What's new

A Few Words About A few words about...™ Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned... -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
13,862
Real Name
Robert Harris
Stanley Kubrick's dark comedy about high level military insanity and war during the "duck and cover" era is as brilliant today as it was in 1963, when George C. Scott noted in an interview, that he felt that it would be discussed far into the future.

Mr. Scott was right.

What he, nor anyone else, could have predicted however, in an age where original negatives were shipped across the pond (and then back) for printing, was that by the mid-1980s the original negative would be nowhere to be found.

There have been various rumors.

Mr. Kubrick was so upset that he ordered all extant elements shipped to his home outside London, where he meticulously re-photographed each frame from whatever was available...

with his Nikon.

Mr. Kubrick was so upset that he ordered all extant elements shipped to his home outside London, where upon examination of dupes, he found bits and pieces of his original negative cut in as replacement footage.

The truth of the situation is that Columbia's Asset Protection guru, Grover Crisp, ordered all extant elements shipped in for examination, and in an era during which 4k restoration was virtually unknown -- I'm aware of only one other which entailed a trio of color films -- culled through the elements, and moved meticulously forward with the necessary frame by frame restoration, of which we are now the Blu-ray beneficiary.

Acknowledging the fact that the OCN no longer is available, the results are as close to Mr. Kubrick's original intent as humanly and technologically possible.

Gorgeous black & white, with a clean, dirt-free, stable image, and every bit of original resolution as captured by the protection elements.

Dr. Strangelove is one of the most important and entertaining films made in our century plus of the cinema.

I've seen it in virtually every incarnation over the years, and generally (except for the very first screening) went away less than pleased. This Blu-ray has me smiling again.

Formatted in 1.66:1 aspect ratio, it gets something right that over the decades seemed to get continually overlooked. The proper framing of the B-52 Stratofortress in flight. These huge aircraft -- 8 engines, 159 feet long, 40 feet high, and with a wing span of 185 feet (many of which are still in service, and will remain in service) are magnificent in flight. For many of the shots in Strangelove, they were captured from wingtip to wingtip, but for whatever reason some of these shots seemed to have been continuously cropped in either printing or video replication.

They're back, and framed to perfection.

There is only one Dr. Strangelove, and it's a must own for anyone who even has an inkling that they love the cinema. Not to own this film can lead to the loss of one's cinephile license.

As an aside, as I noted, while the aspect ratio of Dr. Strangelove is 1.66:1, the aspect ratio of the B-52 is slightly wider, even wider than Ultra-Panavision 70, at 8.56:1

Dr. Strangelove on Blu-ray is the most perfect version of the film that one will see, and I can't not give it the unusual rating of:

Extremely Highly Recommended!

(Dr. Strangelove is encoded for regions A, B and C)

RAH
 

TonyD

Who do we think I am?
Premium
Ambassador
Joined
Dec 1, 1999
Messages
21,351
Location
Gulf Coast
Real Name
Tony D.
I might have to re-activate my blu access on netflix just for this.
 

Dennis Maricic

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 24, 2000
Messages
81
Real Name
Dennis
Thank you Robert for the very informative review.

This is a title that I've coveted for sometime and am overjoyed to hear that it was treated with the respect it deserves.
 

TonyD

Who do we think I am?
Premium
Ambassador
Joined
Dec 1, 1999
Messages
21,351
Location
Gulf Coast
Real Name
Tony D.
"As an aside, as I noted, while the aspect ratio of Dr. Strangelove is 1.66:1, the aspect ratio of the B-52 is slightly wider, even wider than Ultra-Panavision 70, at 8.56:1"

is that a real aspect ratio?
 

Scott D S

Supporting Actor
Joined
Feb 23, 2000
Messages
862
Location
Van Nuys, CA
Real Name
Scott Saslow
Do these two (somewhat minor) issues still exist from the last DVD release? I read this on another forum when this disc was announced:

1. @38:09 - In the scene where the Russian ambassador is caught with the camera in the war room: after the line "That's a damn lie. I saw him with my own eyes." In the next line: "Mister >>[Amb...leman]
 

Brian Borst

Screenwriter
Joined
May 15, 2008
Messages
1,137

LOL is that a threat :laugh: ? Doesn't matter, though. I already planned to pick this up. Sony continues to take very good care of their back catalog, I must say. Along with Ghostbusters this should be a very satisfying release.
 

Geoff_D

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 18, 2002
Messages
933
The remastered DVD was an absolute joy to watch, and I'm glad to hear that the Blu does it even better. Thanks RAH.
 

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
13,862
Real Name
Robert Harris

There are three types of film restoration or "restorations."

1. A new print or cleaned negative hyped as a "restoration."

2. What I have coined "masturbatory" restoration. What could have been a lab order, plus a bit of extra detail work, that has the trappings of a true restoration, as well as publicity and sizzle behind it.

3. Film restorations that begin with proper research, and work from the ground up to literally re-build a film.

Dr. Strangelove is a perfect example of number 3. As such, these problems inherent in older video releases necessary to cover problems with elements, no longer exist.

Dr. Strangelove is film restoration done right.

RAH
 

PaulDA

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2004
Messages
2,708
Location
St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
Real Name
Paul
While I've been quite happy with my SD copy (most recent release), this will be a double-dip for sure. I'll keep the other one (I use excerpts in class when we cover the Cold War) but for home viewing, only the best will do when it comes to the good Dr.:emoji_thumbsup:
 

Patrick McCart

Premium
Joined
May 16, 2001
Messages
7,970
Location
Georgia (the state)
Real Name
Patrick McCart
Great to hear this came out great! The '04 remaster is fantastic, so I'm eager to see it in 1080p form. I took advantage of Amazon's $22 sale price on pre-order. Not that it wouldn't be worth a $40 MSRP.

I've actually felt the murkiness of some older transfers added to the film, even if it was completely unintentional. I'd much rather see the film intended by Kubrick without the damage and dupey contrast, but I used to think it was meant to look like that when I was younger. This is not the case for 2001, which absolutely needs the best quality possible.


On the subject of Kubrick, what's your opinion on the UCLA/MGM restoration for Paths of Glory?
 

Terry Hickey

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 21, 2001
Messages
429
Real Name
Terry Hickey
This is one of my all time favorites. I am looking forward to adding it to my small collection of films in high definition.
 

Mike Williams

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
Messages
1,019

I believe Mr. Harris is referring to the actual B-52s themselves. I don't believe he means to imply that the aspect ratio of the film changes to 8:56:1 when we see the B-52.
 

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
13,862
Real Name
Robert Harris

Only when donning the colorful and festive pair of special Dr. Strangelove glasses (4 pair included with Blu-ray).
 

Christian Preischl

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
1,374
Real Name
Christian Preischl
Well, NOW I'm sold.
htf_images_smilies_smile.gif
 

Stephen_J_H

All Things Film Junkie
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2003
Messages
6,532
Location
North of the 49th
Real Name
Stephen J. Hill
Thanks, RAH. That makes the distinction between "masturbatory" restoration and an actual restoration even clearer.
 

DavidJ

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2001
Messages
4,223
Real Name
David

Crisp makes an excellent point about good intentions not being enough. Unfortunately we've seen this borne out from time to time on Blu-ray, but it is good to know that this title was handled correctly.
 

Rob LoVerde

Agent
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
32
Real Name
Rob LoVerde

Thank you, Mr. Harris. You're right, that *was* an interesting read.

Was this kind of restoration performed for other Kubrick films on Blu-ray?
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
346,889
Messages
4,794,024
Members
141,925
Latest member
Magic_Turtle
Top