A Few Words About A few words about...™ Leave Her to Heaven -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 15, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I've always been an easy target for a great ghost story, or especially in the cinema, noir.

    While there have been dozens of great noir projects over the years -- at least since the mid-1940s.  There have been very few played out in open vistas and bright sunlit exteriors.

    Which makes John Stahl's 1945 Leave Her to Heaven, with what were originally magnificent Technicolor set-pieces, one of those anomalies.

    Acted by some of the best from the Fox stock company of players, and with the luminous Gene Tierney in the lead, the film is one of those of which it can be said -- "the stuff that dreams are made of."  Or in this case, nightmares.

    You know I don't give away plot, and I'll certainly not begin here.

    Like the rest of the Fox library, all of the original elements for Leave Her to Heaven were poorly copied, and then junked in the mid-'70s.  What was left seven or eight years ago was not a pretty picture.

    But here's where some interesting digital technology comes in, and led by Fox's Schawn Belston, with support from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and The Film Foundation, the film is once again far more than viewable.

    This isn't a restoration, mind you, in any sense of the word.  It's very much a digital triage, using extant elements and making something very nice out of them.

    While Leave Her to Heaven looks nothing like it would have from pure three-strip Technicolor negatives or fine grains, with the work performed, we can get a very good peek inside that look, and still come away impressed.

    Grain is a bit soft, but the film looks fine, even in projection.  Shadow detail a bit lacking.  Color overall is very acceptable.

    There are a handful of problematic shots.  Dupes and thinner exposures generally, and an occasional bit of mis-registration, but considering the alternative, Twilight Time's new Blu-ray from Fox, is nothing less than miraculous -- literally a sow's ear turned into a silk purse.

    Image - 3.5

    Audio - 4

    One of the great and timeless films of the era.

    Highly Recommended.

    RAH

     
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  2. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Is the loss of shadow detail primarily due to the CRI limitations?
    We were just looking at the DVD of BLOOD AND SAND and noticed how inky the blacks were with no detail whatsoever in the shadows.
     
  3. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    This is my 93 year old mother's favorite film (I don't know what that says about my mom!) and today I have an avid interest in all films of the 1930s and 1940s from listening to her go on and on endlessly about seeing films such as "Leave Her to Heaven" in their original engagements. She also stayed up late one night with us kids to catch "King Kong" on Houston's late Friday night horror festival entitled "Weird" and recalled the nightmares she had in 1933 when viewing it at the impressionable age of 13. And, of course, she had to take us to see "Gone with the Wind" in 1968.

    As a result, this film, Kong, GWTW and a few others will always be very special to me. One of my fondest memories of my Mom will always be her saying, "Oh, I remember seeing that! That's a good one!" as I read the TV movie listings aloud in the 1960s.

    And one of my favorite Maltin capsule reviews in his movie guide is for LHTH:

    "'There's nothing wrong with Ellen. She just loves too much.' In fact, she loves some people to death!"

    Can't wait for my copy to arrive.
     
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  4. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    Have this and "Philadelphia" on order from Twilight Time Entertainment, Robert...looking forward eagerly to seeing this miraculous transfer/restoration!!! :thumbs-up-smiley:
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Yes. Precisely the same process. When there's nothing there...

    RAH
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Your Mom sounds like a hoot. Wish her well for me!

    RAH
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Sorry. Once again. If one is restoring something, the project is going back to closely what it originally was. In this case, restoration is impossible. But it's very, very nice.

    RAH
     
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  8. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    Understood, Robert...given the alternative you pointed out, I'm grateful for ANY improvement over what's been out there on the home video market!!! Thanks for your assessment of this title's image quality...
     
  9. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    I hope the individual responsible for destroying those precious nitrate elements got everything they deserved.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As I deplore what occurred, I must believe that the individuals just wanted to keep their jobs. There is no responsibility.

    RAH
     
  11. Bob Furmanek

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    You're being kind.

    Those in charge of preserving our cinematic heritage need to take those responsibilities seriously.

    Otherwise, they are damaging (or destroying) the work of the artists that created them.

    The fact that the nitrate originals were not deposited with an organization that would care for them is the real crime.
     
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  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    We can all agree about that, but let's be honest, those in charge of what happened 35 or so years ago are long gone from Fox.
     
  13. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    And the team in place, led by Mr. Belston, are doing everything that they can to take back the lost films.

    RAH
     
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  14. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yes, I imagine so as it was a pleasure talking with Mr. Belston last October. I hope he can get his colleagues working on their MOD program to do what's right with those titles.
     
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  15. Bob Furmanek

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    Oh, and I agree 100%. The work that Mr. Belston and his team have been doing is outstanding.

    I can only imagine what they could accomplish today if they had better elements to work with!
     
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  16. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    For those who love the film, we've released the soundtrack to coincide with the Blu-ray release. It's available at the Kritzerland website - absolutely great score by Alfred Newman.
     
  17. Jim Piazza

    Jim Piazza Auditioning

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    How does it compare to the SD. In other words is it worth the $30 upgrade?
     
  18. Rob_Ray

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    I ordered my copy a couple of weeks ago and have been listening to it this week in anticipation of the bluray's arrival. How lucky Gene Tierney was to have so many iconic scores written for her films: Laura, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and this just for starters.
     
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  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Six times the resolution.
     
  20. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Screenwriter

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    W hen you think of the tremendous films she was in, I find it astonishing that as far as the GP goes, Gene Tierney is not up there with the greats. I guess that's why she's consigned to the over-priced Twilight Time catalogue .. but I suppose we should be grateful to have her on Blu ray at all!
    Can't wait for this, and for 'The Ghost and Mrs Muir'!
     

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