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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Nothing Sacred [Blu-ray]

 

(William A. Wellman, 1937)

 

also available in The Selznick Collection [Blu-ray] (Nothing Sacred, A Farewell To Arms, A Star is Born, Bird of Paradise, Little Lord Fauntleroy) BELOW:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Selznick International Pictures

Video: Kino

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:14:04.375

Disc Size: 22,323,947,132 bytes

Feature Size: 20,607,812,224 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.88 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 20th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Trailers for Nothing Sacred, A Star is Born, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman 

Description: As potent today as it was when released in 1937, this classic screwball satire stars Carole Lombard as Hazel Flagg, the small-town girl who mistakenly believes she's dying of radium poisoning. Sensing a great human interest story that will tug the public's heartstrings and help sell newspapers, exploitative journalist Wally Cook (Fredric March) brings Hazel to New York City and turns her into a media darling. Wally's callous strategy takes a sudden turn when he starts having feelings for the vulnerable Hazel. Filmed in early three-strip Technicolor and scripted by Ben Hecht and James H. Street, this sharp comedy still sizzles with its cynical take on media profiteering, and the matching of Lombard and March is unforgettably entertaining. First time ever on Blu-ray!

 

 

The Film:

Irresistible performance from Lombard as the small town girl, supposedly dying of radium poisoning but well aware that she isn't, who determines to grab all she can get when a newspaper brings her to New York for a last fling as a publicity stunt. Ben Hecht's sparkling script occasionally loses its way between the satire and the screwball romance, but is even more caustic about newspapermen than The Front Page ('The hand of God reaching down into the mire couldn't elevate one of 'em to the depths of degradation'), and provides a welcome antidote to Capracorn in its view of small towns as hellholes to be got out of where an intruder is likely to be stoned or bitten by small boys. Some marvellous digs at the morbid sentimentality of the crowd, too, in particular a scene where a wrestling match is held up for ten seconds in tribute to the doomed girl while the bell solemnly tolls ten times. Quite attractively shot in colour, although prints tend to be suffused by an unpleasant pinkish wash.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

A marvelous black comedy full of wit and journalistic wisdom in the grand and capricious style of Hecht (he and Charles MacArthur co-wrote THE FRONT PAGE), this film is all the more stunning thanks to the outrageous and hilarious performance of super comedienne Lombard. This was one of the first of the screwball comedies, a classic of the genre which is just as funny today as when it was first filmed.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

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

William Wellman's Nothing Sacred is transferred to a single-layered, bare-bones, Blu-ray from Kino. The colors look so lifeless and funky with wild swings in skin tones but I don't point fingers at the 1080P transfer. It would surprise me if this is how this very early color film appeared in its day. It was great to see it via Blu-ray and the grain is impressive. You kind of relax about the skintone shifts once you get into the film. I appreciated the rich textures and there was very little in the way of noise. More due to the production or existing state of the source but there is some inconsistency in the visuals which can move from surprising clarity and color balance to cloudy haziness with less-tight color image quality. There are some frame-specific scratches but none that were too distracting. Actually, I wasn't expecting Nothing Sacred to look as good as it does.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The linear PCM mono track at 2304 kbps sounds about as good as we can expect. The dialogue is clear enough and imperfections are less noticeable. There are no subtitles offered and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

There are no relevant supplements. The disc has trailers for Nothing Sacred, A Star is Born, plus Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. I'd have loved to hear some discussion on the film or possibly even a commentary - but no such luck.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Seeing Carole Lombard and her charming performance - in 1080P - was a real treat. This is a masterfully made screwball gem. I found myself tightly wrapped right-up in Nothing Sacred. You can forgive a lot with this age of this color attempt as there is so much to enjoy. I'd lean more to A Farewell to Arms for appearance but this (totally different) film is in a bit of a class by itself and despite the bare-bones status the Blu-ray is recommended!

Gary Tooze

December 12th, 2011

 

 

also available in The Selznick Collection [Blu-ray] (Nothing Sacred, A Farewell To Arms, A Star is Born, Bird of Paradise, Little Lord Fauntleroy) BELOW:


 

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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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