Wednesday, 2 January 2013

UK Blues: Drac is Back

Very nice news that the Hammer restoration team has been working on the 1958 Terence Fisher version of Dracula (Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, et al).  It's one of the studio's most admired films and the team have been aiming to restore it with AWOL footage that was decades ago excised by censors and found more recently in Japan (making this release the most complete ever), as well as presenting it in 1.66:1, which looks like the most likely intended aspect ratio (though no doubt there will be some fans finding something to moan about as they always do nowadays).  There has been a question mark over the ratio in the past, but they have conducted investigations and comparisons, as well as showing a few sample shots to illustrate over at their blog - 1.66:1 is a nice balance between Academy (1.37:1) and 'scope ratios, and my personal favourite, plus it was more widely used around the period, particularly in Europe, so I'm certainly happy with that decision.

I was never particularly enamoured with the film myself, disliking they manner in which the opening narrative set-up deviated significantly from the book.  However, that was back in the nineties and after also having viewed it on video cassette a few times - the new HD version is cause for re-evaluation so I will be picking this up on Blu-ray.  It will be released on 18th March in a pack consisting of 1 Blu-ray and 2 DVDs (i.e. everyone is catered for with one purchase, though there are no serious film fans who still buy everything on DVD in my opinion...) which will include a commentary plus new featurettes.  Probably region-locked, this is a good one for UK Blu-ray fans (and non-region B fans with multi-region players!).

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