Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Searching for the Perfect Full Circle: A Screenshot Comparison of Richard Loncraine's The Haunting of Julia (1977)

I have never made my love (and near obsession) for Richard Loncraine's stunning 1977 film Full Circle (The Haunting of Julia) a secret. I absolutely adore the film and think it is one of the great overlooked masterpieces of the seventies. In the past I have written on the film, its Colin Towns composed soundtrack (also a work of genius) and shared some lobby cards and now I am happy to present this screenshot comparison from the three different sources I have collected.
Fans of Full Circle know that it has never been that easy of a film to track down and most have probably still only seen it via the Magnum VHS tape that was released in the eighties under the title The Haunting of Julia.
A few years back many of us were excited to find out that Full Circle had finally been released in France on DVD on a disc that featured the first ever widescreen presentation of the film, but our excitement quickly turned to bitter disappointment when we found the disc turned out to feature a transfer even worse than Magnum's full-frame video from almost two-decades before.
With Loncraine's incredible film in some sort of legal limbo, hopes of getting a top-quality remastered edition have seemed more and more futile. Thankfully a beautiful remastered anamorphic HD version has recently appeared on Sony Movie Channel, making it possible for the first-time since its original theatrical release to really watch Full Circle the way it was meant to be seen.
I thought it might be interesting to compare my three versions of Full Circle to show just what a revelation this new Sony Movie Channel print is. While a DVD and Blu-ray still might be years down the road (if we ever indeed are treated to a proper release) fans of Full Circle finally now have a worthy copy of the film available to search down. Here are some screenshots comparing the three versions I now have in my collection. The top is the original full-frame Magnum VHS, the middle is the ugly widescreen French DVD and the bottom is the beautiful uncut Sony Movie Channel version (note that not only is it sharper and more colorful but it also has more side-information than the previous widescreen print). The sound is also greatly improved and Town's stunning score, much of which is still unreleased, has never sounded better.
These screenshots I have captured from each version show that the Sony Movie Channel's new HD print is far and away the best ever available and a major cause for celebration!













































7 comments:

Thomas Duke said...

I have that VHS, and the pan and scan is brutal. I also love this movie, and the moog score is awesome.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks for reading and commenting Thomas. Much appreciated...

Unknown said...

I also have been a huge fan of this movie. To date I've only had the VHS version which I bought on eBay which has been poor quality. I'm excited by this HD Sony movie channel version. Thank you for letting us know. I really enjoyed your comparison pictures.

mordi said...

there are german copies of this on ebay on dvd for just a few quid- do you think i should get it?

Erik Champney said...

Where can this Sony version be found? Surely it's been recorded and bootlegged somewhere. I've been trying to find a print like that since the late 80s.

Erik
fairboy@aol.com

Mike White said...

This is terrific! Doing a podcast about Haunting of Julia and will link over so folks can see the different versions. It's now playing on Netflix Instant, too, not sure which version but I hope it's the Sony one.

BTW, love this slideshow feature. Is it an add-on for Blogger?

Blugger! said...

Thanks for the screen comparison. This film is so overlooked and underrated, it makes me weep. It's not perfect, but it certainly has a helluva lot going for it. It is hands down some of the most effective scope cinematography committed to celluloid, and the score is up there with the best of '77. I saw it in Australia and, from what I see from the HD version, that is how it looked in theaters. Unfortunately, this new version has not appeared down under to my knowledge. The rights are all over the place. I do hope we get to see that new transfer released on Blu.