Is Anchor Bay's Notorious transfer really better than Criterion's?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick McCart, Dec 19, 2001.

  1. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Some sites say that the Anchor Bay transfer is better than the Criterion transfer.

    What gives? I thought Disney just had the movie restored from the negative for the Criterion transfer while the AB transfer uses just a reissue print.

    I'd like to see how a restored-from-original-negative transfer would be inferior to an unrestored reissue print transfer.
     
  2. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Robert Harris started a thread some time ago, praising the Criterion version. He felt it was superior. The thread is here.
    It seems that most of the complaints against the Criterion version had to do with the film grain being more obvious. However, it seems to me this is more of an issue with the source material than with the transfer.
    I am more concerned about the claims of shimmering on the Criterion disc. Damn, I hate that. I wish more people would comment on that aspect. As yet, I haven't picked up either version.
     
  3. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    IMO, there's no comparison. The elements for the Criterion version were painstakingly restored by the great Scott MacQueen, who also oversaw the transfer, whereas the Anchor Bay version was directly ported from a re-release print. Some people think Anchor Bay may have given their transfer a digital "smooth over", removing the inherent grain as well as a good bit of detail (like the raindrops in Citizen Kane), but I'm guessing this is simply how the re-release print looked.
    Criterion's restored NOTORIOUS isn't quite the eye-popping wonder that is their restored REBECCA (which is unbelievably gorgeous), and there are certain problematic scenes, particularly the second unit stuff shot for rear projection by Gregg Tolland, most notably IMO those shot on the porch overlooking the beach in Rio. But both these films, NOTORIOUS and REBECCA, finally look like films again.
    As usual, the Big Picture provides a wonderful technical review (awarding the image in the Criterion release "four globes"): http://www.thebigpicturedvd.com/cgi-....cgi/Notorious
     
  4. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Al,

    What was your take on the alleged shimmering on Berman's checkered dress? Did you notice this as well?
     
  5. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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    I still have both versions (although I have been meaning to get rid of the Anchor Bay version). I was initially disappointed by the Criterion transfer, but after reading Robert Harris's post, I went back and did a more careful comparison. The Anchor Bay is more pleasing to the eye because of an overall smoother appearance (far less grain) and if you don't compare it to the Criterion, it is pretty good for a black and white movie of this vintage. But if you look closely you will see that the Criterion transfer brings out finer details (check out the close up of Claude Rains when he says "I married an American agent"). If you can accept the grain as being inherent to the source material, you will like the Criterion version better.
     
  6. Patrick Mirza

    Patrick Mirza Supporting Actor

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    The Rio background plate in the balcony scene is what it has always been...

    I don't think you can change it since it's actually a print within a print.
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  8. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  9. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the info.

    I think I'll be picking up a Criterion DVD soon...
     
  10. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  11. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    From how you are describing it, it does sound like the type of "shimmering" that can be eliminated on B&W films by turning the color all the way down. This has worked for me on many a disc. Anyone want to try it and let me know? [​IMG]
     
  12. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    If the shimmering is due to aliasing, well, the only way to get rid of it is to remove the fine detail from the picture. This could explain why AB's undetailed-but-smooth transfer doesn't exhibit the same shimmer -- it doesn't show the threads of the dress.
     
  13. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    If that is the case, then it's not the same kind of shimmer visible on The Wizard of Oz. That does disappear when you turn off the colour. Alas, turning off the colour doesn't is not appropriate on a partially tinted, partially technicolor film.
     

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