Any hope for a new edition of any Orson Welles films ("Othello" in particular)?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Elijah Sullivan, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    I remember seeing Orson Welles's version of Othello on video when I was a kid and it's part of the reason I turned into such a Shakespeare nut as a teenager. It's a killer flick, and I had the sudden urge to buy it on DVD... but it's OOP, and although I can find it used, it doesn't look like a terrific release. (Am I wrong about that? I hope so.)

    Which got me to thinking, besides Citizen Kane and the new Criterion F for Fake, Welles really has gotten the shaft on DVD. Which is funny, since according to the Sight & Sound poll 2002, Welles is the most-favored director among criticsn and other filmmakers. Why don't the home-video guys feel the same way?

    I'd love to see Chimes at Midnight/Falstaff, Othello, Magnificent Ambersons (I know that one has been talked about a lot), Lady from Shanghai, The Stranger... all those movies deserve better releases.

    Is there any word on any of these getting released? Are there any petitions I can sign anywhere to get them happening? Are there any current DVD releases of his films (especially Othello) that I should be looking for before complaining? [​IMG]

    Cheers.
     
  2. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Elijah,

    I'm in total agreement. Even the less widely-praised Welles films are interesting to watch. I would buy them all.
     
  3. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    So apparently Ambersons is being delayed because they want to give us the best quality picture.
     
  4. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Parmount has made an excellent job of It's All True BTW; fascinating stuff. Touch of Evil is pretty good too.



    What makes you say that? [​IMG]
     
  5. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    Well, I wouldn't complain about Citizen Kane or F for Fake's releases, but his other films -- yikes. It's All True doesn't quite count as an Orson Welles film, in my book, but respectful treatment of it on DVD is still very much appreciated.

    Lady from Shanghai was a mediocre disc, Bogdanovich commentary aside.

    Otherwise, all his other films have been given the shaft, so far as I know... and he's made many more quality films than he's given credit for.

    Touch of Evil was an alright DVD, I suppose, but that really low-contrast image left a sour taste in my mouth. I can't imagine that it was intended to look that drab by its director. The only standout is the fact that it was re-edited -- [​IMG] [​IMG] to that. Otherwise, disappointing DVD that I won't be buying.

    As for my secret favorite... I'll know whether the old Othello DVD is acceptable in a few days. It's in the mail. [​IMG] Fingers crossed.........

    EDIT: Has anyone purchased/seen the Orson Welles box-set of The Stranger, Mr. Arkadin and The Trial? It's rather cheap (under $15) for the whole deal, so it's can't be too amazing, but those are three Welles flicks I would love to own at that price, if the transfers are acceptable. Cheers.
     
  6. Sergio A

    Sergio A Stunt Coordinator

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    Criterion is currtently working on a DVD of MR ARKADIN/CONFIDENTIAL REPORT which will include mutliple versions and for which Jonathan Rosenbaum and James Naremore, for my money the best living writers on Welles' films, have recorded a joint commentary (on the longer so-called 'Corinth' version, which is said to best approximate his original intentions).

    The Region 2 version of THE TRIAL (courtesy of Studio Canal/Warners) offers excellent image quality and is far better than any of the US releases which suffer from it being a PD title there.

    IMMORTAL STORY is available in a decent version in Italy, but the English language version has forced subs sadly.

    There is an OK edition of MGNIFICENT AMBERSONS available on Region 2 in France where you can also find a very good edition of JOURNEY INTO FEAR from an image standpoint.

    The best US version of THE STRANGER remains the now hard to find Roan release.

    There is a decent version of CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (widescreen) available in Eglish without subs in Spain, the only place, apparently, where it can be made commercially available.

    For more information, go to the excellent WELLESNET site.

    The 'restored' OTHELLO is sadly noething of the kind and is best avoided due to outrageous tinkering ith the soundtrack - the region 2 release of the full-length MACBETH is perfectly acceptable but not outstanding, as is their version of CONFIDENTIAL REPORT, which sports a slightly better image transfer.


    Sergio
     
  7. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    Sergio,

    deepest thanks.

    I am thrilled about that Mr. Arkadin Criterion news. I was close to buying it -- I think I'll be waiting on that. Great, great news.

    Again, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Cheers
     
  8. Fredric

    Fredric Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm glad that they'll be including "Confidential Report" on the disc, too. The Corinth Arkadin is definitely closer to Welles' vision, but "Confidential Report" flows better, uses more conventional editing, and utilizes extra footage and the actual dialogue in places where narration is used in the other versions. It's great to have all of them.
     
  9. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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