Two more Woody Allen classics – Sleeper and Hannah And Her Sisters – hit high definition this month in the US. The release has generated several reviews, many specifically discussing the quality of upgraded audio and video. Here are some of what they’re saying about these latest editions.
The consensus seems to be that these films are as great if not better than they’ve ever been presented, but the nature of the material plus no special features doesn’t make for exciting packages.
Blu-Ray.com gave ‘Sleeper‘ 7.6 as a film.
They gave the video quality a 4/5.
The image on MGM’s 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray is truly impressive for a 40-year-old film. The source material is in pristine shape; the colors are vivid; and the detail in sets, locations, costumes and faces is remarkable.
And the audio quality 3.5/5
Voices are always clear, and the musical accompaniment, which consists of jazz and ragtime tunes, lacks the vintage quality that is so often heard in Allen’s recent films.
They gave the extras 0.5/5, the only special features being dubs in European languages and the trailer.
Blu-Ray.com also reviewed ‘Hannah And Her Sisters‘, awarding the film itself 8.5
They gave the video quality 3.8/5
Hannah is something of a mixed affair. The bulk of it reproduces Di Palma’s soft lighting and shaded textures with excellent detail, good color fidelity, deep blacks and an accurately rendered grain pattern that is reasonably unobtrusive. In about 15-20% of the shots, however—and there seems to be no pattern as to which ones—a noticeable amount of video noise is present, and it’s sufficient to be a minor distraction.
They gave the audio 3.5/5
Another of Allen’s lucid and effective mono mixes, with clear dialogue and a beautifully rendered musical soundtrack.
They also awarded the non existent extras a 0.5/5
High Def Digest also reviewed ‘Sleeper‘, giving the film itself 4.5/5
They gave the video 4/5
The source is in great shape, with no damage or noticeable dirt. The transfer is equally strong, with no artifacts. The film’s 70s stock is wonderfully preserved, with plenty of grain that comes together to make a pleasing image.
…and the audio 3/5
Being mono, the track will ultimately still sound limited, but despite that it comes off strongly.
The extras scored 1/5, with the HD version of the trailer getting praise.
On ‘Hannah And Her Sisters‘, High Def Digest gave the film itself 4.5/5
The video is given a 3.5/5
Grainy and flat, ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ doesn’t exactly wow on Blu-ray, but with the exception of some possible noise, the transfer appears to be faithful to the source.
… and the audio also scored 3.5/5
Dialogue is clear throughout, but the track seems to be mixed rather low compared to other discs. Effects work is very sparse throughout, leading to a minimalist sense of atmosphere throughout the single channel of audio. The jazz and classical music selections that make up the brunt of the soundtrack come through well, but with the exception of scenes set during an opera and a rock concert, dynamic range is on the flat side.
The non existent extras scored 1
Home Theater Forum gave ‘Sleeper‘ 3/5
They gave the video quality 4/5
Detail holds up from establishing shots to close ups, though heavier grain in more dimly lit environments can affect fine rendering of things like hair and skin texture. The dirt and dust-free image also exhibits no digital artifacts, creating a remarkably well preserved looking picture.
…and the audio quality 2.5/5
The mix is also rather utilitarian, with highly centered placement of all speech, sound effects and music. Dynamic range is decent, however, the lower registers exhibiting good fullness and depth.
Home Theater Forum gave ‘Hannah And Her Sisters‘ 4.5/5
They gave the video quality 4/5
Detail holds up from establishing shots to close ups, though heavier grain in more dimly lit environments, as well as occasional flecks of dirt and dust in the picture can affect fine rendering of things like hair and skin texture. Occasional flicker or flutter in the image can be mildly distracting, but otherwise the image exhibits no other transfer artifacts.
…and the audio quality 3.5/5
The track does have an impressive breadth in its soundstage however, offering some subtle vocal placement that keeps it from being a strictly center channel experience.
‘Sleeper‘ and ‘Hannah And Her Sisters‘ are both out now in the US on blu-ray. What MGM era films do you want to see next?