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A Disappointing DVD (not film) Experience
on 11 May 2012
This review refers specifically to problems with the 'special two disc set' from Eureka! Most reviewers seem to be appraising Sternberg's film, which has been reviewed thousands of times, rather than the product they have (or perhaps haven't) bought from Amazon.co.uk.
I am pleased that the set contains both the German and English versions of the film. However, the quality of the DVD packaging and the product itself is disappointingly amateur.
The blue-coloured insert in the DVD case appears to have been printed on a home printer, and I initially suspected it was a 'pirate' DVD, but now I rather think that's just the quality of the Eureka! outfit. More importantly, the sound quality on this DVD, which purports to be 'Newly remastered from the 35mm negative', is poor. This is not because, as some reviewers have pointed out, the film is so old. Although I don't doubt that the age of the film has everything to do with the static noise throughout, my complaint relates rather to the 'pitch' of the soundtrack. I suspect this has something to do with the speed at which the remastering has been set. Compared to other available versions of the The Blue Angel, everything on this DVD (both the German and English versions) sounds unnaturally high. Resultantly, all of the music is (approximately) a semitone higher than it should be; whilst this is not a great interval in musical terms, it makes the singing in particular sound distorted and unnatural. If you're buying this film for the songs, rather than perhaps the nostalgic value of the piece, then do beware that this particular version distorts the original soundtrack. As a fan of Dietrich's voice, if I were buying this for myself again, I'd definitely look elsewhere.