A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (1977) - any comments?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Chuck Pennington, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    Does anyone have the A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (1977) DVD from Hen's Tooth and have any comments on the quality? I read one negative review online, but that reviewer was not familiar with the previous video releases and just how wretched those were. I'm sure the DVD is an improvement, even if only slight.
     
  2. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    Do you have a link to that review?

    Andy
     
  3. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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  4. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    Well, the review is wrong in one respect. Taylor is not dubbed, she does her own singing. An argument could have been made for having a stronger singer dub Taylor's weak vocals but I prefer hearing an actor's real voice, however inadequate, to that of an anonymous dubbed voice.
     
  5. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    Liz IS dubbed in the opening song, though. From a collector I have the "Love Takes Time" opening with Liz before she was dubbed and from the soundtrack album (and the film) where she is dubbed. However, the rest of the singing in the film is her.
     
  6. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    One of the really stupid decisions made in the dubbing of this film is that Liz is dubbed in "Love Takes Time" by the same vocalist who dubs both Lesley-Ann Down (Anne) and Chloe Franks (playing Frederika). The singer's name is Elaine Tomkinson.

    She also dubs Taylor's last line in "You Must Meet My Wife." I guess Liz couldn't sing with someone else singing a harmony line opposite her.
     
  7. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    Some of the notes in "Send in the Clowns" are also dubbed, but Liz sings most of the song. Desire wasn't written for a real singer to begin with so Liz should have been okay. Of course when sung by a real singer "Send in the Clowns" is beautiful. But Glynis John, Jean Simmons, even Judi Dench were not true singers

    Can't imagine this film looking too good on DVD, the source materials haven't been kept up and the prior video releases are a good indication of what this film will look like on DVD - but at least it's available again.
     
  8. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    Correct, the movie has always looked dreadful on home video. A friend of mine compared the original Embassy VHS release to the Nelson VHS and Image Laserdisc and it appears the same transfer was used on all of them (slightly squeezed, lopsided, greenish, etc.) - yet the Embassy VHS, the oldest video release, had stronger color. It is from this release the following images came from to compare to the new DVD (new DVD images courtesy of John Skoda). I tried to get as close to the exact frames as I could.

    Embassy VHS / Hens Tooth DVD
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    It sure looks terrific in comparison to the best previous video release judging from the screen grabs! It might be of rather poor quality in comparison to major studio releases from that year, but it wouldn't have to be that great to best the other video releases anyway. If this is the best it can look, then I'm going to be very satisfied. I doubted it would even be THIS good. :)
     
  9. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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  10. Garysb

    Garysb Screenwriter

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    I wish PBS would release the Live From Lincoln Center version of "A Little Night Music" from 1990. It was actually broadcast live as the title suggests and was video taped. Sally Ann Howes was Desiree . George Lee Andrews who played Frederik Egerman in this production played Frid, Desiree's butler in the Broadway production from 1973.
    Most of the cast from this production performed "A Weekend In The Country" on the DVD of "Sondheim : A Celebration At Carnegie Hall". At least that is available.
     
  11. ThomasDE

    ThomasDE Auditioning

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    Sadly, Live from Lincoln Center programs won't ever be released to home video due to contracts and whatnot. I really want them to release The Light In the Piazza that aired last year.
     
  12. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    The differences between the old video releases (I have the laser disc) and the Hen's Tooth are almost night and day. While there is no way the print can be called pristine, I'm more than satisfied witht he improvement. Plus the laser disc had an annoying hiss which seemed to have been remedied on the new DVD.
     
  13. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    The Laserdisc was sharper than the Embassy VHS, but the color was FAR worse - even more green.
     
  14. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Some reviewer on Amazon.com said the European cut was 15 minutes longer. Is that true?
     
  15. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    No - That guy is mistaken, reading some error on imdb.com as if it were fact.
     
  16. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    Those screen shots look pretty good, much better than I would have expected! The film was shown on local tv during the late 70's early 80's and the color was stronger, but even the New York Times reviewer mentioned the skin tones looked green in the theater. The film was shot over a long period of time with many breaks in between to raise more money (Which is why Liz goes from Fat to Thin and back again) Not surprising it hasn't been kept better since it didn't do well in theaters.

    Too bad the cut numbers can't be found. I have a recording of a few of them (the quaility is really bad and Liz isn't dubbed)

    This film really needs to be remade, now that "Chicago" and "Dreamgirls" have found a way to intercut music and speaking scenes maybe "Night Music" would work better if filmed today.
     
  17. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    If Tim Burton's version of Sondheim's SWEENEY TODD does any kind of business, maybe a producer or director might look at NIGHT MUSIC as a possibility for a new production. I like quite a few things in the film, though I still consider it a missed opportunity.
     
  18. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Interesting how some people won't accept the use of songs to advance the plot or express feelings but they will let other genres get away with MURDER.

    Movie musicals didn't used to have to make concessions to people who hate the genre.
     
  19. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    Actually, I was referring to the songs in "A Little Night Music" where the dialogue starts and the songs come to a screeching hault: Weekend in the Country, Glamorous Life, Every Day a Little Death etc. It may have been better had they edited the songs without the dialogue in between
     
  20. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Well I have never seen this film or its source material, so I can't really comment on its fidelity to the source or its quality in and of itself (thanks for the screencaps, Chuck), but at least the picture looks like there is some improvement.
     

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