I finally received my Mutiny on the Bounty Bluray today, and I have to tell the truth about it, which is more than what DVD Beaver‘s Gary Tooze and Bluray.com‘s Jeffrey Kauffman conveyed in their reviews. It looks better than the 2006 DVD, but not as good as it could have, given that this 1962 film was shot in 65mm Ultra Panavision.
I don’t mean to bite the hands that feeds, but the Mutiny Bluray simply doesn’t have the needle-sharp detail that you’ll find on the Ben-Hur or Ten Commandments Blurays. It’s pleasing enough, but it looks like it was derived from 35mm elements. I’ve read it’s from the same scan and transfer that constituted the 2006 HD-DVD disc.
The large-format sharpness and detail have never looked better on home video, yes. It’s better to have the Bluray version than the five-year-old DVD, of course. It’s just that the Bluray doesn’t convey how beautiful this film was when it was shown in 70mm roadshow engagements 49 years ago. I guess none of us will ever see a rendering on this level during our time on this planet.
The bottom line is that it would have been too expensive for Warner Home Video to do it really right, and I suppose, given the economic realities of the day, they had no choice. A digital scan of a 65mm film that lasts 178 minutes would have probably cost over $300,000, and perhaps a lot more. It just wouldn’t have made economic sense.