With the recent news of Disney abandoning 4K Blu-ray back catalogue titles, in the vain of home video collectors, I have decided to compile a list of the top ten films that I would love to see be converted and remastered into the 4K HDR format for purchase on home video.
The Shawshank Redemption
Batman Forever: The Director’s Cut
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Speed is a classic ‘90s action film that still has a fanbase. In fact, Jeff – from Films at Home’s YouTube channel – has previously stated that his source has told him that restoration has already been completed for the film, it is just a matter of it getting released. Since it is the property of 20th Century FOX – meaning Disney now owns it – odds are getting slimmer for it seeing the light of day. Through licensing, though, hope still exists.
9: No Country for Old Men
Paramount’s 2007 hit thriller, No Country for Old Men, also earns a spot on the list. This Coen Brothers’ film has quite the star power in Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Woody Harrelson. A contender for some people’s top films of the decade, this film deserves to be seen in the best format available. Period.
John Boorman directed a cult-classic film about Arthurian legend back in 1981, titled Excalibur. The film launched the careers of Liam Neeson, Ciaran Hinds, Patrick Stewart, and Gabriel Byrne. Excalibur has since come back into the limelight after multiple references to it within Zack Snyder’s DC films, including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The film will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year, so the timing is perfect for a restoration.
James Cameron has a knack for delivering some of the worldwide box office’s most profitable films ever. He also has a knack for taking his time to perfect the script to his liking. Avatar is a prime example of both. The film held the top spot on the list for over a decade until Avengers: Endgame surpassed it.
Since Cameron’s sequels are finally on the verge of becoming a reality, he could stick to his old ways in an effort to promote the new Avatar films by releasing a 4K Blu-ray version of the original for fans.
6: Grumpy Old Men
The comedy duo of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon was a sight to behold. Their banter and chemistry together was one for the ages. In no film is it more on display than in the 1993 Donald Petrie and Warner Bros. classic, Grumpy Old Men.
My Minnesotan bias aside, the two iconic actors reunited for a heartwarmingly fun film alongside Ann-Margaret, Burgess Meredith, Daryl Hannah, and Kevin Pollak – not to mention the surprise appearance of a then-up-and-coming star, Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore).
One might suggest the logic in restoring both this film and its sequel, Grumpier Old Men. The true best-case-scenario would be releasing a remastered box set of all the Matthau and Lemmon classics, including titles like The Apartment, Some Like It Hot, The Odd Couple, The Fortune Cookie, Kotch, and The Sunshine Boys. Yes, I suppose that would also have to include the weaker, maligned films of Out to Sea and The Odd Couple II.
If all else fails, a restoration of Grumpy Old Men would still make for a fantastic back-catalogue title to purchase.
5: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
While John Wayne might be seen as a controversial figure these days, one of his films from 1962 has actually become more relevant today: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
The Oscar-nominated, purposefully black-and-white John Ford film stars James Stewart, John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and Vera Miles. It tells the tale of a Senator returning to an old western town for a funeral, in which he describes the story of that man’s life.
The mythical film was selected for the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2007. It was also one of the very few westerns that became nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Costume Design.
Much like the plot of the film itself, a documentary was made about the dispute with Paramount Pictures regarding The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Plus, when factoring in the subplot with Pompey (Woody Strode) regarding racial equality, it lends credence to the film’s legacy.
The time has come to print the legend in 4K – even if it’s still in black-and-white.
4: Open Range
This riveting 2003 western adaptation of Lauran Paine’s novel, The Open Range Men, was directed by and stars Kevin Costner. It has been regarded as one of Robert Duvall’s better performances, entailing beautiful cinematography from James M. Muro (Dances with Wolves), and features one of the best final act gunfight scenes in any western.
Just imagine seeing the gorgeous Montana scenery in the highest resolution possible. When you place a well-written story set in the late 19th century in the heart of the west, an upgrade in audio and visual quality will only make the viewing experience more enjoyable.
“Yo, Adrian! We need this movie in 4K!”
The seminal Sylvester Stallone 1976 sports drama is one of the most iconic in all of cinema. It won Best Picture, Best Director (John G. Avildsen), and Best Film Editing (Richard Halsey and Scott Conrad) at the 1977 Academy Awards and launched a movie series that is still thriving today.
Next year will be the 45th anniversary and there has never been a better time for a restoration for the film that started everything. The Philadelphia backdrop, heavily present in the on-set filming, would look marvelous and much more detailed. To see the city back in the mid-1970s in its full glory – especially the long take of Rocky running through the city and famously jumping at the top of the stairs with Bill Conti’s iconic theme playing over it – is something that is, quite frankly, overdue at this point. That’s not even counting how spectacular the boxing match against Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) would look and sound.
Rocky has got to fly now on 4K Blu-ray. It is a must.
2: A Clockwork Orange
This Oscar-nominated Stanley Kubrick classic is a no-brainer. Considered by many to be the most iconic Hollywood director in history, one of Kubrick’s most famous films in need of restoration is A Clockwork Orange. The film features Malcolm McDowell in the lead role and he delivers a magnificent performance.
If you count the Toronto and New York City premiere for the film, next year will be the film’s 50th anniversary. After the masterful success of Christopher Nolan’s team crafting the 4K Blu-ray of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the 50th-anniversary edition of A Clockwork Orange sounds like a slam-dunk idea in terms of quality and profit.
1: Somewhere in Time
I know I have already written a piece a few years ago about this film deserving an upgrade to the 4K format, but it still rings true. Universal Pictures’ Somewhere in Time is a cult-classic historical romance drama starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer, and was directed by Jeannot Szwarc. The screenplay (and the novel the film was adapted from) was written by Richard Matheson.
There are many reasons why I believe the film should be given the 4K HDR treatment. The number one reason must be the scenery. The film was shot at the Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island, Michigan – where a celebration of the film takes place every year. The gorgeous background would be given so much more detail and the colors would pop even more. The incredible costume designs to provide the look and feel of 1912 would come to life as well.
The other big reason for this film needing a restoration would be an audio upgrade to Dolby Atmos for John Barry’s hauntingly iconic musical score. Hearing his score properly coming through channels that would incorporate overhead speakers to provide an immersive audio experience would only make the viewer feel even more like they are in 1912 with Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve).
If there is any film that should transport us, viewers, back in time via 4K HDR, it is Somewhere in Time.
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