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Robert Harris

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That's all fine in the abstract, and I understand what you're going for, but in practice, what you would hope for isn't within the realm of possibility regardless of education and calibration. Reviewing is indeed a subjective process, but it cant' be anything else. How exactly can anyone determine if something has been altered from its original look? How can they determine accuracy, or the original intent of the filmmakers? That may be possible in some cases, but it's completely impossible in others.

An example: I'm currently finishing up the Miklós Jancsó Collection from Kino, for a review to be posted later this week. I'm quite familiar with Jancsó, but my exposure to his films has been via VHS, laserdisc, and DVD. Even if I had managed to catch repertory showings of 35mm prints, what guarantee is there that the colors on those prints were still accurate? Any current repertory showings are now going to be via DCPs of the NFI restorations, so again, what frame of reference could I have to judge them against the intentions of Jancsó, Tamas Somló, and János Kende? Kende appears to have supervised the grades on three of the restorations, but Jancsó and Somló are no longer with us, and who's to say that Kende hasn't revised the look compared to the original intentions? Look at all the different Dean Cundey approved grades on home video to see how the same cinematographer can change his mind repeatedly. And even if I'd seen each and every one of these films during their original theatrical releases, those were between forty and fifty years ago. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, who tells you that they can accurately remember the color timing of a given film from decades ago is selling swampland to you.

I just watched the UHD for Top Gun last weekend, which I freely admit that I've never seen before, and I've read various comments about the accuracy of the HDR grade on that compared to previous versions. But in this case, we're talking about Blu-ray, DVD, laserdisc, and even VHS. How accurate were any of those? Again, anyone who tells you what the timing originally looked like theatrically is full of hot air. That was 35 years ago. To me, it looked good, but was it accurate? How could I tell if it wasn't?

Fortunately, I didn't have to review that one, but I am taking care of Jancsó, so I have to make judgement calls, and they're definitely subjective, regardless of experience or calibration. For the record, I'm running a calibrated JVC RS200, so in theory at least, I should be seeing what's on the disc represented fairly. But judging quality is still subjective -- up to a point, at least. Now, can we all do better? Yes, as with all things in life, we should strive to improve our knowledge, experience, and abilities. Some things shouldn't be given a pass the way that they have been, and I agree with you about that. The goal should try to compare to the original intentions of the filmmakers as much as possible, but you have to acknowledge that they change their minds and their views, so even that requires some subjective interpretation. And in many cases, especially with catalogue titles, you simply have to judge if it looks good to you. That will always be subjective. Should things improve? Yes, they should. Can the situation be "resolved," as you say? No, it can't, regardless of the circumstances. Even if every single reviewer had RAHs knowledge and experience, they'd still be faced with films for which they have no frame of reference, and for which none can be determined, so all they can do is make a subjective judgement.
All very good points, and thank you for taking on the Jancso films.

Film prints didn’t really have high dynamic range, and certainly didn’t have Dolby Vision.

What we see via HDR is generally from the original negative. Add HDR to a dupe or fine grain and you’re off in the rough.

Anything shot on film, with HDR added in digital space will not represent an original projected print except under perfect projection circumstances and a perfectly timed print. And even then the HDR variant takes the imagery beyond what it might have been.

How many theaters ran at 14 footlamberts?
 

titch

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That's all fine in the abstract, and I understand what you're going for, but in practice, what you would hope for isn't within the realm of possibility regardless of education and calibration. Reviewing is indeed a subjective process, but it cant' be anything else. How exactly can anyone determine if something has been altered from its original look? How can they determine accuracy, or the original intent of the filmmakers? That may be possible in some cases, but it's completely impossible in others.

An example: I'm currently finishing up the Miklós Jancsó Collection from Kino, for a review to be posted later this week. I'm quite familiar with Jancsó, but my exposure to his films has been via VHS, laserdisc, and DVD. Even if I had managed to catch repertory showings of 35mm prints, what guarantee is there that the colors on those prints were still accurate? Any current repertory showings are now going to be via DCPs of the NFI restorations, so again, what frame of reference could I have to judge them against the intentions of Jancsó, Tamas Somló, and János Kende? Kende appears to have supervised the grades on three of the restorations, but Jancsó and Somló are no longer with us, and who's to say that Kende hasn't revised the look compared to the original intentions? Look at all the different Dean Cundey approved grades on home video to see how the same cinematographer can change his mind repeatedly. And even if I'd seen each and every one of these films during their original theatrical releases, those were between forty and fifty years ago. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, who tells you that they can accurately remember the color timing of a given film from decades ago is selling swampland to you.

I just watched the UHD for Top Gun last weekend, which I freely admit that I've never seen before, and I've read various comments about the accuracy of the HDR grade on that compared to previous versions. But in this case, we're talking about Blu-ray, DVD, laserdisc, and even VHS. How accurate were any of those? Again, anyone who tells you what the timing originally looked like theatrically is full of hot air. That was 35 years ago. To me, it looked good, but was it accurate? How could I tell if it wasn't?

Fortunately, I didn't have to review that one, but I am taking care of Jancsó, so I have to make judgement calls, and they're definitely subjective, regardless of experience or calibration. For the record, I'm running a calibrated JVC RS200, so in theory at least, I should be seeing what's on the disc represented fairly. But judging quality is still subjective -- up to a point, at least. Now, can we all do better? Yes, as with all things in life, we should strive to improve our knowledge, experience, and abilities. Some things shouldn't be given a pass the way that they have been, and I agree with you about that. The goal should try to compare to the original intentions of the filmmakers as much as possible, but you have to acknowledge that they change their minds and their views, so even that requires some subjective interpretation. And in many cases, especially with catalogue titles, you simply have to judge if it looks good to you. That will always be subjective. Should things improve? Yes, they should. Can the situation be "resolved," as you say? No, it can't, regardless of the circumstances. Even if every single reviewer had RAHs knowledge and experience, they'd still be faced with films for which they have no frame of reference, and for which none can be determined, so all they can do is make a subjective judgement.
Colour-grading issues can be more complex than blanket grain removal. Changing the colour scheme can radically alter the appearance of a film (see the revised, director-approved, green version of In The Mood For Love). However a film with a different colour can still look like film. In The Mood For Love still looks like a film in the 4K version, but I preferred the earlier colour-grading. It's probably because I've spent a lifetime watching films, which originate from emulsion. When I watched the 4k UHD of In The Heights, which doesn't have a speck of grain on it, I had a strange sensation of watching something artificial. I shouldn't have, but I did. Real life doesn't have grain, so the fact that I expect to see grain when I watch a movie on a large screen, is only due to a lifetime of conditioning. My son will probably never experience this.
 

lark144

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Most people that purchase these discs are not viewing them on such projectors. It's obvious to me that Paramount has made a conscious decision to release The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance to consumers that like the look of this 4K release on their non-projector 4K displays.

Again, I don't think Paramount is making a mistake. You might not like their decision-making in regard to this release. However, I think they know exactly what they're doing and feel that most of their consumers except for a vocal minority of film purists on the internet, will enjoy the look of this 4K disc on their 4K displays.

Anyhow, I just ordered my 4K disc from Deep Discount so I hope to have this disc in-hand either later this week or next week at the latest. I'm looking forward to watching it on my 65" OLED. I recognized that I'm swimming upstream with my minority opinion in this thread, but I feel a need to speak out for those that don't share the prevalent opinion being expressed here as I've found these Paramount titles looking very pleasing on my OLEDs, whether on disc or digitally.
Robert, this is about my comment on how I found the Blu unwatchable, which you disagree with.

It all has to do with what one has as a reference.

I never liked "Liberty Valance" all that much until I saw an archival print years ago at MOMA, I think, or it might have been the Regency.

Anyway, the visual qualities of that print, especially the grey scales and the lucid whites, made me realize I was watching a masterpiece.

And on the Blu, all of those visual qualities that made the film great for me are missing.

For me, it not only looks abominable, but destroys the subtle balance between black, white and grey scales that brought out the meaning and the emotion of many of those scenes. For instance, the image of the cactus rose on the coffin, with those shadows and sense of depth, is now completely missing for me. It's flat and a bit smeary and because of that meaningless.

It's no longer the "Liberty Valance" that I love.

Also, it's no longer John Ford and William Clothier's "Liberty Valance" either.

And I think that's the whole point of it.

It may look "ok" to you, but it's not the film that John Ford approved.

It's not just the story, but those subtle visual qualities, of shadow and depth of field, that brings out the meaning of things, and are found throughout the film, in a theme and variation not unlike that found in a Mozart symphony, which otherwise are lost.

It's not just about grain.

It's about the meaning and artistry to be found within that grain that makes "Liberty Valance" a masterpiece.

Now, sometimes films can be degrained but through technology maintain the visual and aesthetic qualities that make them distinctive. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. Everything that made this film great for me, visually speaking, is missing. It has been stripped of what made it worth watching. I guess you can use it as a reference, a way to recall in your mind's eye the film that once was. But for future generations, "Liberty Valance", what made that film distinctive, the interplay of light and shadow that brought out those themes of ambiguity so emotionally, no longer exists.
 

Robert Crawford

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Let me try this again.

If grain, lack of smeared imagery and certain other attributes do not damage the viewing pleasure of those who don’t know what they’re looking at…

What possible point could those creating the digital versions of those images have toward purposefully creating damaging problems to make those people happy…

If they’d be just as happy with quality imagery.

And if you’re suggesting that you’ve seen some of the titles on the list offered, and are not troubled or offended by them, then you may be bi-granular. Please don’t take that as an insult. Members of the aristocracy have been known to be bi-granular, especially post 16th century.

But my question remains, if none of this matters to you and those who represent as bi-granular, do we presume that there is a more intense group, who must have a fully Pattonized image in order to purchase a disc, and that Paramount is orienting all of their work toward them, as opposed to placing them in re-education centers?

And finally…

What proportion of those who purchase 4k software actually desire the imagery to look like an original print of a motion picture?
Well, let me try this again!

First off, way back when, during a HTF Meet at Fox, I personally approached Schawn Belston and brought up the issue of film grain and detail removal on the 2008 "Patton" Blu-ray release. That is was DNR'd to death and he admitted its shortcomings. So please, I'm not hear to defend the 2008 "Patton" nor "The Longest Day". I clearly noticed the issues with those Blu-ray releases. However, I'm not about to lump in the 4K digital of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" with those two Blu-rays. I haven't seen the 4K disc yet so I can't comment on that yet, but will do so when I receive it. As to the following discs, I own just about all of them except Court Jester and Suspiria. I found the discs acceptable on my OLED displays. When it comes to film grain, I don't have an issue with it when I see movies like "Vera Cruz" the most recent Blu-ray release on my OLED. With that said, I don't have a major problem with what Paramount did with the "Godfather" movies on 4K disc. I enjoyed them as they looked great on my OLEDs.

"Do you have copies of Elizabeth & Essex (on BD), or on 4k The Red Shoes, For a Few Dollars More, any of my work - Aurens, MFL, Vertigo, Spartacus, GF (2008, on BD) - Paramount’s Court Jester (BD), Singin’ in the Rain, The Ten Commandments, The Hurt Locker, Citizen Kane, Apocalypse Now, Jaws, Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, Do the Right Thing, Scarface (1983), It’s a Wonderful Life, Psycho, The Apartment, Oliver, Shadow of a Doubt, The Wolf Man (1941), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Suspiria (1977), The Mask of Zorro, Gladiator, The Shawshank Redemption…"
 

Robert Harris

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Well, let me try this again!

First off, way back when, during a HTF Meet at Fox, I personally approached Schawn Belston and brought up the issue of film grain and detail removal on the 2008 "Patton" Blu-ray release. That is was DNR'd to death and he admitted its shortcomings. So please, I'm not hear to defend the 2008 "Patton" nor "The Longest Day". I clearly noticed the issues with those Blu-ray releases. However, I'm not about to lump in the 4K digital of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" with those two Blu-rays. I haven't seen the 4K disc yet so I can't comment on that yet, but will do so when I receive it. As to the following discs, I own just about all of them except Court Jester and Suspiria. I found the discs acceptable on my OLED displays. When it comes to film grain, I don't have an issue with it when I see movies like "Vera Cruz" the most recent Blu-ray release on my OLED. With that said, I don't have a major problem with what Paramount did with the "Godfather" movies on 4K disc. I enjoyed them as they looked great on my OLEDs.

"Do you have copies of Elizabeth & Essex (on BD), or on 4k The Red Shoes, For a Few Dollars More, any of my work - Aurens, MFL, Vertigo, Spartacus, GF (2008, on BD) - Paramount’s Court Jester (BD), Singin’ in the Rain, The Ten Commandments, The Hurt Locker, Citizen Kane, Apocalypse Now, Jaws, Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, Do the Right Thing, Scarface (1983), It’s a Wonderful Life, Psycho, The Apartment, Oliver, Shadow of a Doubt, The Wolf Man (1941), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Suspiria (1977), The Mask of Zorro, Gladiator, The Shawshank Redemption…"
Mark Gross has written a beautiful piece just above this comment, that I believe explains things beautifully.

It isn’t about anyone finding something acceptable or not.

It’s about the ability to actually see a Work of Art as it was created and meant to be seen.

This is what Paramount either doesn‘t understand, or doesn’t care to understand. Possibly because they either don’t like film, or disagrees with the filmmakers original vision and choices.

Today, if I so chose to do so, I could take a 4k of The Red Shoes, and make them emerald green.

That is precisely what Paramount is doing with Valance.

Whether one minds, or cares, is another matter.

But for those who might be seeing the film for the first time, it places them at a huge disadvantage, as the original cinematography is gone, and with it the filmmaker’s intent.

They are NOT SEEING THE FILM THAT MR. FORD & MR. CLOTHIER CREATED.
 

Robert Crawford

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Mark Gross has written a beautiful piece just above this comment, that I believe explains things beautifully.

It isn’t about anyone finding something acceptable or not.

It’s about the ability to actually see a Work of Art as it was created and meant to be seen.

This is what Paramount either doesn‘t understand, or doesn’t care to understand. Possibly because they either don’t like film, or disagrees with the filmmakers original vision and choices.

Today, if I so chose to do so, I could take a 4k of The Red Shoes, and make them emerald green.

That is precisely what Paramount is doing with Valance.

Whether one minds, or cares, is another matter.

But for those who might be seeing the film for the first time, it places them at a huge disadvantage, as the original cinematography is gone, and with it the filmmaker’s intent.

They are NOT SEEING THE FILM THAT MR. FORD & MR. CLOTHIER CREATED.
Well, your problem is with Paramount and not those of us just trying to enjoy movies at home.
 

lark144

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mark gross
That's all fine in the abstract, and I understand what you're going for, but in practice, what you would hope for isn't within the realm of possibility regardless of education and calibration. Reviewing is indeed a subjective process, but it cant' be anything else. How exactly can anyone determine if something has been altered from its original look? How can they determine accuracy, or the original intent of the filmmakers? That may be possible in some cases, but it's completely impossible in others.

An example: I'm currently finishing up the Miklós Jancsó Collection from Kino, for a review to be posted later this week. I'm quite familiar with Jancsó, but my exposure to his films has been via VHS, laserdisc, and DVD. Even if I had managed to catch repertory showings of 35mm prints, what guarantee is there that the colors on those prints were still accurate? Any current repertory showings are now going to be via DCPs of the NFI restorations, so again, what frame of reference could I have to judge them against the intentions of Jancsó, Tamas Somló, and János Kende? Kende appears to have supervised the grades on three of the restorations, but Jancsó and Somló are no longer with us, and who's to say that Kende hasn't revised the look compared to the original intentions? Look at all the different Dean Cundey approved grades on home video to see how the same cinematographer can change his mind repeatedly. And even if I'd seen each and every one of these films during their original theatrical releases, those were between forty and fifty years ago. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, who tells you that they can accurately remember the color timing of a given film from decades ago is selling swampland to you.

I just watched the UHD for Top Gun last weekend, which I freely admit that I've never seen before, and I've read various comments about the accuracy of the HDR grade on that compared to previous versions. But in this case, we're talking about Blu-ray, DVD, laserdisc, and even VHS. How accurate were any of those? Again, anyone who tells you what the timing originally looked like theatrically is full of hot air. That was 35 years ago. To me, it looked good, but was it accurate? How could I tell if it wasn't?

Fortunately, I didn't have to review that one, but I am taking care of Jancsó, so I have to make judgement calls, and they're definitely subjective, regardless of experience or calibration. For the record, I'm running a calibrated JVC RS200, so in theory at least, I should be seeing what's on the disc represented fairly. But judging quality is still subjective -- up to a point, at least. Now, can we all do better? Yes, as with all things in life, we should strive to improve our knowledge, experience, and abilities. Some things shouldn't be given a pass the way that they have been, and I agree with you about that. The goal should try to compare to the original intentions of the filmmakers as much as possible, but you have to acknowledge that they change their minds and their views, so even that requires some subjective interpretation. And in many cases, especially with catalogue titles, you simply have to judge if it looks good to you. That will always be subjective. Should things improve? Yes, they should. Can the situation be "resolved," as you say? No, it can't, regardless of the circumstances. Even if every single reviewer had RAHs knowledge and experience, they'd still be faced with films for which they have no frame of reference, and for which none can be determined, so all they can do is make a subjective judgement.
It's interesting you should bring up Jansco, as I just got the set and have been watching it.

Call me crazy, for I saw most of those films at NYFF 50+ years ago but they so impressed me I remember how they looked.

Now, I recently rewatched DIVA and I couldn't remember a thing about the film. I have no idea if it looks the same way it did in a theater. And that was only 30 years ago.

But the Jansco's I remember. I had never seen anything like them and they really made an impression on my twenty year old consciousness.

In general, these Blus look pretty accurate to me. Visually, those films in 35mm were really stunning and unique, especially the ones in color. And those colors seem the same, in their tint and tone, from the perspective of a 50 year old recollection.
Except the color timing on the last scene of RED PSLAM is completely off. It's much too dark. The final shot is so dim you can't see the gun against the flame, but in the print at the NYFF it was very clear and sharp and iconic. Yes, there was grain, and a slight fuzziness from the long lens that was used, but you could see that image very cleatly, and in fact, I recall holding my breath when I first saw it. It kind of changed in my mind the meaning of everything that had happened before. In order to approximate that experience, I had to raise the brightness level up 20 points on my set to get it back to the way it originally looked. Other than that last shot though, RED PSLAM look spectacular to me, and very close to what I remember in terms of the color values and lighting. The other dark scene, when the church is set on fire, is pretty close to the way it looked originally. There was no fill light, and the people around the flames were in deed shadow. But the last scene is much too dark, so when you watch it, raise your brightness level accordingly. Of course, everybody's equipment is different, but that's my perception.

The other film that I've watched, THE ROUND UP, I originally saw in a grainy, somewhat dark 16mm print, and compared to that, I thought the Blu looked spectacular. I don't know whether it's accurate, but based on the print I saw, it appears to be. It has the same visual qualities, just a whole lot better.
 

Robert Crawford

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You guys have much better memory retention about how a film should look than I. My brain doesn't function like that as I'm too much into the storyline and acting. Sure, I'll notice color schemes, but it's not something I will retain 50 years after seeing it. As to my muscle memory regarding spoken dialogue that's another story. I love movies for the storytelling and not necessarily the visual presentation.
 

Robert Harris

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It's interesting you should bring up Jansco, as I just got the set and have been watching it.

Call me crazy, for I saw most of those films at NYFF 50+ years ago but they so impressed me I remember how they looked.

Now, I recently rewatched DIVA and I couldn't remember a thing about the film. I have no idea if it looks the same way it did in a theater. And that was only 30 years ago.

But the Jansco's I remember. I had never seen anything like them and they really made an impression on my twenty year old consciousness.

In general, these Blus look pretty accurate to me. Visually, those films in 35mm were really stunning and unique, especially the ones in color. And those colors seem the same, in their tint and tone, from the perspective of a 50 year old recollection.
Except the color timing on the last scene of RED PSLAM is completely off. It's much too dark. The final shot is so dim you can't see the gun against the flame, but in the print at the NYFF it was very clear and sharp and iconic. Yes, there was grain, and a slight fuzziness from the long lens that was used, but you could see that image very cleatly, and in fact, I recall holding my breath when I first saw it. It kind of changed in my mind the meaning of everything that had happened before. In order to approximate that experience, I had to raise the brightness level up 20 points on my set to get it back to the way it originally looked. Other than that last shot though, RED PSLAM look spectacular to me, and very close to what I remember in terms of the color values and lighting. The other dark scene, when the church is set on fire, is pretty close to the way it looked originally. There was no fill light, and the people around the flames were in deed shadow. But the last scene is much too dark, so when you watch it, raise your brightness level accordingly. Of course, everybody's equipment is different, but that's my perception.

The other film that I've watched, THE ROUND UP, I originally saw in a grainy, somewhat dark 16mm print, and compared to that, I thought the Blu looked spectacular. I don't know whether it's accurate, but based on the print I saw, it appears to be. It has the same visual qualities, just a whole lot better.
I felt the b/w films beautifully represented the original work, down to the odd anamorphs.
 

Robert Harris

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You guys have much better memory retention about how a film should look than I. My brain doesn't function like that as I'm too much into the storyline and acting. Sure, I'll notice color schemes, but it's not something I will retain 50 years after seeing it. As to my muscle memory regarding spoken dialogue that's another story. I love movies for the storytelling and not necessarily the visual presentation.
And I’m very much the opposite - a bit akin to not seeing the forest for the trees.

I’m seeing grain, color, depth of field and focus, and out of alignment first frames at cuts.

But will need a second viewing to fully get the entire storyline. Could be ADD.

And to be clear, I do not work on color or densities from memory - EVER.

I’ll always use viable reference.
 

Robert Crawford

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One more thing, I do remember how many 70's and 80's movies looked in a movie theater regarding film grain. So I do remember what the "Godfather" movies looked like and will confess the 4K discs don't resembled that look. However, I do love how these new 4K discs look on my OLED. I have not watched the 2008 Blu-rays on my OLEDs. My last viewing of them where on my Panny plasmas. When I upgrade my OLED to a bigger display of 77 or 83 inches later this year, I'll revisit those 2008 Blu-rays again.
 

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Well, your problem is with Paramount and not those of us just trying to enjoy movies at home.
Robert, what you enjoy or not in the comfort of your home is up to you. And I certainly wouldn't want you to feel otherwise.

All I'm saying is that the film I saw by John Ford and William Clothier, that I not only enjoyed but loved, no longer exists in the current Blu. So I no longer enjoy it or can even watch it, because for me, the movie is no longer there.

This is not subjective. It's not a matter of opinion. It was shot on film, and Ford and Clothier, through lighting and use of grey scales and depth of field, created images that are not only beautiful, but imparted the meaning of the film through the subtle aspects of those images; the way the lighting on John Wayne's face, for instance, as he is standing on the street outside watching Libery valance about to shoot Jummy Stewart, is the same as that on the catcus rose in the beginning of the film. You may not "notice" this. but you can still feel it, even if you don't understand why. It adds power and reasonace to what you are seeing. The essence of "Liberty Valance" is not in the story but in the subtle interplay of light and shadow that reinforces that themes inherent in the narrative. In a word, it's emotion, And that emotion and meaning is missing because those qualities have been stripped away.

You can "enjoy" the current Blu, but the visuals that made it more than just an ordinary western are gone. You can say, "well, I'm not a visual guy. I just follow the story". But as Fritz Lang says in Godard's "Contempt", "It's a moving picture. It's pictures that move." The story is in those pictures, not only the general outline, but in the specifics of light and color and depth. That's where you get what's going on, through the process of watching. And though you may not be conscious of it, you're also getting it that way as well.

I'm not trying to make you dislike the current Blu, or the 4k that is about to be released and according to Mr. Harris, has the same defects. I'm not trying to ruin your enjoyment or change the way you feel. All I'm trying to do is make you understand why for me the current Blu is no longer John Ford's film because it's no longer film, and the aesthetic qualities of film, which make "Liberty Valance" what it is, have been erased. Whether you notice it or not, it's still an essential element of the filmgoing experience, and effects your enjoyment and understanding of the film. The film wouldn't be the same without it, and in fact, it's not. The reason it still works for you is because you recall the way you felt about it the first time you saw it, and even if you can't recall the specifics, the feeling is still there inside you, which is why you like the film. Because it WAS FILM. But now it no longer is, and for people who are seeing it for the first time, they will be missing what made it great and worth watching.
 

Robert Crawford

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Robert, what you enjoy or not in the comfort of your home is up to you. And I certainly wouldn't want you to feel otherwise.

All I'm saying is that the film I saw by John Ford and William Clothier, that I not only enjoyed but loved, no longer exists in the current Blu. So I no longer enjoy it or can even watch it, because for me, the movie is no longer there.

This is not subjective. It's not a matter of opinion. It was shot on film, and Ford and Clothier, through lighting and use of grey scales and depth of field, created images that are not only beautiful, but imparted the meaning of the film through the subtle aspects of those images; the way the lighting on John Wayne's face, for instance, as he is standing on the street outside watching Libery valance about to shoot Jummy Stewart, is the same as that on the catcus rose in the beginning of the film. You may not "notice" this. but you can still feel it, even if you don't understand why. It adds power and reasonace to what you are seeing. The essence of "Liberty Valance" is not in the story but in the subtle interplay of light and shadow that reinforces that themes inherent in the narrative. In a word, it's emotion, And that emotion and meaning is missing because those qualities have been stripped away.

You can "enjoy" the current Blu, but the visuals that made it more than just an ordinary western are gone. You can say, "well, I'm not a visual guy. I just follow the story". But as Fritz Lang says in Godard's "Contempt", "It's a moving picture. It's pictures that move." The story is in those pictures, not only the general outline, but in the specifics of light and color and depth. That's where you get what's going on, through the process of watching. And though you may not be conscious of it, you're also getting it that way as well.

I'm not trying to make you dislike the current Blu, or the 4k that is about to be released and according to Mr. Harris, has the same defects. I'm not trying to ruin your enjoyment or change the way you feel. All I'm trying to do is make you understand why for me the current Blu is no longer John Ford's film because it's no longer film, and the aesthetic qualities of film, which make "Liberty Valance" what it is, have been erased. Whether you notice it or not, it's still an essential element of the filmgoing experience, and effects your enjoyment and understanding of the film. The film wouldn't be the same without it, and in fact, it's not. The reason it still works for you is because you recall the way you felt about it the first time you saw it, and even if you can't recall the specifics, the feeling is still there inside you, which is why you like the film. Because it WAS FILM. But now it no longer is, and for people who are seeing it for the first time, they will be missing what made it great and worth watching.
I don't know why you felt the need to respond to me? I'm not questioning why you found that Blu-ray unwatchable. I never seen a print of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" except when it was released during its theatrical run. Frankly, I was too young to remember much of that movie experience. Therefore, my previous viewings before that Blu-ray release was on TV broadcasts which isn't saying much.
 

sbjork

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Stephen
All very good points, and thank you for taking on the Jancso films.

Film prints didn’t really have high dynamic range, and certainly didn’t have Dolby Vision.

What we see via HDR is generally from the original negative. Add HDR to a dupe or fine grain and you’re off in the rough.

Anything shot on film, with HDR added in digital space will not represent an original projected print except under perfect projection circumstances and a perfectly timed print. And even then the HDR variant takes the imagery beyond what it might have been.

How many theaters ran at 14 footlamberts?
Agreed, and perhaps I shouldn't have used a UHD as an example, but that just happened to be the other thing that I watched last weekend. But I did read people arguing about its color timing, not just the dynamic range. In any event, I'd still argue that their real frame of reference isn't original theatrical prints anyway. We're talking about a movie that they've probably watched dozens of times on home video in the decades since, on different formats. Even if it was possible to actually remember specific color timing from decades ago -- and I'll maintain that it isn't -- how could they keep that straight after so many viewings of different timings on home video? The human brain just doesn't work that way. It all becomes noise after awhile, and blends together. There's a good reason why eyewitness testimony is often so unreliable.
 

lark144

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mark gross
I don't know why you felt the need to respond to me? I'm not questioning why you found that Blu-ray unwatchable. I never seen a print of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" except when it was released during its theatrical run. Frankly, I was too young to remember much of that movie experience. Therefore, my previous viewings before that Blu-ray release was on TV broadcasts which isn't saying much.
You gave me a thumbs down, implying you disagreed and didn't understand why I found the Blu unwatchable. Therefore I felt I had to respond.
 

sbjork

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Stephen
Except the color timing on the last scene of RED PSLAM is completely off. It's much too dark. The final shot is so dim you can't see the gun against the flame, but in the print at the NYFF it was very clear and sharp and iconic.
And yet that's one of the films on which Kende supervised the grade. So back to my main point, all a reviewer can do is makes subjective judgement based on the best available information.
 

Robert Harris

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Robert, what you enjoy or not in the comfort of your home is up to you. And I certainly wouldn't want you to feel otherwise.

All I'm saying is that the film I saw by John Ford and William Clothier, that I not only enjoyed but loved, no longer exists in the current Blu. So I no longer enjoy it or can even watch it, because for me, the movie is no longer there.

This is not subjective. It's not a matter of opinion. It was shot on film, and Ford and Clothier, through lighting and use of grey scales and depth of field, created images that are not only beautiful, but imparted the meaning of the film through the subtle aspects of those images; the way the lighting on John Wayne's face, for instance, as he is standing on the street outside watching Libery valance about to shoot Jummy Stewart, is the same as that on the catcus rose in the beginning of the film. You may not "notice" this. but you can still feel it, even if you don't understand why. It adds power and reasonace to what you are seeing. The essence of "Liberty Valance" is not in the story but in the subtle interplay of light and shadow that reinforces that themes inherent in the narrative. In a word, it's emotion, And that emotion and meaning is missing because those qualities have been stripped away.

You can "enjoy" the current Blu, but the visuals that made it more than just an ordinary western are gone. You can say, "well, I'm not a visual guy. I just follow the story". But as Fritz Lang says in Godard's "Contempt", "It's a moving picture. It's pictures that move." The story is in those pictures, not only the general outline, but in the specifics of light and color and depth. That's where you get what's going on, through the process of watching. And though you may not be conscious of it, you're also getting it that way as well.

I'm not trying to make you dislike the current Blu, or the 4k that is about to be released and according to Mr. Harris, has the same defects. I'm not trying to ruin your enjoyment or change the way you feel. All I'm trying to do is make you understand why for me the current Blu is no longer John Ford's film because it's no longer film, and the aesthetic qualities of film, which make "Liberty Valance" what it is, have been erased. Whether you notice it or not, it's still an essential element of the filmgoing experience, and effects your enjoyment and understanding of the film. The film wouldn't be the same without it, and in fact, it's not. The reason it still works for you is because you recall the way you felt about it the first time you saw it, and even if you can't recall the specifics, the feeling is still there inside you, which is why you like the film. Because it WAS FILM. But now it no longer is, and for people who are seeing it for the first time, they will be missing what made it great and worth watching.
It’s all extremely visceral.
 

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