This has to be the quintessential Christmas movie of all time, it's certainly one of the most loved, and is the epitome of classic cinema. This film has withstood the test of time and has touched millions through its charm, meaning and purpose.
This movie wears its heart on its sleeve so unashamedly and yet it never appears whimsical or cheesy. Frank Capra has delivered a movie which was seriously overlooked when first released but has long since become one of the most well loved and highest rated movies of all time.
The lead character George Bailey played by the legend James Stewart is as much loved as the movie and you will warm to him instantly. Once you allow this film into your festive viewing schedule, the Xmas period will never feel the same without it. You will find it as important as a turkey roast with all the trimmings.
Shawshank director Frank Darabont is a huge fan and has given this film as one of the biggest influences on his career, so you could say that without it the Shawshank Redemption would not of been quite the same.
It's surprisingly dark for such an uplifting experience and come the finale you will shed tears of joy.
"We'll take a cup o' kindness yet, for auld lang syne".
Paramount have granted this film with an MPEG-4 AVC encoded, 1:34.1 framed, 1080p transfer onto a 50GB Blu-ray disc of amazing quality. The Hollywood heavens wouldn't of allowed anything less.
Avid fans already familiar with this movie are in for a wonderful surprise when they first lay eyes on this transfer, the detail and sharpness of the image will shock and delight you. To say this is a worthy DVD upgrade is a resounding understatement.
This gives a whole new perspective and makes for a viewing experience which appears fresh and new. This is framed in its original aspect ratio so we do have black bars left and right. The print is virtually immaculate with barely a pop, scratch or speckle visible.
Fabric and object detail is at times staggering when you consider that this is near to 70 years old. Contrast is perfect and the blacks always remain inky and strong. Film grain is extremely fine and is never obtrusive, the image looks surprisingly natural and is a credit to the Paramount team who could have rushed for the digital enhancement buttons.
Despite this being a single disc we have a colourised version as well but we do not appear to suffer any compression artefacts. Many purists will lament the colourised version without giving it a chance and I have to say its the best I've ever seen. Skin tones do appear a little pasty but this is very impressive and is definitely worth checking out to give you a fresher perspective on it.
This is an essential purchase for your festive calendar.
Film 5/5 Transfer 4.5/5