A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Carmen Miranda Collection

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

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    I've never been a fan of Carmen Miranda, although one could not help but be appreciative of her appearance in Eric Spilker's 1972 re-issue of The Gang's All Here in blazing three-strip Technicolor.

    That re-issue turned out to be a rather depressing epitaph to the entire Fox Technicolor library of the 1930s and '40s, as just four years after audiences reveled in the brilliant colors several wrong-headed decisions were made at the studio leading to the destruction of the original elements of Fox's entire nitrate library, and their replacement with rather horrific dupes that still bedevil the company to this day.

    There is nothing newsworthy about these facts, although many of us attempt not to think about them.

    The connection here is the second itineration of The Gang's All Here on DVD, which while slightly better than the first still carries the 1970s destructive scars with it, as the element used still has a faded yellow layer, leaving virtually everything that was once black in the film, now various shades of blue.

    Can this be fixed?

    Possibly, but return on the investment would be virtually nil, and still not allow for any better overall replication. The rest of the colors seem fine, although black levels still suffer along with shadow detail.

    The Gang's All Here has found its way into a collection entitled The Carmen Miranda Collection, even though all of the film are emblazoned with the desirable Fox Home Video's Marquis Musicals banner.

    Had it been entitled the Vivian Blaine Collection, I might have been initially more interested.

    The five films included in the collection wth Gang's, are two other Technicolor productions, Something for the Boys and Greenwich Village (both 1944), and two black & white productions, Doll Face and If I'm Lucky (both 1946).

    Greenwich Village is a bit better color-wise than Gang's, while Something for the Boys is a bit worse, with inconsistent color.

    Doll Face looks about as one might think it would, while strangely, If I'm Lucky appears to have gone through clean-up and processing, yielding the best looking image of the group.

    The bottom line is that we have what we have of these films, and even if huge amounts of cash were thrown into various projects, one cannot re-create a silk purse out the garbage created by the labs in 1976.

    The pity is that had the studio spent a less money on the creation of new elements almost four decades ago, they would have far fewer problems today.

    Albeit second string productions with second tier contract players, this collection is nonetheless a nice addition to a library of 1940s musicals.

    The other positive here is that they're being offered at a bargain street price of only $5 per title.

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Vern Dias

    Vern Dias Stunt Coordinator

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    And the negative here is the complete absence of film grain and fine detail on these titles.

    The grain hating DNR operator strikes again. [​IMG]

    About the only thing that helps to mitigate the excessive DNR is the fact that these titles are all 1.33:1 , so the relatively smaller image size helps to make the problem less obvious. However they are still a far cry from looking anything like a 35mm theatrical presentation.

    Vern
     
  3. Eric Vedowski

    Eric Vedowski Second Unit

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    For what it's worth-off a DVD review message board at Broadwayworld.com:

    "Isn't THE GANGS ALL HERE a mess?! The color is horrible. A friend of mine, Eric Spilker was responsible for re-issuing the film in the early '70s and had Fox print up two flawless dye-transfer prints of the film with the original negatives. When Eric heard that Fox was going to issue THE GANGS ALL HERE, he contacted them and offered to loan one of his prints back to the studio to make the DVD from, but was told that the studio had the latest digital technology to restore their print perfectly. As the DVD proves, some things cannot be recreated on a computer screen."
     
  4. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    Well even if they did use the guy's dye transfer print, it would ultimately end up on a computer screen. So is he saying it is an impossible film to transfer?
     

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