This review has been updated, as, problems intact, it will not be bettered.

And updated again. Going with Recommended, as film is not to be missed.


Phillip Boros’ 1982 Canadian production, The Grey Fox is one of those extraordinary little films that should be required viewing by anyone serious about the cinema. Atop the film is an extraordinary performance by Richard Farnsworth, as Bill Miner.

The new Blu-ray from Kino is based upon a new 4k restoration, derived from the original camera negative. It was released earlier in the year as a theatrical DCP, as well as streaming.


Because of that, and wonderful reviews, I’m puzzled by some of the anomalies that I’m seeing, and am wondering if certain shots cut into the OCN might be contemporary CRI, which may have faded at the edges.

Contrast blooms in places. There is a problem with image stability, as the image image constantly meanders around within the frame. The aforementioned sides of the frame are discolored.

In certain instances chroma seems set too high – too much color. Then there is a problem with color shifting, not from shot to shot, but from frame to frame, within shots. Especially noted in neutral tones, the colors constantly shift and change - literally frame to frame.

Still trying (with Kino’s cooperation) to try to figure out what I’m seeing.

Image – 2

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Fail

Upgrade from previous incarnations – ??

Recommended

RAH

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Robert Harris

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The film had been lost for decades, there's only ONE master, from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, color graded by producer Peter O'Brian. I've watched the disc and it looks amazing, so I guess we can agree to disagree. Your review is very puzzling.
 
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Angelo Colombus

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I have the laserdisc released in 1985 and it's not the best pan & scan image with alot of video noise. This is one Blu-ray release i was looking forward to buying since i love the film and was not officially on dvd for a long time.
IMG_0693.JPG
 
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Robert Harris

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The film had been lost for decades, there's only ONE master, from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, color graded by producer Peter O'Brian. I've watched the disc and it looks amazing, so I guess we can agree to disagree. Your review is very puzzling.
When was the 4k scan performed?
 

Reggie W

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This is a very big release in my personal opinion and I am very excited to see it. I am curious as to what is going on here as if there is only the 2019 master and this is what this disc is derived from...what happened? Or is there some other explanation?
 

Jon Hertzberg

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This trailer is derived from the new 4K master sourced from the OCN. You can expect that the Blu-ray will look similar, albeit not compressed like this YouTube clip.
 
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Robert Harris

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Did you look at the restoration featurette, which answers every question you are asking about this disc?
I did. It's a good restoration featurette, with Mr. Wood explaining things well.

The raw examples appear to be from an OCN, with a proper open matte.

But what I'm seeing on the feature disc doesn't seem to sync with the featurette. The disc image lacks stability, has odd color fluctuation, and peripheral side fade - which could be CRI footage cut into the OCN.

I've never seen a modern image harvest that bobs about as much as what I'm seeing here.

I guess we're both puzzled.

If Kino is certain that this is the correct master, then I'll accept the fact.

RAH
 

Mark-P

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I certainly have no problem with a critical review of the technical aspects of the transfer, and as a less demanding viewer I’m sure I will be satisfied with the result. It’s also nice that Kino is offering both disc and digital purchase options as I will opt for the latter.
 

Bartman

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I'm now leery of Kino having been disappointed by both the Charley Varrick and Narrow Margin Blu-ray picture quality. You may notice how few reviews exist for these releases. Let's hope the upcoming Whistle Blower and Ipcress File Michael Caine releases fare better! Hopefully, they'll be reviewed here.
 
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Worth

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I'm now leery of Kino having been disappointed by both the Charley Varrick and Narrow Margin Blu-ray picture quality. You may notice how few reviews exist for these releases. Let's hope the upcoming Whistle Blower and Ipcress File Michael Caine releases fare better! Hopefully, they'll be reviewed here.
I can't speak to Charley Varrick, but I think the transfer for Narrow Margin is excellent. I think your issue may be with the photographic style of the film, rather than the blu-ray video quality. Check out The Last Valley if you want to see a weak video transfer.
 

Bartman

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I can't speak to Charley Varrick, but I think the transfer for Narrow Margin is excellent. I think your issue may be with the photographic style of the film, rather than the blu-ray video quality. Check out The Last Valley if you want to see a weak video transfer.
For Narrow Margin I believe the StudioCanal print is at fault, as it exhibits similar problems to the SE DVD (of 20+ years ago), also from StudioCanal. The Blu-ray is much better than the DVD though, the DVD was atrocious.
 

Scott_Morris

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Kino Lorber is really on fire these days! I've probably added 40+ Blu-rays from their Studio Classics collection to my library over the past year or so, and most of them have been excellent, in terms of A/V quality. With that in mind, I just pre-ordered The Grey Fox and am excited to finally get to see this movie, after hearing so many good things about it over the years.

For the record, I don't post here a lot, but I've been an avid reader of these forums for many years now and have great respect for what a good job of moderating Robert Crawford does, in particular. One thing I did want to get off my chest, however, is that in our ever more polarized era, it feels like some of the incivility of the "outside" world is starting to creep into this forum, at times. I'm specifically referring to a couple of recent(ish) threads where it felt like our esteemed reviewer Robert Harris was being challenged on his opinions in a somewhat less than respectful manner.

Personally, I'm grateful that the HTF crew managed to bring aboard such a respected authority as Robert Harris to share his thoughts with us on a regular basis, but I can also understand that official reps for the labels (or other persons associated with a specific project) might be unhappy when they see what they consider an unflattering review that could negatively impact sales. I'm glad to see that things were handled much more civilly in this thread than they were in the thread for the recent Laurel & Hardy release. IMO, the gentleman associated with that L&H release gave an excellent example of exactly how NOT to conduct yourself in a public forum, especially when you are basically serving as a de facto spokesperson for a product. #PublicRelationsFail

BTW, Robert Harris obviously doesn't need ANYONE to defend him. He's quite capable of doing that on his own, as he ably demonstrated in the aforementioned L&H thread. But while he definitely should have to defend anything he states in one of his "A Few Words About" columns, he should never have to defend himself against personal attacks in this forum...

I debated even mentioning this issue in my post today, but it's been on my mind for the past week or so, ever since I ran across that unfortunate Laurel & Hardy thread, and then this one (which was very mild, in comparison). I don't know about all of you, but I personally feel incredibly lucky these days that I have the luxury of still being able to indulge my love of classic films (and some NOT so classic, LOL) and to be informed by the opinions of such a passionate community of fellow film lovers. But even when you're disagreeing with someone in these forums, shouldn't it be in a spirit of fun and civility? I realize I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but for some reason, I still felt compelled to speak up.

Stepping down from my soapbox now... ;)
 
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Robert Harris

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Kino Lorber is really on fire these days! I've probably added 40+ Blu-rays from their Studio Classics collection to my library over the past year or so, and most of them have been excellent, in terms of A/V quality. With that in mind, I just pre-ordered The Grey Fox and am excited to finally get to see this movie, after hearing so many good things about it over the years.

For the record, I don't post here a lot, but I've been an avid reader of these forums for many years now and have great respect for what a good job of moderating Robert Crawford does, in particular. One thing I did want to get off my chest, however, is that in our ever more polarized era, it feels like some of the incivility of the "outside" world is starting to creep into this forum, at times. I'm specifically referring to a couple of recent(ish) threads where it felt like our esteemed reviewer Robert Harris was being challenged on his opinions in a somewhat less than respectful manner.

Personally, I'm grateful that the HTF crew managed to bring aboard such a respected authority as Robert Harris to share his thoughts with us on a regular basis, but I can also understand that official reps for the labels (or other persons associated with a specific project) might be unhappy when they see what they consider an unflattering review that could negatively impact sales. I'm glad to see that things were handled much more civilly in this thread than they were in the thread for the recent Laurel & Hardy release. IMO, the gentleman associated with that L&H release gave an excellent example of exactly how NOT to conduct yourself in a public forum, especially when you are basically serving as a de facto spokesperson for a product. #PublicRelationsFail

BTW, Robert Harris doesn't need ANYONE to defend him. He's quite capable of doing that on his own, as he ably demonstrated in the aforementioned L&H thread. But while he should definitely have to defend anything he states in one of his "A Few Words About" columns, he should never have to defend himself against personal attacks in this forum...

I debated even mentioning this issue in my post today, but it's been on my mind for the past week or so, ever since I ran across that unfortunate Laurel & Hardy thread, and then this one (which was very mild, in comparison). I don't know about all of you, but I personally feel incredibly lucky these days that I have the luxury of still being able to indulge my love of classic films (and some NOT so classic, LOL) and to be informed by the opinions of such a passionate community of fellow film lovers. But even when you're disagreeing with someone in these forums, shouldn't it be in a spirit of fun and civility? I realize I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but some reason, I still felt compelled to speak up.

Stepping down from my soapbox now... ;)
If you’re referring to Jon Hertzberg, he and I have no problem. We chatted off-site. I believe that he was surprised by my review of the disc, as much as I regarding my findings, and questioned that review, based upon his information - in a very civil fashion. On occasion AV gear will act up, and errors have been made. I have no problem if someone representing the distributor requests that I take another look. That’s fair, surely.

In those situations, I amend reviews. This was not one of those situations.

Mr. Hertzberg suggested that I contact others at Kino, which I’ve done. Each and every individual was open and helpful.

In the end, I believe they discovered certain things of which they were unaware, and are amending certain attributes regarding the publicity for the release.

Zero problems with Kino or those who rep the company. Only with the Blu-ray, for which my review stands.

That noted, I tend to get prickly when any entity makes note of some brilliant restoration, that I feel is not.

To my eyes, many problems stick out like the veritable sore thumb.

I would wager that 75+% of viewers will have no problem with this release, and will enjoy an extraordinary film, with a timeless performance.