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Dracula 1979 - The original theatrical color version — Page 6

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Well by now I’m sure we’re all enjoying our copies of Shout Factory’s release of DRACULA (1979) and the new 4K scan of the original theatrical color print. It’s been a bit of an eye opener given that this is in fact the way the film originally looked when it was released and obviously better than I could have ever remembered it.

The optical titles are, in fact, black on white and not solid white as they were in the VHS release of the film. This is obviously due to the titles being re-created for the the home video market which, in the 80’s, was 4x3 and the widescreen tiles would not have fit the screen. The flesh tones are far more pink then I thought they would be and overall the print is a lot brighter than I would have imagined. This is probably due to the fact that I’m so used to John Badham’s preferred color treatment and my restored color version.

Overall, I’m glad to finally have the film we all imaged we remembered given it’s been forty years since its release. What are your thoughts on the new Bluray?

Be sure to order your copy. I think after sharing the bootleg it’s the least we can all do to show our appreciation.

https://www.shoutfactory.com/product/dracula-collector-s-edition?product_id=7228

PREVIEW

Director John Badham Discusses The Dark Look
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpMJSDfWKyU

John Badham Discusses A Scene From The Broadway Play
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_SJLaxelI0

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Hi there,

You’re lucky to live in the US, I’m in Spain and my order still “ready to ship”, so with luck I’ll be watching the theatrical original color timing version I guess mid-december if not on 2020 😦 I hope someone posts a ripped version in the usual torrent sites sooner than that though.

While some of us overseas still waiting, here’s a detailed review of this wonderful collector’s edition that we’ve waited 40 years to see again in its original proper version. I hate when they talk about the “two versions” That never was a thing until home video release destroy the movie by the hand of Badham himself. To me, there is ONE and ONLY version of this DRACULA. The Theatrical Technicolor Print!

https://whysoblu.com/dracula-1979-collectors-edition-blu-ray-review/

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I have my copy but haven’t watched it yet.

I’ve heard the color scan gets a little soft in the beginning, but sharpens up later.

How do you feel it compares to the Silver Screen Edition?

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The new scan is soft and does have it’s own issues. This is a film that is forty years old after all and it didn’t benefit from a complete restoration using an original negative in a wet gate scan. As well, Shout! Factory is very upfront with the print they did use indicating that it was the best they could find. I take that to mean with the amount of time and financial resources allowed for this project which is completely fair. There are fans of this film but it’s not in high demand. That being said, I more than accept the issues with this transfer and I’m greatly appreciative that it was made available in the first place mainly because of fans like us.

So what do I think when comparing the two versions? The original theatrical release and the silver screen edition? As the one who created it, I think the silver screen edition generated a false expectation of what to expect. The color restoration was an approximation based on multiple sources including VHS, LaserDisc and original set photography. That being said, it was also at the mercy of the de-saturated Blu Ray from which that version was created. As a result, it’s much darker than it should be when compared to the new Shout! release. It’s possible this new transfer is too bright but I’m not about to go ahead and correct it.

I hope everyone is enjoying their new copies and aware that it’s because of you that this new Shout! release happened. We were all loud enough that someone heard us. 😃

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The fans here in the UK have to wait for a region B version as my 4K player is region locked so we are having to still wait to see it in it’s full glory. 😫

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ITHoTMK said:

The new scan is soft and does have it’s own issues. This is a film that is forty years old after all and it didn’t benefit from a complete restoration using an original negative in a wet gate scan. As well, Shout! Factory is very upfront with the print they did use indicating that it was the best they could find. I take that to mean with the amount of time and financial resources allowed for this project which is completely fair. There are fans of this film but it’s not in high demand. That being said, I more than accept the issues with this transfer and I’m greatly appreciative that it was made available in the first place mainly because of fans like us.

So what do I think when comparing the two versions? The original theatrical release and the silver screen edition? As the one who created it, I think the silver screen edition generated a false expectation of what to expect. The color restoration was an approximation based on multiple sources including VHS, LaserDisc and original set photography. That being said, it was also at the mercy of the de-saturated Blu Ray from which that version was created. As a result, it’s much darker than it should be when compared to the new Shout! release. It’s possible this new transfer is too bright but I’m not about to go ahead and correct it.

I hope everyone is enjoying their new copies and aware that it’s because of you that this new Shout! release happened. We were all loud enough that someone heard us. 😃

Well thank you for your reply, and more importantly, your efforts and enthusiasm for both. I will keep both of course, and enjoy them each. Nice to have choices.

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Just finished watching my new Dracula Theatrical Cut which luckily, arrived earlier than I thought.

My thoughts about the release:

I would be eternally grateful to Shout/Scream Factory for insisting on getting the proper version of this film. But I must confess I have mixed feelings about the release too. Universal Studios and John Badham problably conspired to allow Scream Factory to scan ONLY a sub-par 35mm print, and that way make their crappy washed-out colors version look better than the how the film was photographed original by the great late Gilbert Taylor. Same as George Lucas did with the original theatrical versions of SW, TESB and ROTJ.

I don’t believe there isn’t a original negative theatrical available in their vaults.

I understand we all prefer this Blu ray than nothing, but this is not how I remember the film (which remains branded in my memory since I saw it on huge screens several times when it was out in 1979)

The print they’ve been allowed to use has a LOT of issues, and some perks over the washed out version. The major issues are the bland softness of the photography on some parts, like when Dracula arrives to diner at the Asylum at the beginning… and the last reels when Dracula takes Mina into the woods until the end. There are important stains in the picture there damaging the beautiful cinematography of Mr. Taylor and distracting too much.

The perks obviously are all the rest… like how much LIGHT this movie had in the darker scenes and in general. The lush matte painting shots coming to life, the lively and more realistic skin tones and the strength of the make-up of Mina in the famous scene where she’s impaled by her father which is once more scary thanks to the life of having the bright wolf eyes shining red. Unbelievable the amount of shadow detail which was lost in the “director’s version”.

So, like I said I’m happy and I’m not. I’m happy because I’ll finally be able to see the movie “approximately” as it was… but on the other hand in my mind there wasn’t any softness whatsoever in the previously mentioned scenes, dining or dancing. Mina and Lucy in bed too, etc… and those stains in the last reels make the watch a bit uncomfortable.

Anyway, I’m never gonna watch again the crappy director’s cut anymore, no matter how blind he was and still is about it. I wonder how he would’ve felt if Paramount forced him to release “Saturday Night Fever” in sepia and Monoaural when it was out on video.

Well, he did something similar to his best movie ever… “Dracula” (1979) which in my opinion remains the best version since Bela Lugosi’s and vastly superior to the rest of Badham’s filmography.

I still have to see all the extras but I see there are no interviews at all with anyone from the cast, John Williams or anyone else so they can’t be too good… sadly.

The quality of the movie remains magnificent in my opinion, and has aged more well than any other recent Dracula version. The only thing that stings a bit as outdated for me is the final make-up of Dracula destroyed on top of the boat, although I love that final scene in general.

Ok, those are my 5 cents, and knowing that is very unlikely I hope someone from Criterion Collection, Arrow Video, etc… someday decides to properly REMASTER this wonderful film some day. Problably I’ll be dead by then, so its good having at least a “so so” print of the original Theatrical version.

It should’ve been a LOT better though… but at least we can see now that great label at the end saying “When In Hollywood visit Universal Studios” Have been a while since I watched that in a video release.