RE: MY FAIR LADY BLU-RAY

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Nick*Z, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Second Unit

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    Dear Mr. Harris:
    I had the opportunity to prescreen MY FAIR LADY on Blu-ray and was frankly mortified by what I saw. All your fine efforts in the 1994 restoration and subsequent lavish laserdisc box set have been reduced to little more than a wan ghostflower of what the film ought to look like in hi-def.
    This is a travesty, and regrettably, one of many being perpetuated on the consumer of vintage and catalogue titles on Blu-ray. I am reminded of WB's abysmal transfer on Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet and Fox's complete debacle on The Greatest Story Ever Told to name but two glaring examples.
    What can be done to stop this 'dumping' of great American classics on Blu-ray? As the restoration expert called in by CBS/Fox over a decade ago to resurrect 'the lady' from oblivion, do you have any pull on such matters now.
    MY FAIR LADY deserves far better than what it has received in HD. This was such a colossal disappointment it is such to kill future interest in vintage titles on Blu-ray. I am a rabid collector - 3000 DVD and Blu-ray movies and counting. Many are classics. And although I understand that not every title in a studio's backlog can receive the illustrious 1080p full hi-def effort, a film as iconic and beloved as MY FAIR LADY deserves NOTHING LESS than perfection.
    As it currently stands, CBS's Blu-ray release is a Frisbee disc - forgettable.
    This isn't just a tragedy. It's a travesty. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter at your earliest convenience.
    Many thanks for all your hard efforts in restoration and preservation.
    It's a pity someone at the top didn't have my respect for them before releasing MY FAIR LADY to Blu-ray.
     
  2. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Many folks feel the same way. It's being discussed here:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/315932/a-few-words-about-my-fair-lady-in-blu-ray
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I have no "pull" in the matter, can only voice my displeasure, and suggest that people not purchase, or if they have...

    to return as defective transfer.

    RAH
     
  4. Raul Marquez

    Raul Marquez Supporting Actor
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    Mr. Harris,
    Did you see the new reviews for the new Blu-ray discs of MY FAIR LADY and WEST SIDE STORY on the new issue of SOUND and VISION magazine?
    You are credited as follows:
    "The transfer of My Fair Lady is based on the 1994 restoration by Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, which was rebuilt from the 70mm negative and all available prints....." . The author of the review, Josef Krebs, states that the transfer "opens disappointingly with a rendering of the Covent Garden sequence that appears grainy, dim, and drained. But when we move into the better-lit interiors, everything is transformed." He goes on to mention the level of detail in this new transfer ranging from the wide range of brown tones in the woodwork to the details in the pleats of Eliza's green dress.
    From the text of this review I got the impression that you were behind the Blu-ray transfer, even though I know from the discussion here that this was not the case. I would appreciate reading your comments on this review.
    Raul
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I was not behind the Blu-ray transfer.

    Mr. Krebs obviously is unaware of what the film should look like.

    The less said, the better. I'd be most interested in knowing precisely when "everything is transformed."

    Garbage in.

    Garbage out.


    RAH
     
  6. FHM

    FHM Auditioning

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    Last night The Last Remaining Seats ran the 1994 restoration version of "My Fair Lady" in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (screen must have been near 80ft wide) . My guess is that the source was a commerical BluRay (an entr'acte card appeared before act 2); most likely because there is probably no DCP for the title. It looked pretty crummy compared to what I remember seeing in 1994 at the Plitt Theaters in Century City. Now that WB is handling video distubution for Paramount titles do you know if a higher quality 50th anniversary release is planned for next year?
     
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  7. trajan

    trajan Screenwriter

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    MY FAIR LADY is fifty years old this year. Any thoughts?
     
  8. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Unfortunately it's not a Paramount title, it is a CBS title. Paramount distributes for CBS but the titles CBS owns is not part of the Warner/Paramount agreement.
     
  9. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Screenwriter

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    I find it unbelievable that there appears to have been NO official words at all from CBS about how this travesty happened or if it wil ever be remedied. This is a legacy title which should exist for all to see as it should be seen.
     
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  10. ljgranberry

    ljgranberry Second Unit

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    Mr. Harris, I am stunned that both Warner and Universal have not released your restorations of "My Fair Lady" and "Vertigo" on Blu-Ray, nor sought your advice. Your work and reputation are impeccable - unreal they won't do justice to these great films.
     
  11. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    MY FAIR LADY is not a Warner Brothers film nor a Paramount film. It belongs to CBS and they are ones to ridicule. Jack Warner should have made a better deal for the rights of the film. But he didn't so we suffer. CBS put up most if the money for the Broadway engagement so they control the rights. Jack Warner only mad a deal for the rights for 10 years. Warner's extended it a few times but when Viacom purchased CBS all of the films that CBS owned (Center Cinema Films & MY FAIR LADY) went with it but CBS controls those films.
     
  12. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Now that Warner and Paramount have a deal, is this or anything else from CBS part of it? I would be shocked if 2014 ends without at least something, and, quite frankly, they should have waited if they couldn't do it right the first time.
     
  13. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    None of the CBS titles are part of the Warner/Paramount agreement. One tell tale signs is that Paramount Home Video is releasing APRIL FOOLS this spring, not Warner or Olive. All of the Center Cinema films in DVD or Blu have come Paramount
     
  14. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Another telltale sign is that CBS is currently the only company out of the other three that still releases new Paramount titles only on DVD. Strangely they only seem to a a handful, as few as one, per year.
     
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  15. Mancunian

    Mancunian Auditioning

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    I have just bought the Blu ray and do not consider it that bad. This may be due to the fact that I have a rather small TV and no idea of what the film could look like.

    Can anyone explain or assume how this release was processed? I understand the 1994 restoration was not used.
     
  16. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    They did use the 1994 restoration...from a de-interlaced version of the same 1080i master made in 1998 for the DVD. It used a 35mm interpositive that had a low restoration to begin with and was only suitable for SD telecine. Perhaps if they hadn't rushed it out with little fanfare shortly after Breakfast at Tiffany's came out on Blu-Ray, they would have done more with it. Wouldn't a 4K scan from the 65mm restoration negative be loverly?

    See the film on the big screen, and it's a revelation.
     
  17. Mancunian

    Mancunian Auditioning

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    I'm not very familiar with these technical terms. Does that mean they should have better made a new interpositive to match HD standards?

    I have recently watched some scenes over and over again. Not to check on quality, I was rather enchanted by Audrey's performance :) . At some points, I realized differences. After Eliza, Higgins and Pickering have celebrated Eliza's accomplishment, she sits down on the couch in her green dress. In that scene and in the following one where she and Mrs Pearce walk upstairs to prepare her to go to bed ("I Could Have Danced All Night" starting), I realized differences in colour saturation between the cuts as if the film in one camera has deteriorated worse than the other. Admittedly, it could be also due to different lighting effects because of the different angles.
     
  18. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    They would not have to make a new IP, just go the earlier one from which the old IP was made. It's almost embarrassing for them to keep the restoration credits when the end product doesn't look like the restoration. I've seen it on film three times; once in a 35mm print of the Harris/Katz restoration, once in a 70mm print of the restoration, and once in a 35mm print that appeared to be from the 1971 reissue (WB's last chance to make any money off of it before they handed it over to CBS). The restored prints were much sharper and had more consistent color than the 1971 one (though that must have been IB Tech, as it didn't exhibit signs of fading, just reel-to-reel color timing differences), and a 70mm print would naturally be sharper anyway.

    On a large screen, the shortcomings seem more obvious.For me to want to rebuy this film, or any film I already own on DVD for that matter, it can't just be as good as the DVD. It has to be better, and this is not.
     
  19. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    A slight correction. At the insistance of then Columbia Records President Goddard Lieberson, CBS put up ALL the money. That's also why every cast album (and the movie soundtrack album) that has been done of My Fair Lady in any language has been put out by Columbia, its affilates or its licensees.
     
  20. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Music licensing notwithstanding, CBS can work wonders with its TV shows when it remasters them. Their small film library gets less attention.
     

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