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Old 02-23-2013, 01:02 AM   #16
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Given the comments about the grade by the BFI's Ben Thompson on the restoration documentary and by historian Marcus Hearn and critic Jonathan Rigby on the commentary (they refer to a bluer grade several times in their conversation), viewers may find this transfer's grading and colour palette somewhat unfamiliar. For example, the shot of Valerie Gaunt lying in the tomb prior to her staking, Harker's retreat from Dracula, Cushing's arrival at the tavern and the sequence at Lucy's tomb all offer a combination of strikingly different blue colour timing and deep blacks.

The highlights of Gaunt's face emerge from a very deep and dark blue background and colour definition of her hair, for example, is somewhat buried in the image. Carol Marsh is also bathed in blue at the Holmwood crypt. Interiors are also much darker than before and the inn, Van Helsing's hotel room and the Holmwood house and bedrooms feel dimmer and full of deep shadows. The hues in the colour grade are much cooler too. The only other drawback I would mention is that perhaps some details in faces and the set decor do tend to disappear into shadow.
http://www.cathoderaytube.co.uk/2013...la-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.
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:19 AM   #17
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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.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:26 PM   #18
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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."
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:27 PM   #19
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Watching the 2007 restored version tonight.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:42 PM   #20
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Thanks Shawn. This is very encouraging news. I'm looking forward to your 2007 comparison.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:37 PM   #21
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Thanks Shawn. This is very encouraging news. I'm looking forward to your 2007 comparison.
Agreed. Thanks Shawn. Looks like I will be purchasing this after all.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:15 AM   #22
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In the process of watching the 2007 DRACULA (1958) restoration, which is included. That "blue tint" is present here as well, but it doesn't stand out as it does in the 2012 version. In fact all the colors in the film, compared to the 2012 version, don't pop as much. Hammer really did an outstanding job in remastering it. Personally, I find the 2012 restoration to be superior. Detail, color, clarity, all of it looks ten times better.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:03 PM   #23
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Not sure if I was clear or not when I was talking about Hammer's DRACULA (1958) blu-ray. Some people are assuming there's a seamless branching thing going on. There isn't. Hammer's supplied us fans with two distinct restorations on the blu-ray and when you hit PLAY you are given these two options:

BFI 2007 Restoration (1.66:1)
Hammer 2012 Restoration (1.66:1)

That's exactly how they are labeled. It's the 2012 version you'll want to play first. That's the one where colors and clarity have been beefed up to gorgeous levels. If you want a more restrained film-like look go with the 2007 version.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:08 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Francis View Post
That "blue tint" is present here as well, but it doesn't stand out as it does in the 2012 version. In fact all the colors in the film, compared to the 2012 version, don't pop as much.
Thanks for all the detailed feedback on this release Shawn. It sounds like the difference between these two transfers lies more with color saturation than the color timing. Would you say that the hue of the two transfers is the same? If the colors in general are more subdued on the 2007 restoration that might explain why no one griped about the blue tinting then.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:19 PM   #25
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I'm not sure what you mean by "color timing." This is why I don't do technical reviews for the terminology throws me. I just know the 2012 version presents very vivid colors and clarity to the point where you can make out skin texture and texture in clothing and architecture. The 2007 version is the same just not tweaked to such a level. Night scenes are still dark, the "blue tint" only comes in where there's a sliver of light in a corner, but not all the time. Most of the night scenes are free of any kind of "tinting." It's not like it's seen through a blue tinted lens either. Only scene I thought had too much blue in it was when Cushing finds Harker's body in the cellar in the beginning. It was deep and dark as you'd expect but a tad too much blue highlight mixed in, but it doesn't look that accentuated in the 2007 version because of the restrained colors. People might bitch about the 2012 one, now that I think about it. They may not be used to seeing this film so bright and detailed. I personally loved it and could never watch the 2007 version again.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:22 PM   #26
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Thanks! I was referring to the tinting of the color palette. It sounds like the two restorations are very similar in that area, with the colors further strengthened in the 2012 transfer. That works for me.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:25 PM   #27
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Yeah, that might be what I was getting at. The colors are the same in both both versions. Take the scene where Lucy is waiting for Drac to show up. Her lavender nightgown and pink bed sheets are still pink and lavender in the 2012 version, it's just in the 2012 version they pop like a motherfucker. Very striking. It'll make you go, Wow.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:27 PM   #28
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I could also make out her skin texture on her cheek, too, as she stared at the window. That was something to behold.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:45 PM   #29
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One more question please Shawn. Do the day for night scenes, like Tania's meeting with Lucy, look more like night now? On the Warner DVD that entire scene is clearly misrepresented. You can tell it's broad daylight throughout--from the long shot of the forest that begins the scene to the initial shot of Tania moving toward the camera through their walk together. I'd imagine that scene is much more atmospheric if the brightness is toned down.
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:43 AM   #30
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Hang on, let me go check that scene again, on both versions.
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