Criterion Press Release: Safety Last! (Blu-ray)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 21, 2013.

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  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    safetylastfront.jpg safetylastback.jpg

    SAFETY LAST! – Blu-Ray & DVD Editions
    The comic genius of silent star Harold Lloyd is eternal. Chaplin was the sweet innocent, Keaton the stoic outsider, but Lloyd—the modern guy striving for success—is us. And with its torrent of perfectly executed gags and astonishing stunts, Safety Last! is the perfect introduction to him. Lloyd plays a small-town bumpkin trying to make it in the big city, who finds employment as a lowly department-store clerk. He comes up with a wild publicity stunt to draw attention to the store, resulting in an incredible feat of derring-do on his part that gets him started on the climb to success. Laugh-out-loud funny and jaw-dropping in equal measure, Safety Last! is a movie experience par excellence, anchored by a genuine legend.

    Safety Last! is the first Harold Lloyd film to be released by the Criterion Collection since the Lloyd catalog was acquired by Janus Films in 2012. Janus Films will tour Safety Last! theatrically starting in April to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of its Release, and to kick off an ongoing celebration of this most contemporary of classic silent comedians.

    1923 • 84 minutes • Black & White • Silent • 1.37:1 aspect ratio

    SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
    • New 2K digital film restoration
    • Musical score by composer Carl Davis from 1989, synchronized and restored under his supervision and presented in uncompressed stereo on the Blu-ray edition
    • Alternate score by organist Gaylord Carter from the late 1960s, presented in uncompressed monaural on the Blu-ray edition
    • Audio commentary featuring film critic Leonard Maltin and director and Harold Lloyd archivist Richard Correll
    • Introduction by Suzanne Lloyd, Lloyd’s granddaughter and president of Harold Lloyd Entertainment
    Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius, a 104-minute documentary from 1989
    • Three newly restored Lloyd shorts: Take a Chance (1918), Young Mr. Jazz(1919), and His Royal Slyness (1920), with commentary by Correll and film writer John Bengtson
    Locations and Effects, a new documentary featuring Bengtson and special effects expert Craig Barron
    • New interview with Davis
    • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Ed Park

    TITLE: Safety Last! (BLU-RAY EDITION)
    CAT. NO: CC2267BD
    UPC: 7-15515-10651-1
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-730-2
    SRP: $39.95
    PREBOOK: 5/21/13
    STREET: 6/18/13
     
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  2. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    That is exciting. Looking forward to picking it up.
     
  3. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    I was going to skip this one since I think the Warner sets I got are "good enough", but this seems pretty irresistible. that documentary is new right? I don't recall it on the other sets. Mine are packed up so I can't check.
     
  4. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Screenwriter

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    I am not really a fan of silent films and I don't care for Chaplin. But this is my favourite silent film and it's a great package. I assume it is Region A so I will either have to wait for a UK release or buy a multi-region player. This and some of the other great Criterion Blu-ray releases are pushing me closer to the tipping point.
     
  5. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    I ordered the 2 DVD version of this set today! Does anyone know whether this is minus some of the Special Features that are included on the Blu-Ray?

    I ask this because Criterion's page for SAFETY LAST! seemed to imply that a couple of these were special to the Blu-Ray (IE. The Alternate Gaylord Carter Score!) without coming right out and saying that they're not on the DVD's!

    A reply to this would be greatly appreciated!

    CHEERS! :)
     
  6. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I can't speak to this specific release but Criterion usually makes all the special features available on both formats.
     
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  7. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Travis!

    I know that they did this with their A HARD DAY'S NIGHT Blu-Ray/DVD Combo, as I actually purchased that one from our local Future Shop Outlet as soon as it was released this past June. It's too bad they didn't also issue SAFETY LAST! as a BD/DVD Combo, or is this something that Criterion has only started to do recently?

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony
     
  8. Derrick King

    Derrick King Supporting Actor

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    Tony, based on the back cover, the Safety Last! DVD has the alternate score.

    As for the dual-format, Criterion started releasing Blu-ray/DVD dual-format November 2013 and, unfortunately, stopped releasing Blu-ray/DVD dual-format in September 2014.
     
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  9. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi Derrick!

    Thank you very much for your kind, helpful response!

    While I wouldn't generally think that any audio extras would be left off the DVD Version, I've learned over the years to not take anything for granted!

    It's too bad that Criterion dropped their short lived Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Format, especially in light of this general trend having been heavily implemented by other Studios in recent years! For instance, Disney has been notorious for charging only about $5 less for their DVD only releases Vs. their Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Sets! Quite frankly, I fail to understand Criterion's thinking here, and I'm put off by this news to be perfectly honest! I purchased the SAFETY LAST! 2 DVD Set instead of the Blu-Ray disc because of a combination of price point & the convenience of having several available DVD Players Vs. just one Blu-Ray Player in our household! With that said, I likely would have spent the extra $10 or so for a Combo Set, as opposed to just getting the DVD's!

    So it goes!

    CHEERS! :)

    Tony
     
  10. Derrick King

    Derrick King Supporting Actor

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    I liked the dual-format too, but most seemed to dislike it. Here is Criterion's comment on dropping dual-format
    Criterion almost always offers the same content for both formats, but there are a few cases where they don't. For example: WATERSHIP DOWN - Picture-in-picture storyboards for the entire film (Blu-ray); four film-to-storyboard scene comparisons (DVD), THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE - Selected on-screen presentation of Del Toro’s thumbnail sketches (Blu-ray edition only), SWORD OF DOOM Blu-ray upgrade adds an audio commentary featuring film historian Stephen Prince, and, one of the more extreme examples, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE -

    [*]Two new interviews with critic Tony Rayns, one about the film and the other about the soundtrack, featuring musical cues (Blu-ray only)
    [*]The music of In the Mood for Love, presented in an interactive essay (DVD only)
    [*]Essay by film scholar Gina Marchetti illuminating the film’s unique setting (DVD only)
    [*]Photo gallery (DVD only)
    [*]Biographies of key cast and crew (DVD only)
    [*]Plus: A booklet featuring the Liu Yi-chang story that provided thematic inspiration for the film (DVD and Blu-ray); a new essay by film critic Li Cheuk-to and a director’s statement (DVD only); and a new essay by novelist and film critic Steve Erickson (Blu-ray only)
    [/list]
     
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  11. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Thank you very much for kindly posting this, Derrick!

    With the above explanation, I can understand Criterion's position. Unfortunately, for me, this will likely mean sticking with DVD's when making purchases from them, at least for the time being. My issue is that, we currently have just one Blu-Ray Player Vs. several that play DVD's. While this may change over time, for now I do find the Blu-Ray/DVD combo packs handy in that I can still have the portability with the DVD Format, while being able to enjoy viewing the higher Blu-Ray quality (At least somewhat!) on our 720p 32 inch Flatscreen TV. As I mentioned in a prior post, while money is tight, I really don't mind paying an extra $5 (Versus an extra $25 or more buying both Formats!) to be able to enjoy the best of both worlds, but at least regarding the Criterion sets, I appear to be in a minority.

    CHEERS!

    Tony
     
  12. Derrick King

    Derrick King Supporting Actor

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    Certainly understandable, Tony. Just like I understand people have space concerns and not wanting a DVD or Blu-ray they have no intention of using or the bulkier dual-format digipaks Criterion used for most of their 1-Blu-ray/2-DVD dual-format releases. Still, it is a pity, as the death of dual-format seems to have caused Criterion to start back with the leaflets/foldouts for the inserts instead of the booklets and, in the cases of ZATOICHI, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK & RED RIVER, books we had been getting. (Since abandoning dual-format, only ERASERHEAD and the TATI box have come with actual booklets.)

    Here is a list of all of Criterion's dual-format releases:
    City LightsFrances HaTokyo StoryZatoichi The Blind SwordsmanInvestigation of a Citizen Above SuspicionNashvilleMartin Scorsese’s World Cinema ProjectThrone of BloodRififiThiefIt’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad WorldLa vie de bohèmeThe Long Day ClosesJules and JimForeign Correspondent (dual-format release is OOP and has been replaced with separate DVD and Blu-ray editions)Fantastic Mr. FoxBreathlessTessKing of the HillGeorge WashingtonThe Hidden FortressA Brief History of TimePersonaThe Great BeautyThe FreshmanThe 400 BlowsBreaking the WavesRiot in Cell Block 11Master of the HouseIl sorpassoAce in the HoleLike Someone in LoveRed RiverAll That Heaven AllowsL’eclissePicnic at Hanging RockHearts and MindsJudexA Hard Day’s NightPickpocketScannersInsomniaThe Essential Jacques DemyThe Big ChillLove StreamsTie Me Up! Tie Me Down!Y tu mamá tambiénAll That Jazz
     
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  13. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    So far, I've viewed everything on the 2 DVD Set, except for the Main Feature with the Introduction by Suzanne Lloyd. While I'm holding off on posting any final review of this until after viewing SAFETY LAST!, with all 3 Audio Tracks (Both Carl Davis and Gaylord Carter Scores, and the Leonard Maltin/Richard Correll Commentary!), I can say that, aside from the visual quality of the 1989 documentary, HAROLD LLOYD: THE THIRD GENIUS not looking noticeably better than the broadcast that I saw on Television in the mid 1990's (Though having been made for TV during the low res Videotape era, my expectations may have been a bit unrealistic?), this set is overall, rather top notch! In my opinion, when even the Short Film extras come with Special Commentary (By Richard Correll and John Bengston.), it's obvious that a lot of effort has been put into making a most worthwhile Set!


    CHEERS! :)


    Tony
     
  14. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Having viewed the Main Feature (I skipped the Carl Davis Score, as this can also be heard on the Richard Correll/Leonard Maltin Commentary Track!), I can now say that I do prefer the Carl Davis Score to Gaylord Carter's, as fine as his is. In my opinion, Carl's Bright & Breezy Scores better capture the exuberant can do spirit of Harold Lloyd's Films of the 1920's! Don't get me wrong, I also think that Gaylord Carter's SAFETY LAST Score was fine in its day, and it even appeals to my purism side in that it sounds more like something that would have been played as background music at the time of SAFETY LAST's original 1923 Theatrical run! It's just that for me, at times it seems to dampen the mood of the Film a bit! This Classic Harold Lloyd Feature simply cries for something more than Organ Playing!


    As for the Commentary, I always find Richard Correll a joy to listen to, as he seems to have that combination of sincere joyful exuberance, while still being incredibly informative especially regarding little details that most people tend to miss, and of course, Leonard Maltin is always a pleasure to listen to!


    Regarding the Visual quality, I find that it is quite good on the DVD version, so I can only imagine how stellar the Blu-Ray looks! I think it's also worth noting that with SAFETY LAST's prior 2005 DVD issue on the Harold Lloyd Multi Volume Sets, there were reported issues of a "Combing Effect" on the video from over-restoration, or something to that effect, so even the Criterion DVD Set could be considered an upgrade from that!


    I highly recommend SAFETY LAST! as presented on the Criterion Collection Release!


    CHEERS! :)
     
  15. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    I was lucky enough to visit the Jerome Arizona film festival and see Gaylord Carter performing live to Laurel & Hardy's "Putting Pants on Philip". He was an entertainer who was supposed to be both seen and heard. It was great to see him look up at the screen and react and make music that related in context to the film. It was almost like he was another character in the movie. You don't get that sense in a disembodied sound track.


    Also, it isn't mentioned much, but when old soundtracks are reused, they are often out of sync because they were recorded to a different print running at a different speed. For the life of me, I don't know why video companies think it's OK to release a film with a soundtrack that is out of sync, but I've seen it on way too many occasions.
     
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  16. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi bigshot!


    Actually seeing Mr. Carter must have made a huge difference! As he passed away back in 2000 (Well into his 90's!), this must have been some time ago.


    You make a really good point regarding out of sync soundtracks! While I didn't notice any glaringly obvious issues with the Gaylord Carter score for SAFETY LAST, I believe it was the Carl Davis score that was designed specifically for the print that is included in the Criterion set. Still, I think it is good that both scores are included, even if just for the sake of comparison. In terms of Home Video viewing and listening, we do truly live in a great age of choices and accessibility!


    CHEERS! :)


    Tony
     
  17. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    I always prefer orchestral scores to organ or piano scores. I always think of organ/piano as something a small town theater would have had, while the great silent movie palaces would have had orchestras.


    I live Carl Davis's scores for Safety Last!, Speedy and The Kid Brother quite a lot. I didn't care too much for his score for The Freshman, or at least, didn't like it as much as the one Robert Israel did for the earlier DVD set.


    I agree that Safety Last! is a great Criterion disc. A great presentation of the movie with worthwhile supplements.
     
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  18. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Hi David!


    For me, it depends on the Film. I am thankful for the Robert Israel score for THE FRESHMAN that is on my Harold Lloyd Volume 2 set, as I can understand how Carl Davis' breezy style might not work quite as well for the "Big Game" sequence. It is a bit surprising that they didn't stick with the Carl Davis score (Unless it didn't exist on '05!) on the New Line set, and even more surprising that Criterion didn't also include the Robert Israel score as an alternate audio track, especially considering they did retain the Bann/Correll/Maltin commentary from that previous collection--And unlike SAFETY LAST!, it's a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack! Ah, well!


    CHEERS! :)


    Tony
     
  19. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    Gaylord Carter played organ at the Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles, one of the biggest movie palaces in town. Organs were what the big theaters used to accompany films normally. Orchestras would be for special events and live shows.
     
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  20. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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