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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Bishop's Wife [Blu-ray]

 

(Henry Koster, 1947)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: The Samuel Goldwyn Company

Video: Warner Video

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:49:12.671

Disc Size: 23,232,402,921 bytes

Feature Size: 22,558,820,352 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.96 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 5th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1068 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1068 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

Theatrical Trailer (2:41)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Heavenly bells are ringing, jubilant choirs are singing, and Christmas joy is blanketing the world like freshly fallen snow. But the Yuletide spirit has yet to warm Bishop Henry Brougham's Victorian home. Struggling to raise funds for a new cathedral, the preoccupied young clergyman has neglected his loving wife, Julia, and now only divine intervention can save their marriage! But the powerful and handsome angel sent from above has a mind of his own and teaching mortal Henry an immortal lesson in romance isn't all he has planned! Starring Oscarr winners Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven*, and featuring a stellar supporting cast" (The Hollywood Reporter), which includes James Gleason and Monty Woolley, this delightful romantic comedy is wondrous, witty and truly divine!

 

 

The Film:

When Episcopalian bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) prays for divine guidance in his efforts to raise the necessary funds for a new cathedral, his prayers are answered in the form of a handsome, personable guardian angel named Dudley (Cary Grant). Establishing himself as a Yuletide guest in the Brougham home, Dudley arouses the ire of Henry, who, unaware that his visitor is from Up Above, assumes that Dudley has designs on the bishop's wife Julia (Loretta Young). Eventually, the lives of both Henry and Julia are agreeably altered by the presence of the affable angel: He regains the "common touch" he'd almost lost, while she realizes anew how much she truly loves her husband. Adapted by Robert E. Sherwood and Robert Bercovicci from a novel by Robert Nathan, The Bishop's Wife was remade in 1996 as The Preacher's Wife, with Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston and Courtney B. Vance.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

In all, The Bishop's Wife picked up five Academy nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, as well as Best Sound Recording, Best Editing and Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. But Goldwyn would only take home one statuette - for Best Sound. As for his prediction, it proved to be an ironic example of "Don't wish so hard for something, you just might get it." Loretta Young did indeed win the Best Actress Oscar that year - for The Farmer's Daughter, produced through RKO by David O. Selznick!

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

The Bishop's Wife is 66 this year and gets a Blu-ray transfer from Warner. The image shows some textures. It is fairly dark throughout but I found no instances of noise. This is single-layered but with no supplements the less-than-2-hour film is supported with a decent bitrate. Contrast is a well layered and balanced. There is no damage or speckles. The 1080P touches on depth but the true value would be in the visibility of grain. This Blu-ray has a consistent appearance although perhaps a notch below what I was anticipating.

 

Ryan tells us in email: "People seem to have identified 4 errors with the Blu-ray. The first one may or may not have been fixed and reissued by the manufacturer... it wasn't really clear as some people received a replacement disc directly through Warner Brothers, while others purchased already fixed copies from retailers.

Error #1

Described in the Blu-ray dot com website's review HERE:

"...Warner has not added any new features for the Blu-ray. Unfortunately, it has added a video glitch that, while not fatal to one's viewing pleasure, will probably result in a recall. I discuss it in more detail in the Video section."

"Before I evaluate the transfer and mastering of Warner's 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray, I want to identify a glitch that I suspect will result in a recall and replacement, once Warner has verified the problem. At timemark 29:48, during the scene where Dudley returns to the Bishop's study to file index cards, a few frames from an unrelated scene abruptly appear and then vanish. The scene is an earlier one of Dudley and the Professor standing outside the cathedral. The transition is so quick that the mistake appears to be electronic, as if something went awry during the assembly of various portions of the digital master after it had been color-corrected and repaired. A similar glitch was seen with repeating frames in Starship Troopers, but the frames came from the same scene; these frames come from an entirely different scene.

Aside from this flaw, which should have been caught in QC, Warner has provided a first-rate presentation of cinematographer Gregg Toland's typically fine work."

Subsequently, several people have discovered 3 additional errors with the disc as well.

Error #2

The second error is mentioned on page 6 of the forums:

User 1: "My copy is also missing a second scene. Around the 01:30:20 mark, the scene where Cary Grant is playing the harp is cut short. On the old MGM DVD, he plays the tune to the end and puts his hands on the harp strings to silence it. The Blu-Ray never shows either of these things. The tune just abruptly stops on a close-up of Gladys Cooper and we see him get up from playing."

User 2: "I checked this scene too, the playing of the harp, and you are absolutely correct. This is yet another mistake on this troublesome disc .

On the DailyMotion Clip at ~1:26:42, at the end of Dudley playing the tune, he silences the harp by very deliberatly placing both hands on each side of the chords as he gives Gladys Cooper a very coy stare. This is totally absent on the Blu-Ray."

Error #3

3 users have confirmed a "missing dialogue" error as described on page 5 of the forums:

User 1: "...there is a small segment that is missing at around the 1:40:10 mark on the Blu-ray.

On the Blu-ray...
Dudley: Julia?
Julia: Yes?
Dudley: I think my work here is almost finished and I'll have to be moving along.
Dudley: ...My superior officers

On the DailyMotion clip...
Dudley: Julia?
Julia: Yes?
Dudley: I think my work here is almost finished and I'll have to be moving along. Julia: Oh...Well, where will you be going?
Dudley: Wherever they send me.
Julia: Who are they?
Dudley: My superior officers."

User 2: "The approximate sequence is 1:40:03 - 1:40:17

The cut begins exactly at 1:40:12"

Error #4

The fourth error seems to me the most minor and is described on page 3 of the forum:

"The end credits need to be fixed as well. The screen abruptly cuts to black way before the end...instead of waiting and fading out like the dvd does."

Recap

Error 1 - Frames from an unrelated scene pop in and then vanish at approx. 29:48 (This issue may have been resolved/ fixed with some retailers since it was caught early after release)

Error 2 - Harp scene is cut short at approx. 1:30:20

Error 3 - Missing dialogue between Dudley and Julia at approx. 1:40:12

Error 4 - End credits cut to black instead of fading out

(Thanks Ryan!)

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No boost going on here - the audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master mono track at 1068 kbps. It sounds very good (clean and consistent) if, predictably, flat. Augmenting Hugo Friedhofer's (Man in the Attic, Ace in the Hole, Body and Soul, Gilda) festive score we get children's choir renditions of Hark! the Herald Angels Sing and NoŽl. The quality is excellent. There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Only a trailer - nothing more - which seems a shame for such a lauded Christmas favorite.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
A true Christmas classic. This is a wonderful family standard and an essential to have in the best possible transfer. Unfortunately this is not it (see errors above.) Performances are super and this heart-warming film is comforting to have in the digital library
. Let's hope a recall is announced soon...

Gary Tooze

October 13th, 2013

Updated June 2022

 

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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