Criterion addresses “A Hard Day’s Night” 4K UHD issues

Updated: Jan 28


4K ULTRA HD UPDATE / EDITING ERROR

The three missing shots from the 4K Ultra HD version of “A Hard Day’s Night.”


(Click an image to scroll the larger versions)







THE PANDEMIC, with its supply-chain shortages and quality control issues, has wreaked havoc for consumers. It’s not only the food, cars, and electronic shortages, the home entertainment world hasn’t been spared as physical disc manufacturing struggles as well. A number of 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs have had mastering issues in audio and video.


The latest blunder arrives on the 4K Ultra HD disc for The Criterion Collection’s “A Hard Day’s Night.” We posted a glowing review only 10 days ago. Honestly, I didn’t notice the issue until it was spotted by Robert E. Preskar, who posted a comment on Criterion’s Facebook page. He discovered two editing errors, which we’ve confirmed. During the last five minutes of the 4K disc with HDR10 and Dolby Vision grading, several shots are missing and out-of-sequence.


The wrong 4K edit

At the 1:23:14 mark after Paul’s Grandfather (Wilfrid Brambell) makes a surprise appearance from a stage trapdoor as The Beatles sing “She Loves You.” The next shot should’ve shown the TV director’s (Victor Spinetti) reaction. Instead, it shows John Lennon singing for three seconds, where his mouth movement doesn’t match the audio. The next series of shots are correct as the band continues to play.

The correct sequence

The 1080p frame of the director reacting has been inserted into this 4K grouping.



 

The second wrong 4K edit

Two more shots are missing at 1:24:43 as the Fab Four exit the theater – a total of five seconds. One shows the helicopter from a high angle as the guys run toward the craft; the second shows a zoom shot of The Beatles name on the side of the helicopter. Instead, the 4K disc recycles a shot from the TV control room as the band plays a song.


The correct sequence

The 1080p frames of the helicopter have been inserted into this 4K grouping.



How did it happen?

  • Did the post-production house handling the HDR grading accidentally delete the correct shots and insert the wrong ones?

  • Was the 4K master already out-of-sequence?

  • Did the quality control person or staff at Criterion simply miss the error as I did?

Whoever or whatever caused the error will probably cost Criterion tens of thousands of dollars to fix, then restamp the new 4K disc.

Criterion had an additional mastering problem with the recent 4K release of “Citizen Kane.” The enclosed Blu-ray had a gray-scale issue starting at the 30-minute mark, while the 4K disc was fine.

Let’s hope first-rate video companies like The Criterion Collection, Kino Lorber, and Arrow Video, which have all had 4K and Blu-ray disc errors of late, can resolve their quality control issues and keep the physical disc model going.



 

Here’s the email response by The Criterion Collection:

We apologize for this disappointing error which affects our recently released “A Hard Day’s Night” 4K UHD disc. We will have replacement discs on hand in March. If you’d like a replacement, please email us back with the following: Your name and a mailing address will be valid for at least the next 3 months.

A photo of the defective “A Hard Day’s Night” 4K UHD disc with your name and date written on the front/art side (using a sharpie or paint marker, you can write this info on the lighter portion of the disc, and take a photo against a light source so your name and date are visible). You do not need to break the disc.

The Blu-ray and DVD of “A Hard Day’s Night” are not affected and do not need to be replaced.


Email the photo to orders@criterion.com



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