The Day The Earth Stood Still (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=126481&d=1228924231
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

77






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1951
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 92 Minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Dolby Mono, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin
Starring: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, High Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray, Francis Bavier
Directed by: Robert Wise
Music by: Bernard Herrmann
Written by: Edmund North
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 2, 2008







"The decision rests with you"



Film Synopsis:

A spaceship lands in Washington, D.C., capturing the attention of the world. But the alien emissary (Michael Rennie) it brings refuses to reveal his mission to any single government, leaving the military, the politicians, and millions of ordinary people to wait in fear. Soon their distrust turns to calls for violence. But one young woman and her son (Patricia Neal, Billy Gray) befriend him... and soon realize that they may be all that stands between the human race and total destruction.




My Take:

This is an interesting film that must have seemed quite poignant during its initial release. I appreciated how it displayed the mind set of the country during the time. Communism and the idea of flying saucers were indeed subjects that were widely discussed in the early 1950's. This film is based upon the short story by Harry Bates Farewell to the master. It is pretty straightforward in its telling and revolves around an alien who comes to earth in an attempt to warn man that his violent and potentially destructive nature will not be tolerated now that he is becoming atomically aware. His attempts at a gathering of world leaders were futile so he decided to try and meet with a group of international scientists in the hopes that they would have some influence. His presence was met with paranoia, skepticism and violent reaction. He befriends a little boy and his widowed mother while posing as an earthman and staying at a local rooming house. In order to back up his statements and prove his power he agrees to a non lethal demonstration in order to get the attention of the world. The results only create further problems for him and he must turn to his only allies for help.

By today's standards this film feels rather dated both in its storyline and its execution. That doesn't diminish its message or its importance as a cinematic work. It features likeable characters and intelligent writing that does hold up quite well. Its status as a classic science fiction film is well deserved in my opinion. I am glad to see its debut on Blu-ray Disc and I don't think I am alone in that regard.






Parental Guide:

This film contains some mild violence.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 70



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699



Video: 84


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

The day the earth stood still comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps.

This classic black and white film comes framed in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and looks great. The level of detail present was impressive as images were crisp, well delineated and consistently sharp. I could easily see things like the weave of the fabric in Klaatu's suit jacket and tie or the texture of the rubbery looking suit worn by Lock Martin as Gort the robot. Wide angle and long range camera shots weren't as definitively resolved but still had ample dimensional quality. The video had excellent contrast and brightness balance. Blacks weren't inky but they had good dynamic range and consistency which played very well against the various shades of gray. Gradational steps within whites and grays onscreen was discernible which provided a good sense of image depth. Grain is intact and presented in fine, even layers that aren't intrusive. Occasionally I noticed some minor speckles that are associated with print damage but these were hardly worth mentioning and considering the source's age it looks remarkable. I chose to use the 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA track during my evaluation. The original recording wasn't designed for surround sound and its mono based perspective is favorably conveyed in this surround mix. The center channel is heavily utilized as it reproduces all of the film's sound. Music and some directional effects are spread to the left/right speakers and enhance the sense of spatial depth which effectively broadens the frontal perspective. The same information is mixed to the rear channels at a slightly lower level which provides mild yet detectable ambient envelopment. Dialogue is clear and concise amidst the various other sounds emanating from the center channel. Clarity and detail were quite good which gave distinction to the less prominent elements contained in the recording. Bernard Herrmann's accomplished music score sounded excellent and is highlighted by the eerie sound of the Theremin. Dynamic quality is better than I expected, and although not on par with today's newer soundtrack recordings, sounded very good for a 50 plus year old recording. Purists will probably prefer the mono audio track however I think that this multi-channel mix does a great job with this soundtrack as it maintains proper balance and never sounds unnatural or over processed.



Bonus Features:


  • Commentary by Director Robert Wise & Nicholas Meyer

  • Commentary by film & music historians John Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg, and Nick Redman

  • Isolated score track in DTS-HD 5.1 MA

  • (HD) The world of Theremin:

  1. The mysterious, melodious Theremin
  2. Main title live performance by Peter Pringle
  3. Interactive Theremin - create your own score

  • (HD) Gort command! - Interactive game

  • (HD) The making of The day the earth stood still - featurette

  • (HD) Decoding Klaatu Barada Nikto - science fiction as a metaphor - documentary

  • (HD) A brief history of flying saucers - documentary

  • (HD) The astounding Harry Bates - featurette

  • (HD) Edmund North: The man who made the earth stand still - documentary

  • Race to oblivion: A documentary short by Edmund North

  • Farewell to the master: A reading by Jamieson K. Price of the original short story by Harry Bates

  • Fox Movietonews (1951)

  • Teaser trailer

  • Theatrical trailer

  • (HD) The day the earth stood still (2008) trailer

  • Galleries




Final Thoughts:

The day the earth stood still isn't a complex film on its surface but it speaks quite a bit to the thought processes and paranoia of its time. Its reach into the world of science fiction films can still be felt today which makes it a classic that can't help but feel relevant to the genre films that it preceded. Fox has done a wonderful job with its presentation on high definition Blu-ray Disc as it has never looked or sounded better on home video. It includes all of the bonus content from the two disc special edition DVD release as well as several Blu-ray Disc exclusive interactive features. This is a great package that fans are sure to appreciate. Recommended.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 08:25 AM
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Thanks for the great review. I have this on order (temporarily out of stock where I purchased it) and can't wait to see it.

I know you touched briefly on the audio, but did you get a chance to hear the original mono soundtrack?
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post #3 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 08:44 AM
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I didn't see it listed in the bonus features on your review, but this title also has D-Box enhancement. It was supposed to be day and date but I have not received my review YET (long story) so I don't know if the D-Box logo is on the box or not. I do know that the codes are available now though.
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post #4 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badboi View Post

Thanks for the great review. I have this on order (temporarily out of stock where I purchased it) and can't wait to see it.

I know you touched briefly on the audio, but did you get a chance to hear the original mono soundtrack?

Greetings,

I only auditioned the DTS-HD Track. If I get the chance I will check it out and post back.


Quote:


I didn't see it listed in the bonus features on your review, but this title also has D-Box enhancement. It was supposed to be day and date but I have not received my review YET (long story) so I don't know if the D-Box logo is on the box or not. I do know that the codes are available now though.

Chris, no logo on the box or mention of D-Box support..


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post #5 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 09:32 AM
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Hi Ralph -

Your review, while positive, seemed a tad bit tepid. This disc has not arrived at my home yet ... but I have the DVD ... and I also had the good fortune of seeing it in a commercial theater (The Yorktown Theater in Elkins Park, PA) when it was in its second release back in the mid '50's (I'll be 61 in a couple months).

Not speaking about the disc technically. That's been widely reported as being first rate. But as film, I really do put this one right up there with "Casablanca", "Citizen Kane" & "The Third Man". Your opinion didn't seem to give it that stature.

I know that your review is simply your opinion ... and, God knows, you're entitled to it. AVS is very fortunate to have you working so hard. But to those who may be on the fence about this BD, I would say that you've understated this production's significance, quality and entertainment value.

From Robert Wise's great direction, Bernard Herrmann's classic score (which became the "blueprint" sound for future Sci-Fi works), the excellent dialog (I know you mentioned the writing ... but dialog is just one part of screenwriting ... and this film's dialog is terrific), the first rate location (not DC BTW) and studio photography ... it's all there.

This film is a classic!

Carry On!

And thanks.

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post #6 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 09:50 AM
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Wow, what a movie. I'll have to buy this one, even thought I don't own a Bluray player as yet. Always loved this film. If the studios keep releasing classic old films like this, I may have to break down & buy a player. Have an old VHS copy I taped off TV many years ago, wow it will be great to have a Hi-Def copy to view & enjoy !

John
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post #7 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hconwell View Post

Hi Ralph -

Your review, while positive, seemed a tad bit tepid. This disc has not arrived at my home yet ... but I have the DVD ... and I also had the good fortune of seeing it in a commercial theater (The Yorktown Theater in Elkins Park, PA) when it was in its second release back in the mid '50's (I'll be 61 in a couple months).

Not speaking about the disc technically. That's been widely reported as being first rate. But as film, I really do put this one right up there with "Casablanca", "Citizen Kane" & "The Third Man". Your opinion didn't seem to give it that stature.

I know that your review is simply your opinion ... and, God knows, you're entitled to it. AVS is very fortunate to have you working so hard. But to those who may be on the fence about this BD, I would say that you've understated this production's significance, quality and entertainment value.

From Robert Wise's great direction, Bernard Herrmann's classic score (which became the "blueprint" sound for future Sci-Fi works), the excellent dialog (I know you mentioned the writing ... but dialog is just one part of screenwriting ... and this film's dialog is terrific), the first rate location (not DC BTW) and studio photography ... it's all there.

This film is a classic!

Carry On!

And thanks.

Greetings,

Thanks very much for your comments Hank. I certainly appreciate this film and its significance. I have made that clear, although you may feel my review was too concise, I think the message is there. I appreciate your enthusiasm for this great film and I hope to hear more of your thoughts on future reviews..


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post #8 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 11:37 AM
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Hi Ralph,
With an 84 for video I have to assume that it looks better then the "Studio Classic" version that I have..and with expanded audio too!!
I've got to stop reading your reviews or I'll never have any money for Christmas !..
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post #9 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 12:10 PM
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Thank You Ralph, a very nice review on what I consider one of the top five Science Fiction movies of all time. I can't wait to get it in the new Blu format !!
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post #10 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 12:18 PM
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Ralph, definitely check out the mono track. I think it sounds fantastic.

Back off man, I'm a scientist.
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post #11 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharkcohen View Post

Ralph, definitely check out the mono track. I think it sounds fantastic.

I was wondering about that. Thanks. Sometimes new isn't always better.
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post #12 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 01:39 PM
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I didn't even bother with the DTS track

Back off man, I'm a scientist.
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post #13 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 03:39 PM
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The resaon this is a classic movie is becuase of the last line in the movie. It brings the whole movie into a new light.....
* do not jump ahead- it is part of the whole experience..PLease!!
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post #14 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 03:53 PM
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I am extremely pleased with this release, and I consider it one of the great science fiction movies of the period (along with Forbidden Planet). I enjoy current releases such as Dark Knight, but I would really love to see more of these older, classic titles--especially when if they will be released with such care and effort.
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post #15 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 05:29 PM
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Thanks for the review, Ralph. I look forward to owning this on Blu' soon. It's a shame that the BluRay version is missing the 70 minute "Making the Earth Stood Still" Documentary. Anyone owning the Fox Studio Classics DVD of this one or the 2 Disc laserdisc should hold on to them for this particular doc. I know I will. The doc's VERY good. I thought the high definition disc was capable of holding a lot of info. Sorry I don't remember how many gig a typical BluRay disc can hold. Would it have been possible to add the missing doc ALONG with the other supplements Ralph mentioned and not compromise video quality?

-Mike
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post #16 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 06:45 PM
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I have a Mit 65711 professionally ISFed by the best in the business and let me tell you that the "Studio Classics" looks like crap!!!

The two discs are night and day. The BD is sharp and clear and the SD has dull and muted blacks. You can't see anything in the shadows, but in the BD, they're all there.

What's a treat for me is that the SD is 42 inches across but the BD grows to 47 inches and with more info all around. I have about 2% overscan, but the BD adds quite a bit more info on all 4 sides.

The sound on the SD is stereo but the DTS-MA on the BD sounds a whole lot better...much richer.

If they keep up with the way they did this one, we are really in for a good BD run!

So throw out or give away your SD!

Edit: The only thing I don't like about BD is you can't put any of the cool inserts in them, the SDs are too big!

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post #17 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 08:57 PM
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I received my Blu ray copy of the Day the Earth Stood Still this last Friday and promptly watched it. I grew up with this movie, and have seen it many times, including a HD broadcast of it. However, this time I was really impressed!

The video was very good. But what impressed me was the audio, listening to it in DTS HD 5.1 MA. The orchestration of the theme song at the intro was fantastic. This obviously wasn't derived from a mono recording! They used two theremins to give it that spooky sound, with one playing at lower frequencies on one side of the screen, and the other one playing at a higher pitch on the other side! When the space ship was flying, the sound of the ship was panned across the room coinciding with the image on the screen, and into the surrounds when it wasn't visible on the screen. When you were out in the streets of Washington DC, you could hear traffic all around you! Then Gort had his own special theme song with a lot of bass! When Gort used his ray, you could hear the throbbing sounds of it building to a crescendo across the front channels by the orchestra / special effects while the objects vaporized / melted away. The dynamic range was great. The 5.1 channel sound really made Gort's ray sound real and sound like a special effect that is current and not dated.

I later listened to the mono sound track. It was a let down with the sounds of the streets collapsing back into the picture. You were no longer immersed in the action.
I definitely prefer the 5.1 channel audio. But if you want to hear the mono soundtrack, it's available and it's your choice.

I enjoyed the features on the making of the film and on the theremin.
I highly recommend this blu ray edition of The Day the Earth Stood Still!
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post #18 of 37 Old 12-11-2008, 05:05 AM
 
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I'm buying this classic now i know they have done justice to the transfer.

Just in case anyone is interested you can check out some trivia about the film here but i recommend you watch the movie first then read the trivia. Robert Wise did not want the final line used in the film but was forced by the censors to include it. ( I won't give the line away but you can read about it on the trivia at IMDB )

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043456/trivia
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post #19 of 37 Old 12-11-2008, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by movienutt View Post

Thanks for the review, Ralph. I look forward to owning this on Blu' soon. It's a shame that the BluRay version is missing the 70 minute "Making the Earth Stood Still" Documentary. Anyone owning the Fox Studio Classics DVD of this one or the 2 Disc laserdisc should hold on to them for this particular doc. I know I will. The doc's VERY good. I thought the high definition disc was capable of holding a lot of info. Sorry I don't remember how many gig a typical BluRay disc can hold. Would it have been possible to add the missing doc ALONG with the other supplements Ralph mentioned and not compromise video quality?

-Mike

Since this film is on a 50GB disc there was MORE than enough room for all of the extras included on the DVD and Laserdisc versions. This is clearly another example of future double-dipping by Fox. I can imagine the producers in the backroom..."give them the basic film with enhanced picture and doctored sound and then hit them up later for the 'Collector Edition' ".

I have purchased all of the various versions of this film from VHS, Laserdisc and DVD and was ready to give this one a pass - but alas - after reading Ralph's review and the other comments here I guess I'm onboard for this one as well. But shame on Fox!

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post #20 of 37 Old 12-11-2008, 10:15 AM
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I will have to pick this up for certain. Anyone know if Forbidden Planet will come to Blu-Ray, the Remastered DVD was spectacular.. I could only imagine it on Blu.
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post #21 of 37 Old 12-11-2008, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBluePill View Post

I will have to pick this up for certain. Anyone know if Forbidden Planet will come to Blu-Ray, the Remastered DVD was spectacular.. I could only imagine it on Blu.

We already know what it looks like...remember it's already come out on HDDVD...and it looked spectacular!!!

Don't know if it'll be a port over or not but might get a bump from Dolby Digital Plus to DTS-MA or Tru-HD.

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post #22 of 37 Old 12-11-2008, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inspector View Post

We already know what it looks like...remember it's already come out on HDDVD...and it looked spectacular!!!

Don't know if it'll be a port over or not but might get a bump from Dolby Digital Plus to DTS-MA or Tru-HD.

I'm sure it will. Look what they did with Casablanca, which wasn't exactly a hot seller on HDDVD, and yet they gave it the mega ultimate treatment. Now Forbidden Planet might not be as popular and well regarded as Casablanca, but it's a classic, one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made. I'm confident we'll see it on blu somewhere in 2009...
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post #23 of 37 Old 12-12-2008, 05:00 PM
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just watched this movie on AMC today, a classic SiFi thriller.. I thought I seen a Blu-Ray player inside the saucer? Anybody else catch this? Great review as always Ralph

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post #24 of 37 Old 12-12-2008, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by taxman48 View Post

just watched this movie on AMC today, a classic SiFi thriller.. I thought I seen a Blu-Ray player inside the saucer? Anybody else catch this? Great review as always Ralph

Greetings,

Thanks Matt. I must have missed that...

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post #25 of 37 Old 12-12-2008, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by taxman48 View Post

just watched this movie on AMC today, a classic SiFi thriller.. I thought I seen a Blu-Ray player inside the saucer? Anybody else catch this? Great review as always Ralph

I wouldn't surprise me, Blu-ray was very popular in the 50's
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post #26 of 37 Old 12-12-2008, 07:01 PM
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There are two actors in Hollywood that I'm sure got mixed up by the movie going public...Hugh Marlowe and Richard Carlson.

What's really funny is when Hugh Marlowe walks into his office and Richard Carlson's name is on the door. (courtesy of IMDB)

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post #27 of 37 Old 12-27-2008, 05:58 AM
 
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I have a Mit 65711 professionally ISFed by the best in the business and let me tell you that the "Studio Classics" looks like crap!!!

The two discs are night and day. The BD is sharp and clear and the SD has dull and muted blacks. You can't see anything in the shadows, but in the BD, they're all there.

What's a treat for me is that the SD is 42 inches across but the BD grows to 47 inches and with more info all around. I have about 2% overscan, but the BD adds quite a bit more info on all 4 sides.

The sound on the SD is stereo but the DTS-MA on the BD sounds a whole lot better...much richer.

If they keep up with the way they did this one, we are really in for a good BD run!

So throw out or give away your SD!

Edit: The only thing I don't like about BD is you can't put any of the cool inserts in them, the SDs are too big!

While I'm sure the Blu-Ray version of Day The Earth Stood Still is the best thing since bubble gum, I really don't understand how you could possibly say the SD DVD version is crap. It is an absolutely beautiful transfer.
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post #28 of 37 Old 12-27-2008, 07:41 AM
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While I'm sure the Blu-Ray version of Day The Earth Stood Still is the best thing since bubble gum, I really don't understand how you could possibly say the SD DVD version is crap. It is an absolutely beautiful transfer.



No it's not, not when you compare them side by side. "YOU" have to be able to do that, which you can't, because you don't have a Blu-Ray player!

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post #29 of 37 Old 12-27-2008, 08:32 AM
 
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[/b]

No it's not, not when you compare them side by side. "YOU" have to be able to do that, which you can't, because you don't have a Blu-Ray player!

Yes, I do have a Blu-Ray player and also an HD DVD player. I have seen black and white transfers as good as they can get, i.e. Casablanca. I have also owned several 16mm prints of DTESS throughout the years, long before there was Betamax. There is only so much that can be done with an old 50's black and white movie. Incidentally, I watch videos on a 65 inch Hitachi 65S700. The standard DVD of DTESS is excellent. If you are seeing otherwise, perhaps you need your set recalibrated.
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post #30 of 37 Old 12-27-2008, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ruadmaa View Post

Yes, I do have a Blu-Ray player and also an HD DVD player. I have seen black and white transfers as good as they can get, i.e. Casablanca. I have also owned several 16mm prints of DTESS throughout the years, long before there was Betamax. There is only so much that can be done with an old 50's black and white movie. Incidentally, I watch videos on a 65 inch Hitachi 65S700. The standard DVD of DTESS is excellent. If you are seeing otherwise, perhaps you need your set recalibrated.

The DVD has EE and other annoying crap in the picture.
The BD has none of that and is WAY sharper than the DVD.
I have seen NEW movies on BD that don´t look near as good as the this one.
Also the shadow detail and contrast is much better.
I own the DVD versions aswell. But the BD blows them all away.
You can get as much detail from an old B&W movie from the 50:s as any other 35mm movie as long as the original negative exists in good shape.
So I recommend you find out for yourself
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