A PEEK AT MIDNIGHT COWBOY

I cannot say enough about this transfer. Those who know me know how I am about color. This is fantastic. 4 Stars

I am so irritated right now. SO irritated. For WEEKS the other board has been having conniption fits over this transfer, despite it not being released until today. In other words, yes, the dreaded and terrible screen caps, which would lead you to believe that this was a horrible green mess – carefully chose screen shots I might add and from where, heaven knows, because they seemed to appear before any reviews had appeared. Of course, you all know where this is heading.

And a few days ago some people go early copies and still on they go about green tints, just to cover themselves with the angry, know-it-all mob over there. Well, I got this thing today and it is one of the most accurate and beautiful transfers I’ve ever seen. It’s BREATHTAKING. I have never ever liked any home video iteration of this movie – they all look like crap. Finally we get a proper transfer and all these misguided few can do is complain about green and most of them without having seen a frame of this disc and all of them not ever having seen this film in a theater. There is not one HINT of a “green tint” in ANY scene, including the one they all point to, the one shot of the cook in the diner. The color is what it’s supposed to be – but they all use the previous MGM transfer to tell everyone how wrong this is, as if they a) knew what they were talking about, and b) refuse to understand that previous transfers are not the gospel. And these same people who do this over and over and over again stop people from purchasing the disc. Then when the word finally gets out how amazing a transfer is, they all disappear without so much as a word of “oops.” Every color in this film is perfect – the blues, the greens, the yellows, the reds, the purples, all of it. Adam Holender supervised this transfer and he did a fantastic job of getting this film to look just as fresh as the day it opened. And yes, there is popcorn-size grain in the early opticals, which is exactly right, and well, just buy it and understand how perfect it is. Blanket green, my backside. How do you explain all those other vivid colors and the perfectly BLUE sky? You can’t because there is not one iota of a blanket green tint or any green tint, whatever that actually means. So, once again the screen shot brigade does their damage. And I really do not want to hear anything about “that’s an actual shot right off the actual Blu-ray, because whatever is happening in those screen shots is so inaccurate as to be laughable.

I cannot say enough about this transfer. Those who know me know how I am about color. This is fantastic.

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Kevin Collins

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55 Comments

  1. In other words, it's not a Green Back;
    but, rather, it's a Joe Buck.
    No worries, haineshisway;
    as these are also the very same people who believe that "money" is spelled as M-O-N-Y.
    Once again, you bring excellent news; which is something anyone here can always take to the bank.

  2. Well, Bruce, I haven't always agreed with you when you have insisted some discs, such as THE KING AND I, had no skew toward blue/teal. ;). But I surely hope I agree with you regarding MIDNIGHT COWBOY. I did see this in 1969 in NYC (still celebrating having passed that liberating age of 18 the previous year) and it left me speechless for hours after, but it has remained one of my favorites and a powerful example of a most unlikely but, as it turns out, life-affirming friendship. Can't wait for the July B&N sale.

  3. Dick

    Well, Bruce, I haven't always agreed with you when you have insisted some discs, such as THE KING AND I, had no skew toward blue/teal. ;). But I surely hope I agree with you regarding MIDNIGHT COWBOY. I did see this in 1969 in NYC (still celebrating having passed that liberating age of 18 the previous year) and it left me speechless for hours after, but it has remained one of my favorites and a powerful example of a most unlikely but, as it turns out, life-affirming friendship. Can't wait for the July B&N sale.

    I didn't ever say The King and I wasn't BLUE. I said it was BLUE. Not teal. There is not a speck of teal anywhere. Too much blue? I don't know – all I know is in scenes without blue lighting (a Shamroy trademark), like the yellow scenes when Anna is first in the palace, there's no blue anywhere at all. I know most people are unhappy with it, so count me among the few who doesn't have much of a problem with it.

  4. I was one who was barking over the “tinting” of specific shots. I also am cautious over what is correct or not. True the MGM isnt perfect.

    Regarding the shots with the cook.
    The color choice doesnt look as bad as I thought, moments when there is no tint esp with the tight shot near the end of their talk. However that very first shot before the credits no way you cant say it doesnt have a tint.

    The Criterion is way sharper than the MGM transfer and I REALLY appreciate the original United Artist Transamerica logo restored to this edition.

    Criterion got my money, but the teal push is real on many releases, and to me its a red flag. If we keep supporting by buying them it sends the wrong message that any distributor can hash out any revisionist transfer they want and we all run to buy them.

    What if the Criterion came out and had his hat and shirt to be true white, would anyone have complained?

    Again all the revisionism with so many films makes me not very trusting when it comes to Midnight Cowboy.

    I always hope for the best but now everytime Criterion announces a BLU I always wonder how different its going to look. I hate getting burned so to speak.

    Dressed to Kill is one example that comes to mind. Better detail and transfer but there are some shots that look drastically different.

    Compare near the beginning of DtK when Angie Dickinson is in bed with her husband and check out the bedspread and decor. Wow its so different between both transfers

    I will watch Midnight Cowboy this weekend and Im sure I will enjoy it, and I will keep an open mind.

    I do appreciate getting more thoughts on the transfer.

  5. There is no green TINT. Period. There is green in the scene and green in the lighting. This is what the film looked like – no other release has ever been close. You think they're going to add a TINT to a shot that lasts mere seconds? I recommend listening to the Adam Holender extra where he explains all the choices they made – very interesting. There is no revisionism here and you cannot use the previous transfers as if they actually meant something. That is everyone's biggest mistake in all this.

  6. haineshisway

    I am so irritated right now. SO irritated. For WEEKS the other board has been having conniption fits over this transfer, despite it not being released until today. In other words, yes, the dreaded and terrible screen caps, which would lead you to believe that this was a horrible green mess – carefully chose screen shots I might add and from where, heaven knows, because they seemed to appear before any reviews had appeared. Of course, you all know where this is heading.

    And a few days ago some people go early copies and still on they go about green tints, just to cover themselves with the angry, know-it-all mob over there. Well, I got this thing today and it is one of the most accurate and beautiful transfers I've ever seen. It's BREATHTAKING. I have never ever liked any home video iteration of this movie – they all look like crap. Finally we get a proper transfer and all these misguided few can do is complain about green and most of them without having seen a frame of this disc and all of them not ever having seen this film in a theater. There is not one HINT of a "green tint" in ANY scene, including the one they all point to, the one shot of the cook in the diner. The color is what it's supposed to be – but they all use the previous MGM transfer to tell everyone how wrong this is, as if they a) knew what they were talking about, and b) refuse to understand that previous transfers are not the gospel. And these same people who do this over and over and over again stop people from purchasing the disc. Then when the word finally gets out how amazing a transfer is, they all disappear without so much as a word of "oops." Every color in this film is perfect – the blues, the greens, the yellows, the reds, the purples, all of it. Adam Holender supervised this transfer and he did a fantastic job of getting this film to look just as fresh as the day it opened. And yes, there is popcorn-size grain in the early opticals, which is exactly right, and well, just buy it and understand how perfect it is. Blanket green, my backside. How do you explain all those other vivid colors and the perfectly BLUE sky? You can't because there is not one iota of a blanket green tint or any green tint, whatever that actually means. So, once again the screen shot brigade does their damage. And I really do not want to hear anything about "that's an actual shot right off the actual Blu-ray, because whatever is happening in those screen shots is so inaccurate as to be laughable.

    I cannot say enough about this transfer. Those who know me know how I am about color. This is fantastic.

    100% correct…..it is outstanding in quality and matches the cinema release exactly .

  7. haineshisway

    There is no green TINT. Period. There is green in the scene and green in the lighting. This is what the film looked like – no other release has ever been close. You think they're going to add a TINT to a shot that lasts mere seconds? I recommend listening to the Adam Holender extra where he explains all the choices they made – very interesting. There is no revisionism here and you cannot use the previous transfers as if they actually meant something. That is everyone's biggest mistake in all this.

    OK, I'm going a little bit out on a limb here, because I haven't bought the Criterion yet, and I'm basing my memory of a film I haven't seen in a very long time, but the scene with the cook is green because of the fluorescent lights, which appeared on the Eastman color stock that was used at the time as a metallic green. Generally, what one did in those days was to use a filter to color correct for fluorescent lights, but I believe that the director and cinematographer chose to shoot fluorescent lights without color correcting (I would imagine that Mr. Holender discusses this on the disc; if I'm mistaken Bruce, please let me know). The reason I'm bringing this up is because when I first saw the film, I was somewhat taken aback by the strong green cast in certain scenes, and was under the impression that they used a green filter or light with a green gel for those scenes. The next year I began making amateur films using 16mm color Eastman stock, and discovered that that greenish "tint" was simply the green color cast by fluorescent lights, so when I saw MIDNIGHT COWBOY again a number of years later, as I had shot footage in a diner with fluorescent lights without using a filter, I recognized that what I had previously thought was a green "tint" was simply the way the lights in that diner looked without color correcting ; in other words, that green cast that is in certain scenes of MIDNIGHT COWBOY is completely natural. It's just the way the light in those places looked.

  8. I saw this film at 3 different, high-quality venues during original release. However, my memory of the color may not be very good because I was no longer a projectionist, was in grad school, and was not very focused on technical issues of movies and presentation during that period of my life.

    So I have watched the new Criterion Blu-ray of Midnight Cowboy over the last few days trying to remember what it looked like in original release.

    My initial impression of the first few minutes was that it was fairly green. Not unbearably green in the died-in-the-wool manner that The King and I is overly blue. Certainly greener than the other home media presentations that I still own for comparison.

    After more watching, I think this new Blu-ray is probably like the original release prints. haineshisway is right about the color being accurate.

    The movie itself is just as urgent and honest as it was in original release, very compelling and beautiful. Volumes could be written about it.

  9. haineshisway

    There is no green TINT. Period. There is green in the scene and green in the lighting. This is what the film looked like – no other release has ever been close. You think they're going to add a TINT to a shot that lasts mere seconds? I recommend listening to the Adam Holender extra where he explains all the choices they made – very interesting. There is no revisionism here and you cannot use the previous transfers as if they actually meant something. That is everyone's biggest mistake in all this.

    I don't think this is even a question of adding a tint (a la the silent films) because I don't think that happens, but is rather the result of someone tweaking the color balance during re-mastering process. I am not an expert in this field and can only conjecture. Regarding my comment about "teal" in THE KING AND I, I apologize if I misrepresented your comments. I have seen an HD of this with the rich colors I remember from the theatrical release and the Blu-ray ain't it by a long shot. But going back and forth about that film has its own thread(s), so no point in continuing it here. With regards to MIDNIGHT COWBOY, as I said, I look forward to getting my copy, and will watch it with a completely open mind. As rsmithjr inferred, perhaps the Criterion is the first accurate transfer after years of inaccurate ones. My recollection of the film in theaters is that it had very saturated colors and did not lean the tints in any particular direction. But lark144's post is also relevant.

  10. haineshisway

    I didn't ever say The King and I wasn't BLUE. I said it was BLUE. Not teal. There is not a speck of teal anywhere. Too much blue? I don't know – all I know is in scenes without blue lighting (a Shamroy trademark), like the yellow scenes when Anna is first in the palace, there's no blue anywhere at all. I know most people are unhappy with it, so count me among the few who doesn't have much of a problem with it.

    Well, you're certainly entitled to that opinion. The word "teal" implies a lean toward blue/green, and perhaps we are misusing that term. But, as you say, it does have a blue bias.

  11. lark144

    OK, I'm going a little bit out on a limb here, because I haven't bought the Criterion yet, and I'm basing my memory of a film I haven't seen in a very long time, but the scene with the cook is green because of the fluorescent lights, which appeared on the Eastman color stock that was used at the time as a metallic green. Generally, what one did in those days was to use a filter to color correct for fluorescent lights, but I believe that the director and cinematographer chose to shoot fluorescent lights without color correcting (I would imagine that Mr. Holender discusses this on the disc; if I'm mistaken Bruce, please let me know). The reason I'm bringing this up is because when I first saw the film, I was somewhat taken aback by the strong green cast in certain scenes, and was under the impression that they used a green filter or light with a green gel for those scenes. The next year I began making amateur films using 16mm color Eastman stock, and discovered that that greenish "tint" was simply the green color cast by fluorescent lights, so when I saw MIDNIGHT COWBOY again a number of years later, as I had shot footage in a diner with fluorescent lights without using a filter, I recognized that what I had previously thought was a green "tint" was simply the way the lights in that diner looked without color correcting ; in other words, that green cast that is in certain scenes of MIDNIGHT COWBOY is completely natural. It's just the way the light in those places looked.

    Yes, the brief shot is part of the entire stylized opening and of course there's fluorescent lighting, but even with that it isn't blanketed green like these people say – it just looks like it's supposed to look. The previous release is brown, literally all brown. They like that. 🙂

  12. Powell&Pressburger

    I was one who was barking over the “tinting” of specific shots. I also am cautious over what is correct or not. True the MGM isnt perfect.

    Regarding the shots with the cook.
    The color choice doesnt look as bad as I thought, moments when there is no tint esp with the tight shot near the end of their talk. However that very first shot before the credits no way you cant say it doesnt have a tint.

    The Criterion is way sharper than the MGM transfer and I REALLY appreciate the original United Artist Transamerica logo restored to this edition.

    Criterion got my money, but the teal push is real on many releases, and to me its a red flag. If we keep supporting by buying them it sends the wrong message that any distributor can hash out any revisionist transfer they want and we all run to buy them.

    What if the Criterion came out and had his hat and shirt to be true white, would anyone have complained?

    Again all the revisionism with so many films makes me not very trusting when it comes to Midnight Cowboy.

    I always hope for the best but now everytime Criterion announces a BLU I always wonder how different its going to look. I hate getting burned so to speak.

    Dressed to Kill is one example that comes to mind. Better detail and transfer but there are some shots that look drastically different.

    Compare near the beginning of DtK when Angie Dickinson is in bed with her husband and check out the bedspread and decor. Wow its so different between both transfers

    I will watch Midnight Cowboy this weekend and Im sure I will enjoy it, and I will keep an open mind.

    I do appreciate getting more thoughts on the transfer.

    Just wondering, you are complaining about the Criterion transfer before having seen it?

  13. haineshisway

    I am so irritated right now. SO irritated. For WEEKS the other board has been having conniption fits over this transfer, despite it not being released until today. In other words, yes, the dreaded and terrible screen caps, which would lead you to believe that this was a horrible green mess – carefully chose screen shots I might add and from where, heaven knows, because they seemed to appear before any reviews had appeared. Of course, you all know where this is heading.

    And a few days ago some people go early copies and still on they go about green tints, just to cover themselves with the angry, know-it-all mob over there. Well, I got this thing today and it is one of the most accurate and beautiful transfers I've ever seen. It's BREATHTAKING. I have never ever liked any home video iteration of this movie – they all look like crap. Finally we get a proper transfer and all these misguided few can do is complain about green and most of them without having seen a frame of this disc and all of them not ever having seen this film in a theater. There is not one HINT of a "green tint" in ANY scene, including the one they all point to, the one shot of the cook in the diner. The color is what it's supposed to be – but they all use the previous MGM transfer to tell everyone how wrong this is, as if they a) knew what they were talking about, and b) refuse to understand that previous transfers are not the gospel. And these same people who do this over and over and over again stop people from purchasing the disc. Then when the word finally gets out how amazing a transfer is, they all disappear without so much as a word of "oops." Every color in this film is perfect – the blues, the greens, the yellows, the reds, the purples, all of it. Adam Holender supervised this transfer and he did a fantastic job of getting this film to look just as fresh as the day it opened. And yes, there is popcorn-size grain in the early opticals, which is exactly right, and well, just buy it and understand how perfect it is. Blanket green, my backside. How do you explain all those other vivid colors and the perfectly BLUE sky? You can't because there is not one iota of a blanket green tint or any green tint, whatever that actually means. So, once again the screen shot brigade does their damage. And I really do not want to hear anything about "that's an actual shot right off the actual Blu-ray, because whatever is happening in those screen shots is so inaccurate as to be laughable.

    I cannot say enough about this transfer. Those who know me know how I am about color. This is fantastic.

    Thanks very much for the review ! I appreciate the fact that it turned out well. Not one of my favorite films but a good one. I was one who used the screen cap as part of my "fear of failure" regarding 2001. I stand corrected.

  14. battlebeast

    Just wondering, you are complaining about the Criterion transfer before having seen it?

    I was complaining having seen screen shots floating around. I now have it and its not as harsh as those caps made it out to be, but im still not 100% convinced. Being sold so many questionable transfers in the past you can understand doubt one would have.

    when Joe comes to the diner and talks to the cook all the fluorescent lights above are clearly OFF.

    But the transfer is clearly better than the MGM, more defined the grain looks incredible to me. And the icing on the cake is the United Artists Transamerica opening logo intact.

  15. Emphasis mine:

    "This new digital transfer was created in 16-bit 4K resolution on a Lasergraphics Director film scanner from the 35mm original camera negative. A 35mm interpositive was used for some sections where the negative was damaged. A 35mm theatrical print made for the 2004 twenty-fifth anniversary of the film — supervised by director John Schlesinger, producer Jerome Hellman, and cinematographer Adam Holender — was referenced for color correction. The 4K digital restoration was approved by Holender. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, and warps were manually removed using MTI Film's DRS, while Digital Vision's Phoenix was used for jitter, small dirt, grain, and noise management, and Pixel Farm's PFClean for flicker and chroma breathing."

    So basically the director, producer, and cinematographer approved these colors as opposed to Joe Calibration Disc at soandso.com. Sounds legit.

  16. haineshisway

    Yes, the brief shot is part of the entire stylized opening and of course there's fluorescent lighting, but even with that it isn't blanketed green like these people say – it just looks like it's supposed to look. The previous release is brown, literally all brown. They like that. 🙂

    The first Blu was abysmal. Calling it brown is being kind. I remember when this film opened, it had the most beautiful colors, all natural from a New York Times Square illuminated dark night of the soul. The thing is Bruce, we saw these films when they came out, and remember what they looked like. The younger members of our forum grew up watching faded 16mm television prints (or DVDs derived from the same) and are under the impression that these films are supposed to look orange, pink and brown, so when the films are suddenly restored to their original color scheme, it seems wrong because they were so used to seeing faded colors, that seeing all that blue, green and yellow is a big shock. Fortunately, some of us are still around to testify that this is indeed how these films looked on first release.

  17. Lord Dalek

    Emphasis mine:

    "This new digital transfer was created in 16-bit 4K resolution on a Lasergraphics Director film scanner from the 35mm original camera negative. A 35mm interpositive was used for some sections where the negative was damaged. A 35mm theatrical print made for the 2004 twenty-fifth anniversary of the film — supervised by director John Schlesinger, producer Jerome Hellman, and cinematographer Adam Holender — was referenced for color correction. The 4K digital restoration was approved by Holender. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, and warps were manually removed using MTI Film's DRS, while Digital Vision's Phoenix was used for jitter, small dirt, grain, and noise management, and Pixel Farm's PFClean for flicker and chroma breathing."

    So basically the director, producer, and cinematographer approved these colors as opposed to Joe Calibration Disc at soandso.com. Sounds legit.

    I understand you are quoting the booklet, but 2004 WAS NOT the 25th anniversary of the film… it was the 35th. Did they make a typo?

  18. Powell&Pressburger

    I was complaining having seen screen shots floating around. I now have it and its not as harsh as those caps made it out to be, but im still not 100% convinced. Being sold so many questionable transfers in the past you can understand doubt one would have.

    when Joe comes to the diner and talks to the cook all the fluorescent lights above are clearly OFF.

    But the transfer is clearly better than the MGM, more defined the grain looks incredible to me. And the icing on the cake is the United Artists Transamerica opening logo intact.

    Ah, I understand. BTW, I hope I didn't come off as insulting. My appologies if I did.

  19. I haven't seen the new Criterion Blu-ray yet, but after decades of watching 16mm and 35mm prints of this film that have varied in quality all over the map, I'll bet the new disc will be a revelation. Can't wait to see it!

  20. battlebeast

    I understand you are quoting the booklet, but 2004 WAS NOT the 25th anniversary of the film… it was the 35th. Did they make a typo?

    They did. The Criterion Forum review mentions the typo in the paragraph on the transfer.

  21. Having never seen it in the theater when it came out, wasn't born yet, but has viewed this on VHS, the anniversary DVD, the blu ray, and now the Criterion edition, all I can say is this looks beautiful, and period correct. Bruce is so right in his take on this and I trust people like him and RAH. When will people realize that we have been watching old transfers that are generations away from the original colors. Stop being skeptical of restorations and trust the people who are doing the work, or you can get Christopher Nolan and "unrestore" a film.

  22. Brian Husar

    Having never seen it in the theater when it came out, wasn't born yet, but has viewed this on VHS, the anniversary DVD, the blu ray, and now the Criterion edition, all I can say is this looks beautiful, and period correct. Bruce is so right in his take on this and I trust people like him and RAH. When will people realize that we have been watching old transfers that are generations away from the original colors. Stop being skeptical of restorations and trust the people who are doing the work, or you can get Christopher Nolan and "unrestore" a film.

    I agree with you completely…trust people like Robert, the issue obviously is they aren't all like him and even he has made comments that make us worry a bit such as "if too many people don't get their fingers in it" referencing his concern about how 2001 might turn out in UHD.

    You've seen Blade Runner right ? That UHD has no remaining blue or red anywhere in the film it's been pounded out of existence. Now the UHD of the Matrix on the other hand brings hope after the excessive amount of green added to the Blu Ray. The Matrix UHD looks spectacular.

    My point is once bitten twice shy.

  23. Brian Husar

    Having never seen it in the theater when it came out, wasn't born yet, but has viewed this on VHS, the anniversary DVD, the blu ray, and now the Criterion edition, all I can say is this looks beautiful, and period correct. Bruce is so right in his take on this and I trust people like him and RAH. When will people realize that we have been watching old transfers that are generations away from the original colors. Stop being skeptical of restorations and trust the people who are doing the work, or you can get Christopher Nolan and "unrestore" a film.

    I agree with you completely…trust people like Robert, the issue obviously is they aren't all like him and even he has made comments that make us worry a bit such as "if too many people don't get their fingers in it" referencing his concern about how 2001 might turn out in UHD.

    You've seen Blade Runner right ? That UHD has no remaining blue or red anywhere in the film it's been pounded out of existence. Now the UHD of the Matrix on the other hand brings hope after the excessive amount of green added to the Blu Ray. The Matrix UHD looks spectacular.

    My point is once bitten twice shy.

  24. A good part of my life I did not really get into watching older movies and I regret not but we seem to have different tastes when we are young. So there are so many older movies I have not gotten around to watching after realizing that there are many great movies out there that where made many years ago. Midnight Cowboy is one of countless movies I have yet to see so I am sure I am in for a treat when I see it for the first time!

    Another movie I can say has looked horrid release after release is Blade Runner! I have not seen a good looking release until it hit blu-ray! I own both the 2007 5 disc blu-ray release and the 2017 4K blu-ray and am happy with both. I have the Matrix on my purchase list and look forward to comparing it my 2007 release on HD-DVD. I am also a little skeptical seeing bad releases and after what happened with Terminator 2 on 4K UHD. So checking reviews on this site has become more important than ever before pulling the trigger on purchasing movies especially since finances are not as good as they where in the past.

  25. lark144

    The first Blu was abysmal. Calling it brown is being kind. I remember when this film opened, it had the most beautiful colors, all natural from a New York Times Square illuminated dark night of the soul. The thing is Bruce, we saw these films when they came out, and remember what they looked like. The younger members of our forum grew up watching faded 16mm television prints (or DVDs derived from the same) and are under the impression that these films are supposed to look orange, pink and brown, so when the films are suddenly restored to their original color scheme, it seems wrong because they were so used to seeing faded colors, that seeing all that blue, green and yellow is a big shock. Fortunately, some of us are still around to testify that this is indeed how these films looked on first release.

    I was blown over when I saw the Criterion edition of HEAVEN'S GATE, which returned Vilmos Zsigmond's work to its original color scheme, replacing the dusty, brown and yellow images I had seen in theaters and on previous video editions. It was a revelation. I'm just not a fan of films that push those "earthy" colors while almost completely eliminating blues and reds, unless it's truly in the service of the film's atmosphere. Too often, it's used just because it's the flavor of the day, or because pretentious directors think it makes their films stand out. And it does…like a sore thumb.

  26. CarlosMeat

    You've seen Blade Runner right ? That UHD has no remaining blue or red anywhere in the film it's been pounded out of existence.

    I am so-o glad to hear someone else say this. I found the UHD of BLADE RUNNER to be as you describe it. The reds of the neon signs in the original Blu-ray are now just orange, and no amount of tint or contrast or saturation adjustments correct this. I had been told 4k was going to be some sort of vast improvement, but this and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS are disappointments. Sure, there is more fine detail. I can literally count chest hairs on shirtless men. Do I want to? No. But if these releases are going to mess with the color, I'm outta here. I don't see this format as lasting even half as long as 3D did, unless the studios releasing them make owning them a no-brainer by retaining the best qualities of previous releases, including the intended color, plus adding the extra brightness, contrast and detail. So, far, they're not meeting my personal criteria. I own sixteen of these things, and while I think the first two HARRY POTTERS look much better than the Blu's, none of the other titles do, in my opinion. I'm going to stop buying them until I can make a final judgement about this format when (and if) Sony releases LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 4K. I have a calibrated 65" LG OLED 3D display, and I think a lot of the ballyhoo about UHD is just that.

  27. CarlosMeat

    I agree with you completely…trust people like Robert, the issue obviously is they aren't all like him and even he has made comments that make us worry a bit such as "if too many people don't get their fingers in it" referencing his concern about how 2001 might turn out in UHD.

    You've seen Blade Runner right ? That UHD has no remaining blue or red anywhere in the film it's been pounded out of existence. Now the UHD of the Matrix on the other hand brings hope after the excessive amount of green added to the Blu Ray. The Matrix UHD looks spectacular.

    My point is once bitten twice shy.

    In other words, you don't trust Robert, who actually hasn't commented on this film, and you don't trust this thread, despite the now pretty unanimous raves for this transfer from people who've actually seen it. 🙂

  28. haineshisway

    In other words, you don't trust Robert, who actually hasn't commented on this film, and you don't trust this thread, despite the now pretty unanimous raves for this transfer from people who've actually seen it. 🙂

    Where in the world did you get that from what I said. I already said that I stood corrected regarding this title in my previous post and happy that that is the case, since obviously you haven't read my earlier posts here about it.

    My point is in regards to blind" it will be OK" attitude. There are plenty of examples of that not working out. Additionally in this post I stated that if it had been Robert doing the work I'd just sit back and wait for seeing how doing it right looks.

  29. CarlosMeat

    Thanks very much for the review ! I appreciate the fact that it turned out well. Not one of my favorite films but a good one. I was one who used the screen cap as part of my "fear of failure" regarding 2001. I stand corrected.

    Here is what I said regarding your review on page one of this thread.

  30. Finally sat down and watched Midnight Cowboy Criterion last nite with an open mind on the transfer.

    It looks great that I never doubted and it nice to have the original mono audio track.

    The color correction and choices dont look as startling as I imagined. There are a few shots I still kind of wonder about and probably always will, but the pros out weigh that doibt I have.

    I havent watched the bew bonus features yet, but started on the commentary track from 1991. So far its a great listen.

    Wish there were some new bonus features or a video essay on the film delving into many of the films undercurrents.

  31. Brian Husar

    Having never seen it in the theater when it came out, wasn't born yet, but has viewed this on VHS, the anniversary DVD, the blu ray, and now the Criterion edition, all I can say is this looks beautiful, and period correct. Bruce is so right in his take on this and I trust people like him and RAH. When will people realize that we have been watching old transfers that are generations away from the original colors. Stop being skeptical of restorations and trust the people who are doing the work, or you can get Christopher Nolan and "unrestore" a film.

    It is a reflex reaction here on HTF for members to call out what they feel are issues with new transfers, whether they be related to color timing, aspect ratios, or missing lines of dialog. Often, such observations are important, and in the case of, say, ONE MILLION B.C., resulted in VCI releasing a corrected edition, even though many here did not see the problem at first. As for color, that is a tricky issue and has been argued over in these threads a zillion times. Most of it has to do with one's memory from having seen a film decades earlier and reporting that the Blu is nothing like it. I have done this.

    The whole blue/teal business is, I think, strictly in the eye of the beholder, but has led to assertions for some Blu-rays that the altered color timing is the most accurate rendering of a given film. Personally, I do not like the lean toward blue in new transfers…it gives true blues and reds very short shrift and limits the overall color palette I clearly recall (but again, how accurate are these memories?) having seen in the past. But others feel this is the correct look, and I cannot really say they are wrong…they just see the image differently from the way I see it. This could be due to what prints have been available for me to view in the past, or could even come down to the way our unique brains perceive color, or could even be slight vision impairment. I've no clue.

    In any case, Bruce and RAH are absolutely correct…from their point of view. I am absolutely correct in mine. We sometimes clash. Thus, this is a forum for conflicting opinions, and there's nothing wrong with some intelligent discourse, something that is more and more lacking in today's world.

  32. Have the Criterion dvd from the library and did my own a/b comparison with 2006 MGM Collector's dvd edition and I paused on both players around the 4 minute mark where Joe Buck is walking across the street to the restaurant where he works and in the foreground you can see 2 folks sitting on a bench. On the MGM dvd the color of the restaurant wall is white but on the Criterion there is a green tint to the wall and the image is brighter too. Just a observation and will watch the rest of the Criterion disc.

  33. The color on the previous DVD and Blu-ray was never correct – there is fluorescent lighting in that scene – instead of obsessing about the wall, look at the skin tones – they are perfect on the new transfer, and not on the previous.

  34. atcolomb

    Have the Criterion dvd from the library and did my own a/b comparison with 2006 MGM Collector's dvd edition and I paused on both players around the 4 minute mark where Joe Buck is walking across the street to the restaurant where he works and in the foreground you can see 2 folks sitting on a bench. On the MGM dvd the color of the restaurant wall is white but on the Criterion there is a green tint to the wall and the image is brighter too. Just a observation and will watch the rest of the Criterion disc.

    Yes, I watched this and don't own the other version. The walls of the restaurant are aqua colored and the sky is teal. This sort of effect is visible thoughout the presentation. This in fact is the worst appearing scene in the whole film but I never knew Jon Voight had teal eyes. You will notice throughout the film that teal is the most predominant color.

    Since this is the first time I've watched this in many many years I came in with an open mind but this film has been colorized IMO. Way too many films from that era out there to be seen on film and on home media to not see this as having been touched up(or botched up) as far as the color is concerned.

    The clarity is very very nice as are black level and low APL performance in the darker scenes.

    I still like it but….

  35. I just can't anymore. There is no teal in this transfer that wasn't there originally and it is hardly the predominant color, and I wouldn't even call what you're calling teal teal. You think there's a teal wash in the scene in Sylvia Miles' apartment? In the place where Ratso and Joe stay? I'm sorry, the director and cameraman timed this transfer (the cameraman directly and the director when the new print was created in the mid-2000s. They got it the way it looked originally and all you people who haven't a clue as to what it looked like originally are just judging things by the completely wrong previous transfers. I'm glad you're happy with that – anyone who knows this film is thrilled with this transfer. And please don't bother me with anything Jeffrey Wells writes on Hollywood Elsewhere. He's a poseur without an iota of actual knowledge of film.

    Thankfully the reviews for the most part have been absolutely stellar and people who know the look of the film are, as I said, beyond thrilled. I think we've all said what we have to say.

  36. haineshisway

    I just can't anymore. There is no teal in this transfer that wasn't there originally. I'm sorry, the director and cameraman timed this transfer (the cameraman directly and the director when the new print was created in the mid-2000s. They got it the way it looked originally and all you people who haven't a clue as to what it looked like originally are just judging things by the completely wrong previous transfers. I'm glad you're happy with that – anyone who knows this film is thrilled with this transfer. And please don't bother me with anything Jeffrey Wells writes on Hollywood Elsewhere. He's a poseur without an iota of actual knowledge of film.

    Fear not Bruce, I’ll be buying this release in the next month and I’m really looking forward to seeing this beautiful video presentation of this fine film.:)

  37. Jesus! Is Jeffrey Wells still alive? Someone told me they saw him at Cannes! I though it was his ghost

    On the subject of this film., I went to see it three days running when it opened in Sydney in 1969 (at the long gone Paris cinema). MeEory is unreliable but that heavily censor-cut print stayed in circulation for a long time and I remember it pretty well over god knows how many screenings. The grainyness and the edginess was a given, in fact I felt a lot of the location shooting and hand held camera was a huge nod to the Warhol/Morrissey scene in Manhattan back then. In fact Morrisey, along with Viva, International Velvet and Ultra Violet and Taylor Mead (the 'Sissy" from Lonesome Cowdoys) are in the big party scene in MC. The nervous kid who gives Voight the BJ was played by Bob Balaban! The movie has huge resonances for me and doubtless many others. The gorgeous Criterion disc is very much how it looked. Very much. The only time Crit goes teal on you is when it's inherited a transfer from Cineteca Bologna who have a real creamy yellow and teal bias in their color restorations, very much like the dreaded Lab. Eclair post house in Paris. Criterion's own work with other houses like Prasad and Technicolor LA is exemplary. This is exemplary.

  38. haineshisway

    I just can't anymore. There is no teal in this transfer that wasn't there originally and it is hardly the predominant color, and I wouldn't even call what you're calling teal teal. You think there's a teal wash in the scene in Sylvia Miles' apartment? In the place where Ratso and Joe stay? I'm sorry, the director and cameraman timed this transfer (the cameraman directly and the director when the new print was created in the mid-2000s. They got it the way it looked originally and all you people who haven't a clue as to what it looked like originally are just judging things by the completely wrong previous transfers. I'm glad you're happy with that – anyone who knows this film is thrilled with this transfer. And please don't bother me with anything Jeffrey Wells writes on Hollywood Elsewhere. He's a poseur without an iota of actual knowledge of film.

    Thankfully the reviews for the most part have been absolutely stellar and people who know the look of the film are, as I said, beyond thrilled. I think we've all said what we have to say.

    As I said I don't have an old version of this film. The teal wash as you call it is definitely stronger in certain scenes than others but skies in the Texas scenes which should be blue are teal. Look at reflections of buildings in windows etc these should be blue or neutral and are most definitely teal.

    The scene with the older lady early on in New York there is nothing that is white any place.

    This looks nothing like films from this era although except for the colorization which has been applied the transfer looks beautiful.

    Honestly I wish I didn't see what I see in this iteration of a good film but I do.

  39. It's not a teal wash. The opening scenes with strong green present with a strong green. Thus the first ten minutes are heavier in grain and his shirt throughout (except the flashbacks) is a striking teal green. When he arrives in Manhattan he changes to a pop button blue shirt. All through the film whites are dead pure, blacks are clean and red, yellows, blues and secondary colors pop. There is no bias apparent to me. The whole transfer has been mastered at the higest possible end of Rec.709 color spacing. There is simply no "teal wash". This is what it looked like in 1969, and the use of original elements for the foundation delivers an even finer grain rez and better dynamic range than was visible back then.

  40. Carlos as you have the disc I suggest you watch ASAP the Bonus short with DP Alan Holender in which he talks about the diverse ways he and Schlesinger dealt with light, particularly a long section starting around 7 minues in when he talsk about flashing both neg and positive, and going back and forth between over and unerexposure of shootng to create "realty" and "flashback" shots visually. I think he gives you all the cues for a rewarding viewing of it in a new – so to speak – light.

  41. I know this is getting tedious really throughout the film Jon Voight has teal eyes not green not blue. The reflections in windows aren't green they are teal. I agree that the film has fine looking grain and has a good look to it in many ways but it doesn't look like contemporary film(contemporary to it's release) but one that was manipulated.

    If I had come down with yesterdays rain ,as my late father used to say, I'd believe you.

    Anyway, as much as I , in my heart of hearts, believe that this film has been digitally colorized much like the final cut of Blade Runner but in a more subtle manner ,I am not going to spend any more time here since my observations and conclusions drawn from are falling on deaf ears.

    The issue I see is that having been now sensitized to the effect I can no longer "not see it" much like single chip DLP rainbows.

    Uncle !:)

  42. It's tedious because you are wrong. It's really that simple. And I said "teal wash" because that's what everyone's been saying – it's not a phrase I would use otherwise, as it's ridiculous. So either you're watching it on some device that is completely skewing the color (certainly possible) or I don't know what to tell you, but you have multiple people in this thread telling you what this film originally looked like and yet on you go, never having seen it originally. That's what's tedious. Assume those of us who know the film know what we're talking about. His eyes are not teal, the sky is blue when it's meant to be blue and if I never hear the word teal again as long as I live it will be too soon.

  43. Stephen_J_H

    Waiting for your comments on Bull Durham, Bruce. Certain sites are complaining about "tealing" there as well.

    I wouldn't comment on its look because believe it or not I've never seen the film 🙂 And certain sites think EVERY transfer is teal and orange because that's what they do. 99% of the time they're wrong.

  44. I just took a gander at that Bull Durham thread. I don't want to derail this thread, but it's the SAME PEOPLE doing exactly what they did with Midnight Cowboy – when they realized they were wrong about that one every single one of 'em disappeared never to comment again. And guess what they're basing it on? Yep, the Beaver caps. And there's one cap there that will probably tell you everything you need to know about him and that site: There's a group photo where a team player on the left is wearing a blue shirt in the old transfer that is literally bright green in the new. Now, when you look at every other color in that scene, most of it is VERY close – so how can it be that one article of clothing has changed so drastically? Answer: It can't, so you tell me. In order for that to happen every other color in that shot would be skewed in some horrendous way. Something is very wrong, and while I don't care for Dr. Svet, who raved about the transfer and of course gets called a Criterion apologist (he also raved about Midnight Cowboy), he correctly states that the Beaver's caps are a joke, and he goes into detail as to why – how he captures them and the fact that they all have incorrect color values. This guy is doing more harm than anybody, I'm sorry. But it is literally the same people bellyaching based on those caps. Again, I don't know the film and maybe now I'll finally see it, but my guess is that because Criterion, as with Midnight Cowboy, didn't actually DO the transfer (MGM/UA and the film's director Ron Shelton did it), I'm just gonna guess that it's probably stellar.

  45. CarlosMeat

    I lied, one more thing. Thanks for welcoming me into this place. A great bunch of folks here.

    No one has a problem with you being here, certainly I don't. What some people have a problem with are your posts about this film. This is a discussion board and of course if people disagree with your assertions they're going to say so.

  46. CarlosMeat

    I lied, one more thing. Thanks for welcoming me into this place. A great bunch of folks here.

    I won't allow anybody to call somebody a liar on this forum! People are disagreeing with what you're seeing so we need to agree to disagree here. This Blu-ray title came out on May 29th, people will make up their own minds once they view the disc with their own eyes and on their own home theater set up. If teal is what you're seeing, so be it, just respect those that don't see the same color scheme as you do and we'll do the same with you.

    Let's stop the bickering and let other posters come here and post their opinions about this disc. The back and forth isn't going to change opinions as people can see for themselves. I plan on buying this release next month when Barnes and Nobles has their July sale. I won't comment any further until then except to moderate and keep the peace in this thread.

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