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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Purpose of thread:


The purpose of this thread is 2-fold:


1. To compile a list of the best catalog film transfers on Blu-ray.

2. To try to answer the question: what specific ingredients or attributes make the best catalog film transfers on Blu-ray?

Definition of a catalog film:


For purposes of this thread, a "catalog film" is any motion picture film that's been sitting in a studio's vault for some time gathering dust and cobwebs. In otherwords, not a new, current or recent movie release.

Recommendations for posting:


If you want to suggest a film or films... rather than posting lists, I recommend separating each film you want to discuss into a different post, to make it easier for others to quote/reference. Also try to include at least a brief description of the reasons why you believe the film is one the better catalog transfers, and make sure the title of the film is displayed prominently somewhere in your post, preferably near the top. I won't be compiling a list of the suggestions made here, so if you want your recommendations to be noticed, it's in your interest to make sure the title of the film is noticeable (within reason) in your post. Also, if there is more than one edition or version of the title available on Blu-ray, please specify which version you're recommending.


No personal attacks allowed. Stay on topic.


Beyond that just about anything else goes. Comparisons and lively (but civil) debates are encouraged here. If you disagree with someone else's suggestion, by all means say so, and back up your viewpoint with an argument.


Have fun.


Related topics:

Film Reference and Analysis - the master discussion that inspired this thread.
Most Film-like Transfers? - companion discussion to this thread.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmike007 /forum/post/0


Rocky Horror Picture Show


PQ is again flawless showing why Sony is the very best in the business

That was a Fox title.
 

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This could be a very long list these days, which is a good thing. I'm on my iPad so typing all of them out would be fatiguing.

I think the Spielberg remasters, like Saving Private Ryan and Minority Report, are about as good as it gets.
 

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Ben-Hur


We show it here at about 2.66 to 1 and, while only 86" wide, much of it looks like it was shot yesterday. And it's over a half century old.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 42041 /forum/post/21900195


This could be a very long list these days, which is a good thing. I'm on my iPad so typing all of them out would be fatiguing.

I think the Spielberg remasters, like Saving Private Ryan and Minority Report, are about as good as it gets.

Not representative of the film's original look, extensively re-colored and framed digitally
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdmike007 /forum/post/21900213


Not representative of the film's original look, extensively re-colored and framed digitally

Since I scarcely remember how they looked originally, and I haven't seen them on film since, I can't make that judgement call. On their own terms, I think they're stunning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've only seen a few dozen films on Blu so far, but Carlito's Way is probably the best transfer of a catalog title that I've seen up to this point.


The image is often on the darker side, but unlike some other dark films I've seen on Blu-ray and DVD it never looks muddy or murky (which is probably a testament to the beautiful job done by the cinematographer and lighting designer). Contrast and detail are both excellent. And the color has a very natural and often quite lustrous (but not overdone) look to it in most scenes. There is one exterior scene toward the beginning of the film that takes place near a produce stand which has a particularly nice/natural-looking palette of colors. The color in this also reminds me a bit of the glamourous look in some old Hammer horror films (ie "Hammer glamour"). There is also a subtle film-grain visible in many scenes which rarely gets noticeable enough to be distracting.


Picture-wise, the worst thing I can probably say is that there's maybe a slight impression of horizontal edginess and ringing visible at times in some of the darker scenes. Some of that edginess could be attributable to the anamorphic lenses used for filming though, which tend to stretch out-of-focus highlights vertically.


Audio is also excellent on this title. The soundtrack is clear and dynamic, and features a lot of great old disco-era tunes.


This and Star Wars: A New Hope are my current references for older films.


Rated R for mature content btw.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADU /forum/post/21900258


I've only seen a few dozen films on Blu so far, but Carlito's Way is probably the best transfer of a catalog title that I've seen up to this point.


The image is often on the darker side, but unlike some other dark films I've seen on Blu-ray and DVD it never looks muddy or murky (which is probably a testament to the beautiful job done by the cinematographer and lighting designer). Contrast and detail are both excellent. And the color has a very natural and often quite lustrous (but not overdone) look to it in most scenes. There is one exterior scene toward the beginning of the film that takes place near a produce stand which has a particularly nice/natural-looking palette of colors. The color in this also reminds me a bit of the glamourous look (ie "Hammer glamour") in some old Hammer horror films at times. There is also a subtle film-grain visible in many scenes, which rarely gets noticeable enough to be distracting.


Picture-wise, the worst thing I can probably say is that there's maybe a slight impression of horizontal edginess visible at times in some of the darker scenes. Some of that could be attributable to anamorphic lenses used for filming though, which tend to stretch out of focus highlights vertically.


Audio is also excellent on this title. The soundtrack is clear and dynamic, and features a lot of great old disco-era tunes.


This and Star Wars: A New Hope are my current references for older films.


Rated R for mature content btw.

There is DNR on both
 

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Ben Hur

King Of Kings

The Bible

Cleopatra

The Bridge On The River Kwai

Taxi Driver

Superman: The Movie (theatrical cut)

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (despite what that one dude said about the gamma)

The Commancheros

Rocky Horror Picture Show (outside of the brief color filtering gaff)

The Deep

The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad

Jason And The Argonauts

Easy Rider

Head

Five Easy Pieces

The Last Picture Show

Drive, He Said

The King Of Marvin Gardens

A Safe Place (though it's a dreadful film)

The Guns Of Navarone

The Caine Mutiny

The French Connection (remaster)

The Godfather I & II

The Cincinatti Kid

The African Queen (despite the ugly digital credit recreations)

The Ten Commandments

Wings

Fiddler On The Roof

An American In Paris

Brazil (token Universal title)


and lots more.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADU /forum/post/21900258


This and Star Wars: A New Hope are my current references for older films.

Oh man, Star Wars: A New Hope has some weird DNR artifacts. Just watch C3PO as he walks with R2-D2 from the escape pod, really annoying haloing artifacts once seen cannot be unseen.


I would not claim any of the OT look film like, and ESB has poor compressed and clipped soundtrack. Shame since that is my favorite of the bunch.


Best Regards

KvE


PS 42041 reminded me of the other fact that none of them have well rendered contrast or accurate nor appropriate color timings.
 

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The Star Wars blu's didn't impress me much either, sadly. The detail is often excellent, but that Lowry processing is icky, between that and the colors they look more like video than film, which I don't like.


The post above reminded me of Taxi Driver, aside from some very minor issues it's also an absolutely top-notch transfer. The new French Connection disc is of similar caliber.
 

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Just check the Tier sticky!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superman2 /forum/post/21900948


I second that. The Tier thread is my go to list...

Right!

Check Tier Zero (not what I would have numbered it/as a number zero is nothing/although they we're probably going for 'zero defects') & your done.
 

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This thread is about catalog transfers, meaning mostly pre-DI stuff. The Tier 0 discs are almost all DI transfers or stuff filmed/animated digitally in the first place, so of course they're going to look good (unless someone screws them up by adding DNR/EE/colors that wern't on the DI, or over-compressing them like Warner often does).


And to further distinguish it from the Tier thread, I think the point of this thread shouldn't be if a disc looks good or not, but whether or not it's faithful to the source. You can have a poor looking disc that would place low in the Tier thread, but it can still be faithful to the source, like stuff filmed on 16mm and 28 Days Later.
 
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