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Old 10-12-2008, 18:20   #1
Daveboy
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The French Connection Blu-ray

My Blu-ray of The French Connnection arrived through the post from Amazon today. The opening scenes of the drug dealer being chased look terrible. Gene Hackman in the Santa Claus outfit looks blurry and over exposed, almost ghost like. This type of process is employed throughout the duration of the film and I thought my dvd version looked better.

However, when I played the bonus disc. There's a featurette on colour timing in which William Friedkin explains that the Blu-ray version of the film has been colour timed to give the movie a "pastel" look which is closer to his vision. Never the less, for anyone who may be expecting a crystal clear presentation of this film, then don't get your hopes up, the picture looks murky throughout. But this is how Mr Friedkin wants us to see it.
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Old 10-12-2008, 18:46   #2
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I thought the DVD was good, but this isn't one I expected to be crystal clear, it is a seedy, murky film. Interested to see screen shots if anyone has a link or something.
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Old 10-12-2008, 19:09   #3
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This is where we need to be careful we don't smooth things too much - the film has always had that "gritty" feel to it so I expect it to retain some of that for the BD presentation.
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Old 10-12-2008, 20:23   #4
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This movie will never, ever look like eye candy. Never. The DVD was grainy and dull, yet I never thought for a second that it was anything less than what was intended.

Colour me intrigued to hear that Friedkin has tinkered with the HD presentation (which he is perfectly entitled to do, of course).
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Old 26-12-2008, 21:45   #5
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Yep, Friedkin's perfectly entitled to royally screw with the look of his films. I'll defend a director's right to tinker with my last breath, but that doesn't mean that I have to like what they do, and to my eyes French Connection looks shockingly bad in HD.

As Daveboy warned us previously, the colour has been almost disconnected from the image. It bleeds horribly and looks like something from a dodgy VHS copy. No, I'm not exaggerating. If you pause the picture when Doyle's running in his Santa outfit, you'll see swathes of red hanging in the air around him.

Friedkin seems to think that the standard timing looks like something out of the Wizard of Oz (colour bits obviously ), and if he'd simply desaturated the colour like any sane person, I could've lived with it. But he's intentionally thrown the colour layer completely out of focus and blended it with a black-and-white layer to achieve a "pastel" look, and this presents a one-two PQ punch: all the detail contained in that colour layer is now lost, and colour now bleeds at hard edges something chronic.

Not believing what I was seeing, I put in the remastered R1 DVD for comparison, and bang - the French Connection was back as I remember. It's not one to show off with, but detail is tight and the colours are right on the money, looking drab but never oversaturated and perfectly contained.

It's heartbreaking watching the HD colour timing featurette, as the look of the movie goes from sharp and tight - but still representative of its 35+ years - to horribly dull and hazy with a few button clicks. Friedkin makes no bones about it: the latter is how he wants the film to look, but IMO he's completely ****** it up.

He'd better not **** around with The Exorcist like this, or I'll be forced to type another long winded post on an internet forum. That'll teach him.
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Old 26-12-2008, 23:00   #6
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Yeah, that'll learn 'um. I'm still very keen to see this, depsite the warnings.
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Old 27-12-2008, 08:19   #7
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This sounds disappointing.

I've always loved the filthy appearance of these gritty old 60s/70s thrillers and have often wondered how the visual style would hold up on HD.
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Old 27-12-2008, 09:19   #8
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AK, it's not so much that it doesn't hold up. French Connection un-tinkered would look very nice, but the tinkered "pastel" version looks plain nasty.

And KRW, the only thing you'll be thinking when you see it is WTF.
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Old 27-12-2008, 09:30   #9
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Gonna stick with R1 boxset and upscale it
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Old 27-12-2008, 09:32   #10
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Yeah, that's what I meant Geoff. We're never going to see it properly in HD now, so I'm still left wondering.
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Old 27-12-2008, 09:36   #11
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I can remember seeing this in the cinema when it came out, it looked as though someone had plonked a second-hand camera on his back and just started filming, looked very gritty and very grubby so if it looks anything like that it's what Friedkin was aiming for both back in the 70s and now.
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Old 27-12-2008, 19:19   #12
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I said pretty much the same thing above, bosque. This flick ain't supposed to look like Wall-E. But there's a difference between looking authentically grainy and grubby and what Friedkin has **** out here. It's cruelly ironic that he's used state-of-the-art HD post-processing to produce something that looks like a well-worn VHS rental. The colour is so out of sync it's laughable.

Friedkin even says in the featurette that the film did not look this way originally, but with the advent of Blu-ray we can finally see his film(s) as he intended. Whoop-de-frickin'-do.

If I hadn't got this as an Xmas pressie, I'd have returned it already. Yuck.
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Old 27-12-2008, 19:30   #13
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I hated what Friedkin did with Cruising on DVD too. I wish someone would just cut him out the loop - he's lost all grip on reality.
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Old 27-12-2008, 19:44   #14
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Is the blurriness definitley down to the transfer? Could it be down to LCDs?

Obviously this may not apply, I'm just putting it out there.
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Old 27-12-2008, 19:52   #15
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What does TFC2 look like on BD? Being as Friedkn didn't direct, I bet it's completely different!
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Old 27-12-2008, 20:14   #16
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Are LCD's blurry then?

Anyway, I don't believe you lot, I have this well written, well researched and very enlightening review to go by -

Quote:
The picture quality in this release is outstanding. For such an old film it’s very impressive just how much detail has been sourced from the original print. It obviously doesn’t hold a candle to a current movie filmed in HD but for something of the time it’s among the best transfers. The video is grainy but detailed with the only let downs coming from the original recorded sources where different shots provide varying visual quality.
See, its those different shots providing varying visual quality again!

http://www.stuffwelike.com/stuffweli...lu-ray-review/

Last edited by KRW; 27-12-2008 at 20:15.
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Old 27-12-2008, 20:44   #17
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Chris, I don't have an LCD. And even if I did, if it was making stuff look as shoddy as this I'd be taking it right back to the shop.

In any case, during the 'colour timing' featurette Friedkin gets his lackey to switch between the standard version and the "pastel" version, and there's no blurring or smearing in the original footage. In fact, it looks absolutely beautiful . As anephric says, the guy is so far gone he should be cut out of the loop. I am genuinely fearful of how the Blu-ray of The Exorcist will turn out.

AK, I haven't watched TFC2 yet. I'll give it a spin soon.
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Old 27-12-2008, 22:02   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRW View Post
Are LCD's blurry then?

Anyway, I don't believe you lot, I have this well written, well researched and very enlightening review to go by -



See, its those different shots providing varying visual quality again!

http://www.stuffwelike.com/stuffweli...lu-ray-review/
Some are. For a long time I thought mine suffered, but it was a case of paranoia on my part...

That said, fast horizontal text you get at the bottom of the screen at the end of some TV programme's can't be read on my LCD, yet they can on my sisters CRT.

Has to be VERY fast though.
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Old 28-12-2008, 08:37   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niceguygeoff View Post
Chris, I don't have an LCD. And even if I did, if it was making stuff look as shoddy as this I'd be taking it right back to the shop.

In any case, during the 'colour timing' featurette Friedkin gets his lackey to switch between the standard version and the "pastel" version, and there's no blurring or smearing in the original footage. In fact, it looks absolutely beautiful . As anephric says, the guy is so far gone he should be cut out of the loop. I am genuinely fearful of how the Blu-ray of The Exorcist will turn out.
On the one hand we should be pleased that a film-maker is being guven so much lee-way to ensure that his "vision" is being seen on the scene - it's surprising because you wouldn't have thought Friedkin had the clout these days to potentially damage sales in this way.
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Old 28-12-2008, 09:20   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niceguygeoff View Post
I am genuinely fearful of how the Blu-ray of The Exorcist will turn out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bosque View Post
On the one hand we should be pleased that a film-maker is being guven so much lee-way to ensure that his "vision" is being seen on the scene.
*cough* Star Wars *cough*

Last edited by AKPiggott; 28-12-2008 at 09:21.
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