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Blu-ray Reviews: Cool Hand Luke

Not previously published
Last updated 11 June 2011

Cool Hand Luke
1967 - Warner Bros Entertainment Australia Pty Ltd
Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Lou Antonio, Robert Drivas, Strother Martin, Jo Van Fleet, Clifton James, Morgan Woodward, Luke Askew, Marc Cavell, Richard Davalos, Robert Donner, Warren Finnerty and Dennis Hopper

Movie: Picture: TBA Sound: TBA Extras:

No printed review.

Running time: 127 minutes
Picture: 2.40:1, 1080p24, VC1 @ 19.36Mbps
Sound: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish (Castellano), Spanish (Espanol), Portuguese, Japanese, Commentary (Eric Lax): Dolby Digital 1/0.0 @ 192kbps
Subtitles: English for the Hearing Impaired, French, German for the Hearing Impaired, Italian, Italian for the Hearing Impaired, Spanish (Castellano), Dutch, Spanish (Espanol), Portuguese (Brazilian), Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, Japanese
Extras: Featurette: 'A Natural-Born World-Shaker: Making Cool Hand Luke' (480i60, VC1, DPL2.0 @ 192kbps - 29 mins); Trailer (4:3, 480i60, VC1, DPL2.0 @ 640kbps - 3 mins)
Restrictions: Rated (Australian rating); Region Free

The following video bitrate graph was generated by BDInfo 0.5.3:

Comparison: Blu-ray vs PAL DVD

Here are some comparisons between the Australian DVD and the Australia Blu-ray version of this movie. The Blu-ray was supplied to me by Warner Bros. I purchased the DVD some years ago.

This is an unusual DVD. Even though sold in Australia, it was in NTSC format rather than the more common PAL, and I take it to be the same as the US DVD.

At the top of each is the full frame (suitably shrunk down) used in the comparison, with a 250 pixel wide detail from the frame underneath. The left side is from the DVD. The image was captured digitally from the disc, scaled up from its native 720 by 480 pixel resolution to 853 by 480 (to present in the correct aspect ratio) by the application. I then scaled it, in order for it to be comparable to the Blu-ray version, to 1,920 by 1,080 pixels.

The detail is from that last scaled version, and has not been rescaled again. The right side is from the Australian Blu-ray. This has not been scaled at all. Different applications were used to capture the two frames, so some caution should be exercised in judging colour and brightness.

Notice, some clear edge enhancement to the right (from our point of view) of Newman's face on the DVD version. In this shot the Blu-ray doesn't seem much more detailed, presumably because there isn't more detail in the film to be captures by the transfer, than it is smoother and more film-like:

Hey, this is a 1967 film. I think we're going to have to reconcile ourselves to the Blu-ray not offering 2011 clarity. But despite this, again is it enormously better than the DVD, at least in part due to the eliminating of the DVD's edge enhancement (see the fence post, and the mottling on George Kennedy's skin. Not also the heads of grass seed at the bottom right of the detail. See how they are vague smudges in the DVD, and bright, more numerous highlights in the Blu-ray:

No need to comment on this one, other than to say: how could you possibly have screen shots of this movie without including those sunglasses?

DVD, both soft and fussy at the same time; Blu-ray smooth, detailed, with even the little gatherings of the materia around the stitched seam visible:

There is something about the wrinkles and folds of a fabric that looks so much more realistic with the greater resolution of Blu-ray:

© 2002-2011, Stephen Dawson