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7th Heaven [Blu-ray]
(Frank Borzage, 1927)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Fox Film Corporation
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 44,521,244,431 bytes
Feature Size: 29,630,017,536 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: November 3rd, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.21:1 matted to 1.78
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
• Au Septiéme Ciel with Hervé Dumont (19:22 - French - no subtitles)
•Frank Borzage April 11th, 1958 audio interview (27:44 - English with French subtitles)
• Screen Director's Playhouse "Day is Done" (25:27 - English with French subtitles)
• Photo gallery (40 images)
• 28-page booklet with photos and text (French only)
Description: Academy Award-winning drama SEVENTH HEAVEN follows the fate of a beaten-down Paris street urchin who meets and finds redemption in the arms of a bold working man, while war rages all around. A romantic classic of the silent film era.
The Film: ...This is an exceptionally well-acted place of work and Janet Gaynor's performance as Diane is true and natural throughout. This young woman was discovered by Winfield R. Sheehan, general production manager for the Fox Film Corporation. Never once does she falter in her difficult task of reflecting the emotions of the character she portrays. There is no effort to make her unduly beautiful with a halo over her head. She is winsome from the moment one beholds her countenance. She can cry and smile simultaneously and she impresses one by her depiction of faith when every day at 11 o'clock she "meets" her Chico, who is in the trenches. Sometimes Miss Gaynor reminds one of Lillian Gish and in other moods she resembles Lois Moran. Yet in her acting there is nothing imitative, but always an earnest and successful effort to impersonate the French girl who is rescued from hardship and cruelty by that "very remarkable fellow," Chico....
I'm afraid this is one of the cases where the screen caps don't do enough justice to the Blu-ray image. Carlotta Films have taken the best print (same scratches as BFI and Fox DVD sources), and transferred it to a dual-layered Blu-ray disc with the feature taking up almost 30 Gig. As the DVDs looked flat and video-like the 1080P image looks far more dynamic with textured grain and superior, better defined, contrast. It benefits quite extensively in-motion. Obviously, this is not at the level of the Masters of Cinema City Girl - which has set the bar impossibly high for silent-film HD transfers. As we have seen in the past Blu-ray resolution brings out damage (which exists reasonably heavily in 7th Heaven) to a more prominent level. In fact, everything visually is more prominent. This looked very good on my system - with the help of the lossless score it felt like a much more film-like presentation. If you want this masterpiece looking its best - this Blu-ray is the optimum transfer to date.
NOTE: Brian reviewed the DVD BFI package HERE.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More Blu-ray Captures
I believe this is the William P. Perry scoreand it is transferred with a linear PCM mono track at 768 kbps. It's clean and crisper than on DVD. There is a perception of depth. There are French subtitles for the intertitles - removable my pressing the subtitle button on your remote although there is no menu option. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Although a French Blu-ray production - there are only two things specifically English unfriendly. Au Septiéme Ciel has author Hervé Dumont discussing the film for 20-minutes in French with no subtitle options. There is also a French-only text 28-page booklet with photos. Accessible to English-locked audiences are an April 11th,1958 audio only Frank Borzage interview for almost 1/2 hour. I found this very interesting. We also get a 25-minute Screen Director's Playhouse "Day is Done" directed by Borzage - this is also in English. There is an impressive photo gallery of film stills (40 images) and some disc credits.
NOTE: It has been reported that some North American systems have difficulty in playing the video supplements.
October 27th, 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