In November, The Far Country (1955) coming from Arrow

3 Stars

upload_2019-8-16_11-5-12.

https://arrowfilms.com/product-detail/the-far-country-blu-ray/FCD1915

Anyone have an idea what “1.0 stereo is supposed to be?

Published by

Kevin Collins

administrator

129 Comments

  1. As much as I love The Naked Spur, Bend of the River and Winchester 73 Mann/Stewart westerns and also really like but not love The Man from Laramie, Thunder Bay, Strategic Air Command and The Glenn Miller story this one has never done much for me. So I think I will stick with the DVD unless this on sale really cheap sometime .

  2. This was my first Mann-Stewart western. I loved everything about it, even Ruth Roman. It was a print with exquisite color & ever since this film has looked pretty ragged and dull (including the DVD, in my opinion). So I will definitely be getting this, and hoping that Arrow will work some of that same magic they did on THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN.

  3. lark144

    This was my first Mann-Stewart western. I loved everything about it, even Ruth Roman.

    What do you mean, even Ruth Roman? 😆 The presence of the lovely Ruth Roman makes a good movie even better and she's usually the only reason to sit through a bad one.

  4. Thomas T

    What do you mean, even Ruth Roman? 😆 The presence of the lovely Ruth Roman makes a good movie even better and she's usually the only reason to sit through a bad one.

    Perhaps, he's not a fan of Ruth Roman like there are people that are not fans of Bette Davis.:)

  5. Thomas T

    Surely you jest! 🙂 If they exist, I wouldn't want to meet one face to face!

    Sorry to shock you, Thomas, but I was not at all a fan of Ruth Roman–I detested her in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, for instance–until I saw her in THE FAR COUNTRY, and I must confess in general she still leaves me unmoved. But she is excellent in THE FAR COUNTRY.

  6. Billy Batson

    My two favourites are, Bend Of The River & The Far Country. I enjoy Winchester '73, but find The Naked Spur a bit overwrought, & The Man From Laramie very anemic, despite the shocking shooting the hand scene.

    The Man from Laramie is so beautifully shot that I could not take my eyes off it even if its story was a bit weaker than the others, the cinematography more than makes up for it.

    The Far Country is usually not held in that high regard when people discuss the Mann/Stewart westerns and I cannot really understand why as to me it holds up very well and that includes Ruth Roman who is really good in this one.

  7. lark144

    Sorry to shock you, Thomas, but I was not at all a fan of Ruth Roman–I detested her in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, for instance–until I saw her in THE FAR COUNTRY, and I must confess in general she still leaves me unmoved. But she is excellent in THE FAR COUNTRY.

    Roman's role in Strangers On A Train is the least interesting character in the movie. Meryl Streep couldn't have done anything with that role as written so I give Roman a pass on that one. If you haven't already, check her out in The Window (1949), Barricade (1950), Three Secrets (1950), Lightning Strikes Twice (1951), Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951), Down Three Dark Streets and Five Steps To Danger (1957) to see her at her best.

  8. Thomas T

    Roman's role in Strangers On A Train is the least interesting character in the movie. Meryl Streep couldn't have done anything with that role as written so I give Roman a pass on that one. If you haven't already, check her out in The Window (1949), Barricade (1950), Three Secrets (1950), Lightning Strikes Twice (1951), Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951), Down Three Dark Streets and Five Steps To Danger (1957) to see her at her best.

    + Great Day In The Morning if you find a way of watching this MIA movie.

  9. Robin9

    + Great Day In The Morning if you find a way of watching this MIA movie.

    I saw GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING in 16mm in a church basement 40+ years ago. The print was faded but you could still tell the use of color was linked to the emotional highlights of the script. Anyway, the film was sublime; one of the great Tourneurs, equal in my opinion to STARS IN MY CROWN, though I don't even remember Ruth Roman being in it.

    Also saw LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE in a beautiful print at MOMA around the same time, as well as THE WINDOW, but don't remember Ruth Roman being in them, either. Maybe I just have an aversion to the lady. I know Hitchcock did, at least based on what he said in the Truffaut book. He insists the reason Ruth Roman was terrible in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN wasn't the script but her. Hitch had someone else cast for the part that he thought would be much better, but (according to him) Jack Warner insisted on Ruth Roman.

    Anyway, other than in THE FAR COUNTRY, I've always found her an absence rather than a presence, which is maybe why I don't remember her being in those other films.

  10. lark144

    I saw GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING in 16mm in a church basement 40+ years ago. The print was faded but you could still tell the use of color was linked to the emotional highlights of the script. Anyway, the film was sublime; one of the great Tourneurs, equal in my opinion to STARS IN MY CROWN, though I don't even remember Ruth Roman being in it.

    I'm surprised you don't remember Ruth Roman in Great Day In The Morning as she dies a gruesome yet memorable death and earlier delivers one of the great retorts: Raymond Burr says of her in front of a large gathering "I can read her like a book" to which she responds: "you never got past the front cover, elephant boy!"

  11. Robin9

    I'm surprised you don't remember Ruth Roman in Great Day In The Morning as she dies a gruesome yet memorable death and earlier delivers one of the great retorts: Raymond Burr says of her in front of a large gathering "I can read her like a book" to which she responds: "you never got past the front cover, elephant boy!"

    Clearly this is a movie I need to re-familiarize myself with.

  12. bubuwest

    And one, if I may add, that we definitely should be getting from Warner Archive at some point…there isn't even an official DVD release available 🙁

    Exactly; which is why in an earlier post I said " if you find a way of watching this MIA movie." It's an RKO film so I'm hoping Warners now own the rights.

  13. OliverK

    The Man from Laramie is so beautifully shot that I could not take my eyes off it even if its story was a bit weaker than the others, the cinematography more than makes up for it.

    The Far Country is usually not held in that high regard when people discuss the Mann/Stewart westerns and I cannot really understand why as to me it holds up very well and that includes Ruth Roman who is really good in this one.

    For me The Far Country is just so dull especially after Winchester 73, Bend of the River and The Naked Spur. It reminds me more of The Rare Breed. Mostly comedy and drama and very little action.

  14. Randy Korstick

    For me The Far Country is just so dull especially after Winchester 73, Bend of the River and The Far Country.

    The Far Country is so dull after The Far Country? Just wondering which other one you meant to type.

  15. JohnMor

    The Far Country is so dull after The Far Country? Just wondering which other one you meant to type.

    I would have guessed that Randy may have meant The Man from Laramie but then there is not really that much comedy in it.

  16. "The Far Country" is far from dull. None of those westerns are ever "dull."

    What's up with having to order early to get the booklet? I got the one with "Gosford Park". Have people had problems with Arrow in getting a copy with a booklet? How soon and how should I order to get one?

  17. OliverK

    I would have guessed that Randy may have meant The Man from Laramie but then there is not really that much comedy in it.

    Far Country is similar to the rare breed for me is what I meant mostly comedy and drama. I don't mind that in westerns just don't find the story very interesting in The Far Country probably enjoy the story in The Rare Breed more and it has the always entertaining Maureen O'Hara.

  18. OliverK

    I would have guessed that Randy may have meant The Man from Laramie but then there is not really that much comedy in it.

    Yeah, I didn't understand that point either as I don't think "The Far Country" is filled with much comedy.

  19. PatrickDA

    "The Far Country" is far from dull. None of those westerns are ever "dull."

    What's up with having to order early to get the booklet? I got the one with "Gosford Park". Have people had problems with Arrow in getting a copy with a booklet? How soon and how should I order to get one?

    A second printing comes without the booklet. That happened to me with Deep Red and some Bava titles.

  20. Randy Korstick

    Far Country is similar to the rare breed for me is what I meant mostly comedy and drama. I don't mind that in westerns just don't find the story very interesting in The Far Country probably enjoy the story in The Rare Breed more and it has the always entertaining Maureen O'Hara.

    Thanks for clarifying. It is interesting how movies are perceived by different people – I never found it to have much humor and I thought there was plenty of stuff happening all the time.

  21. It was on TV in the UK in HD (TCM I think) a couple of years ago, & I always enjoyed it, just as I enjoyed it years ago. I remember thinking that I'd love to own it on Blu-ray, but not this transfer, something better, & it looks like this is it. I've hardly bought any catalogue releases this year (nothing wrong with the releases, but they just weren't my thing), so when something I'd like to have comes along, it's a cause for celebration. I have no problem with anyone not liking it, I don't like some of the finest films ever made.

  22. Robin9

    I'm surprised anyone finds The Far Country boring. John McIntire's Mr. Gannon is one of the great movie villains.

    I second that; Gannon-McIntire always reminds me of Little Bill Daggett-Gene Hackman in Unforgiven. Actually, the whole final sequence of Mr Eastwood's movie sounds to me, visually and thematically, like a tribute to the corresponding sequence in Mann's film. I'm sure good old Clint must've had in mind The Far Country when he shot Unforgiven.

    As to the comedy issue, I think there's very little of that, and it's almost entirely confined to the moments when Corinne Calvet's character appears–which by the way I consider one of the few weak points in the movie.

    To me The Far Country is a prime example of the American western genre; I also find it hard to make rankings among the five Mann-Stewart westerns, they're all so quintessential in my opinion.

  23. Keith Cobby

    I don't like the look of the screen captures, and as this is far from a favourite of mine, will give it a miss.

    Oh boy! From Gary's review:

    The image still has some unsavory softness, more realistic (warmer) skin tones and looks significantly improved in-motion. I like the film-like heaviness and it suits the HD presentation.

  24. It looks really THICK in those screen caps. Certainly the OCN can't look like that? But maybe it does. It's always had that look on DVD, so maybe there's inherent issues with the source materials. I can only hope his "looks better in-motion" comments are true.

  25. It does not appear much better in motion. While the set is imperfect, it is extremely unlikely that we’re going to see anything better for budgetary reasons. The potential audience for this film is limited.

    For that reason, if you love the film, the actors, the filmmakers, best grab a copy of the Arrow release.

  26. Yeah, I’m totally in. I rewatched the DVD not long ago and just about anything would be an improvement. It’s my favorite Stewart western, but also a film that’s not hugely popular today – I understand that budgetary limitations aren’t going to provide for a six or seven figure restoration here and I’m very comfortable with the likely result. My preorder was in place on day one and I’ve seen nothing here to dampen my enthusiasm.

    My big problem is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to watch it right away!

  27. My first thought was that somebody should please adjust the scanner that was used for this to quote Arrow
    "Brand new restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films". On top of that it has that kind of dated look that is not usually found in recent scans even when detail is lacking.

    The caps looked so mediocre to me that I compared them to an older HD recording to see if there is any significant improvement compared to that version and I was very surprised to see not that many differences between the two. Without that quote from the Arrow website I would have been certain that the same (old) master has been used for both judging by the screencaps I have compared so far.

    Not sure what went wrong as certainly with a fresh and recent scan from the OCN they should be able to do better, even in 2k.

  28. To those of us who are fairly ignorant regarding the remastering/restoration process, comments such as 'brand new 4k restoration from the original film elements' are misleading and about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

  29. I remember having this ordered through Germany, probably at least two years ago, along with other new Stewart western blu-ray releases. Far Country continued to receive delay after delay, until finally being removed. The word was issues with the elements.

    I was glad to hear it was finally going to be released by Arrow to the US a few years later. While I was hoping all concerns about elements would disappear, I am not entirely surprised by the news.

  30. Keith Cobby

    To those of us who are fairly ignorant regarding the remastering/restoration process, comments such as 'brand new 4k restoration from the original film elements' are misleading and about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

    Usually this will mean that detail and textures are improved not only over the previous DVD's but also over existing HD versions.
    Unfortunately things can go wrong in a variety of ways so it is always better to seek out reviewers you trust before you buy. If you can put them into perspective you may also want to check some properly done screenshots. They are very good for showing certain things but not quite as good for others.

  31. Thomas T

    It would seem that having The Far Country in its original aspect ratio (actually choice of ratios: 1.85 or 2.1) for the first time would be reason enough to pick this up.

    While those caps dampened my enthusiasm the Blu-ray will also have substantially better detail than all DVD version regardless of aspect ratio and on top of that the extras are quite extraordinary and look like a must-have for fans of Tony Mann and the Mann/Stewart collaborations:

    https://www.arrowfilms.com/product-detail/the-far-country-blu-ray/FCD1915

  32. PatrickDA

    Caps look a bit better on the other site
    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Far-Country-Blu-ray/250543/#Review

    I'm not sure what the point of including a second disc with a 2.1 cropping of the film is. The above review has a series of matching screen caps from the two versions. Looking at this for what it is: a very traditionally shot 1954 vintage film; I don't think the 2.1 ratio does anything good for any of the included caps:
    View attachment 64883
    Poor Ruth – chopped at the head and chopped at the hand.

    Arrow says: "The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution at NBC Universal's Studio Post facility. The film was graded and restored at Silver Salt Restoration, London."
    The caps shown on Blu Ray and Beaver don't look like a 4k scan from the original 35mm camera negative. They seem to be from a duplicate negative or even a generation worse. All those soft edges and that blotchy irregular grain.

  33. Trancas

    I'm not sure what the point of including a second disc with a 2.1 cropping of the film is. The above review has a series of matching screen caps from the two versions. Looking at this for what it is: a very traditionally shot 1954 vintage film; I don't think the 2.1 ratio does anything good for any of the included caps:
    View attachment 64883
    Poor Ruth – chopped at the head and chopped at the hand.

    Arrow says: "The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution at NBC Universal's Studio Post facility. The film was graded and restored at Silver Salt Restoration, London."
    The caps shown on Blu Ray and Beaver don't look like a 4k scan from the original 35mm camera negative. They seem to be from a duplicate negative or even a generation worse. All those soft edges and that blotchy irregular grain.

    I think this film was originally released 2.1 to movie theaters even though it was filmed 1.85 ratio?

    I'm looking forward to watching this Blu-ray after reading so many complaints about the stills. The video presentation might not be pristine, but, I'm afraid this might be the best we ever get on physical disc.

  34. Robert Crawford

    I think this film was originally released 2.1 to movie theaters even though it was filmed 1.85 ratio?

    Just because the original marketing idiots botched the release of this film doesn't mean that it looks good that way. That's like approving of what MGM did to Gone with the Wind when they re-re-released it with the top and bottom of the picture chopped off.

  35. Robert Crawford

    I think this film was originally released 2.1 to movie theaters even though it was filmed 1.85 ratio?

    I'm looking forward to watching this Blu-ray after reading so many complaints about the stills. The video presentation might not be pristine, but, I'm afraid this might be the best we ever get on physical disc.

    Filmed open matte, or 1.37.

  36. Trancas

    I'm not sure what the point of including a second disc with a 2.1 cropping of the film is. The above review has a series of matching screen caps from the two versions. Looking at this for what it is: a very traditionally shot 1954 vintage film; I don't think the 2.1 ratio does anything good for any of the included caps:
    View attachment 64883
    Poor Ruth – chopped at the head and chopped at the hand.

    Arrow says: "The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution at NBC Universal's Studio Post facility. The film was graded and restored at Silver Salt Restoration, London."
    The caps shown on Blu Ray and Beaver don't look like a 4k scan from the original 35mm camera negative. They seem to be from a duplicate negative or even a generation worse. All those soft edges and that blotchy irregular grain.

    No OCN ever reproduced like that. It’s an error.

  37. Robert Harris

    No OCN ever reproduced like that. It’s an error.

    I contacted Arrow asking if there may have been a mixup so that they received an older HD master and this was their answer:

    The Far Country was exclusively restored by Arrow Films and is presented in both original aspect ratios of 2.00:1 and 1.85:1 with mono sound. The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution at NBC Universal’s Studio Post facility. The film was graded and restored at Silver Salt Restoration, London. The original 35mm negative had undergone serious deterioration, resulting in excessive density fluctuation throughout all the reels, affecting colour and detail throughout the film. Unfortunately no other suitable pre-print elements had been kept, so extensive work was undertaken to reduce the damage while retaining the original film grain and image detail. Previous DVD releases of The Far Country had also used this source element but the effect of the film damage was reduced by Universal’s standard application of noise/grain reduction, as well as the work being completed in the lower SD resolution.

    I still think that it looks like an older HD master.

  38. Trancas

    Just because the original marketing idiots botched the release of this film doesn't mean that it looks good that way. That's like approving of what MGM did to Gone with the Wind when they re-re-released it with the top and bottom of the picture chopped off.

    Thanks for enlightening us about what you think of past Universal executives, but, the disc does contain the 1.85 ratio.

  39. Robert Harris

    Filmed open matte, or 1.37.

    Then why not just released it in 1.37 ratio then? They started filming this movie on August 19, 1953, and finished up in October of that year, so why didn't they filmed it in 1.85 ratio like other movies filmed during the later part of 1953? You sure you're not mixing this movie up with "Thunder Bay" that was filmed in 1952, and released in 1953, in 1.85 ratio?

  40. Trancas

    Just because the original marketing idiots botched the release of this film doesn't mean that it looks good that way. That's like approving of what MGM did to Gone with the Wind when they re-re-released it with the top and bottom of the picture chopped off.

    Some film lovers are completists and they want what was originally shown as a second option. Having both options available might increase sales of the disc.

  41. OliverK

    I contacted Arrow asking if there may have been a mixup so that they received an older HD master and this was their answer:

    The Far Country was exclusively restored by Arrow Films and is presented in both original aspect ratios of 2.00:1 and 1.85:1 with mono sound. The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution at NBC Universal’s Studio Post facility. The film was graded and restored at Silver Salt Restoration, London. The original 35mm negative had undergone serious deterioration, resulting in excessive density fluctuation throughout all the reels, affecting colour and detail throughout the film. Unfortunately no other suitable pre-print elements had been kept, so extensive work was undertaken to reduce the damage while retaining the original film grain and image detail. Previous DVD releases of The Far Country had also used this source element but the effect of the film damage was reduced by Universal’s standard application of noise/grain reduction, as well as the work being completed in the lower SD resolution.

    I still think that it looks like an older HD master.

    And not an original negative. I also don’t believe that there are no other elements for the film.

  42. 2.00:1 was just Universal's thing back in the day. Maybe they were trying to be cute and sepparate themselves from the 1.66:1 that Paramount was pushing at the time. Whatever the reason, the fact that it isn't an improvement on 1.85 just highlights how much of a turkey shoot soft matteing really is.

  43. Lord Dalek

    2.00:1 was just Universal's thing back in the day. Maybe they were trying to be cute and sepparate themselves from the 1.66:1 that Paramount was pushing at the time. Whatever the reason, the fact that it isn't an improvement on 1.85 just highlights how much of a turkey shoot soft matteing really is.

    Whatever problems may have existed, they have nothing to do with the amount of real estate exposed on the negative, be it regular aperture open matte, or S35.

    There are viable reasons why widescreen films were shot open matte, and cropped in projection.

  44. Robert Harris

    And not an original negative. I also don’t believe that there are no other elements for the film.

    I appreciate them taking the time to answer my questions but this is a case where I can't shake the feeling that somewhere there must have been some kind of miscommunication or misunderstanding as to what has been scanned and/or delivered.

  45. Bob Furmanek

    Studio policy at the time of principal photography.

    View attachment 64886

    An interesting, but oddly worded document.

    Shooting FA or full aperture, would not affect the amount of space for mag tracks, which were, of necessity, striped both in and outboard of the perfs.

    Was there a production other than The Robe that ran at 2.66, with dubbers?

  46. How hard did people at Universal search for elements for this film?

    Did some person just see a few cans of film 'Original Camera Negative – The Far Country' and just send that over to Arrow or what?

    I hope this was handled the right way. I wonder if Arrow would pull this release and do more work on it?

    I've never heard of "Silver Salt Restoration, London"…are they known within the film restoration industry?

    Mr. Harris is on Mt. Rushmore compared to my novice eyes, but this doesn't look like any "restoration" from an OCN that I've ever observed.

  47. PatrickDA

    How hard did people at Universal search for elements for this film?

    Did some person just see a few cans of film 'Original Camera Negative – The Far Country' and just send that over to Arrow or what?

    I hope this was handled the right way. I wonder if Arrow would pull this release and do more work on it?

    I've never heard of "Silver Salt Restoration, London"…are they known within the film restoration industry?

    Mr. Harris is on Mt. Rushmore compared to my novice eyes, but this doesn't look like any "restoration" from an OCN that I've ever observed.

    I posted the information I received from Arrow in post 65. It says that the OCN was scanned in 4k at Universal, so only the digital assets would have been shipped. Maybe somebody mixed up the hard drives / tapes because as you say this does not exactly have OCN written all over it.

  48. OliverK

    I posted the information I received from Arrow in post 65. It says that the OCN was scanned in 4k at Universal, so only the digital assets would have been shipped. Maybe somebody mixed up the hard drives / tapes because as you say this does not exactly have OCN written all over it.

    I think this is Arrow's canned customer service response since it's word for word the same as Arrow's message to DVDBeaver.
    It appears to be taken directly from Arrow's insert booklet that comes with the disc.
    You'd think that with Arrow's years of experience handling vintage film scans, they would be very skeptical of a claim by Universal that this is a 4k scan from "the original 35mm camera negative".

    Arrow's message to you:
    The Far Country was exclusively restored by Arrow Films and is presented in both original aspect ratios of 2.00:1 and 1.85:1 with mono sound. The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution at NBC Universal’s Studio Post facility. The film was graded and restored at Silver Salt Restoration, London. The original 35mm negative had undergone serious deterioration, resulting in excessive density fluctuation throughout all the reels, affecting colour and detail throughout the film. Unfortunately no other suitable pre-print elements had been kept, so extensive work was undertaken to reduce the damage while retaining the original film grain and image detail. Previous DVD releases of The Far Country had also used this source element but the effect of the film damage was reduced by Universal’s standard application of noise/grain reduction, as well as the work being completed in the lower SD resolution.

    Arrow's message to DVDBeaver:
    Arrow has sent us this message: "The Far Country was exclusively restored by Arrow Films and is presented in both original aspect ratios of 2.00:1 and 1.85:1 with mono sound. The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution at NBC Universal's Studio Post facility. The film was graded and restored at Silver Salt Restoration, London. The original 35mm negative had undergone serious deterioration, resulting in excessive density fluctuation throughout all the reels, affecting colour and detail throughout the film. Unfortunately no other suitable pre-print elements had been kept, so extensive work was undertaken to reduce the damage while retaining the original film grain and image detail. Previous DVD releases of The Far Country had also used this source element but the effect of the film damage was reduced by Universal's standard application of noise/grain reduction, as well as the work being completed in the lower SD resolution."

  49. Trancas

    I think this is Arrow's canned customer service response since it's word for word the same as Arrow's message to DVDBeaver.

    I would only call it canned if they say the same about other movies. If it is correct information then there is no reason to give different answers to different people/sites every time somebody asks.

    From what RAH says the disc does not look much better than the caps so there is reason to be doubtful about the origins of this disc but what does that mean? The answer to what went wrong IF something went wrong could only come from Universal or Arrow but would we get a new release in significantly better quality?
    Probably not so for now this release is as good as it gets and people who are interested in the movie should buy and people who would only buy if the release looks stunning shouldn't.

  50. Trancas

    I think this is Arrow's canned customer service response since it's word for word the same as Arrow's message to DVDBeaver.
    It appears to be taken directly from Arrow's insert booklet that comes with the disc.
    You'd think that with Arrow's years of experience handling vintage film scans, they would be very skeptical of a claim by Universal that this is a 4k scan from "the original 35mm camera negative".

    Arrow's message to you:
    The Far Country was exclusively restored by Arrow Films and is presented in both original aspect ratios of 2.00:1 and 1.85:1 with mono sound. The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution at NBC Universal’s Studio Post facility. The film was graded and restored at Silver Salt Restoration, London. The original 35mm negative had undergone serious deterioration, resulting in excessive density fluctuation throughout all the reels, affecting colour and detail throughout the film. Unfortunately no other suitable pre-print elements had been kept, so extensive work was undertaken to reduce the damage while retaining the original film grain and image detail. Previous DVD releases of The Far Country had also used this source element but the effect of the film damage was reduced by Universal’s standard application of noise/grain reduction, as well as the work being completed in the lower SD resolution.

    Arrow's message to DVDBeaver:
    Arrow has sent us this message: "The Far Country was exclusively restored by Arrow Films and is presented in both original aspect ratios of 2.00:1 and 1.85:1 with mono sound. The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution at NBC Universal's Studio Post facility. The film was graded and restored at Silver Salt Restoration, London. The original 35mm negative had undergone serious deterioration, resulting in excessive density fluctuation throughout all the reels, affecting colour and detail throughout the film. Unfortunately no other suitable pre-print elements had been kept, so extensive work was undertaken to reduce the damage while retaining the original film grain and image detail. Previous DVD releases of The Far Country had also used this source element but the effect of the film damage was reduced by Universal's standard application of noise/grain reduction, as well as the work being completed in the lower SD resolution."

    From my experience with universal, they don't claim anything. They work with facts

  51. A comparison of a crop of a Far Country screenshot next to a samesize cropped screenshot of The Hanging tree.
    View attachment 64922

    Here is the same crop of both screenshots, but the Hanging tree shot (only) has been downsized to 408p and then resized back up to 1080p (I tried the same process using 360p and 480p but 408p looked the closest to the lack of definition in the Far Country cap). Do you think The Far Country screencap has any more detail than the upscaled 408p Hanging Tree screencap?
    View attachment 64923

    Here's the whole Far Country screencap with a portion of the samesize original resolution Hanging Tree screencap dropped in the center.
    View attachment 64924

    I used The Hanging Tree to compare to The Far Country because it's one of the few 50's westerns that's been 4k scanned directly from the camera negative and it wasn't shot anamorphically. Yes, The Hanging Tree was released in 1959, while The Far Country was released 4 years earlier. Although it's claimed that the Far Country "negative" has deteriorated, the colors look pretty fresh, pretty varied. Meanwhile it's obvious that there's been some fading in the Hanging Tree negative that Warners has compensated for.

    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Far-Country-Blu-ray/250543/#Screenshots
    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Hanging-Tree-Blu-ray/195015/#Screenshots

  52. With so much attention paid to the audio masters (and so much secrecy on the part on Universal), does anyone how many, if any, film elements may have been lost in the Great Universal Vault Fire? Could that possibly account for the lack of other pre-print elements to use?

  53. JohnMor

    With so much attention paid to the audio masters (and so much secrecy on the part on Universal), does anyone how many, if any, film elements may have been lost in the Great Universal Vault Fire? Could that possibly account for the lack of other pre-print elements to use?

    I don’t believe pre-print was in the affected vault. And I’m finding zero secrecy at Universal in regard to older elements. I’ve always found them to be extremely cooperative, and transparent.

  54. Robert Harris

    I don’t believe pre-print was in the affected vault. And I’m finding zero secrecy at Universal in regard to older elements. I’ve always found them to be extremely cooperative, and transparent.

    I meant their secrecy about the fire and what was lost. On that point, they were far from transparent.

  55. Robert Harris

    From my experience with universal, they don't claim anything. They work with facts

    PatrickDA

    I think Universal is lying.

    Oh dear! Who to believe? Someone with first hand knowledge and who has actual experience and worked with Universal or a personal opinion? 🙄

  56. Thomas T

    Oh dear! Who to believe? Someone with first hand knowledge and who has actual experience and worked with Universal or a personal opinion? 🙄

    I believe Patrick’s comment was in jest. That’s how I read it.

    when I see annotations regarding “restoration” work on the back (or front) of packaging, I think of the errant lab worker at Technicolor, who inadvertently visited the men’s room with the entire OCN of The Little Mermaid wrapped around his jogging boots, thereby destroying it!

    He was hanged from a lamp post on Lankershim, and left there as crow chow, as a warning to others.

    The smell carried all the way to Century West BMW.

  57. I just wish Universal would be more…um…open to disclosing what was lost in that fire. I understand it was mostly TV shows back-up recordings and music recordings. I don't know what film materials would've been stored in that facility.

    Where would the OCN for "Snow Falling on Cedars" be? Do OCN's of recent films go missing? I think that was a problem for films in the 80's made by those minor companies.

  58. PatrickDA

    I just wish Universal would be more…um…open to disclosing what was lost in that fire. I understand it was mostly TV shows back-up recordings and music recordings. I don't know what film materials would've been stored in that facility.

    Where would the OCN for "Snow Falling on Cedars" be? Do OCN's of recent films go missing? I think that was a problem for films in the 80's made by those minor companies.

    While this has nothing to do with The Far Country Snow Falling on Cedars is only listed on imdb as presented by Universal and the main production company seems to have been The Kennedy/Marshall Company.
    http://kennedymarshall.com/films/snow-falling-on-cedars/

    You may want to ask them what happened to that negative. They do not exactly look like a one hit wonder fly by night outfit so they should know what happened IF they have held the negative and maybe it is not really lost?

  59. Trancas

    A comparison of a crop of a Far Country screenshot next to a samesize cropped screenshot of The Hanging tree.

    Here is the same crop of both screenshots, but the Hanging tree shot (only) has been downsized to 408p and then resized back up to 1080p (I tried the same process using 360p and 480p but 408p looked the closest to the lack of definition in the Far Country cap). Do you think The Far Country screencap has any more detail than the upscaled 408p Hanging Tree screencap?

    Here's the whole Far Country screencap with a portion of the samesize original resolution Hanging Tree screencap dropped in the center.

    I used The Hanging Tree to compare to The Far Country because it's one of the few 50's westerns that's been 4k scanned directly from the camera negative and it wasn't shot anamorphically. Yes, The Hanging Tree was released in 1959, while The Far Country was released 4 years earlier. Although it's claimed that the Far Country "negative" has deteriorated, the colors look pretty fresh, pretty varied. Meanwhile it's obvious that there's been some fading in the Hanging Tree negative that Warners has compensated for.

    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Far-Country-Blu-ray/250543/#Screenshots
    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Hanging-Tree-Blu-ray/195015/#Screenshots

    Interesting comparison that shows the lack of detail in this particular cap. Even if others look a bit better I doubt that detail goes much beyond 540p. Still to clear this up somebody would have to contact the right people at Universal and ask them why this one looks as it does and if there possibly was some kind of mixup or misunderstanding about what was delivered to Arrow.

  60. I'm very pleased to announce that my disc arrived today and I'll be watching it tonight. I'm really looking forward to forming my own opinion! Arrow normally have such high standards. The film itself I love.

  61. Josh Steinberg

    Yeah, it’s a fantastic movie, and by default it’s gonna look better than the crummy DVD. I’m looking forward to getting my copy.

    Yep, better definition, widescreen aspect ratio and from the looks of it some really excellent extras are three reasons to get this and on top of that I also happen to think that it is a really good western.

  62. OliverK

    Interesting comparison that shows the lack of detail in this particular cap. Even if others look a bit better I doubt that detail goes much beyond 540p. Still to clear this up somebody would have to contact the right people at Universal and ask them why this one looks as it does and if there possibly was some kind of mixup or misunderstanding about what was delivered to Arrow.

    The lack of detail seems to be consistent.
    View attachment 64966

  63. Douglas R

    I got this today and for a DVD it looks quite reasonable 🙁

    Sadly after Bend of The River, The Last Frontier, El Cid, Fall of the Roman Empire and others this seems to be another movie directed by Tony Mann that got an at best mediocre Blu-ray, Most of these movies were known for their excellent cinematography but not that much of it has been left to be seen on these Blu-rays.

  64. Douglas R

    I got this today and for a DVD it looks quite reasonable 🙁

    "Many a true word spoken in jest". I agree, it looks like a pretty good DVD. Not a great one: I have several DVDs with better picture quality. Clearly, something went wrong.

  65. Can somebody please comment on the extra content?
    It seems like I will see litte to no overall improvement compared to my HD recording if I get this but I wonder if the extras might be worth having:

    • American Frontiers: Anthony Mann at Universal, an all-new, feature-length documentary with film historian Alan K. Rode, western author C. Courtney Joyner, script supervisor Michael Preece, and critics Michael Schlesinger and Rob Word
    • Mann of the West, a newly filmed appraisal of Far Country and the westerns of Anthony Mann by the critic Kim Newman
  66. OliverK

    Can somebody please comment on the extra content?
    It seems like I will see litte to no overall improvement compared to my HD recording if I get this but I wonder if the extras might be worth having:

    • American Frontiers: Anthony Mann at Universal, an all-new, feature-length documentary with film historian Alan K. Rode, western author C. Courtney Joyner, script supervisor Michael Preece, and critics Michael Schlesinger and Rob Word
    • Mann of the West, a newly filmed appraisal of Far Country and the westerns of Anthony Mann by the critic Kim Newman

    American Frontiers is quite good. It offers little that will be new to seasoned admirers of Anthony Mann and James Stewart but to "normals" it should be interesting and educational. The Kim Newman discussion, sadly, is not one of his best because essentially, he has little to say. The commentary track held me for about ten minutes before I gave up. However, I don't usually like commentaries so others may find it more stimulating.

  67. Robert Crawford

    God, I can't wait until my copy ships to me as I've grown tired of reading all of the negative stuff as I want to see for myself.

    I think that if it had just been said that this was done from best available elements then people would have been less critical. Reading about a 4k scan of the OCN results in certain expectations that have not been met.

    That being said I hope that you enjoy your disc nonetheless, at least it looks better than the DVD.

  68. OliverK

    I think that if it had just been said that this was done from best available elements then people would have been less critical. Reading about a 4k scan of the OCN results in certain expectations that have not been met.

    That being said I hope that you enjoy your disc nonetheless, at least it looks better than the DVD.

    Until I see the actual disc, I'm going to withhold any further comments.

  69. OliverK

    I think that if it had just been said that this was done from best available elements then people would have been less critical. Reading about a 4k scan of the OCN results in certain expectations that have not been met.

    That being said I hope that you enjoy your disc nonetheless, at least it looks better than the DVD.

    Matters little if the element is an OCN or a quality fine-grain. It’s what is done to it.

    All elements come from a great box, anyway.

    In Aqaba.

  70. Robert Harris

    Matters little if the element is an OCN or a quality fine-grain. It’s what is done to it.

    . . . . and this is what's puzzling me. Has there been some mysterious damage to the OCN? We've had several Blu-ray discs from mid 1950s Universal-International films and they all look considerably better than this new disc from the normally very dependable Arrow. I'm thinking of Thunder Bay, Foxfire, Night Passage etc. Why has The Far Country fallen so far short of the standards of those other Blu-ray discs?

  71. Robin9

    . . . . and this is what's puzzling me. Has there been some mysterious damage to the OCN? We've had several Blu-ray discs from mid 1950s Universal-International films and they all look considerably better than this new disc from the normally very dependable Arrow. I'm thinking of Thunder Bay, Foxfire, Night Passage etc. Why has The Far Country fallen so far short of the standards of those other Blu-ray discs?

    Probably because the OCN was not scanned.

  72. Robert Harris

    Probably because the OCN was not scanned.

    But Arrow's packaging explicitly states: "Brand new restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films" Does this mean that Arrow (or someone) did some work with the OCN without scanning it and instead scanned the lack-lustre result? My head is spinning.

    I hope that Kino Lorber is reading this thread and has decided to proceed very slowly and very carefully to obtain a result that avoids whatever mistakes and problems have befallen Arrow.

  73. Arrow states that it is a scan of the OCN, provided by Universal, which had sustained heavy damage over the years. The digital scan was remastered by a company hired by Arrow in the U.K.

    So either Universal lied to Arrow about what scans were provided, which seems unlikely to me, or the camera negative had indeed sustained heavy damage over the years, as they’ve said.

  74. Josh Steinberg

    Arrow states that it is a scan of the OCN, provided by Universal, which had sustained heavy damage over the years. The digital scan was remastered by a company hired by Arrow in the U.K.

    So either Universal lied to Arrow about what scans were provided, which seems unlikely to me, or the camera negative had indeed sustained heavy damage over the years, as they’ve said.

    I don’t believe that anyone “lied” about anything. Probably simple miscommunication.

  75. Robert Harris

    Matters little if the element is an OCN or a quality fine-grain. It’s what is done to it.

    All elements come from a great box, anyway.

    In Aqaba.

    There is no OCN in Aqaba.

    No fine-grain.

    No great box!

  76. This is why reviews on this and other sites are so useful. You simply cannot believe or understand what the marketing material says. For favourite films i am satisfied to buy incremental uplifts in image but for others (like this) i will stick with what i have.

  77. ] watched it. (185 Version) and in some places the PQ is somewhat comparable to the KINO "Bend of The River" blu-ray. Like that blu-ray the problems are largely at places where opticals and/or dissolves occur. It's arguably distracting but I didn't find it unwatchable.

    Oh and mine came with a SLIPCASE of the same cover they had chosen.for the case …
    [​IMG]

  78. I watched this last night and was disappointed with the lack of detail. Afterwards I watched the new "Madigan" blu-ray, also a Universal release through Kino and having been film in 2 perf Techniscope – it had far more detail than "The Far Country".

  79. My Blu-ray has finally shipped so I should have it by Monday and it will be an immediate viewing. I'll probably try to watch it twice as I want to listen to the audio commentary as I pay real close attention to the video presentation. I'll try to pull out my DVD to sample some scenes.

Leave a Reply