Disney’s 1969 comedy-drama film, Rascal is an adaptation of Sterling North’s autobiographical memoir of the same name. Directed by Disney regular Norman Tokar and adapted by prolific TV writer Harold Swanton, Bill Mumy stars in this boy meets-cute Racoon tale, set in 1918 Wisconsin. Since the DVD version is somewhat aspect ratio deficient, and Rascal is not on blu-ray yet, I thought I’d take a quick look at the iTunes 1080p HD version – to see if it’s worth your time.
The film itself is typical Disney, and pretty mild fair for 1969. Disney’s decision to shoot in California somewhat limits the material, however two aspect hurt it most (looking at it with contemporary eyes at least): Walter Pidgeon’s voice-over insists on driving every point home with a hammer, and the score does pretty much the same thing.
Rascal iTunes 1080p Review
The film is presented at an approximate aspect ratio of 1.66:1, fixing shortcomings of the DVD release. The encode I reviewed appears to date from 2012, and has a peak bitrate of 12.6 Mbps with an average bitrate of 5.1Mbps. Runtime is 1 hour 24 minutes and 44 seconds. Audio is presented as a 160kbps Stereo track with an average bit rate of around 105kbps, content is entirely monophonic per the original film.
Video quality ranges from good to fair in the largely tripod based compositions, however on some occasionally typically in non-studio photography, quality drops to the point where artifacts are noticeable. Grain is occasionally present during process shots, but rarely elsewhere which is a little bit disappointing, I don’t see any smearing, so it’s possible the compressor is removing the grain.
Colors are within the bounds of my expectations for this sort of technicolor studio based Disney feature, though I found myself squinting at a few teal-y tones in a few places. I don’t have another copy of this feature to compare against, so I’m going to declare: innocent until proved guilty.
Good 4 out of 5. A few more bits here and there may have stopped some artifacting, and while a blu-ray will certainly look better (hopefully restoring some of the absent grains), the iTunes HD edition beats the older DVD edition hands down. Recommended for fans of Racoons, Bill Mumy and Disney creature-features.
iTunes 1080p HD Screenshots
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