A Few Words About A few words about...™ Once Upon a Time in the West -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As a TechniScope production, Once Upon a Time in the West is not one of the easier productions to release on Blu-ray. There always seems to be an odd need to sharpen, to tone down grain, and to digitally make the films look like something they were never intended to be. The process worked beautifully, especially when printed by Technicolor up to 4 perf scope dye transfer prints.

    Negative cutting was generally different, as most were printed to matrices in auto-select format, thereby removing (or not printing) the extra frames at the head and tail of every shot.

    Paramount's new Blu-ray is all positive. No one has messed with the image in any negative way. That image is very nicely rendered, with superb color reproduction, good grain, and an overall superb quality. While the film could have used a bit more digital dirt removal, it certainly isn't a problem.

    For those who haven't seen this film, best to just buy a copy and watch it. Henry Fonda has never been meaner, and Woody Strode more elegant in the way he moved.

    Great film.

    Wonderful Blu-ray from Paramount.

    A necessity for every serious collection. A '60s classic.

    Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Great to hear, I need to get the time to watch my copy.
     
  3. TheHutt

    TheHutt Agent

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    Once Upon A Time In The West / C'era una volta il West

    Premium Edition
    Paramount Germany [ABC]
    The German wooden box edition is limited by 1000 pieces and has gone OOP 2 days upon original announcement.
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    Original shrinkwrap package. The technical info sheet is folded towards the front side. The FSK label is a sticker. The title is embossed and gilded.
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    Backside with the technical info. The sheet is on four glueing points. It's quite tricky to get the glue rests off after removing the tech sheet. I managed it using lighter petrol to remove them.
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    Contents of the box. The Zippo lighter is in a separate box; the harmonica is in a suede bag. The box is draped with green velvet from the inside.
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    The Zippo lighter. The film title is in German, the rest is English. :)
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    The harmonica unpacked. This one is quite identical to the former limited German DVD edition by Paramount.
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    The three postcards.
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    The booklet is in German.
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    The texts from the booklet is a 1:1 copy of the previous DVD booklet. The design is different though.
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    The steelbook. The FSK label is removable.
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    The back of the steelbook.
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    The inside of the steelbook is printed; the disc label contains the English title.
    [​IMG]
    Additionally, there is a (new) US film poster included in the steelbook. However, I didn't photograph it, as it's folded and it just doesn't look good that way. :)
    My comment: the box is rather a highlight, even though some might be bothered that it has been released only with the German title "Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod" (meaning "Play me the tune of Death"). Right now it has found its place right on my shelf next to the German "Dollars 1+2" DVD box.
     
  4. Adam Gregorich

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    Wow. That is some nice packaging. I don't think they could get away with putting a lighter in the box set here in the US. I have never seen this but invested $10 to get a copy while at Target last week.
     
  5. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    pretty cool, love the harmonica
     
  6. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Holy mother, now THAT is a boxed/special edition I would spring major cash for. I love this movie, and those tie-ins aren't pointless (like most US boxed sets). I don't smoke (nor do I play harmonica) but I'd relish both of those items!
     
  7. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    Just. Wow.

    Still need to pick up a blu ray to replace my DVD. Soon... :)
     
  8. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Wait, so the books and picture cards that are usually packed into the US sets that fit on a shelf that can be read and looked at are trash, but a harmonica you can't play and a lighter you wont use in a wood box you can't store anywhere are relished items?

    I'll never understand this hobby...
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Amazing boxed set. Probably one of the best I have seen.

    As for the movie, been on my mind for the past week since
    I popped it into my Blu-ray player.

    This is one of the greatest westerns ever made. An astounding
    film that will play in your mind for days after viewing. Paramount
    did a great service with this release. It is mostly immaculate.

    This belongs in every collection.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Robert.
     
  10. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Henry Fonda & Charles Bronson at their very best
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Boxed sets are getting out of control. People don't need cheap watches, lighters, violins, fake civil war brass buttons, miniature hood ornaments from classic cars, or genuine simulated locks of deceased celebrities hair.

    I find most of this garbage of no use, only serving to aid the Chinese economy and further destroy our own.

    When we did the original My Fair Lady sets, we included a strip of 70mm film and a copy (in hardcover) of Cecil Beaton's book. Consumers could learn something.

    Buy the Blu-ray, not the container.
     
    Joe Bernardi likes this.
  12. TheHutt

    TheHutt Agent

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    Robert, while you might be right about cheapo Chinese stuff, it is quite nice to see a label put some effort into a real nice packaging. Like Film RHV creating a superb Italian set of "Fistful of Dollars" with some facsimiles of the original Italian correspondence about making the film. And while Paramount Germany's OUATIW box is not historically accurate (there were no Zippo lighters back then and the standard harmonica cannot play the "Harmonica" theme) it is still a worthy piece to honor one of the favorite films to put on the shelf. I like how it looks next to my German Dollar box (with a strip of 35mm print - of course it's no Techniscope negative, but...)

    After all, nobody is forced to buy one. Not that anyone could now anyway (as it's sold out).
     
  13. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    yes Thank you RH. Although I have long dispensed with the Laser set, I still retain the 70mm strip and book which is a great read.



     
  14. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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  15. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    I agree that the box looks pretty amazing, but it is the film that matters most here and for $10 it's a no-brainer even as a blind buy.
     
  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    If the books and cards are of significant and historical interest (rather than just a few low-res pictures--many of which are poor reproductions of stills, or worse screengrabs, and a pop-critic's "essay" which just waxes poetic about how great the film was) then I wouldn't consider it trash. However the majority of US box sets (and I'm including the Warner "book" style packaging in this) is just that, and of very little substance.

    What the inclusion of couple of nice keepsakes like the harmonica and lighter tell you is that the accompanying material is probably of high quality as well. I can't read German but I think it's likely that the book that is included here isn't just a pop critic saying how great OUATITW was, it looks to have some substantive content. Those postcard reproductions also look better than most that you get here in the States.

    The irony? The big ol' Made in USA label...



    Quote:

     
  17. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    While I agree about the boxsets being overdone, and certainly about the Chinese labor vs. U.S. (although many discs I buy these days say "Disc Manufactured in Mexico" so we lose there as well), I do very much enjoy the correspondence and reproductions of books or pressskits. It's the trinkets I can do without. I mean, a Dirty Harry badge? Really? A Casablanca passport cover? Really? A Sound of Music music box? Give me anything that actually provides historical or production information re: the piece. Keep the doo-dads. I don't need a harmonica or a lighter.
     
  18. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Totally with you on that. I mean, you'd pay for that kind of material in a nicely produced book, right? Otherwise, I took RAH's post as a much needed (speaking for myself here) voice of reason.

    (And that My Fair Lady box set ain't going nowhere.)
     
  19. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    I'm with Robert on this one. As cool as sets are initially, after the excitement is over, what are we to do with all of this collector's junk aside from just storing it in a box and afraid to let go of it. Aside from taking up space on a shelf and collecting dust (like my Alien Egg), in the end it's the movies I just watch. I'm only saying this because I've got box sets from the past, I've got press stuff from the past...it's generally pretty cheap stuff that's made in China and good for The Dollar Store if it weren't packaged in the box set for over $100. I love consumerism and capitalism, but buyers here should be less self fulfilling with cheap crap and stuff they are eventually gonna toss in the garbage bin. We'd like to think that'll send a message to those making it, but we all know the demand will always be there. We love to hoard, we love to collect, we love to generate waste.
     
  20. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I think where I differ from most of you, especially with Michael's last post about generating waste, is that I don't feel the need to buy every box set with "trinkets". If someone feels that the release of these box sets is somehow forcing people to buy it, well I guess we can agree to disagree. For these kinds of things that are premium sets and premium priced (I'm assuming the German set isn't cheap), I only buy for those titles I truly care and am passionate about. OUATITW is such a title. Star Wars OOT would be one. The Godfather Trilogy another. Lord of the Rings. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly might be one, but I can't think of what appropriate keepsake would be generated by that.

    So I don't generate that much waste, and the few I've invested in (recall those really nice bookends and other WETA sculptures in LoTR EE sets) are still prominently and proudly on display. And I get more than a few positive comments about it from friends who come over and see them. I'd much rather have those than the book-style WB cases puts out with the fluff pieces and poor res pics/art in it.

    You all talk about having a nicely written, informative book included. I agree that would be a very worthwhile thing. But how often is it done? I haven't come across many in my 14 years of collecting DVDs and BDs. I think those bookstyle WB cases generate way more waste because 1) for the most part the contents are not well done nor overly informative, 2) they're mass produced (as opposed to the above German set which was limited to 1000 and went OOP in 2 days. The people who bought those I guarantee are passionate about this title, and likely won't consider it "waste" material.

    If we really want to cut down waste, we should release 99% of movies in disc-only style release, with minimal packaging. Then for the 1% of truly special material, let the studios put forth a strong effort with things like a well-written and beautifully bound book, well-made keepsakes like the WETA figurines in LoTR or the harmonica above, and limit it in a small production run and premium price it accordingly. I agree that 99% of titles don't need this kind of treatment, and what's worse, the what I would call "half-a$$" special edition box sets are really not worth it and are the real generators of waste.
     

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