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Prince Valiant [Blu-ray]
(Henry Hathaway, 1954)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,048,406,064 bytes
Feature Size: 22,680,809,472 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.97 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: April 26th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 2.55:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1619 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1619 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
English (SDH), none
• Trailer (2:56)
Description: The Saturday matinee adventure classic is back! Young Prince Valiant travels to Camelot to become a squire for Sir Gawain, one of King Arthur's legendary knights, unaware that the traitor that sold his father King Aguar to the pagan rival King Sligon is already seated at the Round Table! With thrilling action, romance, courtly intrigue, Franz Waxman's rousing score, and a magnificent cast of Hollywood greats including James Mason, Janet Leigh, Robert Wagner, Debra Paget, Sterling Hayden, Victor McLaglen, Donald Crisp and Tom Conway, Prince Valiant is released for home viewing for the first time in the UK.
Have you read any good comic books lately? Do you know what's going on
with Prince Valiant, his close friend, Sir Gawain, and the other knights
of King Features' Table Round? If you do, then you have a good idea of
what to expect from the big CinemaScope film that Twentieth Century-Fox
has concocted from Harold R. Foster's "Prince Valiant" cartoon.
Under the microscope, the 2.55:1 widescreen aspect ratio, image quality of Prince Valiant on Blu-ray from Eureka has a few issues. Colors and contrast fluctuate a great deal between certain scenes a lot and the film exhibits some frame bouncing movement - especially in the beginning. It looks nominally horizontally stretched. There are some compression artifacts on the single-layered transfer and the source print has a few speckles and frame-specific damage marks (see last large capture example below). It's easy to see that visually The Black Shield of Falworth - released in 2009, by the same company, looks much better in my opinion. Detail is not consistent but does have some impressive moments - and colors, especially 'greens', are quite pleasing. While much of the presentation looks fine - there are moments the appearance can be erratic. This would probably be more noticeable to people with large systems (those who project) - where most home theater's won't be impinged by the deficiencies. This is obviously superior to any SD-DVD transfer.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio track seems a competent lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel rendering at 1619 kbps. Franz Waxman's original score has some uplifting and lively moments but nothing is extraordinary coming through the front speakers. It's reasonably clean and probably a demonstrative step above the previous DVD transfer.There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc, just like The Black Shield of Falworth, playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
There is nothing with my screener copy aside from a 3-minute, un-restored, SD trailer on the disc.
April 2nd, 2010
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze