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ManW_TheUncool

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By the way, it appears this upcoming 4K/UHD release is going to be in short supply. Several retailers are showing it sold out or unavailable for pre-ordering.

Hope that's just a (relatively) temporary issue that's become quite common these days...

_Man_
 

FincherFan

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It's extremely hard to judge quality or identify issues based on nothing more than a stream. Too many variables, too much compression.
this is exactly why i was wondering about this. i do have the blu-ray & when i saw the 4K digital version (apparently 5 years ago) i bought it immediately, but i would prefer to upgrade from my blu-ray.
 

Dave H

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It's extremely hard to judge quality or identify issues based on nothing more than a stream. Too many variables, too much compression.

I hate to admit it, but the picture quality between Apple TV streaming and UHD disc is very, very close assuming the same master. I never used to believe this until I have compared myself at least with a few movies. Audio on the other hand, I have not compared yet.
 

Jeff Fearnside

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If its the same 5.1 track that was on previous releases, its really not that much different from the original mono. Full multitracks and stems do not survive for Chinatown so most of it is derived from the original DMEs.
Thanks, Joel. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that, but now that you mention it, yes, original multitracks and stems are often separated from their film counterparts. I didn't realize they were missing for Chinatown.
 

Scott Merryfield

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Not quite sure what you're asking, but if you already own it on iTunes, you could just watch it, no?

Of course, that alone won't tell you if it came from the same transfer as this new 4K disc -- it probably is outside of whatever possibly small tweak(s) and necessarily diff encode/compression (for streaming vs disc master).

I also have that iTunes 4K digital myself -- IIRC, it's been available in 4K digital for at least a couple years now.

_Man_
I bought my digital copy of Chinatown on iTunes in September, 2019. What I cannot tell you is if it was in HD back then and later was upgraded to 4K, or if I bought it in 4K at that time.
 

Robert Crawford

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I bought my digital copy of Chinatown on iTunes in September, 2019. What I cannot tell you is if it was in HD back then and later was upgraded to 4K, or if I bought it in 4K at that time.
 

Nick*Z

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Roman Polanski's 1974 Chinatown, based upon the screenplay by Robert Towne is a film that belongs in Paramount's "Presents" series.

I've always considered it, even with it's bright California sunlit exteriors in all their heavily warm-timed glory, to be daylight noir.

Paramount's new 4k is a beautiful affair, rendering the film as it was originally seen in the first run of dye transfer prints, only struck for the original release, and just before the Technicolor lab went off the dye transfer standard, which occurred in December of 1974. From my memory, all additional prints struck were Eastman Color.

Beyond color, this release eschews the more recent desire to reproduce every grain, and more properly (in this archivist's opinion) reproduces the appearance of the original prints.

Colors, density, the subdued grain structure, and black levels all seem correct.

I was going to call this one of the great films of the '70s, but I'll make a step forward.

Chinatown is one of the great films. Period.

And belongs in every serious cinema library.

There will be some who mourn the fact that the track has been re-recorded as 5.1, without the original monaural, but the 5.1 works beautifully.

Most important is the bifold slip, collectible by some standards, which ups the normal printing of the paper insert to include a metallic layer.

Great extras should seal the deal.

Image

Forensic - 10
NSD - 10

Audio – 10 (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Makes use of and works well in 4k - 9

Upgrade from Blu-ray - Yes

Worth your attention - 10

Slipcover rating - 4

Very Highly Recommended

RAH



Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. As an Amazon Associate HTF earns from qualifying purchases. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

https://www.amazon.com/Paramount-Presents-Chinatown-Jakes-Blu-ray/dp/B0CYK618H9/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3C43RPYVEIMLH&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.ny4grhjrAK6dl2MilpxadF1wP225E2c8VsH-vbrvB90tgLJuem5lzd3-CefVZx4WfVW4G-aNDdlc3ZWZJXmgJXN2xeEZUHl126T8TUKZVgsX6x6Me4d_eVtR4uvjZJsukvuhYJWKx7GJolBNg95LOuFr_U_ZtTednJ6nmM7oQjj7KGGhCzkc0LIXQ81VKGsjS6joOKlSplhab-CcaDJ-3g.Oemobr-FIgkkmzEmdF1QdDUFqNnX4k58Ww6AD1zhFU8&dib_tag=se&keywords=chinatown+4k&qid=1718121234&sprefix=chinatown+4k,aps,89&sr=8-1
One the greatest?

By God - yes. In spades.

Easily in the top 50, most assuredly in the top 20, some would place it in the top 10, and perhaps, even vying for a privileged spot in the top 5.

Anyway you splice it, Chinatown is an irrefutable masterpiece!
Were that The Two Jakes had come even close to rivaling its artistry.

RE: Two Jakes - still a fine picture in many regards, and as a stand alone. Along side Chinatown? Wan ghost flower comes more readily to mind.
 

sbjork

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It's a great film. I wish there was a bit less emphasis on how it ranks compared to other great films, and more on why people feel that it's a great film, but I realize that I'm swimming upstream against the implacable deluge of list-making and ranking.
 

titch

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It's a great film. I wish there was a bit less emphasis on how it ranks compared to other great films, and more on why people feel that it's a great film, but I realize that I'm swimming upstream against the implacable deluge of list-making and ranking.
1) The script: one of the greatest screenplays of all time - so convoluted, it needs several viewings to understand exactly who is doing what to whom and why, but there is no problem understanding the main narrative and dynamics between the principle players. A great film always needs a great script. Film noir was reborn.

2) The actors. All at the very top of their game.

3) The director. At the pinnacle of his powers.

4) The sumptuous production design (production credit from Penthouse magazine included in the end credits).

5) The cinematography and editing.

6) The classic soundtrack.

The most perfect combination of all the elements.

The 1970's was a new golden age in filmmaking, not just in American cinema, but all over the world. There was no order for a major studio to make a film for as many people as possible, or change it to whatever random preview audience wrote down on a card. The filmmakers made the film exactly as they wanted to, without compromise. 50 years later, nothing in the cinemas can hold a candle to this sort of filmmaking. Chinatown was the best.
 

Robert Harris

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1) The script: one of the greatest screenplays of all time - so convoluted, it needs several viewings to understand exactly who is doing what to whom and why, but there is no problem understanding the main narrative and dynamics between the principle players. A great film always needs a great script. Film noir was reborn.

2) The actors. All at the very top of their game.

3) The director. At the pinnacle of his powers.

4) The sumptuous production design (production credit from Penthouse magazine included in the end credits).

5) The cinematography and editing.

6) The classic soundtrack.

The most perfect combination of all the elements.

The 1970's was a new golden age in filmmaking, not just in American cinema, but all over the world. There was no order for a major studio to make a film for as many people as possible, or change it to whatever random preview audience wrote down on a card. The filmmakers made the film exactly as they wanted to, without compromise. 50 years later, nothing in the cinemas can hold a candle to this sort of filmmaking. Chinatown was the best.
That “new golden age” actually began around 1967.
 

Sam Favate

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I agree that Chinatown is a masterpiece in any era of film. I look forward to the new 4k edition.
 

titch

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That “new golden age” actually began around 1967.
No question that it began in 1967. Both Mark Harris and Peter Biskind have written authoritative tomes on that seismic shift. The new wave that started at the end of the 60's (most notably, with Easy Rider in 1969) really came into fruition at the beginning of the 1970's. And the era which produced the likes of Chinatown, lasted until the mid-70's, when a certain shark movie and a certain space western introduced studio heads to the PG mega blockbuster and the concept of the film franchise. The extremely cold, dark and cynical Chinatown (as well as other American masterpieces from that era, such as The Godfather, The French Connection, Nashville, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Taxi Driver, Badlands etc.) would have struggled to have been made as they were, if there had been enormous expectations for similar spectacular box office, from the studio heads.
 

cineMANIAC

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From the feedback I have been reading across the Internet from those who received an early copy, there was nothing but raves about the quality of the transfer. I'm glad Paramount got this one right.

Inconsistency is one of my biggest physical media pet peeves. I'm of the belief that all films, regardless of pedigree, should receive a proper remaster. Why does one film deserve more careful attention over another? How do these decisions get made?

I don't know about anyone else but I'm in this primarily for the video quality (Audio not so much). Crappy slipcover artwork aside, what matters most to me is how good a film will look on my calibrated OLED.

It seems like there's a tug of war in Hollywood over film grain. Film purists insist on minimal grain removal when absolutely necessary while decision makers influenced by misguided market research strive to appeal to those who want squeaky clean images. It's a modern version of the old Fullscreen vs. Widescreen debates, only now it's somewhat less of an issue among consumers because of the decline of physical media but, sadly, it's still a problem for studios.

The studios still haven't gotten the message that it's collectors who are propping up physical media, not Joe Sixpack.
 

JoshZ

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It seems like there's a tug of war in Hollywood over film grain. Film purists insist on minimal grain removal when absolutely necessary while decision makers influenced by misguided market research strive to appeal to those who want squeaky clean images. It's a modern version of the old Fullscreen vs. Widescreen debates, only now it's somewhat less of an issue among consumers because of the decline of physical media but, sadly, it's still a problem for studios.

The studios still haven't gotten the message that it's collectors who are propping up physical media, not Joe Sixpack.

I might argue many of the "film purists" are just as misinformed as the Joe Sixpacks. One problem I often have with a lot of 4K transfers is the way they can over-emphasize grain much more than it was ever visible in 35mm projection, where the grain would naturally be softened due to the optical duplication process. Filmmakers of the day understood the qualities of both their shooting stocks and the printing stocks, and planned accordingly for both. Unless they were going for a specific artistic effect, rarely did they intend or want their photography to be swarming with a coarse coating of sandpaper-like grain. Yet that's what we wind up with on far too many 4K discs, which resolve each grain particle practically down to the molecular level. It's like watching movies through an electron microscope.
 

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