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3.0 out of 5 stars DRACULA - WHAT ABOUT ZULU ?, 19 May 2013
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This review is from: Dracula (Blu-ray + DVD) [1958] (Blu-ray)
LIONSGATE thump on about what a " wonderful transfer " DRACULA ( Blu Ray ) is.

OK - I'm a self confessed perfectionist critic when it comes to transfers - but " DRACULA " falls far short of the best transfer of another 50 yr old movie - and I'm talking about " ZULU " ( 1964 )which for me set the bar standard of what was achievable ! True , if the original " DRACULA " print was crap to begin with ( and with " DRACULA " Lionsgate DO harp on about that ) - then ANY improvement on " crap " ( garbage in / garbage out ) has to be commendable I guess so we have to be grateful for small mercies.
Is this BLU RAY better than the 2007 release - yes , but only marginally ( in my opinion )- the exception being the sound track of which there is a noticeable improvement. Having said all that , I AM using top end equipment ( projection on to a 10ft wide screen )- whereas I am sure that my delineations would be far less evident on a TV screen of modest proportions ( less than 50 " ).
So in summary, " DRACULA " is certainly watchable and probably as good as its ever gonna get - but a " wonderful transfer " ( as "ZULU" ) ... it ain't !

Final comment : A much earlier ( 1954 ) movie ( " Creature from the Black Lagoon " ) has been given the full restoration transfer process ( including 3D ) with results equally as good as " ZULU ". So , for me , whatever the excuses .... it CAN be done !!
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 May 2013 09:52:30 BDT
STU H. says:
What on earth has the picture quality of the ZULU blu-ray got to do with this release? ZULU was made on a budget approx 20x larger than Hammer's DRACULA, and many of its theatrical prints were in the super hi-res 70mm format. That it looks better is (to quote FAWLTY TOWERS...) 'stating the bleeding obvious!'

The DRACULA blu-ray might not be so-called 'reference' quality, but it's very good indeed, with a rich, vibrant colour palette, and plenty of detail. It's certainly the best it's ever looked on any home video format.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 May 2013 01:17:39 BDT
" DRACULA " was shot in 1958 and " ZULU " in 1964 - my point being , STU.H - that " CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON " was shot in 1948 ( sixteen years earlier than "ZULU" ) and yet the transfer was equally as good as the " ZULU " print quality and certainly FAR BETTER than the print quality of " DRACULA " - even though " DRACULA " was made some 10 years LATER and using better equipment !
As you correctly point out - " ZULU " was shot in the high res 70mm format and the other two were not - my point being ( again ) that the picture quality of the 16 year old much earlier " CREATURE " is STILL equally as good as "ZULU" despite the substantial print age difference - and certainly the quality transfer of both movies is FAR BETTER than " DRACULA " ( sorry to state the bleeding obvious ) - thus reinforcing my belief that Lionsgate could have done a better job had they REALLY strived to do so.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 May 2013 07:00:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Jun 2013 07:30:22 BDT
STU H. says:
Barry - I'm more than familiar with CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and its blu-ray presentation. Most of it looks excellent, although a few of the process shots look less so. Overall, it's not quite as impressive as the ZULU transfer.

I'm still not sure what bearing this has on DRACULA though. For what it's worth, CFTBL also had a higher budget than the Hammer film (it was shot in 3D). And, to be pedantic, I'm not sure where you get 1948 from - it was shot in late 1953, and released in early 1954.

You're welcome to your opinion on the DRACULA disc, of course - but you have to acknowledge that it goes against the consensus. (52x 5-star reviews here, at time of writing.)

In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2013 02:08:21 BDT
Apologies STU - you are quite correct that " Creature " was released in 1954 and NOT 1948 as I thought it was. I recounted this from memory - and clearly my memory ain't what it used to be - so my apologies there .
I also agree that my opinion clearly does not flow with the consensus. The movie is certainly watchable but for my tastes I would have preferred the transfer to have been much better than it was. I was hoping to buy " Curse of Frankenstein " - but the consensus on that transfer was not that good - so I'll just give it a miss for the time being. Finally I would say that the 1953 version of " The War of the Worlds " was an excellent transfer - saying it was'nt Blu Ray - but I think that the tri-colour cameras used back then ( despite being massive ) gave saturated colours on a pristine re-engineered print to die for. Like " ZULU " - THAT's the way to do it ...... Thanks for your comments , STU - and it is always interesting to compare notes from a fellow cinephile ....

In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2013 10:09:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 May 2013 11:35:06 BDT
STU H. says:
It's true, the transfer on THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is pretty poor. Hammer / Lionsgate have said this is because the original film materials are in bad condition, rather than a poor quality mastering for the blu-ray. Sadly, a full-scale restoration just isn't feasible or cost-effective in some cases. The picture quality has a slightly hazy, 'VHS video' look about it, although it seems to improve slightly as the film progresses. The disc remains worth buying, though, thanks to the quality (and quantity!) of its extra features.
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