EARLY 70mm MOVIES (1929-31)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by lionel59, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    No need to apologize. Your post was interesting and there's no rule that all posts must stick closely to the original theme.
     
  2. lionel59

    lionel59 Supporting Actor

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    Hi Jim. Nice to read your thoughts. We're still kind of on topic as Fox used the 65mm Grandeur cameras (modified somewhat) to film CAROUSEL and THE KING AND I. I saw the 70mm print of KING in 1972 and thought it looked great. (It was the first time I saw it on a wide screen after two broadcasts in pan+scan black+ white. Big difference!).
    I noticed that the R+H blu ray set went from a release date to "we'll notify you when this becomes available" at Amazon.uk. I'm glad to hear they are working on OKLAHOMA! The transfer of the (better) 70mm version in the 2-disc edition was a true debacle. The 'Scope print (with the butterfly doing a 'cameo' in the SURREY WITH THE FRINGE ON TOP sequence) looked twice as sharp. I had seen the 70mm revival in LA in '83. I don't think the public responded but I was glad to see it in Todd AO once again. The (earlier) LBX dvd is the Todd AO version + much better to view than the 16:9 transfer. My only regrets re CAROUSEL is that 'You're a Queer One Julie Jordan' and 'Blow High, Blow Low' were cut. Maybe the latter was too much like 'June Is Bustin' Out All Over'. I'm guessing Cameron Mitchell was unhappy about it going. One of these songs made it into the previews. It is also a pity that the location version of 'If I Loved You' could not be used. (A fragment of it survives in the brief shot of John Dehner interrupting MacRae and Jones on the bench). Still, the studio set is beautiful. I'm not sure if the reflection shot would have been in the location version. I have always been affected by the dialogue which leads up to the kiss in which we glimpse Billy's vulnerability and self-dislike (which comes out more openly again in 'Soliloquy', a song which is Shakespearean in its revelation of the true feelings of this troubled character who hides under such bravado and false vanity).Good musicals like this can accomplish in one song what would take pages of dialogue in a straight dramatic play to bring forth. Ferenc Molnar refused to let Puccini and Gershwin adapt LILIOM into operas but at the final dress rehearsal of CAROUSEL he said to R+H "What you have done to my play is beautiful. And the part I like best is your new ending". Unheard of praise from the creator of an adapted work (which was an established classic in its own right). I was pleased when Time magazine voted it the "Musical of the 20th Century".(I'm guessing it was a close vote with SHOW BOAT and SOUTH PACIFIC coming near the top). (By the way, I also think the kiss in this film is one of the most emotionally affecting and erotic that I have seen, far more so than whole bed scenes in latter,more "liberated" times. The Alfred Newman scoring packs a wallop throughout the whole movie-just as good as his work in THE KING AND I and SOUTH PACIFIC, the latter was inexplicably NOT the Oscar winner for Best Scoring of a Musical for 1958).I must admit that I have not seen CAROUSEL done on stage. However, I am amongst the minority who think that the "flashback" device employed in the screenplay is effective and this is one narrative device that cinema does best. Plus the location work is so great- you can't get bays in Maine and oceans in California on the stage.
    I have not seen the recent TV SOUND OF MUSIC and plan to avoid it. They can't seem to let well alone. I am sure the Blu Rays of CAROUSEL and KING will be soon a reality and I will be first in line to buy them. Speaking of poor remakes, I barely survived the Jodie Foster ANNA AND THE KING, which made the musical look like a documentary in comparison to it's exaggerated (mis)interpretation of the relationship between Anna Leonowens and King Mongut. Chow Yung Fat seemed like a frustrated Hong Kong businessman with a difficult British employee and the final sequence was like a Disney movie with all-Asian Mouskateers tricking "the bad guys:" Ugh! The Tuptim sequence was close to the original book at least,however the love song over the end credits had me looking for a "blue bag". It will date the film horribly. I remember thinking "Don't Fox have the rights to Something Wonderful still? Why can't they just play that? Oh, I guess it would remind audiences of a much better movie". The Irene Dunne/Rex Harrison version was a masterpiece in comparison.
    Meanwhile, getting back on topic. I am still hopeful that Turner will dig up the 35mm LBX prints of THE GREAT MEADOW and BILLY THE KID. They were reductions from the 65mm negs and apparently this is how they were shown in the Wide Screen runs of the film. I can't see why they would not be somewhere in a vault, or protection masters of them .A reliable source has told me BILLY was run in Europe in Real Life in the recent past. I may just write a letter to George Feltenstein- he is taking a long time to get to this page on HTF!
    A footnote- some of the Grandeur shorts (Niagara Falls? Movietone News? The Roller Coaster one?) were handed over to the Museum of Modern Art. Why were they left off the dvd/blu ray of THE BIG TRAIL? Clips from them would have enlivened the doco on Grandeur. It may not be generally known, but William Fox's widow sued 20th over the merger deal in the late '30's as she believed her husband had been taken advantage of. I don't think she won her case, but I'd be fascinated to hear the details. Sad that William Fox didn't live to see his dream of 70mm cinema take off in the '50's and become beloved by so many in the film-going public then and now.
     
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  3. lionel59

    lionel59 Supporting Actor

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    King and I , 8x10 color still.jpg
    1964 70mm KING AND I program cover.JPG
    King And I Japanese.jpg
    Couldn't seem to add these to my above post.....
     
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  4. Jim*Tod

    Jim*Tod Second Unit

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    Wow.... great posters Lionel59. I think my fascination with wide screen processes of the 50's and 60's is as much about the way they were hyped as the processes themselves. Still... back in the road show era, there was a level of showmanship that we certainly lack these days.

    I would say in terms of CAROUSEL onstage much more is sung... in the film dialog substituted for lots of recitative, especially in the "bench scene." I am sure it was felt this would play better in the movie version. I hope you can see a good stage version sometime, if you love the movie, I think the show will thrill you. I would highly recommend a recording of the score done around 1987 with Barbara Cook which pretty much includes all the score and is well performed.

    As for the change in the film to the heavenly scenes starting the film and then flashing back on the story, I think this was made so from the outset the audience would understand Billy would be in heaven and made those elements easier to follow. In the play when Billy dies, suddenly a heavenly agent appears and takes him to the starkeeper...and nothing earlier in the play prepares you for this shift to fantasy. It worked in both stage versions I've seen, but it is abrupt and might not have played as well on film. As I think someone mentioned here too, in the play Billy kills himself, while in the film he "falls on his knife." I guess production code issues may have led to that change. The play also has more comedy, mostly with the Carrie and Mr. Snow characters.

    Of course the film was not that popular with audiences, especially compared with OKLAHOMA!, THE KING AND I, and SOUTH PACIFIC. I think since Billy Bigalow is pretty much anti-hero, audiences of the time were not accustomed to such a character in a musical. I still think it is one of the greatest scores in musical history.
     
  5. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    It's certainly my favorite score by R&H, and the show (and film) can be deeply moving when done right.
     
  6. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

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    Well I guess this thread has run its course...
     
  7. lionel59

    lionel59 Supporting Actor

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    Maybe not...I am writing a letter to George Feltenstein re the Wide Screen elements for BILLY THE KID and THE GREAT MEADOW. Big Trail Herald #2.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Here are some "Billy The Kid" advertising images.

    billy6.jpg billy3.jpg
    billy4.jpg
    King Vidor overlooking the specially built Lincoln set.
    billy5.jpg

    I would doubt that the original 70mm source material still exists and even if it did the costs involved in getting it to Blu-Ray would be prohibitive.
    If I had a lazy Million lying around I would certainly contribute. ;)

    Doug.
     
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  9. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Loved the poster and stills! Thanks so much!
     
  10. lionel59

    lionel59 Supporting Actor

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    Great material Doug. I am sure the 70mm elements are long gone. However,from what I can gather, MEADOW + BILLY were shown in a similar manner to 1.85:1 Wide Screen ie. reduced to (letterboxed)35mm and magnified with a lens on the projector. I think there is a good chance that elements connected to these 35mm prints are still in the vaults. A Blu Ray release would be nice, but realistically I am hoping they may come out as Warner Archive MOD titles. The BILLY THE KID they have released is the flat version. If it has sold well, they may be encouraged to find the ReaLife version. I will report back what I hear from Mr Feltenstein.
     
  11. bujaki

    bujaki Screenwriter

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    Stranger things have been found in the last 30-40 years, but when MoMA presented a quite comprehensive King Vidor retrospective, MGM supplied the best they had in its vaults (Bardelys the Magnificent was still lost), and Billy the Kid was shown 35mm flat.
     
  12. cinerama10

    cinerama10 Second Unit

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    Sinatra would have ruined CAROUSEL. He may have been a great actor but as a singer ,he sucked. Rogers and Hammerstein did not write songs to be sung by a crooner, To me ,a crooner is a failed singer.
     
  13. bujaki

    bujaki Screenwriter

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    True, R&H did not write songs for a crooner, but to call Sinatra a failed singer is going a bit too far, imo. BTW, I just came from a night at the opera (not the MGM version).
     
  14. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Screenwriter

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    I was thinking more along the lines of the role, not the songs. Sinatra would be more convincing to me as a heel than MacRae. Maybe the Carousel songs fit MacRae's style more than Sinatra's. I'll concede that. But I love watching Sinatra perform. And I have quite a few albums of his in my collection (and none by MacRae). Have you ever seen YOUNG AT HEART? His numbers in that are quintessential Sinatra. I'd rather rewatch that than CAROUSEL any day of the week. In fact, I wish Sinatra and Doris Day had reteamed in a musical when they were older. (But then I wish Elvis had teamed up with Day...or why not Elvis and the Rat Pack in a VIVA LAS VEGAS sequel? Oh, the missed possibilities... :( )
     
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