A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Producers -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Mel Brooks' is one of my heroes.

    I saw The Producers in Manhattan shortly after it opened in 1968. At the time, I wondered if seeing this with a midtown NY audience near Lincoln Center might have had something to do with the audience reaction.

    And it may.

    But here we are, over forty years later, and the film is as fresh, new, vibrant, and hysterical as it was back then.

    I've had good luck with Shout (and Scream) Factory releases, and this one is no exception.

    It looks very much like an original print.

    Sharp, colorful, with great black levels and shadow detail, except in dupes. Dupes also have a bit of minus and positive density detritus, but we can almost (not quite) forgive that as "original."

    Make no mistake. Mr. Brooks' freshman effort, remains one of the greatest comedies to ever hit the great silver sheet.

    And here's an odd one.

    Shout Factory, obviously in a fit of cinematic lust, has given us a reversible Blu-ray insert. Don't like the artwork? Flip it over, and you've got the original black & white poster art.

    Love it!

    Image - 4.75

    Audio - 5

    Huge kudos to Shout Factory for getting this virtually perfect!

    Very Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. atcolomb

    atcolomb Second Unit

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    After you see the movie check out the excellent documentary made by PBS American Masters called "Mel Brooks: Make a Noise" just released on dvd. Mel talks about his 60+ years in show business and a lot of great interviews too.
     
  3. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    You can watch that Mel documentary for free on PBS.org.
     
  4. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Screenwriter

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    I interviewed Mel Brooks recently for an Australian magazine -- well, a couple of years back -- and will always remember him concluding with the wishes 'look after yourself young man'. Since I was born during the Second World War I thought that very generous of him . or else another example of his mordant humour!
     
  5. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Not quite in love with this as much as Mr. Harris. Some of it does indeed look very nice coming off whatever internegative was used. Why they didn't remove the cue marks twenty minutes in is anyone's guess - obviously they were burned into the internegative but it's so easy to get rid of them if one wanted to. But what's accurate here is that it does resemble a release print. How much better it could look from the camera negative is anyone's guess given the film's low-budget. I enjoyed the film and, for me, the transfer is a little less than stellar.

    Don't get me started on the English Blu-ray of Marathon Man. Now there is a transfer with some very serious and ugly issues and naturally it was given a complete pass by Dr. Whatever-hIs-name is at Blu-ray.com - unbelievable. If this is the transfer being used for the US version, I will be very interested to see how many people who jump all over decent and even excellent transfers, give this one a pass saying "it looks like film." Note to those giving passes to dreck: Film is not out of focus in the mid and long shots, sorry. But every mid to long shot in Marathon Man literally verges on being out of focus. Very little detail in the close-ups even. I don't get it.

    Back to The Producers.
     
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  6. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    Dr Svet is too generous in his gradings : 4.5 stars for Video on The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance . its an awful transfer but ive no idea what sources were used
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Definitely a matter of opinion as I thought the video grade for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence was a solid 4 stars.
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I just checked his review. He gave it a 3.5 video grade which isn't a complete pass to me. No doubt, his comments weren't as critical as yours, but he did note some problems with the video as a 3.5 grade is more like a C+ grade.
     
  9. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the warning. I was planning to buy Marathon Man but I'll hold off for a bit until the U.S. disc has come and and been reviewed.
     
  10. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Second Unit

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    I wasn't all that enamored with The Producers transfer either. Yes, it has its moments; good color, good detail, good contrast. But it also has it's failings. One failing is a flub and forgivable. Two is just sloppy. Three or more and we either chock it up to shortcomings in surviving elements or someone having fallen asleep at the controls. I think Shout! did the best they could with what they had to work from.

    It's a solid effort but not really as near to perfect as a 4.75 rating would suggest. 3.75 is more like it. More than competent - not exquisite.

    Re: Marathon Man - what a stinker! Film is never soft or out of focus...unless, of course this is the director's and DP's original intent, to obscure details for visual effect. Marathon Man is just a train wreck - period.
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    This was an Embassy release, with a number of early prints off the original. Dupes were always dirty, and unfotunately, remain so. Haven't seen the new Marathon Man, but don't recall orig being out of focus. Odd.As to Prod, pls pass along a few time codes. Possibly trying to juggle a bit while examining disc. If I've missed something untoward, I'll take another look.RAH
     
  12. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Also if I'm not mistaken, RAH grades are based on quality possible for that title, not an absolute grade for all titles that can be compared to one another.
     
  13. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    What I hate about his reviews is his equivocation - if he's not sure of something, which he never is, he just talks around things. Anyone who knows anything about film can tell this transfer isn't good. When he says Marathon Man looks "organic" what is he saying - it looks like film? Well, film isn't out of focus, film has natural grain (he doesn't even hint at DNR - but the minute I saw the Paramount logo I knew something had been done in terms of DNR because there's no grain in the logo and in 1976 the Paramount logo was the grainiest it ever was - I know this for a fact because that very same logo adorns my film) - 3.5 out of 5 stars is way too generous for this - as Nick Z puts it above - it's a train wreck.
     
  14. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    ^ You should put the title of the film you're referring to in your post. You know how "some" people are: they'll see The Producers title and "trainwreck" in your post (of course they won't read the thread...) and then who knows what the interwebz will come up with. :)

    I agree that the site you're referring to usually over-grades the video, even worse for the audio. IMO/E. But they review a helluva lot of stuff, so it's at least some guide for those of us who can't buy everything or who don't get it for free (hint...you know what I'm saying there).

    Anyway, glad to hear RAH's opinion, been dying to hear what he thought actually. I have relatively recently become a MB fan (since I got the BD collection last year) and The Producers will just about complete my collection (that I know of).
     
  15. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I clarified :) I hope you're not saying that I get discs for free - if you saw my monthly amazon bill you would know just how not true that is!
     
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  16. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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    I think that there was a bit too much digital massaging, regardless of the source. That, of course, is typical of many Paramount transfers based on what I own.
     
  17. Everett Stallings

    Everett Stallings Supporting Actor

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    Same here.
     
  18. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    No, I didn't mean you, I guess I was the one not being clear there... On that site, I have never seen reviewers do such a ballet around sub-standard transfers. How can you do a review without being critical, or rather, what's the point? Like all reviews, they're just a guide, you have to correlate the reviewer with your own opinion once you've made the "mistakes" of blindly following theirs.

    You should see my amazon bills! Long live amazon! The local stores here are making a very good and mostly successful attempt at matching their prices, but nobody can match their variety.
     
  19. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    I thought we were supposed to stop supporting Amazon due to their practice of selling bootlegs and not respecting copyright holders. ;)
     
  20. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Interesting you bring that up. I presume based upon the other thread, Amazon has a new link for reporting bootlegs by the owners.

    Took a couple of months.

    I used it. It worked.

    RAH
     
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