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Entertaining romance movie flawed by a poor transfer to DVD
on 13 October 2007
I won't go into Somewhere in Time's worth as entertainment here - suffice to say that I think it's a wonderful film, adapted by the brilliant short story writer Richard Matheson from his own story and well worth 5 stars. But in this review I'm focusing on the technical aspects which I feel detract from the DVD.
This DVD (ASIN: B0000UM0OE) features a 'matted widescreen' transfer which works fine on smaller 4:3 TVs, but which looks awful on larger screen or widescreen TVs. I believe that every DVD today should be made in 'anamorphic widescreen' format so that the image is enhanced for viewing on a larger screen. If it's not then I think that the low image quality should be clearly marked in some way, as the lack of an anamorphic transfer makes a big difference in quality. In the case of this particular movie the image is very poor mostly due to the matted widescreen format that results in what's known as 'gutterboxing' (black bars all around the image) when the movie is played on widescreen TVs. Some TVs allow zooming in to fill the screen in cases like this, but then the image becomes very grainy - so much so that it's probably better to watch it in the 'gutterboxed' mode.
So in conclusion, those with standard 4:3 TVs under 30 inches probably won't notice any loss of resolution. But for folks with big screen TVs I advise waiting until this movie gets an updated DVD treatment. Sadly there is no anamorphic transfer of this movie at present. Hopefully at some point we will get a restored and remastered version of this classic film.