It’s been known for eighteen months or so that Fox Home Video has been working on a less digitally scrubbed, more celluloid-looking HD remastering of Franklin Schaffner‘s Patton. This is to correct the “bad” Patton Bluray that came out in June 2008, and which grain purists and tech dweebs claimed was far too shiny and had removed all kinds of detail from the original film.
(l.) Jacket art for “shiny” Patton Bluray that came out in June 2008; (r.) jacket for a presumably more film-like, less-digitally-scrubbed Patton Bluray that will street on 11.6.
The grainmonks were correct — the “bad” Patton did remove data in order to present a sharp, spiffy DNR’d image. Bluray plebians like myself didn’t mind the shiny Patton that much (and neither have 97% of the owners of that Bluray), but I understand and respect the grainmonk complaints.
In any event, Fox Home Video is issuing a new, somewhat grainier, presumably more detailed Patton on November 6th.
I for one am looking forward to this new, somewhat grainier but presumably more detailed and textured Patton Bluray, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t confess to being a little bit scared of what might be in store. Every time a grainmonk-approved Bluray remastering comes out, it seems, I always feel a bit disappointed if not horrified. I hated WHV’s 70th anniversary Casablanca re-do, which took a perfectly fine-looking, slightly DNR’ed version and turned it into a digital-mosquito grainstorm movie. Schaffner’s film was shot on large-format 65mm widescreen, of course, and should render a dazzling amount of clarity without any grain concerns so here’s hoping.
Here are Robert Harris‘s original comments, posted on 6.9.09, about the “bad” Patton Bluray:
“It doesn’t look like film. It looks like scrubbed data, shorn of its high frequency information. I’m certain that the film has more information than I’m seeing. The image is impeccably clean, with only an occasional bit of errant dirt, which is welcome. But it seems to be yet another example of film that no longer looks like film.”