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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/wyler.htm
U.S.A. 1946

One of the first films ever selected to go into the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry. William Wyler's masterpiece 'The Best Years of Our Lives' is unusual in that it continues to improve with age. I am at about 10 showings now, and each time I find myself more endeared than the previous. The list of awards it has garnered speaks for itself, and the timing of the release, just after World War Two, was so fitting for the social and political climate but the film recounts a timeless message regardless. It was written for the screen by Robert E. Sherwood, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1936, '39, '41, and '49. The Cinematographer was Gregg Toland of 'Citizen Kane' fame who passed away only two years after "The Best Years...". William Wyler, the director, I still consider the most underrated in his profession never becoming a common household name like an Orson Welles or Billy Wilder. The cast is the final and perfect piece of the puzzle. Neo-realism with Harold Russell, a war veteran who really did lose his hands in WW2; Myrna Loy unselfishly playing Fredric March's dutiful wife; the consummate pretty, intelligent girl-next-door Teresa Wright; flaunting Virginia Mayo and strong male figure Dana Andrews fill the screen with mounting realism of small-town USA in the late 40's. If you have seen this film and enjoyed it, I urge you to partake again. For myself, it has made an everlasting impression that I desire to revisit every time I become over-cynical with life. This is one of the greatest films ever made. I can't recommend a film more. out of

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 21st, 1946

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Comparison:

HBO ( 'Out of Print' ) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) HBO - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

HBO

Region 1 - NTSC

MGM 
Region 1 - NTSC
Warner
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:49:57 2:49:45 2:50:03.568
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.1 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33;1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.48
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 37,042,220,297 bytes

Feature: 36,330,289,152 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

MGM

Both sides

 

Bitrate:

MGM

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0), Soundtrack (Dolby Digital 1.0)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1026 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1026 kbps /
24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, French, Spanish and none Spanish, French and none English, French, Spanish and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: HBO Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Original Aspect Ratio) - 1.33:1

Discographic Information:
DVD Encoding: Region 1
Layers: Single (DVD 10)

Edition Details:

• Black & White, Dolby, Closed-captioned, Widescreen
• Un-restored original theatrical trailer (1:47)
• Musical score by Hugo Friedhofer' on a separate sound channel
• English soundtrack remixed in stereo by Chace
• Interview/Short film with Virginia Mayo and Teresa Wright (8:30)

• Original Poster

• Cast and Crew static screen bios

• Restoration details (static screens)


DVD Release Date: October 28, 1997
Snapper Case

Chapters 34

Release Information:
Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Original Aspect Ratio) - 1.33:1

Discographic Information:
DVD Encoding: Region 1
Layers: Dual (DVD 9)

Edition Details:
• Un-restored original theatrical trailer (1:47)
• Black & White

DVD Release Date: December 18, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 36

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Original Aspect Ratio) - 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 37,042,220,297 bytes

Feature: 36,330,289,152 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
 Introduction by Virginia May (1:08)
• Interviews with Virginia Mayo and Teresa Wright (7:22)
• Theatrical trailer (1:48)


Blu-ray Release Date: November 5th, 2013
Standard Blu-rayr Case

Chapters 36

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray (October 2013): Firstly, I imagine I will cherish this film for the rest of my days - always in my Top 10. It has such warmth and character. It never ceases to overwhelm me. I'm a shade less enthused about the image quality though. Warner have given this a dual-layered rendering for the 2 hour 50-minute film and the bitrate is supportive but it doesn't tighten as I had hoped. It also has some cropping - notable on the right edge through the beginning and then at the bottom near the end of the film. Why? It has none of the artefacts of the SD editions. The overall image is a bit darker and I'd actually like to live with it, and do some side-by-side tests, before making any further comments. One thing I am sure of is Hugo Friedhofer's (The Bishops Wife, Lifeboat, Man in the Attic, Ace in the Hole, Body and Soul, Gilda) score that alone can bring a cascade of emotion. It is lossless in original mono but I can hear some depth and strength not present in the DVDs. It is a beautiful score sounding the best I have ever heard it. Extras don't add much - the previously seen Intro by May and the interview with her and, that classy lady, Teresa Wright. I'll watch it again in the next week and make further comments. I can state with authority that I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the film for, at least, the dozenth time.

 

***

ON THE DVDs: Firstly, the HBO version is 'out of print' and a bit of a collectors item with good reason. Although it is a single layered disc (2 sides), it makes up for it with other advantages over the MGM version. It has better picture quality and better Extras.

As the film progresses the better contrast and sharper image appears more prevalent in the HBO version. Look at Fredric March's  face in capture #3 and Dana Andrews face in capture #4. Both are more detailed with visible film grain in the older HBO version. Bother version show some artifacts at times in the film, but they are very negligible.

On the Extras front, the HBO version has included a wonderful featurette with Virginia Mayo and Teresa Wright. I was impressed that Virginia Mayo continued her character role of Marie from the film with selfish anecdotes. Teresa Wright was as touching as she was in the film bringing herself to tears describing the emotional effect one scene with Myrna Loy and Fredric March still has on her. You may also play the wonderful music score from the film  isolated as an audio option. The MGM version has the same un-restored original trailer that the older HBO version does. I am lazy, but the flipping of the disc is not that big of an issue for me as it gives a intermission to a film that is longer than most others, so I say "get the HBO version' while you still can.

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

(HBO)


 

Menus

(MGM)


 

 

 

Warner Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Blu-ray Subtitle Samples

 

 

1) HBO - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) HBO - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) HBO - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) HBO - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) HBO - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

HBO

Region 1 - NTSC

MGM 
Region 1 - NTSC
Warner
Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: HBO




 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...

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