Samuel Fuller’s Park Row receives a release through MGM/Fox’s burn-on-demand series, oddly named the “Limited Edition Collection”, and is presented in its original aspect ratio of about 1.33:1 on a single-layer DVD-R.
My first experience with this type of release was MGM’s How I Won the War, the presentation of which was a disaster. I didn’t hold out much hope for Park Row, a much older film, and figured the title would receive an even deadlier digital presentation. But much to my surprise this isn’t the case at all: Park Row looks really good.
The digital transfer is absolutely pleasing, coming off strikingly sharp with a strong amount of detail. Blacks and whites are also pleasant and gray levels are perfectly defined. Grain is visible and while it can look like noise here and there it holds up quite well.
The biggest surprise is still the condition of the materials. While the opening title screen warns that the transfer was made from the best possible materials, giving the idea we’re in for a disaster, the print used is in stellar condition. Sure, there are minor marks, the occasional shotgun blasts of dirt, jumps, and a couple of scratches, but these are still more the exception than the rule. Generally the blemishes are very minor and never call attention to themselves and you’ll go a long while before you ever notice anything and even then it doesn’t impede your viewing.
Yes, this is still only my second time viewing a MOD disc of this sort, but I’m really impressed with what I got in this case. True, my expectations were exceedingly low (especially after How I Won the War) but no matter how I look at it it truly does look good. 7/10
All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.