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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

And Then There Were None [Blu-ray]

 

(Rene Clair, 1945)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Rene Clair Productions

Video: VCI

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:36:59.855 

Disc Size: 21,488,003,540 bytes

Feature Size: 20,979,400,704 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 27th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-2 Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Narration for the deaf, none

 

Extras:

none

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Ten people, strangers to each other, are invited to a lavish estate on an island. Through a recording, their mysterious host accuses each of his guests of murder and proceeds to exact justice. The tension mounts as, one by one, the number of people are reduced through the ingenious plotting of the unseen killer. Finally only two are left and each is uncertain as to whether or not the other is the murderer.

 

 

The Film:

Based on the classic novel by mystery author Agatha Christie that was later adapted as the Broadway hit Ten Little Indians, And Then There Were None begins with ten characters, each with a skeleton in his or her closet, on a remote island off the English coast. They soon realize that they have been brought there by an insane judge, who has tried each of them for criminal behavior in the past, and who now feels it is his duty to render proper justice for each. The struggle to stay alive begins as each "guest" is eliminated in a fashion that corresponds to the titular nursery rhyme. Walter Huston, Louis Hayward, and C. Aubrey Smith are among those marked for death. The film's ending differs from that of the novel, and later remakes in 1966, 1975, and 1989 (all using the title Ten Little Indians), alternated between Christie's original finale and this film's climax. Depending on one's taste, the film's pacing is either excruciatingly slow or suspenseful, but the storyline has become a cinematic staple in everything from horror (Theatre Of Blood) to satire (Murder By Death).

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Often overrated version of Agatha Christie's play in which a group of people with no discernible connections are invited to a remote island mansion by an unknown host, only to be murdered one by one. The macabre humour is the best thing about the movie, with the suspense rarely tightening the screws and some of the performances (Fitzgerald in particular) tending towards cartoonish caricature. Enjoyable, though, which is more than can be said for the 1965 (as Ten Little Indians) and 1974 remakes.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

There is good reason to have little faith in VCI after years of interlaced SD transfers (Summer Storm, Silver Lode, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, The Scar, Stolen Face including many more desirable Noirs).  And not surprisingly, they pulled another boner with Rene Clair's And Then There Were None on Blu-ray choosing an MPEG-2 encode rather than the superior, and more popular, AVC. Other imperfections include signs of warping prior to reel changes and a generally soft, and occasionally, waxy appearance.  This is only single-layered with a modest but supportive bitrate. I suspect an MPEG-4 might have enhanced the contrast layering and hence added crispier visuals. Of course, we will never know now. This Blu-ray is flawed, IMO, and the 1080P image is compromised because of it. It is watchable but not significantly superior to a DVD.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The linear PCM 2/0 channel at 1536 kbps is a competent rendering although the original source may have some imperfections showing up in scatter dialogue. Often un-credited Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco did the score which seem fairly standard for a thriller with good supportive for the idyllic aspects of the island. The 'theme' music sounds crisp enough without range or depth. My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'.

 

Extras :

Nothing- not even a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I'm at odds with TimeOut Film Guide - the 1965 (as Ten Little Indians) and 1974 remakes had some flavor missing in this one. For VCI's absence of AVC encode and the overall lacklustre image this Blu-ray combined with no supplements and my indifference to the film (or was I just put-off by the transfer?) - and we give this a 'pass'. Let's hope this, and both later versions, get released by a competent label soon! 

Gary Tooze

September 26th, 2013

 

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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