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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Strategic Air Command -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. Message #1 of 177 Oct 16, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    For those who know their film formats, there's a very specific "look," especially for early VistaVision productions.

    If that "look" is missing, be it on a new print, or any video format, something is amiss.

    Waiting for Olive's new Blu-ray of Anthony Mann's 1955 Vista production, to hit my screen, I was hoping that the necessary "look" would be in evidence.

    And it was. In spades.

    While this James Stewart / June Allyson (yes, their married on-screen again) starrer still entertains, it more important attribute is from a technical perspective, which is extremely important for a film that actually hit screens in 8-perf VistaVision and Perspecta sound.

    Color and densities are generally superb, as is resolution, with an accurate appearing grain structure. Blues are important her, as they can represent fade, and they seem fine.

    The only true fade that I noted was in 35/4 photography, which should have been able to be attended to. A minor point, and affected only in those areas where a Vista camera was either felt endanger or would not fit. Some models seem to have been shot in 35/4,

    While I would have preferred to have heard the original audio (in this case Perspecta), there are numerous reasons why it may not have been used, the most probable -- it no longer exists. That point made, the monaural track is fine.

    Strategic Air Command is a beautifully produced film, and should appeal to Stewart completists, technical devotees, and those with an interest in aircraft.

    As asides, viewers should be aware that Mr. Stewart enlisted in the Air Corps , serving as a pilot in WWII, the first major star to join the military for the war effort. He wasn't simply playing a pilot in his aircraft scenes. He knew what it was all about.

    His character, a third basemen for the St. Louis Cardinals, "Dutch" Holland, is drafted back into service for SAC. The basis is found in the life of Ted Williams, who after service in WWII, was brought back into uniform during the Korean conflict, taking away some of what would have been his best years in baseball.

    Bottom line -- it's a Blu-ray winner.

    Image - 4.95

    Audio - 4 (lowered due to info that orig tracks survive, but not used)

    4k Up-rez - 5

    Pass / Fail - Pass

    Recommended

    RAH
     
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  2. Rodney

    Rodney Screenwriter
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    Yes! I am very glad to see the Recommended in your review. I was purchasing this anyway, as it is one I really enjoy, but to read your review makes me extremely excited to get this one!

    Only correction: Ted Williams was born in 1918, so I think you may have missed an "I" there. Regardless, good information that I wasn't aware of.
     
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  3. Message #3 of 177 Oct 16, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
    Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    It would be a neat trick for a pilot to participate in WWI then skip WWII and pilot jets in the Korean War.;)

    By the way, Amazon is currently selling this BD title for $12.99
     
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  4. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    This movie is almost like the flip side of Dr. Strangelove.
     
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  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Correction made. Thank you!
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Worth every penny!
     
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  7. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    The Perspecta track exists. I've heard it and it's quite dynamic.
     
  8. Jimbo64

    Jimbo64 Supporting Actor

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    I'm very pleasantly surprised by your review RAH, I really wasn't expecting this.... Ordering today!
     
  9. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Cinematographer

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    Just ordered, thanks for the tip!
     
  10. Message #10 of 177 Oct 16, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
    Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    One dramatic use of Perspecta stereo in this film: when the plane engines rev up, the sound goes from center channel at normal level to all three speakers at top gain. It's quite impressive and one of the most effective uses of gain control with the system.

    Universal mixed THIS ISLAND EARTH in very much the same way. When the jet buzzes the tower in reel one, all three speakers go from total silence to top volume and it rocks you in your seat!

    Perspecta stereo gets a bad rap from people that have never heard it properly. I was very close with Robert Eberenz, the chief engineer at Fine Recording in New York. He restored an original Fairchild integrator for me back in the 1990's and I've heard dozens of Perspecta tracks on original 35mm prints. When mixed properly, the system was quite impressive.

    We met with Paramount's archival team circa 1995 and offered to restore all of their optical Perspecta masters and provide new three-channel masters.

    They declined.
     
  11. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    I'm not Stewart's biggest fan but as noted on another thread on the HTF, I am a huge June Allyson fan so your review has me pumped up. I was always going to purchase it anyway but now it will be sooner than later.
     
  12. Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Screenwriter

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    I remember bringing this one up back in July 2014. Finally after 2 and a quarter years, it's finally here!
     
  13. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Perspecta Tracks were optical mono to begin with so I'm not sure how they would go missing.
     
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  14. john a hunter

    john a hunter Screenwriter

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    Well yes I haven't heard Perspecta like you Bob, but I still don't know how you can call3 mono channels stereo:)
     
  15. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Perspecta-4.17.54.web.
     
  16. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Looking forward to receiving my pre-ordered copy. LOVE any real VistaVision transfers.
     
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  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Easy.

    Improper IDs.

    Mis-inventoried.

    VS.
     
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  18. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    That would imply Paramount made a run of prints without the embedded LF tones needed for the external Perspecta decoders of the day which is a bit headscratching.
     
  19. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I was fully expecting a low score on this but am pleasantly surprised. I think perhaps the "4 (lowered due to info that orig tracks exist but not used)" belongs on the audio rating and not the 4K Up-rez rating.
     
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  20. OliverK

    OliverK Producer

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    First let me say that I am really ecstatic that Strategic Ari Command has turned out like this - I expected soemthing on the level of The Grass is Greener!

    For me an Anthony Mann / Jimmy Stewart collaboration shot in VistaVision and brought to Blu-ray in very good quality is a dream come true, can't wait to get my disc!

    I'd like to add a must have for Anthony Mann completists, especially with many of his best looking movies being released only in substandard quality.
     
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