The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection Blu-Ray

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I have fond memories of Friday evenings in the mid 1980s's when Channel 4, at least I think it was Channel 4, would broadcast each of the Basil Rathbone starring Sherlock Holmes films.?? I can also recall being in a hotel room in Texas, America in 1988 watching cable television and being absolutely delighted that they were showing The Woman in Green (Roy William Neill, 1945).?? All of the Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films remind me of my childhood.?? I watch some entries in the series several times each year.?? For some odd reason, they are essential viewing when I am ill, a sort of comfort blanket I suppose.??

I was delighted to find that US label MPI, who released DVD restorations several years ago, would be releasing all of the 14 films in a Blu-Ray set in late March.?? The excellent DVD etailer Axel Music shipped my order well in advance of the official US release date set late last week and I was very pleased to find it waiting for me when I arrived home from work.?? Very little advance word has been given about this release.?? As the films have drifted into public domain, they have been subject to many inferior DVD releases over the year.?? It was not until the aforementioned MPI release of the UCLA restorations of the films that decent quality versions were finally made available.?? Optimum in the UK licensed these restorations and used them for their excellent boxset DVD release of the series, this set was much cheaper than having to buy the individual box sets from MPI.?? I was a little apprehensive about the release, realising that the limitations of the source material would mean that we would never see a quality HD remaster like the Blu-Ray of Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942).?? I have even expected that MPI might just be releasing standard definition versions of the film on Blu-Ray, using the greater capacity Blu-Ray offers to house all of the films on just five discs.??

All of these concerns were alleviated when I put the first disc into my US PS3 and watched The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sidney Lanfield, 1939) in full 1080p HD.?? Yes, the source material is not in the best of shape.?? There a numerous scratches on the print that are shown very clearly in HD but, for me, this just adds to the experience of the film.?? Detail is very good, you can see the detail in the clothing worn by actors, Rathbone's deerstalker looking particularly sharp.?? The Dartmoor set also looks very good.?? Purists will be pleased to find that grain is present.?? The contrast did seem a little boosted at times, this can be seen in actors faces, but this could again be limitations of the print used.?? Be aware that The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Alfred L Werker, 1939) were not restored by the UCLA Film Archive.?? I have had a quick skip through Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (Roy William Neill, 1942), which is one of the UCLA restorations, and the quality is slightly better than that of The Hound of the Baskervilles.?? It is truly a pleasure to see such classic films presented in such high quality, it certainly adds to the viewing experience.?? I heartily recommend this Blu-Ray set to all fans of the Rathbone series.?? It can be found at Axel Music for around ??70 delivered.?? At only ??5 per film it really is a good price.?? Do be aware that the set is Region A only.?? I dare say that Optimum will release the same Blu-Ray set in the UK in the future.?? I am looking forward to working my through this set over the next few weeks, especially The Spider Woman (Roy William Neill, 1944) and The Scarlet Claw (Roy William Neill, 1944).?? Further thoughts to follow.

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