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Old 07-01-2007, 22:47   #1
Niceguygeoff
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The Deer Hunter on HD-DVD - Recommended

I'm pleased to say that The Deer Hunter has received superb treatment for HD-DVD. It's still an intense and electrifying film, and Universal has once again come up with the goods.

Unlike another American classic from the same year (Superman The Movie) the 1080p transfer is excellent. It's understandably variable given the age of the film, with some scenes looking grainy and indistinct. But mostly they're as clear as a bell and the mountain views during the hunting sequences are simply stunning. There's plenty of fine detail throughout, and aside from some iffy skin tones the colour saturation is good too.

Blacks are fairly deep, although they stop short of the inky depths that HD-DVD can provide. The source material is virtually spotless and overall this is a sterling effort for a film nearing it's 30th anniversary.

The sound is average, with a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 track that's more like extended mono. It's not harsh or bright and everything's clear enough for the most part, but there's rarely any sense of a genuine 5.1 sound field. This ain't me moaning though, no sir, as the film doesn't require anything else.

While the extra features may disappoint - all that they could muster is a commentary and 20 mins of alternate takes? - the presentation of the film is extremely satisfying and that's all that really matters. This HD-DVD gets a big thumbs up from me.
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Old 08-01-2007, 19:10   #2
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Excellent to hear that it's a good disc; for some reason I never got round to buying this on DVD - mine's in the post as we speak
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Old 08-01-2007, 20:12   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie angel
Excellent to hear that it's a good disc; for some reason I never got round to buying this on DVD - mine's in the post as we speak
If that's from play com, that's the one that I tried to order only to be told that it was out of stock ! I've been reading mixed views of the transfer on various on-line boards but if you gauge between those who appear to know what they are talking about and those who are incensed that Deer Hunter doesn't look like the Adam Sandler Click HiDef transfer, then I feel confident that the transfer looks like it should do and all the better for that, as well.
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Old 08-01-2007, 20:31   #4
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I got mine from ebay, £15 delivered. I've got the 2-disc DVD already, but I thought I'd give the HD version a go. I'm glad I did. It's not demo material, but there's a real sense of texture and depth to the image. Well worth the sovs.
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Old 09-01-2007, 09:17   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bosque
If that's from play com, that's the one that I tried to order only to be told that it was out of stock !
I got mine from DVDPacific - about £12ish delivered

As well as Niceguygeoff's recommendation above, Robert Harris at HTF makes a solid case -

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Originally Posted by Robert Harris at HTF
Now in HD, with color, grain and densities all looking much like film, Universal has done right by The Deer Hunter in a big way.

If you're seeking glossy, grainless entertainment this isn't the film for you.

What it is...

is correct. Grain and all!
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Old 09-01-2007, 21:15   #6
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Been years since I've seen this (May even been late on Sunday night on BBC2) so put a order in with those lovely people at DVD Pacific
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Old 12-01-2007, 13:17   #7
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Review

PS - Mines shipped from DVD Pacific so now need to clear 3 hours of my weekend to watch it!
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Old 12-01-2007, 20:32   #8
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Not to toot my own horn, but I'm glad that I'm seeing the same things on my modest set-up as the folks at HD digest with their fancy kit. My DVHS deck is better than theirs, though. *Honk Honk*
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Old 12-01-2007, 22:33   #9
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I reckon the arrival at the mountain (56:26) can never have looked more beautiful than it does now on HD-DVD - if you exclude what it looked like to those lucky enough to see Deer Hunter when it was first released. Cimino's director of photography, Vilmos Zsigmond was sure on a roll during that decade ! No wonder he sold the Heavens Gate execs simply on the rushes

Last edited by bosque; 12-01-2007 at 22:42.
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Old 02-03-2007, 12:58   #10
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Was watching this on filmfour last night, and that particular sequence of cinematography is breathtaking - even on crushed up freeview.
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Old 03-03-2007, 11:06   #11
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Why do people say 'recommended' in most of these threads now? Is it some sort of trend?

Last edited by tizza; 03-03-2007 at 11:09.
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Old 03-03-2007, 23:19   #12
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I think there have been a few HD titles that have not quite met the high criteria that the HD label brings with it...
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Old 04-03-2007, 17:43   #13
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So there's a law against recommending things now? Seriously though, there weren't that many HD reviews around, so I thought why not do a few brief ones on here in the style of (noted film restorer) Robert Harris over at the HTF. The 'Recommended' thing comes from him.

Actually, more and more sites are doing HD stuff now, so tizza you'll be pleased to hear I've stopped with the mini-reviews (especially since the mods closed my last one).
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Old 04-03-2007, 19:18   #14
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I had a lot trouble appreciating The Deer Hunter when all we had was terrestrial TV showings and muddy VHS and that horrible early DVD release; but with the recent DVD releases and especially the HD-DVD disc I now feel that it's probably the best US film of a golden decade (the 70s). Lots of great shots in this film but one that stands out is the scene where Christopher Walken stumbles down that blue-lit street to the Russian Roulette game for the first time (at 1hr 44mins 59 secs on the region 1 disc). A painterly shot. Cimino is rude about his "cameraman" Vilmos Zsigmond, on the region 2 disc commentary track because he was only around for the time it took to shoot the movie. But this film isn't only great because of its script and acting, it looks great as well and that's principally because of the cinematography.

Last edited by bosque; 04-03-2007 at 19:19.
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