What's new

The Great Escape...not so great (1 Viewer)

Roger J

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
84
A local merchant received a couple copies of MGM's upcoming 2-disc special edition of the WWII classic, The Great Escape, today and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one. Well, if "fortunate" is the right word. I'll get to a bit more detail, but there is really one thing that is immediately clear with this new disc. The Great Escape as a film is in dire need of restoration. Unfortunately, it is in the hands of a studio that is, perhaps, the least capable of doing so (relative to the other majors).

As a long-time fan of this film, I have been through just about every video version that was worth anything. The terribly expensive Criterion laserdisc, the poorly framed and otherwise weaker version on LD from MGM, then the previous DVD that used the same master as the MGM laserdisc. For one reason or another, none of these transfers have been completely satisfying and fans of this film have had to tolerate mediocre presentation for far too long. Then MGM announces a new 2-disc special edition on DVD and there is true anticipation amongst fans who have been confined to the cooler for too long.

From the moment the film began to unspool on my TV, my heart began to sink as I soon realized that fans of The Great Escape were to be jilted once again. To be sure, the framing is noticabley improved and looks as it should for an anamorphic Panavision show. The transfer is also enhanced for 16:9 so it should, in theory, look its best on the many HDTVs out there now. Instead, what you will find is a grainy, mushy, poorly color corrected attempt at separating film fans from their money. Colors often verge on oversaturation, something one rarely finds in DVD. Indeed, in some respects, this transfer looks more like the old analog video of laserdisc days than the clean, sharp digital video that we have come to expect from DVD. Detail is lacking and there is even the "strobing" and color shifting in light colored backgrounds, such as a pale blue sky, that I have not seen in a major label transfer in many years.

I am sorry to say that this disc has every appearance of something MGM wanted to toss out to try to generate some sales while putting minimal effort into it. The wait for a proper version of The Great Escape continues.

Bah, MGM.

P.S. No comment on supplements. I am still fuming over the transfer.
 

RobertSiegel

Reviewer
Joined
Mar 10, 2004
Messages
1,288
My best friend, who was a projectionist for over 40 years, has also been waiting for this new release, and he sounds very much like you do, Roger. He has also had every version and disliked them all. He was hoping the film would be in its original stereo this time, but looks like another MISLEADING 5.1 from MGM, as usual! He says he actually helped spool in a local theatre a stereo print and watched it many nights very loud after the theatre closed.

Oh well, I will tell him to save his money. He's more into the movie, not the xtras. Thanks for letting us know, if you're a true fan of the film, which seems an understatement, then he would probably agree with you.
 

Maggi Magg

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Mar 5, 2003
Messages
118
Well Roger J
Looks like you get the same crap we got in R2 land.
The supplements are fine but the tranfer is BAD :thumbsdown:

Thanx for letting us know, i was considering buying this "new" edition.

Cheers
Maggi
 

Jordan_E

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2002
Messages
2,233
DAMN!
I absolutely love this movie and had high hopes for the newer version. Maybe if Sony DOES buy MGM they will do such movies justice in the future.
 

Felix Martinez

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 27, 2001
Messages
1,483
Location
South Florida
Real Name
Felix E. Martinez


I agree 100%. The "5.1" audio also seems like repurposed mono. Just saw this last night, and a full review will be forthcoming.
 

Tony_Faville

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 1, 2000
Messages
519
That is really disheartening to hear. I was so looking forward to buying this one. Thanks for nothing MGM.
 

DonRoeber

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 11, 2001
Messages
1,849
Wow, I'm dissapointed as well. I was going to buy this for myself, and for my father (Fathers Day is coming up). Guess I'll have to find something else to get him.
 

Chris*W

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 14, 2004
Messages
63
This is really awful news. I was thinking about getting this because I've never seen the film. Looks like a rental for me...
 

Jordan_E

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2002
Messages
2,233

Well, a guy can dream, can't he? Most people think this move is just to pad out their blu-ray HD DVD catalog anyway, so at the least we may get an HD version of this movie in the future, if the FAR future.
 

Jim_K

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2000
Messages
10,087
First of all thanks to Roger for the heads up. It sounds dissapointing to say the least.

But with all due respect I'll be reserving judgment until I check it out myself as I've already sold off the previous edition.
 

Elvie

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 1, 2002
Messages
55
I thank you also about this release version ... was given a copy of the previous dvd as a gift so I can't complain about spending my own money. Figured I'd hold onto it until this came out and replace if it was worthy ... again, thanks Roger for letting us all know :frowning:
 

CraigF

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
3,117
Location
Toronto area, Canada
Real Name
Craig


Me too...very disappointed, but thanks for the mini-reviews and the warning. Though I hate to pick on any studio, they all have some relative dogs, in this case I must say I should have expected this to a somewhat large degree from my previous MGM re-releases. They typically have only marginal improvements for the feature it seems, probably not enough to have re-bought in retrospect, and the originals sell for dirt cheap when the new version is announced.
 

Paul_Scott

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
6,545
i own the R4, haven't seen the R1, but i would just tell people flipping out now- to just hold on a minute.

yes, i wasn't very impressed with the new transfer of this either (which should be exactly the same as on the R4 disc).
it's clear the film needs a restoration as much of it looks like a 3rd generation print-
BUT
it is a hell of a lot more watchable on a big screen (or fp) than the last one was- a disc that was riddled with compression related artifacts and exacerbated by the low resolved detail found in its non anamorphic picture.

it is disappointing, but it also still worth the upgrade.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
348,682
Messages
4,853,420
Members
142,363
Latest member
Alain A.
Recent bookmarks
1
Top