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Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: North by Northwest (50th Anniversary Edition) [Highly Recommended] (1 Viewer)

Rob_Ray

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Originally Posted by David_B_K /forum/thread/294299/htf-blu-ray-review-north-by-northwest-50th-anniversary-edition-highly-recommended/30#post_3624588
However, to my eyes, I thought it looked a little on the brownish side. Everybody here is saying the color in a Warner restoration is now "finally right". Maybe Grant's incedibly dark tan was so overpowering I just thought it was brownish?
It is more brownish, which is correct. The colors are much improved from the earlier release. Virtually every shot is a major improvement. Just look at the yellow on the taxicab in the first scene. What a difference! It finally looks like Technicolor.
 

BillyFeldman

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It is NOT more brownish. It is more bluish. Brown is bad. Grant's tan makeup has always looked like that in the Tech prints - has nothing to do with a brown cast to the transfer.
 

BillyFeldman

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All you have to do to know how grand this transfer is is to put on the old DVD - people have been saying "ooh, it is darker" - yes, just like it always was - that's called contrast and it's perfect here. One of the biggest problems of this film on home video has always been that it's been printed way too light, and that includes the older DVD. Printing that light exposes all the matte work in unbelievably stupid ways. With this transfer, none of that trickery is nearly as obvious and some of it is almost impossible to spot. The difference in color between the two is astonishing - the new one, as stated, is correct - the sharpness is obvious - you can actually see the pattern in Grant's suit, something you haven't been able to see in anything outside of a 35mm print. And as many times as I've seen this film, I was so engrossed this time that for the first time in over 100 viewings I noticed that Eva Marie Saint's line "I never discuss love on an empty stomach" is looped - watch her mouth and what she's really saying is something like "I never have (or "talk about") sex on an empty stomach." The word "love" was definitely originally "sex."
 

rich_d

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I have only watched the new DVD not the new Blu-Ray through. I pulled out my copy of "The Invisible Art" a book on matte paintings. A print of the matte painting of the Vandamm house is in it. I compared the darkness level of the print to the darkness level of the new DVD. It looks spot on! As you said, the older NBNW DVD is much lighter.
As it is (even now) the sky and light around the plane (in contrast with the darker sky over the Vandamm house) is (unfortunately) so 'night and day' (excusing the pun) that it's hard not to notice. That said, in the older DVD the skylight over the plane was quite hard to swallow.
It is always interesting what one notices after subsequent viewings of a film (even one watched several times). For example, they reused the opening matte shot of the Vandamm house during the escape. The only problem with that is that they have the car escaping in the opposite direction. The car needs to be heading toward the house (and back over the other side of the hill) not going away from it. Ah, the magic of editing.
Originally Posted by BillyFeldman /forum/thread/294299/htf-blu-ray-review-north-by-northwest-50th-anniversary-edition-highly-recommended/30#post_3624816
All you have to do to know how grand this transfer is is to put on the old DVD - people have been saying "ooh, it is darker" - yes, just like it always was - that's called contrast and it's perfect here. One of the biggest problems of this film on home video has always been that it's been printed way too light, and that includes the older DVD. Printing that light exposes all the matte work in unbelievably stupid ways. With this transfer, none of that trickery is nearly as obvious and some of it is almost impossible to spot. The difference in color between the two is astonishing - the new one, as stated, is correct - the sharpness is obvious - you can actually see the pattern in Grant's suit, something you haven't been able to see in anything outside of a 35mm print. And as many times as I've seen this film, I was so engrossed this time that for the first time in over 100 viewings I noticed that Eva Marie Saint's line "I never discuss love on an empty stomach" is looped - watch her mouth and what she's really saying is something like "I never have (or "talk about") sex on an empty stomach." The word "love" was definitely originally "sex."
 

Felix Martinez

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The only strange thing, color-wise, that I noticed on the Blu-ray - which isn't visible on the previous DVD - is a total lack of color on the sides/ears of Cary Grant's face at the end of the Glen Cove chase sequence once the police are in pursuit. As Grant turns his head left and right it appears that the color is centered on his face and doesn't extend to his ears when he moves his head out of the area of color - almost like a motion compensation issue during film colorization. Other than that weirdness, beautiful Blu-ray.
 

BillyFeldman

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Sorry, it's always looked like that - and I've seen this film over 100 times.
 

Felix Martinez

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Originally Posted by BillyFeldman /forum/thread/294299/htf-blu-ray-review-north-by-northwest-50th-anniversary-edition-highly-recommended/30#post_3625148
Sorry, it's always looked like that - and I've seen this film over 100 times.
What I described is not present on the previous DVD - I switched back and forth to confirm. It may go undetected on smaller displays (I'm viewing on a 92 FP setup).
Or..compare the shot in question on the NxNW feature (17:13-17:30) with the same footage used @ 22:15 in the "Master's Touch" docu also on the Blu - which appears to be taken from the previous transfer.
It's admittedly minor, but I did notice it upon first viewing of the Blu-ray - which prompted me to break out the old DVD. Just curious what happened here...
 

BillyFeldman

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I'll check it out, but I can't go by anything on the previous transfers since they didn't look like they should - this one resembles closely the 35mm IB Tech prints and the shot you call out, which I remember well, has always looked like that on the prints.
 

Johnny Angell

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Originally Posted by Felix Martinez /forum/thread/294299/htf-blu-ray-review-north-by-northwest-50th-anniversary-edition-highly-recommended/30#post_3625040
The only strange thing, color-wise, that I noticed on the Blu-ray - which isn't visible on the previous DVD - is a total lack of color on the sides/ears of Cary Grant's face at the end of the Glen Cove chase sequence once the police are in pursuit. As Grant turns his head left and right it appears that the color is centered on his face and doesn't extend to his ears when he moves his head out of the area of color - almost like a motion compensation issue during film colorization. Other than that weirdness, beautiful Blu-ray.
You're not referring to the spotlighting effect they applied to Grant's face during this sequence are you? I always took that effect to imply the tunnel vision someone might have from being drunk.
 

Felix Martinez

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Originally Posted by Johnny Angell /forum/thread/294299/htf-blu-ray-review-north-by-northwest-50th-anniversary-edition-highly-recommended/30#post_3625554
You're not referring to the spotlighting effect they applied to Grant's face during this sequence are you? I always took that effect to imply the tunnel vision someone might have from being drunk.
No, the sides of Grant's face and ears fall off to B&W when he moves his head off axis in the brief shot from approx. 17:13 to 17:30. The previous DVD and the "Masters Touch" documentary (which uses the same footage from the previous transfer around 22:15 in the docu) doesn't exhibit this. I have not had a chance to check the old laserdisc.
I will assume this was intentional and the way it always should have been; however, the preceding reverse shots of Grant in the Glen Cove chase sequence don't exhibit this and it looked out of place enough for me to stop and see what might be going on.
Regardless, the Blu-ray is a HUGE leap over any previous home video version of NxNW. The previous DVD - as impressive as it was in its day - now appears overly bright and colorful, like a Doris Day musical, to us a John Landis analogy.
 

Nelson Au

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I didn't see this issue you're discussing. I can look again.

I compared the first scene on the very first DVD of NxNW to the BD and the fine lines on Grant's suit in the scene in the cab, (Say, do I look heavy-ish to you? Think thin..) Those lines were smearing all over! On the BD, they where nice and solid. At first, I wasn't that impressed with the BD. It wasn't a quantum leap over the last DVD. But looking closer, it's definitely a solid improvement. I forgot to have a better look at the red dress Eva Marie Saint is wearing, I'll go back for another viewing.

The new BD is darker, or the old DVD was too bright. As it is now, I agree with the earlier comments that the back projection sequences now all integrate into the film seamlessly. If you didn't know where to look, it's harder to find them. The Mount Rushmore sequences were all very well integrated now.

I've seen this film many times and the ending sequence was much more lively and I felt like they were really there instead of the sound stage. So it added to the feeling of danger. Not very sporting now, using real bullets.

The one new extra, Cary Grant: A Class Apart was a really great profile on him. I have not seen that before. It was a pretty good balanced portrait of the man and what was Cary Grant and the actor compared to other profiles I've seen on him. I'm looking forward to watching the Hitchcock profile as well.

I can't wait to see a black and white Hitchcock on BD, Notorious especially. And Cary and Grace in To Catch a Thief. Please hurry and bring these films out!
 

Felix Martinez

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Originally Posted by Sebastian1972 /forum/thread/294299/htf-blu-ray-review-north-by-northwest-50th-anniversary-edition-highly-recommended/30#post_3625820
It was an extra make-up (talcum powder). It's always there on original 35mm IB print.
What I described above is not makeup related.
 

benbess

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A few random thoughts about the new NxNW blu-ray. First, it's a stunning
presentation. It's absolutely wonderful throughout. As we know,
VistaVision was even more of a high resolution format than it was a widescreen
format, and it is amazing on blu. I've seen the film probably a dozen times, but only on
regular tv, vhs, and dvd. I've never seen it in a theater in a VistaVision print
or even 35mm.

Anyway, this blu-ray comes pretty close, I'd wager, to seeing it on opening
night in VistaVision. The perfection of this film in term of the script, the
direction, the cast, the themes, everything, is still amazing to behold.

The first thing I noticed, however, was a very, very, small nit-pick--not with
the blu-ray but with the original film. You know those scenes in the beginnign
where the crowds are rushing out of that building? Well, I think one of those
clips may possibly--emphasis on the may--get repeated. Either that, or they used
the same extra with the same unusual red hair in two different shots. I'm not
sure. I'll need to watch it again. Doesn't matter in any case. Love the opening of this film. The brilliant score is fab in high rez on blu.

A few other things. I noticed more in the past that Hitchcock frequently used
diffusion filters for Grant's close-ups. This was usually used for actresses,
wasn't it? How often was it used for male stars?

Grant's wonderful skill as a comic actor really come through in this film. I was
laughing again almost like it was the first time, esp. at some of those early
scenes with his mother. Even with the diffusion filters there's a certain
intimacy in a good blu-ray--like with a good film projected well in a good
theater--that I think can potentially make your responses more intense.

I know the film is made up, and it's totally silly to ask for any realism in the
film at all. Anyway, I've always been quite willing to suspend disbelief for
this wonderful ride of a film, but this viewing suddenly the remarkable
coincidence that he just happens to take the 20th Century Limited with VanDamm
and Co. struck me. Boy that was luck/unlucky, wasn't it?

In contrast, somehow the crop-dusting sequence, which has sometimes bothered
others, has never bothered me. I mean, if VD wants to get rid of him without it
being connected to it, then getting him shot out in the middle of nowhere by a
hired hand certainly keeps his fingerprints off of it. I still think it's a
brilliant sequence.

The dress of EMS shows up wonderfully in the following scenes. It's like I'm
seeing it for the first time.

The final scenes of the film work better on blu than the dvd, because the DVD
was "lightened" too much, which revealed the artifice of the sets the backdrops,
and so on. It's a shade or two darker in the blu, which I wager was what it was
like in the theater. The effects now seem much more real in the blu-ray. There's
more of a sense of danger in the final scenes, I think.
 

Larry Sutliff

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Anyway, this blu-ray comes pretty close, I'd wager, to seeing it on opening
night in VistaVision. The perfection of this film in term of the script, the
direction, the cast, the themes, everything, is still amazing to behold.



That sums up my feelings,and I can't wait to watch it again.
 

Nelson Au

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I wanted to follow-up a comment I made in an earlier post and see what you think.

I said I wasn't that impressed with the blu-ray at first. I've seen the film many, many times going back to the MGM laserdisc, the first blu rays and now the BD. Each improves on the other. It's one of my favorite Hitchcock/Grant films. But I guess I have gotten a bit of an erroneous expectation based on recent blu ray releases of The Wizard of Oz and Star Trek The Original Series.

I thought TWoO was a huge release because of the image quality being so sharp. But then I didn't watch TWoO as many times on DVD as I have NxNW. For Star Trek, I know that show backwards and forwards and the blu rays were an eye opener for me in terms of sharpness and color fidelity and rendering. That release reveals so much more information then before.

So perhaps my eyes were tired from a day of staring at my laptop and desktop screen and then sitting down that evening to watch the blu ray of NxNW. Which leads me to my sharpness question. I read a review of this blu ray on another site that did comment that it is not as sharp as other more recent modern film fare. I expected that. But after seeing TWoO, for some reason, I was expecting that level of sharpness. Could be just a perception issue for me. Is an attribute of VistaVision improved sharpness? The blu ray is sharper then the older DVD for sure. Or I should say, the higher resolution possible on BD simply makes more detail visible. Like the detailing of the fabric on Grant's suit. And the individual gray hairs on Grant's head. I may have been expecting more then is possible!

I plan to watch it again, but not so tired this time! The new BD certainly didn't take any enjoyment of film away and as I mentioned above, the new disc definitely improves the back projection sequences immensely!
 

BillyFeldman

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To answer some questions - there were no VistaVision prints on opening night. Just like every VistaVision film after the first one or two, all VistaVision films were released in standard 35mm, but they always looked sharper and better because of the process itself.

Second - the Blu-Ray of North By Northwest is a HUGE improvement over the DVD in every possible way. People here and elsewhere keep talking about the fact that it's not as sharp as other Blu-Ray transfers like The Wizard Of Oz, but then they mention the clarity of seeing the pattern on Grant's suit and I defy anyone to say the crop-dusting scene is not sharp as a tack. In fact, what people are referring to in terms of sharpness, as someone has finally noted in a post above, is the fact that many shots in the film were shot with diffusion filters, especially many close-ups of Grant and Eva Marie Saint. It's why the medium and long-shots will be incredibly sharp and then the cut to a close-up will not be quite as sharp. It's the nature of the filter. As to why it was used on Grant? Well, he was playing a romantic lead at fifty-seven and as handsome as he still was, they probably wanted the age difference between Thornhill and Eve Kendall not to be so extreme - not to mention that the woman playing his mother, Jessie Royce Landis, was, in fact, only seven years older than Grant.

And yes, the darker contrast is absolutely correct for all the reasons that I stated long ago - it's why everything looks better and why you can't spot the matte work and rear projection so easily.
 

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