Touch of Evil soft picture?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Steven_M Grimes, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. Steven_M Grimes

    Steven_M Grimes Stunt Coordinator

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    I just picked up TOE (with the lower MSRP) and am shocked by how soft the picture is. It is almost to the point of looking out of focus. I bring this up because none of the reviews I read on this disc noted this. In fact, a couple reviews commented on the SHARPNESS of the image. I caught some of the movie on TCM a couple of months ago, and what I saw on TCM was much better than the DVD.

    I'm a little confused over this. Is it even possible that a bad pressing could result in a soft image?

    The disc is almost unwatchable and I'm considering returning it. If anyone has any thoughts on this, I'd appreciate hearing them.

    Thanks
     
  2. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Unwatchable? Admittedly it is spread pretty thin over a single-layer disc, but it's not abnormally soft. Certainly, there is a better transfer to be wrung out of the source materials (the contrast looks a little soft), but I have no great beef with the current disc.
     
  3. Steven_M Grimes

    Steven_M Grimes Stunt Coordinator

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    I am concerned that the disc is defective. My question was whether or not a transfer can be made to look soft as a result of improper manufacturing.

    The opening minutes are comparable to VHS resolution, with NO detail apparent on any face until the camera frames a medium shot. I have a pretty good idea of what "looks" right, and this doesn't. If someone else chimes in and says that their copy looks slightly out of focus too, then I'll shut up about it.

    I haven't watched it all the way through yet, so maybe in context it won't seem so bad, but I doubt it.
     
  4. richardWI

    richardWI Second Unit

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    I've rented the DVD and found it to be a low contrast, muddy, nightmare. The fake letterboxing doesn't help either. (It was obviously composed for 1:33.)

    The laserdisc is high contrast and sharp. I've been considering making a webpage of screengrab comparisons, but haven't gotten around to renting that unwatchable version again!
     
  5. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  6. richardWI

    richardWI Second Unit

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  7. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  8. Steven_M Grimes

    Steven_M Grimes Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  10. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Hmmm...

    This was on my "To Buy" list.

    It's been removed.
    Too bad. Great film.

    -Scott
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    You may want to reconsider. I'm delighted with my copy. Far from being "unwatchable", it's the first time I've enjoyed the film as more than a technical exercise (due, in no small part, to Walter Murch's re-edit using Welles' memo to the studio).

    M.
     
  12. Steven_M Grimes

    Steven_M Grimes Stunt Coordinator

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  13. ShaunS

    ShaunS Stunt Coordinator

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    I just went and checked out the opening of the film again (one of those draw dropping cinematic moments every film fan must see) and I hardly think it is "unwatchable". It may not be as sharp as a knife's edge, but the print is beautifully clean. I did notice that the top/bottom of the Universal globe is cut off by the black bars though. Not sure if that runs through the entire film. I'm more than pleased with the disc and the film is film noir at its strangest (Charlton Heston as a mexican!).

    ShaunS
     
  14. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  15. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Well... I may reconsider.

    I currently have it on my PVR from one of TCM's airings... it's been running on TCM the last couple of months.

    Until I need to clear some space there, I've got a decent copy I can watch.

    -Scott
     
  16. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  17. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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  18. Steven_M Grimes

    Steven_M Grimes Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't want to beat a dead horse here, so I will drop this after this:

    I wish I had a way to post screen captures, because I am not totally convinced that we are talking about the same things here. Has Universal switched manufacturing plants recently?

    I am aware of the film's history, which is why I wanted to see the revised edit. I have a pretty good idea of how a 35mm film from this era should look, even without extensive restoration. What I'm trying to say is that taking all that into account, the image on the DVD I just bought this week is BLURRY. It literally looks like a faulty laserdisc pressing, which is why I asked the original question. The blurriness varies throughout the film. I've tried it in three players and the image is about the same in all. I just can't get over how dire the disc looks.

    I guess I am not convinced that there is not something faulty with the disc in some way, if not the pressing then something else in the process. If anyone else buys a NEW copy (one that may have been manufactured more recently) I'd like to hear their thoughts on the quality.
     
  19. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

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    Steven, you're not alone. I have the Touch of Evil disc, and while I'm very happy to have it, the contrast is terrible. It's not unwatchable, but I sure wish it looked better.
     
  20. richardWI

    richardWI Second Unit

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