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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Vincente Minnelli
U.S.A. 1944

It seems pretty strange to think now that nobody concerned really wanted to make this movie, or wasn't happy shooting it either, since it has long since achieved the status of a particularly evergreen classic. Like the considerably inferior White Christmas, made 10 years later, we can't seem to do without it. But whereas you need nostalgia to get through White Christmas, you can be the vilest cynic and still like Minnelli's fluent four-act examination of a nice, middle-class St Louis family and its ups and downs circa 1903. Nostalgia, of course, is what it was all about when it was made in 1944. It looked back to a largely imaginary time when values were values and family life was paramount to happiness. Even so, there's very little cuteness or sentimentality, and you have to admit the period detail, right down to the changing seasons, is marvelous. Then there's The Trolley Song, Judy Garland at her most charming, etc, etc. Have yourselves a merry little Christmas, as Judy sings...

Excerpt of Derek Malcolm's review in the Guardian Unlimited located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 28 November 1944 - U.S.A.

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Comparison:

Warner - Region 2,4,5 - PAL vs. Warner (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Ole Kofoed for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Warner - Region 2,4,5 - PAL LEFT

2) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

     

   

   

Distribution

Warner

Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Warner
Region 1 - NTSC
Warner
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:48:16 (4% PAL speedup) 1:52:48 1:52:57.061
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.71 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.59 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,266,694,052 bytes

Feature: 25,587,111,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

 

Warner (PAL)

 

Bitrate:

 

Warner

(NTSC)

 

Bitrate:

 

 Blu-ray

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish and German Dub DD 1.0

English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3231 kbps 5.0 / 48 kHz / 3231 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, English for the hearing impaired, Finnish, French, German, German for the hearing impaired, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Italian for the hearing impaired, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Arabic, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Turkish and none English, Spanish, French and none English (SDH), French, Spanish, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Margaret O'Brien, Hugh Martin, Irving Brecher and Barbara Freed-Saltzman.
• Introduction by Liza Minnelli (4:59).
• Making of (30:35).
• Music only track (DD 5.0).
• The Martins Soundie short: Skip to My Lou (3:11).
• Trailer (1:37).

DVD Release Date: May 24, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 32
 

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Disc One:
• New Commentary by Garland biographer John Fricke with Margaret O'Brien, screenwriter Irving Brecher, songwriter Hugh Martin and daughter of producer Arthur Freed, Barbara Freed-Saltzman
• Introduction by Liza Minnelli
• Music-only track (without vocals)
• Vincente Minnelli trailer gallery
• Disc Two:
• "Meet Me in St. Louis: The Making of an American Classic" (Narrated by Roddy McDowall)
• "Hollywood: The Dream Factory" (Home video dubut of the Emmy-Award winning 1972 MGM-TV special, narr
• "Becoming Attractions: Judy Garland" (1996 TCM special)
• "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1966 TV pilot with Shelley Fabares and Celeste Holm)
• "Bubbles" (1930 Warner Bros. short featuring Judy Garland at age 7)
• "Skip To My Lou" (Rare 1941 musical short with Meet Me in St. Louis composers Hugh Martin and Ralph
• Audio Vault: Boys and Girls Like You and Me outtake (re-construction using still photographs); Lux R
• Stills Gallery

 

DVD Release Date: April 6th, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 32

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Garland biographer John Fricke with Margaret O'Brien, screenwriter Irving Brecher, songwriter Hugh Martin and daughter of producer Arthur Freed, Barbara Freed-Saltzman
• Introduction by Liza Minnelli
• Vincente Minnelli trailer gallery
• "Meet Me in St. Louis: The Making of an American Classic" (Narrated by Roddy McDowall)
• "Hollywood: The Dream Factory" (Home video dubut of the Emmy-Award winning 1972 MGM-TV special, narr
• "Becoming Attractions: Judy Garland" (1996 TCM special)
• "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1966 TV pilot with Shelley Fabares and Celeste Holm)
• "Bubbles" (1930 Warner Bros. short featuring Judy Garland at age 7)
• "Skip To My Lou" (Rare 1941 musical short with Meet Me in St. Louis composers Hugh Martin and Ralph
• Audio Vault: Boys and Girls Like You and Me outtake (re-construction using still photographs); Lux R
• 
Theatrical Trailer

CD Sampler of songs

40-page Digibook - articles, trivia etc.
 

Blu-ray Release Date: December 13th, 2011
Digibook Blu-ray Case

Chapters 32

 

Comments

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray (November 11'): The DVD was fabulous but, predictably, the Blu-ray advances beyond it in many, subtle, areas. The grain is more prominent, colors seem to support the previous SD rendering but also perk up and look very impressive. There is slightly more information in the frame. There is minor depth but I can definitely see this higher resolution (a bit less than 4X the SD bitrate) is an improvement that fans of the film will appreciate.

 

Audio is another area where those familiar with the film will swoon. We get a DTS-HD Master 5.0 channel at 3231 kbps. You could easily play this Blu-ray with video.  The Ralph Blane / Hugh Martin standards crooned by Garland are incredible at times - it has more depth and crisper high-end than the DVDs. Separation is never crisp but does exist adding some surround flavor to the presentation. There are English, French and Spanish subtitles on Warner's region FREE Blu-ray disc.

 

On supplements - we lose the 'Music Only' track (it is in the 'Audio Vault '- thanks Steve!) but everything else seems to have stayed from the 2004 US SD including the commentary, excellent Making of... and more plus we get a CD sampler with 4 tracks including the mainstays 'Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis", "The Boy Next Door", "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". This is housed in a handsome Digi-book with articles, photos, trivia and more. Really a beautiful package.

 

Absolutely we can recommend this - they certainly don't make gems like this anymore and the Blu-ray has done a fine job of presenting the film in the glory of HD. 

***

ON THE DVDs: Although the images are virtually identical these two editions offer a very different package. Firstly on the image: it is as close as I have ever seen between a major studio PAL and NTSC release. Even the bitrate graph indicates this with the same peaks and valleys. Being picky, the NTSC is minutely cropped up top and bottom - very slightly, but I do think the NTSC shows more film grain. Otherwise a complete draw.

On the audio front the PAL edition does not offer the original Mono track, except in two DUBs - bad show! So because of this enormous faux-pas for purists the NTSC wins this category with ease.

Extras too go easily toward the NTSC with a stacked 2 - disc release to the PAL's measly one.

Overall we must recommend the NTSC version, but we should also comment that this DVD image, for both editions , is gorgeous. Fabulous work Warner!

 - Gary Tooze

 


Menus

(Warner - Region 2,4,5 - PAL - LEFT vs. Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 

 

 

Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

Subtitle sample

 

1) Warner - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

NOTE: Not exact frame

 


Screen Captures

 

1) Warner - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

     

   

   

Distribution

Warner

Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Warner
Region 1 - NTSC
Warner
Region FREE -
Blu-ray



 

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Gary Tooze

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