The furniture movers were done by 4 pm so I had plenty of time to bop over to the TCM Classic Film Festival by dinner hour. The initial plan was to see Harold Lloyd‘s Why Worry at what everyone still calls the “Egyptian” (i.e., the Lloyd E. Rigler theatre at the American Cinematheque). But first I slipped into the TCL Chinese to see how Universal Home Video’s DCP of Billy Wilder‘s Double Indemnity (i.e., a close relative of the new Bluray) looked on the big screen. Knowing of Universal’s delightful tendency to tastefully DNR black-and-white films (as they did for their Psycho and Cape Fear Blurays) I was optimistic. But what I saw exceeded my hopes.

It was beautiful. It was heaven. It was silvery and satiny and gloriously free of the digital mosquitoes that are all over the Masters of Cinema Bluray version. For the first time in my life I saw a Double Indemnity that looked like monochrome candy — an all-but-grainless version that will hopefully make grain monks seethe. I don’t what was more enjoyable — looking at the exquisite velvet tones of this 1944 classic and the entirely acceptable waxy complexions of Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck, or imagining the discomfort of guys like Pete Appruzzese and Glenn Kenny and DVD Beaver‘s Gary. W. Tooze and Robert Harris and the grain devotees at the Criterion Collection.

This is how black-and-white classics need to look, gentlemen. Not smothered in grain but crisp and clean and glistening with old-Hollywood sharpness and sparkle. I know that grain-monk theology is not going away any time soon, and that the only way to be truly free of their influence is to wait for them to die. But I was happy and delighted last night.

If you despise grainstorms, you’ll definitely want to buy Universal’s Double Indemnity Bluray (streeting on 4.15). I mean, this thing is “olly olly in come free.”

In his recent DVD Beaver review, Gary W. Tooze said “there are some fairly big differences” between Universal Home Video’s new Double Indemnity Bluray (4.15) and the Masters of Cinema Bluray that came out in July 2012. Among these are “less grain and richer black levels” and “an overall darker presentation” in the Universal version. “Have they ‘manipulated’? Quite possibly. Personally I like the grain textures of the UK disc but I can see the appeal, for some, in the smoother, darker image of the Universal.”