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Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House still not out on blu ray? (1 Viewer)

Nelson Au

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I saw the thread about the Criterion upcoming release of Merrily We Go To Hell and didn’t know Cary Grant was in the cast. It reminded me of other Cary Grant titles still not on HD.

A title I thought is still pretty popular is Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. I took a look at the Warner DVD last night as well as make a MKV file of it. I just watched the first half of it to remind myself what the DVD looked like. I thought it looked OK. But not as good as say, the 1949 blu ray of Twelve O’Clock High blu ray I watched last week. The print on that film wasn’t perfect, but looked great overall. So I hope Warner has Mr. Blandings on its slate of upcoming Warner Archive titles. There was mention of Arsenic and Old Lace too on that thread, another title to see on HD would be great.

In my search, I saw that iTunes has an “HD” version of Mr. Blandings available. I compared the trailer on iTunes to the DVD and the image quality of the iTunes trailer was virtually the same. Maybe an infinitesimal amount sharper. Or maybe the trailer is in SD resolution. The film specs is 3.73gb for the HD file and my MKV file from the DVD is 4.01Gb, so maybe the HD file isn’t really a remastered HD?
 

LeoA

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That and Arsenic & Old Lace are both high up on my wish list.

If those were to appear along with The Talk of the Town (I believe we're expecting this one from the Warner Archive?), My Favorite Wife, The Philadelphia Story, Destination Tokyo, and I Was a Male War Bride, I'd be pretty satisfied with the coverage of Cary Grant's career on this format.

Quite a few other good efforts are left after these are covered, but these stand above the rest on my personal wish list.
 

Nelson Au

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Those are good ones too Leo! I’d like to own those as well. And don’t forget Gunga Din! I see it’s a Warner title too.

The Philadelphia Story and The Awful Truth is out on blu ray from Criterion.
 

Robert Crawford

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I saw the thread about the Criterion upcoming release of Merrily We Go To Hell and didn’t know Cary Grant was in the cast. It reminded me of other Cary Grant titles still not on HD.

A title I thought is still pretty popular is Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. I took a look at the Warner DVD last night as well as make a MKV file of it. I just watched the first half of it to remind myself what the DVD looked like. I thought it looked OK. But not as good as say, the 1949 blu ray of Twelve O’Clock High blu ray I watched last week. The print on that film wasn’t perfect, but looked great overall. So I hope Warner has Mr. Blandings on its slate of upcoming Warner Archive titles. There was mention of Arsenic and Old Lace too on that thread, another title to see on HD would be great.

In my search, I saw that iTunes has an “HD” version of Mr. Blandings available. I compared the trailer on iTunes to the DVD and the image quality of the iTunes trailer was virtually the same. Maybe an infinitesimal amount sharper. Or maybe the trailer is in SD resolution. The film specs is 3.73gb for the HD file and my MKV file from the DVD is 4.01Gb, so maybe the HD file isn’t really a remastered HD?
On any of these digital services, you can't go by digital's trailers as most of them, particularly, those movies of older vintage are mediocre at best and fail miserably compared to the actual digital's video presentation.
 

ScottHM

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Personally, I'd buy every one of these on Blu-ray:

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
Arsenic and Old Lace
Mr. Lucky
Destination Tokyo
The Talk of the Town
My Favorite Wife
In Name Only
Gunga Din
Bringing Up Baby


---------------
 

Josh Steinberg

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In my search, I saw that iTunes has an “HD” version of Mr. Blandings available. I compared the trailer on iTunes to the DVD and the image quality of the iTunes trailer was virtually the same. Maybe an infinitesimal amount sharper. Or maybe the trailer is in SD resolution. The film specs is 3.73gb for the HD file and my MKV file from the DVD is 4.01Gb, so maybe the HD file isn’t really a remastered HD?

I can help with that.

The trailer isn’t representative of the film quality. It’s probably the same SD trailer included with the DVD.

The DVD spec mandates that all content is encoded with the MPEG2 codec, which at this point is decades out of date and relatively inefficient. If you were to compress the same content to MPEG4 at the same level of quality, it would be a fraction of the size, maybe 25% of the total. That’s simply because MPEG4 is significantly more efficient.

The iTunes HD version is indeed in HD, but it doesn’t look much different from the DVD. The reason for that is that it was created from the same source as the DVD. The workflow for that and many other titles at the time would have been to scan/transfer the film at HD resolution to create a new master, and then to take that master and down-rez it to SD for the DVD. Any cleanup would probably have been performed after it had been down-rezzed to SD because twenty years ago it was much cheaper to do that kind of work in SD and since DVD was SD, there was no reason to do it in higher resolution at greater cost when the DVD disc buying audience wouldn’t benefit from it. When iTunes set up shop, a lot of studios provided those HD masters that they had already created. (Same deal with broadcast and cable channels that broadcast in HD, subscription streaming services, etc.) So what you’re seeing is from the same source as the DVD with some extra resolution but the overall experience is quite similar. Black and white SD content sourced from HD masters upscales back to HD pretty decently, so it’s not even that the iTunes master would look bad but rather that the DVD holds up pretty well.

There’s no reason not to get the iTunes HD version if you don’t have the film already, but if you’ve got the DVD, you’ll probably find the two versions to be pretty similar overall. When we watch films, particularly at normal seating distances rather than up close for pixel peeping, resolution tends not to matter as much as things like color and contrast.
 

cda1143

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I can help with that.
...


There’s no reason not to get the iTunes HD version if you don’t have the film already, but if you’ve got the DVD, you’ll probably find the two versions to be pretty similar overall. ...
Indeed you can help Josh. Excellent explanation! Thank you.

When the prices are right, I often buy the iTunes HD versions of these films. Viewed on a large projection screen they often look better than the DVD upscaled by a Panny 820. It very much depends on the film (and the quality of the DVD release). With older B&W films, sometimes the differences are subtle to nonexistent, sometimes the improvement is quite evident.

I would add that (in general) with the occasional modern film released on DVD but not Blu-ray, these almost always look dramatically better on iTunes HD than DVD.
 

cda1143

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Looking at the original post, I should add that until the end of the month, Mr. Blandings is streaming on the criterion channel. I haven’t watched this yet so can’t comment on the transfer.
 

Robert Crawford

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I can help with that.

The trailer isn’t representative of the film quality. It’s probably the same SD trailer included with the DVD.

The DVD spec mandates that all content is encoded with the MPEG2 codec, which at this point is decades out of date and relatively inefficient. If you were to compress the same content to MPEG4 at the same level of quality, it would be a fraction of the size, maybe 25% of the total. That’s simply because MPEG4 is significantly more efficient.

The iTunes HD version is indeed in HD, but it doesn’t look much different from the DVD. The reason for that is that it was created from the same source as the DVD. The workflow for that and many other titles at the time would have been to scan/transfer the film at HD resolution to create a new master, and then to take that master and down-rez it to SD for the DVD. Any cleanup would probably have been performed after it had been down-rezzed to SD because twenty years ago it was much cheaper to do that kind of work in SD and since DVD was SD, there was no reason to do it in higher resolution at greater cost when the DVD disc buying audience wouldn’t benefit from it. When iTunes set up shop, a lot of studios provided those HD masters that they had already created. (Same deal with broadcast and cable channels that broadcast in HD, subscription streaming services, etc.) So what you’re seeing is from the same source as the DVD with some extra resolution but the overall experience is quite similar. Black and white SD content sourced from HD masters upscales back to HD pretty decently, so it’s not even that the iTunes master would look bad but rather that the DVD holds up pretty well.

There’s no reason not to get the iTunes HD version if you don’t have the film already, but if you’ve got the DVD, you’ll probably find the two versions to be pretty similar overall. When we watch films, particularly at normal seating distances rather than up close for pixel peeping, resolution tends not to matter as much as things like color and contrast.
I wouldn't pay $12.99 for it which has been the price on iTunes for almost a year now. Over two years ago, when I purchased the iTunes HD digital it was at its lowest price point of $7.99. Afterwards, it was $9.99 for a long time until last March when the price rose to $12.99 and it has stayed at the pricing since then.

Last year, the Criterion Channel played it and that streaming version didn't look any different than my iTunes HD digital. When and if this movie finally gets a BD release, the new master/scan it's derived from should be a vast improvement over the current HD digital. It probably won't be as big of an improvement as "The Thin Man" because that film title's HD digital on iTunes was pretty rough compared to the new WA BD release.
 

Robert Crawford

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Looking at the original post, I should add that until the end of the month, Mr. Blandings is streaming on the criterion channel. I haven’t watched this yet so can’t comment on the transfer.
It's the same stream that they used last year. When I watched the movie in its entirety back then I didn't notice anything that pull me out of my viewing. Again, I did some comparisons between that stream and my iTunes HD digital and didn't noticed anything differently between the two streams.
 

Angelo Colombus

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TCM did broadcast the movie a few weeks ago and it looked alright but like others here want this and Gunga Din & Arsenic and Old Lace to be on Blu-ray.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I’d love Blus with new masters on all of them - sadly they appear to be in that Warner limbo where they won’t release the HD masters they currently have on disc because they’re not perfect, but there’s also no evidence that they’re working on anything better.
 

Nelson Au

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Thanks Josh for the explanation. I figured and as Robert also said, the trailer I saw, which was actually the opening sequence when Bill Cole introduces the film and the Blandings, I can believe there is a slight improvement on the iTunes HD stream. That’s good to know Josh that the DVD is actually doing pretty well compared to the iTunes version.

I didn’t know that Criterion is streaming Mr. Blandings! I buy their discs, but I hancet looked into that part of their business. Interesting. It would be neat if Criterion did get to release Blandings.

When iTunes lowered the price of When Worlds Collide I bought it. I compared the DVD rip I made of it to the iTunes version and it was also very similar looking. I didn’t watch the whole movie yet, just the opening parts. I keep hoping if I do not watch the iTunes purchase, I’ll find out they announced its release on blu ray!
 

Arthur Powell

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Since it hasn't been mentioned yet, I'll throw out my "dark horse" Cary Grant request - People Will Talk. Park Circus says that Fox has a 4K DCP available for it so I'm hoping that Criterion was able to license it before the Disney buyout. While I don't see many pining for the film, its combination of the director, Grant, and subject matter (as quirky as its presentation is) does strike me as something that Criterion would be interested in.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Fun fact about People Will Talk.

Cary Grant made 72 feature films in his career, but he only claimed 68 of them in his personal papers. Four films were “disowned,” though obviously he’s still in them whether or not he acknowledges that.

People Will Talk is one of the disowned four.
 

Nelson Au

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I forgot to add in my haste to post a reply, I get what you’re saying that Mr. Blandings used the same source file that was used to make the DVD to create the copies used for iTunes. That’s explains why it looks the same as the DVD, as does When Worlds Collide.

I added the Criterion app to my AppleTV and I see the Cary Grant section. Wow, I’m surprised to see so many Grant titles there! No wonder it’s been mentioned that maybe it’s possible this and some of his other titles will come out on blu ray from Criterion. I sure hope so!
 

Robert Crawford

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I forgot to add in my haste to post a reply, I get what you’re saying that Mr. Blandings used the same source file that was used to make the DVD to create the copies used for iTunes. That’s explains why it looks the same as the DVD, as does When Worlds Collide.

I added the Criterion app to my AppleTV and I see the Cary Grant section. Wow, I’m surprised to see so many Grant titles there! No wonder it’s been mentioned that maybe it’s possible this and some of his other titles will come out on blu ray from Criterion. I sure hope so!
Every month they highlight a couple of star actors or directors with many of their films. Again, Grant's movies are leaving the end of this month.
 

Josh Steinberg

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There really isn’t a correlation between what’s on the Criterion streaming channel and what they might release on disc - two different sets of licenses in the overwhelming majority of cases.
 

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