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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Far better than many realise, 9 Mar. 2012
Firstly, this is one of my favourite Hammer films. For whatever reasons I have always found it one of the most enjoyable to watch, and this release doesn't dull that for me in any way.

Audio sync issues aside (which are being remedied by studio canal). Most people seem to be taking issue with the transfer on this. What they need to realise is that this was originally shot in Techniscope which is a poor man's non anamorphic scope format.

Essentially the process devides the 35mm frame into 2 wide frames one above the other so halving the resolution and doubling the grain that would be apparent in a conventional anamorphic process like Cinemascope. It's a bit like the widescreen equivalent of 110 still film.

Techniscope was adopted by those on very low budgets. Allowing a widescreen picture to be shot on conventional lenses to compete with anamorphic widescreen processes requiring expensive specialist equipment. It was consequently short lived due to it's limitations. Limitations which will obviously be accented by blu ray's high resolution. ie. you're really going to notice the grain etc. on this.

Due to the age and condition of the source materials there is also some evident blurring. I suspect the posterised look of the first film is due in part to trying to correct these issues compounded by the fact it is duped from the original film onto a much smaller negative area.

There is noticeable lack of shadow detail, but you can see why when you look at the comparison of the washed out original image to the restored image in the extras. I daresay they had there work cut out for them on this one and to my mind they have done as good a job as they possibly could with it.

For those that seem to believe blu ray should always mean everything is pin sharp I have news for you, blu ray means you get to see the orignal elements as near as they were when new, and if they were poor quality when new blu ray will show it up, whereas lower resolution mediums (VHS, DVD) will tend to hide some of the problems. This was never going to look great on Blu Ray, but if you are a Hammer fan it's still a must buy.

I should also note that I was present at the flicker club screening Mr Tompkinson refers to in his scathing review and can assure him that we were laughing at the film's intentionally comedic moments. Frankly if you have no appreciation of Hammer's stylised output; which should be firmly viewed as a product of it's time then it beggars belief why you would bother buying it, let alone attempting to justly review it! Perhaps sir would prefer something by Ewe Boll.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Mar 2012 20:59:26 GMT
R. Shore says:
30 years ago I saw Dracula Prince of Darkness at a local film club. OK it wasn't remastered but it was very very grainy and that simply is not evident in the restored blu-ray. You make valid points but my objection to the blu-ray and not just Dracula Prince of Darkness is this obsession by studios with removing grain with excessive DNR as if it's an unwarranted intrusion.
The grain is part of the film and gives it that specific look unique to that film. If Criterion in the USA understands that and leaves the grain intact, why can't other home video labels do the same.
It's a damn shame but I returned my copy without asking for a replacement and hope that a USA studio gives us the grain warts and all....
Film isn't digital and I'm heartily fed up with studios trying to makes old films look like modern digital movies like Transporter.

Roger Shore

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Oct 2013 02:54:44 GMT
Mark pacific says:
well Said my right honourable gentleman above, I totally agree these picture quality's are special and unique to its time, i don't like watching the twighlight zone in black & white with dvd it comletley make s into what it was not then & it is the then i want to recapture on my tv screen, I couldn't care less for blu ray & i think the majority of ppl who run after such wasteful items have no appreciation whatsoever of the time periods before, just modernising things & then saying it is better is just typical garbage same as saying because we have special efx now we can make films better as if the old classics ever needed an improvements anyway? I agree film is essenstially film and anyone who claims to be a die hard film fan should be able to fully enjoy with pleasure the original transfer of quality no matter how grainy, I know none would be released at all if they were that bad anywya so everything out on sale would be viewable & within reach of been appreciatted.
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