A Few Words About A few words about... The High and the Mighty

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I've been patiently waiting for this one, which arrived in my office today.

    Problem is I'm on the other coast.

    For what its worth, and her eyes are well trained, my assistant took an advance peek at the disc for me, as well as the intro by Leonard Maltin.

    Not to waste words -- her quote:

    "Beautiful"

    And at a $13 street price, Paramount has released a special edition, which is another in the "no brainer" category.

    RAH
     
  2. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i've heard so much about this and island in the sky.
    i cant ait to see them both in a few weeks.
     
  3. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    Too bad it's not a better movie...

    :wink:

    As someone who HAS seen the movie (albeit not the new restoration) more than a few times, I'd recommend that those who haven't seen it RENT IT before you buy it...

    It's neither Wayne nor Wellman's finest hour....it is...in most moments, a real turkey. Just because it's been unavailable for public consumption since the HBO airings in 1980 doesn't make the film any better.

    If you're a devoted Duke fan, then go ahead and buy it...

    But if you're not...and you haven't seen it first...rent it before you waste $20 on a rather turgid, plodding, almost laughable melodrama.

    This is the kind of movie AIRPLANE tore to shreads!
     
  4. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    Well, I absolutely DISAGREE 100% with Roger RollinS.

    I, too, have seen The High And The Mighty both on TV as an adolescent and in a theatre with an audience at the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art in the 1980s.

    Though The High And The Mighty may not seem as fresh to contemporary audiences as it did in 1954, this is only because THATM is the granddaddy of all airline disaster films and has been imitated to death in subsequent films like Zero Hour with Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell, The Crowded Sky with Andrews again and Rhonda Fleming, all the Airport and Airplanefilms as well as countless TV movie ripoffs. But it is the first and the original.

    Unlike many of its imitators, THATM's emphasis is on character rather than plot though the suspense factor is not sacrificed. The acting is also, with one or two exceptions, superior to the acting you usually get in films of this sort. Indeed, both Claire Trevor and Jan Sterling received Oscar nominations and Sterling, in particular, gives a brave and stunning performance. You'll have to see the film to understand why. Robert Stack is better than usual and John Wayne proves he could act outside the western genre.

    Wellman's direction is excellent, maintaining the requisite claustrophobic atmosphere necessary to squeeze every bit of nervous tension out of the proceedings by keeping the film contained within the parameters of the actual aircraft with only the occasional cutaway outside the airline.

    As I said, the emphasis is on character, a group of varied passengers from all walks of life contemfplating their lives, their past and the possibility of not having a future at all as there is every chance their plane flying from Honolulu to San Francisco may not make it. Those expecting lots of action may possibly be disappointed. It's a rather intimate drama for a "disaster" picture. It's no Poseidon Adventure or Towering Inferno, no major setpieces.

    One of Dimitri Tiomkin's best scores and an Oscar winning score. A great film? No ... but one of the VERY best of its genre.

    August 2nd can't come fast enough ...
     
  5. William Miller

    William Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    The High and the Mighty is a very good movie.

    It has a great cast and is expertly directed by William Wellman. The Tiomkin score is one of the greatest ever written. It's an exciting film and if you have never seen it, you are in for a real treat especially if the restoration matches the splendor of this high quality CinemaScope, WarnerColor, Stereophonic sound 50's classic.
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yes, I don't agree with Roger's assessment either. It might be a little overlength, but overall it's a very good film. However, I would agree that is shouldn't be a blind buy. If you can stand the commercials, AMC is showing the film this month, if you want to take a peek at it before buying this dvd. I think the first showing of it is this Sunday at 8:00 p.m., I would hope that Paramount furnished them a presentation in it's OAR to help promote this dvd's release.





    Crawdaddy
     
  7. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I have not seen this one and with some of the comments made, I am really looking forward to watch this
     
  8. jim_falconer

    jim_falconer Supporting Actor

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    The only statement by Roger I agree with, is to rent it before buying it. THATM is a wonderful movie, that gets better and better upon repeated viewings. John Wayne did a great job of underplaying the role of Dan Roman, and the ensemble cast is great. I believe the film was either nominated for, or took home 6 oscars. That's usually not the track record of a 'turkey'. I think the only people to be disappointed will be the ones expecting a usual John Wayne action film (maybe what Roger was expecting). Go into it with an open mind, and you should really enjoy this one!
     
  9. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    If you are a fan of mid-50s melodrama, you will not likely have a problem with this one. If you are not, then you probably will. [​IMG] If the concept of "Grand Hotel" in the sky grabs you, then go for it. If you are looking for an antecedent to "Die Hard 2", this may not be the commercial airplane movie for you. The presence of Robert Stack does force you to think of "Airplane" a little, but of course, when they cast Robert Stack in "Airplane", they were trying to make you think of "The High and the Mighty" as well. [​IMG]

    Also, just because a genre has been parodied effectively (and even deservedly) doesn't mean I can't enjoy it anymore.

    Regards,
     
  10. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    I understand that the Wayne films are upfront and center and I am certainly looking forward to THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY and ISLAND IN THE SKY, but what I am really looking forward to is Wellman's TRACK OF THE CAT (described by its cameraman--William H. Clothier--"as a color film without color".) A brooding family drama set against snowscapes, the few color glimpses are relegated to Robert Mitchum's red plaid coat. DVD is becoming a revelation for less recognized directors like Preminger, Henry Hathaway (check out NOW AND FOREVER and PETER IBBETSON), and William Wellman (where is WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD?) finally getting the attention that they deserve!
     
  11. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    It is a shame that AMC is showing it instead of TCM. AMC once was wonderful is just dreadful now. I'll pass on watching it and wait for the DVD. Watching these for the first time PAN/SCAN WITH COMMERCIALS is now how I want to watch them for the first time.
     
  12. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    So have I!

    Thanks, Robert - and your assistant - for making me expect even more of this release. It's ordered.


    Cees
     
  13. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    AMC showed it in a beautiful letterboxed transfer with stereo sound, albeit with commercials. I have even higher hopes for the DVD, now. This film would be a particular mess in pan & scan. An early cockpit shot, for instance, has John Wayne and Robert Stack on the extreme edges of the frame conversing during take-off.

    Regards,
     
  14. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I just commented in the other Wayne/Batjac thread that both films look excellent on AMC and it looks like Paramount did an excellent job with these upcoming dvd releases. People should be please.
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Now, having had the opportunity to view the entire film, as well as the extras. I can heartily concur with my esteemed associate in her "beautiful" characterization.

    The High and the Mighty was photographed on one of the earliest production emulsions of the new Eastman Color negative stock, and hence has stood the test of time as well as expected.

    The original sections of the film look as they should, and those not original have been faithfully re-composited from the early (5216) separation masters by the chosen laboratory.

    The stereo tracks have been faithfully reproduced and sound terrific.

    I've noted in some comments above that the film is being looked upon by some as a bit of an "antique." But while it takes a more leasurely time in introducing its characters' back-stories, the production itself, has also beautifully stood that same test of time, and comes away as a quality production, and the grand-daddy of all fliers / cruisers / people in skyscrapers / fire / flying cows in tornado / etc.

    While much of the film holds up well for the modern audience, if one can position oneself with a mindset of 1952, The HIgh and the Mighty still packs the whallop that it did over half a century ago.

    This is quintessential Wayne.

    As such, The High and the Mighty comes very highly recommended from these quarters. Special kudos go out to Paramount for retaining the original Warner Brothers Logo and end credits. Doing so speaks volumes and properly represents them as a class act.

    RAH
     
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Based on several previous discussions on this forum, I think some people have difficulty doing just that, either intentionally or it's just not in them to do so.





    Crawdaddy
     
  17. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    They should give it a try. Just start whistling the tune...


    Cees
     
  18. Brent Avery

    Brent Avery Supporting Actor

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    DVD BEAVER has a review up with some images.
     
  19. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    I am watching the DVD (watched some of the extras- still haven't watched the movie). I have finished wwatching everything on the ISLAND IN THE SKY DVD. I can't wait to watch THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY and see how it has been restored.
     
  20. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    A few thoughts on the restoration of Eastman Color films of the early 1950s...

    One generally finds (unless the films were printed via dye transfer) that Onegs have been nicely overprinted, with sections (shots) replaced as torn during the print cycle, but with minimal dye fade.

    While continuing with the same 5248 product number (Kodak has a habit of doing this), obvious changes were made to color negative emulsions in 1955, which exacerbated fading problems, becoming progressively worse until mid-1960, at which time the changeover to 5250 was complete.

    The work on The High and the Mighty has been neatly, and professionally done, but one is not climbing mountains here to save something on the brink, nor are restoration technologies being expanded in any way to solve new problems. This is all fine.

    This is a simple matter of replacing dupe sections with new shots (or reels) from the separation masters, and either creating a "B" roll to be run with the extant Oneg, or cutting the pieces together into either a new interpositive or dupe negative.

    In reality, this is about as simple as it gets.

    The restoration promo, which is nicely done, is more a marketing tool for the companies involved than a document of any bravura performance. The work performed goes on continuously, and on a normal (and unpromoted) basis at most of the studios daily. The restoration of every film does not necessary need to have major news attached to it.

    The actual story here is of film elements used normally for their period of production, well stored by their owner, with a bit more than normal wear and tear, (the odd reel of missing Oneg), but with redundancy working properly, as designed into Kodak's system half a century ago.

    With a bit of LDI touch-up for minus density and frame-line dirt, this DVD, which is fully of A quality, could have hit an A+.

    A superb offering from Paramount, which looks to be hitting a new stride for quality DVDs from classic libraries.
     

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