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Old 11-18-2015, 03:07 PM   #103
dubious dubious is offline
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Jul 2015

Originally Posted by Prologue
Prologue (added on May 20, 2015): In the two and a half years since this review was published, many posters at have expressed perplexity—and that's putting it mildly—at my failure to condemn the video for its smoothness and lack of grain. Many of these posters appear to be unaware of the interview with director Ted Kotcheff that appeared shortly after this review, in which these issues were expressly addressed.

Leaving aside the arguments advanced below, which I still find persuasive, I find it compelling that the director of Wake in Fright considers the restoration of the film performed by Anthos Simon, then general manager of Deluxe Australia, to be the "best" the film has ever looked in both color fidelity and detail. As the director of numerous films, and also as the showrunner of Law and Order: SVU when it made the transition from film to HD video, Mr. Kotcheff is fully familiar with how film should look. He also has the perspective of having seen Wake in Fright when it was first released, which is an advantage not enjoyed by most critics of the current restoration.

I have also seen references to "unrestored" stills, which I assume refers to the comparisons first made available on the Australian Blu-ray. One should bear in mind that a straight scan of the "unrestored" negative would have produced an image that was, for the most part, faded and that suffered from numerous tears and scratches. The current presentation of Wake in Fright, in all of its forms, is a reconstruction from a badly deteriorated OCN for which no preservation efforts had been made. That so much detail could be extracted at all is a miracle. As for the color scheme, people are entitled to their opinions, but when it comes to accuracy, especially in this case I defer to the director.

Finally, it would no doubt have been possible to silence many of the critics by overlaying this restoration with a layer of "digital grain". Far too many Blu-ray fans are willing to accept such trickery as "film-like", when it is nothing more than the deliberate introduction of noise into an otherwise clear image. I'm just as happy that Mr. Santos didn't indulge in such a cheat.
Sorry, I can't take the director's interview, especially given the time it was given, as unbiased in regards to the quality of the transfer. Even if he is unhappy with the work, it's not like he's going to come out and immediately throw all those involved in the only restoration he's likely to get under the bus, and subsequently damn the film to obscurity.

I'd like to see if he's still willing to stand by those comments today.
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