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Blu-ray Review While we wait for a full HTF Blu-ray Review of Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection (1 Viewer)

Ruz-El

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Originally Posted by Kevin EK /t/324151/while-we-wait-for-a-full-htf-blu-ray-review-of-universal-classic-monsters-the-essential-collection-recommended#post_3983083
Well, most coffins do GROAN when they open up...


Aaaannnddd Scene.

OOOOF!
 

haineshisway

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Just a note to clarify one of the large criticisms that was "maddening" to the reviewer as regards Creature: Every single shot he singles out, from the credits, to shots of the boat, etc. are all OPTICALS - every one of them. That's why a shot that cuts out of the optical will suddenly have incredible clarity. Then the following shot might be soft and if you wait for however long that shot lasts you will know why - because it either dissolves or fades out - it is, in fact, very consistent and is absolutely how the film should look. Everyone complains when Universal try to minimize the difference in the opticals to the first generation photography, but they seem to be damned if they do, damned if they don't. This is an incredible transfer and the number value should really be upped.
There is not one shot that's actually first generation photography that isn't crystal clear (other than the underwater photography, which has always looked the way it does here), just as there is not one shot that's an optical that doesn't look soft.
 

Kevin EK

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Bruce, I'm sorry but that's not what I recall watching this past weekend. We noted multiple shots that had no opticals in them that were much softer. Just master shots of groups talking. And are we sure that every shot of the boat on the water is an optical. I agree with the closer shots that have the obvious rear projection. But the wider master shots vary - the boat shot in particular I was referring to didn't have a dissolve out - perhaps it had a dissolve in that I'm forgetting. This is entirely possible - I'm no expert on this movie. I agree that any credits shots would be opticals by their very definition. But this is the problem with me posting a rough review. I'll be happy to go back through the movie again after I've looked over the supplemental materials.

On the other hand, I'm reading in the Creature 3D thread that viewers who know the 3D material much better than I do that they are seeing vertically misaligned shots in the 3D version. I am not a 3D expert, so I cannot confirm the technical details they are noting. I recommend 3D fans to please check that thread to see this discussion for themselves.
 

Bob Furmanek

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Every 3-D feature from the Golden Age has occasional shots with vertical mis-alignment. There's no reason why those shouldn't be fixed now to optimize the viewing experience and reduce the chance of eyestrain for the viewer.
 

John Sparks

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Watched the 2D version of CFTBL last night and did a side by side comparsion with the last version that came out. The 1.85:1 version had "alot" of info missing from the bottom border, a little from the top and right side, but it has extra info on the left side.
After warching the 1.85:1 version, it feels as though is was zoomed, at least IMHO.
 

haineshisway

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Kevin EK said:
Bruce, I'm sorry but that's not what I recall watching this past weekend.   We noted multiple shots that had no opticals in them that were much softer.  Just master shots of groups talking.  And are we sure that every shot of the boat on the water is an optical.  I agree with the closer shots that have the obvious rear projection.  But the wider master shots vary - the boat shot in particular I was referring to didn't have a dissolve out - perhaps it had a dissolve in that I'm forgetting.  This is entirely possible - I'm no expert on this movie.  I agree that any credits shots would be opticals by their very definition.  But this is the problem with me posting a rough review.  I'll be happy to go back through the movie again after I've looked over the supplemental materials.
On the other hand, I'm reading in the Creature 3D thread that viewers who know the 3D material much better than I do that they are seeing vertically misaligned shots in the 3D version.  I am not a 3D expert, so I cannot confirm the technical details they are noting.  I recommend 3D fans to please check that thread to see this discussion for themselves.
I watched specifically for the shots that were softer and every single one of them either was coming out of a dissolve or going into one - what can fool you is the length of some of the opticals - some of them are really long and by the time the dissolve actually happens it's possible to have forgotten that it was for the entire length of that shot.
That said, I went back and looked at them again, and perhaps Universal did do some of their removing grain from optical work, which would result in a softer image. But every single soft shot I saw in the first fifty minutes of the film was an optical.
 

Paul Penna

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The policy of some studios was to cut in the optical at the first and last frames on either side of the effect itself; others at the start and end of the full shots during which the effect occurred. I don't know what Universal's policy was at the time, but I'm sure someone does. A particularly irritating example of the latter is in the color episodes of the Superman TV show, which contain long stretches of faded dupe sections around opticals in the midst of otherwise beautiful color from better elements.
 

Bob Furmanek

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When CFTBL was in the editing stage in late 1953, UI would cut in their opticals at the start and end of each shot.
 

Kevin EK

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I'm certainly no expert on Creature, nor on 3D. My review simply notes the experience Joe and I were having watching the movie.

I want to be clear that I am still recommending the set in any case - despite my misgivings on that title, and despite what looks like some significant color issues on Phantom.
Even if both of those discs had more problems than I could count, that would still not outweigh the tremendous good work done on the first six discs.

Bruce, your comments should provide some positivity for the fans of Creature who will be looking forward to picking this set up. And I should note that in the Creature 3D thread, some qualification has been put in some of the comments that the problematic shots are not everywhere. The issue there is that they could have been corrected and were not. But again, I'm no 3D expert - my review criteria is whether I'm seeing a satisfying 3D picture for me, and whether it looks like a natural part of the movie (as opposed to a post production conversion where it's obvious that the movie wasn't shot for it).

If anything, this set is a kind of catch-all. It seems to have all the bonus material I can find from the prior DVD releases, and has coupled them with the new transfers, most of which are excellent.
 

David Weicker

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I know I'm in the vocal minority here on HTF, but I always ask, is it worse than the DVD? I realize that many feel that isn't a proper question to ask, or that Blu-Rays have to be 'perfect' because the marketing says they should be. Either way, that is part of my own criteria for upgrade/purchase. I'm after the best that is available (and "best" is a subjective term that means different things to different people).
In regards to The Creature From The Black Lagoon, are the 'soft' scenes actually worse than what was on the prior release, or is the problem they are no longer consistent with the rest of the picture that has had a bump in quality.
For example, assuming these problem shots were due to being from an optical, and if someone had graded the DVD, shot by shot on a scale of 10. They might have assigned a 5 to the Optical shots, and a 6 to the OCN shots - a difference in PQ of 1. Not that noticeable.
Now with Blu-Ray, the OCN shots have improved dramatically, while the Opticals not so much. If the Blu-Ray were graded, and the Optical shots were still a 5, but the OCN shots were now a 9, that would be a PQ difference of 4. Even if the Optical shots were now 6.5 (small improvement), that would still be a 2.5 difference. A much more noticeable difference.
*Note* I realize I am probably using the terms Optical shot and OCN shot incorrectly. But for the purposes of this discussion, I think it illustrates the point I am trying to make.
if this is the case, I wouldn't call it a problem with the Blu-Ray. In life, there are some problems that do not have solutions. I have a few Blu-Rays that have things that are distracting and pull me out, but apparently are accurate to the film as originally shown, which means that if I had seen them in the theater, I would have been distracted and pulled out there too.
David
 

Bob Furmanek

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The cut in dupe opticals have been part of the 35mm negative since day one.
 

warnerbro

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Excellent and a very detailed review for only a preview. Thank you. Very much appreciated. I ordered mine from Amazon UK. I think I'm more excited about this release than any other ever on bluray.
 

Woody8

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Watch your books!
Mine was assembled incorrectly, the pages are out of order. It makes no sense!
 

cjh5801

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The continuity and pacing of 1931's DRACULA was ruined by Universal's last-minute re-edit of director Tod Browning's original cut of the film. To see the film restored to the continuity of the shooting script, check out:
 

Ken Volok

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My "Creature from the Black Lagoon" (2D version) begins playing in slow motion with sound dropouts beginning at approx 58:00 to the end of the film. No dust or smudges on disc, and tested it on a second machine as well. At $120 I'm not a happy camper and will be contacting Universal tomorrow. Anyone else?
 

haineshisway

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Ken Volok said:
My "Creature from the Black Lagoon" (2D version) begins playing in slow motion with sound dropouts beginning at approx 58:00 to the end of the film. No dust or smudges on disc, and tested it on a second machine as well. At $120 I'm not a happy camper and will be contacting Universal tomorrow. Anyone else?
Sounds like a player issue to me.
 

Kevin EK

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Ken, I just spooled up Creature and played it from 57:30 to the end without any problems. This was on a PS3 with the most current firmware. Earlier I had played it on the Oppo 93. Not sure what's happening with your players, but my disc plays. I'm still noticing the change in PQ from shot to shot, but that's a separate matter...
 

Ken Volok

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haineshisway said:
Sounds like a player issue to me.
Kevin EK said:
Ken, I just spooled up Creature and played it from 57:30 to the end without any problems.  This was on a PS3 with the most current firmware.  Earlier I had played it on the Oppo 93.  Not sure what's happening with your players, but my disc plays.  I'm still noticing the change in PQ from shot to shot, but that's a separate matter...
Don't know where all the other posts went but, it is indeed a manufacture error as others are now reporting it. Note I am smart I was obviously smart enough to test on two machines.Thanks.
 

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