St. Martin's Lane, Wings of the Morning (and more ...): member reviews / thoughts?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bill Burns, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Kino released a nice selection of titles under their "Classics from the Studio Vaults" banner on July 22nd:

    1. St. Martin's Lane (Charles Laughton, Vivien Leigh) / Wings of the Morning (Henry Fonda; Britain's first three-strip Technicolor feature)

    2. A Scandal in Paris (directed by Douglas Sirk)

    3. It Happened Tomorrow (directed by René Claire; starring Dick Powell)

    4. They Made Me a Fugitive (starring Trevor Howard)

    And, remarkably, two months later I still can't seem to locate any in-depth reviews. I'm particularly interested in #1, and just how well the transfer for Wings and the accuracy of its color timing have been accomplished (compared, say, with the quality/accuracy of a few of the recent WB three-strip offerings, such as The Crimson Pirate, Little Women, or the gorgeous Scaramouche). Comments on the quality of all of these would be welcome, and I'm also very interested in establishing whether any show signs of PAL conversion (as have a few other Kino titles, but only a few; most of their product looks great, and has been taken from native NTSC, but the few apples that spoil the barrel have me wary until such things can be determined matter-of-factly for each new title, particularly any that has received any overseas work or collaboration, though again a number of works from overseas archives have received lovely new NTSC masters from Kino ... predictions are impossible to make; signs of PAL conversion would primarily center around motion blur, most evident in freeze framing your way through a scene, particularly one with motion; if a PAL conversion*, every few frames would "ghost" or appear double exposed).

    While #1 does so most of all, each of these discs peaks my interest; I'm eager to discover more about their quality, including the contrast range/fine detail evident in the B&W transfers (do they stack up with the best of the unrestored major studio product, such as The Thin Man from WB or Rhythm on the Range / Rhythm on the River from Universal?).

    * Whether PAL conversions could be accomplished transparently is a question posed by those with players that seem to do the job without ghosting (or so it is reported; I haven't seen these in action myself), but so far as I've found, all established PAL conversions on disc from major studios or major independents ghost to some extent, and the motion blur this accompanies at full motion is something I've always found distracting and decidedly un-film-like (others have reported soundtrack issues I haven't noticed; it boils down to the film running at PAL speed, rather than NTSC). Others find full motion woes transparent, so a freeze frame test is usually the best means of determining the matter (I should note that many titles without motion blur and clearly taken from native NTSC ghost to some extent, particularly speed adjusted titles, if I leave my Sony's freeze frame setting on ... hmm, I think the designation is "manual," or possibly "frame"; if I leave it on "automatic," it only ghosts on titles that are playing back at PAL speeds, so you might want to be certain your player isn't ghosting on NTSC speed-adjusted material before drawing conclusions from this; visible motion blur, of course, speaks for itself on titles such as The Iron Mask, which otherwise look so exceptionally good ...).
     
  2. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    Hey Bill...

    I just watched my copy of They Made Me A Fugitive this afternoon. It arrived a couple of days ago in typical Amazon style (center hub broken off, lookin' like it barely survived a head on with a Mack Truck)...

    The video is about what I usually expect from Kino, Roan and occasionally Image etc... pretty good with some flaws including many scratches, light flicker and the black level is rather poor. All in all however, the flaws weren't distracting enough to affect the viewing.

    While the audio was quite clear it did have a fair amount of hiss which was somewhat annoying.

    Great movie though and I'm happy to have the disc.

    Herb.
     
  3. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Thanks, Herb. [​IMG] That sounds as if it turned out as I expected -- a fair deal, perhaps along the lines of Kino's edition of Anthony Mann's Railroaded.

    If anyone's seen any of the other titles (particularly that double bill with England's first Technicolor feature), I'm eager to read reactions! I'm most curious as to the alignment and timing of that feature, perhaps in relation to recent non-Ultra Resolution Technicolor titles such as the stunning Scaramouche or the very pleasing The Crimson Pirate, both WB (I suggest non-UR comparisons because UR and LDI's work on titles with UR, however and wherever LDI and WB converge in this arena, naturally set the image quality bar quite a bit higher than might be reasonably expected of films that do not have access to the home video production budgets necessary for this sort of care). My wallet's a'itchin' ....
     
  4. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    I have the Wings Of The Morning/St. Martin's Lane double feature Kino DVD.

    St. Martin's Lane looks very good for its age, I think. Wings Of The Morning's is still in decent shape but in a much rougher condition than St. Martin's Lane. It doesn't look restored at all. Some fading of the color and the grain is much in evidence. It's adequate for sure but don't expect to be blown away.
     

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