The Third Man on Blu-ray Disc(s)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD discs' started by Pecker, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Pecker

    Pecker
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    This has been mentioned elsewhere, but as it's one of the greatest films of all time (and in my own Top Ten), I thought it deserved its own thread.

    A bit of chronology.

    1 - First came the Criterion Blu-ray Disc, which was excellent.

    2 - Studio Canal/Lionsgate got the rights - the Criterion was deleted - and the SC/L version appeared. Unfortunately, substandard. Not as good as the Criterion.

    3 - The second hand (used, pre-enjoyed) Criterion starts going for silly money - regularly fetching more than £100.

    4- In Italy a new label called Studio 4K release the film, and early claims are that it's the Criterion transfer. This is puzzling, as it's not the sort of thing Criterion do.

    5 - A 'source' from 4K says it is the Criterion transfer, and posts these comparisons:

    THE THIRD MAN : Screenshot Comparison

    Three caps. Mouse off for Studio 4K,mouse over for Criterion.

    Identical.

    Okay, a few people have said this must be some sort of bootleg/pirate. Studio 4K have just popped up, they appear to be releasing material held by a wide variety of other labels elsewhere, and so on*.

    Apart from this there is no reason to be suspicious. No one from Criterion (or anywhere else) has made a complaint, as far as I'm aware.

    The Italian version can be bought from Amazon Italy:

    Il Terzo Uomo: Amazon.it: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, Bernard Lee, Graham Green, Carol Reed: Film e TV

    Or Amazon UK:

    il terzo uomo (blu-ray) blu_ray Italian Import: Amazon.co.uk: orson welles, trevor howard, carol reed: Film & TV

    I have no evidence whatsoever that this isn't a legitimate release, but I pass on to you that which I received, so you can make up your own minds.

    Steve W

    * Go to Amazon Italy -> Blu-ray -> search "Studio 4k". Some of those titles have been released by Criterion, MoC, Elephant Films (France), and M-G-M.

    SW
     
  2. pRot3us

    pRot3us
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    Interesting, although the Third Man caps seem identical detail wise, the Criterion release seems to have a very slightly cooler colour temperature. Whether (or how) this weighs on the argument of the legitimacy of the Studio 4k release I couldn't say.

    The Phantom of The Opera release is tempting though.
     
  3. MarkusThatch

    MarkusThatch
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    Life is full of regrets - I wish I'd been aware of multiregion players back when this was released on criterion - still, I love this film with a passion and didn't blink when I paid £60 for it on these 'ere classifieds. That's very interesting that a similar version has popped up in Italy - hope it gives more people the chance to see this film with the best available quality.
     
  4. captainarchive

    captainarchive
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    Thief of Bagdad tempts me greatly.
     
  5. 88mph

    88mph
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    Think I am going to order the Italian version. Thanks for the heads up!

    I already own the Criterion version on DVD with all the extras so this is ideal for me.
     
  6. Pecker

    Pecker
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    Mine has arrived.

    I'll post comments when I get a chance to view it.

    One thing, to allay any fears, it is most certainly NOT a BD-R, it's a proper pressing.

    Steve W
     
  7. Pecker

    Pecker
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    Good afternoon everyone.

    I've ripped the Italian disc using MakeMKV, then taken a screengrab from both my UK/SC release and the Italian release, using VLC Media Player. I've tried to match the UK/SC vs Italian comparison pic used here:

    THE THIRD MAN : Screenshot Comparison

    That cap replicates the Criterion vs Italian caps here:

    THE THIRD MAN : Screenshot Comparison

    To my eye, the caps offered there are accurate - that is to say the Italian Blu-ray Disc appears to be the same as the Criterion (or extremely close) and better than the UK/SC version.

    I've attached my caps for reference.

    Note that the creases on OW's forehead appear to be sharper on the Italian version, due in part, I think, to better contrast. Meanwhile, if you look particularly in the upper-left portion of the image, there is more visible grain in the Italian version, whilst the UK/SC version looks a little 'scrubbed' of grain. The SC version certainly looks to me like it has had some grain removed. The facial textures on the UK/SC version certainly appear a tad more 'waxy' to me.

    Bottom line, based on this evidence, you can buy the Italian version without hesitation. It's about 1/10th the price of tracking down the Criterion.

    Click to view full size image.

    Italian:

    Italy.png

    UK/Studio Canal:

    UK.png

    The only question mark, I suppose, would be whether the cap in the link claiming to be from the Criterion actually is - but I have no reason to doubt it, and the differences between my two versions appear to be the same differences I've seen in other online comparisons.

    Hope this helps.

    Steve W
     
  8. MarkusThatch

    MarkusThatch
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    I can count the pores and the folicles in that Italian cap - very nice. Good work Pecker.
     
  9. Pecker

    Pecker
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    Cheers mate, and best wishes.

    I took a bit of a risk, but at just over a tenner it was worth it.

    By the way, I ordered from Amazon UK here and it arrived in just ten days.

    Steve W
     
  10. gap

    gap
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    Great stuff. Thanks for doing the research, will definitely be picking this up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  11. 88mph

    88mph
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    Thanks Pecker for the comparison.

    Although the Criterion/4K version is obviously better, the UK version doesn't look awful from that screenshot.
     
  12. Pecker

    Pecker
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    I agree. I've seen some people saying the SC/UK version is worse than DVD, but t'internet is full of unnecessary hyperbole.

    For me, as this film is one of my ten favourites, double-dipping was a complete no-brainer.

    I think, if you didn't own a copy already, then it's worth the little extra. The SC/UK version is £13.58 at Amazon UK, so you're only paying about £1 more.

    If you already have the film on SC/UK Blu-ray Disc, and it's not a favourite, it might not be worth replacing.

    Steve W
     
  13. 88mph

    88mph
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    This wasn't a favourite of mine until I visited Vienna where I visited the doorway he steps out from, the ferris wheel and museum. Yes they even have a museum for the film!
     

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