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A Few Words About A few words about...™ North by Northwest -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    Darn. Thank you for the responses Robert!


    Hopefully Universal will be willing to commit the $ and work to make Vertigo and the other Hitchcock films happen on blu ray.

    Was restoration work done for all of the Hitchcock Universal films for DVD? What type of work is needed to get them to blu ray properly or feasibly?
     
  2. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Guys I got a new 65" Panasonic VT30 plasma this year for Xmas. Of course when NxNW came out on blu ray, I got it the first day out being one of my favorite Hitchcocks. Back then, I watched it on my 50" Pioneer plasma which is a 720 resolution set. I thought NxNW looked great on that set. I watched NxNW on the new TV and it was even better! :) But the question I had back when the blu ray first came out still is in my head, why does the image not look as sharp as I had hoped it would? Part of the answer I think is that it is as sharp as its ever going to get on blu, short of the 4K standard that may or may not come. There is one shot of Cary Grant in the phone booth at Grand Central Station and it looks deliberately softened. I suspect it was done so that Grant's age wasn't as apparent. There are other shots where the patterns in his famous grey suit is very clear. But looking at Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau and Leo G. Carrol and Jessie Royce Landis, they all looked a tad bit soft. The one shot that really blew me away was the long shot of the corn field. The dirt and vegetation really looked real! I know that comparing a film shot in 1958-59 is not fair to judge against newer material. I also watched the Aliens blu ray. That film was sharp as a tack in nearly every shot! Lines and pores on actors faces were clear and sharp. I didn't expect this level of image quality in NxNW. Never the less, NxNW is one of my favorite films and it looks great! I am really looking forward to seeing Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief on March 6th! It will be interesting to see how that film is transferred to blu ray. I'm sure as well as The 10 Commandments was. Another disc I'll review on this new TV once it's broken in! I'm really looking forward to the rest of the 50's and 60's Hitchcock as well as my other favorite, Notorious. But I hope more of the early Hitchcock films will come.
     
  3. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Hitchcock used a lot of filters in NNW. As you say, it was to soften the signs of Grant's age. But filters were also used on EMS for the same reason...She was a bit older than the "26" in the film, and it was just the style for classic Hollywood films. Like you I'm looking forward to the new Hitchcocks on blu!
     
  4. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks Ben! That's interesting that he used filters a lot. I'd be curious what a film like Notorious and Spellbound will look like since they are black and white. I don't have Casablanca on blu ray yet, I suppose that will give a sense.
     
  5. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter

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    Virtually all films that were attempting to look "glamorous" used filters back in the studio era. In addition to hiding a star's age, it was also an attempt to hide flaws in an actor's skin and to generally keep things from looking too gritty and, frankly, too realistic. Most studio films with interiors shot on sets were going for a hightened sense of reality and filters were a key tool in a director's bag of tricks. I would imagine that, just as some television performers today are afraid of high-definition television, many actors were wary of appearing in a large format film without some filtered assistance from the cameraman.
     
  6. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    I forget that this film was made during the studio era. Good points!
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    How many hours you have on the new display? After 100 hours or so, the picture will look better and remember to have it on THX setting when watching movies.







    Crawdaddy
     
  8. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey Robert, right! I'm keeping a log every time I turn it on. Right now it's got under 20 hours and I'm using Custom settings with Contrast and Brightness set down. So yes, I'll take it easy for first 100 to 200 hours! :) I've got the Custom settings close to the THX settings. I understand that in THX mode, the pixel orbiter doesn't work. So I'm just being super cautious.
     
  9. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I must say I was disappointed with the Blu-ray of NORTH BY NORTHWEST and I've been puzzled by the almost universal acclaim. I saw the film for the first time in London in 1965 at the Ritz cinema which, alongside the adjoining Empire cinema, was owned by M-G-M. They must have shown a new print because the picture was immaculate. I thought at the time that I had rarely seen a film which looked so sharp (other than the odd filter shot) and bright. Going to see films as often as I did, it's easy to notice, and remember (despite the passing years) a picture which looked spectacularly better than average. The Blu-ray does not display that same sharpnesss and is considerably darker.
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Boy, I wish I had your memory for remembering such details from 46 years ago.
     
  11. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned
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    [​IMG] [​IMG] Scanned at how high a resolution, exactly?
     
  12. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member

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  13. PMBen

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    I loved this release. However, precisely because it was so great in terms of colour and resolution, a couple of shots with problems stood out for me very prominently. It's the two last Cary Grant shots before his car stops, in the scene where he's driving drunk. Something happens to the color in those shots, it looks totally wrong. I'm curious, does somebody here know what happened there?
     
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  14. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    I’m hoping we see a 4k release of this one soon.
     
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  15. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Those are rear projection shots, they’ve always looked “off”. I’m sure the more expert peoples will have a better answer.
     
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  16. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    That would be nice, but if we can't get a 4k of Lawrence of Arabia I'm not sure if it's going to happen.
     
  17. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Lawrence *is* available in 4K, just not on physical media.
     
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