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Blu-ray Review A Few Words About A few words about…™ Union Pacific – in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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I'm certain that Mr. DeMille new that the golden spike was driven into the rails on 10 May 1869, linking the east and west via rail.

A superb cast, and some nice performances in Union Pacific, his final black & white production, which in 1939 was nominated for Best Special Effects. It didn't win, but neither did that other really long film that year. The award went to The Rains Came.

Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea and Robert Preston hold the reins throughout the 135 minute length.

As one of those films that had its original elements destroyed by the studio (fortunately, they kept the nitrate three-strips), the current IP owner Universal is left with a less than wonderful inventory from which to find a mastering element.

What we have appears to be probably third generation, which shouldn't be as problematic as this is, leading one to believe that somewhere along the line, something wasn't well produced.

Shadow detail in all but a few shots is virtually nonexistent, with blacks overriding the image. It's not one of those bad dupes from King Kong, all eyes and teeth, but some shots sit on the cusp.

One of my pet peeves concerning most any DeMille production comes into play here, as the story takes precedence over facts and (as usual) props.

Everyone and his brother seems to be armed with Colt revolvers for which production did not begin until 1873.

Interestingly, the cover art on Kino's new Blu-ray shows Mr. McCrea holding not a Peacemaker, but some sort of converted percussion weapon, which I didn't notice in the film.

Regardless, Kino is doing yeoman-like service to the cinephile community by continuing to release a huge number of classic titles in the best condition available, as licensed from their owners.

Might this have been better?

Possibly, if a print was used for preservation as opposed to pre-print material.

According to their website, two nitrate prints reside (or did reside) at UCLA, with the final reel tinted.


Image – 3.25

Audio – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Yes

Recommended

RAH
 

Robert Crawford

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I love this film! Not really an upgrade over the German Blu-ray, but at least it had a new audio commentary.;)
 

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