Fleischer Follow-Up

Last month I wrote a review for the Blu-Ray release of the 1940s Fleischer theatrical shorts. In it I tried to be as detailed as I could. I spent a lot of time on the presentation like the packaging, menus, and video quality. I noted an error in the intro of Volcano. Overall the clean bright image really won me over. Especially when I compared it to some shots of the earlier releases in my collection.

Well, this weekend someone went on a damn-fool idealistic crusade and detailed every single error in this new version. They used the Bosko release as the reference for most of it, but have some other comparisons as well including an old laserdisc release. They have identified 66 Picture and Sound Errors. Some of them were included on the earlier official DVD, but some of them are new to the Blu-Ray making this the most error-prone release yet.

A big theme that stuck out to me is the restoration reuses intro and outro audio—likely from the cleanest source they could find—but the originals had unique intro and outros for each short. They weren’t just cut and paste jobs; they were each made with care. I noticed the abrupt music ending in a few shorts, but they were the same on the official DVD so I assumed it was correct. I didn’t compare it to the Bosko which is clearly better. I wish that I had taken the time to really compare these side by side, but I’m glad someone did. This YouTubers attention to detail is what Warners is lacking.

Much of the early chatter around the release said that Warner Archive should have handled the restoration rather than Warner’s traditional home video department. I see the logic in the Archive department working to put out the most historically accurate versions of less commercially viable projects. With the regular home video department focused on a more mass market. I understand why they made the picture quality as clean as possible without the grain to appeal to a wide audience. But actual errors in presentation are inexcusable.

If you care about the nitty gritty details I recommend watching the whole comparison. His full review is also worth checking out.

June 19, 2023

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