FRENZY - BD50 - R0 - Checkdisc date 30th July 2012 Length 01:55:52 / VC-1 / DTS-HD MA 2 Ch. 48kHz / Confirmed AR 1.85:1
These are my rough viewing notes about the technical quality of the *UK* Blu-ray:
Upshot: A completely re-rendered opening credit sequence for this new HD master introduces typographical inconsistencies, wrong fonts, typos, and multiple errors in crew members’ names. Parts of the film are slathered in noticeable DVNR which causes undesirable effects. I can’t recommend this disc. Dear Universal, when the credits get fixed (which hopefully involves simply putting the original credits back, regardless of softness or damage), please dial back the DVNR across the whole film too.
Why would Universal need to re-render the credit sequence? My guess is that they found clean, textless, undamaged footage of the opening helicopter shot and decided to try and recreate all the text to overlay it in order to save time cleaning up the actual, original opening credits. Bad practice, lazy, revisionist, disrespectful, fraught with potential catastrophe which has indeed backfired through sloppy execution. They’ve used unintelligent apostrophes and quote marks which smack of desktop publishing (post-1985) rather than a 35mm film from 1972; they’ve misspelt “fictitious” as “ficticious” and mucked up two crew members’ names (SEE HERE )
“Do a few misspellings really matter that much?” – Yes they do. “Nobody would really notice would they?” – That’s not the point. Think how insulting it is to these crew members, their families, descendants. This HD master of FRENZY will now become the master that everyone will see for decades on TV, on iTunes, in DCP, and on this bad disc.
We’re not seeing the film as released in 1972 and signed off by Hitchcock, we’re seeing an approximation of the opening titles, the text of which looks like a PS3 videogame, completely static, with digital fades between each piece of text. All done in a vain attempt to make the opening credits look a little better than they probably do, and to save cleaning up the original.
“How bad is the DVNR? Is it really a huge problem?” First impressions are that the film looks a bit too clean and smooth. In static shots, suspiciously inactive parts of the screen are paralysed by DVNR. In motion, resolution suffers as the DVNR realises it doesn’t have an algorithm to deal with this much movement. On much closer inspection, for example, a fascinating shot where Hitchcock locks the camera off on a doorway for TWENTY SECONDS with nothing happening in the frame (it’s at 00:36:50 and lasts until 00:37:12) the DVNR has the film grain in such a death lock that I genuinely thought I’d sat on the remote control and activated the pause button. It’s so unnatural and unfilmlike that it pulls the viewer out of the film. DVNR should be used sparingly, it should not be noticed, and should not cause any untoward effects. At times, parts of the film are soaked in DVNR which causes unwanted, unnecessary, and jarring effects.
If the credits were totally original, I’d give this disc a 4 (for the DVNR). It doesn’t matter if the original credits are soft and have a little damage. They should not be rebuilt. If the credits were totally original, and the DVNR was dialled back so that it didn’t freeze portions of the screen, I’d probably give it a 6 or 7.
As it stands, I think the decision to redo the opening titles was extremely cack-handed, and the re-rendering was executed in a similarly cack-handed manner befitting that of a one-man-band DVD label specializing in VHS>DVD rips, circa 1999. This is not the same Universal that made other great discs in this box set.
I give this Blu-ray 3/10 based on its technical merit.
2. Awkward; clumsy.
3. The new 2012 Blu-ray opening titles for Alfred Hitchcock’s FRENZY.
[from dialect cack excrement, from the fact that clumsy people usually make a mess; via Middle Low German or Middle Dutch from Latin cacāre to defecate]