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

PianoPlayer

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USA Today's Mike Clark (my favorite movie critic and someone who always knows what he's talking about) says this about the new Blu-ray release of NORTH BY NORTHWEST in this week's column:

"Finally, it looks just right. Someone obviously spent serious bucks going back to the original VistaVision elements to remaster ... MGM's VistaVision was darker than the splashier renderings from Paramount. But THIS (Blu-ray) replicates what I saw twice theatrically in '59."

There you have it.
 

BillyFeldman

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And what some of us have been saying since the minute we saw it right down to the word "replicated."
Originally Posted by PianoPlayer /img/forum/go_quote.gif
USA Today's Mike Clark (my favorite movie critic and someone who always knows what he's talking about) says this about the new Blu-ray release of NORTH BY NORTHWEST in this week's column:
"Finally, it looks just right. Someone obviously spent serious bucks going back to the original VistaVision elements to remaster ... MGM's VistaVision was darker than the splashier renderings from Paramount. But THIS (Blu-ray) replicates what I saw twice theatrically in '59."
There you have it.
 

Nelson Au

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Thanks guys. I never said the darkness of the image was wrong. Or that the BD wasn't a faithful rendering of the original film experience. I think the blu ray is an excellent release and I am very happy to see it this way! And I didn't think the color of the bus that Hicthcock misses is wrong! Nor the license plate!

I was wondering if my eyes are going bad! I have to admit, I was really tired when I watched the BD. I was really looking forward to it, but once they got to Chicago, I was fading fast. But I woke up during the crop dusting sequence, faded after and came back during the hospital sequence when he escapes to Vandamm's house.

I plan to have another viewing. The sharpness levels are what I'll be looking for. I don't doubt it is sharper. The details of fabrics and hair are clear now. I recall one shot of Cary Grant where they use a filter to soften his close-up. I'll rewatch with eyes that were not strained from critical viewing of my computer work. I think I need to have my eyes checked too!
 

dpippel

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I experienced the joy of spinning this Blu-ray last week and wow! What a presentation! The film looks absolutely stunning and it was a joy to watch it again in all of its restored HD glory. However, I did notice an issue with the audio in my theater. The volume level of the Dolby TrueHD audio track is very low. In fact I had to turn up the volume 10dB-12dB over the "normal" volume point on my Onkyo TX-SR805 just to get acceptably understandable dialogue levels. Has anyone else experienced this issue?
 

Felix Martinez

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Originally Posted by dpippel /forum/thread/294299/htf-blu-ray-review-north-by-northwest-50th-anniversary-edition-highly-recommended/60#post_3626660
I experienced the joy of spinning this Blu-ray last week and wow! What a presentation! The film looks absolutely stunning and it was a joy to watch it again in all of its restored HD glory. However, I did notice an issue with the audio in my theater. The volume level of the Dolby TrueHD audio track is very low. In fact I had to turn up the volume 10dB-12dB over the "normal" volume point on my Onkyo TX-SR805 just to get acceptably understandable dialogue levels. Has anyone else experienced this issue?
I don't believe I noticed that extreme a difference; however, I *am* happy that this title's audio does not appear dynamically limited. Frankly, many mixes nowadays are dynamically compressed or limited to death so that dialogue, explosions, and music are within 3-4 db of each other.
Fortunately for all of us, the NxNW Blu-ray audio was handled with as much care as its video.
 

Osato

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I haven't watched the whole film yet, but did sample it a bit last night. I was very impressed. Hitchcock on blu ray is off to a wonderful start!!!
 

Reagan

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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_3625913
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.
I agree on all counts but one - I think the Blu-ray of North by Northwest looks better than the Blu-ray of Wizard of Oz. I just can't imagine how North By Northwest could be further improved (barring a move to a higher resolution format).
Thanks for your contributions, Billy.
-Reagan
 

Brian Borst

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I finally watched this yesterday, and it's indeed a great, riveting movie. I'm glad I finally got to see (one of) the best of Hitchcock's movies. PQ is very good, too. And though it doesn't really rely on eye candy, I thought the first shot looking out on the corn fields when Thornhill gets off the bus was a stunning and hypnotizing vista. The rest is superb as well.
 

Larry Sutliff

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I thought the first shot looking out on the corn fields when Thornhill gets off the bus was a stunning and hypnotizing vista


My favorite shot-the aerial view of Thornhill escaping from the UN. It looks superb on the new BD.
 

dpippel

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Originally Posted by Larry Sutliff /forum/thread/294299/htf-blu-ray-review-north-by-northwest-50th-anniversary-edition-highly-recommended/60#post_3627097
My favorite shot-the aerial view of Thornhill escaping from the UN. It looks superb on the new BD.
My favorite - any shot of Eva Marie Saint's beautiful face. /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif
 

Nelson Au

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I had another look at North by Northwest this evening with eyes that weren't so strained as last time. This time I also looked at other parts of the image. Does look very sharp! In the crop dusting sequence, you can see, the first aerial shot as the bus enters and exits the shot, the foreground earth and vegetation is so clear now!

re: Eva Marie Saint, not to knock her performance, but I can't help wonder how the film may have played if Grace Kelley was in it. May not have worked as well as she did in To Catch a Thief. Can't wait to see that one in blu!

I plopped the Criterion Edition of Notorious DVD into my player afterwards because it's one of several Hitchcock films I eagerly want to see come out next on BD. For a standard def disc upconverted, it's not too bad. I can still make out the fabrics in Grant's suits and Bergman's clothing. I only sampled it, but I imagine that a BD would look much denser in terms of the gray scale tones and of course sharpness. And hopefully, all those back projection shots of Rio would look less obvious as they did in the BD of NxNW.
 

shazzerman

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What other VistaVision releases can we expect to get the blu-ray treatment? If North by Northwest and The Searchers are anything to go by, I'll be getting them all!
 

Matt Hough

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Originally Posted by shazzerman /img/forum/go_quote.gif
What other VistaVision releases can we expect to get the blu-ray treatment? If North by Northwest and The Searchers are anything to go by, I'll be getting them all!
I don't know what's coming, but I can tell you one I can't wait to see: High Society.
The clips from it on the Blu-ray editions of That's Entertainment and That Entertainment Part II are staggering in their depth and detail. They literally jump off the screen.
 

John Hodson

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Originally Posted by shazzerman
What other VistaVision releases can we expect to get the blu-ray treatment? If North by Northwest and The Searchers are anything to go by, I'll be getting them all!

I know it's no indication of a release, but I recently saw a HD broadcast of Powell and Pressburger's The Battle of The River Plate which was absolute eye candy. It can't come soon enough to BD.
 

Stephen_J_H

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I just hope that Paramount goes back to film elements and gives The Ten Commandments an appropriate presentation on BD, not just a mere repurposing of the DVD transfer.
 

Let's hope they don't use the dvd transfer because the DNR is horrendous. Also, I hope that they go back to the original mono elements and create a new stereo track, as well as including the original mono in lossless.
 

rich_d

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Well, I like the way the film looks ... but what someone THINKS they remember from 1959 means squat.
Originally Posted by PianoPlayer /forum/thread/294299/htf-blu-ray-review-north-by-northwest-50th-anniversary-edition-highly-recommended/60#post_3625919
USA Today's Mike Clark (my favorite movie critic and someone who always knows what he's talking about) says this about the new Blu-ray release of NORTH BY NORTHWEST in this week's column:
"Finally, it looks just right. Someone obviously spent serious bucks going back to the original VistaVision elements to remaster ... MGM's VistaVision was darker than the splashier renderings from Paramount. But THIS (Blu-ray) replicates what I saw twice theatrically in '59."
There you have it.
 

Paramount's Vista Vision looks dark on the Ten Commandments and White Christmas dvds, although their vhs counterparts (which look taken from prints) have more of that bright, Technicolor look.
 

dpippel

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Originally Posted by rich_d /forum/thread/294299/htf-blu-ray-review-north-by-northwest-50th-anniversary-edition-highly-recommended/60#post_3630939
Well, I like the way the film looks ... but what someone THINKS they remember from 1959 means squat.
I agree. Any review that bases an evaluation of a presentation's "correctness" on a 50 year old memory should be taken with a huge grain of salt.
But NBNW sure does look damned good! :)
 

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