120. Malcolm R

    Which is totally bizarre since film fans (especially at HTF) are usually about wanting the original theatrical presentation at all costs (see fights over the years about aspect ratio, color timing, cut/censored/"revised" versions, etc.). So it sounds like what is available on this disc represents the original theatrical presentation in 99% of the world. Adding footage seen by only a few moviegoers in Japan would be a modified/revised version to anyone outside of Japan.

    That's something of a moving target, though. We SAY we're for the original theatrical presentation at all costs but, in reality, nobody's arguing for the the theatrical cut of STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE over the uncensored Kazan version now available or wouldn't jump head first onto an uncut copy of MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS if it popped up tomorrow, just to name two off the top of my head. The extra seconds in HOD aren't a big deal to ME, but I get that they are to some people. The British disc makes both cuts available to let the viewer choose which they want to watch.

    ahollis

    Yes I am not happy with the “crushed” blacks. But I understand from more learned men than that this was the best it could be.

    I'm sorry my dear friend, but with all love and respect that just isn't so. The detail is THERE in the British disc. We've SEEN (recently) that healthy detail still exists and it's not the fault of a poor camera negative that couldn't be bettered. The crushed, oppressive blacks are a result of something Warner did to the master/scan/whatever AFTER they got it.

  121. Will Krupp

    That's something of a moving target, though. We SAY we're for the original theatrical presentation at all costs but, in reality, nobody's arguing for the the theatrical cut of STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE over the uncensored Kazan version now available or wouldn't jump head first onto an uncut copy of MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS if it popped up tomorrow, just to name two off the top of my head. The extra seconds in HOD aren't a big deal to ME, but I get that they are to some people. The British disc makes both cuts available to let the viewer choose which they want to watch.

    I'm sorry my dear friend, but with all love and respect that just isn't so. The detail is THERE in the British disc. We've SEEN (recently) that healthy detail still exists and it's not the fault of a poor camera negative that couldn't be bettered. The crushed, oppressive blacks are a result of something Warner did to the master/scan/whatever AFTER they got it.

    There is a presumption that whatever HD master, supplied to WB is the same as represented on the UK release.

    I’m not certain that they are one and the same.

  122. I personally think the extra Japan footage hurts this classic film. After hearing of the footage for 30+ years I was extremely disappointed when I finally saw it last year and found it was no big deal. In fact the extra few seconds make the dying scene drag on too long and make this classic horror film more campy. I could just see mystery science theater viewing this extended disintegration scene with cracks like: "oh just die already" The original scene works much better. The even longer version from Anollis is even worse since there was no sound found for that footage and they reused sound so it makes the music out of synch with the disintegration scene and the music is vital to that scene.

  123. For much of the time the Warner Blu-ray does replicate the look of the 16mm British IB Technicolor print that I once had. The one scene where it falls apart a bit is the sequence where Lucy meets the child in the forest. That's a bit too dark, a bit too blue and doesn't have a lot of detail. Probably a result of the color fade in the original negative that Mr. Harris mentions.

    But other than for those handful of shots I think the new Warner Blu-ray looks fantastic and it comes closest to the look of the old dye transfer prints.

  124. Eastmancolor

    For much of the time the Warner Blu-ray does replicate the look of the 16mm British IB Technicolor print that I once had. The one scene where it falls apart a bit is the sequence where Lucy meets the child in the forest. That's a bit too dark, a bit too blue and doesn't have a lot of detail. Probably a result of the color fade in the original negative that Mr. Harris mentions.

    But other than for those handful of shots I think the new Warner Blu-ray looks fantastic and it comes closest to the look of the old dye transfer prints.

    Thanks so much Mr. Harwood, for your comments. Though I didn't own a 16mm print of Hammer's DRACULA, I did see what I believe was an British IB 35mm Technicolor print a couple of times in NYC in the late 80's, and my reaction to the Warner Archive Blu-ray was exactly the same as yours. I thought the color and detail was very close, except for the scene with Lucy in the forest, which was too dark and blue. But overall, I'm very pleased with this Blu-ray.

  125. Some years ago we went to a film festival where a 16mm print was shown on a Xenon projector and it looked wonderful. When my Warner BR arrives I'll report back but it was a memorable time also fronted by a long reel of Hammer trailers.

    As for the one British BR the only thing I will say is I admire all the hard work and to have the Jap footage in it is interesting. The original feature I still find the colour muted which was apparently done purposely even though the film I watched was vibrant. Anyway we are perhaps lucky to have attention paid to these films and happy to order them here.

  126. Randy Korstick

    I personally think the extra Japan footage hurts this classic film. After hearing of the footage for 30+ years I was extremely disappointed when I finally saw it last year and found it was no big deal. In fact the extra few seconds make the dying scene drag on too long and make this classic horror film more campy. I could just see mystery science theater viewing this extended disintegration scene with cracks like: "oh just die already" The original scene works much better. The even longer version from Anollis is even worse since there was no sound found for that footage and they reused sound so it makes the music out of synch with the disintegration scene and the music is vital to that scene.

    Well, you know what they say about opinions… Personally, I like the extra footage as it reveals a shot of Dracula clawing at his burning face, which features the make-up Lee had in a very oft-published (in FM, etc., at least once as a full-page photo) shot of his peeling skin. I always felt ripped off I could never see it in the movie, but now I can. The disintegration sequence is really quite short even with the added few seconds. It doesn't negatively affect the visual pacing, although the sound coverage could use some work.

  127. Dick

    Well, you know what they say about opinions… Personally, I like the extra footage as it reveals a shot of Dracula clawing at his burning face, which features the make-up Lee had in a very oft-published (in FM, etc., at least once as a full-page photo) shot of his peeling skin. I always felt ripped off I could never see it in the movie, but now I can. The disintegration sequence is really quite short even with the added few seconds. It doesn't negatively affect the visual pacing, although the sound coverage could use some work.

    I agree that it is important footage and every fan of the film should see it at least once but I do think it makes the sequence too long and too cheasy especially after just watching the WAC blu ray without it. I can see why it was not included anywhere except for Japan. WAC should have included it as an extra. But at least its available on the UK and Annolis versions. I am happy to have both versions but prefer the film without the footage.

  128. FoxyMulder

    I have the UK version, bought years ago, it looks good to my eyes, I doubt Warner will have improved upon it.

    I prefer the film with the clawing at face sequence, censorship be damned.

    But the Warner DID improve on it in the most important area – the color. So why would you doubt they'd improved upon it?

  129. haineshisway

    But the Warner DID improve on it in the most important area – the color. So why would you doubt they'd improved upon it?

    The colour of the UK release looked nice to me, was it accurate, well i guess not after reading page one again, but why in a restoration did the BFI and Hammer not reference those dye technicolour prints.

    Seems a missed opportunity if they were doing a restoration.

  130. I've hated the UK disc ever since it came out so much so that every year I rewatch the contrasty, overcropped very old DVD. While the entire UK master wasn't blued to death the parts that were drove me absolutely bonkers and for that and other reasons it became one of my most hated releases because color is so important to this film.
    I agree with the sentiment that the legendary Japanese footage is a treasure but ultimately doesn't work with the final scoring edits and throws out the swift pacing of the finale a bit. Of course it is the US theatrical cut we normally speak of that is seen here on video as the UK version was trimmed in all of the more objectionable parts much further.
    I hate that they removed the Horror title as the box and disc have the US title and he edit is the US release version. Plus I feel it's a much better title anyway.

    Now to talk about the new disc…I've posted over on BD.com and read the classichorrorforum thread and it's not an easy one to discuss. Overall it seems a drastic improvement in color and overall transfer but the darkness obscures too much for a modern HD presentation and it seems related primarily to the edges of the camera setups thus producing a sort of unintentional iris effect at times. I think WAC went back to the 2007 master source and tried to adjust whatever was there to better match the IB prints they referenced. This is what should be making the disc overall look better than the more processed UK BD made a few years later but in working with an older 2007 master with presumably some of this stuff baked into it causes it to be very limiting. So while the color is addressed it causes the black levels to go off and then while the tone of the color is dramatically better some things occasionally appear too bright, such as Harker's journal which at times looks like a red beacon. When viewed on a calibrated display this new disc is too dark for a HD release and even with adding back a few points of contrast/brightness on your display it cannot fully address the issue. But again it's not in every shot and seems to be mainly on the frame sides and in objects/costumes.

    Of course all of this would be alleviated if a new scan was done and I cannot for the life of me understand why so many great classic titles such as this do not receive the treatment that some junk does today with 4K. I know WAC did this as a good stopgap to at least get the film out there and should be applauded for doing so. However it is not perfect and those not used to seeing film scans without proper regrading for consumer displays and HD standards will note how dark the image can be obscuring details particularly around the edges of the frame. Ironically the included original Universal trailer while faded does not have the black level issue of the feature.

    The audio is wonderful. I noticed a surprising but healthy amount of inherent noise but it was never obtrusive and there was absolutely no high end distortion on and dialogue of music.

    The castle fade issue is immediately noticeable on first viewing and I have no idea what went wrong. This along with the black levels being a tad too much are the real drawbacks of this release-however the color is so awful on the UK disc that this is a must own.

    The problem overall is that we're so used to old video versions with different framing and very little black level and tons of contrast. I've had to watch the old super croppy and very contrasty DVD with boosted colors yearly and going to this was a dream save for the two issues of black level and the castle fade. The included original Universal trailer is fantastic since we only had the redone WB one before.

    I still miss the HoD title card.

    So in short is this perfect? No. But it's arguably the best version to arrive on video so far and the color is drastically improved but not perfect. It just has the fade issue (Is it just me or do all the fades seem more pronounced on this disc?) and the blacks are perhaps a tad too obscuring of finer details. Until proper 4K treatment with modern tools is applied this is the best we can hope for.

    It is kind of odd that we get almost simultaneous reissues of HOD and Prince of Darkness both of which feature problematic transfers that are seemingly more of a straight from the source approach. Here it's a redo of the 2007 master to match archival sources and the Shout release has the straight US vaulted IP print scan with too much in the black levels and an alternative color presentation.

    I also didn't mention the very infrequent but occasional soft looking shots because I felt they were inherent to the source.

    The more I think about it the more convoluted this becomes. Ultimately this isn't an easy film to discuss.

  131. Spencer Draper

    Of course it is the US theatrical cut we normally speak of that is seen here on video as the UK version was trimmed in all of the more objectionable parts much further.

    The difference between the US and UK versions, besides the title is during the Lucy staking. The close-up of the stake with blood was cut and the distressing reactions from Lucy.

    One of the basic rules in telecine is that wherever possible you avoid 'clipping' of highlights and 'crushing' of blacks. Any exceeding degree in level of either is burned in to the transfer and cannot be rectified by your tv settings.
    I've had experience in telecine supervision and on the grader's work area is a vectorscope an essential tool where you can easily see what 'highlights' and 'lowlights' are going into the area of no return. Obvious items such as bright headlights and streetlights are often unavoidable but anything that is very light or dark, done with any care, should not be a problem. (I am referring to procedures which may not be a problem today with modern technology – HDR??)

    When I supervised "THE TWILIGHT ZONE", the 35mm original negatives and/or occasional fine-grain masters had amazing detail from top to bottom and I made every effort to ensure that as much of that detail got to the video transfer.
    As I previously mentioned I was dissatisfied with Warner's transfer. It is too dark and that the black crush, that I believe is global, only becomes apparent when the image's density goes down to a certain level. I'm not sure what causes the problem that appears on the frame sides, possibly a reaction of the compression versus the degree of black crush applied

  132. Spencer Draper

    So in short is this perfect? No. But it's arguably the best version to arrive on video so far and the color is drastically improved but not perfect. It just has the fade issue (Is it just me or do all the fades seem more pronounced on this disc?) and the blacks are perhaps a tad too obscuring of finer details. Until proper 4K treatment with modern tools is applied this is the best we can hope for.

    Thank you for the thorough and reasoned analysis. I also read your posts on the BR forum and really enjoyed them.

    I think, at this point, which release is better simply comes down to what is more important to the viewer, more correct color or better black levels, since neither of the two versions we're talking about is anywhere near perfect nor definitive. I have always fancied myself a "color" guy, but this this release (surprisingly) has changed that. After looking at both discs over and over again, I've come to the realization that I can live with the flawed color scheme on the British disc (as imperfect as that is) but I just absolutely cannot get past the heavy black levels and lack of detail on the Warner. To my mind, any advances Warner has made with the color are completely negated by the overall murkiness of their disc. It's as incorrect in its way as the BFI is in theirs. Other members have gone on record as saying that the more correct color is the big winner and they can live with the depressed blacks. I can respect that, too, as both camps are making some sort of compromise anyway.

    I don't think there's much point in arguing which is "better" since it will all come down what each individual can "live with."

    I've stayed pretty much out of the fray after my initial observations when the disc came out, but one thing that's driving me crazy (mostly on the other board) is how determined people are to "take a side" and insist that their preferred version is the absolute correct version and everyone must agree with them. I love Warner as much as the next guy but they aren't infallible.

    Until we have a release with the right color and black levels, watch whichever one you prefer.

  133. Spencer Draper

    Of course all of this would be alleviated if a new scan was done and I cannot for the life of me understand why so many great classic titles such as this do not receive the treatment that some junk does today with 4K.

    ,

    THIS!! 110%

    If "The Curse of Frankenstein" (my favorite Hammer of them all) is handled so mediocre, I will be upset. Really upset.

  134. Bryan^H

    ,

    THIS!! 110%

    If "The Curse of Frankenstein" (my favorite Hammer of them all) is handled so mediocre, I will be upset. Really upset.

    I believe the original film materials are in a worse state than HOD, so I'm not quite sure how Warner are going to handle any future US release.

  135. I always try to look at all sides and understand both what happens on disc and the respective title's transfer history and such. Unfortunately most do not go into such detail and become quick to judge without understanding the nature of the business or what labels have to work with.

    Stephen PI

    I believe the original film materials are in a worse state than HOD, so I'm not quite sure how Warner are going to handle any future US release.

    The UK CoF Bluray many dislike is the Warner scan of their best elements. So it remains to be seen what modern work could do with whatever is uncovered. It was long thought that the holdup on both titles was to find better elements and that the negatives and vault materials were either gone or in bad shape. IIRC the Warner COF scan was from a interpositive or something which was the best they had. It was done some time ago but is after the DVD scan which was essentially a noise reduced edge enhanced reissue of the final letterboxed Laserdisc master which was a uncommon disc to find and it's only since a friend got one and told me it was the DVD master source that I've been able to nail down the time line of COF on video.

    Now I guess for completion's sake I really need to go and find the old 1.33 HoD Laserdisc. The Japanese exclusive 1.33 releases of the sequels were supposed to have different color and I haven't found The Mummy yet.

    Come to think of it isn't it funny that THE MUMMY suffers from none of these problems? The DVD was solid and was without framing issues and the HD presentations are absolutely stunning. THAT should be the benchmark for these and an example of how Jack Asher shot early Hammers can look-and I think it could be even better in 4K. Similarly the HD presentations of BASKERVILLES are light years ahead of the old LD/DVD master but still based around older work and could benefit from a new scan.

  136. Spencer Draper

    I always try to look at all sides and understand both what happens on disc and the respective title's transfer history and such. Unfortunately most do not go into such detail and become quick to judge without understanding the nature of the business or what labels have to work with.

    The UK CoF Bluray many dislike is the Warner scan of their best elements. So it remains to be seen what modern work could do with whatever is uncovered. It was long thought that the holdup on both titles was to find better elements and that the negatives and vault materials were either gone or in bad shape. IIRC the Warner COF scan was from a interpositive or something which was the best they had. It was done some time ago but is after the DVD scan which was essentially a noise reduced edge enhanced reissue of the final letterboxed Laserdisc master which was a uncommon disc to find and it's only since a friend got one and told me it was the DVD master source that I've been able to nail down the time line of COF on video.

    Now I guess for completion's sake I really need to go and find the old 1.33 HoD Laserdisc. The Japanese exclusive 1.33 releases of the sequels were supposed to have different color and I haven't found The Mummy yet.

    Come to think of it isn't it funny that THE MUMMY suffers from none of these problems? The DVD was solid and was without framing issues and the HD presentations are absolutely stunning. THAT should be the benchmark for these and an example of how Jack Asher shot early Hammers can look-and I think it could be even better in 4K. Similarly the HD presentations of BASKERVILLES are light years ahead of the old LD/DVD master but still based around older work and could benefit from a new scan.

    Hi Spencer……I think the situation with COF is that the Eastman original is faded badly and Warner created a new duplicate negative several years ago from the black and white separation masters. Consequently, the UK blu ray was made either from the dupe neg or an element made from it. The early reel have several overlapping dissolves cut into the original negative, so you can imagine how they look!
    I have a hope that with today's technology, Warner might be able to go back to the aging negative and pull color out of it.
    I agree with you a hundred percent that those later Hammer films don't suffer the same problems as COF and HOD. Just a guess but it could be film stocks, different owners have various storage conditions. MGM owns BASKERVILLES, BRIDES with Universal etc., etc.
    I would like to see Paramount redo "MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH", it looks nothing like the I.B. prints I've seen. Also I would like to have Sony bring "REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN" up to the quality level of their other Hammer titles.
    I have those Japanese laserdiscs you mention. When I get a chance I'll dig them out and take a look and try to come up with a fair assessment and let you know..

  137. Will Krupp

    I think, at this point, which release is better simply comes down to what is more important to the viewer, more correct color or better black levels, since neither of the two versions we're talking about is anywhere near perfect nor definitive…Until we have a release with both the right color and proper black levels, watch whichever one you prefer

    I ended up getting both discs and after comparing the two, my preference is for…the version on iTunes. Although I suspect it's sourced from an older master, it's 1.78 instead of 1.66, it has the "Horror of Dracula" title card, the black level isn't crushed and the colour is closer to the Warner disc.

  138. Worth

    I ended up getting both discs and after comparing the two, my preference is for…the version on iTunes. Although I suspect it's sourced from an older master, it's 1.78 instead of 1.66, it has the "Horror of Dracula" title card, the black level isn't crushed and the colour is closer to the Warner disc.

    I think I will do the same. Thank you for you insight on the iTunes version. The WA version is just too dark for me to enjoy it.

  139. titch

    I noticed over at caps-a-holic that there was a limited German edition, (on Amazon.de it looks like it was released last year) which seems in the screen captures to have the colour of the Warner Archive, but not the crush. Otherwise no apparent restoration.

    https://caps-a-holic.com/c_list.php?c=5033

    Don't suppose anyone has actually seen this version?

    I haven't, but it's referenced a lot as the "Anolis Version" in online discussions so I'm sure someone here has. If not, there is a lot of discussion about it on the Blu-ray.com thread (if you can get through nearly 50 pages of arguing and back and forth insults, lol)

  140. titch

    Thanks – but I'll stay far away from that!

    Hahah, well, to summarize, the Anolis version from Germany falls between the UK and the US version in terms of release dates and is the longest cut available because it adds back in slightly more footage from the Japanese reels than the UK release did.

  141. haineshisway

    The Anolis is too bright and the color doesn't quite do it and is not as good as the Warners.

    Good to know. It's out of print anyway and going for over $50 from third-party sellers.

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