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

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The Birds, is in its own way, a horror film.

    I've always loved the production, and am pleased that the new Blu-ray, which I presume is based upon analogue restoration work performed several years ago, looks generally terrific.

    Color, densities, blacks, shadow detail, all beautifully rendered. The effects are what they are, and work cohesively with the Blu-ray resolution standards.

    No problems here. Just a terrific Blu-ray.

    Image - 4.25

    Audio - 5

    Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. mikeyhitchfan

    mikeyhitchfan Supporting Actor

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    Great to hear, especially after the initial review. I must say that it looked great at the screening I went to recently. One of my top 5 Hitchcock films.
     
  3. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    So, all this stuff about "scrubbed" or whatever is not so. Good!
     
  4. EddieLarkin

    EddieLarkin Supporting Actor

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    Initial review:
    http://enthusiasm.org/post/31751219097
    Nick mentions specific points during the film (time stamped) that he deemed problematic, showing examples of digital artefacts. Perhaps these moments could be checked, to see if Nick was right or not, or perhaps to see if they've been fixed during the delay (unlikely I know).
     
  5. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    Agreed, this is great news to hear such a glowing review.
    This will be a major upgrade for me, given The Birds was only released as pan and scan in Australia/UK, and my 2000-era DVD of it has VHS-like image quality.
     
  6. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I'm willing to trust Mr. Harris's eyes on this one.
     
  7. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Great to hear. Can't wait for Mr. Harris to chime in on Frenzy or Family Plot, the only other supposedly "trouble" transfers.
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Universal did say to the HTF group the other day that The Birds was restored along with other titles like The Invisible Man.
    Crawdaddy
     
  9. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Screenwriter

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    After the earlier report of problems (which I now presume have been fixed, thanks to Nick's comments), this is wonderful news.
    Steve W
     
  10. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    Well, we don't know whether "problems" reported by Nick have been fixed because he hasn't commented and Robert Harris did not see the initial pressing, so we've had no comparisons. The only thing we can be absolutely certain of is that the FRENZY titles have been corrected and, according to RH, VERTIGO has had further work.
     
  11. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    I enjoyed this recent TCM Movie Morlocks blog post about The Birds at tcm.com:
    Why The Birds Matters
     
  12. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    Interesting article. I saw THE BIRDS when it was first released and have always been very ambivalent towards it – especially the ending. I recall a high sense of anticipation (all those posters saying “The Birds is coming”) and although I enjoyed it I felt a lack of emotional involvement in the film – it just didn’t grip and excite me as did Hitchcock's other films. Also the fashions and characterisations seemed old fashioned for 1963 which took me a bit out of the picture. Of course, as with every Hitchcock film it has some great moments but overall I felt it was a decline following NORTH BY NORHWEST and PSYCHO (of course Hitchcock himself said he had trouble trying to top PSYCHO).
     
  13. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Screenwriter

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    I think, without any evidence to the contrary, my initial position would be to trust both Robert and Nick, which by definition suggests there's been some fixing.
    It's possible one or both of them has dropped the ball, but that's my default position until and unless I hear otherwise.
    That aside, you are of course right. I don't really know at all - just my educated guess for now.
    Sorry, I probably should have been clearer.
    Best wishes.
    Steve W
     
  14. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Pretty much how I feel about it as well. I guess it's a good horror film; but just does not seem to have the added depth I expect from Hitchcock. I loved it as a kid; but then, my favorite films as a kid were often horror films. Even Robin Wood's advocacy in his famous book Hitchcock's Films fails to win me over on this film (or Marnie). But I enjoy it as a "sum of the parts/greater than the whole" sort of film. I am looking forward to the Blu-ray.
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    A bit of an update on The Birds.

    As I mentioned, this is a bit of a problematic negative, that was dealt with in the analogue world -- and quite beautifully btw -- but for Blu-ray, additional work was necessary.

    With the exception of a bit of an odd appearance to the elevator lamp as mentioned by Mr. W., I'm seeing very few real problems. This HD master probably has more in common with To Kill a Mockingbird, than any of the others, as it has a bit of a homogenized look to it. Making the multitude of dupes play well against production footage. I really don't have a problem with that, as going in other directions would have brought a great deal of extra expense.

    Reviewing, I've lowered my image score just a bit. Color can appear just a tad off at times, but is generally very pleasing. My overall opinion is that this is a credible transfer.

    RAH
     
  16. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    The Birds: Well, in a word - spectacular. So far, the best transfer in the set. Perfect color, perfect contrast, sharp, and better than it has ANY right to be, given the huge number of opticals. In the end, one can sit in one's home and posit guesses about what tools were used to do this transfer but you know what - it doesn't matter and who cares, because the ONLY thing that matters is the result, and the result here is absolutely stunning. The dye transfer release prints were wonderful on this title but this looks every bit as good as they did and probably even better, at least on my TV (fifty-five inch Samsung LED) - I'd love to see this Blu-ray on a bigger projection set-up but for me this is great work and for as many brickbats are hurled Universal's way (many deserved, some not so much), when they get it right they deserve all the kudos in the world. I spot-checked a lot of the film, including the major attacks - it's amazing. The only minor, and I mean MINOR nit to pick and only for extreme purists who know the film REALLY well, the final shot has basically had the little bit of color that was there drained from the image - it's fine, not bothersome, and I went with it. You can see the little bit of color that should be there in the velvet box transfer. If they'd only let Mr. Harris come in and fix the 10% of Vertigo that's problematic we'd have at least two perfect transfers in this set. But I have yet to see some of the other important titles.
    Here's an interesting little factoid since most here didn't see The Birds during its initial run - but Universal insisted that Hitchcock put a "The End" over the very end of the final shot - that's how the release prints are. I can't swear that none of the home video versions don't have that, but at some point they went back to the original way - no "The End" just the fade out, which is much better. My first 16mm IB Tech print had "The End" but then I managed to get just the final shot without it and I slugged that in.
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I also prefer with the original non-ending.

    RAH
     
  18. peerpee

    peerpee Stunt Coordinator

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    I stand by my initial assessment of THE BIRDS, which is quite the opposite of RAH and Bruce.
    This film is the only one in the set to have such a uniquely overprocessed digital look, and it reminds me very much of the PEEPING TOM StudioCanal UK Blu-ray abortion. Bruce, I stumbled across some comments in another thread where you were full of praise for the PEEPING TOM Blu-ray, so it doesn't surprise me that you're happy with THE BIRDS too, but both PEEPING TOM and THE BIRDS have been very overprocessed to a point that can ostensibly look impressive, but is actually much more of a software creation than representative of anything shot on film.
     
  19. DustinPizarro

    DustinPizarro Stunt Coordinator

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    Reading a few of the impressions (good or bad), I always remembered this film looking a bit odd in terms of visual effects. Despite all that this a personal midnight favorite of mine. A great suspenseful story that reinforced the notion that not all things can be explained.
     
  20. mikeyhitchfan

    mikeyhitchfan Supporting Actor

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    Not quite as stellar as I would've liked, but it looks very nice although I could detect some noise reduction was likely used here. Probably to match shots and opticals.
     

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