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Lucky Star [Blu-ray]
(Frank Borzage, 1929)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Fox Film Corporation
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 43,917,336,596 bytes
Feature Size: 23,534,346,240 bytes
Video Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: November 3rd, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.19:1 matted to 1.78
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1846 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1846 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Anarchisme Poetiqué - with Hervé Dumont (12:24 - French - no subtitles)
•La Femme Au Corbeau "The River" (54:28) with optional French commentary
• Screen Director's Playhouse "The Day I Met Caruso" (25:31 - English with French subtitles)
• Photo gallery (37 images)
• 28-page booklet with photos and text (French only)
Description: Mary, a poor farm girl, meets Tim just as word comes that war has been declared. Tim enlists in the army and goes to the battlefields of Europe, where he is wounded and loses the use of his legs. Home again, Tim is visited by Mary, and they are powerfully attracted to each other; but his physical handicap prevents him from declaring his love for her. Deeper complications set in when Martin, Tim's former sergeant and a bully, takes a shine to Mary.
"Sorry about that rock - but that was an awful lick'in" Mary tells Tim reminding him of their first meeting... and his over-the-knee administered spanking of the wide-eyed waif. In their next interaction - Tim, wounded in the war and confined to a wheelchair, gives her a consensual shampooing - washing her hair with eggs, working his strong hands deeply into her knots of thick urchin-hair. She is starting to blossom, but still has some mud on her. He states "Say! You'd be three times as white if I gave you a good scrubbing." But when he starts to disrobe her - it finally hits him. "How old are you anyway?" - "Most eighteen" she replies. Panic crosses his face and he shoos her away. The very late realization endears us to both characters.... and, never-the-less, love is plainly in the country air.
Lucky Star is the best-looking film of the three Borzage-Janet Gaynor-Charles Farrell Carlotta Blu-rays (namely because of restored/found source material) and, actually, is also in the best shape of the all the director's films in the Borzage, Murnau and Fox collection as well. Still there are plenty of rough patches where damage is readily visible. Like both the Fox and BFI transfers - this is 1.19:1 - and presumably from the same source. For the most part it is very clean with less hazier segments. Detail and grain perk-up. Once again the 1080P resolution has benefitted the appearance - providing substance and texture to the previously unremarkable, and flat, DVD visuals. The high level damage segments are the only real drawback here and that is no fault of the dual-layered transfer. This remains the absolute best way you are going to see this silent-era gem in your home theater.
NOTE: Brian reviewed the DVD BFI package, Borzage Volume 2, HERE.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
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This is the Christopher Caliendo composed orchestral score using harp, flute,violins + fiddles among other instruments (the same score, I believe, found on the Borzage, Murnau and Fox collection edition). It is some absolutely beautiful music transferred with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1846 kbps (the other two Blu-rays being linear PCM mono tracks). It is magnificent audio both in regards to score and technical transfer. Brilliantly subtle, clean and crisp - it 'made' the presentation for me. As many are already aware that a copy of this film was found in the archives of the Netherlands Filmmuseum, Amsterdam. The American intertitles have been partially re-created based on the shot continuity deposited for copyright at the Library of Congress, on the manuscript of the scenario and the Dutch intertitles. Once again there are French subtitles for the English intertitles - removable my pressing the subtitle button on your remote (on both my machines) although there is no menu option to remove them - they are set to default. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Hey - we get Borzage's "The River" entitled La Femme Au Corbeau - running 54:28 with an optional French commentary with no English subtitles, but this is certainly a worthwhile supplement. There is also another Hervé Dumont piece running about a dozen minutes called Anarchisme Poetiqué - again no English subs. A third Screen Director's Playhouse is added - "The Day I Met Caruso" directed by Borzage. This is in English. I love the impressive photo gallery and there is a booklet with photos and text (French only).
NOTE: It has been reported that some North American systems have difficulty in playing the video supplements.
October 29th, 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