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 Posted:   Aug 25, 2010 - 12:26 AM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

Updated 15 August 2011.







To date, the cleanest, sharpest version of ONE-EYED JACKS available to consumers remains the Paramount laser disc. Bob DiMucci shows the cover art in his post below. It was sourced from Paramount's internegative that represents the original IB tech Vista Vision elements very closely. It has the photochemical "look" it is supposed to have. The color is accurate with perfectly acceptable saturation. The image is steady, widescreen but not anamorphic, and uncut. It was not restored, so there is some minor damage and a little dirt here and there, but it shows the film the way it was meant to be seen.

Although Paramount retains Vista Vision elements, ONE-EYED JACKS has NOT been restored or digitally remastered for DVD / Blu-ray release. Not officially.

However, the film proliferates in public-domain editions. Without exception, all public-domain editions are of substandard quality. A few years ago I BOUGHT every DVD release of ONE-EYED JACKS to find the best transfer on DVD. Frankly, I was hoping to find a privately-sourced transfer, perhaps from an original 35mm print that didn't come from the laser-disc. I have 19 different editions sitting here and several duplicates with the cover art changed. It is hard to keep track of which is which because the public domain labels keep reissuing them with different covers. Most editions are pictured here:

http://www.dvdaf.com/search.html?has=one+eyed+jacks%2F%2F&init_form=str0_has_one+eyed+jacks%2F%2F

The cleanest, sharpest, steadiest print appears on FRONT ROW FEATURES, uncut and widescreen but not anamorphic:



The Front Row Features edition can still be found on ebay from time to time..

The next best print, uncut and widescreen but not anamorphic, appears on BRENTWOOD label in various editions, singly and in packages, usually with a still from MISSOURI BREAKS on the cover:



The only place I've seen Brentwood editions for sale is on ebay. Both FRONT ROW FEATURES and BRENTWOOD are ported from the laser disc.

Alpha / Oldies, American Movie Classics, CatCom, Diamond, EchoBridge, Genius Entertainment, Koch, Madacy, Mill Creek, MovieClassics, Platinum, St. Clair, Unicorn, Ventura, Waterfall and Westlake, among others, have released widescreen, uncut editions in substandard quality. Some are less than substandard. Probably because they are porting the transfer from each other instead of from the laser. I would say Digiview is one of the worst.

Out of several public-domain editions released in France, where the film is much-admired, PARAMOUNT evidently authorized a DVD release under the title La Veangeance aux deux visages on the LES FILMS DE MA VIE label. I will post front and back cover scans here shortly. I'm not sure if the Les Films De Ma Vie edition is from the same transfer as the laser-disc or it is merely a port of the laser-disc. The blemishes are the same. Sometimes the picture appears to be slightly better quality than the laser disc (which I have) and at other times it appears to be the same. French subtitles are burned in. It has an interactive menu, a text filmography and biographies of Brando and Malden, and an off-the-wall trailer for a royal wedding.

Curiously, this page for Les Films De Ma Vie edition at amazon.fr has replaced it with an altogether different DVD:

http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007XT5P6/dvdaficiona01-21

for which Doug Raynes shows the cover art and scans below.

Currently, I bought the new French DVD released by Wild Side Video, a label that releases many public domain titles of foreign films in France:



Buy it from amazon.fr:

http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B00479MCC4/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d2_g74_i1?pf_rd_m=A1X6FK5RDHNB96&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=07HRKXZ5VZ06D6B9YD3B&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=463375513&pf_rd_i=405320

At first glance it looks like an upgrade, but upon closer examination, I've concluded it is sourced from the Paramount laser-disc and subjected to electronic enhancements. There are color timing and density issues. Why is wood blue?



The image has better definition in close-ups than in wider angles. Perhaps DNR has thinned and desaturated the picture? It is the only anamorphic edition. If there weren't color-timing issues, I might recommend it over the Front Row Features edition. However, since the color has been interfered with, I maintain that the Front Row Features edition is the best DVD so far.

There are several public domain editions of La Veangeance aux deux visages in France that I haven't watched, including:







Be advised the French editions are PAL in which the 4% speed-up plays hell with the pitch of the music, raises the voices too high, and the action too fast. This bothers me, but I hear some people never notice it.


Richard

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 25, 2010 - 2:18 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I've often wished that someone would do a comparison of all of the versions of some public domain film, but this is the first time I've ever seen it done, at least with such thoroughness. Congratulations, and well done! Is the Front Row DVD superior to the laserdisc (which I have)?

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 25, 2010 - 8:32 AM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

I would like to see someone do a screen capture comparison of the Front Row and Brentwood with the French discs the way dvdbeaver does.

If there is an anamorphic edition I haven't seen it.

I own the laser-disc as well, but my laser-disc player crapped out long time ago and I've been unable to watch it for over a decade, hence my search for the best DVD.

Richard

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 25, 2010 - 10:02 AM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

Richard, thank you for this invaluable guide! I've always wondered which DVD might be OK -- and now I know!

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 25, 2010 - 12:03 PM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

Thanks, Richard. Excellent information.

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 25, 2010 - 1:57 PM   
 By:   shureman   (Member)

Does the Front Row version retain the Paramount opening? And how does the Platinum stack up, in your opinion?

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 25, 2010 - 2:42 PM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

You mean the Paramount logo?
Yes, Front Row Features begins with the Paramount logo.
I like the color saturation and the photo-chemical look of Front Row Features edition, just like the laser disc.

The Platinums aren't as good, but I can't recall if they start with the Paramount logo.

On the other hand, Platinum has re-issued the film so many different times under so many different covers, for all I know, they might have redone the transfer as well.

Richard

 
 Posted:   Aug 25, 2010 - 2:59 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

PARAMOUNT released the laser disc transfer to DVD in France under the title La Veangeance aux deux visages. What does that mean? Richard

Literally, it means "The Revenge of Two Faces".

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 25, 2010 - 4:05 PM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

In the film, Brando is known as the Rio Kid.
The film takes place in the Spanish southwest, where rio means water.
In other words, he plays Water Boy.

The name doesn't make much sense, does it.


Richard

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 26, 2010 - 5:03 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

I don’t have the FRONT ROW FEATURES disc but I do have the BRENTWOOD and the French version released by SKD/SYNKRONIZED (http://www.skddvd.com/home) which, although authorised by Paramount, doesn’t include the Paramount logo on the film! I think both of these are very poor - looking more like VHS picture quality but they are certainly better than some of the pan & scan version I’ve seen. A few years ago I saw an anamorphic widescreen version on U.K. TV which looked wonderful and proves that Paramount does have a very good master – if only they would release that on DVD/Blu-ray. Below are a few screen captures. The first 3 are from the French SKD. The last 4 are from the BRENTWOOD. The BRENTWOOD is sharper but the colour is slightly more washed-out.













 
 Posted:   Aug 26, 2010 - 2:37 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

My father has a PAL version in 4:3 (mono) from a label called 'matinee.' The picture quality is not so hot. The same is true of 'The Boys From Brazil' from Carlton. They're watchable but don't elevate the picture in any way.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 26, 2010 - 3:06 PM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

Doug Raynes,

Just because the Front Row Features is the best quality DVD doesn't mean it's excellent quality.

Do you have a scan of the cover art for the French DVD released by SKD/SYNKRONIZED ? I don't see it on their webpage. I'd also like to the know the numbers. It may be one I haven't seen yet.

Appreciate the screen captures. The Front Row Features looks marginally better, about the same as the laser disc.

Richard

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 27, 2010 - 6:42 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

Doug Raynes,
Do you have a scan of the cover art for the French DVD released by SKD/SYNKRONIZED ? I don't see it on their webpage. I'd also like to the know the numbers. It may be one I haven't seen yet.


Richard - The French SKD/SYNKRONIZED (disc No. FK313716) is the same as the one described by you in your above post as the PARAMOUNT DVD - sorry I didn't make that clear in my post:



 
 
 Posted:   Aug 28, 2010 - 11:50 AM   
 By:   shureman   (Member)

Can anyone confirm, who owns the laserdisc, that the film is not color-corrected?

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 28, 2010 - 2:23 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)




Hugo Frieldhofer smile

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 28, 2010 - 3:08 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....Can anyone confirm, who owns the laserdisc, that the film is not color-corrected?.....


As a retired cameraman, I have to say that I don't quite understand your question.....


1- Are you speaking of the film (negative) or the video transfer?

2- Do you mean scene-to-scene color correction (which would normally be already built into Paramount's printing negative from the 1960s)?

3- Do you mean color saturation?

4- Do you mean density correction---contrast or lack of it?

5- Do you mean overall color balance for the entire transfer/print---is it too blue, is it too red, is it too yellow, is it too green......?

6- Are you taking into account your computer's viewing monitor uniqueness when judging the image?

7- Are you taking into account the laserdisc player's output when judging the resultant image color reference?

8 Are you taking into account the television monitor's color eccentricities when you are viewing the laserdisc image?

As you can see by the various frame clip examples posted above---each of the PD releasing companies has taken THE EXACT SAME LASERDISC TRANSFER and adapted/transferred it to their own DVD releases in a slightly different pictorial way---color balance, saturation, density.


As someone who photographed professional material for 40+ years, I have to say that I NEVER, EVER viewed anything I had photographed that looked the same way twice!!!!---whether it was projected on a silver screen or matte white screen, with a yellow-flame carbon arc or blue-flame carbon arc or incandescent bulb, whether on an Eastman Print stock or Fuji or Agfa, or whether on a home TV monitor or a post-production house hi-quality monitor.

I have also rarely ever seen two or more prints of a film scene, printed at the same time by the same lab, which ever looked quite the same as each other!

In the end, while nearly everyone strives for some sort of quality control, it's often hit-and-miss, and today, with high-speed printing, huge print runs, and lack of executive oversight, it's far more random than it ever was in the old days, where even then it could be a crapshoot!

In many, many cases, the video transfer process is subject to cost controls, particularly if the project isn't considered by the studio to be prime, current, state-of-the art video release material. It is often shuttled off to the video transfer house to be transferred by less-skilled transfer artists, at a special "unsupervised transfer" cost rate, in the wee hours of the morning on non-prime, down time.

That's why we often see transfer mistakes, both in color timing and framing, with odd glitches in sound or picture. No one has supervised the transfer and no one has checked the transfer after it's made---just taken delivery of it to be forwarded down the release line into mastering for video or DVD.

The ONE EYED JACKS wide-screen laserdisc transfer done by Paramount years ago looks about as good as Paramount could make it at the time, given the then-current technology, the limited time, and the limited budget for these kinds of old catalog/library titles.

Could OEJ look breathtaking today on Blu-Ray---if mastered from a horizontal vistaVision negative, under optimum cost/time allowances? Of course. Would it be an enormous seller---commercially worthy of the restoration/transfer investment? Of course not!

We will always be at the mercy of the corporate bottom line---and the interest/disinterest of the audience masses.

OEJ, the film, is now nearly 50 years old. It was released two generations ago. And we, who dearly love these old things just like our Golden and Silver Age CDs, tend to forget just how limited our fan market and purchasing power really is. Sadly.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 28, 2010 - 5:01 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

I can certainly confirm that the color on the laserdisc looks nothing like the IB Technicolor prints of this film - the color was saturated and gorgeous, like most IB prints of that era. The one thing they never were were pale and brown.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 28, 2010 - 5:40 PM   
 By:   shureman   (Member)

Thanks for your feed-back. I only own the Platinum DVD version and note many washed-out colors. A friend, who owns the laser disc, advised me it was not " color-corrected." So I guess I was asking if the laser disc has fewer color issues than the numerous PD DVDs, some of which were allegedly transferred directly from the laser disc. I'll take it the answer is yes.

 
 Posted:   Aug 28, 2010 - 6:07 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

It looks as though we will all have to live with this/these/those for Eternity.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 28, 2010 - 10:31 PM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

So I guess I was asking if the laser disc has fewer color issues than the numerous PD DVDs, some of which were allegedly transferred directly from the laser disc. I'll take it the answer is yes.

So I guess it all comes back around to the widescreen LD being the best home video version...at this time.

Greg Espinoza

 
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