My Two Cents
Friday, 23 July 2021 19:02

Dracula 4K on Apple TV, Uni Monsters coming to UHD disc, KLSC bows more Leone in Ultra HD & Sony’s Underworld 4K box

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We’re rounding out the week with a bit of new announcement news here at The Bits...

I’ll have a review of Akira Kurosawa’s Ran in 4K Ultra HD for you later today as well, but first I wanted to jump in early with some breaking news.

Universal Monsters fans may be pleased to learn that Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931) is now available for purchase on iTunes/Apple TV in 4K UHD with HDR. And the SRP is just $4.99. It looks fantastic—the high dynamic range really does make a difference in subtle things, like shadow detailing, candle and moonlight luminance, Dracula’s glowing white eyes, and the like.

As I mentioned in my review of the complete Universal Monsters Blu-ray Collection back in 2018, all of these films were remastered from new 4K scans. So potentially, they could all be made available in native 4K, both digitally and on disc. And in fact, we’ve had Dracula on our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits for many months now. Both Dracula and Frankenstein celebrate their 90th anniversaries this year. The Mummy turns 90 next year, while The Wolf Man celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2021. [Read on here...]

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So here the even better news: Our studio sources have informed us that Universal is indeed quietly preparing to release all four films on physical 4K Ultra HD in late September or early October in a Universal Monsters Classics Collection. The set is starting to appear for pre-order on select European retail sites, and we expect it to be announced here in the States in the weeks ahead. What we don’t know yet is whether single-film 4K SKUs will be available immediately, or not until next year (as was the case with Universal’s recent Hitchcock 4K set).

In any case Universal Monsters fans should have good reason to rejoice soon. Don’t expect miracles in terms of the image quality upgrade over regular Blu-ray, but there should definitely be subtle improvements in fine detailing and again the HDR will make a real difference.

Now then, here’s more good 4K news: Our friends at Kino Lorber Studio Classics have just officially confirmed on their social media that they will be releasing physical 4K Ultra HD versions of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965) sometime next year. If they look even half as good as the company’s recent 4K release of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1967 – see our review here), they’ll be well worth the wait. Who knows? Maybe Duck, You Sucker! (1971) will follow eventually too. And if we can get Paramount to release Leone’s magnificent Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) on the format as well, we could all count ourselves very lucky indeed.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s long awaited 4K Ultra HD release of Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption is finally official and now available for pre-order on Amazon with a street date of 9/14. You can see the cover artwork for that below (with the pre-order link).

Once last piece of 4K announcement news today: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has just officially announced an Underworld: Limited Edition 5-Movie Collection for release on 4K UHD on 10/5. You’ll get both the Theatrical and Unrated Extended Cuts of Underworld, as well as Underworld: Evolution, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Underworld: Awakening, and Underworld: Blood Wars. Also included will be hours of legacy SD and HD special features, including the animated Underworld: Endless War shorts. All of the 4K presentations will feature HDR10 high dynamic range and Dolby Atmos audio. Blu-ray and Digital copies will also be included. You can see the cover artwork below.

Note that we’ve updated our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits with all of these titles accordingly.

We’ll leave you with a look the cover art for a couple of the titles mentioned above and more. Just click on the covers to pre-order them on Amazon if available...

The Shawshank Redemption (4K Ultra HD) Underworld: 5-Film Collection (4K Ultra HD) The Thing (4K Ultra HD)

Have a great weekend! Stay tuned...

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