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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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While a longish title, and what may seem to some a longish (163 minutes) running time, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1943, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, is to me, one of the shortest films ever made.This is a film, that in its current original version, gives me such pleasure, that I cannot help but smile just thinking about it.You've heard of "The stuff that dreams are made of..."This is a perfect example.As is my norm, I'll tell you nothing about the film, as that's best. Go in cold, and just enjoy. Revel in its perfection.Simply put, this new restoration, created with the aid of The Film Foundation, via The Academy Archive, will be one of the most important Blu-ray discs to arrive in 2013. Might it be the most important?To me, very possibly.The overall look and textures of the Blu-ray, with image harvested from both original Technicolor negatives, as well as fine grains (the included booklet states this incorrectly) is startlingly beautiful. On initial viewing, I was wondering if grain was just bit low, and it may be, very slightly. But the overall look is successful in replicating the textural values of an original mid-1940s dye transfer print, which would have been slightly soft, and virtually grainless, by virtue of the optics, mordants and dyes of the era. The difference here, is that via digital technology, we can have the reduced grain structure and keep the overall resolution. It's a nice balance.The original Technicolor look is there. The image is beautifully color-corrected by Ray Grabowski at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging, with astonishing shadow detail, and an extremely crisp image. Blacks, reds and primaries pop off the screen. Flesh tones are perfect. Audio is likewise superb.It's only two or three times a year that I suggest doing an absolutely blind buy on a Blu-ray disc.This is one of them.An unadulterated classic film in every respect, brought to Blu-ray with a passion for accuracy, and available via The Criterion Collection.Image - 5Audio - 5Very Highly Recommended.RAH
 

Russell G

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This just confirms my trust in blind buying discs from Criterion. Can't wait for my 2 month old pre-order to arrive! thanks once again for the words. I blind bought my introduction to Powell and Pressburger thanks to your write ups on The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus. :)
 

Timothy E

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I was almost turned off from seeing this film by the title. (What do they say about judging a book by its cover?) This is a fantastic film. They could call it Transformers 10 for all I care and it would not diminish the sublime quality of this production by the Archers. I look forward to seeing this on Blu-ray.
 

haineshisway

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Russell G said:
This just confirms my trust in blind buying discs from Criterion. Can't wait for my 2 month old pre-order to arrive! thanks once again for the words. I blind bought my introduction to Powell and Pressburger thanks to your write ups on The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus. :)
This has little to do with Criterion - this same brilliant transfer has been available in the UK for quite a while now and I wrote about it here at the time I first saw it. Happy to give Criterion its due, but they had nothing to do with this transfer.
 

Russell G

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Originally Posted by haineshisway
This has little to do with Criterion - this same brilliant transfer has been available in the UK for quite a while now and I wrote about it here at the time I first saw it. Happy to give Criterion its due, but they had nothing to do with this transfer.
Well Criterion has everything to do with releasing the title in North America in a form that looks great, is affordable and will play on my player. So I'm sticking with my statement. I'm yet to be let down by Criterion when it comes to blind buys.
If it was any other company this would of been an archive MOD type title or limited release Twilight Time thing since it can't possibly justify a retail release right? I mean, look at that title with all those words, and no famous people and it's just so oooooold and it's British so it must be boring right? RIGHT?
So yeah, I'm giving Criterion all the kudos I can for not abandoning retail with classic and important releases that are done right. I don't care if they do the transfer or they license it, that "C" on the spine is pretty damned reliable.
 

Patrick McCart

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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is one of the fastest 2 1/2 hours I've spent with a film. For those unfamiliar with Powell & Pressburger, every single one of their 1940s films is a gem.
 

EddieLarkin

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Russell G said:
I don't care if they do the transfer or they license it, that "C" on the spine is pretty damned reliable.
Let's not forget Children of Paradise: Scan: http://i.imgur.com/tfHwRk4.jpg Criterion BD: http://i.imgur.com/JHVvYt2.jpg Like all labels, Criterion are beholden to whatever materials they receive (with a few notable exceptions). Sometimes it's a TLaDoCB, once in a blue moon it's a CoP. They are not infallible.
 

Robert Harris

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Originally Posted by EddieLarkin
Let's not forget Children of Paradise:
Scan: http://i.imgur.com/tfHwRk4.jpg
Criterion BD: http://i.imgur.com/JHVvYt2.jpg
Like all labels, Criterion are beholden to whatever materials they receive (with a few notable exceptions). Sometimes it's a TLaDoCB, once in a blue moon it's a CoP. They are not infallible.
They were, unfortunately, locked into someone else's transfer.
 

Russell G

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Originally Posted by EddieLarkin
They are not infallible.
I don't think anyone is infallible nd nor did I say that Criterion was perfect. That said, I have faith to pre-order a Criterion title based on prior releases as opposed to one from a larger corp like Universal where regardless of the title I wait for a review.
 

haineshisway

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Russell G said:
Well Criterion has everything to do with releasing the title in North America in a form that looks great, is affordable and will play on my player. So I'm sticking with my statement. I'm yet to be let down by Criterion when it comes to blind buys. If it was any other company this would of been an archive MOD type title or limited release Twilight Time thing since it can't possibly justify a retail release right? I mean, look at that title with all those words, and no famous people and it's just so oooooold and it's British so it must be boring right? RIGHT? So yeah, I'm giving Criterion all the kudos I can for not abandoning retail with classic and important releases that are done right. I don't care if they do the transfer or they license it, that "C" on the spine is pretty damned reliable.
You know, my simple point was that Criterion wasn't responsible for this transfer and the people who ARE deserve the kudos. Happily they released it here, that's a given, for those who don't have multi-region players. I like most of what Criterion does and give them full kudos when they do have something to do with the transfer - in this particular instance they didn't and they don't deserve those kudos. And that was my simple point. All the rest of the stuff in your post has nothing to do with my simple point, and that's fine.
 

Vincent_P

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haineshisway said:
You know, my simple point was that Criterion wasn't responsible for this transfer and the people who ARE deserve the kudos...
One thing I love about Criterion is they always have a detailed "about the transfer" piece in their booklets, so credit is always given to the folks who did the actual work. whether it be them in-house or an outside source. Vincent
 

Russell G

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Originally Posted by haineshisway
You know, my simple point was that Criterion wasn't responsible for this transfer and the people who ARE deserve the kudos. Happily they released it here, that's a given, for those who don't have multi-region players. I like most of what Criterion does and give them full kudos when they do have something to do with the transfer - in this particular instance they didn't and they don't deserve those kudos. And that was my simple point. All the rest of the stuff in your post has nothing to do with my simple point, and that's fine.
Okay, so screw Criterion on this release since they had nothing to do with it...
 

Robert Harris

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Originally Posted by EddieLarkin
Yes, but there is some different tinkering:
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare2/colonelblimp.htm
I can see some weird "macroblocking" in the 4th comparison on the ITV disc.
Possibly, we're looking at different things, but I'm seeing no macro-blocking in the UK release. Some bokeh in the background possibly. The only real difference between the two would be Criterion's own authoring.
RAH
 

Ed Lachmann

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Some years ago I bought the original Criterion release of this film based on a growing respect for the talents of Roger Livesey, who I had recently enjoyed in Powell/Pressburger's wonderful I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING. A sparkling Wendy Hiller and unforgettable Finlay Currie join him in this equally glorious film that seems to fly by in a viewing. So, if you end up loving Livesey as COLONEL BLIMP, do give a try to I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING. I really hope that the latter, with its beautiful black and white cinematography, will see a BD version someday soon, as well.
 

Russell G

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Tinkering and authoring by Criterion? I thought they did nothing but just retread this release, hence they shouldn't get any recognition for it?!?!?
 

Robert Harris

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Originally Posted by Russell G
Tinkering and authoring by Criterion? I thought they did nothing but just retread this release, hence they shouldn't get any recognition for it?!?!?
Mr. Kimmel is quite correct in that they were handed the HD master. If you're smiling send a small contribution to The Film Foundation.
RAH
 

Robert Harris

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Originally Posted by Ed Lachmann
Some years ago I bought the original Criterion release of this film based on a growing respect for the talents of Roger Livesey, who I had recently enjoyed in Powell/Pressburger's wonderful I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING. A sparkling Wendy Hiller and unforgettable Finlay Currie join him in this equally glorious film that seems to fly by in a viewing. So, if you end up loving Livesey as COLONEL BLIMP, do give a try to I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING. I really hope that the latter, with its beautiful black and white cinematography, will see a BD version someday soon, as well.
This is how it begins.
First, The Red Shoes, then Narcissus and Blimp.
Suddenly, you find yourself with I Know, and before you know it, you're spending the evening with Canterbury.
It's a sad situation.
RAH
 

EddieLarkin

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For those interested in more P&P, last I read (maybe on HTF?) the BFI were working A Canterbury Tale whilst Film Foundation are moving on to Tales of Hoffman. The latter should prove interesting release wise, since Criterion lost the rights a while back to StudioCanal/Lionsgate. They have still yet to release Peeping Tom in the U.S. despite it being available in the UK since '10
 

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