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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Blu-ray Compare - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This one is for all you movie perfectionists out there!  Blu-ray is a relatively new technology (about 5 years old now), which allows us enjoy films in glorious high definition (HD)

As of right now, GBU is available from 2 different prints/studios on blu-ray; MGM and Mondo.  The MGM print is the one you will find in most countries (even if not on the MGM label).  The Mondo version is exclusive to Italy.  Both prints feature the extended version of the movie.

One of the main complaints with the MGM version is the quality of the transfer, specifically the digital noise reduction (DNR), the studio used.  DNR is a process in which film grain is reduced or eliminated to give a film a smoother look on video.  When overly processed it caused the image to look overly smooth, or "waxy", resulting in fine details to be lost.  Kinda defeats the purpose of HD if you ask me!

I'll be upfront right now, and say I prefer the transfer on the Mondo version.  It is a night and day difference over MGM, especially when projected on a large screen.  Watching it was a revalation, and when I popped the MGM disc into my player, I was disgusted with the quality.  What a mess.

Below is a blow up to show the quality difference.  MGM is on the left, Mondo on the right.

Below are some additional screen grabs.  MGM left, Mondo right.  There is a difference in the color timing between the two transfers.

Finally it appears the MGM version has tighter framing resulting in loss of about 8% of the image. 

Studio: MGM
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 2

Amazon.com link
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging)

Multiple languages (including English)
Many extras (commentary, documentary, trailer, etc...)
Easy to find and affordably priced

DNR creates a soft image
Framing issues - there is a loss of total image as film is slightly cropped

No LVC on the cover!

  • Studio: Mondo Home 
  • Language: Italian ONLY
  • Subtitles: Italian
  • Region: Region B/2
  • Number of discs: 1

  • Amazon.com link
    Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo

    Improved image quality over MGM
    Better framing than MGM

    THE BAD:
    Italian language only!
    Costs twice that of the MGM
    No extras

    What is Col. Mortimer doing on the cover?

    To sum up I think the MGM version is fine for the casual fan, but for the a LVC superfan or video snob, the Mondo copy is the way to go!


    1. I truly enjoyed this article, thanks! Love this blog:-)

    2. I'll 2nd all that, Ellen! "The Bad", Aaron, also includes we have yet to see an Ultimate Version of GBU, eh? ;P


    3. I received the Italian Blu-ray (found it at 12 euros, thanks amazon.it) 2 weeks ago, and my MGM disc pales in comparison indeed.

      Slight problem: the runtime is not the same between both editions, as the MGM runs 3 minutes longer. Do these 3 minutes only represent the scene when Tuco is plucking a chicken, or are there other differences? I can't find any real satisfactory answer on the Internet.

      And nice article BTW.


      1. Yes, the extra time is the missing Tuco scene. Everything else is there. Any other differences are minor trims (a few frames)

      2. Thank you very much :)