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Conan the Barbarian (1982) 4K Arrow Release Discussion (1 Viewer)

Michael Osadciw

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I posted this in the preorder thread, but I think it's important to have its own thread.

I'm eagerly awaiting for this title to arrive. I'm grateful that Arrow Video has created a fresh 4K scan on this film. Preliminary reviews of the video quality is overwhelmingly positive.

My biggest concern is the film score, which is the best best part of this film. I am hoping this Arrow release has the complete score intact.

Universal botched the Blu-ray in 2011; there were many parts missing from the sountrack of the film (see additional thread below), most noteably the choir tracks were absent from the battle sequences which completely ruined the intensity of those sequences. Universal never reissued the title because of the errors nor do I remember it being acknowledged (did anyone notice?) It was a complete disservice to Basil Poledouris's incredible score.

Of this 4K release, I read over at The Digital Bits that:

"the Atmos mix was produced in part by adapting the legacy 5.1 Blu-ray mix provided by NBC/Universal."

Of all the reviews I've read thus far, no one has mentioned whether the choir/missing sound elements have been restored in the multichannel mix. It's likely these reviewers don't know the film well enough nor do they know the film score intimately. Intrada did an excellent release of the score about a decade ago remixing the original multitracks (see notes in the link below). It would have been incredible if this 4K film release used these multitracks to create a fresh, new music stem.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN (3CD)

Let's hope Arrow got the full score/choir tracks in there on the first go.
 
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Michael Osadciw

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Specific details of the many errors on the 2011 Universal release can be found elsewhere. A member in another forum I've posted elsewhere posted this summary:

Currently, the French steelbook is the ONLY correct version of this movie to have ever been released on Blu-ray anywhere in the world.

The choir during the opening attack on the village has been completely restored.

The night filter as Conan is chased by the wolves has been restored perfectly.

The choir during Conan's recovery sword wielding has been beautifully restored.

The percussion during the orgy scene is all there.

And lastly, the choir during the end battle is back in tact.

All original Foley effects are complete and unaltered.

The movie is completely uncut featuring the witch scene in its entirety as well as all of the horse trips.

The corrected soundtrack is lossless DTS-MA and is a full blown 5.1 mix. It sounds fabulous, thunderous, majestic, and the dialogue is crisp. This new mix no doubt came from extremely high quality sources, most likely the original master audio tapes. It has that same liveliness and crispness as the newly remastered original soundtrack in the three CD collectors set from Intrada. It's that good.

This [has been] the definitive version of Conan the Barbarian [in HD].

If you love this Poledouris film score, pick up the Intrada 3CD release and you'll immediately hear improvements in the score.

Watching this film without the score intact is a major overlook. I'm anticipating that it's correct and I'm hoping this thread can then be used for full praise of this release. If you have this title in your hands, please drop your comments here. I'm also hoping Arrow is reading :)
 
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JohnRice

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I checked, and while I haven't checked everything on that list, there is definitely a choir during the opening attack.
 
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Lord Dalek

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What kind of improvements? Sonics? Performance?
Its quite brighter than the old MCA LP master having been newly remixed from the 2" multitracks. Not perfect though as Intrada screwed up some parts that were reedits of pieces from earlier in the film. There was also some criticism that a tamtam was missing from the end of The Orgy but apparently its not on the master tape (for this reason its also missing from the blu ray mix).
 

Michael Osadciw

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there is definitely a chorus during the opening attack
@JohnRice The 2011 release does have some element of the choir, but not the whole of it. A significant portion is missing. My copy is delayed for a few weeks so I can't check. Thanks for checking.
 
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JohnRice

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I say that because there seems to be about 6-8 voices. I’m guessing the full choir is a lot more than that.
 

Michael Osadciw

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Here's a snippet of a part in question:


This music clip is just moments before the villiage raid. I've edited this post to reflect the video three posts below this one. This music clip starts at 1m53s in the video for direct comparison.
 
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JohnRice

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Here's a snippet of a part in question:


This music clip is just moments before the villiage raid. In the film, young Conan is in the forest, he sees the scout perched and breathing heavily, and Thulsa Doom's Riders jump out from behind to attack the village.
Is that during the attack on the village when Conan is young?
 
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Michael Osadciw

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Yes. Conan is in the forest fishing. The riders appear to him with the intense percussion.

Here's the audio clip for the video below from 1m12s to 1m30s for direct comparison.

 
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Neil S. Bulk

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What are people comparing the 5.1 mix to? Is it the original mono film mix or the stereo album mix? They can be very different.
 

Michael Osadciw

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@Neil S. Bulk , take a listen to my audio samples that come from the original motion picture soundtrack (as we've all known in the movie throughout the years) and compare it to the Blu-ray that was released in 2011 (the video clip above) that's missing elements. These are only two examples of many.
 
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Neil S. Bulk

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take a listen to my audio samples that come from the original motion picture soundtrack
A soundtrack album mix can differ from a film mix, especially in the case of Conan the Barbarian where the film mix was mono. My question for you is how does the choir sound in the original mono film mix compared with the 5.1 mix? I'm not a Conan expert so I don't know. I have this UHD on order and am anxious to see and hear it. I'll probably stick with the mono.
 

Michael Osadciw

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Neil, I grew up with this film in the 80s with Betamax. The original motion picture soundtrack on the Varese Sarabande CD I purchased in 1992 is most reflective of the mono film experience. Between the CD and the movie, watching it as a kid, I’ve listened to hundreds of times in over the last 35 years. The CD was my very first CD purchase, and it was the first movie that I recognized that a film score was a brilliant piece of music that could be a joyed outside the movie.

I recognize that other films may have different mixes, but the release in 2011 was incorrect.

Interestingly enough, this was the last mono film that the Studio released. [Edit: actually it wasn’t as per discussion below!]
 
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Michael Osadciw

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My apologies, I may have got my wording incorrect.

If Wikipedia is correct on this, last paragraph under “music” link: [Edit: Wikipedia got it incorrect as per discussion below!]


The 24 tracks of sound effects, music, and dialog were downmixed into a single-channel,[162]making Conan the Barbarian the last film released by a major studio with a mono soundtrack.[163] According to Poledouris, Raffaella De Laurentiis balked at the cost ($30,000) of a stereo soundtrack and was worried over the lack of theaters equipped with stereo sound systems.
 
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