A few words about...™ Rebecca -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Nick*Z, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Second Unit

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    Dear Mr. Harris:
    The 'Rebecca' title card is not the original title card but the pre-title replacement. The final title looked like the hand written script that was advertised on all of the poster art. Also, the isolated music cue that follows Maxim and the second Mrs. DeWinter's arrival to Manderly is the wrong cue - NOT the cue used when watching the film with dialogue and effects. These oversights disappoint, but have to agree the overall image quality is superb.
     
  2. John Morgan

    John Morgan Supporting Actor

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    Maybe they goofed again, but I know Disney restored this film and the restorer discovered the Main Titles were refilmed for a 50s rerelease (as did the LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY credits) because of small ratio differences, so he went to the LOC or Selznick's print to restore them as seen originally. That was on his master, but maybe Disney likes the newer credits better.
     
  3. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Second Unit

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    Disney has nothing to do with the release of Rebecca. It is a title currently owned under the MGM/Fox banner. Years ago - either 1997 or 98, Anchor Bay Home Video released a beautiful DVD of Rebecca with the original title sequence in tact. However, when the distribution rights were handed over to Criterion in 1999 this newer minting (with the altered credits and wrong isolated music cue) was released instead. I have no idea where Criterion obtained their materials from and a well composed letter of inquiry sent by me to them received ZERO feedback so your guess is as good as mine.
    Aside: Criterion also windowboxed the title credits so that you had a black outline around the entire image. Dumb. Thankfully, MGM/Fox corrected this latter oversight on their Blu-ray but they did not bother to review the altered credits or the mistakenly inserted music cue on the isolated track, so the transfer we have of Rebecca today ports over these two glaring mistakes. Since, Rebecca is unlikely to get re-issued on Blu, we're stuck with this version. Not for me, thanks. I prefer the original 'hand written' script to the rather 'stately' old English calligraphy.
     
  4. Doctorossi

    Doctorossi Supporting Actor

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    Does this mean that the correct cue is still featured on the primary audio track on the Blu-ray?
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    What might a "pre-title replacement" be?
     
  6. John Morgan

    John Morgan Supporting Actor

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    If you look at the tiny copyright notice on the BluRay of Rebecca, it states the copyright is held by ABC, Inc., which is owned by Disney. If anything, the film was licensed from Disney or ABC, Inc. for this release. And I know Anchor Bay got their materials from Disney, and I remember a bit of controversy when the original title sequence was not used for Criterion. Both versions were in the Disney inventory. I guess someone liked the later reissue fonts better.
     
  7. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    John, you are correct. ABC Films purchased most of the post 1935 David O. Selznick films in 1967, after Selznick died in 1965. While ABC was trying to gain a library of titles to use to keep costs down on their network movie night, it was CBS that eventually telecast Rebecca. ABC leased out the Selznick films to Fox/CBS for VHS release in the late 80's and leased Rebecca to Criterion for a laserdisc release in 1991 and again in 2003 for the DVD release. Anchor Bay leased the Selznick films along with the rest of the ABC Films library, such as A Song of Norway, Krakatoa East of Jave, and The Last Valley as examples, in 1998 through 2002. MGM picked up the complete package in 2006 and still control the titles. Since Capital Cites/ABC was purchased by Disney in 1996, then the actual owner is Disney, however they have no real interest in titles of that vintage and were happy to lease them out. Which is mostly good news for the movie collector, but where are the missing titles?

    I understand that Disney is the one that has produced the transfers and they were given to MGM for use. MGM would not spend the money on a title they did not own outright.

    If you want to pay $3.85 here is the New York Times link from March 8, 1966 on the purchase of the films by ABC from the Selznick Estate.

    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70914FA345D1B7A93CAA91788D85F428685F9
     
  8. John Morgan

    John Morgan Supporting Actor

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    The guy who restored all these for Disney is no longer with the company, and some of his plans went south. Although not a good film, I saw KRAKATOA at a good age in the theaters. I remember the Overture, Intermission and the roadshow attributes. I don't know what shape this film is in now, but I remember being told the large format negative was in good shape, but the 6 track soundtrack master was unusable. BUT, in their inventory, they had several used 70mm release prints with mag 6-track sound, so the plan was to raid those and piece together the best sounding and make a new master. But, I guess nothing has happened and I wonder what condition these things are in now! By the way, did SONG OF NORWAY ever make it to DVD and in stereo?
     
  9. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

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    I've always wondered how Selznick ended up getting the rights back to Notorious. IIRC he sold that film to RKO as a write-off for the disasterous Duel in the Sun.
     
  10. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Both Anchor Bay and MGM put out KRAKATOA on DVD and it was the "expanded" version, but did not include Overture, Intermission or Exit Music. Simitar Video released a DVD before Anchor Bay, but it was the cut general release version and they were "given" a copy by a guy who claimed he owned the rights. It was proved he did not.

    Another problem with both the MGM and Anchor Bay release was that neither were anamorphic. It would be nice to have it compete and anamorphic as would a nice transfer of A SONG OF NORWAY and THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER. i understand the agreement between Disney and MGM is to last another 4 or 5 years, so maybe there is some hope.
     
  11. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Selznick only sold 50% of the proposed film to RKO for $800,000. What RKO bought was script, actors, and Hitchcock or a complete production package. When it happened everyone was happy including Hitchcock, for he was out from under the thumb of DOS, or so he thought. Selznick being the nitpicker that he was, interfered with all aspects of the filming. It appears that the 50% that RKO purchased was for rights for a certain length of time and those reverted back to Selznick.
     

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