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

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    George Sidney's 1957 Pal Joey, as released via Twilight Time, is a beautiful Blu-ray disc.

    Color is nicely reproduced, with proper contrast, shadow detail, etc. The only anomaly that I noted re: color, seems to be the way the stock read Rita Hayworth's make-up, which has always looked odd in this film. Dye fade is well controlled. Audio is beautifully reproduced, with occasional minor sync problems in musical numbers.

    Overall a quality film, released as a quality Blu-ray.

    Sinatra fans will be thrilled.

    Image: 4 1/2
    Audio: 4

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Cineman

    Cineman Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the review, Mr. Harris. This was a day one purchase for me.
    I was disappointed a few years back when AFI did one of their occasional "100" television specials, this time on 100 Songs featured in a movie that either became memorable itself or helped make that movie memorable, and did not include one solo song by the great Frank Sinatra. In this case, his rendition of "The Lady is a Tramp" in Pal Joey. That was a major oversight, imo. The set up to that song, Sinatra's acting performance leading up to and during the song, Hayworth's reaction to him and the lyrics, naturally Sinatra's vocal rendition of what became a signature number in a huge musical career, really makes this movie something special.
    About 6 years ago I attended a screening of Pal Joey at the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. Mixed crowd of all ages. I'm sure many had never seen this movie, many so young they might not have known who Frank Sinatra was beyond perhaps New York, New York or My Way. The sequence was electrifying, made so by the utterly engaging performances of the two stars, Sinatra's musical and acting skills. It is rare when a movie audience breaks out in hoots and applause following a musical number in the middle of a movie. This one did. The sequence deserved it. Don't know how AFI missed it in 100 tries.
     
  3. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    That is quite a remarkable oversight when you consider how many movies are memorable because of a Sinatra song. The film A Hole in the Head is known primarily because it included High Hopes.
    As a teen, I saw the film The Joker is Wild on TV one night, and when I heard Sinatra sing All the Way, I knew I had to get some Sinatra records. Sinatra was in top form with all the songs in Pal Joey.
     
  4. Cineman

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    Not to get too ot, but the only song by Sinatra included on AFI's list was his trio with Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin when they sang "New York, New York" in On The Town.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AFI's_100_Years...100_Songs
    Aside from the great and memorable "The Lady is a Tramp" number in Pal Joey, the song you named from Hole in the Head actually figured prominently in the presidential election of 1960 with words adapted by the original lyricist, Sammy Cahn, to promote the election of John Kennedy. I'd say that was a fairly notable song from a movie not just for the movie but in terms of U.S. political history. There were a good half dozen Sinatra songs from his movies that could have been and should have been included on that list but the AFI contributors thought otherwise.
     
  5. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    [​IMG]
    Ahhh, Frank Sinatra at Capitol Records in the fifties and early sixties. Water in a thirsty land. Those "saloon ballads." Listening to this body of work is a right of passage that every American male owes to himself. Don't put it on the back burner like I did. You will come out of the listening experience a changed man. Get yourself over to Amazon and buy Sinatra's Capitol Records box-sets.
    Do you want links?
    Not only were the lyrics of "High Hopes" adapted for the JFK campaign, but Frank Sinatra sang it at the President's Inaugural Ball. He was the Master of Ceremonies. I have the raw feed on DVD-R. About five hours. Picture quality is substandard but ... well, you know.
    [​IMG]
    I hope Pal Joey doesn't sell out before next payday.
    I wish Twilight Time would show a little mercy with the price.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The mention of Capitol Records brings to mind an article I read several years ago, as I recall, in the L.A. Times. From memory, it seems that the Capitol Records building, a Hollywood landmark, was in jeopardy of being turned into something far more mundane.

    The most interesting part in the article dealt with the design and construction of the building. Apparently, there are air shafts, which go from the recording studios deep into the sub-structure, which act as chambers, affecting the sound quality being recorded.

    I presume someone knows the background on this, but I found it most interesting.

    RAH
     
  7. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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  8. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Oh my, just look at that lovely original LP cover art. Very tempting.

    I remember reading something about those chambers. My guess is that there was mention of it at some point or other in The Absolute Sound magazine that I read for years.
     
  9. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    ... plus you get free shipping, if you want it.
    Pal Joey comes in the middle of Sinatra's tenure at Capitol, during the creative peak of his life, when he was in his finest voice, and when he recorded the definitive interpretations of the Great American songbook. You hear a few of those songs in the film. To hear more of what the film has got, buy the Capitol records box sets.
     
  10. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    I have most of those original LPs, and in excellent condition, but there are times when you just don't want to bother with the turntable. Not to mention how great the set would be on long drives.
     
  11. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    As a Sinatra fan, I already have all those albums.
    I astonished at Amazon's marketing hype: Only Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson can rival Frank Sinatra for biggest-selling solo artist of all time.
    I don't think I'm imaging things but I'm sure there was once a singer named Bing Crosby who sold a few records.
     
  12. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Robin9 and Charles, that's great you already have the albums on vinyl. Wish I had been listening to Sinatra when vinyl was still the medium. I have a few budget LPs of the sides he recorded with a small jazz combo for "TO BE PERFECTLY FRANK" that radio program from the early 1950s that is the "missing link" between the Columbia crooner and the Capitol balladeer / swinger. Sinatra goes way out on a limb in those recordings and the sound quality isn't bad. The voice is the same you hear ont his first two Capitol albums.
    In any case you need the CDs with the new mastering.
    Trust me on this: buy the box-set.
    Supplement it with The Complete Capitol Singles Collection:
    http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Capitol-Singles-Collection-Sinatra/dp/B000002U51/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1331049562&sr=1-4
    Can either of you advise me on which soundtrack CD of Pal Joey I should buy?
    Evidently there are two or three editions and reviewers don't seem entirely happy with any of them.
     
  13. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    Richard, I can't advise you because I still use my vinyl album and have never bought the CD equivalent. If the CDs are below standard, your best course of action will be to buy the BRD and transfer the audio to a CD-R. (Strictly for your own use, of course. Absolutely not for re-sale!)
     
  14. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    I wouldn't know, either, because I'm afraid I haven't kept up very well with CDs in general.
     
  15. Cineman

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    I think the point of the article alluded to was that there was something special about the sound quality in some of those Capital Records studios that came about due to conditions that a building reconstruction would have compromised. And, remember, this was in the days when the singer would stand in the same room with the orchestra, not separate from them sitting in a glass booth. Sinatra continued that tradition for his recordings long after the glass booth deal became routine in the industry, well into the Reprise years.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Cineman

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    This one is pricey, but it is a great box set that includes cuts from Pal Joey as well as versions of other Sinatra songs not available on any other disc format:
    Sinatra in Hollywood 1940-1964 [Box Set, Soundtrack]
    http://www.amazon.com/Sinatra-Hollywood-1940-1964-Frank/dp/B000066BN9
    For whatever reason a clean, official CD of the film soundtrack of Pal Joey isn't available. The above set is as close as it comes.
    Then again, the Blu-ray of Pal Joey discussed in this thread includes an isolated musical soundtrack option that you could set up and let it play. Unlike any other CD or vinyl version of the soundtrack (as I recall, could be wrong about that), that one will include the opening credits "overture".
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Here's the piece from the L.A. Times 4/23/08






    Sound at risk, Capitol says



    The music firm says a next-door high-rise would damage its unique underground echo chambers.



    April 23, 2008|Bob Pool | Times Staff Writer


    No! No-o-o-o! No-o-o-o-o-o! That plea from Hollywood is reverberating through Los Angeles City Hall as officials try to decide whether a 16-story tower should be built next to the landmark Capitol Records building.

    A Marina del Rey developer hopes to construct 93 condominiums, 13,442 square feet of commercial and office space and a 242-space underground parking lot next to the landmark, 13-floor, record-shaped building.



    [​IMG]


    But Capitol executives are trying to stop the multimillion-dollar project because of fears that pile-driving and excavation for the three-level underground garage will damage one-of-a-kind, below-ground echo chambers that are used for high-end recordings.The developer has denied that the project would harm the reverberation equipment and has pledged to try to limit noise and vibration during construction.



    The famed echo chambers were designed by guitarist Les Paul and have been used by recording artists ranging from Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to Chris Botti, Natalie Cole -- who just finished an album there -- and Brian Wilson, who used them last week.

    EMI Music North America, which operates Capitol Records, has appealed the city's preliminary approval of the high-rise, which is proposed for the southwest corner of Yucca Street and Argyle Avenue. Until 2005 that was the site of the KFWB-AM (980) radio station.

    "As a major employer in the Hollywood area, Capitol Records is extremely concerned about the viability of us being able to continue to run Capitol Studios in the face of the admittedly significant adverse impacts that will be caused by construction," said Maureen B. Schultz, a senior vice president at the recording company.

    In a letter to City Council members, Schultz explained that the echo chambers are on the east side of the record company headquarters at the corner of Vine and Yucca streets. They are buried 18 feet from the proposed excavation site.

    "We are not anti-development, and understand and support that Hollywood is changing and new development is part of that change," she said in the letter.

    But "the sound in the studios is one that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. The echo chambers are as much a part of the Hollywood history as the Capitol Tower and the Hollywood sign."

    The eight concrete chambers, built 30 feet underground, vary in shape to give different sounds. A speaker pipes music into one end of each chamber and a microphone picks up the reverberation at the other end.

    Capitol employees say their three recording studios are booked by artists who know the Vine Street echo effect is something that cannot be duplicated electronically or at any other studio.
     
  18. Cineman

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    They were right to express concern. IMO, no other recording conditions produced as rich, beautiful, live, expansive yet intimate a sound as those Capital studios. Even when Sinatra established Reprise where he and others eventually recorded elsewhere under money-no-object conditions, they couldn't duplicate that particular quality.
     
  19. Catlady

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    I just bought this Capitol set--the only caveat is that, except for one CD, there are no bonus tracks included from the individual CD releases. Even if you buy mp3s of the missing bonus tracks, the set is still a bargain.
    I was excited to see that PAL JOEY was released on Blu-ray; I have been on a bit of a Sinatra buying binge. There are some SINATRA IN HOLLYWOOD sets on eBay at bargain prices; I am waiting for mine to arrive.
    Avoid the mp3 double albums of PAL JOEY/GUYS AND DOLLS and ANCHORS AWEIGH/ON THE TOWN at Amazon--sound quality is poor.
    Sinatra forever!
     
  20. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    When Sinatra started recording for Reprise, his albums came in for sharp criticism for their poor sound quality by people who had become used to the Capitol sound. Later there was some improvement but not enough. When Sinatra And Strings came out, one magazine critic wrote: It still sounds as if he is recording in his garage but at least he has now moved the cars out!
     

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