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Customer Review

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film, awful DVD, 9 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: X The Unknown [DVD] (DVD)
This review refers to the Icon Home Entertainment release of 2011.

My copy has arrived, and I hope it's not an indicator of the rest of Icon's classic Hammer output. The good news is that the X certificate screen is presented at the start. The bad news, and it is very bad news is that it's a dirty, scratched print and is covered in random colour noise. It's normally a clue that an older, composite analogue master has been used. Worst of all is ghosting reminiscent of either a NTSC to PAL conversion, or a dodgy interlaced one. Iffy sound tops it all off. It's noisy, full of clicks and pops and sometimes has a high pitched whine to it that'll set your dog off howling. Some dialogue in the second half of the film becomes inaudible through the sheer level of loud pops.

The disclaimer at the start about the quality and age of the material is surely a joke. The age or otherwise of a film is not an excuse to release a substandard DVD when better source materials do exist. It's criminal that such outstanding films from the history of British cinema are presented this way in 2011.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Sep 2011 17:05:25 BDT
Terrific review Lee. It's high tide that these idiot film companies had respect for the buyers pocket, especially when other companies are working hard to get lots of Hammer films onto Blu Ray with masses of extras. I appreciate these films are budget releases in the Hammer range from Icon, but really this is bordering on robbery, considering the film was released a few years back by DD Video, and the print source was very good indeed!

Posted on 11 Sep 2011 11:57:16 BDT
Have now packed up my copy to be returned for a refund, still sealed. As a result of Icon's incompetence and Hammer's couldn't care less attitude to the consumer. I shall think twice about buying DVDs again with the Icon label plastered on the cover.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2011 00:11:18 BDT
yes looks like all of the current releases are appalling. If I was Icon or Hammer I should be apologising right now as they are about to get a backlash of returns.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2011 13:46:39 BDT
I reckon the furnace at Icon will see some action over the coming weeks.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2011 19:19:35 BDT
Gorecki says:
I've not seen either this or the Quatermass set and having initially been excited to see the suitably low prices then read the comments.... now the bargain doesn't seem so very good.

However, a quick look into the print issue took me to Hammer's websites (http://hammerfilms.com/news/article/newsid/310/hammer-titles-to-uk-blu-ray-and-dvd) where they state the previous restored masters of both this and The Quatermass Xperiment were lost in 'VDC fire' (which appears to be a London CD/DVD manufacturing and mastering facility which went up in smoke in 2005).

So, it's entirely possible that the best known/possible prints/masters have been lost. Icon seem to be using the same prints as DDHE in most of the other releases.

Whether or not that excuses not forking out the tens of thousands for the restoration job on each film...

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2011 19:26:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Sep 2011 19:26:30 BDT
Lee R says:
The previous masters DD/Simply Media used when they were the licencee have been lost. Source materials does still exist if effort was made in sourcing a new transfer, in fact a HD restoration of The Quatermass Xperiment exists in the US. Icon have simply cut corners to get these out as cheaply as possible. I'd rather have paid a few quid extra per film for better quality.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2011 19:46:13 BDT
Gorecki says:
Hi, fair enough. I didn't know if the situation was widely known so thought I'd mention it. However, thankfully you know more than me (and I genuinely don't mean that sarcastically - I like to be enlightened on these matters!). Since there's a proper restoration already that's just rather wretched practice from Icon.

Though it was only recently I discovered quite how limited the market for some of these older titles actually was. I read somewhere that the market for some was below two thousand sales (I wish I could recall the films mentioned) which made me wonder about the possibly limited sales of a lot of DVD runs - from Hammer to World Cinema to Silent Classics. Of course X The Unknown and Quatermass may sell millions! ;)

Do you know who Icon Home Entertainment is? The website of the well-known Icon don't list any Hammer titles but it would surprise me if there were two DVD labels/ distributors in the UK with the same name!

Posted on 17 Sep 2011 08:58:26 BDT
D. Jacobs says:
All I can say is thanks for your review. It kept me from buying this and I am avoiding the Quatermass double bill. I will still get the Abominable Snowman based on the favorable comments regarding it. Amazon had not yet shipped mine and I was able to adjust my order. I can still get the old Anchor Bay relase of X The Unknown at a pretty good price here in the US. Quatermass Xperiment will be released in the US soon as a MGM MOD (burn on demand) disc. I may get the dutch releases of Xperiment and Q2 instead though.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Sep 2011 12:15:02 BDT
Lee R says:
The one thing in favour of the US MOD release will be that it'll likely use the new remastered version.

Posted on 28 Sep 2011 16:27:32 BDT
steve p says:
thanks for that was going to buy but not now just what we need a review that tells it how it is thanks steve
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