Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dracula – Blu-Ray

The wonderful Hammer film Dracula, also called Horror of Dracula, has received a UK Blu-Ray release.

The set is three discs, a blu-ray of the film with extras and 2 DVDs, one of the feature and one of extras. Actually there are two films on the Blu-Ray and two on DVD disc 1 as the BFI 2007 restoration of the film is included along with the Hammer 2012 restoration.

The difference? About three minutes of running length as additional footage from the “Japanese reels” are restored into the film, adding extra footage of the seduction of Mina and in the disintegration scene. Below is a scene from the extra Mina footage, with some low key smooching that the BBFC decided was just too much originally. As you can see the quality is a little lower but the extras show us just how damaged the unrestored reels were and they have done a good job.

From the Japanese Reels

There has been some complaints that the colour scheme is colder and this is confirmed in the following two screenshots that show Mina from the seduction scene. The still of the new restoration is top and the bottom still is taken from the 2005 DVD. Note that all screenshots from the new release are from the DVD as I am unable to screenshot Blu-Ray.

2012 restoration is colder

from the 2005 DVD

Whilst there have been complaints, Hammer have suggested that this is how the colour was meant to be and that it was made warmer in the US Technicolor labs. However, even on a DVD to DVD comparison we can see that the film is crisper, as illustrated in this classic shot (new version top and 2005 DVD bottom again).

the 2012 restoration is crisper

from the 2005 DVD

A definite must have for a Hammer/Dracula fan’s collection and thanks to Sarah for purchasing the Blu-Ray for me.

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