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This review is from: It's a Wonderful Life (Black & White and Colourised Versions) [Blu-ray]  (Blu-ray)
This film is simply one of my favourite films of all time. The movie is timeless & inspirational. I cannot reccomend it highly enough.
Now for the blu-ray review. This release includes the original black & white release of the film and a recent colourised version.
BLACK AND WHITE VERSION: Taking into account that the film is over 60 years old there is little to no grain. The picture and (mono) sound is crystal clear. The restoration of the film is fantastic and it has never looked better.
COLOUR VERSION: I'm aware that a few people dislike the colourisation of classic b/w movies, certain films should never be colourised as they work better in b/w (e.g. psycho). However I've always felt that It's a wonderful life, being a festive film and everything, would benefit from a colour print (not that there was anything wrong in the original b/w version) as long as it was done properly and not have people with yellow skin, etc. This is by far the best example of colourisation I have ever seen. If you didn't know the film you would believe that it was shot in colour (and quite recently too).
Having both versions pleases both the nostalgics and new generations. Both versions are included on a single disc.
One thing worth noting is that the film is presented in it's original aspect ratio. Instead of black lines at the top and bottom of the screen we have black bars at the sides. Normally producers stretch the film out when releasing on dvd / blu-ray but have not done so here. I believe this was intended to make the picture clearer as stretching it out to fit modern widescreen TV's may have distorted the picture and it wouldn't have looked quite as sharp as it does. Some people may be a little dissapointed with this (others may not), but when I watched it I quickly forgot about it as I got wrapped up in the story!
Another thing is the lack of extras. Many consider this to be one of the greatest movies ever made so why do we have no worthwhile extras included. All that is included are the 2 versions of the film, an original trailer, trivia track and a picture comparison of the 2 versions. Even the documentary presented by Frank Capra Jr. that was on previous releases has been ommitted. There is of course the usual scene selections and animated menu as well as English subtitles. The case does have a cardboard sleeve if that is any help!
All in all a classic movie with 2 versions to satisfy different tastes. Definately worth a look!! Highly reccomended.
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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Nov 2009 08:27:17 GMT
D. Michael says:
The aspect of the film was orginally in 1:33, hence the bars at the side are correct. Anything filmed before cinemascope (early 50's I believe) will be in this format.
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2009 15:07:23 GMT
Some people may not be aware of this, personally it doesn't bother me but I think it may bother some people. I never critiscised the film because of this. It is still a magnificent film.
In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2009 13:34:16 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Nov 2009 13:37:30 GMT
C. Quinn says:
Film studios realise now most people who buy classic films are quite clued up, and if the film is not presented in its original format then it will be generally greeted with much criticism. Remember if you cut and stretch you actually lose parts of the film. You did seem to criticise the film for it being in its original academy format, as a negative aspect about the blu-ray release and seem to be disappointed that it wasn't wide screen. Don't be, it is really better to watch it in all its academy glory. Other than that a good review, otherwise I would not have bothered with this comment.
In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2009 14:26:44 GMT
No I agree, I don't like it when films are 'butchered' I would prefer to see a film in it's original format, there are some films that I've seen somewhat ruined by this stretching process. However there are people that dislike seeing these 'black lines' too (I believed until now that there were more of those people!) and I just wanted to point this out for them.
Posted on 4 Dec 2009 14:14:56 GMT
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Dec 2009 13:47:05 GMT
I'm talking historical documentaries, interviews, etc. There are films that preceded the age of dvd extras that still have many fascinating extras. The previous dvd did have one featurette that this edition doesn't have.
Posted on 3 Jan 2010 14:56:46 GMT
Amazon Customer says:
"Normally producers stretch the film out when releasing on dvd / blu-ray..." - this is only true for some region 1 (US/Canada) releases on DVD (in which case they specify the film as being, confusingly, "fullscreen" - as this term applies to older 4:3 televisions). I can't think of any UK DVD releases, or any blu-ray (from any region) which adopts this (in my opinion) ridiculous practice of stretching or cropping the picture.
Posted on 18 Apr 2010 13:58:14 BDT
Motte 1 says:
One of my favourite films of all time. I have always wished it was in colour, so many thanks for your comments re the colourised version. I look forward to Christmas!
Posted on 21 Apr 2010 15:08:30 BDT
Phil Ruse says:
Good review. Personally I think it's worth noting the black bars at the side down to the aspect ratio - even if some/most know the reason there's always some who won't - perhaps because they last watched it on TV and the broadcasters cropped it!
Interested to see whether I can pluck up the courage to watch a colourised version though. It kind of goes against the grain!
In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2010 14:43:48 BDT
You should try it, it's stunning!! If you don't like it though you still have the original too but now in HD.