Criterion’s Twelve Angry Men Bluray arrived today. I’ve never seen such rich inky blacks and delicious needlepoint detail in the fine textures of the shirts and the beard follicles and sweat beads on E.G. Marshall‘s face and the weave in Jack Warden‘s straw hat. It’s the finest-looking version of this 1957 classic I’ve ever seen. It’s like sitting in front of a movie screen, in the fourth or fifth row.

Henry Fonda in a scene from 12 Angry Men — Bluray version.

But it’s also one of the most overwhelming grainstorm experiences I’ve had in a long time. Almost every shot is blanketed with digital mosquitoes…billions upon billlions of swirling micro-gnats. It was ridiculous at first, but it got a little better when I turned the sharpness levels down from eight to two.

I realize that it’s a tradeoff — to get the deeper tones and better detail and the celluloid complexity you have to accept the mosquitoes because they’re part of the image, but man…I wanted to get out the bug spray and slap on the insect repellent.

The same scene on the 2007 DVD.