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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Aug 10, 2019.
Thanks for the review. This title will be mine
Not every section of THE DIGITAL BITS is current and updated regularly.
Bravo to OLDTIMER for being Pro-Active.
What with such fine releases as "Jezebel" and "The Letter", I greedily hope that WAC continues on with more Bette Davis. In one thread, I've already suggested "The Little Foxes"; but I would be remiss to not make mentions and requests towards a WAC release for "Dangerous" (1935). After all, who wouldn't want to have both of the Bette Davis Oscar wins for Best Actress?
i so agree!!!
I'll go for those, as long as they try to get The Man Who Came To Dinner or The Bride Came C.O.D. somewhere in between!
I hope that WB releases more William Wyler. With the recent announcement of the letter, it would seem that only The little foxes would complete the Wyler/Davis films. But what is the hold up to Friendly persuasion. It was released at the beginning of dvd in 1999 but still no restoration or blu-ray. Another Gary Cooper movie by Wyler I got several times on DVD The western looks like it was completely restored 100 percent on the last dvd I purchased. It looks like it could go straight to Blu ray as is as it was that good of a restoration.
I am delighted that such care has been taken with JEZEBEL. When I purchased the Box Set "Bette Davis Vol 2" in 2006, I vaguely recall that Warners claimed that JEZEBEL was a new digital restoration from the original camera negative. From what you say, this cannot have been possible. In any case, it is encouraging that WB is now spending money on its most famous classic films and so I am hoping that they will turn their budget to another Bette Davis classic that is desperately in need of a proper release - THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELISABETH & ESSEX. The DVD issue of this (as part of the Errol Flynn Signature Collection in 2005) is horrible, with the colour registration misaligned in many places and with many blemishes of the image throughout. WB just did a beautiful job with SEA HAWK and has also produced a vastly superior disc of DODGE CITY. I know that several original nitrate Technicolor prints exist for ESSEX. So I am sure that with the right amount of $$$, a really fine disc could be made. What do you think of the chances?
The Little Foxes is my favourite of the Wyler/Davis films, and I do hope it makes it to blu-ray soon. Problem with that film, every time I've seen it on TCM, is that there is a very noticeable high level of background hiss throughout the entire film. I don't know if that can be fixed, or at least minimized, or not....
I've just received my copy of Jezebel. Whilst the picture quality is excellent, I'm very disappointed with the sound. We are offered DTS-HD 2 channel mono. (Plus a similar commentary track.) From my professional experience the audio suffers from 2nd and third harmonic distortion, probably in the order of around 8 percent. There has been an attempt to slightly spread the mono image which, while it benefits the orchestral score, reduces the pin-pointing of dialogue. I wouldn't call the result bad, just "not good"! What a shame to spoil an otherwise excellent restoration.
[Edit: I should have realised that the distortion figure I quoted above would be fairly meaningless to most people. What it means is that there is a certain harshness on amplitude peaks, especially noticeable on speech. For sound quality I would rate the audio as 3.5 out of 5.]
That's a shame, Ken .... the audio is such a critical part of enjoyment of a dialogue-driven movie.
Here in Woodend, just one hour from Melbourne, I spend a huge amount of time creating and listening to high-end audio discs of classical, jazz and popular music, using 24-96 files derived from LPs or SACDs. And quality really does count, whether for soundtracks or music.
I presume that you know that Jezebel was made in 1937, with optical tracks, mixed through generations.
I've just had a listen to the DVD. It has Dolby Digital 1 channel which allows the sound to be put into the centre speaker which certainly improves the dialogue clarity. Unfortunately the audio on the DVD has the same harshness as the Blu-ray release so it would appear that perhaps no early generation audio exists. Re 1930s' sound - I've heard some beautiful sound quality from this period, restricted perhaps only in frequency response.
Nevertheless, I must confess to being extremely critical of audio hence my somewhat harsh criticism. Most people would probably be quite happy.
Properly decoded 2-channel mono also comes solely out of the center speaker. You just have to select the proper receiver setting.
I agree that this is usually so, however the encoding on the Blu-ray seems to inhibit this. Nevertheless I was able to get centre-channel sound by using the digital output of my TV receiver rather than HDMI.
I watched Jezebel right through last night and wanted to add some further comments. What a delightful film, even though I've seen it several times before. I keep humming Max Steiner's beautiful ballroom waltz to myself. Hypothetical question: Has anyone ever conjectured what might have happened if the story-line had gone on after the final scene?
I was pleased with the really nice grey scale and black levels which remained perfectly constant throughout the movie. Regarding the sound, I was able to listen through the centre channel rather than the "left plus right" default. I've thus reassessed the sound quality as 4 out of 5.
If you want to hear just how good optical sound of the period can be just listen to the accompanying cartoon. It's high fidelity a la 1938. The cartoon appears to be a 2K or 4K scan as it's extremely sharp with rock solid saturated colours.
The sound from that period can be very very good, even on 78s! I have some wind-up gramophones and, with a brand new needle for every record, the quality of sound from records such as my Beniamino Gigli recording of 'Nessun Dorma' is just astonishing.l
I saw that article about you in a Sydney newspaper so I know you are into acoustic gramophones. I do sound restoration work myself, in fact in my "retired" life I am the Sound Engineer at the Australian Jazz Museum where we release our own commercial CDs of vintage jazz performances. (Look us up at AJM.org.au).