No one in the world is more knowledgable than restoration guru Robert Harris about how films of distinction should ideally look on home video, particularly via 1080p and 4K Blurays. He is the absolute Yoda of this realm.

So after my recent traumatic encounter with the 4K Heat Bluray, I searched out Harris’s assessment of this disc on Home Theatre Forum, the most sophisticated platform anywhere for taking the measure of high-def capturings.

And I was absolutely crestfallen when I read Harris’s positive review.

Harris knows much, much more than I will ever know about this stuff, but I’ve seen Heat in all kinds of formats over the last 27 years (including a first-peek 35mm press screening at the Steve Ross theatre on the Warner Bros. lot). I was upset because I know for an absolute fact that the 4K Heat Bluray looks way too dark, and that what my eyes saw three nights ago was and is a desecration.

I felt confused and stunned by Harris’s remarks, and particularly by a suggestion that my settings may be “off.” HE’s Wilton TV, owned by the honorable Jody Jasser, is a solid, relatively new, state-of-the-art 65 inch Sony OLED

4K’s middle name, after all, is darkness. But there’s a possible solution for due diligence types. “If you dig into the setup menu,” I was told, “you’ll find black level settings.”

HE commenter ‘Kyle D’: “The UHD Heat looks great on a calibrated display in a dark room, but it will probably look like ass on most displays in most viewing conditions, and I can’t really blame or disparage people for not putting in the effort to get it looking right.”

HE regulars know Harris as the guy who oversaw the exquisite, ace-level 2007 and ’08 Godfather Bluray restoration, along with his other famous restorations (Vertigo, Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, Rear Window, My Fair Lady).

HE to Harris: “I’ll always be devoted to and awestruck by the 2007-2008 Godfather Bluray, but I was so upset by that awful 4K Heat Bluray that late last night I threw in the 2022 4K Godfather Bluray.

“I just needed to remind myself that a 4K remastering of a great film doesn’t have to be an infuriating stew of murk and mud covered by a black nun’s stocking.

“While I understand that it’s not as true of a capturing of the 1972 original as your version, I was delighted by the ‘22 4K nonetheless

“The Willis blacks are deep and satiny and delicious as fudge, and that indoor golden-amber lighting and those luscious taxicab reds and the detail on those tweed overcoats and those shiny, hand-rubbed 1940s cars, and those sunlit hues during the wedding scene and the death in the tomato garden scene and in Sicily, and I didn’t have to go into settings and adjust the black levels on the 65-inch Sony OLED. Imagine! It just looked that way on its own.

“I will always prefer your 15 year-old version (I’ll always think of it as the one that Willis heartily approved of) but in the wake of my dreadful 4K Heat nightmare the Godfather 4K looked like absolute heaven on earth. And the 4K The Godfather Part II disc, which I watched earlier this year in West Hollywood…fuhgedaboudit.

Posted on 2.16.22: