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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
The Bells of St Mary's [Blu-ray]
(Leo McCarey, 1945)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Rainbow Productions
Video:Olive Films / Olive Signature
Region: 'A' (both) (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 2:06:21.574/ 2:06:26.245
Disc Size: 20,969,703,029 bytes / 44,072,662,984 bytes
Feature Size: 20,887,222,272 bytes / 35,131,729,920 bytes
Video Bitrate: 19.94 Mbps / 32.90 Mbps
Chapters: 9 / 10
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Standard BD case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: November 19th, 2013 / November 26th, 2019
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 928 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 928 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1781 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1781
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
• None / English (SDH), none
• Audio commentary by
Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins
Description: Witty, heartwarming and one of the most beloved classics of all time, The Bells of St. Mary's delivers all the entertainment of its predecessor, the award winning Going My Way. Bing Crosby recreates his Oscarr-winning (Best Actor) role as parish priest Father O'Malley. The easy-going O'Malley is sent to revive a financially ailing parochial school and immediately finds himself at odds with no-nonsense Sister Benedict (Ingrid Bergman, Arch of Triumph) on how to educate the children. Beyond their delightful battle of wits lies a bigger problem--the skinflint businessman next door (Henry Travers, It's A Wonderful Life) wants St. Mary's condemned, so he can build a parking lot for his employees. Only a miracle can save St. Mary's now . how a devilish situation finds a heavenly solution remains to be seen in this captivating family classic that was nominated for eight Oscarsr, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. Directed by Leo McCarey (Going My Way, My Son John).
P.S. What is being covered in the First BD title capture?
We have been told is was removed because 'RKO Picture had been sold.' (discussed on the 2019 commentary).
In this follow-up to director Leo McCarey's Going My Way (1944), Bing Crosby repeats his Oscar-winning characterization of happy-go-lucky priest Father O'Malley. The good father is sent to help out financially strapped St. Mary's Academy, a parochial school presided over by lovely nun Sister Benedict (Ingrid Bergman). The film is constructed in anecdotal fashion: Nun and priest gently quarrel over teaching methods; they help patch up the tottering marriage of William Gargan and Martha Sleeper; Sister Benedict plays baseball and teaches a student how to box; Father O'Malley softens the heart of the man who holds the mortgage (Henry Travers) by convincing the poor fellow that he's only got a few months to live; and the kids of St. Mary's put on a much-revised stage version of the Nativity, complete with a chorus of "Happy Birthday" on the occasion of the Virgin Birth. A huge hit at the box office, Bells of St. Mary's was nominated for nine Academy Awards .Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
When Father O'Malley is designated priest of St. Mary's church and its concomitant elementary school, he is warned that the strong-willed nuns drove the previous priest into a rest home. Unfamiliar with the precepts of running a school, O'Malley incurs the disapproval of Swedish American Sister Mary Benedict, the Mother Superior and school principal, when as his first official act, he grants the students a holiday. As Sister Benedict escorts O'Malley on a tour of the dilapidated school building, she points to the building under construction across the way and confesses that it is her dream to have its owner, wealthy, old curmudgeon Horace P. Bogardus, donate his building to the church. Later, O'Malley meets Bogardus when he complains about the children playing on the fence surrounding his building. Bogardus warns O'Malley that unless the church agrees to sell him the school to use as a parking lot, he will ensure that the city council will condemn it. After leaving Bogardus, O'Malley is approached by a desperate woman, who begs the priest to allow her little daughter Patsy to attend the school. The woman, full of self-recrimination, relates the sad story of how her husband, a musician named Joe Gallagher, deserted her soon after the birth of their child and how she has had to depend on the generosity of men to support her young daughter. Sympathetic, O'Malley agrees to care for the troubled Patsy, who experiences difficulty adjusting to the school. As the office building nears completion, Sister Benedict visits Bogardus in his new quarters and envisions a modern classroom and gymnasium there. Overworked and aggravated, Bogardus is then paid a housecall by his physician, Dr. McKay.Excerpt from TCM located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Bells of St. Mary's has a modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered and, unfortunately, there are some weaknesses - but more the condition of the source. I think dual-layering might have removed, or at least lessened the artefacts that pop up. Contrast seems a shade dusty but I was more perturbed by the softness and occasional lack of a tight image. The grain textures are a positive although the film seems to need cleaning. Visually, this can be very underwhelming at times. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering but I wouldn't go any further than that. I suspect that the source may be compromised and would require a full restoration. As far as HD goes - this is quite lackluster.
Not only is this new Olive Signature Blu-ray from a 4K-restoration - it is also from a different source as evidence by the opening title capture and the framing of the film the 2019 is slightly cropped). Like we have seen from other 4K-restorations - this has a much more film-like thickness without better layered contrast. It is on a dual-layered with with over a 50% higher bitrate. Looks very nice - textured and smoother in-motion without the artifacts visible on the initial 1080P release.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Subtitle Sample - Olive Signature (2019) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
More Olive Signature (2019) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Captures
The DTS-HD mono track at 928 kbps is fairly unremarkable. I don't have any complaints - I expect this transfer produces a solid replication. There are no subtitles offered.
The new Signature audio - also DTS-HD Master but is 24-bit, is another upgrade. This is evident in the depth in the score is by Robert Emmett Dolan (My Son John, The Three Faces of Eve) and add to it Aren't You Glad You're You?, In the Land of Beginning Again, Vårvindar friska (performed by Ingrid Bergman), and O, Come All Ye Faithful. Olive add the option of, yellow, English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.
No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.
Include in the Signature BD is a new audio commentary by Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins (author of Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940-1946 and Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams-the Early Years, 1903-1940) He is excellent in relating lesser-known details of the film, Bing and much of the production like the many Silent Era stars in the supporting cast, how it is, essentially, a Prequel to Going My Way etc.. Also included are "Faith and Film" which has 17-minutes of Sr. Rose Pacatte on The Bells of St. Mary's and her love of film. "Human Nature" spends 21-minutes with Steve Massa talking about The Bells of St. Mary's and Leo McCarey. "Before Sequel-itis" has Prof. Emily Carman on the film in the context of Hollywood production history running shy of 8-minutes. There are two Screen Guild Theater radio adaptations running 1/2 each, cited as archival audio from the August 26, 1946 Screen Guild Theater presentation of The Bells of St. Mary's starring Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman and Joan Carroll reprising their screen roles. This two-act, 30 minute radio performance is directed by Bill Lawrence, hosted by Truman Bradley and features the songs "Aren't You Glad You're You" and "The Bells of St. Mary's" sung by Bing Crosby. The second is an archival audio from the October 6, 1947 Screen Guild Theater presentation of The Bells of St. Mary's starring Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman and Joan Carroll reprising their screen roles. This two-act, 30 minute radio performance is directed by Bill Lawrence, hosted by Jean Hersholt and features the songs "Aren't You Glad You're You" and "The Bells of St. Mary's" sung by Bing Crosby. There is also a digital text essay by cultural critic Abbey Bender.
Olive (2013) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Olive Signature (2019) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Well, Olive has certainly upgraded their 2013 Blu-ray release for this Holiday Classic. It has improved a/v, a intelligent, informative commentary and other extras. This is, obviously the edition to own, Absolutely endorsed.
November 5th, 2013
November 23rd, 2019
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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