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A Few Words About A few words about...™ I Wake Up Screaming -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Never heard of H. Bruce Humberstone?

    The name doesn't ring a bell?

    He works his way through the system, beginning in 1924, directing shorts at Universal, after which he was an assistant director into the early 1930s.

    Directing a segment of If I had a Million, in 1932, along with four Charlie Chan films, he directed Sun Valley Serenade in 1941, followed immediately by I Wake Up Screaming.

    His career included Hello, Frisco, Hello, Pin-Up Girl, Wonder Man, Three Little Girls in Blue...

    Yes, that Bruce Humberstone.

    Kino Lorber's new Blu-ray courtesy of Fox, is one of those films that might have one question whether every film should be on Blu-ray.

    In my opinion, this one should not. Nor should many others. DVD is just fine.

    It's appears to have been derived from some sort of dupe -- possibly from a print -- with processing stains, jitter, poorly duplicated, unstable frames, plus all the ills that dupes might bring to the table.

    As a film, what it has going for it today is the billing.

    Mature, Landis, Grable.

    They didn't cut it in 1941, and time hasn't helped.

    Although I applaud Kino Lorber for their efforts, there's nothing wrong with releasing some of these as DVDs, and hiding some of the ills.

    Image - 3

    Audio - 4

    4k Up-rez - 2.75

    Pass / Fail - Pass


    RAH
     
  2. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    Well, I'm disappointed. I like this film and would love a good Blu-ray disc. Thank you for the warning which I will follow.

    Among workers at Fox including actors, Bruce Humberstone was nicknamed "Lucky Stumblebum" because nobody thought he had any real talent, but his films always made money for the studio.
     
  3. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Cinematographer

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    In THIS room?????? Surely, sir, you forget where you are!! :)
     
  4. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    It's Fox again, not doing their homework. I wonder whatever became of the regime responsible for the near perfection on Blu's of Laura, How Green Was My Valley, and, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Panic in the Streets, Where The Sidewalk Ends, and, Niagara; superbly rendered 'restored and remastered' impeccable 1080p transfers.

    The stuff Fox is farming out to Kino Lorber these days ought not be coming to hi-def - at least not in its current condition. Road House, one of my favorite noirs - what a disaster on Blu. Edge effects built into the DVD master, merely transposed to the Blu. Sounds like the same gunk here. Already have the DVD and not interested in simply having something that looks the same on another home video disc format. Wake up, Fox! Start respecting what little is left of your surviving catalog before its too late.

    Sincerely worried over what I am in for from my preorders for Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, The House on 92nd Street, Boomerang and The Keys of the Kingdom. Personally, I am all set to put a moratorium on my spending ANY more on Fox/Kino Lorber discs. Not worth their weight in packaging!
     
  5. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Fox hasn't gotten around to it yet - and it is NOT them not doing their homework. It is a company licensing an existing transfer that they shouldn't license - there has to be, at some point, standards and the simple ability to say no, so if you want to lay blame somewhere, that's the one and only place to lay it, sorry. How can you blame Fox? Seriously. They have hundreds upon hundreds of movies in their catalog and they do what they do at the speed they can do it at.
     
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  6. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    I do blame Fox. Although I agree that Kino Lorber should exercise their right to reject sub-standard masters, that does not let Fox off the hook. They proved with numerous discs that they know what high standards are. For some reason, they are now putting out low-quality material and by doing so, they are betraying both their customers and themselves. There may be a reason but there is no excuse.
     
  7. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    The Road House Blu-ray disc is far better than the DVD. Robert Harris is suggesting that the I Wake Up Screaming Blu-ray disc is not much of an upgrade.
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Well, I'm still buying this Blu-ray as my standards for a good Blu-ray presentation is less than RAH's so it's a good chance I'll still enjoy this disc.
     
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  9. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    You make a very good point. Please let us know what you think of the disc.
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'm actually going to watch both the Blu-ray and the DVD discs in their entirety to judge for myself. One viewing will be without the Muller commentary and other viewing I'll finally listen to Muller's commentary.
     
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  11. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I'm with you, Robert. Blu-rays don't have to be pristine to make me happy. I can appreciate an HD presentation that just resembles a film print. While I understand Mr. Harris's position that standard definition can help hide flaws, degrading an image is not my personal preference. It would be akin to slightly throwing a film projector out of focus to hide the anomolies. I'd rather live with the anomalies and have the clearest picture possible.
     
  12. Cranston37

    Cranston37 Cinematographer

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    I think there are two different consumers for a release like this - those who are looking to upgrade from the DVD and those who don't own it at all. I'm in the latter so I have it pre-ordered and am looking forward to it...
     
  13. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    With all due respect to Mr. Harris, of course, many of us do not hold our personal evaluations of a classic film's PQ to the same extremely high standards he has. After all, most of us are not professional film preservationists. We can easily see there are problems with earlier Blu-rays such as SPARTACUS and MY FAIR LADY, and applaud Mr. Harris for his wonderful reconstructions, but for titles such as I WAKE UP SCREAMING, which I have not yet viewed, I think we can be grateful for any kind of upgrade, as that is the best we are ever likely to behold, It's too bad if Fox dropped the ball on this, but I imagine I will be quite pleased with this disc. I think Robert is basically telling us for this title that it is far from perfect, and if that is the best we're going to get, accept it or don't. I accept, the caveat being: Fox, don't make a habit of it, OK?
     
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  14. Message #14 of 28 Oct 23, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
    Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    How can I blame Fox? Simple - they have the ability to go back and remaster using their best surviving source elements, a luxury Kino Lorber lacks. And there is no denying Fox's yen for quality masters has severely slipped since the good ole days. There is a reason Criterion isn't distributing their stuff anymore. I think the last Fox titles to come down their pipeline were My Darling Clementine, All That Jazz and The Innocents (each looked immaculate). But Criterion has standards. Kino Lorber, all evidence to the contrary.

    And we are waaaaaay past the misguided and tired old notion of simply giving ANY studio a walk on shoddy product with excuses like "well, it's an old movie" and "they're doing the best that they can" or "they do what they do at the speed they can do it at" - whatever that means. If Fox hasn't "gotten around to it yet" then perhaps they really ought to before porting over severely flawed elements they haven't bother to invest in an upgrade since the mid-1990s! Exactly what any studio is waiting for as their back catalog continues to deteriorate at alarming rates is, frankly, beyond me. Each year, full blown restorations become more costly and difficult because time is passing and the situation with OCN's (if, in fact, they exist) grows more perilous.

    And I cut Fox no slack for a couple of other reasons too: first, because studios like Warner Bros. and Sony (Columbia), companies with as much financial standing and, comparable back catalogs to grapple with, have evolved, taken a more proactive stance, and invested the time and money necessary to achieve great results and yes, still make the almighty profit. You want to spend your money where it counts on a vintage catalog given its due? Buy Mr. Deeds Goes to Town or On Dangerous Ground - discs deserving of your hard-earned dollars, with ground-up restorations performed to perfection.

    Re: On Dangerous Ground - outside of die hard noir fans it likely has the same 'word of mouth' popularity as a title like I Wake Up Screaming. But just look at the way Warner has respected both the movie and fans of it by reaching into an as yet untapped archival OCN. Even the investment of time it took to discover this hidden element and then the time it further took to lovingly make the effort to scan it in at 4K resolution and finally, perform the necessary clean-up to finalize the details. All of this shows great foresight, dedication and wherewithal to treat even a minor classic with the utmost consideration and faith in the consumer market, hopefully to support what can only be described as a very 'costly' and 'time-consuming' effort. Warner could have merely slapped out the same tired old elements it already had on tap and used for the deplorable DVD. But no - they took the high ground. Kudos and praise be to them for doing so. We should all be loving them for it!

    And yes - as we are no longer in the infancy of either Blu-ray technology or digital and photochemical restoration techniques I DO EXPECT a little perfection for my buck. Because, as these other studios have proven - and continue to do so with each new release they choose either to directly handle via archives or wide releases and/or farm out to Criterion (Cat People, The Asphalt Jungle, His Girl Friday) - IT IS POSSIBLE on a BUDGET that can still be compensated and balanced out in the end, showing a net profit for the studio!!!

    So if it isn't a question of money, it must be a one of laziness or at least unwillingness to spend what is necessary to do justice to their past. And yes, it really is that simple to comprehend. I keep waiting for Fox to adopt a more proactive outlook. I don't know why. They consistently defy my hopes and repeatedly acknowledge my anxieties in buying anything of theirs that wasn't made in the last 20 years. Isn't it about time we hold Fox to a standard better than the low one they have established for themselves and seem very comfortable in foisting upon the rest of us?

    Wake up, Fox. You've been asleep for FAR TOO LONG!

    PS - my only question for Robert Harris, whom I continue to hold in very high esteem on these message boards, would be how he could offer I Wake Up Screaming a 'pass' given he has rated the image quality a wan 2.75 when up-rezed. Out of 5, Bob? In my books, that's a fail.
     
  15. Mike2001

    Mike2001 Supporting Actor

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    I'm in the buy it camp. I don't have this movie on DVD and have been wanting to see it for awhile.
     
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Let me be very clear.

    It is extremely doubtful that I Wake Up Screaming has an OCN, or a nitrate fine grain. If there is an element preserved by MOMA, as has been the fortunate situation with some other films, it may not apply to this case.

    What I'm seeing is a dupe of some sort, possibly copied from a print, with baked in printer or telecine damage, that follows splice bumps or timing notches, that throws the fifth or sixth frame of many shots into a distorted image.

    It is possible, that there is no better element.

    But my point is that the extra resolving power of Blu-ray is ill-used for a situation such as this.

    And that the same video master could have produced a DVD that would have hidden many of the problems.

    Once again, the elements, and /or masters of numerous films are simply not Blu-ray quality.

    And that without a great deal of expensive digital work, literally recreating frames, there is little the studio can do about it.

    I cannot imagine anyone going to upper management, and explaining why they want to spend six figures on fixing this film, when those funds can be used in far more important, and elegant ways.

    RAH
     
  17. Rodney

    Rodney Cinematographer
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    I appreciate RAH's few words, and hope he continues to judge the films from his expert lens. I tend to land closer to Crawdaddy's approach, and also I want to voice my support for more Fox film noir. It saddens me when Mr. Lime stated in another thread that most film noir titles don't sell that well.
    Having said that, if there was a better release and Fox or Kino was just lazy, I would also vote with my wallet and cancel my pre-order. I just don't think that is the case this time.
     
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  18. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    I don't remember any issues with the Fox Blu of Boomerang when I watched it a couple of years ago, I can't imagine that a reissue would be a problem.
     
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  19. Frank Ha

    Frank Ha Second Unit

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    I look forward to reading your comparison. Like many other HTF members, I value your opinion.
     
  20. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    If someone comes to Fox and says we'll take whatever you've got laying around, Fox is not going to turn that money down. Fox cannot "restore" a hundred films a year. Sony can't restore a hundred films a year, and certainly I Wake Up Screaming is not going to be high on their list in terms of what Fox is doing. So, sorry, I don't blame them at all - that would be presumptuous and I'm not that entitled about these things. When they do get around to stuff it looks pretty great to my eyes (some have problems with certain titles - I'm not part of that some, save for maybe a couple) - and they're doing the titles they're doing, which are not going to include some people's obscure favorites, and I happen to be a fan of I Wake Up Screaming, which is a less than great movie, IMO, but I still like it.
     

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