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Robert Harris

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John Ford's 1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is one of the great films.

Beautifully photographed in startling black & white by William Clothier. Decent cast.

Wonderful story.

But while much of the home theater crowd is probably going to love what Paramount has done here, I'm hating everything that I'm seeing.

The image is very clean and stable. Beautiful black & white, and very reminiscent of the way that it looked on film.

And yet, this isn't film, and looks nothing like it, even though with 4k UHD we're able to get closer to and not further away from the real thing.

Mr. Clothier's work has been totally de-grained, making it look like some sort of low-end data, and then smeared with video noise in an apparent nod toward those who desire that "film" look.

But here's the rub.

It's not just that the image has been de-grained, but either somewhere in the de-graining or digital clean-up, swirling patterns of amoebae have been rendered in skies and neutral areas, and they swim about, presumably having fun.

Sometimes the noise appears almost normal. Almost believable.

Sometimes it goes away entirely, and is fully grainless.

Sometimes it turns into them swirling creatures.

The legend is that Paramount is capable of doing beautiful restoration work. I'm thinking back to the work from the likes of Ron Smith.

I no longer believe it, but what the heck...

"Print the legend."

Image – 2.5 (Dolby Vision)

Audio – 5 (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 & Mono)

Pass / Fail – Fail

Plays nicely with projectors - Best not to enlarge it

Upgrade from Blu-ray - Absolutely not

Makes use of and works well in 4k - 1

Unfortunate, except for those who don't like the look of cinema.


I'd like to see this disc recalled and replaced by something respectful of the filmmakers, who are all apparently deemed worthless by the studio.

RAH
 
Last edited:

titch

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Oh dear. This is disappointing. And it was Paramount Presents first 4K UHD too. Everybody else is doing this correctly with their black and white 4K UHD releases, but not them. It has been apparent to me for the last year or so, that Paramount has been degraining many of their "Paramount Presents" blu-ray releases. As you note, the majority of people don't notice and don't care, but it is definitely noticeable to me, who projects blu-rays and 4K UHDs, and sits close to the screen.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I think this is simply the new Paramount “house look” as we’ve now seen multiple releases by them going back several years that all have a similar aesthetic. It wouldn’t be my preference or choice but it’s happened often enough that I think it’s quite fair to say this is intentional rather than accidental.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I think this is simply the new Paramount “house look” as we’ve now seen multiple releases by them going back several years that all have a similar aesthetic. It wouldn’t be my preference or choice but it’s happened often enough that I think it’s quite fair to say this is intentional rather than accidental.

Thing is their experimentations w/ this kind of thing is nothing new going at least back to the beginning of the BD era, if not earlier -- plenty of their early BDs were poorly DNRed... and then, their BD output dropped to near zilch for a long time before their recent output w/ this "house look"...

There were rare occasions when they'd fix those DNR issues (reasonably quickly) like w/ their Gladiator BD release, but they've long been very spotty in their track record -- I haven't kept count, but they may have had more mediocre-to-bad releases than good ones...

_Man_
 

Josh Steinberg

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Thing is their experimentations w/ this kind of thing is nothing new going at least back to the beginning of the BD era, if not earlier -- plenty of their early BDs were poorly DNRed... and then, their BD output dropped to near zilch for a long time before their recent output w/ this "house look"...

_Man_

Slightly different story there.

When Paramount started mastering for DVD, they did scanning in HD and final cleanup and mastering in SD (easier/faster/cheaper to do in SD especially when product is DVD only). They reused a lot of those HD scans for their early Blu-rays and overused DNR to cover up imperfections in their existing scans. It was a way to derive a “clean” look by repurposing existing assets in ways they were never intended to be used.

Here, they’re making brand new scans of camera negatives (or best surviving elements) and not just stopping at cleanup - they’re removing the film-like attributes that the image is comprised of and substituting that with a homogenized look that seeks to divorce the image content from the capture medium used in the first place. But this isn’t about repurposing older work to save money - this seems to be a conscious choice to create a new, modern looking final product.
 

Chewbabka

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Joe
Nada. Only to lose.

I wish they would give up on this idiocy.
This saddens me. It’s one of my personal favorites. It’s my favorite Wayne, my favorite Stewart, and neck-and-neck with a certain Best Picture winner for my favorite Ford. This and the Dollars films from Kino were poised to be my personal “titles of the year.”

The BD is certainly watchable, but it could be so much more.
 

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