Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
A 5 star film given a 1 star treatment for DVD transfer
on November 4, 2000
All the Presidents's Men is a truly wonderful film.
Unfortunately, it was also one of the first films to be released on the DVD format. Because the format was experimental, the studios were not willing to spend lavish amounts of money to create a DVD when the format might not even sell to the public (see Sony's Mini-Disc). So in what was a sound business decision, but a horrible decision for fans of the film, All the President's Men was given the bare bones treatment. Why spend the money is nobody is going to buy the machine to play the disc? That means both no special features (which still plagues some new releases) as well as making the quality of the film transfer just plain bad. Is it better than VHS? Yes, but not by much. A couple of the other reviews have mentioned that the picture and sound quality is fine. I'm guessing that these folks either lack the technology to exploit the marvels of DVD, or simply have not viewed enough DVDs to know what is good from bad.
Unfortunately, this is simply bad. The report from Widescreen Review speaks for itself, but I think it important to restate that fact that the positive reviews about the DVD transfer are wrong. All the President's Men doesn't have the action-packed scenes that take full advantage of Dolby Digital sound. But the 2.0 Dolby that is used isn't good. There is too much background noise and there isn't much difference between using your home theatre system vs. the speakers from your television. And compared to the picture quality, the sound is great. As I watched the DVD, I couldn't believe how bad the picture quality is. I know that a 25 year old film isn't going to be as crisp and clear as a film made last summer. But film restoration projects have made films that were shot in the 30's look way better than this DVD does. The film is grainy, the colors are not sharp, and the images aren't always too clear.
Warner Brothers has started to re-release some of its early releases and has given them better handling. Nothing has been anounced about All the President's Men, but one would hope that it too will receive a make-over in the near future. I'd save my money until that happens -- this disc is such a small upgrade from VHS that it isn't worth it.