"The Big Country" PQ less than expected!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim Robbins, Jul 3, 2002.

  1. Jim Robbins

    Jim Robbins Stunt Coordinator

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    It's a shame this 1958 Technirama(anamorphic Vistavision) film wasn't sharper. It looked to me like the transfer was either soft or 3-strip mis-aligned due to shrinkage. "The Vikings" which was filmed the same year with the same camera process looked much better. I guess just because you have a large negative film doesn't always equal better transfer.
    I am still glad MGM offered this fine western anyway.
     
  2. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    If you happen to own the laser disc of The Big Country (there was only one release), then try comparing them. If you do, you will find that the dvd, although anamorphic, was chopped considerably on the top and both sides. I estimate about 25-30% picture loss from the laser disc. Plus, the dvd is darker. Plus, it lacks the LD's supplements. Plus the sound is no better.

    Not a good effort. I sold my dvd because I just couldn't bare watching knowing what was lost.
     
  3. John Koehler

    John Koehler Stunt Coordinator

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    The LD is magificent. One of the reasons I keep my LD players in good repair. I gave away my DVD copy, which also exhibited instances of annoying gate flutter (shadow flicker from misalignment).
     
  4. David Lawrence

    David Lawrence Stunt Coordinator

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    I own the DVD; it's sad to read that this edition of this classic western doesn't compare well with the laserdisc. What supplements does the laserdisc have that the DVD doesn't?
     
  5. John Koehler

    John Koehler Stunt Coordinator

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    DVD Review also noted something else I neglected to mention: "In fact, the fatter PCM track on the laserdisc slightly edges out the DVD for richer audio."

    The LD has an isolated music score (including extended sequences of music not used in the final edit), commentary from Charlton Heston and Burl Ives. Filmed interviews with Heston and Gregory Peck and even Billy Wilder relating how he was confused once for William Wyler. A contemporary B&W featurette narrated by Jean Simmons with extensive behind-the-scenes footage. Theatrical and ABC TV trailers. Saul Bass commentary on his titles sequence. The original typescript screenplay in its entirety. Photo galleries.

    A first-rate production befitting a first-rate film.
     
  6. David Lawrence

    David Lawrence Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the info John; the laserdisc edition does indeed sound suitably great. The DVD doesn't even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath.
     
  7. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    The laserdisc sounds awesome! Too bad I don't have an LD player. [​IMG]
     
  8. BrianP

    BrianP Supporting Actor

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    Anyone have the laser disc of Big Country they want to sell?
     
  9. andrew markworthy

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    If anyone's interested in searchgin the archives, I raised a comment about the disappointing quality of the DVD a good few months ago, and there's an interesting reply by Robert Harris about possible reasons.

    I really would love to see a proper restoration done on this movie. It's my favourite western, largely because it's determinedly anti-macho and pro-intellectual (a refreshing change from most westerns). I guess it'll go on my forlorn wishlist, next to the hope that they'll release Hobson's Choice (IMHO David Lean's greatest film which he made before the plot and pacing became secondary to the visuals) on DVD.
     
  10. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Revived...Late November 2002.......
    Just watched this film (on VHS [​IMG]) for the first time. What a great western!! Peck & Heston duking it out! And Burl Ives' fabulous performance! (He earned that Oscar IMO.) [​IMG]
    I'm upgrading to the DVD (despite the harsh reviews of it). Since I've become aware of the evils of P&S, I now find it difficult to watch a 2.35 film in Pan-and-Scan. This film deserves the W-i-d-e treatment for sure.
    Would love to have those extras (mentioned above) on the DVD. But, I'll have to settle for what's out.
    Anybody since July get this DVD? Any new thoughts? And any possibility of a newer SE on the "Big Country Horizon"?
     
  11. BrianP

    BrianP Supporting Actor

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