Joseph Bolus

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I received my set Tuesday night, but just this morning had a chance to sample the first disc.

In short, I'm very satisfied. The transfers look much better than my DVDs; and the sound is nice and crisp.

I also ordered the DVDs of the Rockford movies as well as the "Thirty Years of the Rockford Files" book referenced in these threads.

... And I got all of this (the entire series on Blu-ray; the reunion movies; and the reference book) for less than $100. Thank You Mill Creek!!!
 
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Richard Gallagher

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I watched the Pilot this morning and then compared it to the DVD Season 2 Disc 6 where the Pilot resides and there is no comparison.
I'm working on a comparison of the two-part "Backlash of the Hunter" and the original pilot. Most of the additional footage in "Backlash of the Hunter" consists of establishing shots, a longer opening which has the murder occurring almost six minutes later than in the pilot, and some additional footage in the Mayfair Theater scene.
 
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Robert Crawford

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I'm working on a comparison of the two-part "Backlash of the Hunter" and the original pilot. Most of the additional footage in "Backlash of the Hunter" consists of establishing shots, a longer opening which has the murder occurring almost six minutes later than in the pilot, and some additional footage in the Mayfair Theater scene.
I'm talking about PQ comparisons between the 480 vs 1080 comparison. Not the differences in the footage shown in both.
 

bigshot

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I actually like the establishing shots in Rockford Files and would prefer having more of them. The show is packed with footage of my old stomping grounds when I was a kid. Some great time travel memories in there.
 

Richard Gallagher

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I actually like the establishing shots in Rockford Files and would prefer having more of them. The show is packed with footage of my old stomping grounds when I was a kid. Some great time travel memories in there.
I enjoy trying to identify locations, and the Blu-ray helps because it makes it easier to read street signs. I discovered that the wedding chapel in the pilot is actually a motel in Victorville, now called the Green Spot Motel. Sara Butler's bikini shop is now a custom framing store at 320 N. LaCienga, and the alley where Terry sits in his convertible while Jim and Sara are across the street at Tail o' the Pup is still there. Tail o' the Pup is long gone, unfortunately.
 

Richard Gallagher

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This will hopefully clear up some of the questions about the original version of the pilot to The Rockford Files and the longer syndicated version which is titled "Backlash of the Hunter." Be forewarned that there may be some spoilers here.

The pilot aired as an NBC television movie on March 27, 1974. It appears as a special feature on Season Two of the Universal Region 1 DVD set. It was not an episode of The Rockford Files so it does not have the iconic opening with the theme music and the still photos of Jim Rockford that we are used to. The title of the pilot is simply "The Rockford Files." When the show went into syndication the pilot was edited into two parts and was re-titled "Backlash of the Hunter," which is how it appears on the Blu-ray and Region 2 DVD set.

The original pilot opens with an aerial shot of the bus which is carrying Sara Butler's father to the beach. The murder scene concludes at the 3:09 mark. "Backlash" begins with preview scenes, the theme music with a shot of Rockford's trailer at Paradise Cove, and the familiar still photos. The syndicated episode begins with aerial shots of the beach and then the interior of a health club. There is a phone call for Jerry from Millie, who tells him that they are in trouble. We then see Jerry following the bus in his convertible to the Santa Monica pier (in the pilot we can see Jerry in the distance but it is not apparent that he is following the bus). Then we see additional footage of Sara's father being followed (almost certainly filmed just for the syndicated version) before the murder occurs. The lengthy opening and additional footage combine to add 5 1/2 minutes to the running time.

After a scene of Dennis Becker being told to close the case, the pilot then goes directly to Sara in her bikini shop but the syndicated version adds an establishing shot of her shop.

When Jim and Sara go to visit her brother at the pharmacy where he works, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the pharmacy.

When Jim goes to see Angel at the newspaper, both versions have an establishing shot of the building but "Backlash" adds footage of the interior. When Jim goes to see Becker, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the police station. By this time more than seven minutes of footage have been added to "Backlash."

In the pilot Jim then arrives at a restaurant with Sara, but in the syndicated version there is establishing footage of Jim's Firebird driving through L.A. When Jim arrives in Las Vegas, "Backlash" has nearly a minute of establishing shots which are not in the pilot. The syndicated version also has 72 seconds of additional footage in the Mayfair Theater.

At this point the first part of "Backlash" ends and closing credits are played, adding to the running time.

Part Two opens with a lengthy recap of Part One and opening credits, so the episode doesn't actually resume until the 8:12 mark.

Jim follows Jerry to the nightclub on the Sunset Strip, and "Backlash" includes additional footage of the interior. After Jerry leaves the club with Sara, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the Continental Hyatt House, where Jerry is living.

Later, when Jim asks Sara to tell him more about her father, "Backlash" adds 1:40 of flashback footage of the murder.

When Jim and Sara drive to Las Vegas, "Backlash" adds establishing shots and there is footage of Jerry and the hood he hired traveling to Vegas.

The chase scene is about 30 seconds longer in "Backlash."

The subsequent scene involving the plane lasts about 26 seconds longer in "Backlash."

As far as I can determine, "Backlash of the Hunter" is not missing any footage that appears in the pilot. The one deviation is that the scene where Millie calls Jerry on the phone is split into two scenes in "Backlash." In the pilot she calls Jerry only once, after she gets a call from the Las Vegas coroner about Rockford asking questions. In "Backlash" the scene is edited into two separate calls, one at the very beginning of the episode and one after the call from the coroner.

And that is how a 90-minute pilot was turned into a two-hour, two-part episode.
 

Doug Wallen

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This will hopefully clear up some of the questions about the original version of the pilot to The Rockford Files and the longer syndicated version which is titled "Backlash of the Hunter." Be forewarned that there may be some spoilers here.

The pilot aired as an NBC television movie on March 27, 1974. It appears as a special feature on Season Two of the Universal Region 1 DVD set. It was not an episode of The Rockford Files so it does not have the iconic opening with the theme music and the still photos of Jim Rockford that we are used to. The title of the pilot is simply "The Rockford Files." When the show went into syndication the pilot was edited into two parts and was re-titled "Backlash of the Hunter," which is how it appears on the Blu-ray and Region 2 DVD set.

The original pilot opens with an aerial shot of the bus which is carrying Sara Butler's father to the beach. The murder scene concludes at the 3:09 mark. "Backlash" begins with preview scenes, the theme music with a shot of Rockford's trailer at Paradise Cove, and the familiar still photos. The syndicated episode begins with aerial shots of the beach and then the interior of a health club. There is a phone call for Jerry from Millie, who tells him that they are in trouble. We then see Jerry following the bus in his convertible to the Santa Monica pier (in the pilot we can see Jerry in the distance but it is not apparent that he is following the bus). Then we see additional footage of Sara's father being followed (almost certainly filmed just for the syndicated version) before the murder occurs. The lengthy opening and additional footage combine to add 5 1/2 minutes to the running time.

After a scene of Dennis Becker being told to close the case, the pilot then goes directly to Sara in her bikini shop but the syndicated version adds an establishing shot of her shop.

When Jim and Sara go to visit her brother at the pharmacy where he works, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the pharmacy.

When Jim goes to see Angel at the newspaper, both versions have an establishing shot of the building but "Backlash" adds footage of the interior. When Jim goes to see Becker, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the police station. By this time more than seven minutes of footage have been added to "Backlash."

In the pilot Jim then arrives at a restaurant with Sara, but in the syndicated version there is establishing footage of Jim's Firebird driving through L.A. When Jim arrives in Las Vegas, "Backlash" has nearly a minute of establishing shots which are not in the pilot. The syndicated version also has 72 seconds of additional footage in the Mayfair Theater.

At this point the first part of "Backlash" ends and closing credits are played, adding to the running time.

Part Two opens with a lengthy recap of Part One and opening credits, so the episode doesn't actually resume until the 8:12 mark.

Jim follows Jerry to the nightclub on the Sunset Strip, and "Backlash" includes additional footage of the interior. After Jerry leaves the club with Sara, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the Continental Hyatt House, where Jerry is living.

Later, when Jim asks Sara to tell him more about her father, "Backlash" adds 1:40 of flashback footage of the murder.

When Jim and Sara drive to Las Vegas, "Backlash" adds establishing shots and there is footage of Jerry and the hood he hired traveling to Vegas.

The chase scene is about 30 seconds longer in "Backlash."

The subsequent scene involving the plane lasts about 26 seconds longer in "Backlash."

As far as I can determine, "Backlash of the Hunter" is not missing any footage that appears in the pilot. The one deviation is that the scene where Millie calls Jerry on the phone is split into two scenes in "Backlash." In the pilot she calls Jerry only once, after she gets a call from the Las Vegas coroner about Rockford asking questions. In "Backlash" the scene is edited into two separate calls, one at the very beginning of the episode and one after the call from the coroner.

And that is how a 90-minute pilot was turned into a two-hour, two-part episode.
Thanks for the detailed info. You truly are a reviewer who goes "above and beyond"!!! This is why I spend so much time in here. We all love this hobby.
 

Flashgear

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Wow, thank you Richard for this profoundly detailed scene by scene analysis and comparison between the pilot telefilm and it's subsequent syndicated 2 part episode reincarnation...all the added footage, longer establishing shots, longer exposition (as in the reprised or extended flashbacks) and extended chase all add to my enjoyment of 'Backlash of the Hunter'...
 
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FanCollector

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Richard, thank you so much. Your analysis addresses the question raised about the difference in the two sets, but it's also very instructive about the editing process. Really much more than any of us could have expected.
 

Nick*Z

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This was definitely worth a double-dip. Yes, there are print 'imperfections' throughout, and a few grainy shots - mostly night footage - scattered throughout these episodes. But anyone who cannot see the quantum leap ahead in overall image quality is just not being realistic, or has never seen the DVD's that were, frankly, an abysmal affair. The image here is solid - again, overall - with caveats - and nicely contrasted (with exceptions here and there). Fine detail is impressive in close-up and colors, while occasionally dated, look appropriate to their vintage and, on occasion, pop with a resilience I honestly DID NOT expect to see.

Uni's transfers are up to snuff. One caveat to note - a few of the discs froze when I first attempted to play them on my new Sony UHD Blu-ray player, but simply rebooting the disc and starting over seemed to correct this 'problem'. Not worth the effort to complain about it. A definite must have for collectors. Now, if we could only get Mill Creek to get their hands on St. Elsewhere, Crazy Like a Fox, Picket Fences, MacGyver, The Love Boat, Magnum P.I., Remington Steele, Dynasty, Dynasty II: The Colbys, Columbo, Law & Order and Murder She Wrote in as snazzy quality affairs on Blu. Well...there's always hope.
 

sullum

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Anyone know if this was scanned from the film (16 or 35 mm) or from high definition video? The review quoted earlier sounds like that might be the case. 'Farscape' did this when it came on Blu Ray. It looked great but not perfect like a movie.
 

LeoA

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Professional high-definition videotape didn't exist when this show was created. This show was all filmed on 35 mm, which is what they scanned to create modern HD transfers from in recent years to replace the old and ugly looking SD transfers on videotape from the 1980's that Universal utilized for the DVD releases.

Universal/Mill Creek would've been drawn and quartered had they upscaled those old tape transfers to HD and sold them on Blu-Ray, since they were borderline acceptable 10+ years ago on DVD. I suspect this other show you mentioned is significantly newer and probably was edited and had special effects produced on videotape, which tied their hands to a degree.

So it likely was either utilize what's already on tape, spend a fortune like was done with Star Trek: The Next Generation to recreate the special effects and piece it back together from 35 mm film elements (If they even still exist, since they would've never been expected to be needed years later), or not sell it on Blu-Ray at all.
 
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mark27b

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Anyone know if this was scanned from the film (16 or 35 mm) or from high definition video? The review quoted earlier sounds like that might be the case. 'Farscape' did this when it came on Blu Ray. It looked great but not perfect like a movie.
Slightly off topic but the Farscape Blu-rays weren't scanned from hi-def video but were computer-upscaled from the PAL broadcast video masters which start out at 576i and also benefit from being mastered from more modern video codecs. PAL being better than NTSC but not HD. The Highlander series Blu-rays also tried this but let's not go there on this Rockford thread.
 

sullum

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Not meaning to change topics. I knew that some shows were on tape at broadcast. Just wondering if this was one of those shows. Thanks. (and for the info on Farscape)
 

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