2004-08-31

Latest Home Movie Viewing

We watched a couple of rented DVDs lately.

At the beginning of the weekend, we rented one of Mel Brook's best movies: Blazing Saddles from the video store to share with some friends. My eldest son's best friend's parents. It seems the friend's mom had never seen it. I had been quoting from the movie earlier in the evening, so we decided it was time to share.

My wife was surprised that it wasn't in my DVD collection with Young Frankenstein and History of the World Part I. It belongs in my collection, but I just haven't gotten around to it. I thought about buying it a couple of times, but for a while there I wasn't sure which one I was missing!

Well when I opened the DVD case, I was interested to see the shiny side of the DVD facing me. Turns out this is one of those double-sided DVDs. In a lot of cases, including this one, the two sides have to do with TV formatted or letterbox (aka widescreen). Well, it was the widescreen side facing me. Also facing me was the blue sharpie of the store we rented from. While, in some cases, it is possible for a DVD to read through marker, in this case it wasn't. I tried to see if we could watch the film, by fast forwarding through the widescreen side. But it froze a few scenes down the movie.

Hey BlockBuster! Most people prefer to watch the widescreen version! Figure out some way to identify your videos without ruining one side of the DVD!

After watching the movie, we checked out the extra DVD features. We were hoping to see the extra scenes, which show up in the broadcast TV version, such as all the extra Mongo-baiting scenes (yes, there is more than just candygram!). But this version doesn't have it. The Special Edition is supposed to have these scenes and other things. I was surprised that the version we saw was not the highest quality. There was one point near the end, I could see where about half a second was lost to a splice.

The other movie I saw this weekend on DVD was Hidalgo. A story about an person in the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show who rides a special horse. A Mustang named Hidalgo. The movie's primary plot is about the rider and horse having to come out of the show and prove their racing skill in a deadly cross-desert Arabian race. There are some very interesting people and relationships evolving during the film. It is an exciting, feel-good movie. The quality made me think the budget was a tiny bit small, but it moves nicely. The movie has some of the feel of Lawrence of Arabia. It is a slightly longer than average film, at about 2 and a quarter hours.

My wife and I watched it on our little time away. We went on an overnight to a bed-and-breakfast a couple hour drive away, in the general vicinity of Brekenridge. The rooms each had a TV and VCR, and there was a nice selection of videos in the main room. But we brought Hidalgo on DVD. So I happily loaded up my laptop, and got out my video cable. I couldn't get it to work with the TV input, but it worked fine on the VCR input. One of these days I'll have to setup an audio cable. The movie played on the slightly larger screen of the TV and the audio played from the laptop speakers. For some reason, DVD playback is not as loud as regular audio playback on my laptop. I think this has to do with the DVD drive, and the audio from it not going through the amplifier section of the audio circuit. But in the B&B it was a fine volume. Pictures from the trip to follow.

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