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It appears John Sturges’ 1963 Panavision war film, The Great Escape, like a number of other UA films owned by MGM, has been licensed to Kino in 4k, while Criterion holds the Blu-ray rights.

The film takes on a bit nicer imagery in 4k, and a certain uptick can be noted examining the image close to the screen.

But sit in a normal position, and the film, which was never 4k to begin with, seems a nice match to the Criterion release.

Presumably from the same master, the hi-con titles take on a bit more of a razor edge, while grains for production footage are minimal.

There’s an age-old dilemma here, Criterion Blu-ray or Kino 4k.

To me the answer is simple.

If one already has the Criterion, you’re set.

If you don’t have a copy of the filmi and desire one – it’s a terrific piece of entertainment – go with the 4k, which slightly better.

It remains to be seen how many more of these 50-60 year-old UA productions Kino will license in 4k, but I’ll be interested in seeing how many folks purchase them to supplant their Criterions.

I’d bet not that many.

Akin to Criterion, a nice selection of extras, on a separate disc.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors – Yes

Upgrade from Blu-ray – If you don’t already have the Criterion

Makes use of and works well in 4k – 3.75

Highly Recommened

RAH
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Robert Crawford

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It appears John Sturges' 1963 Panavision war film, The Great Escape, like a number of other UA films owned by MGM, has been licensed to Kino in 4k, while Criterion holds the Blu-ray rights.

Now in Dolby Vision, the film takes on a bit nicer imagery in 4k, and a certain uptick can be noted examining the image close to the screen.

But sit in a normal position, and the film, which was never 4k to begin with, seems a nice match to the Criterion release.

Presumably from the same master, the hi-con titles take on a bit more of a razor edge, while grains for production footage are minimal.

There's an age-old dilemma here, Criterion Blu-ray or Kino 4k.

To me the answer is simple.

If one already has the Criterion, you're set.

If you don't have a copy of the filmi and desire one - it's a terrific piece of entertainment - go with the 4k, which slightly better.

It remains to be seen how many more of these 50-60 year-old UA productions Kino will license in 4k, but I'll be interested in seeing how many folks purchase them to supplant their Criterions.

I'd bet not that many.

Akin to Criterion, a nice selection of extras, on a separate disc.

Image – 5 (Dolby Vision)

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Upgrade from Blu-ray - If you don't already have the Criterion

Makes use of and works well in 4k - 3.75

Highly Recommened


RAH
Kino stated this 4K disc release won't have any type of HDR applied including Dolby Vision! Here is the Insider's post.
 

Robert Harris

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I viewed in projection, so no indication of Dolby Vision, as DV is not projection friendly.

However, the packaging makes note of DV. Could be an error. I prefer mit out.

Looked lovely in projection.
 
Last edited:

Nelson Au

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I’m very interested in seeing this disc even though I have the Criterion disc. As I learn more about and see what HDR looks like, I’m kind of glad this is SDR. Perhaps some older films don’t really benefit that much from it? At any rate, I really want to see it for myself.

Does this release bode well that Warner might do a remaster and a 4K of Bullitt? I would love to see that!
 

DavidJ

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I haven't gotten around to buying the Criterion yet as I have too big of a backlog, but I was planning on it. Now, I guess I have a bit of a decision to make.
 

mskaye

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this is a good podcast - excellent series overall - on Sturges' work. After listening to it, I've had a greater appreciation for Sturges' films. I hardly think he is a pantheon director but he had his moments (and BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK is great) and the podcast points out his strengths, many of which are on display in THE GREAT ESCAPE.
 

Denham

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Glenn Erickson (aka Cine Savant), who is self-admittedly not the go to expert for evaluating PQ of these things, still makes some interesting points in his rave over the PQ of this.

The Criterion is almost uniformly bright, giving most of the exteriors a California sunshine look. Faces look too bright, often a bit yellow-y.

The new KL 4K is darker and richer, a little colder and with colors subdued a tiny bit. I changed my LG overall screen setting from ‘cinema’ to ‘standard,’ and a hint of dullness disappeared.

What I see now is a return to what I remember as original timing. Camp interiors are allowed to look darkish, grim. Older transfers tried to defeat the gauzy diffusion applied to the 4th of July ‘breakfast celebration’ — it’s now not as bright, more like a bunch of guys with cups of warm moonshine huddling in the clammy fog.

At first the morning escape scenes seemed dark until I remembered that almost all of them take place pre-dawn and early-ish morning. The shadows are long. There’s more diffusion on some shots to suggest morning haze. We get more of the idea that the escapees have reached the town, the river, the railroad station before the local police have been fully alterted.
The early-hours overcast look goes all the way through the scene where Garner and Pleasance steal the plane — there is still very little sunshine. When Criterion lightened everything to high noon the colors got brighter but the grain jumped out in many shots. This KL 4K is more subdued but it looks like morning, with nice side lighting when they step into the sun at railroad stations, etc. ‘Cavendish’ being caught in the truck takes place in dawn fog. You get the idea that this was at most a six-hour spree, that the fugitives were almost all rounded up before lunchtime.

If the qualities of lighting are more accurate on the new Kino, and impart a better sense of time, that's kind of a big deal to my way of thinking.

I own the Criterion and haven't even watched it yet. I'm also fed up to my cowlick with upgrading titles on BD multiple times when I still haven't even watched the earlier editions. This is one case where, if Glenn's observations are accurate, that the upgrade would be worth it for imparting a better sense of time and place.
 

roxy1927

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I have the original MGM DVD special edition release avoiding the Criterion alone for its ridiculous hide and seek cover.
So this 4k with the original artwork seems the one.
Though having first seen it as a tyke with a title like the Great Escape I still haven't gotten over the crushing ending.
 

David_B_K

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I have the original MGM DVD special edition release avoiding the Criterion alone for its ridiculous hide and seek cover.
So this 4k with the original artwork seems the one.
Though having first seen it as a tyke with a title like the Great Escape I still haven't gotten over the crushing ending.

I agree about the Criterion cover art being poor, but wasn't the MGM special edition DVD the one with the equally poor cover featuring Steve McQueen on a motorcycle looking like...Steve McQueen rather than Virgil Hilts?


dvd_a_box_l.jpg
 

TravisR

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I agree about the Criterion cover art being poor, but wasn't the MGM special edition DVD the one with the equally poor cover featuring Steve McQueen on a motorcycle looking like...Steve McQueen rather than Virgil Hilts?


View attachment 123756
Good eye. That cover used a photo of McQueen riding around on the set rather than using a still or screen shot from the movie. I know the movie but not well enough to spot if that's a costume early in the movie or if those are street clothes.

Steve Mcqueen Great Escape Large 1960's Biker Vintage | Etsy




And to each their own on the Criterion cover but Sean Phillips is great and I think the cover looks cool.
 

Worth

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How does the 4K disc compare to the 4K iTunes stream?
 

Billy Batson

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I think it's a bit late to inject a bit of verisimilitude into the look of The Great Escape, it's always looked like Stalag Luft III was situated in the South of France in the summertime. The MGM Blu-ray was too cold for me, but the Criterion looks about right, I wouldn't want it any colder or darker. The actual event was a failure & a tragedy, but the film is a boys-own adventure lark (& a big favourite of mine).
 

Konstantinos

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DVDBeaver review and comparisons with criterion:
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film10/blu...BlTLQq6vCMWD0nSWxxtpP6rnuHI-ma3w3xFkRUfE_bgCw

I personally think, judging from the screenshots, that the Kino has a tad better color. See for instance these 2 screenshots;

The Kino one has a tad less yellow which looks better to my eyes.
 

JoshZ

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Glenn Erickson (aka Cine Savant), who is self-admittedly not the go to expert for evaluating PQ of these things, still makes some interesting points in his rave over the PQ of this.

I have nothing against Erickson, but statements like this one tell me that he has definitely never bothered to calibrate his TV.

"I changed my LG overall screen setting from ‘cinema’ to ‘standard,’ and a hint of dullness disappeared."

If he's switcing between factory presets (neither of which was likely much accurate) trying to get a better picture, his thoughts on color and contrast should be taken with a huge lump of salt.