Dracula Prince of Darkness…Hammer classic now restored and released on Region B Blu-ray…Re-release with corrected audio synch

Posted: 20 April, 2012 in BBFC Uncut, New Releases
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Read more Latest UK Cuts at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See trailer from youtube.com
See further details at Melon Farmers Video Hits: Dracula Prince of Darkness

Dracula Prince Of Darkness Blu rayDracula: Prince of Darkness is a 1966 UK horror film by Terence Fisher. With Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley and Andrew Keir. See IMDb

UK: Passed 15 uncut for:

  • UK 2012 Hammer/Studio Canal Restored Version [with Corrected Audio Synch] R2 DVD/RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon for re-release on 30th April 2012

It is widely reported that the master used for March 2012 release exhibits audio sync errors of up to 1 second. this is apparent on both Blu-ray and DVD disks and seems to be most obvious during the first 15 minutes of the film. This is now corrected for a re-release on 30th April 2012.

Extras:

  • Commentary featuring Christopher Lee, Suzan Farmer, Francis Matthews & Barbara Shelley
  • World of Hammer episode Hammer Stars: Christopher Lee
  • Back to Black
  • Super 8mm Behind the Scenes footage
  • Restoration comparison
  • Trailer
  • Double bill Trailer
  • Original USA Titles
  • Original Print UK Theatrical Titles.

Previously Cut:

The cut cinema version was passed 15 without further BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1999 15 rated Warner VHS
  • UK 1993 15 rated Lumiere VHS
  • UK 1992 15 rated Warner VHS
  • UK 1966 X (16) rated cinema release

The BBFC cuts were:

  • A close-up of blood coming out of the stake in Barbara Shelley’s chest has been removed – in the censored print loss of soundtrack has been bridged with an additional reaction shot of Francis Matthews against the wall which appears to be the taken from another shot of him in this position but at a slightly different speed
  • After Dracula cuts open his chest, about 5s-10s of footage of Susan Farmer gradually coming closer to him has been removed presumably on the grounds that this makes it clearer that she was going to drink the blood on Dracula’s chest. The offscreen shout which ends Dracula’s advances appears against a different on-screen image in the cut version (because the original footage is missing) after not before Farmer has fainted

Update: Restored Titles

8th February 2012. See article from blog.hammerfilms.com

On the subject of main and end titles. Both our restoration partners and ourselves are doing everything we can to ensure that Hammer films are restored from the very best available materials. Often these materials are of the US rather than the UK version, which leads to a search for viable first and last reels so that the UK titles can be restored.

Dracula: Prince of Darkness was restored from an original cinema negative featuring US main titles but UK end titles. Using the first reel of a badly-damaged print as a source, Pinewood Studios have done a fantastic job restoring the original UK main titles, meaning that the final restored film has UK titles at the beginning (Associated British Productions Limited Presents // A Hammer Film Production) and the end (A Hammer Film Production produced at Bray Studios, England // Released through Warner-Pathe Distributors Limited).

Studio Canal and Hammer plan further restorations on such films as George Gilling’s The Plague of The Zombies and The Reptile.

Update: Statement from Hammer Films offering replacement disks re audio synch error

7th March 2012. See article from hammerfilms.com

Notice from StudioCanal UK regarding faulty Dracula Prince Of Darkness Blu-ray/DVD Double-Play discs:

We recently discovered a small audio synch issue within a couple of scenes of the Dracula Prince Of Darkness discs that were released on the 5th of March.

This problem occurred at the authoring stage where a fix was not implemented despite being supplied.

With this in mind we will be replacing any discs that have this issue present.

Please send your proof of payment and your address to enquiries@vdcgroup.com and we will endeavour to send a working replacement to you promptly.

Update: Further improvement to be added to replacement disks re audio synch error

21st March 2012. See article from blog.hammerfilms.com

The center sequence in the opening flashback scene of the film is from the 4-perf negative of DRACULA aka HORROR OF DRACULA. That film was shot on the full 35mm frame and intended to be screened at 1.66:1. To make it all fit together, the filmmakers reduced the size of the flashback scene from DRACULA and added a diamond-shaped smoke-effect mask. The result is that there’s a real issue with the grain: it is very tight and crowded due to the shrinking of the 1.66:1 image. In addition, the overlay of the larger and more exaggerated grain of the 2-perf smoke effect creates all sorts of problems once the image is digitised and compressed.

We did some research and have found an alternate encoding software package that will enable us better to tweak the opening sequence and create an improved encode. We have already completed several tests, and although it’s not perfect (it never could be, due to the workflow from 2-perf OCN to encoded Blu-ray) we feel that we have obtained a better result with less posterization. StudioCanal will replace this scene on the revised discs (with sound synch corrections) which will be available in April. We hope you like it!

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