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It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol Blu Ray reviews

1396 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Richard W. Haines
I already reviewed the earlier special editions of these movies so you can
refer to them for details about the movies themselves.

I just screened the new Blu Ray discs of both features on my DLP as part
of our family Christmas shows.

"It's a Wonderful Life" looks specatacular in high definition. Probably the
best looking black and white film I've screened so far in the format. They
either scanned the original nitrate camera negative or a fine grain safety
master. Either way it's grain free, razor sharp with a superb gray scale.
Absolutely no wear or damage of any kind. The mono track is okay in
that it's clean without hiss or distortion although it's a very limited sound
field. So if you like this movie, this is certainly one worth purchasing.

"A Christmas Carol" or "Scrooge" (the credits contain both titles) is better
than the last special edition transfer but still has problems. The
sharper and finer grain the image is, the more you notice the defects in
this inexpensive movie. When they have original camera negative footage,
the image looks relatively sharp and not too grainy. The opticals (dissolves,
superimpositions, fades) still look a bit washed out and contrasty. Some are
worse that others but it would appear to be a problem with the original
labwork itself. They did remove the damage, dust, scratches and wear but
you can always tell when there's a special effect. The image quality does
degrade noticeably compared to the rest of the film and this picture has a lot
of opticals. Curiously, some are full shot opticals and others are what was known
as 'short opticals'. That means they made the dissolve and then there's a visual
'pop' and the image cuts back to the sharper camera negative footage...but all
within the same shot. There also appears to be a few 'glitches' where the image
jumps a bit as if some frames are missing. I don't recall this in the last special

I don't believe they had the original negative to work with which if it exists would
be in Great Britain. It looks like they had a later generation duplicate negative made for
the US release for the transfer which is acceptable but certainly not up
to the quality of "It's a Wonderful Life". Still, it's the best I've seen the movie look
which has never looked that good to begin with. Considering the fact that this
Alistair Simm adaptation is the best version of the story, I recommend the Blu Ray
but don't expect perfection. Just a decent looking image considering the source
material that was available. The sound is not as good. Both the mono track and
5.1 re-mix are rather shrill but that might be an issue with the recording techniques
and original mix in England.
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I am not big on Christmas movies and such, but I have to say, It's a Wonderful Life is a all-time classic for me. Amazingly I do not own it, but seem to watch it lot. I may have to pick it up on Blu-ray since it is as good as you say for B&W. Thanks for the heads up... :T
You're welcome Sonnie. As "Capra corn" goes, "It's a Wonderful Life" is
one of his best.
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