MARNIE - BD50 - R0 - Checkdisc date 6th August 2012 Length 02:10:23 / AVC / 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: Both this and Torn Curtain have an unusual look on Blu-ray that I can’t accurately account for. The look is not impressive, both are slathered with “fuzz” or “snow” which gives the effect of an old analogue TV set during stormy weather. I can’t tell why this might be. Whether it’s an appalling attempt to digitally noise reduce film grain, or something else – it’s neither filmic nor impressive in 1080p (and rather tellingly, it almost completely disappears from the start of Chapter 18 until the end of the film – an indication that something is definitely awry).
Along with Frenzy (opening credit errors and the only film in the set with very excessive DVNR); Family Plot (visually very uneven, heavy digital manipulation in some scenes); Torn Curtain (exactly same issues as Marnie); and to a lesser extent The Birds; I found this Marnie Blu-ray very disappointing and a missed opportunity that’s only going to give the Blu-ray format a bad name. Anyone would think it had been rushed out as part of a larger boxset containing larger tentpole titles, with a view to perhaps upgrading it in the future.
Pause Marnie (or Torn Curtain) on a particularly snowy shot and the resulting still image looks like a Georges Seurat painting, rather than a frame from a classic 35mm film.
This is clearly not the definitive edition of Marnie we were all hoping for. Now that the box set has been delayed 5 weeks (to Oct 30th in the US, and Nov 5th in the UK) it remains to be seen whether this is one of the titles that is being improved. I’m reluctant to give it a score, but it would probably be something like 3.5/10.
The official statement:
“Universal Pictures International Entertainment is moving the UK Blu-ray release of “Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” to 5 November 2012. Certain imperfections with the product have come to light and, as a result, we are adjusting the release date to correct these points. Our goal is to always deliver the best possible product to our consumers.”
Unfortunately, Universal aren’t commenting further about exactly which “imperfections” they might be correcting. If I hear anything I will of course update these entries.