I am quite shocked and disappointed in some of the recent Universal releases, both in Blu Ray and standard DVD. Some releases are stunningly good from new transfers done with care. Other new releases seem to be ancient masters that lack quality that would be hard to fathom on VHS. I am aware that Universal lost a lot of their masters in that fire several years ago, so I would assume they are playing a very expensive game of catch up, but it seems old transfers survived the fire and were probably in a different location. I remember near the end of the laser era, Universal really produced some outstanding releases. I still can remember the excitement of seeing THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943), THE CLIMAX in beautiful color, as well as ARABIAN NIGHTS. I remember someone telling me about one of the honchos at Universal that cared about their product and used his power to make sure most releases were stellar. I think his first name was Michael and sadly he perished in an airplane crash. What prompted me to start this thread was the just-released TCM Vault set of the WOMEN IN DANGER films. If you go to the site and description for these films, it clearly states: “Presented for the first time on DVD, these four films have been fully restored and re-mastered….” Certainly WOMAN IN HIDING (1950) looks superb and looks like a new transfer to me, but FEMALE ON THE BEACH (1955) looks like open matte (1:33) and THE UNGUARDED MOMENT (1956), the only color film in the package is wider screen, but not anamorphic and the color is so washed out and picture is so blurry, it looks like a VHS transfer. I was also disappointed in their recent BACK STREET twofer. Although the later color BACK STREET as anamorphic, the color and look of the film was bad...sort of like the before and after little demo for PILLOW TALK, which this transfer looked like “before.” Also, the 1941 version looked like an old transfer with fuzzy picture, marks and wear all over it and something you would see on AMC 20 years ago. On the other hand, the TCM Vault series of those obscure Universal horrors (and one Paramount), including THE MAD DOCTOR OF MARKET STREET, THE MYSTERY OF DR. Rx, etc. looked stunning and were obviously new transfers. And then back to the latest Bob Hope collection, which included two Hope films that were tied up in a legal wrangle, but looked superb, but with that we had a couple of his best films, THE CAT AND THE CANARY, that looked okay, but THE GHOST BREAKERS was an inferior master that was not nearly as good as the previous DVD version which I think was 2002. And the TCM Vault Collection containing the wonderful, MURDER, HE SAYS, which looks pretty good, but FEUDIN’ FUSSIN’ and A-FIGHTIN’ is plain lousy in the mastering department. I wonder when THAT one was done. Universal can do superb work. The last Abbott and Costello “Suit Case” release of all their Universal films is really excellent with the exception of IN THE NAVY, which is the weakest looking of the bunch. Finally, we know about their variable record on Blu Ray releases of catalog titles. I just wish if a film has only an ancient transfer, they hold off releasing it on DVD until they upgrade their master. I am sure they have plenty of good looking stuff in their catalog that hasn’t been on DVD as yet. Well, that’s my two-cents. Sorry for the long post.