A few words about…™ The Doors — in 4k UHD Blu-ray

Lionsgate's new 4k Blu-ray from Studio Canal, is a gorgeous representation of the film. 4 Stars

Oliver Stone’s 1991 production, The Doors, is an interestingly constructed film, with some nice set-pieces, that has never really worked for me.

I’ll watch it whenever it arrives in a new format, and continually go back to my favorite reviewer, Roger Ebert’s comments, back in March of 1991, with which I fully agree:

“F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that the problem with American lives is that they have no second act. The problem with Jim Morrison’s life was that it had no first and third. His childhood was lost in a mist of denial… and his maturity was interrupted by an early death, caused by his relentless campaign against his own mind and body. What he left behind was a protracted adolescence, during which he recorded some great rock ‘n’ roll.

If we can trust Oliver Stone’s new biographical film, “The Doors,” life for Jim Morrison was like being trapped for months at a time in the party from hell. He wanders out of the sun’s glare, a curly haired Southern California beach boy with a cute pout and a notebook full of poetry. He picks up a beer, he smokes a joint, and then life goes on fast-forward as he gobbles up drugs and booze with both hands, while betraying his friends and making life miserable for anyone who loves him. By the age of 27 he is dead. Watching the movie is like being stuck in a bar with an obnoxious drunk, when you’re not drinking.” – Roger Ebert 

The entire review can be found on ROGEREBERT.COM

Lionsgate’s new 4k Blu-ray from Studio Canal, is a gorgeous representation of the film. A film that was apparently heavily damaged, possibly by deluxe labs, which may have over-printed the film, especially if there was no 65mm dupe produced for large format printing.

I have no direct knowledge of this, except that it has been presumably, heavily restored.

Whatever has been done, credited to a 4k scan at Fotokem in Burbank, and L’Immagine Ritrovata, in Italy, must be hiding a multitude of sins, as the marketing tells us that a major restorative effort was necessary.

Hopefully, they’ve recorded out a restored negative as an asset to replace the damaged article.

Whatever work was performed, and starting with that aforementioned scan at Fotokem, what the viewer has is extremely film like, with beautiful grain, lovely colors, and proper levels of black and shadow detail.

The track, which had an original 6-track mix, seems faithfully reproduced, now using Dolby Atmos to heighten things a bit.

The disc offers two cuts of the film, the only difference of which, as I recall, is an added ending.

If there’s a reason to grab a copy of this, it would be for Val Kilmer’s take on Morrison, which for me is worth the price of admission.

And then, of course, there’s the music of The Doors.

Image – 5

Audio – 5 (Dolby Atmos)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from Blu-ray – Yes

Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

33 Comments

  1. A 4K/UHD of anything shot by Robert Richardson will always capture my attentions.

    Albeit, "The Doors" came out of Tri-Star; it would still be a welcomed addition to see Universal put out a 4K/UHD of "Snow Falling on Cedars" (1999). "Snow Falling on Cedars" was Robert Richardson's 4th of 9 Oscar nominations and his only AMPAS work that never received a BD release.

    Robert Richarson's Oscar Nominations:

    "Platoon" (1986)
    "Born on the 4th of July" (1989)
    "JFK" (1991)*
    "Snow Falling on Cedars" (1999)
    "The Aviator" (2004)*
    "Inglorious Basterds (2009)
    "Hugo" (2011)*
    "Django Unchained" (2012)
    "The Hateful Eight" (2015)

    More, more, more of Robert Richardson on 4K/UHD !!:thumbs-up-smiley:

    (*) Denotes Oscar Win

  2. I saw this for the first time only last year, & loved it, a bravura piece of film making (although unfair to Jim Morrison, I'm sure he didn't act like a looney all the time)…& now I know where the naked American Indian came from in Wayne's World 2 🙂

  3. The Doors were one of my favorite rock groups (and I mostly dislike rock), and I felt they had a unique point of view.

    I may never have found myself in the Light My Fire ecstacy, but I remember well driving an old truck around the drive-in theater where I was the projectionist (summer of 67), finding and fixing speakers that had broken. I played The Doors album through the sound system so I could find the broken ones.

    Then came Stanford, and from my perch there, I watched Morrison and many others overdo it. It is as though they took their own music too seriously as a pattern for their lives. Too many interesting people lost too young.

  4. The Doors made spectacular albums. I have all the quadrophonic SACDs.

    Oliver Stone is one of the great American maverick directors and screenwriters. He is almost always interesting, regardless if he's made or written the screenplay for a great film or turkey (the exception being that dreadful Alexander, every single version of it). I remember being really bored with The Doors when I saw it all those years ago, but maybe it's worth another look? I haven't decided yet. I'm more anticipating the forthcoming 4K disc of Scarface.

  5. PMF

    A 4K/UHD of anything shot by Robert Richardson will always capture my attentions.

    Albeit, "The Doors" came out of Tri-Star; it would still a welcomed addition to see Universal put out a 4K/UHD of "Snow Falling on Cedars" (1999). "Snow Falling on Cedars" was Robert Richardson's 4th of 9 Oscar nominations and his only AMPAS work that never received a BD release.

    Robert Richarson's Oscar Nominations:

    "Platoon" (1986)
    "Born on the 4th of July" (1989)
    "JFK" (1991)*
    "Snow Falling on Cedars" (1999)
    "The Aviator" (2004)*
    "Inglorious Basterds (2009)
    "Hugo" (2011)*
    "Django Unchained" (2012)
    "The Hateful Eight" (2015)

    More, more, more of Robert Richardson on 4K/UHD !!:thumbs-up-smiley:

    (*) Denotes Oscar Win

    'Snow Falling On Cedars' being released on bluray November 5th…

    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Snow-Falling-on-Cedars-Blu-ray/42398/

  6. Oliver Stone’s second film done in anamorphic Panavision and his second and last film that had a 70mm blow up. The film may not be 100 percent accurate, but I loved how epic in scope it is. Oliver Stone’s second epic film after Born On The Fourth Of July. I saw both of these in 70mm at McClurg Ct Cinema in Chicago in their main theater which was a THX theater. I for one am excited about this release. Now if Fourth Of July and JFK can come out in 4k UHD with an Atmos track.

  7. I know this cut is two minutes shorter than previous versions- according to Stone it’s changes to the ending. Has anyone detailed the actual changes?

  8. Grady Reid

    I know this cut is two minutes shorter than previous versions- according to Stone it’s changes to the ending. Has anyone detailed the actual changes?

    I'll have a look at the 2 endings and see if I notice anything different…

  9. Colin Jacobson

    I'll have a look at the 2 endings and see if I notice anything different…

    Just a hunch on endings, but I suspect that the first version shows how one door closes;
    while in the second, another one opens.:D

  10. PMF

    Just a hunch, but I suspect that the first ending shows how one door closes;
    while in the second, another one opens.:D

    Maybe! 😀

    Glad you posted to remind me to check. I went out of town for the Stones last night and I'm running on like 3 hours sleep – I forgot I said I'd look!

  11. Grady Reid

    I know this cut is two minutes shorter than previous versions- according to Stone it’s changes to the ending. Has anyone detailed the actual changes?

    Best I can see is that the new version cuts the entire scene right after Ray's son's birthday party where Jim is smashed drunk (surprise) and walking on the ledge of the Chateau Marmont bottle of Jack in hand, while Pam and the others try to talk him back in. Everything else looks to be the same. I saw nothing new added.

  12. Billy Batson

    That's a bit naughty. And in Europe there's a stand alone Blu-ray of the new transfer, which I'll probably buy as I'm not 4K yet, & I don't know when I will be.

    It gets even naughtier if you prefer BD as a very reputable UK poster at another site said it's an outstanding BD.

  13. mike skillsky

    Best I can see is that the new version cuts the entire scene right after Ray's son's birthday party where Jim is smashed drunk (surprise) and walking on the ledge of the Chateau Marmont bottle of Jack in hand, while Pam and the others try to talk him back in. Everything else looks to be the same. I saw nothing new added.

    That scene actually happens before the birthday party.

    Vincent

  14. Oh man I watched this for the third time today, since receiving it Monday. I saw this on release, several times, as I was actually in the midst of a teenage Doors phase at the time the movie released. In all the years since, I've owned this on vhs, DVD, and the sole Blu-ray release from 08. This was a favorite of mine over the years, usually enjoyed with my friends over various "stimulates". Well, as I started watching the the new uhd I felt my jaw slowly drop. Absolutely stunning! I had no idea this film had so much potential to actually resemble film. It's gorgeous! I can only experience hdr10 on my projector, and that was more than sufficient to blow my mind with the seemingly endless assault of bright, deep, colors, and real black. I can't help remember the awful, over-processed, pasty look of the Blu-ray, in contrast to this beauty. I dare say, this may the definitive version of The Doors for many years to come.

  15. Robert Crawford

    I didn't realize that both film versions are in 4K/Dolby Version on the 4K disc.

    That is indeed a really good decision as people may not buy if their favorite version is not included on a UHD disc.

    I surely do not want to watch Waterworld in a short version so I will not buy that release as only the shorter version is available in UHD.

  16. Grady Reid

    I know this cut is two minutes shorter than previous versions- according to Stone it’s changes to the ending. Has anyone detailed the actual changes?

    Oliver cut the scene right before the birthday party at Ray’s house at the end, that shows Jim on the ledge if the Chateau Marmot and Pam trying to bring him in while Ray and the others are filming. I noticed that I didn’t miss that scene when I watched it.

  17. Brian9229

    Oh man I watched this for the third time today, since receiving it Monday. I saw this on release, several times, as I was actually in the midst of a teenage Doors phase at the time the movie released. In all the years since, I've owned this on vhs, DVD, and the sole Blu-ray release from 08. This was a favorite of mine over the years, usually enjoyed with my friends over various "stimulates". Well, as I started watching the the new uhd I felt my jaw slowly drop. Absolutely stunning! I had no idea this film had so much potential to actually resemble film. It's gorgeous! I can only experience hdr10 on my projector, and that was more than sufficient to blow my mind with the seemingly endless assault of bright, deep, colors, and real black. I can't help remember the awful, over-processed, pasty look of the Blu-ray, in contrast to this beauty. I dare say, this may the definitive version of The Doors for many years to come.

    I would love for Born On The Fourth Of July to be next on 4K UHD Blu Ray. That film and The Doors were his first 2 anamorphic films and the only 2 that had 70mm blow ups. I would love an Atmos or DTSX track for Born as well.

  18. Jonathan Perregaux

    I have the 4K Waterworld Steelbook from Best Buy and I was surprised to see a menu option to play the director’s cut.

    According to a review on another site that is the standard 1080p version but at least it is from a newer master so if before you only had the old Universal disc it will be a nice improvement.

  19. I did see this in the theater, and I have the original laserdisc release. But that's it. For a while, I did blast all the concert scenes when I could in my apartment.

    But, while I certainly appreciate much of their music, I was never a big Doors fan or follower. In fact, I never bought an album of theirs. Just one of those groups that passed me by and only hearing them from radio or other media. The movie impressed me more for the visuals and the aforementioned concert scenes. But, I agree about the story and how the man was portrayed. He seemed a brat who was just too self-absorbed to care about what he wrote about. I mean, I know the idea was the loss of potential from self-absorption, but it felt more like, well, maybe that was all there was to get anyway. At least, that's how I saw it.

  20. Hearing that such a fabulous effort and result were obtained is reason for great joy. But…I can't help the gnawing feeling I get when reading about such efforts, in terms of catalogue title selection. It's hard to imagine that this UHD will fly off the shelves faster than any of a vast number of more worthy films. It's the age old question of home media: who makes these decisions and why? Are darts thrown at a board? Does this title have a fabulous record of home media sales that I'm unaware of, and does this have any relevance to the CURRENT state of media sales? Hell, it won't even have institutional sales such as for public libraries.

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