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An interesting concept combing two early ’50s sci-fi classics by the same fx artist, but in this case it seems like an odd one.



First, let’s discuss the 1953 War of the Worlds in 4k.



As a Technicolor (3-strip) production, the film had a certain look, and this isn’t it.



One of the reasons that 3-strip worked was that the imbibition of the liquid metal dyes to the base via the mordant, gave a very soft image. And it was that softness that took an extremely grainy image – remember these are not one, but three black and white negatives printed atop one another – and made it appear almost grainless, and velvety. This process worked beautifully and successfully for two decades.



Which means that Paramount’s new 4k release of War of the Words adds very little to the overall resolution, while concurrently creating a grain feast.



Comparing the 4k to Criterion’s Blu-ray will give you a better idea of what the film should look like, and is by far, my preferred version on disc.



I’ve noted my displeasure with the way that Paramount de-grains certain films without need, adding digital problems in the wake, but understand that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with de-graining.



It all comes down to knowing, or learning, how and when to use the tool. One place not to use it is in large format origination.



But the studio chooses to use it for some VistaVision, and other films that don’t need it, and yet when it comes to 3-strip, we’re given a version of the film that was never meant to be seen.



All of this noted, does it make a difference from a nominal viewing position? Probably not. But in projection, get a bit too close, and it simply is incorrect.



I won’t get into the discussion of the actual color of the planet Mars, as I have actual personal knowledge. I’ve always heard it was red or reddish. For whatever reason, the Criterion Blu-ray has either corrected the color in the film’s opening to a tone that is more generally accepted, but Paramount is leaving the planet decidedly blue.



I’ve never viewed the original negatives, and have no memory of original prints, so I cannot attest to the fact that Mars may have appeared blue in the film in 1953.



Since there are not one, but two star fields in the shot, that should answer as black, one would presume that the planet would simply fall into place, but I don’t know.



The real news here is the extra added attraction – is the Rudolph Maté directed, 1951 version of the film, which has never appeared on home video in any resolution above standard definition.



Finally, we have a Blu-ray release that looks lovely. Whether it’s from a new master or not, I’ve no idea, but it makes a nifty Blu-ray.



So what’s the bottom line.



My take is that for $30, the sci-fi adoring public is finally receiving When Worlds Collide, for which I presume they would be willing to pay $20, plus a 4k of War of the Words for $10, which to me is both problematic and superfluous to the far better looking Criterion release, which appears more film-like simply because its running at 25% of the resolution of the 4k, which in itself contains zero 4k information with the exception of grain.



War of the Worlds



Image – 3.5 (Dolby Vision)



Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA 5.1)



Pass / Fail – Pass



Plays nicely with projectors – Yes



Makes use of and works well in 4k – 3.25



Upgrade from Blu-ray – No





When Worlds Collide



Image – 3.75



Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA monaural)



Pass / Fail – Pass



Plays nicely with projectors – Yes



Upgrade from DVD – Yes



Recommended



RAH
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Lord Dalek

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Are you going to take a crack at Friday the 13th next? Everybody at the other forum says its a disaster of HDR misgrading.
 

Robert Crawford

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It's shocking that you didn't care for this 4K/UHD. :D Anyhow, for those that might be confused there is no Dolby Vision for the When Worlds Collide Blu-ray.
 

Lord Dalek

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Apparently the original mono isn't on here either. Thank god I bought the Criterion. When Worlds Collide isn't worth the upgrade for this botch job.
 

Bob Furmanek

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Some data and new research that I've compiled from primary source documents.

WAR OF THE WORLDS was first previewed for the trades in standard ratio (1.37:1) with mono optical sound at Paramount Studios on Feb 20, 1953. Variety published a review on March 4.

It opened in the UK in standard ratio and mono sound on April 3, 1953 at Paramount's 1,896 seat Plaza Theatre on Lower Regent Street, just south of Piccadilly Circus.

Initially announced for US release in May 1953, it was pulled out of that release date "after the panoramic possibilities became apparent" (Film Bulletin: June 1, 1953: https://archive.org/details/filmbulletin195321film/page/n349/mode/1up?view=theater)

The US premiere in re-tooled 1.66:1 widescreen and three-channel magnetic stereophonic sound was held at the massive 4,189 seat Warner Theatre on the boardwalk in Atlantic City on July 29, 1953.

http://www.incinerama.com/warnerac.htm

From there it went to New York's Mayfair Theatre on August 13.

The information presented in the Criterion release about the original stereophonic sound is inaccurate. Their research team confused a Dorset Panaphonic Sound test (mono optical steered to three speakers via control tones) with the actual discrete three-channel magnetic interlock stereo release.

Selected clips from WotW were shown to industry reps in a demonstration of Dorset Panaphonic Sound on the Paramount lot on September 24, 1953 (after WotW was in wide release) but it was never shown to the public theatrically in that system.

Criterion indicated the original stereo sound was minimal and anemic which is not accurate. The original high-fidelity magnetic stereo was, by all accounts, highly directional. Sadly, like all of the other Paramount stereophonic releases in 1953, it is now lost.

http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/the-first-year-of-stereophonic-sound
 

BobO'Link

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An interesting concept combing two early '50s sci-fi classics by the same fx artist, but in this case it seems like an odd one.

First, let's discuss the 1953 War of the Worlds in 4k.

As a Technicolor (3-strip) production, the film had a certain look, and this isn't it.

One of the reasons that 3-strip worked was that the imbibition of the liquid metal dyes to the base via the mordant, gave a very soft image. And it was that softness that took an extremely grainy image - remember these are not one, but three black and white negatives printed atop one another - and made it appear almost grainless, and velvety. This process worked beautifully and successfully for two decades.

Which means that Paramount's new 4k release of War of the Words adds very little to the overall resolution, while concurrently creating a grain feast.

Comparing the 4k to Criterion's Blu-ray will give you a better idea of what the film should look like, and is by far, my preferred version on disc.

I've noted my displeasure with the way that Paramount de-grains certain films without need, adding digital problems in the wake, but understand that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with de-graining.

It all comes down to knowing, or learning, how and when to use the tool. One place not to use it is in large format origination.

But the studio chooses to use it for some VistaVision, and other films that don't need it, and yet when it comes to 3-strip, we're given a version of the film that was never meant to be seen.

All of this noted, does it make a difference from a nominal viewing position? Probably not. But in projection, get a bit too close, and it simply is incorrect.

I won't get into the discussion of the actual color of the planet Mars, as I have actual personal knowledge. I've always heard it was red or reddish. For whatever reason, the Criterion Blu-ray has either corrected the color in the film's opening to a tone that is more generally accepted, but Paramount is leaving the planet decidedly blue.

I've never viewed the original negatives, and have no memory of original prints, so I cannot attest to the fact that Mars may have appeared blue in the film in 1953.

Since there are not one, but two star fields in the shot, that should answer as black, one would presume that the planet would simply fall into place, but I don't know.

The real news here is the extra added attraction - is the Rudolph Maté directed, 1951 version of the film, which has never appeared on home video in any resolution above standard definition.

Finally, we have a Blu-ray release that looks lovely. Whether it's from a new master or not, I've no idea, but it makes a nifty Blu-ray.

So what's the bottom line.

My take is that for $30, the sci-fi adoring public is finally receiving When Worlds Collide, for which I presume they would be willing to pay $20, plus a 4k of War of the Words for $10, which to me is both problematic and superfluous to the far better looking Criterion release, which appears more film-like simply because its running at 25% of the resolution of the 4k, which in itself contains zero 4k information with the exception of grain.

War of the Worlds

Image – 3.5 (Dolby Vision)

Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA 5.1)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Makes use of and works well in 4k - 3.25

Upgrade from Blu-ray - No


When Worlds Collide

Image – 4 (Dolby Vision)

Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA monaural)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Upgrade from DVD - You bet'cha!

Recommended

RAH
I'm guessing you don't know about the Imprint BR release of When World's Collide?
1663781891839.png
 

Kent K H

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Thought about cancelling my preorder when I found out about the boners being pulled by Paramount, but sticking with it specifically for When World's Collide.
 

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Thanks, Robert. I have the Criterion Blu-ray for WOTW, and the Imprint Blu-rays for both films. I figured that I'd wait to hear how the UHD of WOTW looked before deciding whether to buy it anyway. Looks like I can safely pass on it.
 

Capt D McMars

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jayembee

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I don't see anything to indicate if BobO'Link has seen the Paramount version yet. It's not out until next week. He seemed only to be asking whether RAH knew of it. A reasonable question, as RAH comments about it seemed to suggest that he thought the new Paramount release was its first Blu-ray release.
 

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Sounds like it doesn't look much like the iTunes 4K digital version, then. That has no grain and muted colour.
 

BobO'Link

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I don't see anything to indicate if BobO'Link has seen the Paramount version yet. It's not out until next week. He seemed only to be asking whether RAH knew of it. A reasonable question, as RAH comments about it seemed to suggest that he thought the new Paramount release was its first Blu-ray release.
No, I've not seen the Paramount version and likely will not as I own a copy of the Imprint release, which to me looks quite good. Based on comparisons of the Imprint WotW to the Paramount I'm guessing the two releases of When World's Collide are sourced from the same master so should look almost identical.

That's what I'm asking Robert as his review does appear to say the Paramount is the first BR release. It's absolutely the first US BR release but that Imprint release is region free so works just fine in US players.
 

Robert Harris

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No, I've not seen the Paramount version and likely will not as I own a copy of the Imprint release, which to me looks quite good. Based on comparisons of the Imprint WotW to the Paramount I'm guessing the two releases of When World's Collide are sourced from the same master so should look almost identical.

That's what I'm asking Robert as his review does appear to say the Paramount is the first BR release. It's absolutely the first US BR release but that Imprint release is region free so works just fine in US players.
I often don't follow foreign releases unless it's a title in which I'm specifically interested.
 

Capt D McMars

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I often don't follow foreign releases unless it's a title in which I'm specifically interested.
Why, I wonder, isn't Paramount just releasing two 4K presentaions of this 2-fer George Pal release? It seems to be more of an after thought in reguards to When Worlds Collide? For all of us that bought the Imprint edition why double dip if you don't need too? These should have been seperate 4K releases, that's just me :D
 

Robert Harris

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Why, I wonder, isn't Paramount just releasing two 4K presentaions of this 2-fer George Pal release? It seems to be more of an after thought in reguards to When Worlds Collide? For all of us that bought the Imprint edition why double dip if you don't need too? These should have been seperate 4K releases, that's just me :D
I don’t believe either is key 4k material. While I can understand a handful of very major 4k films being released just to have the best possible, 3-strip was never 4k.
 

Robert Harris

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It has been reported that studio publicity has noted use of a dye transfer print as restoration reference. Not all dye transfer prints are reference worthy, and the studio’s recent track record is less than perfect, as they tend to make errors and dig in their heels, refusing any admission of possible problems.

When it comes to the color of the planet known as Mars, my gut says go with red, as seen on the Criterion Blu-ray.

It is entirely possible that someone unfamiliar with the film color timed the opening sequence, and viewing the imagery MOS thought that the planet was Earth, and colored it appropriately.

Stranger things have occurred.

I was once joined in a timing session and was constantly told that I was having a problem, as the samples I was approving were leaning heavily toward yellow, the sign of a faded negative.

After several minutes, I stopped the session to clear my eyes, turned to the gentleman sitting nearby, and noted that he had neglected to remove his (yellow tinted) sunglasses.