A few words about…™ Reap the Wild Wind – in Blu-ray

4 Stars

Cecil B. DeMille’s 1942 Technicolor Paramount production of Reap the Wild Wind, with an all-star cast, should be a gorgeous blu-ray.

John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Ray Milland, Paulette Goddard, Raymond Massey, Robert Preston, Charles Bickford, all in Technicolor, which in 1942 was still a rarity – a special occasion at the cinema. The industry output that year, was seventeen. Paramount released three productions in the process. The other two, forgettable.

Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray has generally very nice colors, but as this seems to be based upon an older transfer, and derived from a less than stellar film element, the results relevant to this Blu-ray are mixed at best.

Registration issues, and occasional dirt are apart of the image, along with less than wonderful stability.

Another important film, that deserves better.

Image – 3.25

Audio – 4.5

Upgrade from DVD – sure

Pass / Fail – Pass

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

31 Comments

  1. I take issue with your comments about the other two being forgettable. I actually enjoy those other two films more than this all-star cast film. I'm not saying it's a lesser movie, but I'm entertained by the other two more so. Strike those prior two comments. Again, who has the original film elements of this film, Paramount or Universal?

  2. Robert Crawford

    I take issue with your comments about the other two being forgettable. I actually enjoy those other two films more than this all-star cast film. I'm not saying it's a lesser movie, but I'm entertained by the other two more so. Again, who has the original film elements of this film, Paramount or Universal?

    Universal should have the studio holdings, whatever they are. What were Paramount's other two 1942 Technicolor productions?

  3. JoeDoakes

    Universal should have the studio holdings, whatever they are. What were Paramount's other two 1942 Technicolor productions?

    I misunderstood RAH's post, but the other two movies were The Forest Rangers and Beyond the Horizon. The former film with Fred MacMurray I did see and remember liking it, the latter film I have no memory of ever seeing it.

  4. Robert Crawford

    I take issue with your comments about the other two being forgettable. I actually enjoy those other two films more than this all-star cast film. I'm not saying it's a lesser movie, but I'm entertained by the other two more so. Strike those prior two comments. Again, who has the original film elements of this film, Paramount or Universal?

    Should be Uni

  5. Robert Crawford

    I misunderstood RAH's post, but the other two movies were The Forest Rangers and Beyond the Horizon. The former film with Fred MacMurray I did see and remember liking, the latter film I have no memory of ever seeing it.

    I love THE FOREST RANGERS (anything with Goddard, really) but I've never seen the Dorothy Lamour movie.

    I have REAP on DVD but will probably upgrade at some point. It's a shame it's not all it should be but, considering I NEVER expected this to ever see the blu light of day I hope it's worth taking a risk.

  6. Some scenes do have a bit of dirt & sparkle, & some highlights have a touch of green in the highlights, a sign of registration issues, but overall I thought it looked pretty stunning, those thick rich colours, but then I am seeing it on a 42" plasma. I'm sure large screen projection shows up a lot of sins.

  7. Oh I dunno, when you compare these Universal releases to the forties Fox colour releases, where they've thrown away the nitrate negatives & have to rely on dupes, the Universal releases look so much better. The Fox releases look dupey with almost no detail in the blacks. The Universal releases on the other hand look vibrant & sharp, not dupey at all, with lots of detail in the blacks, someone could be wearing a black coat with black buttons, & you'd see every bit of detail, buttons, pockets, the lot, the Fox release would just be a black blob. So I'm thinking that Universal does have good original elements (ha, that's a weasel word).

  8. Mr. Harris, when you speak of “registration issues”, I have not been able to successfully ascertain what is meant by that. I am a layman when it comes to film terminology. My opaque awareness of the concept of registration in photochemical film processes is limited to the comment of a noted film preservationist that he once used the cleft in Kirk Douglas’ chin to perform this process, whatever it is. Would you be willing to enlighten me?

  9. I think this is one of DeMille's better movies, but I won't buy it unless it has better picture quality.

    Do we know if the three-strip Technicolor negative still exists? Even if it does, who would pay the major money that it would take for this one to look as it should. I've actually been hoping this one would come out on blu-ray for about a decade, but now hope has just gone out like a snuffed candle.

  10. BornOfAJackal

    Mr. Harris, when you speak of “registration issues”, I have not been able to successfully ascertain what is meant by that. I am a layman when it comes to film terminology. My opaque awareness of the concept of registration in photochemical film processes is limited to the comment of a noted film preservationist that he once used the cleft in Kirk Douglas’ chin to perform this process, whatever it is. Would you be willing to enlighten me?

    Technicolor is not color. It’s three b/w negatives that must registered. Best to visit widescreenmuseum for a quick fix

  11. I have the French blu-ray (under the title "Les Naufrageurs des Mers du Sud") released by Elephant Films. The print is gorgeous (in my opinion); the French subtitles are removable. Highly recommended. (I think the blu-ray is region-free.)

  12. benbess

    I think this is one of DeMille's better movies, but I won't buy it unless it has better picture quality.

    Do we know if the three-strip Technicolor negative still exists? Even if it does, who would pay the major money that it would take for this one to look as it should. I've actually been hoping this one would come out on blu-ray for about a decade, but now hope has just gone out like a snuffed candle.

    With us being in the declining days of discs its a safe bet that this will not get a better release than this. Robert listed it as a definite upgrade from the DVD which is good enough for me to purchase it as I really enjoy this film.

  13. BornOfAJackal

    Mr. Harris, when you speak of “registration issues”, I have not been able to successfully ascertain what is meant by that. I am a layman when it comes to film terminology. My opaque awareness of the concept of registration in photochemical film processes is limited to the comment of a noted film preservationist that he once used the cleft in Kirk Douglas’ chin to perform this process, whatever it is. Would you be willing to enlighten me?

    [​IMG]
    From a review of the French Elephant Films blu ray:
    https://translate.google.com/transl…eapthewildwind-cecilbdemille.html&prev=search

  14. Robert Harris

    Technicolor is not color. It’s three b/w negatives that must registered. Best to visit widescreenmuseum for a quick fix

    Enlightening summations of the color processes at widescreenmuseum.com. I'm assuming that registration is the overall process of aligning, flashing and printing the two-or-three color negatives? Or is it just one discreet step in that process? Lots of chemistry, optics and engineering involved. What a technological juggling act!

  15. Trancas

    [​IMG]
    From a review of the French Elephant Films "Reap the Wild Wind" blu ray
    https://translate.google.com/transl…eapthewildwind-cecilbdemille.html&prev=search

    Having never seen the film, I appreciate getting a look at the intended "look". You've got to admire the amount of precision that goes into all this. Makes Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, 2001, et al. even more precious as one comes to appreciate all the pure "eye-work" it must take to get it right.

  16. BornOfAJackal

    I'm assuming that registration is the overall process of aligning, flashing and printing the two-or-three color negatives?

    Just to jump in for a minute, old nitrate film stock has a tendency to shrink over the years and you may have seen it manifest itself in old black and white movies as "gate weave" where the image seems to weave back and forth on screen. The issue here is that no two nitrate negatives shrink in exactly the same way or at exactly the same speed so, when dealing with the three separate negatives of three-strip Technicolor, it can become a challenge in modern times to align the three images perfectly since their basic geometry has changed over time. "Registration," as we refer to it today, usually always refers to the alignment of three-strip negatives since both Two-color Technicolor and Successive Exposure Technicolor (as in most animation) used single negatives. There is still shrinkage in those cases, but all of the color information is located on the same strip of negative so the registration of colors is not usually an issue. I'm sure there are some cases where that's not true but that should give you a general idea of the term.

  17. BornOfAJackal

    Thanks for summing that up. Have there been cases–or will there be–in which the individual three-strips are digitized, then adjusted and registred in an entirely digital fashion?

    The short answer is yes.

    (they talk about the process at around the 3:00 minute mark)

  18. BornOfAJackal

    Thanks for summing that up. Have there been cases–or will there be–in which the individual three-strips are digitized, then adjusted and registred in an entirely digital fashion?

    I believe Warner's "Ultra Resolution" process involved doing this for GWTW and Wizard of Oz and a few others.

  19. I own the Elephant Films French region free Reap the Wild Wind, Unconquered and Sign of the Cross, all beloved favorites. I suppose they could look better but compared to the old DVDs, well, pretty damned good to these eyes. This from a guy who was mesmerized by the BBC HD broadcast of Raintree County, a BD disc I'd pay a king's ransom to own exactly in the way it was presented. Oh, well. How about the DeMille prints? The DeMille family owns pristine prints of most of C.B.'s films I understand. He made that a part of the contract I've heard. Maybe some real treasures will be released someday. I, for one, would buy them all.

  20. The reason Warner discontinued the expensive Ultra Resolution process is because technology caught up to the point where they could get similar results by scanning an already combined interpositive and using digital tools to fix registration errors.

  21. Mark-P

    The reason Warner discontinued the expensive Ultra Resolution process is because technology caught up to the point where they could get similar results by scanning an already combined interpositive and using digital tools to fix registration errors.

    True, but oh, boy, were the results gorgeous for the films that did receive it: Meet Me in St. Louis, Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon, Easter Parade, An American in Paris.

  22. Mark-P

    The reason Warner discontinued the expensive Ultra Resolution process is because technology caught up to the point where they could get similar results by scanning an already combined interpositive and using digital tools to fix registration errors.

    As well as other, and better tools

  23. Robert Harris

    Cecil B. DeMille's 1942 Technicolor Paramount production of Reap the Wild Wind, with an all-star cast, should be a gorgeous blu-ray.

    John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Ray Milland, Paulette Goddard, Raymond Massey, Robert Preston, Charles Bickford, all in Technicolor, which in 1942 was still a rarity – a special occasion at the cinema. The industry output that year, was seventeen. Paramount released three productions in the process. The other two, forgettable.

    Kino Lorber's new Blu-ray has generally very nice colors, but as this seems to be based upon an older transfer, and derived from a less than stellar film element, the results relevant to this Blu-ray are mixed at best.

    Registration issues, and occasional dirt are apart of the image, along with less than wonderful stability.

    Another important film, that deserves better.

    Image – 3.25

    Audio – 4.5

    Upgrade from DVD – sure

    Pass / Fail – Pass

    RAH
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    I watched my Kino disc in its entirety this afternoon and I'm happy with the video presentation. My video score is 4.25 as the registration issues weren't as prevalent on my 55" OLED as I've seen with some other Technicolor movies released on BD. It's not a pristine presentation like "Singin' in the Rain" or "The Wizard of Oz", but I'm very satisfied compared to RAH's initial comments that had me concern for something worse than what I observed today. I think most of us that have seen this movie several times beforehand on various home video formats or TV showings will be quite happy with it.

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