The Big Country (1958) (Blu-ray) Available for Preorder

3 Stars

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Ronald Epstein

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78 Comments

  1. Looking forward to this, but I hope it fixes the flickering issues! I just watched the old blu the other night and while I personally have never noticed any significant stretching issues (if there is one, it can't be THAT huge of an issue), the flickering in several of the scenes drove me nuts! I've heard lots of complaining about the stretching issues, but little to no talk about the flickering. I hope this new remaster solves that too.

  2. Kino was going to release this in 2017 and assembled a bunch of extras for it. Then they discovered the master they licensed was stretched and decided they had to remaster it to fix. That's why the delay. So, yes, the stretching should be gone.

    FWIW, on another forum, the Kino rep commented (in 2017) that they sort of regretted licensing the film. Had it not been for time and money they put into the extras, they would have thrown in the towel when they discovered the stretching.

    I anticipate double-dipping on this title, if only to support Kino's efforts.

    Mark

  3. chrislong2

    Looking forward to this, but I hope it fixes the flickering issues! I just watched the old blu the other night and while I personally have never noticed any significant stretching issues (if there is one, it can't be THAT huge of an issue), the flickering in several of the scenes drove me nuts! I've heard lots of complaining about the stretching issues, but little to no talk about the flickering. I hope this new remaster solves that too.

    I agree with you COMPLETELY. I think we had five or six people watch the original version on a large projector screen and no one mentioned a stretched image. The flickering bugged me a lot though. I have mentioned it before and am hoping, as with The Gunfight At The OK Corral's Blu-ray version, they have fixed this flickering brightness issue.

  4. Mark Booth

    Kino was going to release this in 2017 and assembled a bunch of extras for it. Then they discovered the master they licensed was stretched and decided they had to remaster it to fix. That's why the delay. So, yes, the stretching should be gone.

    Yeah, I know they are remastering it, however my concern is that all they are worried about is the stretched image. I've watched the existing blu 3 times over the last couple of years and if it is stretched, it is a small amount that I think most people wouldn't even notice as per John's comment above. Yet if one looks at the RAH thread on the existing blu, there's lots of talk about the stretched image, but virtually nothing about the flickering which to me is the REAL problem with the existing. I'm all for Kino correcting a slight stretch issue, but if they are going to go through the trouble of remastering, I hope they've fixed the REAL glaring problem with the previous master which was the very distracting flickering in several of the scenes. If not, as much as I enjoy this movie, I'm not sure that a fix to a slight problem I never even have noticed is worth it to me to upgrade (though the special features might convince me). I did see in that Kino thread you mentioned that they said that MGM also did some other DRS work, which I hope is code for "we fixed that crazy sky flickering too". 🙂 We'll see I guess.

  5. I watched the old MGM Blu-ray once many years ago and noticed the stretching right away. When an actor moved into the center of the picture their head width would stretch (fathead), and then correct itself when they moved back to the side of the image. It's funny what people notice as I don't remember seeing any flickering on my only viewing. Perhaps I did and just forgot about it. Anyway I like this movie and I will buy it again.

  6. Jimbo64

    There are no existing stereo tracks from what I’ve read

    That seems to be the consensus here. However, I remember projectionists who told me they had projected the film in 4-track magnetic and it sounded great.

    In any case, if stereo elements are available, this would certainly be worthy of a remix. The musical score is very strong and iconic, and the film was shot in Technirama, which deserves a stereo soundtrack.

  7. chrislong2

    Yeah, I know they are remastering it, however my concern is that all they are worried about is the stretched image. I've watched the existing blu 3 times over the last couple of years and if it is stretched, it is a small amount that I think most people wouldn't even notice as per John's comment above. Yet if one looks at the RAH thread on the existing blu, there's lots of talk about the stretched image, but virtually nothing about the flickering which to me is the REAL problem with the existing. I'm all for Kino correcting a slight stretch issue, but if they are going to go through the trouble of remastering, I hope they've fixed the REAL glaring problem with the previous master which was the very distracting flickering in several of the scenes. If not, as much as I enjoy this movie, I'm not sure that a fix to a slight problem I never even have noticed is worth it to me to upgrade (though the special features might convince me). I did see in that Kino thread you mentioned that they said that MGM also did some other DRS work, which I hope is code for "we fixed that crazy sky flickering too". 🙂 We'll see I guess.

    With all due respect, I'd rather Kino not listen to the complaints of fans like us – otherwise, we'll get another debacle like The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly where they tried to please everyone, including some incredibly pedantic complaints, and ended up wasting a lot of time for nothing.

  8. MisterLime indicated that the master they licensed was in bad shape, which to me would indicate that they're aware of both the stretching as well as the flickering issue (though it's arguable that they should have done their due diligence before licensing the same crappy MGM master based on a Blu-ray.com review, a good reminder that most DVD/Blu-ray reviewers have no idea what the hell they're talking about).

    I'll wait for the RAH review, but I very much want to buy this if only because Kino did the right thing and remastered the title – delaying the release a year to do so – at significant additional cost. As long as it's a) better than the old MGM DVD and b) fixes the stretching and flickering issues of the MGM Blu then I'll likely buy it even if the transfer isn't perfect.

  9. Allansfirebird

    With all due respect, I'd rather Kino not listen to the complaints of fans like us – otherwise, we'll get another debacle like The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly where they tried to please everyone, including some incredibly pedantic complaints, and ended up wasting a lot of time for nothing.

    Well that's a fair point to a degree in general. But the flickering that occurs is throughout most or all of the whole film to some degree and is very noticeable in some scenes (particularly the sky) and is quite noticeable (esp if you watch in the dark as I usually do with movies) and is something that should have been corrected by MGM so I don't hold your opinion that saying something to Kino about it who is undertaking a remastering is something they should just "ignore". In my 3 watches of the Blu, INCLUDING the other night even while being aware of people complaining about a stretching problem, I did not notice any significant stretching issues, but I've noticed the flickering every time. And unlike some here, I am NOT an industry-related person or a nitpicker in any way. I don't even have some tweaked out HT. I watch on <50" HDTV with no surround… Unlike RAH, I might not be the type to catch some slight stretching, but if the screen is flickering, that I can see… With that said, this is prob something that I or others should have specifically brought up last year when Kino announced they were remastering (and maybe others did – I do see that the Blu-ray.com review mentions the problem). At this juncture, it's prob just a matter of "hope they took care of it". If they didn't, I'm sure it's too late for them to fix now. We'll find out next month what's what! 🙂 No matter what, I share Mark VH's thoughts on being grateful that they have been trying to do the right thing and fix this title and I give them kudos for that.

  10. Strange what affects different people.
    For me, the stretching effect made the Blu ray totally unviewable. If the flicker effect is corrected as well, then that's great. But the stretching was always the biggest issue for me.,

  11. AnthonyClarke

    Strange what affects different people.
    For me, the stretching effect made the Blu ray totally unviewable. If the flicker effect is corrected as well, then that's great. But the stretching was always the biggest issue for me.,

    Yep that is true, flicker bugged me way more.

  12. John Hermes

    I agree with you COMPLETELY. I think we had five or six people watch the original version on a large projector screen and no one mentioned a stretched image. The flickering bugged me a lot though. I have mentioned it before and am hoping, as with The Gunfight At The OK Corral's Blu-ray version, they have fixed this flickering brightness issue.

    I'm in the same boat I never noticed any stretching but the flickering stands out like a sore thumb. I hope it is fixed with this release.

  13. rsmithjr

    That seems to be the consensus here. However, I remember projectionists who told me they had projected the film in 4-track magnetic and it sounded great.

    In any case, if stereo elements are available, this would certainly be worthy of a remix. The musical score is very strong and iconic, and the film was shot in Technirama, which deserves a stereo soundtrack.

    I asked Mr. Peck about the film having stereo tracks. He did not recall it as having been stereo, and was one of the producers.

    One would have to check the post records, to confirm, but his memory and knowledge seemed superb, as we discussed other subjects.

  14. I also did read (correct me if I am wrong), that there is some private collector that has a 70mm stereo print. Of course, it is technically possible to create stereo from existing mono.

  15. deepscan

    I also did read (correct me if I am wrong), that there is some private collector that has a 70mm stereo print. Of course, it is technically possible to create stereo from existing mono.

    Well, if you read that malarky here I think we an all pretty much guess who said it. There's always some mysterious collector who has some print no one else has.

  16. Robert Harris

    I asked Mr. Peck about the film having stereo tracks. He did not recall it as having been stereo, and was one of the producers.

    One would have to check the post records, to confirm, but his memory and knowledge seemed superb, as we discussed other subjects.

    Not to take anything away from one of my favorite actors ever but do you think that somebody like Gregory Peck would be that much into what to him may have been technical minutia?

    I am asking not because I actually believe that there are stereo tracks but simply because I often get the impression that actors, producers and even directors are not really that interested in these things.

  17. haineshisway

    Well, if you read that malarky here I think we an all pretty much guess who said it. There's always some mysterious collector who has some print no one else has.

    Agreed.

    The earliest tests of which I'm aware, were VVLA to 70 for The Court Jester. The Big Country is a bit early for the realm of TLA to 70, which begin in early 1959, with Sleeping Beauty.

  18. OliverK

    Not to take anything away from one of my favorite actors ever but do you think that somebody like Gregory Peck would be that much into what to him may have been technical minutia?

    I am asking not because I actually believe that there are stereo tracks but simply because I often get the impression that actors, producers and even directors are not really that interested in these things.

    All sources who worked on a film; especially those who are intelligent and articulate; are vital to the research.
    I would imagine that a co-producer must also consider the costs of Mono vs. Stereo and on that front would also be in the loop.

  19. haineshisway

    Well, if you read that malarky here I think we an all pretty much guess who said it. There's always some mysterious collector who has some print no one else has.

    Once upon a time, I was lucky enough to borrow a 70mm print of "The Big Country".
    I'm now starting to wonder if this was loaned to me by the very same guy?
    I gave it back the next day, though; mainly because I had noticed a lot of flicker and stretch.:D

    Seriously, though, I'm looking forward to this Kino Lorber release, to which I have the fullest of confidence;
    as they have really been doing their damnedest;
    be it with "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", "The Lion in Winter" and, of course, "The Big Country".:thumbs-up-smiley:

  20. PMF

    All sources who worked on a film; especially those who are intelligent and articulate; are vital to the research.
    I would imagine that a co-producer must also consider the costs of Mono vs. Stereo and on that front would also be in the loop.

    With the number of movies that Mr. Peck has to his credit it would be quite an accomplishment to remember technical parameters like these several decades later. As you say chance has it that there could be good reasons why he can remember it easily like for example there was a discussion about stereo sound and they did not want it because of costs and/or added hassle in recording the audio.

  21. OliverK

    With the number of movies that Mr. Peck has to his credit it would be quite an accomplishment to remember technical parameters like these several decades later. As you say chance has it that there could be good reasons why he can remember it easily like for example there was a discussion about stereo sound and they did not want it because of costs and/or added hassle in recording the audio.

    He produced the film. Far more than an acting assignment.

  22. I’ve soon both stereo prints of Big Country and Auntie Mame – neither are 70mm.
    They are both among the first Technirama films.
    Both had, to me, the same odditiy. Stereoprints of this era are always mag optical- i.e. mag striped with anoptical track also on it.
    these prints were not – they were both three track stereo with no surrounds.

  23. Joe Caps

    I've soon both stereo prints of Big Country and Auntie Mame – neither are 70mm.
    They are both among the first Technirama films.
    Both had, to me, the same odditiy. Stereoprints of this era are always mag optical- i.e. mag striped with anoptical track also on it.
    these prints were not – they were both three track stereo with no surrounds.

    Checked the original press book. No mention of stereo.

  24. Joe Caps

    No offense, but the only studio that regularly mentioned stereo in their ads, by 1958, is Fox.
    Other studios did not.

    More important than press books or ads is the print itself. Obviously you know who owns or owned this print. It may be the only one in existence. Would that collector bequeath it to a film foundation for posterity?

  25. Paul Rossen

    More important than press books or ads is the print itself. Obviously you know who owns or owned this print. It may be the only one in existence. Would that collector bequeath it to a film foundation for posterity?

    Wrong place to bequeath. All that’s needed is a loan to AMPAS.

  26. I will be getting mine Tuesday from amazon. I'm sure it will be better than my old mgm bluray. Great movie, Great cast ! Not like the Garbage they make today. I have not been to a movie theater in 10 years.

  27. dpippel

    You've missed a LOT of good films.

    I've been to the theater twice in the last 22 years. It's all relative. In that span of time I've seen many good/great films from the 1920's through the 1950's that others may have missed. Regardless of what era a person watches, past or present, there are always good/great films they miss. As long as one enjoys what they watch, that's all that should matter.

  28. It’s fine as long as you don’t wear your refusal to go to the theater as some kind of badge of honor, because it’s not. Also not great if you want to see people actually making more films. Lots of great stuff being produced these days and if you enjoy any of it then it’s kind of important to support it with your patronage.

  29. RICK BOND

    Not like the Garbage they make today. I have not been to a movie theater in 10 years.

    They made garbage in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s too! Nostalgists tend to look at the cinematic past through rose colored glasses. I bow to no man in my love of classic cinema (the oldest film in my collection is 1912) and my collection encompasses cinema, both domestic and international, from all decades. If I hadn't gone to a movie theater in the last 10 years I would have missed such superb films as The Artist, Beatriz At Dinner, Big Sick, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Boyhood, Call Me By Your Name, Cloud Atlas, Departures, Ghost Writer, Grand Budapest Hotel, Gravity, The Great Beauty, Hateful Eight, Hurt Locker, I Am Not Your Negro, Into The Woods, Kedi, The Invitation, La La Land, Lady Bird, Les Miserables, Margaret, Milk, Moonlight, Mother!, Nightcrawler, Nocturnal Animals, Phantom Thread, The Reader, Revanche, Steve Jobs, Tree Of Life, The Witch, Youth, Zero Dark Thirty to name a handful and to this film lover, that's unacceptable.

  30. RICK BOND

    I will be getting mine Tuesday from amazon. I'm sure it will be better than my old mgm bluray. Great movie, Great cast ! Not like the Garbage they make today. I have not been to a movie theater in 10 years.

    I'm with you, I prefer older films in general. 1950s to mid-to-late 60s are my favorites. To each his own and that's fine. We all like what we like.

  31. Mark VH

    It’s fine as long as you don’t wear your refusal to go to the theater as some kind of badge of honor, because it’s not. Also not great if you want to see people actually making more films. Lots of great stuff being produced these days and if you enjoy any of it then it’s kind of important to support it with your patronage.

    First, I wasn't bragging about it, but just responding to someone else stating that a person not having seen films of the last 10 years was missing out on a lot of good films, as if that was in some way wrong. Yes, I'm sure I have missed out on some good films, but that hasn't prevented me from enjoying many other good films in their place. We can't see everything and my current interest is just not with new films. Second, If you re-read my post, I never stated anything bad about any of the films from the last ten years and I never stated there weren't bad films made in the past. I simply stated that there are good films made every decade and whatever decades one chooses to watch they can be assured of watching good films. Lastly, one has to choose with their own funds what to support, and I choose to support the further releases of films from the 20's through 50's on disc rather than support new films at the theater. In the end, what is a good film and what isn't is subjective. What is acceptable or unacceptable to one may be completely different to another. As I said previously, as long as one enjoys what they watch, that's all that should matter and it shouldn't be questioned or up for debate.

  32. If presented with a choice I would always put the emphasis on supporting older content that is not likely to get as much support from the general crowd. The 50ies and 60ies are probably my favorite decades in movie making and they seem to have fallen out of favor with most so I have a lot of movies from those decades both for my enjoyment and to support further releases.

  33. smithbrad

    First, I wasn't bragging about it, but just responding to someone else stating that a person not having seen films of the last 10 years was missing out on a lot of good films, as if that was in some way wrong.

    I didn't say it was wrong, didn't mean to imply that I thought it was, and wasn't responding to you. 😉 I was merely pointing out that in my opinion, painting all recent films with the broad brush of "garbage" is not serving any useful purpose. Every decade of movie making has it's trash AND it's gems. Films made in the last several decades are no exception to that rule.

  34. dpippel

    I didn't say it was wrong, didn't mean to imply that I thought it was, and wasn't responding to you. 😉 I was merely pointing out that in my opinion, painting all recent films with the broad brush of "garbage" is not serving any useful purpose. Every decade of movie making has it's trash AND it's gems. Films made in the last several decades are no exception to that rule.

    You were responding to a general post you questioned, not one that was directed at you. I was doing the same. The point remains, if he wants to paint that broad brush of "garbage" as his impression of films in the last 10 years, and that's what he really thinks, then that is his opinion, and he is entitled to it without needing to defend it. It is one thing to disagree, quite another to put your opinion over anothers by stating they are missing something, which can come across as implying they are wrong, whether intentional or not. One individual's trash can be another's gem, and vice versa. It's all subjective.

  35. Thomas T

    If I hadn't gone to a movie theater in the last 10 years I would have missed such superb films as The Artist, Beatriz At Dinner, Big Sick, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Boyhood, Call Me By Your Name, Cloud Atlas, Departures, Ghost Writer, Grand Budapest Hotel, Gravity, The Great Beauty, Hateful Eight, Hurt Locker, I Am Not Your Negro, Into The Woods, Kedi, The Invitation, La La Land, Lady Bird, Les Miserables, Margaret, Milk, Moonlight, Mother!, Nightcrawler, Nocturnal Animals, Phantom Thread, The Reader, Revanche, Steve Jobs, Tree Of Life, The Witch, Youth, Zero Dark Thirty to name a handful and to this film lover, that's unacceptable.

    It's a great feeling watching films one feels are superb. All film lovers should have the opportunity to experience the feeling. While I have not seen any of the films on your list, that is acceptable to this film lover, since I've experienced that feeling with other films instead.

  36. smithbrad

    You were responding to a general post you questioned, not one that was directed at you. I was doing the same. The point remains, if he wants to paint that broad brush of "garbage" as his impression of films in the last 10 years, and that's what he really thinks, then that is his opinion, and he is entitled to it without needing to defend it. It is one thing to disagree, quite another to put your opinion over anothers by stating they are missing something, which can come across as implying they are wrong, whether intentional or not. One individual's trash can be another's gem, and vice versa. It's all subjective.

    Of course it's all subjective, and merely stating my opinion is not putting it "over others" any more than the post I responded to was. It's just my opinion, which you can choose to ignore if you wish.

  37. dpippel

    Of course it's all subjective, and merely stating my opinion is not putting it "over others" any more than the post I responded to was. It's just my opinion, which you can choose to ignore if you wish.

    I see, just like you having the option of choosing to ignore his opinion or mine, but choosing not to. 😉

  38. Mark VH

    It’s fine as long as you don’t wear your refusal to go to the theater as some kind of badge of honor, because it’s not. Also not great if you want to see people actually making more films. Lots of great stuff being produced these days and if you enjoy any of it then it’s kind of important to support it with your patronage.

    If theaters knew how to properly showcase films, and audiences knew how to behave, I would return. As it is, except in rare instances I prefer to save my dollars for the disc and enjoy a much better experience at home.

  39. I Love that black and white cast, and director photo. Willy Wyler one of the Best ! Can't wait till Tuesday to see the New remastered 60th Anniversary Bluray. One of my favorite westerns.

  40. Jimbo64

    I’m still a little bit leery on what the transfer holds so I’ll be waiting for a review or two before purchasing

    I am with you on this and I watched the existing BD release recently and it seemed OK but I am no technical expert so will wait until the Reviews surface. I last week bought BD COUNTERPOINT with C.Heston from Germany and the movie w as excellent with great picture quality and in English with English HOH .

  41. Yes, Jean Simmons was a stunner, for sure.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They try their best to de-glamorize her in The Big Country, but she still shines Carroll Baker (no slouch herself!) off the screen.

    Love love love The Big Country. It's one of my all-time favorite films, never get tired of it and if it's playing on TV when I'm changing channels I have to watch it to the end. Will wait for word on the new transfer, but am likely to buy this no matter what.

  42. haineshisway

    Are they advertising this as a new 4K transfer or something? Because looks to me like it's the exact same thing with the stretching corrected.

    I was expecting they would have to crop the top and bottom a bit to correct the stretching issue. But this is happily not the case. There is significantly more picture information on the sides. This indicates to me that it is a new image harvest. It's one of the very few cases where I've been compelled to double dip, normally minor improvements don't matter that much to me.

  43. haineshisway

    Are they advertising this as a new 4K transfer or something? Because looks to me like it's the exact same thing with the stretching corrected.

    According to Kino, I think that's basically correct plus some additional cleanup/touchup work (DRS). It's not a new scan from what I've heard. I was one that had never really noticed the stretching issue when watching the old one, but seeing those screenshots does def show the prob and the Kino one does seem to fix it. The issue that I DID notice on the old one every time I watched it was the flickering that was quite prominent in certain scenes. The review posted doesn't mention anything about that, but hopefully that got fixed too. In order to make room for the new features Kino's including, they obv had to compress the video further, thus lowering the bitrate, though at almost 24mbps it is still reasonable (barely IMO), but might have introduced some compression-related artifacts that weren't on the old. Still, given the other fixes, it's still pretty clear from those screenshots that the new Kino version is still overall the better choice. Thanks to Kino for putting some effort into this release! 🙂

  44. I too hope they corrected the flickering of the previous blu ray. That was very distracting. I never really noticed the stretching but the fact that they didn't mention the flickering being corrected has me a little concerned.

  45. Randy Korstick

    I too hope they corrected the flickering of the previous blu ray. That was very distracting. I never really noticed the stretching but the fact that they didn't mention the flickering being corrected has me a little concerned.

    If the flickering is corrected, I'll double-dip for the new edition. Otherwise no deal. The stretching was a minor issue to me compared to the flicker.

  46. John Hermes

    If the flickering is corrected, I'll double-dip for the new edition. Otherwise no deal. The stretching was a minor issue to me compared to the flicker.

    I'm the complete opposite – never noticed the flickering, but the stretching was annoying the hell outta me.

  47. John Hermes

    If the flickering is corrected, I'll double-dip for the new edition. Otherwise no deal. The stretching was a minor issue to me compared to the flicker.

    Yeah I will repurchase this only if they corrected the flickering. Otherwise what I have is fine, I would have never noticed the stretching at all if it was pointed out here. Very minor issue to me as well. But the flickering is an eye strain.

  48. Randy Korstick

    I too hope they corrected the flickering[…]

    John Hermes

    If the flickering is corrected, I'll double-dip for the new edition.[…]

    I hope these discussions won't affect a BD release of "My Friend Flicka":roll:

  49. Just watched my copy. Didn't notice any flickering (but then I didn't before), but I did notice that they finally have the color right on the opening credits. That coppery leather color is exactly right — at last!

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