Dracula (1958) Blu-Ray Specs Revealed!

Discussion in 'Euro Horror' started by Shawn Francis, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Shawn Francis

    Shawn Francis New Member

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    From Hammer's blog:

    RELEASED ON 3-DISC DOUBLE PLAY ON 18TH MARCH 2013

    Hammer, Icon Film Distribution and Lionsgate are proud to present a major event in British film history.

    Terence Fisher's 1958 classic DRACULA, fully restored in High Definition and available on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time. The release will contain two versions of the feature (seamlessly branched on the Blu-ray):

    The 2007 BFI restoration plus the 2012 Hammer restoration, which adds additional footage that has been unavailable for decades.

    The additional footage comprises two of the scenes that were originally censored by the BBFC in 1958 that have now been restored to the film from the “Japanese reels”:

    • Dracula’s seduction of Mina

    • Dracula’s sunlight disintegration

    These will be the most complete versions ever released and taken together fully deserving of the description DEFINITIVE.

    DRACULA has been unavailable on any UK home entertainment format for many years. This release will be at the correct aspect ratio of 1.66:1 which has never been available for the home.

    Available 18th March in the UK on 3-disc Double Play, the pack comprises1 x Blu-ray and 2 x DVD, the release also includes brand new featurettes, a new commentary track, multiple bonus extras and a stills show.

    DRACULA is the first in the series of Hammer films inspired by the Bram Stoker novel Dracula. It was directed by Terence Fisher, and stars Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, Carol Marsh, Melissa Stribling and Christopher Lee.

    Dr. Van Helsing, investigating the death of his friend Jonathan Harker concludes that Harker was the victim of a vampire. When Harker's fiancée, Lucy, becomes affected by the terrifying force and hypnotic power of Count Dracula, Van Helsing releases her tortured soul by driving a stake through her heart. But Dracula seeks revenge, targeting Lucy's beautiful sister-in-law, Mina. Van Helsing, now aided by Mina’s husband Arthur, swears to exorcise this evil forever by confronting the vile and depraved Count himself.

    Four Brand-New Featurettes:

    • "Dracula Reborn". New 30 min. featurette about the film’s creation and history, featuring, among others: Jimmy Sangster, Kim Newman, Mark Gatiss, Jonathan Rigby and Janina Faye (Tania in the film).

    • "Resurrecting Dracula". New 20 min. featurette about the film’s restoration, from the BFI’s 2007 restoration through to the integration of “lost” footage, featuring interviews with key staff at the BFI, Molinare and Deluxe142. Also covers the February 2012 world premiere of Hammer’s interim restored version including “vox pop” interviews with fans after the event.

    • "The Demon Lover: Christopher Frayling on Dracula". New 30 min. featurette.

    • "Censoring Dracula". New 10 min. featurette on the original cuts to the film ordered by the British Board of Film Censors.

    Commentary:

    • New commentary by Hammer historian Marcus Hearn and author & critic Jonathan Rigby.

    Plus:

    • All 4 surviving "Japanese reels" (6 - 9) unrestored (40 mins).

    • The World Of Hammer episode: Dracula And The Undead.

    • Janina Faye reading a chapter of Stoker’s novel at the VAULT festival.

    • Stills Gallery of over 100 fully-restored and rare images.

    • Booklet by Hammer archivist Robert J. E. Simpson (PDF).

    • Original shooting script (PDF).

    DRACULA Technical Information:

    • Certificate: (TBC)
    • Region: B/2
    • Barcode: 5060223769196
    • Catalogue number: LGB95006
    • Double Play: 1 x BD & 2 x DVD
    • Languages: English
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  2. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    sounds great! hopefully the transfer doesn't suffer from the same issues and controversy that The Curse of Frankenstein BD did. although all previous dvd releases appear to be 1.78:1...so this 1.66:1 is...curious. anybody know anything about that?
     
  3. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    There's zero doubt that Dracula should be 1.66:1 (standard for England at the time) and little doubt that Frankenstein should be anything but 1.66:1. Hammer's press releases at the time stated as much. Here's Hammer's blog on the Dracula aspect ratio: http://blog.hammerfilms.com/?p=335

    It'll be fun to see the original Japanese reels and comes as a nice bonus. I wonder if they'll have the original Japanese sound? That'd be cool. Unfortunately there is still some cut footage that would have been present in the Japanese print if it were not so deteriorated. It's likely this footage is forever lost.

    It's nice that they're offering two version of the film even if it's rather unnecessary. I think they got bit hard on Devil Rides Out and wanted to be sure to cover their bases here. But horror fans will never complain about censored footage being added back in.
     
  4. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    well, thats nice to know. can we just assume, then, that the previous dvds were slightly cropped or mislabelled? definitely looking forward to this. i'd grab it for the extras alone, much like i did with the Frankenstein BD, but here's hoping this one gets a great transfer.
     
  5. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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  6. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome news! I'm truly glad that the BFI restoration is being used. It's received glowing reviews for color saturation and framing. It should look amazing.
     
  7. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    Great news,nice to see a classic title getting the attention it deserves.
     
  8. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    They were screened in America at 1.85:1 and 1.77:1 is pretty much indistinguishable from that. Still there were a lot of complaints that the Warner DVDs were over cropped but that's also because Warner zoomed in a bit too much on the picture as well. A combination of problems. I'd prefer to see any film in its country of origin's OAR which for Dracula would be 1.66:1.

    I'm hopeful with BFI's involvement we'll have less problems here then the "new improved" Hammer has been giving us lately. Even with the problematic Blu-ray for Frankenstein it still feels like a must own. Whether Dracula's got its own set of problems or not it's shaping up to be a must own as well.
     
  9. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Ugh... It's Night of the Living Dead all over again apparently: http://thelatarniaforums.yuku.com/s...-classics-coming-to-bd-announcement-good-news

    Frank Collins' review:
    http://www.zetaminor.com/roobarb/sh...n-DVD-and-BD&p=1520164&viewfull=1#post1520164
     
  10. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    AHHHHHH! What is the problem with these Hammer blu-ray's? Pre-order canceled.
     
  11. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    I disagree about this being the same as NOTLD. The stills I've seen actually look really good and natural to my eyes whereas the NOTLD tinting didn't. Ill totally buy this if ever released in the USA.
     
  12. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure we should rush to judgment. Almost all of the Hammer Dracula films look "off" on DVD. Day for night scenes consistently look ridiculous. I've always assumed that was a limitation of earlier technology. But now I wonder if the DVD masters were authored incorrectly. If answer prints weren't consulted it's very possible that many shots were printed too light and color timed for a more neutral appearance.

    I'm never in favor of altering the color timing of films for home video. So if this is revisionist history it's appalling--and hugely disappointing for such a landmark film. But I think it's distinctly possible that Horror Of Dracula might have looked darker and bluer when it originally ran in theaters.

    I suspect we haven't heard the last word on this release yet. I need to know how closely the new Blu replicates the look of the projected BFI restoration before I make up my mind.
     
  13. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    Point well taken. I reacted to seeing "NOTLD all over again". Hammer's region B blu-ray's have had a checkered history. I'm still holding off on my preorder for now.
     
  14. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Well this is probably much the same as NotLD in that screen captures look worse then how it'll appear on a properly calibrated TV. Still no one is saying this is how it looked theatrically in 1958, in fact the quoted restoration states that they did not try to make it look like Eastman technicolor which is how it was distributed.

    Here's what restorationist Robert Harris (Vertigo, Lawrence of Arabia) had to say about the restoration's comments:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/3...-the-holy-grail-dracula-1958/150#post_4037658

    He advocates a wait and see approach but I don't doubt the screen captures we've been provided are accurate of what's on the Blu-ray. I may buy it anyways just to get the full Japanese reels as I doubt those will be on Warner's release stateside.
     
  15. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    This is definitely the most confusing aspect of this. If the DOP wanted the film to look the way it will on the Blu-ray, why wasn't it printed that way for theatrical release? I have to believe Terence Fisher got what he wanted, which makes the changes tougher to justify.

    Off the top of my head this seems like the first time a film was "restored" this way without any input from the actual folks involved. I'm still curious to know how closely this BD will replicate the look of the projected BFI restoration. That seemed to get raves across the board.
     
  16. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Review:
    http://www.cathoderaytube.co.uk/2013/02/british-cult-classics-dracula-3-disc.html

    Lots of screenshots on there. There's an unsettling trend of tinting older horror films with new transfers and it's bizarre mostly because they just didn't tint like that on film. This is more like holding a gel in front of the projector. I really hope Warner doesn't succumb to this when they finally get around to releasing their Hammers.
     
  17. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    That is an exhaustively thorough review with a lot of new and interesting revelations. Thanks for linking it. But it still doesn't answer the key question about the transfer:

    "This transfer facilitates a certain mood, of course, and having not seen the 2007 BFI restoration on the big screen it's not possible for me to confirm that this represents both the vividness of that theatrical presentation or indeed its parity with the original intentions for exhibition in 1958."

    We still don't know if this is an accurate rendering of the projected BFI restoration. But I suspect it isn't. I can't find a negative word in print about those theatrical screenings. So it seems reasonable to infer that the color timing of the Blu-ray drifts farther away from the original look of the film. Wouldn't there have been some noise after the BFI screenings if the film prints departed this radically from prior color timings?

    Thinking about this makes my head hurt.
     
  18. Shawn Francis

    Shawn Francis New Member

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    I watched my review copy last night. Here's what I wrote on my FB page:

    Okay, just finished the movie. Remember all those DARK screen caps that were published on The Latarnia Forums that kicked off all this BLUE debate, well, the blu-ray I was given looks NOTHING like that. There are night scenes where there has been no blue tinting at all. In fact the blue that was applied is very slight and not all encompassing like those initial caps suggested. This movie is colorful as all hell. Texture of fabric can be discerned; skin texture can be discerned, detail in architecture can be discerned. The scene where Lucy waits for Drac to show up, her lavender nightgown against the pink of the bed sheets was stunningly gorgeous. Blacks are deep. The scene where they first see Lucy walking the night, after they confront her. Michael Gough and Cushing are conversing next to her coffin after she's run back into it. The door is open behind them, the night time in the courtyard has a blue tint, so does some of the texture on the door, but Gough and Cushing are free of tint. It's judicially applied. The ONLY place where it was applied, perhaps, a bit too heavy was in the beginning, in the cellar when Cushing was looking at Harker's body in the coffin. In my opinion this blue tint and too dark imaging has been blown WAY out of proportion. Hammer made a gorgeous transfer here. And the tinting is NOT distracting in the rest of the movie. Heading off to bed now. Oh, right, the inserted footage, well, you can tell a little bit that it doesn't match the film in some shots. It looks a little "rough."
     
  19. Shawn Francis

    Shawn Francis New Member

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    Watching the 2007 restored version tonight.
     
  20. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Shawn. This is very encouraging news. I'm looking forward to your 2007 comparison.
     

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