Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fully restored blu-ray gem...., 25 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Mummy (Blu-ray + DVD) [1959] (Blu-ray)
Having pretty much given on any hope of any decent restoration of the main Hammer catalog titles being done properly, I was prepared to give this one a miss. Thankfully I didn't and it's easily up there with Quatermass and the Pit and Dracula as the best restoration done for a Hammer film. More importantly we get something here which has been sadly lacking on the other non- widescreen titles. An academy version to watch. I've always wondered why when we have been subjected to 1:66:1 and 1:78:1 versions why we haven't had a 4/3 version for people used to TV showings all these years bearing in mind that most of the films were shot full frame anyway. No aspect ratio problems, no audio problems, no colour problems. Why couldn't we have had this all along.....
This blu-ray is simply breathtaking. Nearly makes up for the travesty that was Curse of Frankenstein........
As a footnote I watched both the academy version of The Mummy and the Widescreen version. Preferred the Academy aspect ratio.It won hands down.
Bottom line: Did the people doing this restoration actually listen to people for once something they seemed to have failed to do up until now.

Roger Shore
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Oct 2013 22:46:22 GMT
Lee R says:
We've discussed this elsewhere, but I notice you are mistaken in how these were shot. They were not shot "full frame" they were shot for widescreen in an "open matte" format. Just because there is extra information on the exposed film frame, that does not mean we were supposed to see it. It's a curio as an extra, but isn't the way to view them as intended.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2013 23:08:40 GMT
R. Shore says:
I disagree. I watched both the widescreen and 4/3 version and I much preferred the academy ratio. To me it makes sense as a lot of people grew up with the 4/3 versions on TV and home video and for better or worse that's the version they are used to.....
Most Hammer fans grew up with TV showings not cinema showings. Obviously true widescreen Hammer films like "The Abominable Snowman" and "Dracula: Prince of Darkness" should only be shown in widescreen and nothing else but for the Matte versions both 1:66/1:77 and 4/3 should be an option. Pleases both camps.

Roger Shore

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2013 23:21:48 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Oct 2013 23:23:01 GMT
Lee R says:
You can disagree as much as you want, it doesn't change the fact they were composed for widescreen. :D
But like you say, if both versions are on disc everyone is happy, as long as they don't over-compress the disc.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2013 23:32:33 GMT
R. Shore says:
But it is so simple to put both versions on disc and keep everyone happy. Yet that obvious compromise is only starting now. I'm just wondering how many fans had to shout and for how long for this to happen. And how many sales have been lost because this didn't happen.
Shane fans got what they wanted right away yet it is only now Hammer is listening to the fans after how many releases?

Roger Shore

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2013 23:39:41 GMT
Lee R says:
By the same token, I hope they put a 1.66 version of the first two Quatermass films on disc for those of us who now believe they were shown in widescreen in the cinema after all.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2013 23:44:11 GMT
R. Shore says:
I agree. lets hope both are there. I do think it's important that Hammer LISTEN to fans. Something I don't think they have been doing all along. There has been an air of the "World at War" fiasco" about a lot of the Hammer releases and I do think it's a shame that in my opinion bad decisions have stopped me from purchasing a few of the titles.
As the old saying goes "it's as easy to do something right as it is to do something wrong"

Roger Shore

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2013 06:49:43 GMT
First of all, this transfer is not so hot - you think it's great because all you've ever seen is substandard video - this is NOT how this film should look. Secondly, just because you're used to watching this stuff on a 4.3 TV it is very presumptuous of you to want this in a ratio that the filmmakers did not intend. You are not the filmmaker and the fact that they include an open matte version is sickening - the filmmakers would not be thrilled because their framing is completely off. But I do understand the world in which we live, where everyone thinks their entitled to whatever they want. The fact that the idiots in charge of Hammer are pandering to that is as sickening as their lack of knowledge as to what the films they own should actually look like.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2013 14:27:00 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2013 14:27:20 GMT
Lee R says:
The transfer is great actually.

How exactly is providing an open matte frame as an extra sickening? That's a bit dramatic. It's not as if they did a Curse of Frankenstein and called it OAR. The default version on the disc is 1.66:1 theatrical ratio, the other version is only listed as alternate. I'm only interested in the 1.66:1 version, but having both isn't doing me any personal harm. It may be useful to look at if ever I wanted to study the sets and the like, as you'd see more of them than you were supposed to see so would be interested to look at for a behind the scenes appreciation of the work that went into them. It's not as if they're costing Hammer a great deal of extra money - the way these are transferred for current remastering they scan the whole film frame at higher than 1080p (2K of 4K) and this is used to extract the ratio they want. This is the normal way of working these days, it offers much more post-transfer flexibility, just a small part of that is having a ready made open matte version to use as an extra.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2013 00:44:04 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Oct 2013 14:50:54 GMT
R. Shore says:
First of all the transfer is top notch and I watched it on a 55 inch state of the art TV. It's because it's so good, it's standing out from the crowd. How do you know what the filmmakers intended. That's the problem with the early Hammer films. None knows. A lot of factors come together to decide what was shown in the cinema but what was shown in the cinema is not necessarily what the director or the cameraman shot. There are no records so a lot of the time it's pure guesswork. The problem with "The idiots" at Hammer is not that they are pandering to everyone but the fact that they have done the opposite until now. They have went with the mantra 'We know best' much to the annoyance of a lot of fans. Had they done the other films (bar Prince of Darkness) like the Mummy all camps would have been happy.
It's not just aspect ratios. Colour problems, sound problems, grain problems. All could have been avoided had the right people been involved from day one.

The reality is that the restorations have been hit and miss and sadly some day someone with a lot more money and drive is going to have to tackle these problems. If there is anyone out there who is willing to do it.

Roger Shore

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2013 19:14:03 GMT
horror king says:
I have to wright being a HAMMER fan for years and am sick of people picking faults with discs.First lets get it right when you buy a disc all you are doing is buying something to be shown on your tv so it does not matter what the ratio is as if your tv is 32 inch or what ever size it is the size of the screen will not change so if you have a movie shot in scope yes you will get to see it in the right ratio but you still see it on your 32 inch tv and not as the director made it for as with scope you have the screen on full as this is why they brought scope out to get people away from there tv and back to the cinema as they knew these movies could only be seen at the cinema.This also goes for widescreen movies you are watching these movies on a sized screen they were not made for all you are getting is another tv show to put on and there is no way you can judge a movie by watching it on tv. That Is why i never watch a movie on tv but a projector have done for years. So please if you want to watch a movie on tv just remember the disc might or might not be perfect but just sit back and enjoy it because you are watching it not as it was made to be seen. I wait for the letters now
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R. Shore

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