Stupid 'Doctor Zhivago' DVD Question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jay Gregory, Feb 12, 2002.

  1. Jay Gregory

    Jay Gregory Stunt Coordinator

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    Are the screen cards used during the "Overture," "Intermission," "Entre'acte" typical of what a viewer would have seen during these sections in the movie's initial release?

    Or would the screen be dark during these interludes?

    If they were absent from the initial release prints were they added for home video presentations?

    Any other elaboration about when these cards starting showing up in other "epic"-type movies, either in release prints or home video presentations, would be appreciated.
     
  2. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    Theater audiences would have seen a black screen. The cards are strictly a home video invention done for the benefit of people who wouldn't understand why all that music is playing with nothing happening. This wasn't always done at the outset of home video because I remember the first VHS release of "Judgment At Nuremberg" using a black screen for its overture and exit music of German songs and I was totally bewildered by what I was hearing until I learned all about Overtures, Entr'acte's etc.

    There are some purists who feel adamant that a home video presentation should preserve the theatrical experience by never running those cards and keeping the screen black, but I'm not too gung ho about that, personally.
     
  3. Jon_W

    Jon_W Stunt Coordinator

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    Defintely not a stupid question I wondered the same thing. I wondered if Zhivago was an exception or not. I had no idea whether those screeen cards were part of the original show since I'm too young to have seen any of the great epics in theatres Jay seems to have answered that question.
     
  4. Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

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    Actually, theatre audiences would NOT have seen a black screen ; they would have seen the curtains in front of the screen during the overture, and then watched them open as the overture faded and the opening credits began. Playing the overture from speakers located behind the screen and behind heavy theatrical curtains didn't always allow for the best sound reproduction, but that's usually how it was done.

    Anybody still remember curtains ?

    Count me in as one of the purists who would rather have a dark screen during the overture and entr'acte .

    FYI the recent restoration of FUNNY GIRL actually has the guts to leave the screen blank during the overture on the DVD. Thanks, Columbia.
     
  5. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    The Enter'acte especially needs to be kept without anything on the screen.
    The card ruins the sudden "tunnel".
    Check out the new Roadshow instructions section on www.widescreenmuseum.com. It's worth a read and would make a 16x9 projection setup even more spectacular.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    An additional note re: audio played behind curtains or curtains and scrim.

    In some cases there were multiple recordings or versions of an Overture, Entr'acte, etc. for play in different theatrical settings. They differed in their frequency range with higher

    frequency recordings for theatres with heavier draperies.

    RAH
     
  7. Sam_K

    Sam_K Stunt Coordinator

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    I remember that the audience actually see those "cards" in the theater.
     
  8. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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  9. Paul P

    Paul P Stunt Coordinator

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    I remember that used to be the way it was done for longer movies, particularly epics, including Gandhi, Dr. Zhivago, and Lawrence of Arabia. At some between act point, there would be an intermission. Though I'm not old enough to remember zhivago in the theater, Gandhi had a still picture and a timer counting down showing the remaining time in intermission.
     
  10. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    You have not heard the Zhivago Entr'Acte until you have heard it mastered for quarter-inch velvet, man.

    Regards,
     
  11. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    Sam_K, sorry but your memory is faulty. [​IMG]
    None of these cards were ever used in a theater, unless you saw it in the last year or two in an illegal showing using the DVD or LD rather than film.
    Ted
     
  12. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Doctor Zhivago was re-released in 1995, so that release might have had those cards spliced in.

    Theaters these days know spit about proper presentation...
     
  13. Reed Grele

    Reed Grele Screenwriter

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    Maybe as an alternative to showing a still frame with text superimposed, or a black screen, some studio will try the curtains opening/closing solution. I don't think this has ever been tried yet. At least JSP won't see a black screen and think there's something wrong with the TV set. And purists won't have to sit through a slide show.
    What do you think?
    Reed Grele [​IMG]
     
  14. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    Another detail about roadshow presentations. During the intermission no music was played in the theater until the Intermission music (which was usually on film) began. At that point the lights began to fade. The Intermission music was not treated as "background music", it was usually played as loud as the film itself. I saw many, many such presentations and the only card you ever saw was a 10 second or so Intermission card at the end of part 1 of the film.
     

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