Little House on the Prairie: building the best possible collection

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Brent Reid, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    +1 This release seems too grand--too much of an improvement over what we've had access to for all these years--to spend much time worrying over a minute or two of missing content...especially in the context of 21 hours of HD content for $19.

    And has anyone actually even confirmed there are scenes missing? Or, are we just listening to some anonymous internet posters?
     
  2. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    While of course The Waltons could benefit from this same treatment, the DVDs put out by Warner are not nearly as poor as the DVDs were of Little House. The picture quality on The Waltons is crisp and has very nice color. The only real negative is that there is a lot of dirt specks on the film. I'm sure there are people who are going to chime in and disagree with that assessment. I'm pleased with my DVD collection of The Waltons and would much rather that Warner would spend their money on restoring and bringing more of their classic film library to Blu-ray.
     
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  3. moviebuff75

    moviebuff75 Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, The Waltons isn't too bad. A few episodes that were originally two-hours long were cut for repeats into two parters and are now missing a few minutes. I don't know if the original cuts still exist though. Other than that, I can deal with a bit of dirt and grime. Still, any show coming to blu is a plus in my opinion.
     
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  4. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    OMG, I received this set today and it is gorgeous! Please, please Lionsgate, release the rest of the seasons. For the price, this has to be one of the best Blu-ray bargains in history. I'll be the first in line on release day for the rest.

    What an ideal show for hi def: clothing patterns, signs, etc. all come into sharp focus. It's fantastic.

    20 plus hours of high quality material for under 20 bucks? Wow.
     
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  5. LeoA

    LeoA Screenwriter

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    The tinted bit of the intro to the The Walton's changes dramatically in its coloring sometimes from episode to episode. It's a bit more difficult to see in the actual content itself, but it's a telltale sign of the quality of their color reproduction.

    Beyond the color definitely being far from perfect, there's certainly a good bit of dirt on them as well like has been said. They're not much better really than season 1 of Little House in terms of picture quality.

    What I think saves it ultimately on DVD is they were consistent throughout with these adequate transfers (That were uncut) where as the picture quality in Little House really nosedived as they went on and they always were syndicated cuts.

    I bet a job on the level of this would be a significant improvement for that iconic show. Plus, with double sided discs, it would be a nice opportunity for fans to move away from those.
     
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  6. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    My set should be arriving sometime today. Can't wait to check out the pilot movie this weekend. Still not sure what to make of the "missing" scenes, but it doesn't sound like it's that big of a deal to me.

    I bought all of The Waltons sets and am happy with the quality. That said, I'd buy them all again if they were to recieve the remastering that Little House is now getting.
     
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  7. moviebuff75

    moviebuff75 Supporting Actor

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    I'm not for sure, but I've come to the conclusion that the deleted scenes were from international broadcasts. Many of the dvds were PAL transfers. The scene from TLIMS aired on French television. I think that there were master copies and the broadcast was cut from that. They went back to the master copies for international versions and that's why there are slightly different scenes there. The only other conclusion would be that the blu ray episodes were from early syndication in the 1970s and that's why they are longer but not quite long enough for the NBC broadcasts. I'm going with my former theory though.
     
  8. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    AMAZING!!!
     
  9. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    Loved the terrific quality of the new Season 1 box set...it's making me salivate for the May 6th arrival of Season 2!!! :thumbsup:
     
  10. moviebuff75

    moviebuff75 Supporting Actor

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    Looks great so far. I did notice that "Country Girls" on dvd (old version) doesn't have the missing frames. But it is from the international cut. I'm wondering if the US cut was always like that.
     
  11. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    LHOP has a high level of popularity all over the world to this day. No doubt there were many syndication packages created, so having a few seconds missing from this version or that can't be a big deal when one considers how good this set looks.

    Something else that occurred to me while watching this relates to online complaints about the brightness. Well, in my eyes some of the brightness that's being observed is coming directly from the bright lights on set during the day of filming. Seems to me that the camera people would have corrected for 1970s television by making things brighter. Add to that the limited amount of makeup and there would likely have been some very bright, hot lights for most shots, including outdoor shots in broad daylight. If you look closely during many outdoor shots from Simi Valley, you can see shadows on objects that have nothing to do with the angle of the sun. Filter the result through a crappy 1970s TV, and you might end up with something closer to normal. It's fascinating to me to see that amount of detail from a show that's 40 years old. Chalk one up for celluloid. It didn't do a bad job at all.

    This isn't to say LHOP should only be seen in SD. Far from it. Based on the 10 or so episodes I have seen from this set, I'd go out on a limb and say it's among the best TV on Blu-ray transfers I have seen, including the Twilight Zone.
     
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  12. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    My package got hung up in the postal system over the weekend, so I just got the set this morning. This is an extra-busy week for me, so I won't get to watch the pilot movie until next weekend...oh well, I'm sure it'll be worth the wait!
     
  13. moviebuff75

    moviebuff75 Supporting Actor

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    It will be! I watched the dvd of the pilot about two years ago, and it was tough going with all of the artifacts. I watched the new blu-ray last night, and WOW! I was so involved in the story, just like all those years ago.
     
  14. LeoA

    LeoA Screenwriter

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    Anyone know if these new transfers will find their way into syndication? The CBS Syndication Bible doesn't show any status changes for this program.

    While I didn't think they were primarily responsible for these new HD transfers, I figured they were cooperating perhaps with what they have in their vaults and perhaps were contributing a bit to it in order to have these available for future tv airings for what remains a well loved tv show that still succeeds on television.
     
  15. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    Well, I finally got a chance to watch the pilot episode last night....if I had a remembrance book all I would write is WOW!!! This is one of the most amazing TV transfers I've ever seen! The detail is simply amazing. You can count just about every hair in Victor French's beard! I hope that the entire series gets the same loving treatment. Hell, I wish EVERY TV show would get this kind of an upgrade. Did I say I was impressed...LOL!
     
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  16. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    My family is really enjoying this set. Very good pq. And Little House makes a great case for watching an old show in HD.

    Tonight's episode for us was "100 Miles Walk," which was quite gripping and dramatic. They don't make em like this anymore. And on blu-ray it was like seeing it for the first time. Strong teleplay, nice camera work, good performances all around, well edited, etc. They knew what they were about putting this episode together. It had been so long since I'd seen it that I'd forgotten most of it. The moment when the hail seemingly ruined the crop was a little heartbreaking. And then even more moving was when Charles talks to the his friend's son at the end, who says he has a lot of work to do now. You can tell Michael Landon is almost crying for real in that scene. I'd give this one an "A." For pq I'd also rate it an "A."

    For anyone on the fence, this set is highly recommended.
     
  17. moviebuff75

    moviebuff75 Supporting Actor

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    The last episode in the set blew me away with the detail and color saturation. Beautiful.
     
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  18. bluelaughaminute

    bluelaughaminute Stunt Coordinator

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    These HD versions blow away any of the dvd's .
    Whether you have the awful Imavision discs with their cuts and fluctuating picture quality or even the superior Dutch or UK discs which are mostly uncut the Blurays are incredible .
    Can't recall which episode it was but viewing one of the early ones with headphones on there was a distracting rumble in places on the sound which isn't really audible when viewed normally.
    The pilot is 2-3 minutes longer than the Imavision dvd although I've kept season 9 for its nice booklet and the movie set for the 50 minute interviews with Mellissas Gilbert and Sue Anderson .

    I expected to see a pre-order listing for season 3 by now.
     
  19. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Like many other people, I'm sometimes interested in the economics of show biz. How does a TV show like this one, for instance, effectively combine entertainment "art" with commerce? Before Michael Landon and his team created this show, he had had a dozen years of training on the huge hit show Bonanza. In the early 1960s he started writing teleplays for that show, and in the last years he wrote and directed several episodes of Bonanza. After Bonanza was cancelled, it was producer Ed Friendly who brought the Little House project to Michael Landon. The TV-movie that became the pilot was one of the highest rated shows on NBC that year, and so 24 additional episodes were made for the first season. And so, in a sense, this is a bonus season, because it has the pilot movie plus the 24 episodes, which really makes it more like 26 episodes. That pilot movie seems pretty nicely made to me. Hard to see how it could have been made for much less than about $700,000 back in 1973-74, which would be about $4 million today. And it might have been more than that. By 1972, the average production budget for Bonanza had risen to about $250k an episode, since inflation was pretty high in those days, by 1974 Little House might have been at least 300k. It actually seems to have significantly more outdoor location photography than Bonanza, plus a lot of outdoor and indoor sets, and a rather large ensemble cast. Anyway, if it was something like $300k an episode, adjusted for inflation that would be about $1.5 million today. Most hour-long shows today cost c. $3-4 million, but Little House doesn't have the fx or other things that those have, plus salaries for most of the players except for Landon were probably pretty reasonable, and so half of what a TV show today costs seems possible. Anyway, in my silly time-wasting exercise (yes, I'm avoiding some work I need to do), my guess it that the first season with the pilot movie all added together would be something like $40 million in production costs.

    And through the miracle of blu-ray you can own the whole thing for $20, and see it the way it looked in the Paramount theater to Michael Landon and the others who I think screened the show once in a while...
     
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  20. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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