Criterion ready to release IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 26, 2013.

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How Would you want Criterion to handle MAD WORLD?

  1. I would like to see *everything* that was included on the Laserdisc release even if it does not matc

    119 vote(s)
    65.7%
  2. The film is too long already. Would only want to see those scenes intended for the original RoadSho

    53 vote(s)
    29.3%
  3. All I want is the overture and exit music. Don't need all those extra scenes added

    9 vote(s)
    5.0%
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  1. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    The red cover looks like a typical Criterion thing. I prefer the Jack Davis vertical cover, but I can dream. HOWEVER--If it's really the restored 192 minute version, then we need to have the kickline cover:

    kick.jpg
     
  2. John Gilmore

    John Gilmore Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm ecstatic by the possibility of Criterion releasing Mad World. Although I had seen some of it as a kid on network TV, my first real introduction was seeing it on LaserDisc. After reading all the controversy regarding the restored footage on LD, I *had* to see what all the fuss was about, and I absolutely fell in love with this movie.

    I voted for the second choice in the poll. Although I don't think the film is too long, as a purist I would prefer to see a reconstruction of the original roadshow version.

    My "dream" set would be something like this:
    Disc One: Reconstruction of the original roadshow version presented in Smilebox
    Disc Two: Reconstruction of the original roadshow version in standard widescreen
    Disc Three: Reconstruction of the "LaserDisc edit," along with additional outtakes and extras.
     
  3. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    No smilebox. This is a one strip film.
     
  4. John Morgan

    John Morgan Supporting Actor

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    Here's a picture of Stop-motion effects artist Jim Danforth (on the left) animating a sequence for the film.
     

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  5. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I'd love to see it in smilebox because seeing it on the huge Cinerama is how I remember it. The film was especially suited for Cinerama thanks to those spectacular wide vistas and fast vehicle chases. Stanley Kramer composed for the Cinerama screen during production, so it's not as if UA decided to utilise Cinerama theatres for no particular reason.
     
  6. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    The above movie poster was for the general release

    The above bottom image is from the movie program

    Above is the movie poster for the roadshow Cinerama release.
     
  7. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    I hope its not in smilebox. Smilebox is for 3-panel Cinerama.
     
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  8. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    Sez who? :) I don't think there's any law which says what type of films should be converted to Smilebox.
     
  9. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    There is also no law against making the movie completely pink but I still think it would show bad judgement :)
    I have nothing though against smilebox as an alternate version but I would never watch it that way, didn't even like it for How the West was Won.

    Regarding IAMMMMW having been shot with Cinerama in mind, Michael Hart says it best here:
    http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/wingcr5.htm

    Quote:
    "Mad World" was nearly completed when producer/director Stanley Kramer was approached with the offer to show it as the first single lens Cinerama production. This fact will give the reader an idea of just how much thought went into making a Cinerama picture in any process other than the real 3-strip system. While Cinerama photographed and projected an image of 146 degrees, the Ultra Panavision 70 photography in "Mad World" rarely used lenses that covered more than 50 degrees. Stanley Kramer, much to his credit, has stated flatly that this was nowhere near being Cinerama.


    My information on this and later so called single strip cinerama movies is that the vast majority of footage found in them wasn't shot with the cinerama presentation in mind.
     
  10. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    The souvenir booklet says Kramer was half way through shooting when it was decided to present it in Cinerama but leaving that aside, it's an interesting question as to which 70mm films were designed during production for Cinerama. KRAKATOA EAST OF JAVA and CUSTER OF THE WEST were, of course filmed with Cinerama in mind. I'm also fairly sure that 2001, BATTLE OF THE BULGE, SONG OF NORWAY and GRAND PRIX were announced as being for Cinerama when shooting commenced. Possibly ICE STAION ZEBRA as well? PATTON and THE BIBLE: IN THE BEGINNING were also, of course, shot for the curved screen in Dimension 150.
     
  11. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    The whole reason for smilebox is to correct distortion inherent in THREE strip films when shown on a flat screen.Smilebox for the Ultra Panavision titles is 100% wrong, you'd have to distort the film first then apply the smilebox geometry to it. Totally completely wrong.
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Agreed.

    "Cinerama" out of a single hole was only "Cinerama-like" when extremely wide optics were used. Mad World is the other way around. Special prints had to be struck to allow it to be projected on highly curved screens, many of which had a 15-20 foot setback from edge to center.

    It was neither planned nor produced to be projected in that manner. It simply was, which allowed the sizzle of the word "Cinerama."

    RAH
     
  13. Dick

    Dick Producer

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    Attitudes have changed during the past fifty years. In 1963, we 'bout fell out of our seats laughing at the slapstick in this film. Now, not so much. The cynicism and political correctness that has overtaken this country frowns on the sadistic antics displayed here (notice that broad physical slapstick has steadily lost favor since this film came out, with only a few exceptions such as MOUSE HUNT and RAT RACE, neither of which was of this caliber).The one comedian in the film I feel has survived intact during this half-century is Jonathan Winters, who is just plain funny even when he isn't doing anything. He's the everyman. We identify with him. Sid Caesar was a comic genius (will someone please release YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS on DVD or Blu-ray?) but now, in this movie, he comes across as a one-dimensional, greedy jerk with a gorgeous wife he couldn't care less about. Ethel Merman is pretty much insufferable. Milton Berle plays a character you just want to slap and tell him, "Stand up to the old bag!" Spencer Tracy has a thankless role, and I never liked him much in this film. His 3-way conversation with wife and daughter on two phones is simply awful, and completely unfunny (even in '63). Terry-Thomas is still amusing, but no longer hilarious.I saw this film twice at the Warner Cinerama Theater in NYC in 1963, and almost never stopped laughing after the interminable arguing on the desert road finally ended and the actual chase began. Now, watching the very fine MGM Blu-ray, I grin here and there, and occasionally chuckle (mostly when Winters is onscreen). But it's not the same anymore. The innocence has gone out of it, or something.Ah, youth. I was 13 in 1963. I loved The Three Stooges, and physical comedy by anyone who did it well. Now, almost nobody does it, period. Like returning to your childhood domicile as an adult, you can't go home anymore.
     
  14. ROclockCK

    ROclockCK Screenwriter
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    Although I agree with you and others 100% on the optics and physics of this point Mr. Harris, what we have here is an unusual exception. Among the overwhelming majority of polled responses in this thread it's clear there is a very passionate desire to see the long lost 1st roadshow cut of IAMMMMW reconstructed, restored, and presented on home video. But since that specific version of the film existed for 1 month or less, it would not have been seen - by anyone, anywhere - except in *faux* CINERAMA. During that very narrow post-premiere window, it would have unspooled in no other form.

    If the objective is to recreate the original roadshow experience of this film as accurately as possible, then it seems completely legit to me to use the Smilebox technique to simulate the image geometry those early, early audiences would have seen. For IAMMMMW's 1st roadshow cut, its very brief life 'on the curve' was the only life it ever knew.

    So for me, it's not an original aspect ratio issue; it's one of presentational authenticity.
     
  15. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    I don't care about recreating a bad presentation.Say the bulb was dim in those exhibitions, should we recreate that too?The point is to get the CORRECT CUT not reproduce the incorrect presentational aspects.This is a Cinerama film in name only.
     
  16. ROclockCK

    ROclockCK Screenwriter
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    Seems to me you can't have it both ways Mr. Dickstein. You want to see the reconstruction of an early roadshow cut which the filmmaker himself quickly recut for its remaining life on film...and yet you balk at seeing how it was exhibited during that very brief run?

    Why is one aspect of its film history legit, and the other not? :rolleyes:
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I disagree.

    Those who agree, they may be prepared to have their homes bulldozed, presuming that they have a decent home theater, to make way for the real thing. Smilebox is an interesting experiment, which I applaud, but one thing it ain't. Is Cinerama.

    How does one tell their family that the home is gone? Replaced by a 70-80 foot highly curved screen with a 15-20 foot setback. And a pair of huge carbon arc projectors.

    Those theaters that ran the faux Cinerama presentation were terrific, but along with the huge curved screen, came a huge image, which Blu-ray is certainly not. Which is yet another reason why some find this film no longer funny.

    Any divorce attorneys as members?

    RAH
     
  18. ROclockCK

    ROclockCK Screenwriter
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    What I'm questioning is why a reconstructed 1st roadshow cut, which the filmmakers themselves quickly recut barely a month into release, has suddenly become elevated to another "definitive cut"...and now, apparently, the "CORRECT CUT". Yeah, I get that folks here are curious to see a reconstruction of that version after all these years - me too - but we already have Mr. Kramer's "definitive" cut of this picture preserved in a quality transfer of its 2.76:1 Ultra Panavision. So the rest comes down to film geek curiosity, and my own film geek curiosity happens to include how IAMMMMW looked when rectified for CINERAMA presentation, simulated via Smilebox.

    So "bulldoze" away...the fact remains that this exhibition aspect of IAMMMMW is a considerable part of its history too. ;)
     
  19. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    I have seen movies on a deeply curved screen and it does NOT look like smilebox which ironically is not even primarily meant for a front projector based home theater experience, so it is not really a legit aspect. If you like to get closer to the cinerama experience at home get a front projector, a 120 degree special lens from Isco and a deeply curved screen, maybe 16 ft with a 4 ft setback would be nice?
     
  20. ROclockCK

    ROclockCK Screenwriter
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    Well, I don't want to turn this into a referendum on Smilebox. Whatever the limitations of this transfer technique, I thought it worked dandily with the Blu-ray release of How the West Was Won by simulating - to a degree not previously seen on home video - the overall look of the CINERAMA frame*.

    * ...including its Ultra Panavision *faux* CINERAMA inserts. And I don't recall any controversy over those scenes because that's how audiences originally saw them (more or less).
     
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