Black Narcissus: A cinematic masterpiece makes a stunning transfer to DVD

A quick mention must be made of this extraordinary DVD which, I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve only just caught up with although it was released late last year. Network’s new ‘Black Narcissus’ has to rank as the best DVD transfer of a technicolour film I’ve ever seen. Obviously it helps that I’ve been in love with the film for years, but anyone who appreciates sublime visuals thrillingly realised on DVD will not fail to be stunned by this disc.
The fact that I’ve been in love with the film may actually have made me more critical than someone new to it; having seen this movie in several different formats, I came to Network’s release with a critical eye. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. Rich, natural colours, awesome detail, astounding, almost hallucinatory clarity, this DVD has the lot and no evidence of the ‘combing’ apparent in places on the Criterion.
When you consider this film is nearly 60 year old, the quality of this transfer is genuinely hard to believe. Granada has struck a new interpositive directly from the original 35mm YCM and extensively restored the image in HD, removing dirt and defects. The soundtrack has also been digitally restored, a relief to anyone who has suffered the synch problems inherent in the Criterion.
Features include the same 1988 commentary with Powell and Scorsese and ‘Painting with Light’ Cardiff documentary available on the Criterion, with the addition of the valuable 24-minute ‘A Profile of Black Narcissus’ doc.
All this, and it’s R2 too, and available online for approx £14. The only caveat is that there’s no subtitle option, so hard of hearing viewers may want to hold onto their Criterions while adding the Network to their collection when they feel like bathing purely in visual splendour.
For my money the best DVD of 2005 and a must-own title at any rate, please avail yourself of this extraordinary opportunity now and purchase one of the best British films ever made on what is without doubt the best-looking transfer of a film of this era I’ve ever seen.

Last updated: 19/04/2018 06:16:02

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