A few words about…™ Dracula aka Horror of Dracula — in Blu-ray

Warner Archive has attempted to work their magic with the easily attainable elements, as worked upon by the BFI, and fans should be thrilled. 4 Stars

When [Horror of] Dracula was released, in 1958, its director Terence Fisher, was doing B pictures, and a spate of horror films / thrillers, for Hammer.

Although Horror of Dracula, as it was released here in the Colonies is generally consider to be the creme de la creme of the series, it’s still very much a high-end B production, by studio standards. It had rather inexpensive effects, and from an acting perspective, now (at least to my eyes) seems nicely over-acted.

What it did, was to make a star our of the 6’5″ “discovery”, Christopher Lee, then in his mid-30s, who had been playing bit and small roles in films, and had previously play the monster in Mr. Fisher’s Curse of Frankenstein.

From an archival perspective, Horror of Dracula has been rather problematic. It’s a huge fan favorite, had apparently been over-printed, with a handful of deletions to meet different censorship requirements, and even with (finally) a superior Blu-ray version, that solves many of the color timing issues, still appears to need a proper restoration from the OCN.

While color works nicely, I’m seeing a decided loss of shadow detail in many scenes, along with an image that might be sharper, if attained from a superior element.

It’s an odd one.

And while I don’t wish to denigrate the work performed, feel that for the record, need to make the point that it isn’t quite there yet.

Warner Archive has attempted to work their magic with the easily attainable elements, as worked upon by the BFI, and fans should be thrilled.

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Certainly

Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

106 Comments

  1. With this release, as well as the last two Hammer Dracula titles, The Sea Hawk, and The Thing, it looks like Warner Archive has relaxed slightly its "perfection or nothing" stance. While I'm sure they will come under criticism for it, I cautiously applaud them for accelerating their release schedule and getting these desired titles out on Blu-ray.

  2. Peter Apruzzese

    With this release, as well as the last two Hammer Dracula titles, The Sea Hawk, and The Thing, it looks like Warner Archive has relaxed slightly its "perfection or nothing" stance. While I'm sure they will come under criticism for it, I cautiously applaud them for accelerating their release schedule and getting these desired titles out on Blu-ray.

    Disagree.

    I don’t believe that Sea Hawk and Thing can be improved.

    Sea Hawk, is for the most part, gorgeous.

  3. Robert Harris

    Disagree.

    I don’t believe that Sea Hawk and Thing can be improved.

    Sea Hawk, is for the most part, gorgeous.

    I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in my post. I'm happy they're considering releasing titles that are less than A+ condition. The fact that Sea Hawk & The Thing have little to no room left for improvement shows they've done their work and we're the better for it. While it would be great if Horror of Dracula got the full restoration it appears to warrant, it's good they've released what they have to satisfy the fans who've been waiting for it.

  4. Just a note of correction on ". . . Christopher Lee, then 38, . . . "

    Lee was 35 when filming "Horror of Dracula," as he was born in May 1922
    and
    Dracula aka Horror of Dracula was filmed several months prior to his 36th birthday in 1958.

  5. aPhil

    Just a note of correction on ". . . Christopher Lee, then 38, . . . "

    Lee was 35 when filming "Horror of Dracula," as he was born in May 1922
    and
    Dracula aka Horror of Dracula was filmed several months prior to his 36th birthday in 1958.

    It was England, so maybe 38 is in metric years. 😛

  6. Malcolm R

    It was England, so maybe 38 is in metric years. 😛

    B-ROLL

    But the English were on the um English system until 1965 …

    But the "New Math" started in the 1950s … 😉

    Don’t forget they drive on the wrong side of the road over there. That’s GOT to age a person dramatically. 😀

  7. JohnMor

    Don’t forget they drive on the wrong side of the road over there. That’s GOT to age a person dramatically. 😀

    Perhaps he was using the Victoria Principal/Charo method of determining one's birth-date 😉

  8. Peter Apruzzese

    I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in my post. I'm happy they're considering releasing titles that are less than A+ condition. The fact that Sea Hawk & The Thing have little to no room left for improvement shows they've done their work and we're the better for it. While it would be great if Horror of Dracula got the full restoration it appears to warrant, it's good they've released what they have to satisfy the fans who've been waiting for it.

    I wonder/hope if this means that films that don't have pristine elements are no longer off-the table for a Blu-Ray now. There are a number of 1930's films that would benefit from this.

  9. Robert Harris


    And while I don't wish to denigrate the work performed, feel that for the record, need to make the point that it isn't quite there yet.

    Warner Archive has attempted to work their magic with the easily attainable elements, as worked upon by the BFI, and fans should be thrilled.

    Damn!

  10. Reed Grele

    Does this transfer use the US title "Horror of Dracula" or the restored UK "Dracula" with the fancy "D"?

    Also, was this sourced from the BFI restoration, with the only difference being the color timing?

    Correct

  11. tanaleaf

    Still very anxious to know whether this release also contains any of the brief additional long-deleted disintegration footage discovered in Japan a while back… or not….

    It's somewhat confusing because, if they used the BFI restoration only then no, it won't, because the existing Japanese reels were only used in the expanded Hammer restoration. The existing UK disc has both versions on it but RAH mentions Warner using the BFI as a basis.

    There are few additional seconds from the Japanese reels that Hammer didn't include in it's restoration and I wouldn't hold out too much hope of those appearing.

  12. The Warner press release is reasonably unambiguous:

    Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, Britain's premier masters of the macabre, bring the Horror of Dracula to vivid, full-color death in this retelling of Bram Stoker's spellbinding vampire tale. Dracula (Lee), a centuries-old Transylvanian nobleman damned to an eternal half-life, regularly finds new victims. He also finds Dr. Van Helsing (Cushing), a scientist who becomes the Count's implacable foe in a deadly game of bat-and-mouse. This is the UK version titled "DRACULA", and featuring footage previously restored by the British Film Institute and Hammer Films. Warner Archive's new release restores the original color palette of the film, using dye-transfer Technicolor prints as reference, and has been meticulously cleaned of film-related damage for a superior presentation.

    The dread is here – as are the power and pathos of this genre landmark by which Hammer Studios ushered in a new era of screen chills from classic evildoers. Tremble through that era again. Unleash the horror. Special Features and Technical Specs:

    • NEW REMASTER SOURCED FROM THE HAMMER/BFI RESTORATION OF THE FILM
    • Original UK Theatrical Trailer
    • Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature
  13. Are there two UK Blu-rays or one? I have one from Lionsgate – I assume that's what everyone is talking about. On the other board, one particularly dim person is still going on and on about how the BFI color timing is baked into the scan so Warners couldn't really fix it. Color timing isn't baked into a scan – a scan is raw and then work is done on it. These people are beyond help.

  14. John Hodson
    • NEW REMASTER SOURCED FROM THE HAMMER/BFI RESTORATION OF THE FILM

    Thanks I hadn't seen that (or, if I had I didn't remember it) It SOUNDS like we'll get either both or, at the very least, the final Hammer restoration which should please most people!

  15. So this is the UK version that I have from Lionsgate titled Dracula ? With a New Remaster. Why are they calling it Horror of Dracula then ??? I was hoping for the Horror title, just to have both versions on Bluray, the UK and US. The UK bluray has No trailer. WB should have released both versions. Can't wait to see the far superior color Mr. Harris mentioned.

  16. According to a Anthony Hinds quote. from Scarlett Street Forums…..”We made a special version of Dracula for Japan because we know they love that sort of thing…” (what is that supposed to mean?). Also, from Bob Furmanek 10/24/2002 on Scarlett Street Forums ….”Also, on further inspection, I had my information backwards. Concerning the aspect ratios (for Dracula I presume) The second unit material is printed 1:37, and the principal photography is hard-matted at 1:66. Sorry for the mistake!”. I am assuming that means1:66 is the image composition Asher and Fisher shot the film in. What theaters screened it at could be a different matter. Whatever, I really like 1:66. I wonder if the new WB Blu Ray Dracula also made corrections to the brightness of the film, probably just as important as the color grade argument, but no mention is made regarding it in their pre- release article. And why wouldn’t WB answer doubts or questions about the Japanese footage being used…..It’s a simple matter. I hate this kind of unnecessary “mystery”..could you please clear this up WB before I spend my hard earned cash!!!!!

  17. If it says HORROR OF DRACULA on the box surely the main title should say the same?

    And to add even more confusion. My Super 8mm sound feature film print has vivid colour but the previous BR issue was very muted I find. At the moment I prefer the 8mm film prints colour but I await to see how the new BR on release looks.

  18. 3D Projectionist

    If it says HORROR OF DRACULA on the box surely the main title should say the same?

    And to add even more confusion. My Super 8mm sound feature film print has vivid colour but the previous BR issue was very muted I find. At the moment I prefer the 8mm film prints colour but I await to see how the new BR on release looks.

    If this Archive edition is, in fact, based on the BFI restoration, the title card on the film should be DRACULA, regardless of what the cover art or advertising say. We'll have to wait a week or two before it gets reviewed.

  19. 3D Projectionist

    My Super 8mm sound feature film print has vivid colour

    That (HORROR OF DRACULA) was a feature-length Super 8 film that I missed. I did own BRIDES OF DRACULA, which was sometimes great but at other times way too dark. And talk about film collecting being an expensive hobby…8mm and 16mm (and, if you had the disposable resources, 35mm) prints were almost prohibitively expensive, and if you got a print with crumby color or exaggerated contrast, tough — you could not send it back or adjust it. For what I paid for a Mountain Films 10-reel Super 8 pan-and-scan print of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST ($300.00), I could now add, with inflation since 1984 figured, about 25 or more fairly pricey Blu-rays. But, oddly, no regrets.

  20. I thought with the long wait for The Horror Of Dracula, that when it finally did come, Warner would have done their own work on it from scratch & not piggy-backed on the BFI effort. Oh well, I suppose VERY few films get the Spartacus treatment & I'm not going to judge this 'till I see it, & I'm very pleased to hear that the colour is improved.

  21. haineshisway

    Hard-matted at 1:66 doesn't mean it wasn't framed for a different ratio.

    Correct. And if a camera has a 1.66 aperture, the resultant film would be projected slightly cropped on all four sides to retain 1.66 in projection – possibly 2.5 – 5%.

    A video master would not necessitate cropping to that extent.

    But once again, none of this matters, as films were heavily cropped in projection.

  22. Forgive me, and I'm genuinely not being combative, but if 'none of this matters' what is the point in having a shooting ratio, a recommended aspect ratio for projection? What is the point in home cinema constantly attempting to improve viewing quality, in trying to present films as they were originally photographed?

    When I was a kid, my local fleapit used to project film on the side curtains; there was a huge stain down one side as if a carton of ice-scream had been hurled from the front row and slid down the screen. Is that what I want to reproduce at home? Episodes of Zorro shot through the prism of a six-year-old eye?

    To quote the late, great Tony Hancock; stone me, what's the point eh?

  23. Suffer me please, but if a film was filmed on Eastman stock with prints produced by Technicolor, which would be the true look of the film? And wouldn't a "recommended" aspect ratio leave open the possibility of a projectionist having a choice?

  24. John Hodson

    When I was a kid, my local fleapit used to project film on the side curtains; there was a huge stain down one side as if a carton of ice-scream had been hurled from the front row and slid down the screen. Is that what I want to reproduce at home? Episodes of Zorro shot through the prism of a six-year-old eye?

    Ha, times don't change that much. The last film I saw at the cinema was, Three Billboards at a cinema in Tottenham Court Road (London) & there was a dirty great stain on the screen, & it really showed-up on panning shots. I was with an old work colleague & the first thing she said on leaving the cinema was, did you see the state of that screen!

  25. It's known in British trade journals from that period as "Standard Wide Screen" which means composed in camera by the DP during principal photography (Jack Asher) for 1.75:1 but protected/masked (hard-matted) for 1.65:1.

    1.75:1 was the intended primary non-anamorphic theatrical widescreen aspect ratio in the UK for many years.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

  26. kinzoels

    Suffer me please, but if a film was filmed on Eastman stock with prints produced by Technicolor, which would be the true look of the film? And wouldn't a "recommended" aspect ratio leave open the possibility of a projectionist having a choice? If this is true, there is no OAR but an RAR.

    The properly color-timed release prints would be the look – or the use of the color timing notes of the cameraman at the time. The original negative is not color timed.

  27. kinzoels

    Suffer me please, but if a film was filmed on Eastman stock with prints produced by Technicolor, which would be the true look of the film? And wouldn't a "recommended" aspect ratio leave open the possibility of a projectionist having a choice? If this is true, there is no OAR but an RAR.

    It's always recommended. The actual ratio is totally dependent upon the physical attributes of the venue, and that venues technical abilities.

    1.66, 1.75, 1.85 are just shapes, with no real value as to what is in them.

  28. tanaleaf

    Just saw in another forum a review indicating no additional Japanese footage has been incorporated into this release.

    Well I rather hope not, I'd prefer to see it as I saw it in the cinema, & there's the quality drop off of using a scratchy old print.

  29. Billy Batson

    Well I rather hope not, I'd prefer to see it as I saw it in the cinema, & there's the quality drop off of using a scratchy old print.

    Yeah I saw the footage on the UK release and it was nothing special after all the hype. Too be honest it made the disintegration scene just seem to drag on.

  30. tanaleaf

    http://www.tapatalk.com/groups/mon…f-dracula-1958-coming-via-wac-t71617-s60.html

    Thank you!!

    Now I AM confused. On that forum (though I realize it's only a single poster) he's saying that the Warner release doesn't contain ANY of the Japanese footage at all?? Not even that which was already in the Hammer 2012 restoration?

    The press release says this is based on the BFI/Hammer restoration which SHOULD include the Japanese footage from the Hammer work (which was just the earlier BFI resto with the newly found footage added in), else why not just say it's based on the earlier BFI restoration alone and leave it at that?

    I'm so confused now. (I wonder if he just means the additional 'new' Japanese footage that was released in Germany?)

  31. Will Krupp

    Thank you!!

    Now I AM confused. On that forum (though I realize it's only a single poster) he's saying that the Warner release doesn't contain ANY of the Japanese footage at all?? Not even that which was already in the Hammer 2012 restoration?

    The press release says this is based on the BFI/Hammer restoration which SHOULD include the Japanese footage from the Hammer work (which was just the earlier BFI resto with the newly found footage added in), else why not just say it's based on the earlier BFI restoration alone and leave it at that?

    I'm so confused now. (I wonder if he just means the additional 'new' Japanese footage that was released in Germany?)

    This guy is someone who either still works at or worked at MGM/UA. I'm not sure how he saw any of this or, if he did, what kind of system he saw it on, but I would take anything else he said with a grain of salt.

  32. Could be worse. I went to see a re-release of Lang's METROPOLIS (the one just previous to the current, nearly complete, version) and the theater wasn't set up to screen films at 1.33:1 and simply cut off the top and bottom of the frame. It totally ruined the composition and, at times, cut off text from the intertitles. I was there with a buddy who works for the Library of Congress in their Motion Picture Conservation department. We were both so disappointed, since it would likely be the only time we'd see the film projected from actual film and the screening was jacked up. Nothing the theater could do, unfortunately, since they rarely showed older films and had to use the setup they owned.

  33. Brian Kidd

    Could be worse. I went to see a re-release of Lang's METROPOLIS (the one just previous to the current, nearly complete, version) and the theater wasn't set up to screen films at 1.33:1 and simply cut off the top and bottom of the frame. It totally ruined the composition and, at times, cut off text from the intertitles. I was there with a buddy who works for the Library of Congress in their Motion Picture Conservation department. We were both so disappointed, since it would likely be the only time we'd see the film projected from actual film and the screening was jacked up. Nothing the theater could do, unfortunately, since they rarely showed older films and had to use the setup they owned.

    Similarly, first time I saw Citizen Kane in 35mm, it was run 1.85.

  34. Brian Kidd

    Could be worse. I went to see a re-release of Lang's METROPOLIS (the one just previous to the current, nearly complete, version) and the theater wasn't set up to screen films at 1.33:1 and simply cut off the top and bottom of the frame. It totally ruined the composition and, at times, cut off text from the intertitles. I was there with a buddy who works for the Library of Congress in their Motion Picture Conservation department. We were both so disappointed, since it would likely be the only time we'd see the film projected from actual film and the screening was jacked up. Nothing the theater could do, unfortunately, since they rarely showed older films and had to use the setup they owned.

    I was stuck with that once on a one-shot projection job at a venue without proper gear – the way to get around it is use the scope lens, take off the anamorphic adapter, use the scope aperture plate, and set the screen masking to scope height. You'll have an image that's windowboxed and small, but at least it won't be cropped.

    Robert Harris

    Similarly, first time I saw Citizen Kane in 35mm, it was run 1.85.

    A theater here in northern New Jersey ran Kane in scope sometime back in 2000 or so. They said that if they "ran it the other way, all the heads were cut off". They seemed perplexed when I mentioned there was a third way to show it…

  35. Peter Apruzzese

    I was stuck with that once on a one-shot projection job at a venue without proper gear – the way to get around it is use the scope lens, take off the anamorphic adapter, use the scope aperture plate, and set the screen masking to scope height. You'll have an image that's windowboxed and small, but at least it won't be cropped.

    A theater here in northern New Jersey ran Kane in scope sometime back in 2000 or so. They said that if they "ran it the other way, all the heads were cut off". They seemed perplexed when I mentioned there was a third way to show it…

    That's what I suggested. Scope prime without adapter, and scope aperture plate. Projectionist understood, but explained that he didn't have right lens to fill screen in 1.37.

    We left.

  36. When I played in that orchestra for "The Freshman" last month they rolled the picture up a couple of feet from the bottom of the screen so as to avoid musicians' heads. However, no image size adjustment was made, so the top part of the picture was cut off, resulting in what probably looked like 1.85.

    During the rehearsal I tried glancing up a couple of times to see how much of a disaster that was going to be. I *think* they just managed to avoid losing heads most of the time, but I'll have to guess at that next time I watch it at home. I believe none of the titles on this film extend close enough to the top or bottom to have gotten lost. Finally, no masking was employed, even though I'd like to think those curtains might have been usable since this room was designed for multi-use in the first place.

    View attachment 53012

  37. I remember taking my young daughter (she must have been four or five) to the Fine Arts here in LA – they were showing Singin' in the Rain and I wanted her to see it. Of course like all movie theaters then they could only show 1.85 and scope. So, I sat there trying to figure out how to explain that none of the dancers had feet. Thankfully, a month later a friend showed his 16mm Tech print and she saw the feet.

  38. haineshisway

    I remember taking my young daughter (she must have been four or five) to the Fine Arts here in LA – they were showing Singin' in the Rain and I wanted her to see it. Of course like all movie theaters then they could only show 1.85 and scope. So, I sat there trying to figure out how to explain that none of the dancers had feet. Thankfully, a month later a friend showed his 16mm Tech print and she saw the feet.

    Do you remember a Warner Bros. retrospective at the Fine Arts sometime in '76-'78? I went on a few evenings, and though I was marginally aware of this stuff then, I now have absolutely no idea what the ARs were. From what you're saying, those '40s noirs and such would have been shown in 1.85, and it's so hard to believe now that I watched a bunch of those movies that way.

  39. haineshisway

    I remember taking my young daughter (she must have been four or five) to the Fine Arts here in LA – they were showing Singin' in the Rain and I wanted her to see it. Of course like all movie theaters then they could only show 1.85 and scope. So, I sat there trying to figure out how to explain that none of the dancers had feet. Thankfully, a month later a friend showed his 16mm Tech print and she saw the feet.

    So she experienced the Agony of De Feet ;):dance::rock:?

  40. Charles Smith

    Do you remember a Warner Bros. retrospective at the Fine Arts sometime in '76-'78? I went on a few evenings, and though I was marginally aware of this stuff then, I now have absolutely no idea what the ARs were. From what you're saying, those '40s noirs and such would have been shown in 1.85, and it's so hard to believe now that I watched a bunch of those movies that way.

    Correct – they could not show Academy ratio there at that point.

  41. haineshisway

    I remember taking my young daughter (she must have been four or five) to the Fine Arts here in LA – they were showing Singin' in the Rain and I wanted her to see it. Of course like all movie theaters then they could only show 1.85 and scope. So, I sat there trying to figure out how to explain that none of the dancers had feet. Thankfully, a month later a friend showed his 16mm Tech print and she saw the feet.

    I had the same experience. I believe there was a limited re-release of the film that played ‘regular’ theaters in the mid-70s, and I was quite upset at the way the film was shown. I complained to the manager, and they had no understanding of what I was talking about. They thought it looked fine!

  42. Bob Cashill

    http://trailersfromhell.com/horror-of-dracula/

    Welp, that answers that then. I find no reason not to trust what Glenn Erickson says, he's pretty definitive…..

    The movie matches the standard cut of the film, but with the original U.K. title card from the BFI restoration, that reads simply ‘Dracula.’ The new WAC disc also retains the original Universal-International logos, that Hammer dropped for their ‘tweaked’ version. Five years ago the reconstituted Hammer company obtained some alternate shots for both Dracula’s assault on Mina and his disintegration at the finale, and fans hoped these would be interpolated into WB’s version. The answer is no — you’ll still have to invest in all-region capability to have those extra three or four seconds of alternate footage on disc.

    It feels like a wasted opportunity to me but it is what it is, I guess.

    What concerns me more is what he says about the transfer itself

    In terms of image quality, what transfer is better, the 2013 Lionsgate UK disc or the WAC’s new release? Choosing is not a simple matter of taste. The Warner Archive’s disc has much truer colors, but it’s also softer, more grainy, and far more contrasty. Blacks are indeed crushed, so there’s less detail in dark areas of the frame, or Dracula’s cape, for instance. It’s not a bad look, but faces in middle distance have less detail, and some reds seem to form into a solid block.

    I suppose I'll pick it up but I have to admit I'm less enthused about than I was earlier.

  43. One problem I have with Warners is that they should be putting commentaries on their blu-rays. They used to be very good with extras when they first put films out on dvd but have been lagging for a while now. Almost every other company that releases blu-rays now, add a commentary track. C'mon Warners! Get with the program!

  44. It does not contain the Japanese frames, as outlined in this very thread. 😉 However, the disintegration scene is obviously still in the film, as it is the climax of the movie. If you want the two seconds of additional frames, you'll have to stick with the UK disc.

  45. dpippel

    It does not contain the Japanese frames, as outlined in this very thread. 😉 However, the disintegration scene is obviously still in the film, as it is the climax of the movie. If you want the two seconds of additional frames, you'll have to stick with the UK disc.

    And if you really believe the 2 seconds amounts to anything then you also need to buy the german version from Anolis to get the additional 1.5 seconds to bring it up to 3.5 seconds that all doesn't amount to much. So the U.K. disc doesn't contain the complete disintegration scene either. For me give me the film with its proper Technicolor and I will be happy. The U.K. and German discs have nice extras but the color or lack of color is terrible and reminds me of watching it on VHS.

  46. My research appears to show that the true original cut of the film, did not include the extra seconds, that were requested by the Japanese, and were classified as inserts, extraneous to the final cut of the film.

    Regardless of what personal desires may come to the fore, this entire endeavor seems to be the veritable “storm in a teacup.”

  47. Kevin Hovis

    One problem I have with Warners is that they should be putting commentaries on their blu-rays. They used to be very good with extras when they first put films out on dvd but have been lagging for a while now. Almost every other company that releases blu-rays now, add a commentary track. C'mon Warners! Get with the program!

    Some of us don't give a damn about commentary tracks. We do however appreciate the very reasonable prices charged for Warner Archive Blu-ray discs.

  48. Kevin Hovis

    One problem I have with Warners is that they should be putting commentaries on their blu-rays. They used to be very good with extras when they first put films out on dvd but have been lagging for a while now. Almost every other company that releases blu-rays now, add a commentary track. C'mon Warners! Get with the program!

    Robin9

    Some of us don't give a damn about commentary tracks. We do however appreciate the very reasonable prices charged for Warner Archive Blu-ray discs.

    Kevin, welcome to HTF.
    I'm a big fan of commentaries and supplements, as well;
    but, with that said, Robin9 also makes the point that without the commentaries – as I am surmising – enables WAC to keep their prices down and "very reasonable".
    Criterion averages about 40 bucks with every supplement under the sun;
    but leaves other consumers without the option of purchasing just the film on its own, for a lower price.
    Twilight Time averages about 30 bucks with commentaries and isolated music tracks, but a smaller amount of supplements.
    Warner Archives averages about 20 bucks with scant extras.
    So there it is. Kinda like Goldilocks and the three bears.

  49. Yup, I really don't mind the lack of extras with Archive releases. I do love that Warner do a complete picture clean-up. Mind you, the more I read about Dracula, the more I'm thinking, why didn't Warner do their own thing from scratch, it's a popular title, worth spending a few bob on.

  50. Billy Batson

    Yup, I really don't mind the lack of extras with Archive releases. I do love that Warner do a complete picture clean-up. Mind you, the more I read about Dracula, the more I'm thinking, why didn't Warner do their own thing from scratch, it's a popular title, worth spending a few bob on.

    I believe they only have the rights for certain territories…as with RKO material … I'm sure in the mind of WB the monies they spend might be better spent on assets they control all the rights. They have done some excellent work with these other properties as well (eg Ambersons and Citizen Kane) …

  51. Billy Batson

    Yup, I really don't mind the lack of extras with Archive releases. I do love that Warner do a complete picture clean-up. Mind you, the more I read about Dracula, the more I'm thinking, why didn't Warner do their own thing from scratch, it's a popular title, worth spending a few bob on.

    Actually, far more than a few bob.

  52. dpippel

    It does not contain the Japanese frames, as outlined in this very thread. 😉 However, the disintegration scene is obviously still in the film, as it is the climax of the movie. If you want the two seconds of additional frames, you'll have to stick with the UK disc.

    I'll be happy to have both, as the UK also has a boatload of supplements.

  53. haineshisway

    I know it's here, but can someone confirm the exact number of seconds missing from footage that was never in the US release of the film. Can someone do that?

    Its 2-3 seconds on the U.K. disc. The German disc has another 1.5 seconds that was missing sound so they used sound from earlier in the sequence which makes the audio slightly out of synch for that sequence. I own the U.K. disc and have viewed the german one. To be honest after reading and hearing about this extra footage for 30 years I found it extremely disappointing and it doesn't really add up to much. In fact it just makes the disintegration scene feel dragged out. It needed cutting imho.

  54. Please keep in mind that the trims/lifts were done as far back as three months before release, during the post-prod and governmental censorship processes, and presumably before the creation of printing matrices.

    So it would have all been via b/w slash dupe, and color work pix.

    Virtually all films went through the same process, with 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 cuts and versions before final.

    My presumption, and it’s a qualified guess, is that the Japanese distributor requested harder material, and it was pulled from trims in early 1958, specifically for that purpose, before the unused footage was junked.

    If Japanese prints were from Eastman dupes, they could have been inserted, along with an adapted track neg. If they were running dye transfer prints made in the UK, they would have probably been inserts, cut in during release printing.

  55. Randy Korstick

    Its 2-3 seconds on the U.K. disc. The German disc has another 1.5 seconds that was missing sound so they used sound from earlier in the sequence which makes the audio slightly out of synch for that sequence. I own the U.K. disc and have viewed the german one. To be honest after reading and hearing about this extra footage for 30 years I found it extremely disappointing and it doesn't really add up to much. In fact it just makes the disintegration scene feel dragged out. It needed cutting imho.

    So, to sum this up: We are talking about under five SECONDS of footage that was never in any release print of this film in the United States of America? And the only place these under five SECONDS were seen was Japan? And THIS is what the brouhaha is about? THIS is what people are screaming about?

  56. Randy Korstick

    Its 2-3 seconds on the U.K. disc. The German disc has another 1.5 seconds that was missing sound so they used sound from earlier in the sequence which makes the audio slightly out of synch for that sequence. I own the U.K. disc and have viewed the german one. To be honest after reading and hearing about this extra footage for 30 years I found it extremely disappointing and it doesn't really add up to much. In fact it just makes the disintegration scene feel dragged out. It needed cutting imho.

    The problem I have with the additional 2-3 seconds on the UK disc is that it lingers on Drac's decomposing face just long enough for one to tell that you're seeing 2 electric light bulbs with cigar ash. The original version is in many way more disturbing, because the quick cutaways make you use your imagination. As many people like to say, less is more.

  57. haineshisway

    So, to sum this up: We are talking about under five SECONDS of footage that was never in any release print of this film in the United States of America? And the only place these under five SECONDS were seen was Japan? And THIS is what the brouhaha is about? THIS is what people are screaming about?

    Now, if we were talkin' 22 seconds then we'd be heading straight into Eli Cross territory.;)

  58. haineshisway

    Are there two UK Blu-rays or one? I have one from Lionsgate – I assume that's what everyone is talking about. On the other board, one particularly dim person is still going on and on about how the BFI color timing is baked into the scan so Warners couldn't really fix it. Color timing isn't baked into a scan – a scan is raw and then work is done on it. These people are beyond help.

    Every time I look at that "other board" I'm reminded of how sane and almost LOVELY we are over here! 🙂

  59. Will Krupp

    Every time I look at that "other board" I'm reminded of how sane and almost LOVELY we are over here! 🙂

    Beyond help eh?
    The Haines way?

    BFI scanned in 2007 and did their color timing.
    Color was not good and parts are too dark.

    This is what was given to Warner's…complete with baked in mistakes courtesy the BFI restoration.

  60. babybreese

    Beyond help eh?
    The Haines way?

    BFI scanned in 2007 and did their color timing.
    Color was not good and parts are too dark.

    This is what was given to Warner's…complete with baked in mistakes courtesy the BFI restoration.

    From my understanding, there are no baked in mistakes, it’s merely a purposeful re-imagining of color and densities.

  61. Something has been troubling me with HoD.

    Toward the end of the film, the good Count is on the floor, hear back, mouth open wide…

    And all that I see is dental work.

    Now, as I recall Dracula “lived” in the 14th? century.

    One might presume that vampires are not affected by tooth decay, so that if our fair Count had dental problems while still in human form, it would have been some 500 years ago, which I would believe was before the dawn of modern dentistry.

    So…

  62. Sadly, you see that lack of attention to detail in a lot of period films, where the characters, especially the leads, still have all their teeth and they're all usually sparkling white and perfectly aligned or show evidence of modern fillings.

    I recall watching 10,000 B.C. and wondering who was the resident orthodontist at the time that gave all those pre-historic people the perfect white teeth.

  63. Malcolm R

    Sadly, you see that lack of attention to detail in a lot of period films, where the characters, especially the leads, still have all their teeth and they're all usually sparkling white and perfectly aligned or show evidence of modern fillings.

    I recall watching 10,000 B.C. and wondering who was the resident orthodontist at the time that gave all those pre-historic people the perfect white teeth.

    The local newspaper review of Blue Lagoon commented the the,now, mature kids would have not had access to good dental care, but they both had pearly white smiles 😀 …

    If you check teh "goofs" section on IMDB for just about any historical film there will be anachronisms listed …

    And that Willie Shakespeare guy piratically invented anachronisms
    Hamlet went to University of Halle-Wittenberg, in Germany. The school was not founded until 1502, so Hamlet could not have possibly been a student there.

    There is also the Benevolences Tax in Richard II. This would have been more obvious to theater goers in Shakespeare's day. Benevolence taxes were termed gifts and were not mandatory. This came into existence almost 75 years after Richard II's death (1400).

    In The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare keeps his Bohemia coastal while it is actually a landlocked territory…

    Cleopatra wanting to play billiards. Billiards was invented almost 2000 years after her reign, but was a game of luxury and masculine entertainment during Shakespeare's times.

    In King Henry IV, Richard the Third compares himself to Machiavelli, who would have been but an infant during the time the play is set.

    In Midsummer Night's Dream, characters are bestowed dukedom (a concept that wasn't in existence during the play's times, and given guns.

    In Troilus and Cressida, Hector talks about Aristotle, who in reality was born centuries after the supposed time of the Trojan War.

    And the most well-known:.

    Julius Caesar,Act II, lines 193-195.

    BRUTUS
    Peace! count the clock.

    CASSIUS
    The clock hath stricken three.

    There were no mechanical clocks in 44 BCE ,,,

  64. babybreese

    Beyond help eh?
    The Haines way?

    BFI scanned in 2007 and did their color timing.
    Color was not good and parts are too dark.

    This is what was given to Warner's…complete with baked in mistakes courtesy the BFI restoration.

    Ooh, thanks for coming over and making a pithy comment and referencing me – I feel so honored. As Mr. Harris has already posted and as I will now reiterate, please don't regurgitate the nonsense that is being posted there – learn from here: They got the RAW scan – all color correction for the BFI release was done AFTER the scan and that is what's on their Blu-ray. Warners took the RAW scan and did a different color corrections actually based on the IB Technicolor prints. Is there really something you're having difficulty understanding about this or what a raw scan off a negative is?

  65. Well I dunno. I have a few questions I'd like to ask Warner. Why did Warner say they were using the BFI restoration, if they were just using a raw scan, what element did the BFI scan from? (& did they do the scan or did Warner send it to them, but if they'd done that, there'd be no need to mention the BFI on the announcement blurb). I'd have thought that Warner held all the main film elements, are the original negatives suffering from fading issues? Whatever, I've read two reviews & they both mention black crush, which really shouldn't happen, & RH here gives the picture a score of 3.75, which is a tad disappointing.

  66. In The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare keeps his Bohemia coastal while it is actually a landlocked territory…

    This is one of the 'errors' constantly quoted by people untroubled by any reading of research and evidence.

    At that time the Kingdom of The King Of Bohemia stretched to the coast. Repeating disregard of this long discovered fact is part of the repertoire of those who choose to ignore all evidence that the writer of the Works of Shakespeare was not Mr Shakspere of Stratford Upon Avon. There are numerous obscure but accurate facts and observations in The Works and many that have been ignorantly regarded as mistakes have been proven true.

    Altlhough there is no evidence that Mr Shakspere ever travelled there is plenty that the Plays were written by somebody intimately familiar with foreign territories. I refer you to:

    The Shakespeare Guide To Italy by Richard Roe.

  67. Malcolm R

    Sadly, you see that lack of attention to detail in a lot of period films, where the characters, especially the leads, still have all their teeth and they're all usually sparkling white and perfectly aligned or show evidence of modern fillings.

    I recall watching 10,000 B.C. and wondering who was the resident orthodontist at the time that gave all those pre-historic people the perfect white teeth.

    Ha, & perfect teeth in The Walking Dead despite no dentists & the leads forever punching each other in the mouth. That's it with films, no matter how authentic they try to be, the leads will always have perfect Hollywood teeth (although in 30s-80s British films a lot of the actors, even leads, have far from perfect teeth). I was walking around London's National Gallery & the National Portrait Gallery the other week, & all the hundreds of portraits have one thing in common, everyone has their mouth closed…everyone.

  68. Billy Batson

    Well I dunno. I have a few questions I'd like to ask Warner. Why did Warner say they were using the BFI restoration, if they were just using a raw scan, what element did the BFI scan from? (& did they do the scan or did Warner send it to them, but if they'd done that, there'd be no need to mention the BFI on the announcement blurb). I'd have thought that Warner held all the main film elements, are the original negatives suffering from fading issues? Whatever, I've read two reviews & they both mention black crush, which really shouldn't happen, & RH here gives the picture a score of 3.75, which is a tad disappointing as I really don't like the BFI blue look & had high hopes for this.

    The original negative was the source of the BFI restoration although some footage had to be sourced from lower quality elements also provided by Warner.

    The BFI performed clean-up and other restorative work after the initial scan but prior to grading. This was the starting point of Warner's remaster and it's only natural to give credit where credit is due when working from something that isn't your own work.

    The goal of the Warner presentation was to replicate the look of the original dye-transfer Technicolor prints as closely as possible. What is described as black crush was intentional as this is how the prints looked and exposing more shadow detail resulted in certain illusions being exposed which worked perfectly for their time on the prints. Previous home video releases presented the film with incorrect brightness and gamma levels in addition to inaccurate colors.

  69. babybreese

    Beyond help eh?
    The Haines way?

    BFI scanned in 2007 and did their color timing.
    Color was not good and parts are too dark.

    This is what was given to Warner's…complete with baked in mistakes courtesy the BFI restoration.

    This is libel and may dissuade others from purchasing a release which doesn't suffer from what you falsely claim it does.

    It's a travesty that these damaging lies are allowed to be spread. I have no doubt that armchair experts such as yourself and others from that site wouldn't be saying a fraction of what you are if you were all to be held accountable for your comments. It's safe to say this stuff on the internet when one can hide behind VPNs and false names, but if confronted in person by the people who handled the elements and files, you would be as quiet as a mouse.

  70. Thanks for your reply JM1504, but I remain a bit unconvinced. The way you describe it, it sounds like perfection, but the RH score of 3.75 is unusually low for an Archive release, & the absence of detail in the dark areas is a worry, it may not be technically crushed (below the line), it could be something to do with the scanning, or what they were scanning. I'll probably end up buying this, but no rush, I'll see what people say (& I know there's a lot of cobblers talked online, esp. at the other place), & look at a cap or two, & I know that's a hanging offence in some states 🙂

  71. JM1504 posted pretty much what I was going to post. The Warner transfer is of the BFI Restoration that was performed back in 2007 but was re-timed for this release. The Lionsgate 2014 (?) blu-ray used the BFI Restoration as well and ALSO used the "Hammer" restoration from 2012 (which was the 2007 BFI with the addition of previously unseen footage from the Japanese reels) in a presentation that made both cuts available with a new, cooler timing. The CONFUSION, (and ultimately mild disappointment) as I see it stemmed from Warner mistakenly announcing that THEIR new transfer was based on the BFI/Hammer restoration when they really probably should have just said it was based on the BFI. I'm sure it was an honest mistake but I think it caused some confusion and elevated some hopes.

    Billy Batson

    Thanks for your reply JM1504, but I remain a bit unconvinced. The way you describe it, it sounds like perfection, but the RH score of 3.75 is unusually low for an Archive release, & the absence of detail in the dark areas is a worry, it may not be technically crushed (below the line), it could be something to do with the scanning, or what they were scanning. I'll probably end up buying this, but no rush, I'll see what people say (& I know there's a lot of cobblers talked online, esp. at the other place), & look at a cap or two, & I know that's a hanging offence in some states 🙂

    This is my worry, too, (as I don't ever remember Warner, or any studio, "purposely" adding black crush to mimic dye transfer "prints" in the past, which I still think is kind of wonky) but I've determined to just wait for the disc's release to see what we ultimately see. I was going to hold off on getting it until it was already out but, of course, my resolve has ALREADY crumbled to dust. Lol

  72. Malcolm R

    Sadly, you see that lack of attention to detail in a lot of period films, where the characters, especially the leads, still have all their teeth and they're all usually sparkling white and perfectly aligned or show evidence of modern fillings.

    I recall watching 10,000 B.C. and wondering who was the resident orthodontist at the time that gave all those pre-historic people the perfect white teeth.

    Dr. Bronstein.

  73. JM1504

    The original negative was the source of the BFI restoration although some footage had to be sourced from lower quality elements also provided by Warner.

    The BFI performed clean-up and other restorative work after the initial scan but prior to grading. This was the starting point of Warner's remaster and it's only natural to give credit where credit is due when working from something that isn't your own work.

    The goal of the Warner presentation was to replicate the look of the original dye-transfer Technicolor prints as closely as possible. What is described as black crush was intentional as this is how the prints looked and exposing more shadow detail resulted in certain illusions being exposed which worked perfectly for their time on the prints. Previous home video releases presented the film with incorrect brightness and gamma levels in addition to inaccurate colors.

    No

  74. Robert Harris

    My research appears to show that the true original cut of the film, did not include the extra seconds, that were requested by the Japanese, and were classified as inserts, extraneous to the final cut of the film.

    Regardless of what personal desires may come to the fore, this entire endeavor seems to be the veritable “storm in a teacup.”

    You are correct Mr. Harris as Producer Anthony Hinds, in an interview, stated Hammer made a special cut of the film because "the Japanese like that kind of thing". This also might explain why, in the entire world, only the Japanese have this different version with the extra footage.

  75. The BFI did remark in a pre-release that the OCN was in great shape..They did not use terms like existing elements, or other sources. Wouldn't it be a strange comment to make about the OCN and then not use it?

  76. kinzoels

    The BFI did remark in a pre-release that the OCN was in great shape..They did not use terms like existing elements, or other sources. Wouldn't it be a strange comment to make about the OCN and then not use it?

    From what I’m seeing on the Blu, the OCN does not appear healthy.

  77. aPhil

    In other words, not the OCN but another element was used by the BFI ?

    When they restored the film in 2007, the Bfi said:

    …The film was restored from the original negative, except for the original British title and the censored scenes, which were from dupe negatives found in Warner Bros’ vaults. The original prints were released on IB-Technicolor prints, and Richard Dayton at YCM Laboratories in Burbank worked with Ben [Thompson] to achieve this particular look…

  78. My copy arrived Saturday morning. It is much darker than the UK Lionsgate bluray. I was comparing them going back and forth last night. Not Blueish either like the UK disc. But darker. Why Darker ? The trailer is the UK Dracula one, it has Green spots all through it. ? Oh well, what are you gonna do !

  79. According to a 1976 interview with Terence Fisher in Little Shoppe of Horrors magazine #19, The only scene Hammer ever asked him to film for export was The Hazel Court nude scene from The Man Who Could Cheat Death.

    He aslo seems quite certain that Hammer never added anything to his films.

    That suggests the rediscovered Japanese footage was not shot specifically for Japan, but was intended for all markets.
    On the other hand if Anthony Hinds is on record saying it was shot specifically for Japan who are we to belive?

    Just another Hammer mystery we may never get to the bottom of.

    I don't know if I'm allowed to link to the interview with Terence Fisher as it's available online, but if you Google 'Terence Fisher Interview' you'll find it easily enough.

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