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DVD Talk review of 'Young Frankenstein' (Blu-ray)

Old 10-22-08, 07:47 AM
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DVD Talk review of 'Young Frankenstein' (Blu-ray)

I bought this Blu Ray just a couple of weeks ago and was terribly disappointed by the level of grain. It was nothing short of hideous, and it's unacceptable for Blu Ray. I saw this film about six times in the theater, back in the 70s, and it was beautiful. It was not as other critics have stated elsewhere, that the grain is an intentional effect to emulate the look of old horror movies. The grain levels were normal for a black & white film. Here's what I think they've done. They've tried to sharpen the movie through some artificial means, similar to the sharpen-image tool in photoshop software, and overzealous application of it exaggerated the grain presence. In closeups, the squiggling grain isn't as noticable, because relative to the size of the image the noise was small. But in long shots, all the gradations and details are lost. There were a couple of instances that were obvious in the theater presentation in which the texture of the film changed, in which the grain was truly pronounced. These occurred as the result of magnification in a stilled image for a zoom (when Frederich sees Igor for the first time; that zoom was accomplished in editing). It wasn't accomplished in camera, but later. The grain became magnified, too, along with the original image. But that shift in grain was completely lost by the accidental level of grain in this Blu Ray.

What I think happened is, I don't think they referred back to the original print. Instead, I think they took the digital material available from the SD DVD and used it. I looked all over the package, and I've watched the interviews with Brooks, and no such claim is made, that it was a transfer from the original negative. This edition has the look of something that's been upconverted, primarily in its loss of gradations in the contrast. Yes, all of those nice goodies are fun to watch, but the main thing is the film itself. And it was terrible. What it needed was a simple 24-frames-per-second transfer from the original print. Our equipment would have taken care of the clarity, without having to resort to sharpening with software.

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Old 10-22-08, 12:17 PM
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The Blu-ray transfer may be sourced from the same master as the previous DVD, but there is no way that it is digitally upconverted from the DVD transfer. No studio does that and it would be extremely obvious.
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Old 10-23-08, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by kefrank View Post
The Blu-ray transfer may be sourced from the same master as the previous DVD, but there is no way that it is digitally upconverted from the DVD transfer. No studio does that and it would be extremely obvious.
It is obvious. It's very obvious. And I don't know what makes you think a studio doesn't do that. What I learned from this is that Blu-ray is merely a format, and it's just a means of getting a Blu-ray player to play it. Nowhere on the packaging of the Young Frankenstein Blu-ray does it state that it's newly remastered. I'm almost positive it's an upconversion of the same digital transfer used in for the SD DVD. First indication is that murky look. But it's the second indication that's the real giveaway. At several points in the film, the camera pans over an area, and during this smooth panning, the image is awash with all of that pronounced squiggling grain. But at intervals, for a spilt second, it freezes. It's just a barely perceptible instant, but the squiggling does in fact stop. What this means is, it's not in sync with the 24-frames-per-second refresh rate that's characteristic of Blu-ray. In an actual transfer made for Blu-ray, the pan would be seamless.

I know this is tough to believe. If you'd like, I'll post some links that compares still images from the SD DVD and the Blu-ray edition. You can clearly see that detail was lost. I'm disappointed, because it means we're going to have to be vigilant, that we can't assume that the studios have customer satisfaction in mind; and instead see us as rubes who'll buy the same thing if they sell an inferior product but in an improved format. The studios will re-release older films under the Blu-ray logo, and will allow us to assume that a sincere effort went into the reproduction of the film; that their goal is to share the art in their vaults with a sophisticated and discriminating audience. Not so. They're looking to sell discs, and what better way to make a profit other than to sell something old as something new. This was a lesson for me, that it's caveat emptor, and all of that. Blu-ray was used as a gimmick. I had planned on replacing my favorite DVDs with Blu-ray editions. But in light of this, I'll have to be more cautious. I'll have to reign in my enthusiasm when I consider purchasing the Blu-ray edition of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which is due out in a month or two.

As to my immediate reaction, I've contacted Fox Home Video and informed them of my displeasure, and that my intention was to return it to the retailer. I then contacted Amazon.com and asked if I can return it. I explained why. They're accepting the return. That's the best way to handle this. If this happens enough, it'll make a difference in the future.

Last edited by alric1212192; 10-23-08 at 08:04 AM. Reason: posted before completed
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Old 10-23-08, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by alric1212192 View Post
I'm almost positive it's an upconversion of the same digital transfer used in for the SD DVD.
I'd stake my life that it's not. The same master...? Sure, that's pretty standard practice. Upscaled/upconverted from a DVD...? No chance.

What size display are you using? On the 60" I use, the difference between standard definition and HD is enormous even in the weakest Blu-ray discs, and there's a level of detail in Young Frankenstein that an upconvert couldn't ever hope to match. The larger the display, the greater those differences will be. It's not a knockout, but I'd have a really hard time believing this is anything but a proper HD presentation. The comparison shots at http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCom...ankenstein.htm seem to make this very clear as well.

Everything the studios do has been mastered in high definition for many years now. Transfers aren't done specifically for Blu-ray -- they oversample at high resolutions and downscale for DVD.

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Old 10-24-08, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Adam Tyner View Post
I'd stake my life that it's not. The same master...? Sure, that's pretty standard practice. Upscaled/upconverted from a DVD...? No chance.

What size display are you using? On the 60" I use, the difference between standard definition and HD is enormous even in the weakest Blu-ray discs, and there's a level of detail in Young Frankenstein that an upconvert couldn't ever hope to match. The larger the display, the greater those differences will be. It's not a knockout, but I'd have a really hard time believing this is anything but a proper HD presentation. The comparison shots at dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare8/youngfrankenstein.htm seem to make this very clear as well.
This is so cool that you provided that link, because someone else sent that same link to me, suggesting as you did, that it proves something, but it proved the exact opposite point. And it's funny that I thought about including that link in my first response, but I couldn't find it. So, thanks. But before I get to it, let me explain more what I meant. When I said that they used the same digital source material they'd used for the SD DVD, I don't mean that they used an actual DVD. I mean they used the digital material, whatever that is, that's transferred to the DVD disc. At some point, the HD material had to be converted to a format that would be compatable with a DVD, so it would be playable on a DVD player. I'm saying they used that digital material, not the DVD itself. Then they merely upconverted it. This Blu-ray has the clearly visible refresh rate of a slower format.

Now let's get to your links. Let's go straight to the first still from the film, the one of Dr. Frankenstein in the classroom. There is a difference between the top and second image, and there's a greater presence of fine grain in the Blu-ray image, but there is not a significant difference in sharpness. The Blu-ray image merely looks darker. The contrast was increased while tamping the highlights. But if you look at the object in the upper right of the background in the picture, the same object has more detail in the SD DVD. How is that possible? If the grain is not exaggerated in the Blu-ray version, how did the details get lost in the background? That's because the grain is an error added to the image, making it less clear because it's not part of the original image. Think about this: If the grain had been that present in the original, even though you wouldn't be able to see it because of technical limitations, the image would not have more detail. The image would merely display the same level of murkiness, sans the pronounced grain. But in the SD DVD, more details are present in the background. You can see this more obviously in the next picture, of Victor and Elizabeth at the train station. Look at the passenger car behind them, the screws in the metal work. Again, they're more detailed. Not only that, but look at the sharpness along the molding. All I can honestly see is a difference between the the two images, but not an improvement in the Blu-ray.

"Everything the studios do has been mastered in high definition for many years now. Transfers aren't done specifically for Blu-ray -- they oversample at high resolutions and downscale for DVD."
I don't know what all that really means, but I do know that this Blu-ray disc isn't an HD transfer. The disc itself is in Blu-ray format, and it permits the addition of all those whizz-bang extras, but the film itself is not in HD. If it was, I'd be able to see that it is. I'm not new to this, and I trust my eyes. I don't buy that sweeping claim, that the studios have been doing everything in HD for years. There would be no motive for applying it to everything. They've done this selectively, and older movies, less so. All I know is what I'm seeing on my screen (which is a 47" Phillips), and that image on my screen is not an HD image. Something is terribly awry here. There should be an improvement over the SD DVD, and there isn't. Like I said, it's different but not better. I've looked around at several reviews to see what they're saying, and they've all mentioned this excessive grain. Some have made excuses for it, saying it was intentional, but I know it wasn't. I saw the movie a few times in the theater. The film was so beautiful in black and white, when excessive grain appeared, it was a distinct shift in the visual style (as in certain close-ups created in the editing process; not in camera). and it was used as an effect. This transition in grain density is completely lost in this edition, due to the exaggerated grain. I believe it's the result of applying a sharpening tool to the same digital material that was used for the source for the SD DVD. It's a much cheaper process than making a whole new transfer from the master. After this disc is on the market for a while, you'll see these suspicions more often, and someone with some real technical expertise will be able to put it into words. Meanwhile the rest of us will have to trust our instincts, that it's a cheap gewgaw of a disc. I'm doing my part by saying it's okay to be disappointed. Just because we love the film so much doesn't mean that we owe the studio gratitude for turning out a shoddy product. I thought I was buying the ultimate edition. But it's clear that the studio didn't love this movie nearly as much as I do.

And how much do I love this movie? This makes the third time I've bought Young Frankenstein. I bought it twice before in DVD. But I'm returning my Blu-ray to Amazon to get my money back. I want a true HD version of this and I won't settle for anything less. I hope everyone else who's unhappy with it does the same.
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Old 10-24-08, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by alric1212192 View Post
This is so cool that you provided that link, because someone else sent that same link to me, suggesting as you did, that it proves something, but it proved the exact opposite point.
I don't see how. In the link Adam provided, the Blu-ray images are clearly sharper and more detailed than the DVD screen grabs.

I mean they used the digital material, whatever that is, that's transferred to the DVD disc. At some point, the HD material had to be converted to a format that would be compatable with a DVD, so it would be playable on a DVD player. I'm saying they used that digital material, not the DVD itself. Then they merely upconverted it. This Blu-ray has the clearly visible refresh rate of a slower format.
What you fail to understand here is that, for years now, studios have been creating high-definition digital masters, then downconverting them for DVD, not creating standard-definition masters then upconverting for Blu-ray.

I don't know what the hell you mean by "visible refresh rate of a slower format." That makes no sense.

Now let's get to your links. Let's go straight to the first still from the film, the one of Dr. Frankenstein in the classroom. There is a difference between the top and second image, and there's a greater presence of fine grain in the Blu-ray image, but there is not a significant difference in sharpness.
The Blu-ray images certainly do exhibit greater sharpness in the link provided.
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Old 10-24-08, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
I don't see how. In the link Adam provided, the Blu-ray images are clearly sharper and more detailed than the DVD screen grabs.
No, they are not at all clearer, and it's obvious. I addressed this directly in detail, and if you look at what I described, you can see that there's been a lose of detail and the image is murkier, and this is indisputably so in the backgrounds, where their are small items. Look at the areas in the pictures I've drawn attention to. I don't know how you can even miss this. The only thing with more detail in the Blu-ray edition is the grain itself, which is the result of an error. That's not part of the original film. It's simply not, plain and simple. With that much grain, you're bound to lose something, which I demonstrated by pointing you to particular areas of the pictures. The nails in the metal work in the train car behind them is a perfect example. You should address that point so I'll know you're at least reading what I'm saying.

What you fail to understand here is that, for years now, studios have been creating high-definition digital masters, then downconverting them for DVD, not creating standard-definition masters then upconverting for Blu-ray.
Yes, yes. I understood that the first time and I addressed that directly and plainly in my last post. It's almost as if you just skimmed what I wrote while not thinking about it at all. Look, already on Amazon, customer reviews and comments are addressing the issue of this exaggerated grain. A critic on IGN.com described this edition as being "awash in grain." There is no disputing this, the grain level is off the charts and is unnatural. People are rightfully baffled by it.

And I'm going to clarify what I said before, that I'm not saying that the studio upconverted a standard-definition master. I'm saying they upconverted the downcoverted digital material they used to manufacture of the SD DVD. Perhaps I wasn't clear, but that's what I said, perhaps poorly. At some point, the film is converted to the proper format. It's converted -- downconverted -- to meet the specifications for burning to a DVD. I'm saying this Blu-ray wasn't remastered from the hi-def master, but instead upconverted the same digital material used for the DVD. I hope I've cleared that up. In other words, the downconverted digital material is used as a master. There's no other explanation.

I don't know what the hell you mean by "visible refresh rate of a slower format." That makes no sense.
It makes absolute sense. Blu-ray players send out a signal at 24 frames per second. SD DVD does not. Again, look at the Blu-ray of Young Frankenstein and note the slow pans. Because of the exaggerated grain, every so often, you can see the squigging of the grain stop for a split second. That's because the original digital material they're using doesn't contain enough information. Such a pan on a truly remastered Blu-ray disc will be seamless. As I said before, you wouldn't even notice this if not for the exaggerated grain. I've seen this phenomenon on DVDs that upconvert poorly.

The Blu-ray images certainly do exhibit greater sharpness in the link provided.
That fact that we're having this discussion means it's not "greater" by any real measure. They look different from one another, but the Blu-ray is not improved. Look, I said this in my original post, that I saw this film in theaters, and there were a couple of scenes in which the grain level shifted as an effect (or a side effect of something done in editing). This grain shift isn't perceptible in this Blu-ray edition. That alone proves my point, that this thing is indeed awash in grain to the point there's a loss of detail, not a gain. The only thing more detailed is the grain itself, which has become exaggerated to the point it's interference. That's why you lose so much detail in the background. You're not addressing my point, but are instead talking right past it. Look at those pictures, look at the details in the background, and compare. The critic who originally sent me that link conceded that there was a definite loss visible in the background, but he immediately went into this thing about the closeups having more detail. That doesn't even make sense. The closeups look decent because the image to the relative size of the grain makes the grain negligible. But the loss in the background detail suggests something is amiss. A true Blu-ray edition will be sharp across the entire image, backgrounds included. A loss of any detail in any place means simply that there's a loss of detail overall. That means there's something overall wrong with this edition. What's changed from the SD DVD is the level of contrast, with the highlights muted. It's merely more pleasing to the eye -- in the closeups anyway -- and it suggests a greater level of detail. But in actuality, a sharpening tool was used, which is why it looks different, and I already pointed out -- I hate to be redundant, but I want you to address this if either of your respond -- how the loss of detail in the background is obvious, which proves beyond a doubt that there's a loss of detail. Period.
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Old 10-24-08, 01:23 PM
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This is from Roger Ebert's original review, dated Jan. 1st, 1974 (ephasis added):

Brooks's targets are JamesWhale's "Frankenstein" (1931) and "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935), the first the most influential and the second probably the best of the 1930s Hollywood horror movies. Brooks uses carefully controlled black-and-white photography that catches the feel of the earlier films.
So the idea that this movie tried to copy the look of old horror films is NOT revisionist history...the theatrical prints apparantly looked that way too. Remember, nothing clouds the truth so much as memory. I'll take Ebert's written documentation at the time over "memory" any day of the week.
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Old 10-24-08, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by alric1212192 View Post
I hate to be redundant, but I want you to address this if either of your respond -- how the loss of detail in the background is obvious, which proves beyond a doubt that there's a loss of detail. Period.
To me, the far more abundant detail in the Blu-ray release is obvious -- and it's actual detail, not artificial sharpening -- so it's pretty clear we're not going to agree on this.
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Old 10-24-08, 02:31 PM
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Young Frankenstein is supposed to look grainy, soft and murky. To quote someone on AVS:

If there was ever a film where grain and ugliness was intentional, this is it. It was purposely shot two stops underexposed and push-processed to simulate the grainy low-contrast underexposed stock and uncoated lenses of the original Frankenstein films. Since they don't make uncoated lenses anymore, they couldn't quite recreate some of the look although they tried using lots of diffusion behind the lens (which was popular in the 70's anyhow). That's why it looks soft in some scenes.
Those SD caps look all wrong to me. Sharpness boosted (look at all the edges on the faces), blacks too black (on the stage you almost lose the buttons on the coat), this isn't a film noir, it's supposed to look "gray" and soft. I would argue that the added detail one perceives in the background is due to these "enhancements" and you're not supposed to see them. And I'd take grain over DNR anytime. Moreover, the grain is more apparent in still shots. The BD transfer is fine.

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Old 10-24-08, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by alric1212192 View Post
No, they are not at all clearer
To me, they are.

The only thing with more detail in the Blu-ray edition is the grain itself
I disagree. There's more detail in the skin and hair, and pretty much everything else. In the first example, of Dr. Frankenstein in the classroom, you can see individual eyelashes in the Blu-ray version. You can't in the DVD grabs.

The nails in the metal work in the train car behind them is a perfect example. You should address that point so I'll know you're at least reading what I'm saying.
Ooh, rivets!

Yes, yes. I understood that the first time and I addressed that directly and plainly in my last post. It's almost as if you just skimmed what I wrote while not thinking about it at all.
As you said in your last post, you did not address it directly and plainly. In fact, you wrote the exact opposite.

Look, already on Amazon, customer reviews and comments are addressing the issue of this exaggerated grain.
The customers reviewing product at Amazon.com rarely know what they are talking about. Giving their opinion any weight in this matter is foolish.

And I'm going to clarify what I said before, that I'm not saying that the studio upconverted a standard-definition master. I'm saying they upconverted the downcoverted digital material they used to manufacture of the SD DVD.
So, why would a studio that already has an HD master choose to not use it, and instead upconvert an SD master?

That fact that we're having this discussion means it's not "greater" by any real measure. They look different from one another, but the Blu-ray is not improved.
In your opinion. Others do not share it.
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Old 10-24-08, 07:40 PM
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So the idea that this movie tried to copy the look of old horror films is NOT revisionist history...the theatrical prints apparantly looked that way too. Remember, nothing clouds the truth so much as memory. I'll take Ebert's written documentation at the time over "memory" any day of the week.
Oh, there's no doubt about that. None whatsover. But even those old movies didn't have grain in them like this. That's not revisionism to say they didn't. Those old movies in those days were major releases. And it's true, and I acknowledge it, it had the look of an old black & white movie, and old black & white movies were quite stunning to see. I've seen a few in theaters, and I've seen this one. The fact that you can no longer see the shift in grain intensity at certain scenes proves my point.

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Old 10-24-08, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt View Post

Ooh, rivets!
That was cute. I don't know what it's supposed to mean, but it was cute. It at least has that going for it.

The customers reviewing product at Amazon.com rarely know what they are talking about. Giving their opinion any weight in this matter is foolish.
Not any more foolish than giving anyone else's opinion of it any weight. Why would their opinion be less authoritative than yours? You didn't see this movie in the theater, and in this instance, it's a serious limitation. Think about what I said about the grain intensity changing as a special effect, and how that shift in grain intensity is lost on this Blu-ray. That you can't follow that simple line of reasoning indicates something. I'm not sure what that is at this point. But coupled with the fact that you think "Ooh, rivets!" is an appropriate response to a logical argument suggests you might be mistaking glibness for cleverness. It's a common error, and committed far too often on the internet.

So, why would a studio that already has an HD master choose to not use it, and instead upconvert an SD master?
That is indeed a mystery. Maybe they don't have one. I don't know what the reason is. Let me ask you this. Have you seen the DVD release of Michael Mann's Thief? They obviously used a video tape copy of the movie to make the transfer. I think they'll reason it's an old movie, and by keeping the transfer is cheap as possible, they'll make a profit if they sell a few units. And it is definitely an inferior transfer. You can see traces and trails in some of the high-contrast segments, and the colors are murky. Why didn't they use this HD master you're talking about, then downcovert it for a DVD? Beats me. And from what I've recently read, I hear Body Heat has been given the Blu-ray upgrade, and early reports are not good. And again the critic posited the notion that some inferiority in the image was actually an intended effect. Sorry. Not true. The DVD was a disappointment, too, so I'm going to avoid the upgrade on this one. The studios don't think there's much of a market for this sort of stuff, so they're just going to toss them out there without much quality, with a few gimmicks thrown in to make it seem worth the money, and they'll sell enough units to enthusiasts to clear a profit.

(What follows next is what you said about my thinking the disc was a mess.)

In your opinion. Others do not share it.
Some don't share it. I notice a lot of people who'd never seen it in a theater and know what it's supposed to look like don't share it. But let me remind you, there are even some critics who acknowledge the high grain intensity, but don't know what to think of it. Your opinion is not a consensus. The problem is, these critics are baffled by the mess, and end up making excuses: it's such a mess, they're thinking there has to be a reason for it, so they're excusing it as part of some visual style. It's not, sadly.

And before you think I wasn't really paying attention back when I saw it in theaters, and that my memory is skewed, in those days, photography was my hobby, and I worked as a photographer in the Navy. I experimented with different film speeds and so on, and was very aware of cinematography. Believe me, I understand grain. And I appreciate the look of films in general. And I have since I was about sixteen years old. All that stuff someone else posted about how the cinematographer intentionally created the look of an old horror movie is all true. But it didn't produce intense grain as a result. It provided enough very smooth detail, and was more than clear enough to observe a shift in grain intensity. Those are the facts.

You keep your ear to the ground. I'll be proven right eventually.
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Old 10-24-08, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by alric1212192 View Post
Look, already on Amazon, customer reviews and comments are addressing the issue of this exaggerated grain.
There are five reviews of the "Young Frankenstein" Blu-ray on Amazon as of this writing. The main review there complaining about the grain was written by you.

Not any more foolish than giving anyone else's opinion of it any weight. Why would their opinion be less authoritative than yours?
I give more weight to opinions written by people who have exhibited some knowledge of film history or technical expertise. Amazon reviewers, while well-meaning, are often not the kind of enthusiasts you find at DVD or movie sites. They will frequently, for example, advocate full-screen over wide-screen.

You didn't see this movie in the theater, and in this instance, it's a serious limitation.
As is the case with much of what you have written, you are making incorrect assumptions. I have, in fact, seen "Young Frankenstein" in theaters. Five times to be exact, including three times on its initial run in 1974.

Any other conclusions you'd like to jump to?
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Old 10-24-08, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by alric1212192 View Post
Not any more foolish than giving anyone else's opinion of it any weight. Why would their opinion be less authoritative than yours?
In this case it would be more authoritative. The author of the review, Adam Tyner, has written over 750 reviews for DVDTalk over the past eight years. He's been cited as one of the best high def reviewers on the Internet in forums on other sites too. He has an established track record of being able to accurately judge the audio and video quality of DVDs and HD discs.

Just as you would accept a doctor's opinion as over a guy in the street when it comes to medical matters (at least I hope you would!) I'll take what Adam says over some guy on Amazon when you don't even know what his set up is like. Are they watching on a poorly calibrated 720p cathode ray RPTV with a Blu-ray player hooked up via S-Video? You just don't know. (The equipment Adam uses is public knowledge, and is listed on his bio page which can be accessed from any of his reviews.)
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Old 10-24-08, 09:51 PM
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I definitely appreciate the vote of confidence, but Ryan Keefer wrote the review. I agree with the gist of what he wrote, though. It's not an astonishing transfer, but to my eyes, it's a definite step up over anything DVD could ever hope to belt out. I can't claim to have caught Young Frankenstein theatrically during its original run, but the impression I got when watching this Blu-ray disc is that it seemed faithful to the intent I pictured. With all of the vintage iris effects and everything, I don't think it's too much of a leap to think that Mel Brooks and company would want the texture and contrast to more closely resemble one of the classic Universal monster movies as well.

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Old 10-25-08, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
There are five reviews of the "Young Frankenstein" Blu-ray on Amazon as of this writing. The main review there complaining about the grain was written by you.
Well, like everything else, you gloss over what I say to diminish the truth of it. There are indeed only five reviews, but two complain about the grain. And, true, one of them is mine. But of the five, the two that complain about the grain are the only two who've actually seen this Blu-ray edition. The others are reviews of the movie itself. I was speaking generally when I said there are more bad reveiws. I should have been more specific. I was including the comments to my review that support my claim as reviews themselves. It wasn't an attempt at dissembling. It was just a generality. That said, add to those comments all these professional reviews that all mention the grain, and you know something's up. You don't see these comments for other older movies, do you? No, you don't. This disc looks as bad as The Godfather did, on the first SD DVD box set (which Coppola supposedly fixed with this last reissue). There will be more customer complaints later on. You can bet on it. Keep in mind how many people actually take the time to write reviews, and then how many of those same people bought this, and you have a constantly decreasing probability of complaints. But let's see how many customers think it's wonderful. Right now, it's only been out a couple of weeks, and the newest comments directly related to this edition are complaints. Give it time.

I give more weight to opinions written by people who have exhibited some knowledge of film history or technical expertise. Amazon reviewers, while well-meaning, are often not the kind of enthusiasts you find at DVD or movie sites. They will frequently, for example, advocate full-screen over wide-screen.
I haven't noted that myself. Depends on the movie, I guess. You can bet that someone writing a review at Amazon on Citizen Kane are going to be true enthusiasts, seeking the best reproduction of the artist's intent. And based on what I've seen among the enthusiasts here, I don't think they're a group you can refer to as a authoritative pedigree. For instance, I'm the only one here who seems to understand the significance in the grain density shifts that were present in the theatrical presentation of Young Frankenstein, and what it means that they're missing from this edition. So I've clearly demonstrated an eye for this, and you're steadily talked down to me, while refusing to follow my reasoning or even comment on the very reasonable point. I've always been in tune to these things, starting in the early 70s, when I saw so many movies. I can remember exactly what movie I was watching when I was, what you might call, converted.

As is the case with much of what you have written, you are making incorrect assumptions. I have, in fact, seen "Young Frankenstein" in theaters. Five times to be exact, including three times on its initial run in 1974.

Any other conclusions you'd like to jump to?
Then why didn't you say something earlier? We could have had a real discussion. Did you notice the visible shift in grain density in certain scenes? Why have you consistently ignored my references to it? Why didn't you at least acknowledge it and comment on it, and discuss this aspect of it? If you didn't remember it, why didn't you just say so? As a person who's participating in a forum interested in discussing all aspects of this medium, you should have appreciated the introduction of this idea, which potentially alters the claim that this is an accurate reproduction of the filmmaker's intention. You should have at least stopped to consider that it might be true, and if it is, it's important to the claim. Instead, you seemed interested in preserving the idea that this edition was produced with unflagging integrity, while naive to the notion that some media conglomerates sometimes seek new ways to make a buck. This is one of those times.

Then again, maybe you were too young to appreciate that kind of detail -- grain shifts -- back then, so you don't have that vivid recollection to refer to. I saw it as an adult, and by that time, I had already developed a taste for cinematography. Do you remember the movie as being as grainy as this edition? If you don't remember the shift in grain denisty, how can you remember how grainy it was overall? Because I know for a fact it was not at all like this disc. At this point, the current grain level is so exaggerated, there are now no visible shifts in density left to see. They're masked behind the general noise of the pronounced grain.
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Old 10-25-08, 12:54 PM
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mmmm .... visible grain ....
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Old 10-25-08, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by alric1212192 View Post
You can bet that someone writing a review at Amazon on Citizen Kane are going to be true enthusiasts, seeking the best reproduction of the artist's intent.
Your opinion of the Young Frankenstein transfer is interesting and should be noted, but you really need to read more reviews at Amazon before you say such things as the above.
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Old 10-25-08, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by alric1212192 View Post
But of the five, the two that complain about the grain are the only two who've actually seen this Blu-ray edition. The others are reviews of the movie itself.
That isn't true. All five reviews specifically mention that they're talking about the Blu-ray edition.

You don't see these comments for other older movies, do you? No, you don't.
Who cares? Different films are shot in different ways, with different film stocks and different artistic decisions for how they will look. Most movies released in 1974 weren't in black and white, either.

For instance, I'm the only one here who seems to understand the significance in the grain density shifts that were present in the theatrical presentation of Young Frankenstein, and what it means that they're missing from this edition. So I've clearly demonstrated an eye for this, and you're steadily talked down to me, while refusing to follow my reasoning or even comment on the very reasonable point.
The problem is, at this point I don't trust your "eye." You've written that the Blu-ray screen caps in the link provided by Adam don't exhibit greater detail than the DVD screen caps, but more than one of us believe they clearly do.

Then again, maybe you were too young to appreciate that kind of detail -- grain shifts -- back then, so you don't have that vivid recollection to refer to. I saw it as an adult, and by that time, I had already developed a taste for cinematography.
I saw it as an adult, too, and was a professional photographer at the time and understood a thing or two about grain. I remember the movie being grainy.


Clearly we're not going to see eye to eye on this, so I'm not going to continue the discussion.

Last edited by Mr. Salty; 10-25-08 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 10-25-08, 05:41 PM
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Alric, you write very eloquently and passionately. It is therefore truly astounding to me that every single thing you've written is so wildly inccorrect. Not just a little bit, but completely and totally the opposite of the true facts of the case. It's as if you made a list of things that were right, and then set about writing the opposite. I find it very puzzling.
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Old 10-25-08, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by alric1212192 View Post
You can bet that someone writing a review at Amazon on Citizen Kane are going to be true enthusiasts, seeking the best reproduction of the artist's intent.
Have you actually perused the 83 one-star reviews for Citizen Kane at Amazon?
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Old 10-26-08, 07:18 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Yakuza Bengoshi View Post
Have you actually perused the 83 one-star reviews for Citizen Kane at Amazon?
You mean, of the 697 total reviews? No, I have not. Opinions vary, just as do the opinions of "professional" DVD reviewers. It still doesn't mean that people who write reviews at Amazon have less authority than you do. Most of these few reviews I saw didn't like the movie itself. But, hell, I don't like Gone with the Wind. I tried three times to sit though it and the furthest I got into it was about an hour. I can't stand anything to do with Star Wars, and that's just about blasphemy to say.

On the other hand, I loved Citizen Kane.

In other words, I can trust Amazon reviewers to represent all different types of people. And when an Amazon reviewer says his experience with this new edition of Young Frankenstein is absurdly grainy, I, of course, know this is a man who's capable of seeing what's there.
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Old 10-26-08, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
Alric, you write very eloquently and passionately. It is therefore truly astounding to me that every single thing you've written is so wildly incorrect. Not just a little bit, but completely and totally the opposite of the true facts of the case. It's as if you made a list of things that were right, and then set about writing the opposite. I find it very puzzling.
State precisely what makes your own argument peremptory. I've made some very strong points, directly based on reasoning. It's so simple, it borders on being a primer. But for some reason, as plainly stated as my observations are, you all seem incapable of comprehending them, or you simple won't address them. That is a puzzle, my friend. Again, I'm talking about an obvious shift in grain intensity that's missing from this disc. I've explained elsewhere why I'd notice such a thing, and the technical reasons why the density shift would occur, yet this little soiree consistently ignores my comments.

And while I'm on the subject again, I think you all might need to look at the image quality of another segment, a very short one. Again, it's a zoom on a still image, executed just as the other one, and it's on the portrait of Frederick's grandfather, the one by his door. In that instance, the image is very murky, watery looking. Something's not right. I never mentioned this before, because I was already having a difficult time with my first point. I just can't fight the war on two fronts.

You know, the people here seem to have given this thing the once-over, a sort of sideways glance. You never brought to the task an eye for detail. Oh, you were thorough about all the gee-whiz extra stuff, but not about the central point of interest, the film itself. It's puzzling, indeed.
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Old 10-26-08, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
That isn't true. All five reviews specifically mention that they're talking about the Blu-ray edition.
They mention the Blu-ray's release, but they hadn't seen it. That was disingenuous of you, to twist the point I was making. Sort of changes this for me, and makes me wonder how far you'll go to protect your ego. A couple of those reviews were written months in advance of the Blu-ray, and one was written the day before. With no direct knowledge of the new edition, the reviewers instead lauded the movie itself. Mine was the first review by someone who'd actually seen it, and discussed the quality of it. And as said before, as time passes, more reviews like mine are going to crop up. You can bet there are many people we're not hearing from who are already aware of the travesty this edition is, who are not writing to DVD sites as professionals or members of a forum, yet complaining to their movie-buff friends. Only a few people have a hobby of writing reviews to websites, and not many have my passion to make my views known. There's simply no way this movie looked like this in the theater. I say again, it's been upconverted and sharpened. Hopefully Fox will give us a fully remastered edition. But before they do that, they'll have to become aware that we're aware of what a shoddy product they've released.

I saw it as an adult, too, and was a professional photographer at the time and understood a thing or two about grain. I remember the movie being grainy.
I didn't say it didn't have any grain. All films have grain. I saw Casablanca in a theater; it had grain. I said that this disc has an exaggerated presence of grain to the point that it interferes with the original presentation to an unacceptable degree. It's amazing to me that as a professional photographer, you didn't notice the change in grain intensity on the first closeup of Igor (and a couple of other places). This is a very important -- and at one time observable -- fact that serves as evidence in my contention. (Actually, I'm waiting for one of you here to take your disc out and play the section I'm talking about, and look very closely at it.)

Clearly we're not going to see eye to eye on this, so I'm not going to continue the discussion.
No, we are not. It's a shame, though, that you never bothered to actually address my point, but were instead more interested in maintaining the view of yourself as in infallible authority. I'll eventually be proven right. I'm certain of it. I wonder what your opinion of me will be then.

And I want to say, to the credit of the moderator and writers of this site, you have not abused the power to kick me off and erase my contribution just because I strongly disagree with you and have shown the ability to give tit for tat.

Last edited by alric1212192; 10-26-08 at 08:48 AM. Reason: an error
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