Bob Clark is one of those curious directors, responsible for some of the worst films of various genres, "BLACK CHRISTMAS", "PORKY'S",etc, and one the best, "A CHRISTMAS STORY". While completely overlooked in theaters, "A CHRISTMAS STORY" finally found its deserved audience on cable airings and video. Based on Jean Shephard's "IN GOD WE TRUST, ALL OTHERS PAY CASH", it's a comedy classic revolving around Ralphie, a 9 year old boy living with his family in 1940s Indiana, and wanting nothing more for Christmas than a "genuine Red-Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action Air Rifle". But, even a store Santa reminds him "you'll shoot your eye out", making his dream present seem more and more improbable. He fantasizes about it though and Peter Billingsly is great in the main role. But, then again, everyone here is outstanding. Melinda Dillon is perfectly believable as Ralphie's mom, and Darren McGavin gives what may arguably be his best performance as Ralphie's dad. McGavin gives the kind of performance that no one could've criticized him for being Oscar nominated as a best supporting actor. Director Bob Clark,...? Well, he deserves credit for not lowering the film's quality, not a small accomplishment for him.
WARNER BROS. has provided a 1080p/VC-1 transfer with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The image is noticeably superior to any of the previous dvd/video versions, but not anywhere nearly as impressive as we'd anticipated for a Blu-ray debut. Sure, it offers better detail than the dvd, but that's a no-brainer. It should've had the kind of incredible detail found on many superior WARNER BROS. releases. So, with such a vast catalogue of great films within the WARNER BROS library, it just seems rational for the studio to hold off releasing "any" title that doesn't look great, in lieu of another that does! The majority of the film looks overly soft and there are a variety of age defects intermittently showing throughout the film. Colors are generally impressive without succumbing to oversaturation.
WARNER BROS. has provided a Dolby Digital 1.0 mix. It's mediocre. While one can't necessarily fault any studio for failing to "remix" an original mono track, it's disappointing to find that this mix suffers in fidelity during various scenes. Although most of the film sounds fine, there are moments wherein scenes are unduly harsh or tinny.
All of the features found in the recent "special edition" dvd have been carried over for this blu-ray release, including a great commentary and lengthy featurette.