Update to my review on Warner Archives CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN!

A few posts back I recommended the Warner Brothers Archive distributed, Hammer Studios made CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN disc, but did point out an issue with its aspect issue. That the so-called wide screen 1:85 version is ‘fake’ widescreen, that basically just zooms in and crops information on the sides and top of the film, and that the 1:66 version is superior to the 1:85 version.

While that is true as far as it goes, I have just seen the special features on the 2nd disc, and the light bulb goes off. The primary feature on this disc is the movie in 1:37, basically 4:3, tv frame. This film was shot to maintain the 4:3 standard, that was very much still the standard for cinema. The viewers they used to frame their shots, everything was 4 by 3. Widescreen in the 1950s was very much a hail Mary, to try and bring people back to the cinemas by giving them something they could not get in their homes… widescreen.

And where widescreen would be used to real effect, by filmmakers as the years went on, watching the 1:37 print, from frame effing one it is clear, this is how the film was meant to look. From the first frame you can see the castle at the top of the screen that the rider is climbing up the mountain toward. a castle that is not discernible in the 1:8 version and you can just make out the bottom of on the 1:66 version.

In the 1:33 version you can clearly see the destination the rider is heading toward. And the rest of the movie is likewise perfectly framed, you no longer get the horses ears getting cut out of the frame, or the tops of people’s heads touching the top of the screen or being clipped out of the frame.

I knew the moment I saw the 1:8 version that it was missing detail. The 1:66 version gave us some of that detail back, the 1:33 finally gives us all the story… and the scales fall from our eyes.

Not only do you gain data on the top and bottom of the frame, you also gain data on the sides. You gain all that information that had the picture feeling… lacking (to differing degrees) in the other two versions.

And the pictures looks great in this 4 by 3 version. I’m over-joyed they included the 1:33 version but am dismayed they relegated it to the special feature disc (that potentially most will not even know about), and the ‘legitimate’ versions will be touted as these fake wide-screen versions.

It actually makes me mad, that the superior version of the film, the 4 by 3 version, was not the marketable version. “Oh but everyone has a widescreen tv, and people don’t want the picture to not use all that widescreen real estate”, even if it means they are actually being sold an inferior viewing experience, under the guise that it is a superior standard.

Studio speak.

It reminds me of what is happening with 4K, People are sold this idea that 4k is a superior picture to Bluray, that is is 4 times as good picture wise, and as with fake widescreen, that is not true.

1st, the term 4K is a misnomer sold to idiots, it is not 4 times anything compared to Bluray. It can discern smaller pixels, so roughly twice more dots per inch. But that is about screen real estate, and is not picture quality. It is picture real estate that depending what you are looking at and how it is applied… could be a component of better picture quality, or not.

But as I’ve stated before, in real world situation on a 60″ or less tv, at a standard viewing distance you are not going to discern any notable difference in the resolution between HD and UHD (called inaccurately 4K). What you do notice is the bells and whistles they dress up the marginal difference with, ie Dolby Digital and/or HDR. And that is color grading. And that technology could have just as easily veen applied to Bluray, but then they could not have sold the masses on new Tvs and players.

UHD like Widescreen has the ability to be well used, but it also (as in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN) has the ability to be lip-service to quality, rather than a true qualitative improvement.

It depends if the people mastering these discs, are just interested in selling you a buzz word and a fad to get you to part with your money, or if they are actually interested and capable of recognizing a superior picture, and providing you that experience.

As with widescreen, sometimes the UHD/4K is just a buzzword with no value, and you are better off getting the 4:3 or Bluray version.

THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is a great film, and if you have only seen it via the ‘wide-screen’ versions, go to disc 2 and watch the 1:33 version, and see what you have been missing. Highly Recommended!

Amazon Item of the Day : Multi-region Bluray Player

 

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2ByjmI9JWL._AC_SX425_.jpg

LG BP175 Region Free Blu-ray Player – If you need an affordable multi-region Blu-Ray that also supports  3D discs, than this is a solid, well rated option.

 

Now regarding 4K.

I personally find very little need for 4K, as I do not have a 70″ or larger screen and I’m not sitting 2 feet away from it inspecting pixels. And the difference between 4K and 1080p, while substantial in pixels (ie inreal estate), in real world picture quality is minuscule. It is not the kind of quality jump that you got from DVD to Blu-Ray.

I have 20/20 vision, and see better than most people I know, ie I don’t need glasses or contacts, so at 1080p on a 60″ or less screen, from a recommended 8 feet or more viewing distance you are talking the threshold of what the human eye can differentiate in regards to pixel count/real estate.

That is where other considerations such as how well the source is mastered ( a huge consideration, I have some DVDs that provide a better picture than Blu-ray simply because they were well mastered and the Blu-rays were not) , and contrast and dynamic range and brightness, and frame rates all come in to play to provide you a superior picture.

But as far as chasing real estate, resolution, HD to 4K to 6K to 8K to 16K, that is a meaningless numbers game in a consumer setting. Unless you are projecting on a movie theater sized screen this chasing of resolution/real estate it just so manufacturers can continue to sell you the new hotness. The new player, the new tv, the new discs.

However if you are somone who has the disposable cash, and want the latest and greatest, so a 4K player to go with your 4K tv, well then the following is the one to get.

Sony X800 – UHD – 2D/3D – SACD – Wi-Fi – Dual HDMI – 2K/4K – Region Free Blu Ray Disc DVD Player – PAL/NTSC – USB – 100-240V 50/60Hz for World-Wide Use & 6 Feet Multi System 4K HDMI Cable

This one will do 4K (if you have a 4K tv as well), Bluray, Super Aucio CD, and 3D (If you have a 3D TV or Projector).

 

If you found this post informative, then would definitely appreciate a like, subscription, or using the included links.

Thanks and have a great day! See you next installment!

AVOID scumbag editors and fly by night publications that start with Q!!

“He took a cigarette from his platinum case and smiled grimly at his unwavering hands. They wouldn’t shake even in hell! But he was shaking inwardly, not in personal fear, but with dread of the horror that impended for the city’s millions.”
—THE CITY DESTROYER by Norvell W. Page

I want to take 2 seconds to rant here.

I did some work recently for an online publication. A once well known property beginning with a Q and ending with R, but their site looked, quite frankly, stagnant. But I was told by the editor that they were looking to revamp and relaunch. For whatever reason I had my doubts, but after a few email exchanges I allowed myself to be swayed that this was something professional. I did the work, he received and published the work, only compensation requested was comp copies. And needless to say after telling me I would be receiving them, they have never been received.

What bothers me so much, is not the comp copies, it’s the lying to me about the comp copies. It’s me investing my time to help your magazine, because I believe in the concept, and then being pretty much taken advantage of.

I should have followed my first instinct that just screamed at me there was something scammy and shady about the whole deal, and the guy who was presenting the deal.

Well now I know.

And I will not forget, what an Editor’s word is worth. 🙂