Witchfinder General : Digitally Remastered Special Edition

Joe Pineapples

Distinguished Member
Hi

Just wondered if anyone had bought this yet (released 14th Nov) and can give an opinion on the remastered side of things. I have the older version with the added 'cut' scenes (which look pretty awful PQ wise), so hoping they sorted this out at least.

thanks
joe
 

HummerUK

Well-known Member
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Joe Pineapples

Distinguished Member
Thanks Simon. As it is advertised as 'uncut', I'm assuming it includes the extra segment in the 'burning' scene and also an extended torture scene. How did these segments fair in PQ? - they were at least half the resolution in the old 'cut scenes added' version I have, and really stood out (in a bad way). Just wondering if they managed to find better source material for this version.
 

PoochJD

Well-known Member
Hi Joe,

How did these segments fair in PQ? - they were at least half the resolution in the old 'cut scenes added' version I have, and really stood out (in a bad way). Just wondering if they managed to find better source material for this version.

The two different scenes you are talking about are still taken from "foreign" prints, and as such, they still stand out, and aren't up to the high standards of the rest of the film, irrespective of whether you view the Blu-Ray or DVD version of this great movie! :) So, yes, both releases are "uncut", but they still include footage from other prints, that are not up to the same technical standards, as they were taken from VHS sources. No new sources have been found, as of yet, that are superior to these, and the distributor's have said that it is unlikely that better quality footage will ever surface of these two "scenes". :)


Pooch
 

Joe Pineapples

Distinguished Member
Hi Joe,



The two different scenes you are talking about are still taken from "foreign" prints, and as such, they still stand out, and aren't up to the high standards of the rest of the film, irrespective of whether you view the Blu-Ray or DVD version of this great movie! :) So, yes, both releases are "uncut", but they still include footage from other prints, that are not up to the same technical standards, as they were taken from VHS sources. No new sources have been found, as of yet, that are superior to these, and the distributor's have said that it is unlikely that better quality footage will ever surface of these two "scenes". :)


Pooch
Thanks Pooch (and Simon). Think with me already owning the older version, I'll probably wait till I can pick up the new one a little cheaper (all things considered).
 

Leterface

Novice Member
^^thanks PoochJD, that's interesting. Vincent Price surely is one of my most beloved actors. I just hope we see more of his films on BD. I have The German Last Man on the Earth and despite possible audio sync issues (that I think are just re-recorded dubs) I recommend that one very much because it's such a great film.
 

Simon Crust

Movie Reviewer
Hi Joe,



The two different scenes you are talking about are still taken from "foreign" prints, and as such, they still stand out, and aren't up to the high standards of the rest of the film, irrespective of whether you view the Blu-Ray or DVD version of this great movie! :) So, yes, both releases are "uncut", but they still include footage from other prints, that are not up to the same technical standards, as they were taken from VHS sources. No new sources have been found, as of yet, that are superior to these, and the distributor's have said that it is unlikely that better quality footage will ever surface of these two "scenes". :)


Pooch

Ummm

Not sure what you've been watching ...

This is a direct quote from the review: The version presented on this Blu-ray is the ‘Director’s Cut’, and is based on the 2007 MGM DVD version, i.e. a fully uncut print but with the bar room wenches covered up and not nude as in the ‘Export’ version, though this scene is available in the extras.

This is a fully uncut presentation - there is no drop in quality to any of the previously edited material as there was in past releases.

Simon
 

Jonathan S

Novice Member
Hi Joe,

The two different scenes you are talking about are still taken from "foreign" prints, and as such, they still stand out, and aren't up to the high standards of the rest of the film, irrespective of whether you view the Blu-Ray or DVD version of this great movie! :) So, yes, both releases are "uncut", but they still include footage from other prints, that are not up to the same technical standards, as they were taken from VHS sources. No new sources have been found, as of yet, that are superior to these, and the distributor's have said that it is unlikely that better quality footage will ever surface of these two "scenes". :)
Pooch

[I posted this while Simon was writing his post above - I'm making the same point really, as I assumed the OP had only seen the previous Metrodome version.]

I don't have the new Odeon edition in either format, but surely they don't return us to the "VHS sources" for certain scenes (more than two, I recall) of the earlier UK Metrodome DVD? On the 2007 MGM R1 edition, which I understand from the forum review the Odeon is based on, they were greatly improved - perhaps they are still slightly inferior quality (which may stand out more on Blu-ray) but they certainly weren't from VHS. I'm not referring to the export version, with added nudity etc., of course.
 
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Joe Pineapples

Distinguished Member
[I posted this while Simon was writing his post above - I'm making the same point really, as I assumed the OP had only seen the previous Metrodome version.]

I don't have the new Odeon edition in either format, but surely they don't return us to the "VHS sources" for certain scenes (more than two, I recall) of the earlier UK Metrodome DVD? On the 2007 MGM R1 edition, which I understand from the forum review the Odeon is based on, they were greatly improved - perhaps they are still slightly inferior quality (which may stand out more on Blu-ray) but they certainly weren't from VHS. I'm not referring to the export version, with added nudity etc., of course.
Yes Jonathan, it is the Metrodome version I have - I didn't even realise there had been a better (R1) version :blush:. The remastered one sounds worth a punt for me at any rate so will be adding that to the christmas list (albiet the dvd version) :smashin:
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
Ummm

Not sure what you've been watching ...

This is a direct quote from the review: The version presented on this Blu-ray is the ‘Director’s Cut’, and is based on the 2007 MGM DVD version, i.e. a fully uncut print but with the bar room wenches covered up and not nude as in the ‘Export’ version, though this scene is available in the extras.

This is a fully uncut presentation - there is no drop in quality to any of the previously edited material as there was in past releases.

Simon

Simon, thanks for that.

The jump in quality on the DVD makes it close to unwatchable. Given that, if really taken from VHS, the extra scenes would remain the same quality whilst the rest of the film improves from DVD to BD standards, I wouldn't have been buying this Blu-ray Disc if that had been the case, as the jolt would have been even worse.

It's now on my shopping list. :thumbsup:

Steve W
 

PoochJD

Well-known Member
Hi Simon,

I think we need to clarify something here. Whilst the film on Blu-Ray is indeed very, very good, there is a version of "WITCHFINDER GENERAL" known as "THE CONQUEROR WORM" that contained alternate, more raunchy/violent footage, that was not in the regular "WITCHFINDER GENERAL" release.

This alternate version, is also known as the Export Version. On the old Metrodome DVD release, the two scenese were re-edited back into the standard theatrical version, and the jump between the high quality theatrical print, and the lesser-quality "Export" footage was noticeable.

This was what I was referring too, and assumed - possibly wrongly - that the Blu-Ray had done the same. If this is not the case, then I apologise, and from what you have said, it sounds like these two scenes are only available as extras, and cannot be watched, as part of the actual movie itself. :)


Pooch
 

Jonathan S

Novice Member
Hi Simon,

I think we need to clarify something here. Whilst the film on Blu-Ray is indeed very, very good, there is a version of "WITCHFINDER GENERAL" known as "THE CONQUEROR WORM" that contained alternate, more raunchy/violent footage, that was not in the regular "WITCHFINDER GENERAL" release.

This alternate version, is also known as the Export Version. On the old Metrodome DVD release, the two scenese were re-edited back into the standard theatrical version, and the jump between the high quality theatrical print, and the lesser-quality "Export" footage was noticeable....

Whilst what you say is broadly true, I believe you're confusing several different issues here. My understanding - based largely on Benjamin Halligan's book on Michael Reeves - is as follows:

There were basically three different original theatrical versions:
- The UK print with BBFC cuts made to about six scenes, all for violence (the priest's torture, the duckings, the burning, Sara's torture, the torture of a woman in the neighbouring cell, the killing of Hopkins)
- The US print with none of the above cuts, re-titled The Conqueror Worm (to fit in with AIP's Poe/Price cycle) and Poe voice-overs to explain the new title
- The continental (or "German") prints, not re-titled and with none of the cuts, but additional nudity in the tavern scenes. These were re-shot by producer Tony Tenser and Reeves was not even present when they were done, so they have nothing to do with the film as he conceived it.

The DVD releases I'm aware of these:
- The UK Metrodome DVD that presents two totally separate versions:
1) The UK version, as it was intended by Reeves, with all the cut violence restored, but in poor VHS quality.
2) The continental version - exactly the same length and indeed identical, except for the additional nudity in the tavern. As the latter scene is in excellent quality, but the restored violence is from tape, it's obvious they were from different sources and Metrodome were unable to find a complete film print of the continental version. I suppose the tavern scene had been stored in 35mm as a sort of outtake, and the violent scenes came from an old TV broadcast or VHS release outside the UK, but that's just my speculation.
- The US MGM DVD which presents the UK version (with the original title) as it should have been before the BBFC cuts, with no discernible drops in quality. My recollection is that they simply transferred a US negative or print (substituting the original UK titles) as the film had never been cut there, or perhaps they even had a complete UK print. (The US DVD was long delayed due to copyright wrangles over the music, which had caused previous US releases on laserdisc and tape to use a new score!)
- The UK Odeon DVD & Blu-ray which I haven't seen but I gather present the film in the same version as on the MGM DVD, with the nude continental version of the tavern scene (never part of Reeves' conception) as an extra.

Simon may be able to clarify further.
 
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Simon Crust

Movie Reviewer
Very comprehensively covered

The Metrodome version, which I covered here details exactly what's on it; the UK version (i.e. with cuts) and the export (or international) version (added back the violence, in it's VHS form, with the nude wenches)

The Blu-ray contains the 'Director's cut' which is the full uncut version, i.e. all the violence, same quality as the rest of the picture, but with the wenches clothed. This 'export' scene is an extra.

I think we're there!

Thanks

Simon
 

Jonathan S

Novice Member
The Metrodome version, which I covered here details exactly what's on it; the UK version (i.e. with cuts) and the export (or international) version (added back the violence, in it's VHS form, with the nude wenches)

Sorry to prolong this, but that doesn't match what's on my Metrodome DVD which restores the violence in both versions (in VHS quality). The UK version is not the cut theatrical edit (except in the sense that was obviously used as the base). As they're exactly the same length (1:22:51 with PAL speed-up) I believe the only difference between the two is the tavern scene nudity, though I haven't compared every controversial scene in detail.
 
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