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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:19 pm 
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So I was looking at some blus today and I thought I would make a new thread where people can post and discuss what they believe is the best, definitive version of a movie on blu ray and dvd. For example, I wanted to get the best version of Evil Dead on blu ray, but there are a million different blu rays of it both foreign in domestic. So which one is best you know? Should I get the CC blu of Fear Eats the Soul or should I get the Arrow blu version. These are just examples. I know we have these discussions all over the boards, but it would be nice to have one spot people can go to when considering a purchase. I posted in this forum, but this discussion should include all versions of films, both foreign and domestic.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:29 am 
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It depends on what you mean by "definitive version".

In the case of your own example of Fear Eats the Soul, the Criterion and Arrow discs are sourced from the same master, so the presentation of the feature is to all intents and purposes identical unless you're a Caps-a-holic addict who prefers to inspect individual frames with a magnifying glass to actually watching the film. And I wouldn't be confident in saying which of their extras packages makes their release "definitive" - both discs are pretty stacked, but with different things of very similar merit.

On the other hand, Arrow's upcoming Taviani Brothers package clearly beats the Cohen equivalent, as it includes everything that's on the Cohen discs, four more hefty analytical extras and a 100-page book.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:24 am 
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Similarly, for The Evil Dead, there isn't really a "definitive" version on Blu-Ray yet either. Anchor Bay's US release comes with both original 4:3 and cropped 16:9 options, but without bonus features. (These were on a bonus DVD included with the initial pressing but is long OOP and very expensive.) Whereas the Sony version available everywhere else contains almost all the bonus features (plus a unique picture-in-picture extra), but only contains the 16:9 cropped version, not the filmmakers' preferred 4:3.

Rewind a.k.a DVD Compare, though far from perfect, is a pretty useful site for comparing different releases and finding the one that best fulfils your specific needs.

ETA: Also, all Blu-Ray options for The Evil Dead contain a number of digital tinkerings, e.g. removing a crew member from the background of one shot.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:02 am 
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I okayed this thread mainly to stop fifty others potentially being made in the future, all titled "(Film) : Best version?" I think it'll work best as a one-stop place to pose a question of preference over any true definitive distinction and/or tally


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:18 am 
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Personally, driven by sheer laziness perhaps, I would welcome an overview of the quality of releases posted by film-maker, such as provided for Ozu recently. I find both Ferrara and Argento a minefield to navigate and that's just for starters.
'oh yeah' I know has been pretty tenacious in regards to Ferrara but it would be helpful to have tabulations a la Ozu.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:22 am 
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This could be a great reference, especially if someone keeps the first post updated with a list of consensus favorites.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:58 am 
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I know we have a fairly up to date (though I've gotten lazy) listing for Fritz Lang's filmography here; perhaps we can collate any other threads like that which we have lying around?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:47 pm 
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So every once and a while if someone wants to add a blu ray or dvd version of a film that they think is the best version (video quality, audio quality, extras, etc.) they can.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:03 am 
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NABOB OF NOWHERE wrote:
I find both Argento a minefield to navigate and that's just for starters.

I can help you out with regards to Argento on UK and US blu-ray...

This list only discusses in print discs (except where stated).

BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE: VCI (Region A)
The VCI uses the same transfer as the OOP Blue Underground (Region A) release but drops their extras (an Allan Jones/Kim Newman commentary track, interviews with key players, and trailers). Arrow's Region B is OOP and is in the wrong aspect ratio (as per Storraro). (Thanks Feego.)

CAT O NINE TAILS: Arrow (Region B); Blue Underground (Region A)
I expect both would come from the same source but not too sure.

FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET: Shameless Video (Region B)
Supposed to be very good.

DOOR INTO DARKNESS [TV series]
Nada.

THE FIVE DAYS
Zilch.

DEEP RED: Arrow (Region B); Blue Underground (Region A)
Arrow released a limited edition remastered version earlier this year that included both the longer and shorter cuts. It sold out and they have now put out a standard version that only includes the longer cut. Blue Underground's release, along with Arrow's older release from 2011, are older and not as good PQ-wise but they do include both cuts.

SUSPIRIA
None of the current releases are any good, Synapse (Region A) are working on a remaster which has been talked about for ages but should be worth waiting for.

INFERNO: Blue Underground (Region A); Arrow (Region B)
Arrow's is a fine release but compared to the BU release the colours seem noticeably 'off'. (Arrow previously released this in 2010: the current disc is an upgrade.)

TENEBRE: Synapse (Region A); Arrow (Region B)
Both are sourced from the same transfer but Synapse were unhappy with it and went through meticulously correcting it. I own the Arrow disc and the most egregious mistake I blinked and missed so I'm happy with it. (Arrow previously released this in 2013: the current disc is an upgrade.)

PHENOMENA
Arrow's passable release is OOP, Synapse are planning on releasing this.

OPERA
Code Red are going to be releasing this, should be definitive.

TWO EVIL EYES
Blue Underground's release went OOP earlier this year. Arrow previously released this on DVD, but no word as to a blu-ray version.

TRAUMA
Rien.

STENDHAL SYNDROME: Blue Underground (Region A).

As writer (horror only):

DEMONS / DEMONS 2: Synapse (Region A); Arrow (Region B)
Both come from the same source but Synapse did extra work including colour correcting.

THE CHURCH
Upcoming releases from Code Red (Region A) and Shameless (Region B), not sure of dates yet.

THE SECT
Upcoming release from Shameless (Region B).


Last edited by kidc85 on Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:33 am 
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kidc85 wrote:
I can help you out with regards to Argento on UK and US blu-ray...

Thanks That's handy.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:02 am 
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And here's a round-up for Jan Švankmajer:

Short films (1964-92)

The BFI edition (UK) is a clear winner over the French and US editions for both completeness (it includes all 26 shorts), technical presentation (the US edition is a PAL-NTSC conversion) and English-friendliness (the French discs are from the same Digibeta source, but some of the films need subtitles). Comprehensive extras (including two big docs, a bonus short and other material) and booklet too. No sign of a Blu-ray upgrade, although several of the shorts have recently been restored.

Alice (1988)

The BFI's dual-format edition (UK) offers a high-def restoration and includes both the Czech and English soundtracks, a hefty booklet and a handful of Alice-themed shorts. The US Blu-ray edition (First Run Features) offers the same restoration of the main feature, but exclusively in English and with no extras.

Faust (1994)

The Athanor DVD edition (Czech Republic) is technically superior to the long-OOP Kino one (US), although the latter is the only way of getting hold of the English soundtrack.

With the other five features (Conspirators of Pleasure, Little Otík, Lunacy, Surviving Life and the still-in-production Insects), the best option is to pledge $150 to Švankmajer's Indiegogo campaign for Insects, which will secure director-approved BDs of all five, albeit not for another two and a half years. Otherwise, the only options are barebones DVDs - I can confirm that New Wave's Conspirators of Pleasure (UK) is technically superior to Kino's long-OOP interlaced NTSC edition (US), but otherwise there don't seem to be many marked differences, and New Wave's releases (UK) and Athanor's (Czech Republic) are both sourced from the same masters.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:59 am 
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MichaelB wrote:
With the other five features (Conspirators of Pleasure, Little Otík, Lunacy, Surviving Life and the still-in-production Insects)... the only options are barebones DVDs


The New Wave DVDs of 'Conspirators of Pleasure', 'Lunacy' and 'Surviving Life' aren't barebones DVDs. There's some featurettes on the making of the films and a selection of text-only extras, in addition to photo galleries and trailers.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:11 am 
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In which case they're even more obviously the front runners - thanks for that.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:16 am 
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kidc85 wrote:
BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE: VCI (Region A)

Actually, the now OOP Blue Underground edition was definitive. I believe VCI used the same transfer but only include a trailer for a supplement. The BU version included a commentary with Allan Jones and Kim Newman, interviews with Argento, Vittorio Storaro, Ennio Morricone and actress Eva Renzi, as well as trailers and TV spots.

If you can't find the Blue Underground version at a good price, an alternative would be to get the VCI for the movie and the Arrow (region B) edition for the supplements. I believe Arrow has the same commentary track as well as some interviews, but their print is severely cropped to a different aspect ratio per Storaro's revisionist wishes.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:58 pm 
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Thanks Feego, amended my post.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:53 pm 
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And here's Miklós Jancsó, all on DVD unless otherwise stated:

Cantata (1963) - Clavis (France): only choice, but it's fine, and English-friendly.

My Way Home (1964) - Second Run (UK), Clavis (France): Second Run is more English-friendly (booklet essay)

The Round-Up (1965) - MaNDA (Hungary), Second Run (UK), Clavis (France) - I'll assume the MaNDA disc is the best as it's from the new restoration, but I've yet to see it myself. Otherwise, the anamorphic Second Run is ahead of the letterboxed Clavis.

The Red and the White (1967) - MaNDA (Hungary), Second Run (UK), Clavis (France) - MaNDA by leagues: it has the best transfer of the main feature (others are non-anamorphic), the alternative Soviet cut and two documentaries, all English-friendly.

Silence and Cry (1967) - Clavis (France). Not great, though (letterboxed instead of anamorphic), so I'd keep an eye out for a Hungarian restoration.

The Confrontation (1968) - Second Run (UK). An easy choice: anamorphic, fully English-friendly, booklet essay. The Hungarian edition (Mokép) is letterboxed and unsubtitled.

Red Psalm (1971) - Second Run (UK), Clavis (France). Another easy choice - Second Run is correctly framed at a director-specified 1.85:1, the Clavis is open-matte Academy, and with poorly formatted English subtitles.

Elektra My Love (1974) - MaNDA (Hungary), Facets (US). Probably a safe assumption that the MaNDA disc is superior, as it's from a recent restoration. The Facets is clearly from an elderly analogue tape master with burned-in subtitles.

Private Vices Public Virtues (1976) - Mondo Macabro (US Blu-ray), Quinto Piano (Italian DVD). Notionally, the Mondo Macabro disc should be the winner here - it's a BD struck from the original negative, and with plenty of extras (full disclosure: I'm a talking head in one of them). The big question mark concerns what language it's in. The Italian DVD is pretty good, but in unsubtitled Italian (but there are correctly-timed fansubs online). The old English-dubbed US DVD is long OOP, and is an absolute atrocity - barebones, appalling print, appalling transfer.

The six Pepe and Kapa films (1999-2006) are also available on English-subtitled Hungarian DVDs.


Last edited by MichaelB on Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:20 pm 
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Maybe the definitive lists can be added to the first or second thread in the Filmmakers forum for each director and linked here for reference.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:26 am 
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Does anyone have a suggestion for the best version of the Lon Cheney Phantom of the Opera?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:38 am 
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Depends which version of the film you are most interested in, even though both the Kino and BFI releases contain both the 1925 and 1929 versions, along with a section of the sound version they have different strengths.

If you want the 1929 version, Kino's is probably better. Kino includes both a 24 fps and a 20 fps version. Apparently the 20 fps 'feels' better but is marred by an awkwardly synced soundtrack and some mastering errors. Both Kino and BFI come from different restorations (and slightly different cuts I believe) one is Photoplay, the other Blackhawk. There's no real consensus about which 24 fps version is better but (again, apparently) the BFI handles the colour stuff better.

If you want the 1925 version, it's BFI all the way. Even though only a 16mm print survives the BFI's release features it in true 1080p, whereas Kino's is an upscale (and apparently not a particularly good one at that).

If you want the sound version, the BFI just includes the surviving sound synced up to the film, whereas the Kino features the entire reel with it syncing up at the appropriate moments.

Chris reviewed the BFI here.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:56 pm 
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Anyone know if there are any good versions of the Phantasm series. I know Scream/Shout released a solid version of part 2 that is still in print.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:00 pm 
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The director said restored versions of parts one thru five are coming this year


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:12 pm 

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Could somebody help me out and tell me which Cronenbergs to get? I have the Arrow Videodrome box, which is amazing.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:18 pm 
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Shivers and Rabid - Arrow versions by definition (no alternative)
Fast Company - Blue Underground (ditto)
The Brood and Scanners - trickier: Criterion better on paper, but revisionist colour schemes might lead people to favour Second Sight.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:29 pm 
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You'll also want the EiV BD of History of Violence from the UK (uncut and not overly DNRd like the U.S. release) and I believe the version of eXistenZ that turned up on an Echo Bridge triple feature has the best PQ, though it could still stand to be bettered.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:02 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
Fast Company - Blue Underground (ditto)

Doesn't this disc also have Crimes of the Future and another early Cronenberg on it? I'm assuming the forthcoming Arrow will better it on those, at least.


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