A Few Words About A few words about...™ Desiree -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Want a masters level class on the use of early CinemaScope.

    Courtesy of Twilight Time and Fox, it can be yours.

    All that's necessary is a viewing of Henry Koster's Desiree, as shot by Milton Krasner, who was behind the camera for the earlier Demetrius and the Gladiators and Three Coins in the Fountain. What he does with the formal ball scene is a lesson in itself.

    Make special note of the positions of actors around the frame, and the use of architecture to create interest.

    Desiree is a beautiful film, with the young Marlon Brando doing a very interesting turn as Napoleon. Only his seventh film, and his first in color, this one is worth the just under two hour time commitment.

    Very nicely scanned, with a color palette that seems correct for the era, with flesh tones occasionally just a bit off. Welcome to early Eastman Color.

    Audio comes via original 4-track stereo, and is presented uncompressed.

    With the combination of Mr. Brando, the wonderful Jean Simmons, a score by Alex North and a very healthy dose of gorgeous CinemaScope, Desiree should be a winner for Twilight Time. 3,000 copies should move out smartly.

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. TheVid

    TheVid Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh yes, this is a sumptuous treat for the home theater. It's amazing how many great music scores there are for Jean Simmons' movies! She seems to be some kind of Hollywood music muse! On a minor note, it was humorous watching Richard Deacon (Mel Cooley) as Desiree's daddy. The blu-ray was glossy and gorgeous!
     
  3. ahollis

    ahollis Producer

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    Thanks, the title is on it's way to my house now and it all because of the recommendation. I truly love early CinemaScope titles.
     
  4. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    Alex North does the background score, but Alfred Newman composed thewaltz theme that is heard behind the credits. It is also heard just a few times within the film.
    This waltz is first heard as a song played on the radio in the film Five fingers from 1952 !!!
     
  5. Ed Lachmann

    Ed Lachmann Supporting Actor

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    Screened my DESIREE BD last night. It was truly gorgeous and a joy to watch. I thought Brando did a wonderful job in his role. Jean Simmons and Michael Rennie were flawless. God, I hope Twilight Time puts out more stuff like this in the near future.
     
  6. Virgoan

    Virgoan Second Unit

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    Yes, Julie Kirgo covers this in her liner notes.
    I have a "theory", however, about the use of the waltz in "Five Fingers." I think I mentioned this to you many years ago, Joe, because I first heard the waltz on a VHS of "Five Fingers" that I recorded off TV in the 1980s.
    When Fox released "Laura" to home video the first time, it was on CED Laserdisc. This was in the early 1980s. Before the film appeared on VHS or Laser, Fox found it needed to alter the soundtrack as there were performances (on-screen [i.e., diegetic] -- nightclub and radio) of music that Fox had no clearance to issue in any form "other than" theatrical. To tap the home video market, Fox had to replace the diegetic music with something that was cleared. On all subsequent issues of "Laura", we only hear the "Laura" theme being played in nightclubs or on the radio. That means someone replaced the music on the original soundtrack with substitutes.
    The "Desiree Waltz" is so magnificent a theme that I find it impossible to accept that it would have been something tossed aside and resurrected as a bit of diegetic music for "Five Fingers." I'm postulating that it is POSSIBLE that Fox had some other bit of music in the film in that scene and they they inserted the music for "Desiree" as means of getting "Five Fingers" into the marketplace, even if it was only TV. Not having music rights has been the cause of many soundtrack alterations over the years, and I'm suggesting that "Five Fingers" may have been one of the film affected. That would mean that Newman would have written the "Desiree Waltz' specifically "for" the film "Desiree". Otherwise, I'd really like to see something that would tell us what Newman composed the music for "originally". I'm betting on "Desiree" with "Five Fingers" being altered to include that theme (owned by the studio) as a replacement for something they didn't own.
     
  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I think this is a perfectly legitimate hypothesis that could very well be the truth. I wonder who'd be around there to substantiate it?
     
  8. Virgoan

    Virgoan Second Unit

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    I used to be FB friends with Newman's son, composer David Newman, but he seems "not to be" on FB any longer. I've copied my postulation and sent it to Julie Kirgo. Perhaps she might either know more than she said or may be able to get info out of Fox.
    A correction to something I wrote about. RCA's Selectavision process CED was "Capacitance Electronic Disc" and should have been referred to me as RCA CED rather than having the added "laserdisc", which it was not.
     
  9. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    North also has a track in the movie which is also in the movie The Bad Seed and that track drives me crazy. I have the sound track to the movie.
    Laura I would like to see Vincent Price doing piano at Ann's party where he meets Laura. I have always wanted it restored and I have pictures of that scene.
    The radio in Laura was used as plot point. I remember it being tested in her country house and used by Laura in her Bedroom in the last scene. I never thought any of the music in the movie was changed. I remember a loud dance type music pouring out of the radio and thats on my DVD.
    Laura's theme was used as background in Love Nest and another movie I cannot think of at the moment. The best was her picture is on the wall in a small frame in a Womans World.
     

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