30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2005
Okay first off I want to point out that I love this Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol, it is the best version and is the best Scrooge. I would give the movie 5 stars but the DVD put out by VCI is terrible. I totally agree with the previous reviewers who have had problems viewing the movie on this DVD. The menu is horrible and when I try to bypass the long animated menu introduction the DVD goes haywire and locks up my DVD players and I have to unplug the DVD players, plug back in and turn on again and eject the disc. These discs must be defective. I wish a good company would put out a quality DVD and not just Criterion. Criterion charges way too much money for their DVD's! I personally can't afford Criterion DVD's! This is a 5 star movie on a 1 star DVD!
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2005
Granted, the sharpness of the picture is better then the VCI version, but there are persistent, light white scratches, that appear horizontally across the middle of the screen for great amounts of time, usually right across someone's face, that are so annoyingly distracting that watching this version is not much fun (it's kind of almost as bad as watching a cheap DVD that has a line going vertically, through the it for a nice chunk of time).
I checked out two different copies of this DVD and tried them on two different DVD players, to make sure that the scratches had nothing to do with my equipment.
The VCI version is the one to get, as though the picture may be a tad softer, there are no annoying scratches on the print (and until I actually did a side by side comparison of the two, I didn't even notice the VCI version being at all, soft)
Also, the booklet that comes with this new version has nothing of any importance, what so ever, where as the liner notes on the VCI DVD are way more informative.
The only thing that this version does have over the VCI version is the inclusion of an unremastered trailer (which isn't really all that great, as trailers go, anyway).
Hope this helps :)
65 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2005
Starting from the cheap computer effects introduction from third-rate VCI Entertainment and an ancient Patrick McNee video introduction, my heart sank -- I knew immediately that I had been had. The DVD said "restored and remastered from the original 35mm negative", but this could not be further from the truth. The picture and audio is atrocious, belying the no-budget nature of this release. Be under no illusions -- there was no restoration or remastering involved here. It is amazing that such a fraud would be perpetrated in this age of routine restorations of even the most mundane films. Perhaps Criterion can get a hold of this.
31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 1999
Such a classic movie put to shame by shoddy DVD reproduction.
If you are looking to build your DVD collection, avoid "VCI home video" at all costs.
You cannot even read the interface, and the menu is a complete mess. Sound quality is awful, and the image quality looks like they put a 1980 video recorder on a worn porn theatre screen.
I LOVE this movie, but VCI should be shot. Who in their right mind gave them the rights to such a piece of film history?
I wish there was a "-5 star" option
24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
I'm sorry that I had to waste my money to find out for myself that VCI has indeed made a MESS of the greatest version of "A Christmas Carol" ever filmed.
For most of the film, it does indeed look like a wonderful restoration job--the contrast and sharpness are perfect. But about a quarter of the film has been spliced in from two other, lower-quality sources--and not in one big piece, which wouldn't be so bad, but in little chunks throughout the entire film. So you are constantly thrown out of the movie as you go on a rollercoaster ride from great to awful film quality. One of the low-quality sources even has a very distinct green tint, making matters all that much more impossible to ignore. HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO MATCH THE COLOR BALANCE ON BLACK-AND-WHITE FILMS?!?
As another reviewer here noted, all this splicing really ruins the scene in which Scrooge goes to his nephew's house for dinner. And even though the following scene with Scrooge and Bob Crachit is all from one source, the extremely high number of missing frames had me wondering if all was OK with my DVD player.
VCI ruined the sound, too, with really bad echo in an attempt to create surround sound. When they start the polka at Fred's dinner party, it sounds like Bent Fabric at the piano.
The "widescreen" version is just the same spliced-up, echo-ridden mess with the top and bottom of the picture cut off. And while I am a fan of the best colorization work (i.e., some of Legend Films' releases), the colorized version here is a throwback to the 80s, with a very limited palette that actually gets annoying before long.
After seeing Alistair Sim's amazing, natural performance, so seemingly effortless that you'd think anyone can act, there's Sir Seymour Hick's version of the same script that proves no, they can't. Everyone in that older version is so incredibly stilted that it doesn't matter that the print included here is so very murky and truncated. I never want to see it again.
The only people I can imagine enjoying any of this mess are those who take absolutely no notice of picture and audio quality... so, what was the purpose of the whole "restoration" process?
Seek out the previous VCI DVD of Sim's film. Even though that transfer is too dark, it's FAR more enjoyable than anything in this 2-disc set. And Sim's film is one that should be enjoyed often.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2009
A great movie (we have watched the VCR tape of it for years).
A horrible reproduction of it by VCI.
Muddy, unclear images.
And the subtitles won't turn off. And they were obviously done by computer, "Well" becomes "Will" and unending other such garbage transcription. VCI put not effort into this product.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2010
I have played this disk on three blu ray players and the faults are always in exactly the same places. The amazing thing is they are on the DVD that comes with the blu ray in the same places. Maybe they were on drugs, who knows. Anyway great film, lousy disk.
14 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2011
For the umpteenth time VCI has re-released A Christmas Carol in a,now called,Diamond Edition.They have even enlisted the talent of movie critic Leonard Maltin to introduce the film to give them more street cred and added some extras like silent versions of the film and a new 5.1 Dolby surround sound along with the original mono,and on and on.The print that many others have raved about DOES look excellent,to a point.I actually kind of re-discovered the film all over again,that is how good the picture looked.I even saw for the first time the legendary man in the mirror.If you aren't aware of the story,a stage hand is visible in mirror Sims looks into Christmas morning.
Here's the nitty-gritty.
Let's start by saying that the menu is not user friendly at all.There is no option to skip Maltin's intro,you have to push forward for that.If you go into the options menu there is a list for the commentary,the different sound options,etc.If you hit one,for example the commentary,there is no way to stop it but to come back there and hit something else like a sound option!
The film is shown in a boxed form.There are two black bars running horizontally top and bottom(like widescreen),then there are two vertical bars on either side of the picture,so the film is seen in its original a/r,not an entire full screen format(i.e. fitted to your TV screen).This is alright per se',but I will now list the defects that occur and leave the speculation as to what causes them(either poor film elements,the digital process or a manufacturers defect)to YOU.Throughout the film there are periodic white flashes along the side black bars,at one point on the far right side of the frame a distortion bar appears running vertically from top to bottom of the film,there are constant slight jumps in the film,the scene where Marley's ghost throws open Ebeneezers' door to enter,the door blurs as it opens and Ebeneezer blurs as he quickly steps-back,and finally comes the scene where two women and an undertaker are trying to sell off dead Scrooge's belongings.At one point as the second woman speaks her dialogue it cuts out completely,as her mouth continues to move,then cuts back in as her dialogue quickly catches back up to her mouth.A strange glitch.What is even stranger is that I thought I would watch the movie with the commentary on at that point,and from what I heard there is NO cut out of dialogue at that exact moment,during the commentary.Now,go figure that one out!
I can only ask VCI one thing,where is the quality control here? Does anyone there actually watch the finished product or is it just rush it out and cash in?And speaking of VCI,this is the second product of theirs in the last month I have reviewed and the other didn't fair well either because of VCI's cheap packaging which compromised the integrity of the discs inside.If you have seen Maltin's intro you will have noticed(coincidence?)two figurines to his left.They were Laurel and Hardy and the set of their films VCI released so terribly,is what I refer to.
So my final thoughts are these.VCI,after repeated releases,have finally released a half way decent print of this film but,as you have read,it is terribly fraught with glitches and defects throughout.My advice is to hold out and hope either 1)VCI gets their quality control act together and releases a much more professional and consumer friendly DVD product or 2)someone else comes along and beats them to the punch.Either way give this one a big pass.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2002
This great movie, the best version, is ruined by the colorizing. All it really adds is ... colors that are pale and out of place, as with all colorized versions of any movies. The old B&W scenes add a touch of old London in the 19th century to the whole movie watching experience. Either find the B&W version or try to turn off the color on your TV.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2015
The DVD was damaged with the entire middle part of the movie missing. We were terribly disappointed because this is the greatest movie version of the many produced since.