Winter Kills: aka My First, Big, Anchor Bay Disappointment

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Paul_Scott, Mar 9, 2003.

  1. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,546
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    one of the retailers here put this out early (along with the remastered Assault On Precinct 13 which i also greedily snapped up), so i finally got a chance to see a movie i've heard good things about for years.

    and the buzz was right. the movie itself was great fun.
    its a wicked pitch black humoured thriller that riffs off of the Kennedy assasination and conspiracy theories.
    the cast of mostly old time vets is excellant across the board with John Huston being the stand out as the patriarch.

    great to finally see it.

    but when the trailer provides a more watchable picture than the actual film, you know you've got trouble.
    the 2.35 image here is bland, colors and blacks are washed out, the image is very soft, with some scenes looking positively unfocused.
    i was about to just chalk it up to the cinematography, but after seeing the richer colors, deep blacks, and sharper image in the trailer, i just have to wonder what the hell is up.
    not only is the image a big disappointment, the audio frequently becomes distorted.antime the noise escalates- a shout, a loud engine, a musical swell, the audio becomes very sibilant- it felt like someone was running sandpaper over my tweeter.

    i just casually went thru a couple of the extras.
    from what i can glean, the background of this movie, and the players involved, should also be fascinating.
    its a 2 disc set housed in the same style quasi-digipack as they used on Man Who Fell To Earth.
    i felt that the transfer for that movie looked every bit its age, and was probably the weakest AB title i'd seen up till then
    - but it was still very watchable.
    the transfer for Winter Kills isn't up to that level, which really hurts, because i found this film to be vastly more entertaining.


    off the top of my head, i don't recall EVER being disappointed in an AB disc. usually, i'm blown away by the level of quality they achieve.

    a real shame.
     
  2. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have Winter Kills on pre-order and your post has kinda bummed me out.

    I thought that The Man Who Fell To Earth's transfer was brilliant.

    What's weird about the Winter Kills DVD is that it is a 2-disc set with generous extras, but only mono sound. I guess that the original tracks and stems are long gone.

    I'll have to see this one for myself...


    Gordy
     
  3. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,546
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    if your watching on a 36" or under tube, you might not have as much of a problem with WK as i did, but its defintely the weakest looking disc i've seen from them.


    i didn't really have a problem with the MWFTE transfer, but early on i thought to myself there was a difference here compared to just about every other AB disc i have.
    i don't have it anymore to refer back to but i would probably rate it a B/B+ from memory.
    WK i would rate a C-.

    for reference, i would rate the AB disc of Hitch-Hike, Fright, and The Night Stalker as all A/A+
     
  4. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2002
    Messages:
    2,950
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Paul,

    Can you please post the running time of this film? I'm curious to know whether it is the long or short version. Also, are there any deleted scenes? Many thanks -- Rob
     
  5. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,546
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rob,
    its listed on the back as 97 minutes.
    i'll have to check later about the deleted scenes.
    i don't remember seeing them listed on the extra disc.
     
  6. Steven_M Grimes

    Steven_M Grimes Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    10
    I just watched this DVD. It's a good sharp transfer, albeit at times grainy and a little washed out, some of which seems to be attributable to the cinematography. It looks like it was flashed like THE LONG GOODBYE, which would certainly account for the washed out aspects. Does anyone know for sure?

    Considering that this is not a studio film and was probably transfered from a release print, I would rate it as very good.

    The movie itself, which I had not seen in about fifteen years and never in widescreen, is a lot of fun and seems like it will reward multiple viewings.
     
  7. Mike Heenan

    Mike Heenan Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    405
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Is there a really long trailer included on the disc, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 to 10 minutes? I have one on 35mm and it's baffled me why it was so long, it's not a featurette I dont think.
     
  8. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,546
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Steven,
    i went back the other day and boosted the contrast and and dropped down the brightness a bit and put this in again for a few minutes.
    it looked better, but there was still a bit of a soft quality to it that was...irritating.
    in some ways it reminds me of the ATOC transfer.
    there just isn't enough detail/resolution in the image to be able to blow it up comfortably to the size i normally use for a 2.35 AR movie.

    this was never to say it was a terrible transfer.
    i was being a bit facetious when i started this thread.
    to me the WK transfer, while relatively better than a lot of other studios efforts, is a disappointment because the majority of Anchor Bay discs i have are exceptionally fine looking.
    it may be another case where the debate comes down to what constitutes 'reference quality'.


    the disc/film looks good.
    i don't think it looks great though ( at least at the size i'm projecting it).

    but that shouldn't , in any way, dissuade people from checking out this movie/disc.
    a great film and, overall, a great package.
     
  9. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    In reply to Steven M Grimes:
    Ii looks like it was flashed. Vilmos Zsigmond was the cinematographer and he flashed practically all his movies in the Seventies. I could be wrong, but it sure looks like a well-flashed movie. I think the transfer is superb. Excellent film; excellent DVD.


    Gordy
     
  10. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,546
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    (shrugs)
     
  11. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Always remember that there is a difference between liking the cinematography of a particular film and liking the DVD transfer of the same film.

    If a film was intentionally shot in a gritty style with grain and was flashed and had muted colours, then that it how it should look on DVD. If all films were shot in a razor-sharp, ultra-slick style, then the art of cinematography would be obselete.

    McCabe & Mrs Miller, The Long Goodbye, Obsession and perhaps now, Winter Kills all look great on DVD. Zsigmond certainly agrees that The Long Goodbye is accurately represented on the MGM DVD; the intitial original by MGM displeased Zsigmond so much, that MGM started all over again and Zsigmond was more than satisfied, as I am. Great film.

    Gordy
     

Share This Page