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post #1 of 26 Old 01-17-2018, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Groundhog Day Ultra HD Blu-ray Review



Ralph Potts reviews the 25th Anniversary Edition of this Bill Murray classic that is making its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

86



Details:

Studio and Year: Sony - 1993
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 101 minutes
Genre: Comedy/Romance

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle-Murray
Directed by: Harold Ramis
Music by: George Fenton
Written by: Danny Rubin & Harold Ramis
Region Code: A,B,C


Release Date: January 23, 2018


"He is Having the Day of His Life…Over and Over Again"


My Take:

I reviewed Groundhog Day’s 2009 Blu-ray release, and have included my comments from that review here. Ratings for film, and bonus content will be the same, as they are identical to that release. New comments and ratings for the Ultra HD video and Dolby Atmos sound mix are below.


Bill Murray is at his wry, wisecracking best in this riotous romantic comedy about a weatherman caught in a personal time warp on the worst day of his life. Teamed with a relentlessly cheerful producer (Andie MacDowell) and a smart-aleck cameraman (Chris Elliott), TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities. But on his way out of town, Phil is caught in a giant blizzard, which he failed to predict, and finds himself stuck in small-town hell. Just when things couldn't get any worse, they do. Phil wakes the next morning to find it's Groundhog Day all over again... and again... and again.

I have been a Bill Murray fan since seeing him on Saturday Night Live and his early films such as Meatballs, Caddyshack, and Stripes. I haven’t seen every film he has made but I think I have seen most. “What about Bob?” is among my Murray favorites and Groundhog day was his very next film so I looked forward to it. I recall seeing it theatrically and immediately finding it different than most of his other movies. I liked how the film blended humor, drama, and romance into a fantasy based story about a cynical, condescending, weatherman, who took things and people for granted. He goes to Punxsutawney, PA for the third year in a row to cover the annual Groundhog festival. To him, it is belittling, and time wasting, but this year Phil Connor (Murray) is in for a different experience.

He completes his brief and somewhat sarcastic coverage of the event and can’t leave town fast enough. The problem is that an approaching snow storm strands Phil, producer Rita (MacDowell), and cameraman Larry (Elliott) in Punxsutawney for another night. Phil awakes the next morning to find that it is still February 2nd (Groundhog Day), and that he is the only one who knows it. No matter what Phil does he is trapped in an ongoing loop that cycles the same day over and over and over….

Phil Connor is in need of a lesson. He looks at the people around him and fails to see their worth outside of what, if anything, they can do for him. He remains trapped in this close knit, small town, until he realizes that perhaps he needs to look at the events in his life as well as the people from a different perspective. During the course of his repetitive stay he develops feelings for Rita. Initially he uses the time loop process to learn about her by taking things he picked up in the previous iteration to cajole her into falling for him. This backfires and results in frustration for Phil. He eventually learns through bitter experience that perhaps he is looking at it from the wrong viewpoint.

After he successfully convinces Rita of what has been going on she points out that maybe he should look at it as a blessing rather than a curse and that he should take advantage of the time he has to do something worthwhile. This is carefully played out over the course of the movie and I like how it slowly builds for Phil as he begins to figure things out. I enjoy watching Phil’s transition from the cynical, wise cracking, opportunist to someone of measured worth who sees the value in people. This then becomes reflective and the people around him can see the qualities and value in Phil.

I love watching Murray in this role as I think it offers him the chance to be more than just funny. The supporting cast is well placed, especially Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson, who steals every scene he is in. I liked Andie MacDowell as Rita and thought that she and Phil were written as two perfectly contrasted opposites that would attract. I am glad to see this film brought to Ultra HD Blu-ray. It will be added to my collection, and replace my existing 2009 Blu-ray version.



Replay Value:


Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements</p>The rating is for thematic elements.


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.**


UHD Presentation: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:



Dolby Atmos Rating: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness:
  • Entertainment factor:


Groundhog Day comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.


It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like Groundhog Day has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

I have seen Groundhog Day countless times in standard and high definition. Looking at the film's opening moments in Pittsburgh, the improvement in depth and delineation was immediately noticeable. I noticed that film grain took on more emphasis here and there which some may interpret as background noise, but I didn’t detect any extraneous noise. It’s not an overtly bright film, although there are bright elements. The cinematography benefits from the enhanced resolution and warmer chromatic accents. In many respects, the image is emboldened with a discernible boost to definition. Color reproduction benefited from the wider color gamut, especially blues, and reds which pop nicely. The wide-angle shots of Gobler’s Knob, and the interior of the diner looked great. The chase through town to the quarry reveled lots of textures and wonderfully rendered earth tones.

High dynamic range added a tangible visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. Bright highlights, such as flashes of lightbars on the police vehicle, and the explosion at the quarry, appeared vibrant, while dark highlights were rendered with appreciable dimension, especially when coupled with brighter visual elements. As I watched I felt as though I was rediscovering this film all over again. Hands down, this is the best Groundhog Day has looked on home video. Kudos to Sony for giving this the treatment it deserves. Hopefully we can expect continued support of the Ultra HD releases from their extensive catalog.

The new Dolby Atmos mix uses the entire platform so as to broaden the soundstage. This includes off camera sounds and low-level ambience. The music is mixed over the sound field, adding natural depth to its orchestrated elements while complimenting the film’s thematic details. This is done to very good effect, correlating with the onscreen events quite nicely as the most minute audio cues are fully realized. I appreciated the fact that the sound designers didn't go overboard with the freedom of object versus channel based mixing. The soundtrack retains much of its original essence with the Atmos mix adding a noticeable increase in scope.


For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Groundhog Day Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Ground Day Blu-ray
  • Legacy Bonus Features
  • Digital HD Copy



Final Thoughts:

Groundhog Day is among my favorite Bill Murray films, and is considered by many to be a comedy classic. Its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray in this Combo Pack from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment offers fans a chance to see it looking its best. The bonus supplements are the same as those on the 15th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray and also includes a Digital Copy. For fans equipped for Ultra HD Blu-ray this is a no brainer.













Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



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post #2 of 26 Old 01-17-2018, 10:55 AM
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Well, there's no doubt that Groundhog Day is a great movie but I'm unconvinced this should be at the top of anybody's list to upgrade to UHD.
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-17-2018, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGM View Post
Well, there's no doubt that Groundhog Day is a great movie but I'm unconvinced this should be at the top of anybody's list to upgrade to UHD.
Greetings,

I suspect that would depend on how much you enjoy it. The UHD treatment elevates the experience of watching the film. For a reasonable price it's easily worth considering. Just my opinion of course.


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post #4 of 26 Old 01-17-2018, 02:23 PM
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Great review. Thank you Ralph. For one of the greatest films made (story/screenplay), it is wonderful to see it receive the UHD treatment. Excited to see the 4K improvements when it?s released.

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post #5 of 26 Old 01-17-2018, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGM View Post
Well, there's no doubt that Groundhog Day is a great movie but I'm unconvinced this should be at the top of anybody's list to upgrade to UHD.
"Groundhog Day" is one of my all-time favorite movies. But I can think of about a hundred films I'd rather see get an Atmos mix and UHD transfer.

edit: (but I still appreciate the review, Ralph Potts! It's always interesting to see how much improvement can be made with these catalog titles. And I'm glad to see that the studios are charging a reasonable price for these releases.)

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post #6 of 26 Old 01-17-2018, 06:21 PM
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First...Thank you Ralph for another excellent review.

I love this movie. On the surface, another Bill Murray silly movie, but so much brilliance underlying...soundtrack is also beautiful.

Funny when an older movie is brought forth in a new format (UHD). Makes you wonder why in 2018, an industry so backwards when compared to what the 1950’s gave us (let alone 1993). 35mm film, and standards (forced) because Hollywood had to; in its infancy, in deep trouble because of the TV. Brilliance from the US, UK, GM, and Fra. To me it makes CES a joke. “Let me entice you of the tech that existed 30 years ago that we will (as an industry) dangle in front if you now...sorry for the rant...great movie.
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-17-2018, 10:45 PM
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Remember all those awesome movies over the last month that didn't have Atmos? Well now I can finally rest easy knowing Groundhog Day is fully equipped with it.
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-18-2018, 03:48 AM
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I woke up this morning expecting to see this review posted again.
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-18-2018, 04:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meli View Post
"Groundhog Day" is one of my all-time favorite movies. But I can think of about a hundred films I'd rather see get an Atmos mix and UHD transfer.

edit: (but I still appreciate the review, Ralph Potts! It's always interesting to see how much improvement can be made with these catalog titles. And I'm glad to see that the studios are charging a reasonable price for these releases.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rengozu View Post
Remember all those awesome movies over the last month that didn't have Atmos? Well now I can finally rest easy knowing Groundhog Day is fully equipped with it.
Greetings,

I can certainly understand the head scratching reaction that some may have surrounding the release of a title like Groundhog Day on UHD/Atmos. Not being privy to the studio's discussions about which titles they release on the new format or in which order, we can only guess, and I won't start that discussion in the review thread. I can say that I am glad to see that Sony is supporting the format, and that their releases are given proper care, AND, immersive sound. Not every studio is currently doing that.

So my outlook is not to look a gift horse in the mouth, and to standby, looking forward to the other "hundred films" I'd like to see coming to Ultra HD with Dolby Atmos sound.

Thanks for offering your thoughts guys!


Regards,
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-18-2018, 06:34 AM
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Well, there's no doubt that Groundhog Day is a great movie but I'm unconvinced this should be at the top of anybody's list to upgrade to UHD.
HILARIOUS!


My response was simply going to be:
Why?


I realize that every popular movie will get converted to 4K eventually but who on earth would want this when the regular Blu Ray is half price? Or the rental can be had for $3?

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I don't get some of the logic in this thread. If you love a movie and want it to look it's best, why wouldn't you want it in this format?

I'd much rather watch a pristine version of this film than, say, Twister or Independence Day. Must everything in this hobby be "smack you in the face" to be demo worthy, even if the film itself is one giant eye roll exercise?

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post #12 of 26 Old 01-18-2018, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post
Greetings,

I can certainly understand the head scratching reaction that some may have surrounding the release of a title like Groundhog Day on UHD/Atmos. Not being privy to the studio's discussions about which titles they release on the new format or in which order, we can only guess, and I won't start that discussion in the review thread. I can say that I am glad to see that Sony is supporting the format, and that their releases are given proper care, AND, immersive sound. Not every studio is currently doing that.

So my outlook is not to look a gift horse in the mouth [ . . .]
As the guy who offered up the initial snark I will say I appreciate the fine review even while scratching my head over the studio's priorities.

This is probably another thread, but it is interesting -- in a hobby where the technical goal has long been to approach or ideally equal the experience of going to a theater, that we have now crossed the boundary where home presentation is very likely better (again in a technical sense, not the sticky-seat-and-obnoxious-people argument) than it originally was in first release. Can we argue that this "improves" the experience or is it gilding the lily, or even violating the original filmmakers' vision or intent? That is, is remastering for HDR going to be the new colorization?
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post #13 of 26 Old 01-18-2018, 07:37 AM
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Perfect timing. Now that our kids are getting a little older we enjoy watching all time (IMO) great movies with them and we were going to watch this recently, I'm glad we didn't. Now their first time seeing it will be 4K/HDR - ha, not that it matters to them.

I'll be ordering this on the 24th or soon after.

Thanks Ralph!
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Ralph,

Thank you for the review. I agree with you on this one 100%. Great movie from a great period of movie making - 1990-1996 - and one that can be watched over and over again and still brings a smile to your face. My wife and I love all these good old movies re-released in this great format - see E.T., Blade Runner - and as you mentioned above, one can find new things in them that have not been obvious, despite multiple screenings.
For us another must have movie.

Cheers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post
I don't get some of the logic in this thread. If you love a movie and want it to look it's best, why wouldn't you want it in this format?

I'd much rather watch a pristine version of this film than, say, Twister or Independence Day. Must everything in this hobby be "smack you in the face" to be demo worthy, even if the film itself is one giant eye roll exercise?
I'd be more interested in a 4K HDR Blu-ray upgrade of Stan Brakhage's films than in Groundhog Day. It doesn't have anything to do with "smack you in face", but some films benefit more than others from an upgrade.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meli View Post
I'd be more interested in a 4K HDR Blu-ray upgrade of Stan Brakhage's films than in Groundhog Day. It doesn't have anything to do with "smack you in face", but some films benefit more than others from an upgrade.
I agree that some films would benefit more than others, but I'm just surprised that a lot of people seem annoyed or uninterested that a film many people consider a classic got an A/V upgrade.
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Nice. Now when are they going to come out with Quick Change on UHD or Blu?
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I don't know about anyone else...

But this picture makes me want to watch the movie all over again - and in 4K!

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post #19 of 26 Old 01-20-2018, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New24K View Post



I don't know about anyone else...

But this picture makes me want to watch the movie all over again - and in 4K!


Greetings,

Yep! Tough not to have a bit of a crush on Andie MacDowell after watching Groundhog Day.


Regards,
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Watched this last night....while this is clearly not an action film, the Atmos mix produces quite a lot of music in the height channels (using the top middles to nice effect to accent the score in the top front/rears), and the wides and even my screen centers on the Trinnov get some play for special effects (e.g. a car passing by, or movement during the broadcast honoring Groundhog Day). I'd go so far as to say that with Atmos, the musical score and choice of songs in specific scenes become almost an actor to themselves to define the plot, something that's not as obvious from the old 5.1 mix. On the music, there's even some occasional deep bass you can hear.

Definitely a good example of how 3D Audio immersion can expand the experience of the original presentation and make it better at home. Highly recommended.

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post #21 of 26 Old 01-24-2018, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post
Watched this last night....while this is clearly not an action film, the Atmos mix produces quite a lot of music in the height channels (using the top middles to nice effect to accent the score in the top front/rears), and the wides and even my screen centers on the Trinnov get some play for special effects (e.g. a car passing by, or movement during the broadcast honoring Groundhog Day). I'd go so far as to say that with Atmos, the musical score and choice of songs in specific scenes become almost an actor to themselves to define the plot, something that's not as obvious from the old 5.1 mix. On the music, there's even some occasional deep bass you can hear.

Definitely a good example of how 3D Audio immersion can expand the experience of the original presentation and make it better at home. Highly recommended.

Greetings,

Absolutely agree. I am glad you enjoyed it as well!


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post #22 of 26 Old 02-02-2018, 08:44 AM
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Can’t let today end without a shout out to Bill Murray and this national treasure of a movie.

Media Room - Sonus Faber Sonetto V, Rythmik FV15HP, 4 x Prime Elevation speakers, Marantz SR6011, Rotel RMB1585, Panamax MR5100, LG OLED 65" B7
Basement Media Room - Martin Logan 60XT, Martin Logan LX16s surround, Rythmik FV15HP, SVS PC12+, Denon X3400H, Epson 5040UB, Silver Ticket 110" AT screen
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post #23 of 26 Old 02-04-2018, 12:24 PM
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Watched this last night....while this is clearly not an action film, the Atmos mix produces quite a lot of music in the height channels (using the top middles to nice effect to accent the score in the top front/rears), and the wides and even my screen centers on the Trinnov get some play for special effects (e.g. a car passing by, or movement during the broadcast honoring Groundhog Day). I'd go so far as to say that with Atmos, the musical score and choice of songs in specific scenes become almost an actor to themselves to define the plot, something that's not as obvious from the old 5.1 mix. On the music, there's even some occasional deep bass you can hear.

Definitely a good example of how 3D Audio immersion can expand the experience of the original presentation and make it better at home. Highly recommended.
Stuart, I just decided to add wides in my new theater. Are you finding more and more Atmos mixes are imploying lights? It’s quite an expense to add the extra speakers / amps but I decided to do it anyways. I miss not having theater and I am by vicariously enjoying the films through you guys and these reviews. My new theater should be done by Christmas!

Love this movie. Great review, Ralph!!
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Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #24 of 26 Old 02-04-2018, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Stuart, I just decided to add wides in my new theater. Are you finding more and more Atmos mixes are imploying lights? It’s quite an expense to add the extra speakers / amps but I decided to do it anyways. I miss not having theater and I am by vicariously enjoying the films through you guys and these reviews. My new theater should be done by Christmas!

Love this movie. Great review, Ralph!!

Greetings,

Hey Jeff, sorry to hear that you're theater is offline. Congrats on the new build though.



Regards,
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post #25 of 26 Old 02-04-2018, 01:09 PM
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Greetings,

Hey Jeff, sorry to hear that you're theater is offline. Congrats on the new build though.



Regards,
Thanks! New house, new theater being built this year. Renting for now. .. downsizing the house as 2 kids are gone to college.

Still enjoying the reviews though I watch all movies on a 50” LED with no HT set up .
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Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.

Last edited by thebland; 02-05-2018 at 05:53 AM.
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post #26 of 26 Old 02-06-2018, 05:05 AM
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I've never seen it look better, except perhaps projected from film on its initial release in a THX-certified theater.
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