RAINTREE COUNTY on Blu? On TCM 02-16 3:15 a.m. ET

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Andrew Budgell, Feb 17, 2011.

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  1. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    Neither have I. There is no doubt it would look great on BD, but that doesn't make it a great movie. IMHO, it is just an overblown pseudo-gothic romance, that lumbers along and quite frankly bores me to tears. JMO, your mileage may vary.
     
  2. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Right now RAINTREE COUNTY is like when you could not buy Coors outside of a few western states. You drove miles to buy a few cases and then when you got home you bragged to friends about how great the beer was, but it was really just beer. I have seen the film and while it is not on any best of lists IMHO, it can be entertaining and enjoyable. It deserves a Blu release if just for the talent evolved.
     
  3. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Second Unit

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    Yes, I'll agree it deserves a home video release in hi-def because of its pictorial value and MGM 65 Camera process. I just think it's been pushed to the head of the line for all the wrong reasons. Just because it hasn't been available on home video since the bad ol' VHS days doesn't mean it should be first in the cue. And I absolutely love sweeping melodramas and romantic epics. I'll just go on the record here and state that having seen Raintree County twice in my lifetime it was twice enough for my tastes. I'd much rather re-watch hi-def copies of Random Harvest, Mrs. Parkington, Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939), The Prisoner of Zenda (1938), Marie Antoinette (1938), and, Romeo & Juliet (1936); to name but a handful. Raintree looks fantastic. But its melodrama is stilted, stifled and stiff by comparison. I think the reason melodrama in general has fallen out of audience favor is because most remember the ultra-sappy or woefully meandering ones like Raintree County. If you see one bad musical it makes you not want to watch musicals. Ditto for melodrama. It's funny, but when I think of Raintree today I have vivid memories of various scenes. Just goes to show you that even bad movies can have staying power after the footlights come up. PS - to Allen Hollis - I'd much rather see Around the World in 80 Days in hi-def before Raintree County. Given your avatar I'll assume you would agree. Best.
     
  4. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    Raintree is the most wanted film voted on here. The movie is not as bad as people make it seem. I can remember as a kid seeing it on TV here in Chicago when we had the late afternoon movie right before the news. The music is great and in blu-ray the film will look fantastic. Look how Cleopatra was called a bad film. Fox has stated the movie because of home video now has made them money. I love many parts of the film. I recall just a few years ago that the town that was used during the filming had some of the cast return for an event. I am sure Andrew can elaborate more on this. Hope the reading of the book is coming along Andrew and remember I and I am sure quite a few others at HTF will lobby support for Raintrees release. Like I said it was the number one movie requested here at HTF for release to blu-ray
     
  5. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Actually Cleopatra went into profit when it was sold to TV.
     
  6. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Don't assume anything. I would rather see RAINTREE COUNTY in Blu-ray before AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. There is already a very good DVD release of 80 Days. There is not of RAINTREE COUNTY. Since it has not had any home video release since around 1999 with the laser, then the title should be pushed to the front of the cue to allow others to judge the merits. As I have said, it is not on anyones Best of lists, but does tell a story with compelling actors.
    By the way the two disc soundtrack is great and i borrowed a 1st edition of the novel from my Grandmother and read it with the soundtrack playing. I agree it took about a third of the book to get into it but once there watch out.
     
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  7. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

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    Hmmm. Around the World in 80 Days is one of my favorite films (generally #3 when I am counting), and I much desire it on Blu-ray. Given your avatar, I assume you hold a high opinion as well. As to Raintree County, I have seen it, and cannot understand the fascination or the urgency. Yes, I would like to have it on Blu-ray.
     
  8. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    There goes the assuming again. I do hold a high opinion for AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS as I do a lot of films. Before the 80 Days avatar it was Indiana Jones. Just because I wish to see 80 Days in Blu does not mean it is a holy grail and nothing else maters The urgency, well it is a film that Warner's Brothers says needs a lot of work and a lot of money to get up to it's standards. Does it need as much work as THE ALAMO? I don't know, but it seems there is some urgency to keep Raintree County elements for becoming as poor or where we loose the cuts from the longer version. Warner's went the double effort to restore 80 Days to its original length and did a very good job and we have a very good DVD of those efforts. While Raintree is not a best picture it certainly deserves to be presented correctly. I also feel that 80 Days will see a Blu this year. Not that confident of Raintree County coming to us in any form anytime soon.
     
  9. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    Raintree County has just been released on DVD in Italy. It's probably a PD abomination as it comes from an outfit I've never heard of, but I've placed my order nevertheless. I expect to find I've made a stupid mistake, but as the old saying has it: nothing ventured, nothing gained.
     
  10. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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  11. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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    I share your concerns, ahollis. My fear is that if Warner does not execute restoration work soon, the film elements will deteriorate beyond repair. I believe that the 65mm negative only survives at the length of the general release version, while the roadshow version exists only as a fading 35mm CinemaScope reduction print. This is due to the fact that no 65mm release prints were made for Raintree County accoring to in70mm.com. Restoration of RTC would probably be as costly as the work done on Ben-Hur, since we're not only dealing with faded and decaying elements, but also a 65mm negative, which is significantly more expensive to work with than 35mm. The audio elements also have probably suffered significant deterioration and there's a very good chance that they've developed vinegar syndrome. In any case this would be a very costly, but ultimately worthwhile undertaking. I'm holding out hope. We should be thankful this title isn't in the hands of MGM anymore. It would probably be lost if that were the case.
     
  12. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Second Unit

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    If the old MGM were still around you can rest assured its legacy of important movies would be more 'out there' for public consumption then they currently are under Warner's corporate umbrella. Warner did a spectacular job in the late 1990s on DVD and let's not forget Ted Turner who, despite his misfire with colorization, nevertheless pumped out VHS copies of that vast library into the mass market during the 1980s. We would know absolutely nothing of MGM's vast holdings without his foresight to rescue the MGM library from Kirk Kerkorian's pillaging of the studio in the late 1970s. Lest we forget that Kerkorian was the fellow who, having bought the studio lock stock and barrel, wasted absolutely no time selling off its assets bit by bit; the back lot, the labs, et al. while pitching thousands of archival music notes, publicity stills and animation cells into dumpsters out back - presumably because none of these had any 'resale' value, and then adding insult to injury by auctioning off costumes and props to bidders who paid peanuts for a chance to own a bit of immortal movie history. A sad death knell to Louis B. Mayer's fanciful kingdom indeed!!!

    But Warner of late has been rather suspect in their intentions to go the route one further with Blu-ray. About three years ago I wrote the studio, and more directly VP George Feltenstein with my concerns and an independent report prepared by yours truly regarding the 'state of the art' where home video was concerned. At the time the report raised certain concerns over quality and quantity and the even more unnerving threat of Warner's MOD burn on demand program becoming the flagship to eclipse and finally replace legitimately authored DVD as the preferred mode of getting classics out to the public. Alas, this prediction has come to pass.

    I grow weary when I hear people who have bought some of these MOD titles write in and say "it looks fine to me". I'll confess. I've bought some of Warner's MOD discs and the quality - on the whole - is average to better than average. Yes, there are misfires to be sure, but I won't go into those herein. What I will state again for the record is that MOD is not a preferable archival format with any degree of longevity. If one is simply looking to watch something in the immediate future then yes - burn on demand discs satisfy the "I want it now and I don't care how" aspect of our current cultural impatience. The problem is that these discs will not last the testament of time and in the meantime movies on film continue to deteriorate at an alarming rate, threatening to bankrupt our cultural heritage in a very permanent and concrete way.

    Raintree County is just one example of a title currently absent from that cultural spectrum for which the studio seems to have little regard in releasing anywhere on home video. Is it a great movie. Personal opinion, of course, I think not. But does that mean it should remain buried from public view for all time. Again, I think not! I wish the studios would reconsider the way they're marketing classics. Warner seems to think all they have to do is regurgitate previous box sets as new box sets with different packaging but not NEW transfers (Classic Gangsters anyone?) but actually the focus ought to have shifted by now to a more proactive re-orchestration of New transfers presented in refreshingly new box set ideas.

    I mean, with the passing of Elizabeth Taylor what would have been so wrong about doing a comprehensive box set of her movies on Blu-ray? One of the concepts I have been trying to push for some time is Warner doing anthology box sets of a particular actor's career, outfitted in boxes like the one that accompanied Oz's and GWTW's 70th. Think about it, we get a plush box with a collectible hard cover book outlining the star's career and a set of say 10 outstanding examples of that actor's work to enjoy.

    My examples in the aforementioned letter to Mr. Feltenstein included a Gable set of ten: Red Dust, Test Pilot, Idiot's Delight, China Seas, San Francisco, Strange Cargo, Wife Vs. Secretary, Honky Tonk, Boom Town, and Manhattan Melodrama. I also mentioned Taylor in that report with a possible box set including the following hi-def releases: Raintree County, National Velvet, Cynthia, The Girl Who Had Everything, The Last Time I Saw Paris, A Date With Judy, Conspirator, Father of the Bride, Little Women and Butterfield 8. Again, with an accompanying hardbound book and possibly a set of ten lobby cards, one for each movie in the set, plus an offer for a poster reproduction of one's choice applicable by mail in request to purchasers in the U.S. and Canada. None of my suggestions ever went beyond the hook and worm stage. But they do offer a compelling way to rethink the way classic movies are reaching the market and, I have no doubt, they would make the studio a tidy little profit besides. Everything old is new again, n'est pas?
     
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  13. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Just give us Liz's movies on Blu without all the wasteful bells and whistles! Heck, I'd be happy if Warner put them out as manufactured-on-demand BD-Rs!
     
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  14. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I think you meant the contemporary gangsters box, because the classic gangsters box did indeed have brand-new transfers, first time ever on Blu-ray.
     
  15. Edward Weinman

    Edward Weinman Stunt Coordinator

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    ...don't forget the abundance of MGM studio films transferred to laser disc...
     
  16. PODER

    PODER Second Unit

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    One more reason to release RAINTREE COUNTY that I don't think has been mentioned: One can actually follow the plot! For those who don't remember, trying to get through that monster of a book was quite a chore, because the author had pretty much played Fruit Basket Upset with the chapters. I read the whole dang thing many, many years ago, and I still haven't figured out what the reasoning was for the chapter order. I do recall that I was almost halfway through it before it started to make so sort of sense.
     
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  17. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    You got that right.
     
  18. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Second Unit

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    Actually, I meant the classic gangsters box since the dirt, scratches and vertical scratches on the Blu-rays of Little Caesar and Public Enemy were identical (albeit sharper thanks to Blu-ray's higher bit rate) to the dirt, scratches and vertical scratches on the DVD.
     
  19. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    Hi Nick. I love your suggestion of an Elizabeth Taylor boxed set. She's still a cultural icon, and I think a collection of her films would do well on Blu-ray. Just the other week her first wedding gown was sold for approximately $180,000--well over double the estimate of $50,000-$76,000. (And almost two years ago Christie's auctioned off her jewelry, couture, costumes, art, and other memorabilia for something like $186 million dollars, shattering all estimates and breaking many records.) She's still a huge inspiration in the fashion world as well (Top Shop sold a sweatshirt of her as Cleopatra about two years ago that was worn by Rihanna and Lindsay Lohan), and her fragrance White Diamonds is still the top selling celebrity fragrance of all time. There have been two TV films about her in the last year. Clearly the woman still sells, so it would be nice if WB would release some of her work on Blu-ray. I'd love to see them do something for her like they did for Clint Eastwood recently. There is also the potential for marketing tie-ins like what Fox did for Cleopatra with White Diamonds.
     
  20. Richard M S

    Richard M S Supporting Actor

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    Has the recent Cleopatra blu-ray release sold well?l would think that more than anything else would determine Raintree County's ultimate home video outcome.
     

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