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Transfer is only OK but buy it anyway!
on 19 January 2018
A lot has been written about the quality of transfer and the bad reviews did deter me from buying this Bluray for quite a while, only finally opting to get it because it is such a stonkingly good movie! I am glad I did.
I already owned the DVD which was atrocious. It was a 4:3 transfer with the widescreen picture across the middle so in order to avoid black bars left, right, above and below, one had to zoom in. Consequently the picture was not sharp at all.
This Bluray does improve upon that. It IS a better picture than the DVD at least. It is true that there is some colour flicker. Of course, if you compare the quality of transfer with say that of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (which I use to demonstrate my home cinema setup at its very best) there is no comparison but the film is eminently watchable and I enjoyed seeing a lot more detail than ever before.
The grainy dark scenes are admittedly poor but shooting in the dark with a wide aperture makes a picture grainy in any case. I found that it was intrusive when I had the sharpness turned up but when I took that down, the graininess pretty much disappeared.
In short, it is a high definition picture that is a little softer than average but not enough to make me discourage you from buying it. I love having the film on Bluray. If they brought out a better mastered version, I would probably buy it but for now it is a big step up from the DVD and I am happy.
There is another feature which I really liked about this Bluray: the subtitles. Nearly all of the German dialogue is translated into English subtitles so at last you can find out what Quiller is saying when he asks the bespectacled man if he is following him. The whole exchange is translated. What a treat. I had always wondered what was being said but the DVD only subtitled the English dialogue.
Highly recommended despite the shortcomings. The transfer is not as good as it should be but it really isn't THAT bad. Tweak your viewing screen and you'll be fine. It is worth getting because the film itself is sooooo good - brilliant, intelligent script, subtle hints of the callousness of the establishment with its contempt for and ingratitude to those who work for it. Not an action packed, spy flick and so much better for it. Nice twist at the end as the penny drops for Quiller - and for us.
Oh - and the extras. Lots of them, varied and interesting. No director's commentary but a load of mini film interviews with various members of staff which are meaty enough.
UPDATE: Having written this review after viewing the film on an 8 foot projector screen, I played it on a flat screen TV. Oh my! At first it was dreadful. There were loads of little white dots all over the picture like snow and terrible white edges on any details. It was atrocious and I began to see where other reviewers were coming from.
HOWEVER, I turned down sharpness as I had on my projector. Only minimal improvement. Then I turned up digital noise reduction and motion smoothing within the TV menu. It TOTALLY cured the problem and I found myself looking at an image which was OK, not wonderful but good enough for me not to have regretted my purchase.
I still recommend this Bluray with the sole caveat that you may need to tweak your playback settings. It is possible to get a good picture, honest!