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Not entirely entranced with the quality of this Blu-ray
on 14 October 2013
[This review is for the Blu-ray + Ultraviolet version released by Warner 2013]
I won't bother with commenting on the merits of the film itself - as already attested by other reviewers, it is an excellent Hitchcock film for the period, originally shot on 70mm emulsion, and with a memorable musical score.
Also, we are dealing with a film produced in 1958, but this is actually where my issue is: If we look at comparable VistaVision material of the era eg To Catch a Thief (1954) or The Searchers (1956), I think that this Warner 2013 release is merely a 'tweek' of the 2006 DVD master - and an indifferent one at that - an upscaling which actually has lost discernible colour saturation and depth from the std 2006 DVD - which is/was surprisingly good. Thus Warner's claim of 'State-of-the-Art Restoration' must be viewed with some disbelief, and probably applies to the std DVD (which as stated already is impressive for 576p)
By contrast, Paramount's 2012 Blu-ray treatment of 'To Catch a Thief' or Warner's own 'The Searchers' are veritable benchmarks in quality, especially the latter which Warner describes as 'New Digital High-Definition Transfer'. I believe this.
Given that Blu-ray is in a death struggle with HD on demand, it perhaps behoves their principals to keep a tighter rein on the quality. If they allow studios to simply upscale the std DVD stock without any attempt at meaningful re-mastering, they could find they are doing themselves a disservice in the long run.
In summary: Great movie, mediocre Blu-ray