George Hickenlooper and Fax Bahr‘s masterful Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (Paramount Home Video, 11.20) is one of the best making-of-a-famous-movie docs ever made, but the new DVD looks like a VHS tape. It could have looked much better if the original elements had been remastered, but Apocalypse director Francis Coppola, who narrates the DVD along with wife Eleanor, provided PHV with “the same 1″ inch tape that was used when they struck the materials for the 1991 videotape,” says Hickenlooper.
No remastering, tweaking or upgrading…brilliant! It’s almost 2008 with high-def video setting the hgh-end standard, and Coppola and Paramount Home Video have pooled their resources in order to give viewers an image consistent with video standards of 15 years ago.
DVD Beaver’s review says that “the quality is poor…parts of the documentary [are] dark and muddy since the footage was shot with 16mm cameras [and[ some scenes were shot or mastered on video. Plus “the raw footage that Coppola shot for his movie was un-restored (scratches, sprocket jumps, etc.), though scenes from the finished film look very good.”
DVD Talk’s review says “it’s aggravating that Paramount didn’t give the film a cursory touch-up…this 1.33:1 fullscreen transfer is only a step or two above my VHS copy of the film. The ragged, worn look does evoke the proper atmosphere, but the screens of text lack sharpness and often [and] the newer interview segments look flat and a bit washed-out…a very so-so transfer of a long-awaited title.”