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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Picnic [Blu-ray]

 

(Joshua Logan, 1955)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Twilight Time

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:53:08.823

Disc Size: 37,717,458,615 bytes

Feature Size: 37,022,177,280 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3287 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3287 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2090 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2090 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1593 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1593 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Isolated Score Track

'Original Theatrical Trailer

Julie Kirgo liner notes

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: “A kind of pure movie glamour. There are CinemaScope compositions on the river-bank…as great as Renoir.” —David Thomson

A down-to-earth, throbbing drama of average small-town Americans…a sure-fire prize-winner.” —Boxoffice Magazine

Director Joshua Logan’s superb adaptation of William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play focuses on a golden-boy-turned-drifter (William Holden) whose unexpected arrival in a small Kansas town ignites explosive passions in a discontented beauty queen (Kim Novak), a waspish schoolteacher (Rosalind Russell), an insecure bookworm (Susan Strasberg), and an ambitious mother (Betty Field). Featuring stunning ‘Scope cinematography by James Wong Howe and George Duning’s memorable romantic score (available on this release as an isolated track).

 

 

The Film:

It's Labor Day weekend, and fresh off a freight train is Hal Carter (William Holden), a happy-go-lucky drifter who's looking for a brand new start in life. A robust, handsome show-off, Hal has come to Kansas to seek gainful employment in his old fraternity brother Alan's family granary. But despite his high hopes and expectations, Hal's ambitious plans soon go away when his sexual magnetism attracts every woman in town, including 19-year-old Madge Owens (Kim Novak) -- the alluring young beauty queen who also happens to be Alan's girlfriend.

***

One of the biggest box-office attractions of the 1950s, Picnic was adapted by Daniel Taradash from the Pulitzer Prize-winning... William Inge play. William Holden plays Hal Carter, a handsome drifter who ambles into a small Kansas town during the Labor Day celebration to look up old college chum Alan (Cliff Robertson, in his film debut). Hoping to hit up Alan for a job--or a handout--Hal ends up stealing his buddy's fiancée Madge Owens (Kim Novak). Hal also has a catnip effect on spinster schoolteacher Rosemary Sydney (Rosalind Russell), so much so that Rosemary makes a fool of herself in front of the whole town, nearly driving away her longtime beau Howard Bevans (Arthur O'Connell). Persuaded by his friends and family that Hal is no damn good, Madge is prepared to break off her relationship. As anyone who remembers the film's famous overhead closing shot knows, however, Madge is ultimately ruled by her heart and not her head.

Excerpt from Hal Erickson - All Movie Guide located HERE

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

The Twilight Time Blu-ray release of Picnic looks significantly better than the DVD from the Kim Novak Collection reviewed HERE. It is much clearer and smoother via the dual-layering. There is a high bitrate and nothing has been tampered with on the digital-front.  The image quality shows some appreciated grain but texture does not overwhelm the video presentation. Depth is not readily apparent and there is no blatant noise - although some exists in the night scenes. The film has greatly benefitted from the competent 1080P transfer. Skin tones are a shade warm - contrast exhibits healthy, black levels. Daylight scenes dominate and are impressive. This Blu-ray creates a wonderful viewing experience. I was surprised at the competency. I'd love to see more films go this route.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Offered are both a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 3287 kbps or the more basic 2.0 channel stereo in similar DTS-HD Master at 2090 kbps. I sampled the surround but stuck with the leaner track and it did the job well. George Duning, who has composed extensively, did the score for Picnic and it works very well and sounds nice and crisp via uncompressed. Dialogue is clean and clear - no dropout issues. I wasn't as partial to the 5.1 when I tested it. There are nicely rendered optional subtitles (dialogue directly under the speaking character as Universal) - see sample above.  My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Twilight Time is usually lean on the supplements and this only has a trailer and the, predictable, isolated score. I feel as though they are trying by adding Julie Kirgo's liner notes.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Let me tell you - this was an enjoyable presentation. This is infinitely superior to its SD counterpart and it supports far greater appreciation for the film. Picnic was a great choice to put on Blu-ray, in my opinion. Novak is a camera magnet - and the 'Scope' value adds a great deal - fans of the era should consider indulging. Many positives here. 

Gary Tooze

March 4th, 2012

 


 

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 5000 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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