Robert Harris on The Bits-Interview with Warner's George Feltenstein Official Thread

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bill Hunt, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. Paul Penna

    Paul Penna Supporting Actor

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    What's deficient about the packaging of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection? I don't have any complaints, myself.
     
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Excellent interview. Great to know that Warner owns so many silents (I think they even own the first Paramount film, The Squaw Man, thanks to a 1930's remake) and that many films didn't perish in fires.

    There's a reason why most of my DVD purchases end up being Warner DVD's.
     
  3. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Again, it's not an issue that concerns much focus, especially since we are already two releases into these sets... but given the quality of content and wealth of vintage material presented within and the fact that all of Warners other "classic" golden age film titles (even those of less stature) have been presented with really elegant and artistic looking cover designs (either reproductions of original theatrical one-sheets or classy retro style designs to complement), it's a shame that for these sets the images printed are cheap generic looking clip art stills as opposed to the other mentioned sets like Marx Bros. or Film Noir, etc. It would have made for a much nicer and fitting "collector's package" had WB commissioned the talents of whomever was called upon for these other designs to come up with something a little more cultivated and stylized instead of the rather cheap and boisterous, juvenile look of the current sets. i.e. generic character stills, clash of cheap synthetic clip art.. It just looks more like something you'd see printed on a t-shirt in a souvenir shop (with Bugs Bunny sporting dark shades and Taz in a Harley Davidson leather jacket) as opposed to a package for content as exquisitely compiled as such. Anyways, the issue isn't deserving of all that I just typed, it would make little sense to change the design at this point anyways.

    What IS important however - is getting complete and uncut sets of TEX AVERY & MGM's HAPPY HARMONIES & BARNEY BEAR cartoons!!!
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Re: the query concerning the quality of Night and Day...

    I would bet that this is an error...

    something which simply slipped beneath the production radar, in terms of trusting a supplier to do work correctly, and not considering that a supplier would actually deliver something that is not only sub-strandard work, but fit for the trashheap.

    From the looks of the DVD, it is apparent that a new element was produced from three-strip negs or fine grains...

    and that the company chosen to do the job, hadn't a clue of what they were doing.

    Junk work, which most likely got into the system, which I would bet will not occur again.

    I've mentioned in the past that there are labs and optical houses hanging out shingles which read "painless dentistry and film restoration."

    We know that this is something they can't do correctly.

    RAH
     
  5. Bill Huelbig

    Bill Huelbig Second Unit

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    Thanks so much, Mr. Harris and Mr. Feltenstein. What a great interview. It was a thrill to read that THE NUN'S STORY is on the way. The trio of great Audrey Hepburn performances in Warner Bros. films will finally be complete on DVD.
     
  6. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Supporting Actor

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    I also found RAH's interview immensely enjoyable; I was
    particularly interested in the historical tidbits
    about laserdiscs.

    The laserdisc tidbits, in fact, reminded me of a nagging
    concern I've had ever since I read a letter in the June
    2000 edition of Douglas Pratt's monthly publication.

    The letter writer stated he preferred LD's to DVD's
    because LD's were mastered at 24 frames-per-second
    (speeded up to 30 for NTSC television) whereas
    DVD's were (and presumably still are) mastered
    at 7 frames=per-second. According to the letter
    writer, the result was a loss in picture information
    on DVD's.

    I am hopeful RAH might address this issue.

    Thank you.
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    In reading Mr. Ferris' comments...

    "The letter writer stated he preferred LD's to DVD's
    because LD's were mastered at 24 frames-per-second
    (speeded up to 30 for NTSC television) whereas
    DVD's were (and presumably still are) mastered
    at 7 frames=per-second. According to the letter
    writer, the result was a loss in picture information
    on DVD's.

    I am hopeful RAH might address this issue."

    ... I'm reminded of a comment made by the great John Ford during a filmed interview with Peter Bogdanovich...

    "Cut!"
     
  8. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    I think when you read Mr. Feltenstein's comments about the biz and his approach to it, you get a good sense of how studios can release such "variable" quality stuff at times.

    WB has caught flack at some points, but on the other end we've seen stuff like Yankee Doodle Dandy and Sierra Madre.

    Of course to the fans everyone pays lip service to "its about the film/I love films as much as anyone". The proof is in the results IMO. However, the nature of the biz is that there is almost no competition directly on a film - people can't see the original theatrical prints, understand the current situation, and then see 5 different studios put out their best effort UNDER THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES. We will never know what 5 different groups did when they opened the vault and found 2 reels missing and the other prints in some specific condition.

    That's why an interview like this is so critical, it goes a long way toward helping fans understand just how variable the circumstances are both technically and financially. It's never as simple as "why don't you just do what they did/you did before". In other words, within the contraints of not giving away too much to the competition, it's great when studios give specific feedback on release issues rather than just leaving it out in the void somewhere. I don't think it means people will just say "oh, okay" but at least they can get the sense that someone out there gives a shit and would like to make it happen. It makes bad news sound a lot better.


    Anyway - White Heat, Public Enemy, Thin Man sounds very good to me. I've really been waiting on WH and PE especially.
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Everytime, I see that interview segment, it cracks me up.[​IMG]





    Crawdaddy
     
  10. Derek Estes

    Derek Estes Stunt Coordinator

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    Me too! I was just watching the AFI award show the other night, and that clip just killed me!
     
  11. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I've seen the print of the Champ, and it is indeed absolutely stunning (for what it's worth I think the Columbia new restoration of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was even better, and that wasn't even finished yet, supposedly).

    So Warner's always restores to film first? That's so great. I know some other USC students and I got tired hearing that we were going to watch the DVDs of Nanook of the NOrth or Passion of Joan of Arc because there were no film prints of the quality of the DVD because the restoration was only digital. (I'm not sure if that's accurate, but that's what we were told about not recieving prints).

    I'd like to ask Mr. Feltenstein if a new print of Public Enemy will be made. I know there are still places like the Egyptian in LA that would love to show it (or better yet AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn theatre, you can't beat $3 a show, half the price of Egyptian for students, and the most film-drenched theatre to walk into). Public Enemy is shown all the time at SC (the print is not as bad as all the Fox films we get, but it could be a lot better). And I think the professors would be ecstatic to see a long version, since much of the discussion around the film centers on the production code and censorship issues.
     
  12. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Thanks to both GF & RAH for the interview.

    It's no wonder that my recent dvd purchases have been from Warner.

    Keep up the great work and I am looking forward to the silents that will be realeased at some point.

    Great to see more Flynn & Cagney coming
     
  13. bob kaplan

    bob kaplan Supporting Actor

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    Thank you so much gentlemen. Your time and information are really appreciated!!
     
  14. Frank Ha

    Frank Ha Second Unit

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    I,too, enjoyed the interview. It was probably one of the best I've read in quite awhile. Thanks Digital bits, Robert Harris, and George Feltenstein for such a fascinating and informative interview.
    Now I know why Warner Brothers is taking up more and more of my DVD shelf space. [​IMG]
     
  15. Mike Sutton

    Mike Sutton Extra

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    A fascinating interview. My compliments.

    One thing that does perturb me somewhat is the apparent obsession with remixing mono soundtracks into surround sound. Personally, and maybe I'm alone in this, I always want a restored version of the original mono soundtrack included as well as a remix and I think that this should be as important as the restoration of the picture elements.
     
  16. Stefan Andersson

    Stefan Andersson Second Unit

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    Hello Mr. Harris, and thank you for a most enlightening and entertaining interview with Mr. Feltenstein.

    Mouth-watering to hear about the forthcoming releases (and the sheer size of the schedule) and the various original prints found in archives. Maybe they´ll find the Charles Laughton outtakes from DAVID COPPERFIELD also.

    Many thanks to Mr. Feltenstein for his dedication to product quality, wide-ranging taste in motion pictures and his excellence in being aware of movie history.

    Does the THAT´S ENTERTAINMENT box include all of the audio outtakes from the LD box?

    Now, permit me to share with you and the Forum quite a few ideas for future releases of MGM titles.
    I´ve purposely neglected the most well-known musicals and star vehicles, concentrating on various genres, directors and stars I like as well as individual films of great or second-great but often auteur-type merit. A prime objective in these suggestions is to get more titles into the internet debate on possible DVD releases.

    Standalones
    GREED
    THE GOOD EARTH
    A TALE OF TWO CITIES
    YOLANDA AND THE THIEF
    UNDERCURRENT
    THE PIRATE
    MADAME BOVARY
    COBWEB
    BHOWANI JUNCTION
    LUST FOR LIFE
    BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK
    RANSOM
    THE SHEEPMAN
    HOME FROM THE HILL
    THE SANDPIPER
    GRAND PRIX
    POINT BLANK
    DON´T MAKE WAVES
    BREWSTER MCCLOUD
    BELLS ARE RINGING
    EDGE OF THE CITY
    WILD ROVERS
    PARTY GIRL
    RYAN´S DAUGHTER + docu w/John Mills, Christopher Jones,
    Sarah Miles, Maurice Jarre, Stephen Grimes interviews,
    maybe also the guy who dubbed Mr. Jones. Yes, I love
    Lean movies and this one deserves a 2-disc edition!

    Further Film Noir boxes could include
    EYES IN THE NIGHT
    LADY IN THE LAKE
    GRAND CENTRAL MURDER
    THE VERDICT
    SIDE STREET
    MYSTERY STREET
    THE TALL TARGET
    ACT OF VIOLENCE
    THE BRIBE
    RIGHT CROSS
    BORDER INCIDENT
    LADY WITHOUT A PASSPORT
    PEOPLE AGAINST O´HARA
    BEWARE MY LOVELY

    Pulp Fiction boxes/double features – yes, inspired by Tarantino: suspenseful/violent/sordid crime thrillers and melodramas, which by tone, acting style, choice of subject and photographic style are different from films noirs.
    KIND LADY
    JEOPARDY
    CAUSE FOR ALARM
    CRY OF THE HUNTED
    JULIE
    CRY TERROR
    LAST VOYAGE
    DECKS RAN RED
    TERROR ON A TRAIN
    MONEY TRAP
    ONCE A THIEF
    VENETIAN AFFAIR
    LIQUIDATOR
    SOL MADRID
    THE SPLIT
    FLARE-UP
    THE VILLAIN
    SITTING TARGET
    COOL BREEZE
    HIT MAN
    THE OUTFIT

    Western boxes/double features featuring
    STARS IN MY CROWN
    ESCAPE FROM FORT BRAVO
    THE LAST HUNT
    TRIBUTE TO A BAD MAN w/Wise commentary
    THE LAW & JAKE WADE
    WELCOME TO HARD TIMES w/Doctorow interview
    FIVE MAN ARMY

    Triple Feature
    The Ingram, Cromwell and Thorpe PRISONER OF ZENDAs

    Double Feature of FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE

    Double Feature of SCARAMOUCHE (silent + 1952)

    UNKNOWN + HE WHO GETS SLAPPED

    Greta Garbo Silents
    FLESH AND THE DEVIL
    WOMAN OF AFFAIRS
    LOVE
    WILD ORCHIDS
    THE KISS
    Fragment of THE DIVINE WOMAN

    ANNA CHRISTIE US + German versions
    TWO-FACE WOMAN, both edits

    Rex Ingram – an Unsung Master:
    MARE NOSTRUM – PRISONER OF ZENDA – FOUR HORSEMEN – THE MAGICIAN + a Kevin Brownlow docu

    Tennessee Williams Collection
    CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
    SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH (could be in a Newman Collection also)
    SUMMER AND SMOKE

    James Garner Comedy Box
    BOYS NIGHT OUT
    WHEELER DEALERS
    AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY

    James Garner Thriller Box
    36 HOURS
    MARLOWE
    THEY ONLY KILL THEIR MASTERS

    Glenn Ford Western Double Feature:
    ROUNDERS + ADVANCE TO THE REAR

    …and of course the Joan Crawford, Harlow, Eleanor Powell, Broadway Melody, Norma Shearer,Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Tracy, Hepburn, Tracy/Hepburn boxes etc…

    My WB/RKO selections will have to wait.

    Stefan Andersson
    SWEDEN
     
  17. John Leaning

    John Leaning Agent

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    The unfortunate thing is that with a title like "Night and Day" it's highly unlikely that it will get revisited. The DVD shows glimpses of what it could/should be, but I suppose it could be expected that the worst film in the Cary Grant Collection gets the least attention. Still disappointing though.

    John
     
  18. Valerie

    Valerie Auditioning

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    What a wonderful and informative interview!
    Warner Brothers continues to impress with it's attention to detail in restoring classic films. I'm very happy with the "That's Entertainment" set and it makes me long for more of the MGM musicals that have yet to be released on DVD.

    I'm just dissappointed that nothing's been mentioned of "That's Dancing" which is sort of a companion movie to the "That's Entertainment" films. "Dancing" highlights some wonderful routines by Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Ann Miller, Vera Ellen, and many others. The inclusion of Michael Jackson at the end of film maybe a bit dated, but I've always enjoyed all the examples of dancing in film from ballet to tap in this other "docutainment" film.

    I hope that WB will consider releasing "That's Dancing" onto DVD sometime in the future.
     
  19. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    This is slightly off topic, but still applicable I think--for those who saw the PBS "Broadway Musical" series recently, there was a brief but stunning clip from the 1930 movie, FOLLOW THRU, showing Zelma O'Neal singing "I Want to Be Bad." The film I believe was restored by UCLA Archives nearly fifteen years ago. I first saw it at a museum showing in 1990, and the audience actually applauded the first few shots. How I wish WB had the rights to this film!!!! It was originally made by Paramount, so it's owned by Universal, which is an unlikely studio to release this film on DVD anytime soon. But the technical quality of sound and picture is absolutely magnificent--almost as if it was shot yesterday, if you can imagine that.
     
  20. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    What a great interview.

    My only hope with The Public Enemy is that
    part of the documentary includes the difference between the production code version and the version that is now going to be available for the first time since the Production Code was introduced.

    My feelings about this are similar to those for Blade Runner: that the Production Code version, while inferior and frankly odd, is the "historical" version that is the edit of this film that every one has seen in the US for years and years.

    We even discussed this in one of my film classes, and I would hate to think that the impact of the Production Code on the film would not be saved as a very good example of what happens to great films when they get tampered with by people who should've been busy sorting mail.

    [​IMG]

    Mark
     

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