A Few Words About A few words about...™ Silkwood -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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Mike Nichol's Silkwood, another ABC film (along with Prizzi) released by Kino, is a bit better than Prizzi, but still far south of 2007 Blu-ray standards.

It's a wonderful and important film, with another older transfer supplied by the licensor. Keep in mind that unless a licensee wants to spend real dollars to create an updated transfer (presuming the licensor would permit it) they're stuck with what they're given.

The transfer appears to be taken from an IP, with a bit of dirt embedded, and resolution not up to par.

And again, it's only by virtue of Kino offering the film, that we're able to get it in even this quality.

Image - 3.5

Audio - 4

4k Up-rez - 3.25

Pass / Fail - Pass

RAH
 

Thomas T

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Disappointing news but at least it's anamorph ..... oh wait a minute I already said that about Prizzi's Honor. :(
 
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Michel_Hafner

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Yeah, this the best we are going to get. It is the Kino BD, or nothing.
That's unlikely IMHO. Fact is Mike Nichols and Meryl Streep are icons. With the disappearance of 35mm prints/projectors there is a need for a high quality digital source for DCP and all other modern digital deliverables. The probability is high that sooner or later this is rescanned at 2K/4K and these deliverables are created. And that is not even considering yet that non US labels can take interest and get active on their own or that the state steps in by declaring a film worthy of preservation (National Film Register...).
 
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Thomas T

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That's unlikely IMHO. Fact is Mike Nichols and Meryl Streep are icons. With the disappearance of 35mm prints/projectors there is a need for a high quality digital source for DCP and all other modern digital deliverables. The probability is high that sooner or later this is rescanned at 2K/4K and these deliverables are created. And that is not even considering yet that non US labels can take interest and get active on their own or that the state steps in by declaring a film worthy of preservation (National Film Register...).
Mike Nichols is an icon? To who? The same generation who doesn't know Jean Harlow or Spencer Tracy when shown their photo? The same generation who downloads and streams movies and watches on their IPhones as demand for physical media shrinks? Maybe 10 years ago, I would have agreed with you but frankly I never thought Silkwood would see the light of day on blu ray and Disney who holds the rights to the ABC library (of which Silkwood is part) isn't even taking advantage of their own legacy on physical media (still no 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, The Parent Trap, Song Of The South, The Happiest Millionaire etc.) so I wouldn't count on their spending thousands to restore Silkwood to acceptable HD standards.
 
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Michel_Hafner

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Mike Nichols is an icon? To who? .
The film industry, cinéphiles, critics... And providing a proper digital source is not directly related to a BD release. That can be incidental once the source is here for other reasons. Or it can be a streaming version. Not my preference but better than nothing or a bad BD.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Frankly, there are a lot of films where if a repertory theater is interested in showing them, the studio will offer them the choice of the Blu-ray or nothing at all. Yes, it is possible that the studio could redo it. On the other hand, plenty of other studios are now using the same digital masters they originally created for BD as their repertory prints. Want to see a Sean Connery Bond movie on the big screen? You'll see a DCP created from the same masters as the current BDs, inclusive of the main title sequences squeezing. Want to see "2001" projected? The DCP is the same master as the BD. Same for tons of other titles. That Back To The Future Blu-ray that got mediocre reviews when it came out? Same transfer is used for the theatrical DCP. Want to see Big Lebowski theatrically? DCP is from the same master on the frequently panned Blu-ray.

So if the Sean Connery Bond movies, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Back To The Future and The Big Lebowski all show in DCP from masters used on mediocre discs, and the studios have no interest in redoing those, I don't think it's a given that Silkwood will be given a better master.
 

PMF

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Meryl Streep. Our most nominated actress in Oscar history.
And Jack. Our most nominated actor, as well.
For "Silkwood" and "Prizzi's Honor", I say WTF to either Kino or the Licensor.
No more scapegoating can be excepted from either, as we've just come too far in restoration and/or transfers;
that is, unless, you're connected to Gary Barber.:thumbsdown:
 
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Josh Steinberg

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The licensor doesn't care about these titles, and owns them almost by accident. In general, Disney is not concerned with the vast catalog of titles they have control over. The classic animated films get the spotlight, along with their new Marvel and Lucasfilm acquisitions and their live-action remakes of animated classics. Most of the films put out by Touchstone and Hollywood studios are MIA on BD, and the ones that are on disc generally come from ancient and unsatisfactory transfers.

Now, the silver lining to all of this is that they do have a good asset preservation program, so any film elements they have relating to these titles are almost certainly being preserved. But the company has very little interest in exploiting these titles and are clearly content to recycle existing transfers rather than creating new ones. The different outlets that could earn the money to justify the effort are drying up. Repertory cinema is all but dead, catalogue physical media sales are drying up, and many people are content to wait to watch a film when it shows up on Netflix or cable, or to simply go without seeing it. Because Disney didn't make the movie themselves, there's no one at the studio that has a connection to the film, no senior executive who could say, "But that's one of my most proud achievements, we need to always make sure it's available in the best possible quality."

But, like Warner, Disney isn't big on letting their assets out of their studio, and the cost of doing work on these titles would be more than a label like Kino could expect to make by selling a couple thousand copies, which is likely the ceiling for this title.
 
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Thomas T

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The film industry, cinéphiles, critics
Ah, insiders :) I thought you were referring to the mainstream public at large who actually purchase these discs. I'm sure Marcel Proust is an icon too among the literati but he's Marcel who? to everybody else.
 
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Michel_Hafner

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Ah, insiders :) I thought you were referring to the mainstream public at large who actually purchase these discs. I'm sure Marcel Proust is an icon too among the literati but he's Marcel who? to everybody else.
(You can buy his works in good quality, can't you? :))
I already said that BD sales are just one factor here and not necessarily the most relevant. But yes, ultimately it's some market that makes things happen or not or the state/individuals via organisations with budgets and goals. Silkwood has better cards than many other films in this regard.
 

The Drifter

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Recently re-watched Silkwood for the first time in many years. Very disturbing & unsettling; I liked how it portrayed Karen Silkwood as a real & flawed person, and not some larger than life heroic figure. I.e., while she was flawed (just like the rest of us), she was really trying to do the right thing to protect both herself & her numerous co-workers. And, her untimely death was both horribly tragic & extremely suspicious.

Kudos to Cher for playing an extremely unglamorous role here as KS's room-mate. Also, when watching the film again, I was again reminded that she is really not THAT tall. When you see her in old videos/pictures with Sonny Bono, she looks unusually tall because he was somewhat short-statured (and maybe she was wearing heels) & she was always next to him. But, in this film it was obvious she was about equal height with both Russell & Streep.

This excellent film make good double bill with the recent HBO series Chernobyl.
 

Robert Harris

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Recently re-watched Silkwood for the first time in many years. Very disturbing & unsettling; I liked how it portrayed Karen Silkwood as a real & flawed person, and not some larger than life heroic figure. I.e., while she was flawed (just like the rest of us), she was really trying to do the right thing to protect both herself & her numerous co-workers. And, her untimely death was both horribly tragic & extremely suspicious.

Kudos to Cher for playing an extremely unglamorous role here as KS's room-mate. Also, when watching the film again, I was again reminded that she is really not THAT tall. When you see her in old videos/pictures with Sonny Bono, she looks unusually tall because he was somewhat short-statured (and maybe she was wearing heels) & she was always next to him. But, in this film it was obvious she was about equal height with both Russell & Streep.

This excellent film make good double bill with the recent HBO series Chernobyl.
Height differential = 3.5 inches
 

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