A Few Words About A few words about...™ My Fair Lady -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 2, 2011.

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  1. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I found it odd that it was being released so soon after Breakfast at Tiffany's. Unless they were doing an Audrey Hepburn collection, I wouldn't think they would have the resources to do big releases on two of her films at the same time.
     
  2. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    did they scan the 35mm or 70 mm print for the blu Ray?
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I believe the point has previously been made that My Fair Lady has already received a state of the art restoration, albeit the state of the art in 1994. It needs some handholding and technical tweaks.

    RAH
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The lack of overall resolution points to 35mm.

    RAH
     
  5. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    [​IMG]
     
  6. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    .
     
  7. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Robert:

    Thanks for drawing the distinction between your rather close and intimate relationship with My Fair Lady and explaining all the criticisms you have about the upcoming release.

    Yet you give it a "Recommended" (which I understand). But I think it might be helpful for those of us wondering about this purchase if you might be able to explain what is it about the release that helps it receive your stamp of approval. What DO you like?

    Perhaps some comments comparing this Blu-ray to the most recent DVD release which many of us have.
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Quote:

    A fair and interesting question. What seems to be occurring in the Blu-ray community, is a problem that signals the end of quality classic films on Blu-ray.

    A reasonable percentage of copyright owners seem to be seeking the cache of what Blu-ray can offer in terms of quality as an attempt at sales, but less the quality. But some are unwilling to go the extra step that the abilities of the Blu-ray platform demand. The final result is an image that replicates a film in a warts and all manner, as opposed to the way that it can be seen if work is performed properly.

    There's more going on however. With some of the studios cutting corners, using old masters and not allowing the best people at vendors to perform the work, it places vendors in a poor position. It appears that Technicolor may have performed the work on My Fair Lady. At least they are noted on the packaging. What seems to be occurring here, is that the vendor, whomever it may be, is doing the bidding of the owner, and simply pushing data through a system with no real concern for quality.

    I have no idea who might have worked on this project, and why a myriad of other problems have not been dealt with, but the final result is of quality that will be perceived by the lowest common denominator of Blu-ray audience, as "good enough."

    Hence my recommended.

    This is all a part of a tendency to release classics on Blu-ray, as long as the work is easy and economical, and the costs are covered with immediacy.

    The reality of the situation, is that costs to properly bring a film to Blu-ray, unless a quality timed element is available for a reasonably one-lite transfer, are not covered in the first few months of release, whether or not income from cable, free TV, etc is all a part of the mix.

    The pity with My Fair Lady is that all costs would have been covered in the initial release of a Blu-ray, and that the lack of overall quality is simple shortsightedness on the part of CBS.

    While this is not the My Fair Lady that Jack Warner or George Cukor would have wished to be seen on Blu-ray, it fits into that "good enough" category.

    And all of it's warts aside, it will thrill most viewers.

    Quality seems to matter less, and expectations should only be high when a production is being ported over from DI files, or possibly coming from the likes of Sony, Fox, Criterion or Blue Underground. All other releases need to be examined on a case by case basis.

    A pity, but unfortunately, the state of affairs at this time.

    And that is why My Fair Lady on Blu-ray is "good enough," and hence is Recommended for the general public.


    You ask what I like.



    Not much. There is very little here that is correct, and once the field problem rears its head, it does not go away.

    RAH
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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  10. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I was waiting for this review, because of everybody on the planet at this particular moment, RAH is perhaps the most qualified to assess the pluses and minuses of this particular title.
    Now that I know it's working off the same master with no additional work put into it (and indeed, some of the standard definition video tweaks not reproduced for high definition), I'll just stick with my DVD copy for the time being. Hopefully they'll be an improved double dip down the road.
     
  11. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    I am very disappointed with CBS over this. I thought they did a good job on BIG JAKE, RIO LOBO and SCROOGE (except for missing overture). This does not seem to be an oversight on their part as are the WWS problems, but simply did not care enough. This is really a shame.
     
  12. nealg

    nealg Stunt Coordinator

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    I could almost cry.
    To echo sentiments above, these past few months have seen several crushing disappointments. I have not purchased Star Wars or Jurassic Park. I'm waiting to see what happens with West Side Story. I was so looking forward to these films, which should have been demonstration discs for the format; standard-bearers that show off the quality blu-ray is capable of delivering in the home. The kind of discs you pull out for friends and say, "Now this is what Blu-ray is all about!" Alas, technology is meaningless if the studios don't care or aren't willing to put in the work.
    I was really looking forward to My Fair Lady, a favorite of mine and my wife's. If I feel like crying, I can't imagine how Mr. Harris must feel.
     
  13. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

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    For God's sake, pull yourself together man. You will survive.
     
  14. nealg

    nealg Stunt Coordinator

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    Rough week. And I did say almost.:)
     
  15. Ransom Stoddard

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    Meh. Pygmalion is miles better than this. Where's my Blu-ray of that?
     
  16. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Based on this, I am deeply torn about cancelling my preorder and never pre-ordering another title again. I don't purchase TV show sets without seeing episode running times first. Now I will not be buying movies without seeing a wide spectrum of reviews first.

    Robert, it must really hurt to see two titles that you restored (this and Spartacus) get treated so shabbily on BD. Both should have been licensed to Criterion and you should have been allowed to supervise the transfers.

    Should we demand a recall of this disc, too?
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    While it would have been nice if Criterion could have been involved, it must be kept in mind that they would only have a license toward specific limited rights, which disallows the funding as needed.

    Recall?

    No. Good enough for the general public. I'm beginning to believe that Blu-ray doesn't really matter. This is just one more nail in the format's coffin. I've spoken before about a need for quality control for those using the format. This has not occurred, and releases such as this damage the overall quality concept as far as public awareness of the format.

    Blu-ray could have been a format for the general public, but I no longer support that concept. DVD and downloads are the way to go.

    RAH
     
  18. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    This actually saddens me more than a mediocre treatment of My Fair Lady.



     
  19. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    I'm sure Paramount/CBS is glad too!

    Nice to see Mr Harris has comprosimed his intergrity by recommending work he deems average so the studio can market to the average consumer with the films restortor's recommended approval.

    Excellance flies out the window - the average cosumer doesn't need it
    C+ students step to the front
     
  20. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I'm afraid the leap from a bad Blu-ray treatment of My Fair Lady to "DVDs and downloads are the way to go" seems a bit extreme even for this HT enthusiast.

    This discussion seems muddled to me. It is quite possible that it's over my head. But part of my confusion comes from when you say this Blu-ray release is "good enough for the general public" and then a few sentences later decry that Blu-ray is no longer "a format for the general public."
     
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