Monday 12 February 2024

On Blu-ray - David Hare recommends McCABE & MRS MILLER (Robert Altman, USA, 1971) and PEEPING TOM (Michael Powell, UK,


The 4k encode of McCabe takes it to a new level of visual definition, and it’s a very big step up from the earlier Criterion Blu-ray. There’s no intrusion of Criterion’s occasional encoding screwups, like low pass filtering. This was basically scanned, graded and encoded by Warner/MTI so it looks flawless. And it remains a majestic Altman.
The new 4K disc of Peeping Tom from StudioCanal is so gorgeous it had me watching with my mouth hanging open for the duration. The new 4K was initiated by Film Foundation, and the BFI, with Silver Salt doing the scan in the UK and Cineric who did the grading in the States. It debuted in Brit cinemas last October.

The restoration work and the encode are simply gobsmacking. The Cineric team’s grading and color timing have totally captured the insane depth and lustre of 60s Eastman 35 stock, and the disc, especially in projection takes me back to a single 35mm screening at the old Kings Cross Gaiety circa 1968. I think the new grade actually deepens the color design in particular, which was so crucial to the overall production design by Arthur Lawson. Lawson had worked with Hein Heckroth on several earlier Powells including The Red Shoes. Lawson here is on his own, credited as Art Director and his design is just as crucial to the film’s dynamic, as is the great Otto Heller’s constantly lively, nervous and all-encompassing camera.. 

The disc is a perfect reason for upgrading your gear.

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