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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Fred Zinnemann
UK 1966

 

A Man for All Seasons won the 1966 Academy Award for Best Picture. It tells the true story of Sir Thomas More whose steadfast refusal to acknowledge the supremacy of King Henry VIII's Church of England over the Roman Catholic Pope eventually cost him his life. It is a story that, were it not historically documented, would seem unbelievable.

 
Paul Scofield gives a brilliant performance in the lead role. There isn't a false note from him in the entire movie. He very clearly demonstrates one man's dignified refusal to compromise his beliefs. To him the issue is a matter of his very soul's fate and he sacrifices everything to save that.

The rest of the cast is quite good as well. Wendy Hiller who plays Thomas' wife Alice is especially outstanding in the scene where she visits her husband in jail knowing it will be the last time she sees him alive. The supporting cast also boasts such names as Orson Welles, Robert Shaw and John Hurt.

Excerpt from Three Movie Nuffs located HERE

 

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: December 12th, 1966

Reviews                                                         More Reviews                                                      DVD Reviews

 

 Comparison: 

Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC SECOND

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) The Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Sony

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony (Special Edition)

Region 1,4 - NTSC

Twilight Time
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
The Masters of Cinema Spine #163
Region
'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:00:20 2:00:20 2:00:27.887 2:00:28.679

Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.27 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.3 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1

Disc Size: 36,188,305,979 bytes

Feature Size: 34,182,076,416 bytes

Total Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

1.66:1

Disc Size: 49,638,525,050 bytes

Feature Size: 39,989,446,656 bytes

Total Bitrate: 35.03 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate : Sony

Bitrate: Sony (Special Edition)

Bitrate: Twilight Time Blu-ray

Bitrate: Masters of Cinema Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2551 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2551 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1160 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1160 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary Track:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1800 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1800 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2549 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2549 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated Score:

LPCM Audio English 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps

Subtitles English, None English, Portuguese, French, None English (SDH), None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Columbia

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (2:37 / 4:3)

• 4-page liner notes with short essay

NOTE: Flip side as 4:3 Full Frame version

DVD Release Date: January 26th, 1999
Keep case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Sony (Special Edition)
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• “The Life of Sir Thomas More” short featurette (18:16)

 

DVD Release Date: February 20th, 2007

Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio:
Twilight Time

 

1.66:1 Disc Size: 36,188,305,979 bytes

Feature Size: 34,182,076,416 bytes

Total Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
Audio Commentary with Film Historians Nick Redman, Lem Dobbs + Julie Kirgo

The Life of St. Thomas More (18:17)
Isolated Score Track
Original Theatrical Trailer (3:18)

8-page liner notes by Julie Kirgo

Limited to 3,000 units
o

Blu-ray Release Date: May, 2015
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio:
The Masters of Cinema

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Disc Size: 49,638,525,050 bytes

Feature Size: 39,989,446,656 bytes

Total Bitrate: 35.03 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:

Audio Commentary with Film Historians Nick Redman, Lem Dobbs + Julie Kirgo

• The Life of Saint Thomas More featurette (18:16)

• Neil Sinyard (31:26)

Isolated Score Track
• Original Theatrical Trailer (3:19)
• Masters of Cinema exclusive trailer
BOOKLET featuring new writing on the film.

• DVD

 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 20th, 2017
Transparent
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 7

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema Blu-ray - February 17':  It looks like Twilight Time (now Out-of-Print on their website) have supplied Masters of Cinema with the transfer and extras. The image quality is the exact same - although the MoC may look a bit better in-motion (slightly higher bitrate) - depending on your system.  Although colors, grain distribution, detail - are the same for both Blu-rays.

Masters of Cinema also have a rich DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround bump at 2549 kbps. There are some notable separations although not as crisp as modern renderings. Aggressive sounds have depth. McC, however, include the option of a, more authentic, linear PCM mono track.  Composer on many Truffaut film's, Georges Delerue (Jules et Jim, The Woman Next Door, The Last Metro, Day For Night) did the score and it also benefits from the uncompressed rendering. It all sounds quite impressive and is, also, offered in an isolated score option. There are English (SDH) subtitles, slightlt differently position - see sample, as a choice and the Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.

Just like Twilight Time, Masters of Cinema have the same audio commentary with film historians Nick Redman, Lem Dobbs + Julie Kirgo, the 20-minute Life of St. Thomas More piece that is also found on the Sony Special Edition DVDplus a trailer and the aforementioned Isolated Score Track. But Masters of Cinema go the extra mile adding a wonderful 1/2 piece with Neil Sinyard, plus their own version of the liner notes booklet and being dual-format include a second disc DVD.

So Masters of Cinema have advanced on Twilight Time's strong Blu-ray package nudging ahead in every category; a more robustly transferred video, authentic uncompressed mono audio option, all the extras (including same commentary) plus a new piece with Niel Sinyard and their usual extensive booklet. Brilliant historical dram and the commentary adds appreciation. Strongly recommended!

***

ADDITION: Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray March 15': The Twilight Time 1080P transfer looks darker but I can't help but think that this is the most accurate of the three compared, although, frankly, it does not look very 'good' in the Blu-ray-sense. I am guessing here, but I'd say this flat, heavy appearance, that looks digitized, is more a function of the original production than the transfer (dual-layered with a high bitrate). We occasionally use the statement that not all films look good when put to digital. Manipulation? I would tend to doubt it - both DVD have a similar less-appealing presentation. It does look better in-motion than the still below. Twilight Time are at the mercy of the elements supplied to them. Even while being tighter than the SDs, there is still an unhealthy softness that is hard for me to definitively identify. Ex. the close-up of Robert Shaw (extra capture #4) looks like a cardboard cutout but zooming-in extensively I can find no evidence of edge-enhancement although I do see flecks of color in the grain. Sometimes we see this. I would say 'unfortunate' but maybe this is the way the film looked theatrically. I don't know. It is transferred in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio.

Twilight Time use a rich DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 2551 kbps. There are English subtitles as a choice and the Blu-ray disc is region FREE.

Twilight Time augment the film experience with some extras - an audio commentary with film historians Nick Redman, Lem Dobbs + Julie Kirgo discussing finer points of from an educational historical standpoint as well as production details. The Life of St. Thomas More is 20-minutes and also found on the Sony Special Edition DVD. There is also a trailer and the aforementioned Isolated Score Track as well as an 8-page liner notes leaflet with text by Julie Kirgo. This Blu-ray is limited to 3,000 units.

I LOVED revisiting this film and the improved a/v did enhance my viewing pleasure. I consider this Blu-ray a 'keeper'.

***

ON THE DVD: This is a bit odd. In the earlier days of DVD Columbia Tri-Star produced some of the best image and audio transfers - especially of classic films. As, I assume, the practice became less cost efficient and Sony 'took over' Columbia - we began to see less-than-stellar classic DVDs produced, not at the same quality of, say, Gilda or Fail-Safe. The original 'A Man For All Seasons' DVD was single-layered, anamorphic in a 1.85:1 ratio with a full frame version on the opposite side. It had a slight black border circumventing the frame - marginally limiting the horizontal resolution. There were no extras except a trailer and a couple of liner notes pages.

Sony has come out with a single disc 'Special Edition' DVD of 'A Man For All Seasons' and it doesn't look especially good. It is in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. More information is shown in the frame of the new releases - most notably at the bottom. Like the original it is anamorphic and progressive but this is on a dual-layered DVD (sharing it with two unrelated trailers and an extra featurette that lasts about 18 minutes - plus some bumped audio tracks). My issues with the new DVD are the black levels which have been boosted with a very heavy hand (see reddish skin tones). It is incredibly darker, although I suspect colors may be more accurate than in the original DVD which looks to have had some brightness boosting. Artifacts are generally still visible in the new edition. It is sharper... or at least give us that appearance. On top of the mono track, a superfluous 5.1 bump, and French mono DUB are included. There is a decent featurette included called “The Life of Sir Thomas More” it touches upon a few facets of the historical significance of the story and production of the film but I felt a commentary or a longer documentary were certainly justified. Bottom line is that I don't think Sony have done this film justice and the 'Special Edition' label is rather bogus.

The DVD inferiorities don't take away from the magnificence of the film at all though. It is powerful stuff if leaning more towards the history buffs than the popcorn crowd. Fabulous performances and a very worthwhile film experience. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


Menus

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC RIGHT)

 
 
 

 

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

The Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray



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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Subtitle Sample: Not exact frame

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 FULL FRAME - NTSC TOP

2) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

Distribution

Sony

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony (Special Edition)

Region 1,4 - NTSC

Twilight Time
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
The Masters of Cinema Spine #163
Region
'B' - Blu-ray

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

MoC Blu-ray

Sound:

MoC Blu-ray

Extras: MoC Blu-ray

 


 


 

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Gary Tooze

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