|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Shooting Stars [Blu-ray]
(Anthony Asquith, A.V. Bramble, 1928)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: British Instructional Films (BIF)
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 40,037,821,438 bytes
Feature Size: 28,716,566,976 bytes
Video Bitrate: 30.01 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: March 21st, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3676 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3676 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
•Pathe's Screen Beauty Competition (1920, 2:00)
• Around the Town: British Film Stars and Studios (1921, 2:30)
• The Lovely Hundred (1922, 0:25)
• Secrets of a World Industry - The Making of Cinematograph Film (1922, 7:49)
• Meet Jackie Coogan (1924, 10:41)
• Starlings of the Screen (1925,15:29)
• Opening of British Instructional Film Studio (1928, 3:44)
• Stills and Special Collections Gallery (2016, 6:22)
• Original screenplay (downloadable PDF, DVD only)
• Illustrated booklet with essays by Bryony Dixon, John Altman, Henry K Miller and Chris O'Rourke, and full film credits
DVD included (region 0)
Description: Shooting Stars is a must for any
cinema fan. Offering a rare insight into the workings of a
1920s film studio, there are location scenes, comic stunts
and an on-set jazz band which demonstrate just what life was
like in the early days of cinema.
Respectfully acknowledged in academic studies, Shooting Stars has
nevertheless suffered for being book-ended by Hitchcock classics and
ignored during the resurrection of other treasures from the 'golden age'
of late British
Silent cinema, belying its importance in terms of both
technical and thematic innovation. It marked the fiction feature debut
of British Instructional Films, whose change in direction fostered a
remarkable sense of freedom. Now also recognised as Anthony Asquith's
directorial debut, the film was credited to supervising veteran A.V.
Bramble, though Asquith was given an authorial credit beneath the title
for his script, a spiky satire of the domestic film industry.
The film was an immediate success in Europe, and it established Asquith,
who did most of the directing, as one of the most interesting people
working in the British movie industry at the time.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Shooting Stars is restored (2K resolution) and gets a new Blu-ray transfer from BFI. The 1 3/4 hour film is housed on a dual-layered disc with a strong bitrate. Contrast and black levels are not as rich as I was hoping but I understand the surviving sources used - one reel of negative, two nitrate prints and a master positive (theatrical, French etc.) - were the best available. The 1080P supports a decent image in-motion although less than pitch in terms of black levels but still imperfect. The frame rate has been adjusted to 24 fps without noticeable artefacts (ghosting, combing etc.). There are some scratches and marks - nitrate decay, but some detail in close-ups is impressive. I don't doubt that this Blu-ray is the best that could be done to bring the film to us. It's wonderful and I think we should be appreciative.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
BFI allow the option of a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps (24-bit) or a more robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3676 kbps (24-bit). They differ in a few spots but are generally the same. The jazzy score was composed and orchestrated by John Altman and performed by the Live Film Orchestra - commissioned by the BFI. It sounds excellent and richer and deeper in the surround. There are English Intertitles (see sample) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.
BFI add a number of extras - many short clips like the 2-minute Pathe's Screen Beauty Competition from 1920, Around the Town: British Film Stars and Studios from 1921, 25-seconds of The Lovely Hundred (1922), 1928's Opening of British Instructional Film Studio as well as longer Silent era pieces like Secrets of a World Industry - The Making of Cinematograph Film from 19223 running just shy of 8-minutes and a 10-minute short of Meeting Jackie Coogan as well as Starlings of the Screen from 1925 (15-minutes). There is a new 6-minute Stills and Special Collections Gallery and from the included DVD you can access a PDF of the original screenplay and the package contains an illustrated, 30-page, booklet with essays by Bryony Dixon, John Altman, Henry K Miller and Chris O'Rourke, and full film credits.
May 4th, 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
ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS