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The Undesirable aka "A tolonc" [Blu-ray]
(Michael Curtiz - as Kertész Mihály, 1915)
Review by Gary Tooze
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 18,277,553,661 bytes
Feature Size: 18,192,390,144 bytes
Video Bitrate: 31.37 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: January 19th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3534 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3534 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Description:The Undesirable, a silent film treasure thought to be lost forever, was recently discovered in the basement of the Hungarian House cultural center in New York and returned to Hungary for restoration. An eight-month restoration and digitization process was completed by the Hungarian Filmlab, with support from the Hungarian National Digital Archive and Film Institute and the Hungarian National Film Fun, and funded by the Hungarian National Film Foundation. Noted Hollywood producer Andrew Vajna (Terminator, Rambo, Nixon, Angel Heart) played a major role in overseeing the restoration process. The Undesirable features a newly commissioned score by Attila Pacsay (the renowned composer of cinematic pieces including the Academy Award nominated short The Maestro) performed by the Pannonia Symphony Orchestra, and conducted by Peter Illenyi.
Betty (Lili Berky, Duel For Nothing), a young woman living in the country, is told by her dying father that he is really her uncle and raised her as his own when her mother was sent to prison for killing her husband. Alone and not knowing her mother’s fate, Betty travels to the city in search of work. There she finds employment as a maid in the house of a wealthy couple and their dashing son, Nick (Victor Varconi, For Whom The Bell Tolls), with whom she falls in love. When Betty is fired from her position after being unjustly accused of theft and escorted from the village, an ironic twist of fate propels the story forward with the sudden appearance of her mother Sarah (Mari Jászai, Bánk Bán) – presumed dead but recently released from prison – on a quest of her own to find her daughter.
The history of film in Hungary is almost as long as the history of film
itself. This is a nation that prides itself on its record of technical
innovations and challenging narrative techniques. The country’s rich
cinematic past will twine with its technology-savvy present when the
reels of Michael Curtiz’s A Tolonc (The Undesirable) arrives at
Budapest’s National Digital Archive and Film Institute, where it will be
restored and digitally re-mastered.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Undesirable arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is only single-layered as the film is just over an hour and there are no supplements sharing the disc. It looks very impressive - clean, some contrast inconsistency issues (some, infrequent, edge-enhancement, very marginally waxy) but generally I thought the video presentation was excellent. Rounded corners show and there is some bold tinting (see samples below.) It's extremely watchable in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio looking almost new. The 1080P Blu-ray offers a surprisingly strong video presentation (I didn't know what I was expecting, but not looking this dynamic!). Even with such a rich image - the 'apparition' sequences (two examples below) are visible and effective. Thumbs up!
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Olive augment the audio by using a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 3534 kbps (24-bit). It seems like overfill but the newly commissioned score by Attila Pacsay (the renowned composer of cinematic pieces including the Academy Award nominated short The Maestro) and performed by the Pannonia Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Peter Illenyi - sounds tremendous. Very rich, deep and supporting the film's extravagant emotions. There are no subtitles as the Intertitles are in English (looking quite authentic - see sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
No supplements - a true bare-bones release. It's a shame that there wasn't some form of discussion - the film's discovery certainly warrants it.
January 15th, 2016
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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