The new 4K Clockwork Orange Bluray arrived yesterday, a package with two discs (4K + 1080p version) and an assortment of previously made doc extras.

It looks much, much better than the 2011 Bluray — richer, bigger, more detail, very celluloid-y. I was 94% pleased with the quality.

Tatiana watched it for the first time in her life. Within six or seven minutes she wanted to quit because of the rapes, beatings and generally cruel atmosphere. “You need to hang on a bit,” I said. “It doesn’t stay on this level. It’s a masterful film. Give it a chance.”

The reason I wasn’t 100% satisfied is an odd perception of softness in the middle of the frame here and there. Not in every shot but in many of them, and especially during the first act. Not “out of focus”, mind, but the focus seems a tiny bit soft in the center.

No, I’m not imagining this. I’m certain that here and there the center-frame sharpness isn’t quite what it could or should be.

I noticed this slight softness in the morning scene when Alex’s mom tries to get him out of bed, and when Mr. Deltoid pays a visit. Ditto during the cat lady scene. Not a major distraction but a very SLIGHT one. I wanted razor sharpness at the center of the frame, and this new disc holds back a bit. I felt a tiny bit burned.

I know that back in ’71, 35mm film and 16mm film could only render desired sharpness to a certain point. A Clockwork Orange was not, I realize, intended to look like 70mm. But I’m certain something is slightly off.

I think the Warner Bros. video guys made a judgment call — “do we maximize sharpness so that 1080p/4K viewers like Jeffrey Wells will be extra-delighted? Or do we present the film as it actually appeared in ‘71?” They went with the latter.

The package contains three or four mini-docs about the film. The best by far is Gary Leva‘s “Turning Like Clockwork.”