Sunday, 4 March 2012

"To Kill A Mockingbird" on BLU RAY. A Review Of The 1962 Film – Now Fully Restored And Reissued On Blu Ray In 2012.





"…Fairness…Stubbornness…Courage…Love…"

In April 2012 Universal Studios is 100 years old – and to celebrate that movie centenary - they’ve had 13 of their most-celebrated films fully restored for BLU RAY. But it doesn’t stop there. As many as 80 other titles will be given re-launches across the year as well - each featuring distinctive "100th Anniversary" card-wrap packaging and in many cases a host of new features. Most (not all) of these re-issues will be two-disc sets containing the Blu Ray, the DVD and also means to obtain a Digital Copy via download.

1962's "To Kill A Mockingbird" is one of the thirteen singled out for full restoration (see list below) – and an absolute peach it is too.

Released 10 January 2012 - it comes in a gorgeous limited edition 'book pack' (Barcode 5050582881844). The outer hardback holder has a card-pouch wrapped around it at the base and a 45-page booklet contained within. The book has interviews with Veronique Peck (his wife of 40 plus years), Harper Lee (author of the 1960 novel), pictures of the Shooting Script, Original Storyboards, Original Posters and Lobby Cards (from around the world), Press Book Excerpts and even Correspondence surrounding the movie (telegrams of congratulations from Fred Astaire, Betty Bacall and Charlton Heston). It’s a visual feast with loads of photos peppering the wonderful memorabilia. Universal are to be praised for this because it absolutely looks the part. But the real fireworks comes in the other two elements at play here – the extensive extras - and the glorious new print…

Digitally remastered and Fully Restored from Original Film Elements – Universal are reputed to have stumped-up over $300,000 for the restoration – and the Lowry results are BEAUTIFUL. Even from the opening logo and credits of a child drawing - there are no lines of scratches of any kind – and the black and white cinematography of 1930’s Alabama is fantastically clear. Stand-out clarity - the scene where the accused black man Tom Robertson is sweating in the courtroom as he relays his side of the story (a superlative Brock Peters – he read the Eulogy at Peck’s funeral in 2003 at Peck’s request), Atticus’s son Jem is in his dad’s car outside the family home of the black Robertson family as the hateful Bob Ewell looks on, the three children watching from the bushes as the mob try to take the jail with Atticus guarding the doorway, Atticus explaining what happened to Tom Robertson after the trial as the moonlight shines on his suit, the young girl Scout pointing out the simpleton Boo Radley behind the bedroom door (Robert Duvall’s stunning cinematic debut where he doesn’t utter a word but leaves an indelible mark) – it’s all suddenly gorgeous. And the sound is rounded and clean too. An exemplary job.

The extras are equally superb – the centrepiece of which is a near one and half-hour documentary called "A Conversation With…". It’s a feast for Peck fans – interviews with Barry Norman in 1974, Terry Wogan in 1979 and other notables throughout the years are peppered with home movies and footage of Peck giving a one-on-one show to a Virginia audience in 1999. It's a raconteur tour-de-force a la David Niven – an 83-year old Peck is generous, charming, witty, responsive – full of anecdotes about Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and Harper Lee. We get stories about meeting his wife in Paris just before shooting for "Roman Holiday" began – there's footage of dinner in Paris with the President of France Jacques Chirac and his family in Paris – US President Bill Clinton giving Peck the National Medal Of Arts and dropping it! But most of all you 'get' why Gregory Peck was greeted with such staggering affection everywhere he went in the world – he exuded 'good guy' – that old style Hollywood class that didn’t have a mean bone in his body. It's joyful stuff to watch.

The movie itself has entered into folklore – released in 1962 and filmed in Black and White – it primarily centres on a black man accused of raping a white woman and the trial that follows. Such was the power of the story – and especially Peck’s central performance as the principled lawyer Atticus Finch (his only Oscar win) it literally inspired members of the public to take up the law as a profession and even impacted on America’s turbulent and changing racial landscape of the time.

The performances by the children as innocents are particularly superb too – but it’s Peck who dominates the whole thing with a gravitas and sincerity that few actors could match. His stand against bigotry is magnificent and filled with a quiet decency that has touched audiences for decades. As if sensing the importance of the part, Peck’s scrawl is all over the shooting script – to the point that it often obliterates the text - the four words he scribbled on the last page describing the character he plays title this review – and describe the great man himself.

To sum up - with the 1930 anti-war masterpiece "All Quiet On The Western Front" also being amongst the first vanguard of these 'restored' releases – it's heartening to see Universal Studios finally throw some proper money at the preservation of its movie legacy – and be proud about doing so too. I for one will collect the whole series - and live in hope that other studios respect their past in the same glorious way.

An absolutely first-class release – and then some.

BLU RAY Specifications:
EXTRAS:
1. "Fearful Symmetry" – A feature-length documentary on the making of "To Kill A Mockingbird" with cast and crew interviews and a visit to Harper Lee's home town
2. "A Conversation with Gregory Peck" – an intimate feature-length documentary on one of the most beloved actors in film history with interviews, film clips home movies and more
3. "Academy Awards Best Actor Acceptance Speech"
4. "American Film Institute Life Achievement Award" – Gregory Peck’s memorable remarks upon receiving the AFI Life Achievement Award.
5. "Excerpt From Tribute To Gregory Peck" – Cecilia Peck's heart-warming farewell to her father given at the Academy in celebration of his life
6. "Scout Remembers" – Actress Mary Badham shares her experiences working with Gregory Peck
7. "Theatrical Trailer" – Original Theatrical Trailer of the film
8. "Feature Commentary" – with Director Robert Mulligan and Producer Alan Pakula
9. "100 Years Of Universal: Restoring The Classics" – An in-depth look at the intricate process of preserving the studio's film legacy
10. Blu-Ray Exclusive – U-Control
11. Pocket Blu – download content to your Smartphone and Tablet

VIDEO: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1.85:1
(Print Digitally Remastered and Fully Restored from Original Film Elements)
AUDIO: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese DTS Mono 2.0
SUBTITLES: English SDH, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, Traditional Mandarin

PS: The 13 'restored' Blu Ray titles in Universal's 100th Anniversary series are:

1. All Quiet On The Western Front (1930). Released 13 Feb 2012 in the UK. Restored, Remastered and a beautiful 40-page book pack...
2. The Birds (1963). Release date to be advised. Restoration and remastering as per “All Quiet…” and the packaging probably the same...
3. Abbott And Costello’s Buck Privates (1941). The Blu Ray is USA released 17 April 2012 (see Amazon.com for artwork) - a 2-disc "Collector's Edition" with Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy. It's fully restored, digitally remastered and in a book pack.
4. Dracula (1931). Release date to be advised. Packaging probably as per "All Quiet On The Western Front" - restored/remastered etc. Will include both English and Spanish versions.
5. E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial (1982). Release date to be advised.
6. Frankenstein (1931). Release date to be advised. Restoration and remastering as per 1 above, packaging probably the same...
7. The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935). Sequel that's better than the 1931 original - release date yet to be advised and will probably be in the same packaging as "Western Front" and "Mockingbird"...
8. Jaws (1975). And about time too - Spielberg's masterful 1975 shark-movie finally gets to Blu Ray. Release date to be advised (probably June 2012) and as above....
9. Out Of Africa (1985). Many will be pleased to see this picturesque romance finally get the Blu Ray makeover. 6 March 2012 release in the States.
10. Pillow Talk (1959). 7 May 2012 UK release - two-disc set – Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy. Fully Restored and Digitally Remastered. In a beautiful book pack.
11. Schindler’s List (1993). Release date to be advised. Restoration and remastering as above, packaging probably the same...
12. The Sting (1973). Release date to be advised. Restoration and remastering as above, packaging probably the same..
13. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) 10 January 2012 - reviewed above.

THE FULL LIST
Universal's 100th Anniversary Collector's Edition BLU RAY and DVD Reissues For 2012...An Ongoing List

BLU RAY:
1. All Quite On The Western Front. 14 Feb 2012. USA two-disc set with Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy. Digitally remastered and fully restored print of the 1930 Black & White masterpiece. Special 40-page book pack...
2. American Graffiti. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set, Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
3. Apollo 13. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
4. Babe. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
5. A Beautiful Mind. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
6. Billy Elliott. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
7. The Birds. Release date to be advised - restored and remastered and packaged as per "All Quiet On The Western Front"
8. The Blues Brothers. 6 March 2012 USA two-disc set with Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
9. The Bourne Identity. 10 January 2012. Two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
10. The Bourne Supremacy. 10 January 2012. Two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
11. The Bourne Ultimatum. 10 January 2012. Two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
12. The Breakfast Club. 10 Jan 2012. USA two-disc set with Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy. 1985 classic - but early word is that the print isn't any better than DVD?
13. The Bride Of Frankenstein. To be advised...
14. Brokeback Mountain. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
15. Abbott And Costello's Buck Privates. 17 April 2012. USA two-disc set. 1941 movie digitally remastered and fully restored. Book pack.
16. The Deer Hunter. 6 March 2012. USA two-disc set with Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
17. Despicable Me. 6 March 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
18. Do The Right Thing. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD & Digital Copy.
19. Dracula. 1931 Black & White. To be advised…
20. 8 Mile. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD & Digital.
21. E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial. To be advised...
22. Fast Times At Ridgemont High. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
23. Field Of Dreams. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
24. The 40-Year-Old Virgin. 10 January 2012. Two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
25. Frankenstein. To be advised...
26. Harvey. Release Date To be advised. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
27. Inglorious Basterds. 4 March 2012 USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
28. Jaws. To be advised...
29. Meet The Parents. 6 March 2012. Two-disc set - Blu Ray and DVD (No Digital Copy).
30. Mamma Mia! The Movie. 10 January 2012. Two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
31. The Nutty Professor. 6 March 2012. Two-disc set Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
32. Out Of Africa. 6 March 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy. Digitally remastered and fully restored. Book pack
33. Parenthood. 6 March 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
34. Pillow Talk. 1 May 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy. Fully Restored and Digitally Remastered. Book pack.
35. Ray. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy.
36. Schindler’s List ???
37. Seabiscuit. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray & DVD (No Digital Copy).
38. The Sting. To be advised...
39. To Kill A Mockingbird. 31 Jan 2012. Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy. Fully Restored and Digitally Remastered. See also UK release.
40. Waterworld. 10 January 2012. USA two-disc set - Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Copy - Theatrical and Extended cut (40 more minutes).

DVD:
1. Action Adventure Spotlight Collection [The Bourne Identity, The Fast And The Furious, The Mummy]. 6 March 2012. 3DVDs.
2. American Graffiti. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
3. Apollo 13. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy
4. A Beautiful Mind – Russell Crowe and Ed Harris. 6 March 2012. DVD.
5. Best Picture Winners Spotlight Collection [Out Of Africa, A Beautiful Mind, All Quiet On The Western Front, Going My Way]. 6 March 2012. 4DVDs.
6. Billy Elliott – Jamie Bell. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
7. The Blues Brothers. 6 March 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
8. The Bourne Identity. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
9. The Bourne Supremacy. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
10. The Bourne Ultimatum. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
11. The Breakfast Club. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
12. Brokeback Mountain. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
13. Car Wash – Richard Prior. 6 March 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
14. Charade. 6 March 2012. USA 2-disc set. 1963 movie
15. Classic Monsters Spotlight Collection [Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bride Of Frankenstein and Creature From The Black lagoon]. 6 March 2012 4DVD box set - all restored prints.
16. Coal Miner’s Daughter. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
17. Comedy Greats Spotlight Collection [National Lampoon's Animal House, The Blues Brothers, The Jerk, Car Wash]. 6 March 2012. 4DVDs.
18. The Deer Hunter – Robert DeNiro. 6 March 2012. DVD.
19. Despicable Me. 6 March 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
20. Destry Rides Again – James Stewart and Mischa Auer. 6 March 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
21. Do The Right Thing. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
22. Duck Soup. 6 March 2012. Marx Brothers. DVD & Digital copy.
23. The Egg And I. 6 March 2012 DVD. Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert 1947 film.
24. 8 Mile. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
25. 80’s Comedies Spotlight Collection [The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Fast Times At Ridgemont High]. 6 March 2012. 3DVDs.
26. Fast Times At Ridgemont High – Sean Penn. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
27. The 40-Year Old Virgin. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
28. Frances The Talking Mule. 6 March 2012. DVD.
29. Harvey. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
30. Hollywood Legends Spotlight Collection [Harvey, Spartacus, Touch Of Evil]. 6 March 2012. 3DVDs.
31. Inglorious Basterds. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
32. Imitation Of Life – Two Movie Special Edition. 10 January 2012. Features both the 1934 version with Claudette Colbert and the 1959 remake starring Lana Turner. 2DVD set and Digital Copy.
33. The Jerk – Steve Martin. 6 March 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
34. Jesus Christ Superstar – Ted Neeley. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
35. The Last Temptation Of Christ. 6 March 2012. DVD.
36. Mamma Mia! The Movie. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
37. Meet The Parents. 6 March 2012. DVD.
38. Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life. 6 March 2012. DVD & Digital Copy
39. Musicals Spotlight Collection [Mamma Mia! The Movie, Jesus Christ Superstar, Flower Drum Song]. 6 March 2012. 3DVDs.
40. My Man Godfrey. 6 March 2012 DVD. William Powell and Carole Lombard 1936 Black and White.
41. The Nutty Professor – Eddie Murphy remake. 6 March 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
42. Parenthood – Steve Martin. 6 March 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
43. Ray – Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington. 10 January 2012. DVD and Digital Copy.
44. Schindler's List. 10 January 2012. USA DVD and Digital Copy.
45. Screen Couples Spotlight Collection [Charade, Double Indemnity, Pillow Talk, My Little Chicadee]. 4DVDs Box Set.
46. Seabiscuit – Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper. 10 January 2012. DVD.
47. Sullivan's Travels – Joel McCrae. 6 March 2012.
48. Three Smart Girls – Deanna Durbin. 6 March 2012. DVD
49. Touch Of Evil – Orson Wells. 10 January 2012. DVD & Digital Copy
50. Westerns Spotlight Collection [High Plains Drifter, Destry Rides Again, Winchester ‘73]. 6 March 2012. 3DVDs.

No comments:

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc