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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 19, 2013.
"Cavalcade" is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com...list price is $29.99, but they're selling it for $20.99...
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I'll second that!
This is one title that I don't care how much I have to pay for it because it's so long overdue on digital media.
In a year in which Lady for a Day, 42nd Street, I am a Figitive from a Chain Gang, and She Done Him Wrong are amongst the other nominees, Cavalcade is most Definitely NOT the best choice of Best Picture of that Oscar season of 1932-33.
I've seen CAVALCADE (not so great old transfer aired on TCM) and I thought it was wonderful. I guess "boring" is in the eyes of the beholder. Still, I'm one who can't make it though most of the lousy crap at theaters these days. And, I'm also a fan of BROADWAY MELODY, so there! A few circling the bottom of my barrel are CRASH, AMERICAN BEAUTY, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. I certainly enjoyed CAVALCADE and am not at all surprised it won its Oscar. In some ways, it is the DOWNTON ABBEY of its day and has that sort of charm. And, it's precisely because the characters are "talky" that I like it. Refreshing, too, as it's not about the misadventures of criminals, misanthropes and sick mental cases. Plus, it's from the era when they still used tripods!
I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. I have no problem with Cavalcade's win, although I guess it does speak more directly to the generation that lived through those times, as does Forrest Gump.
Another reason to love CAVALCADE is the wonderful Clive Brook, who played Doc Harvey in Josef Von Sternberg's SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932) and the unforgettable "Rolls-Royce" in the same director's UNDERWORLD from 1927. The latter can be found in the Criterion Von Sternberg box set. It is considered to be one of the first gangster films ever made, and to me it's right up there with PUBLIC ENEMY. Recently a BD was released of ON APPROVAL (1944), directed by and starring Brook and brimming with that Noel Coward style comedy magic. Can't wait for CAVALCADE!
I've never seen it either...and it sounds like a film my wife and I will enjoy.
Yes, thanks, Fox!
For me Calvacade has always been more of an academic (partial pun intended) than an aesthetic pleasure, though it definitely has it's moments. Otherwise I've never been able to stay awake for it. Blu might change that, I'm excited to find out strangely enough but I'm not going to set myself up.
I also share many of my fellow commentators complaints about contemporary video game err I mean filmmaking and can assure them that I at least strive for the same production value (i.e. steady camera ) . I'm looking forward to the upcoming American Treasures from New Zealand's Film Archives much more.
It's curious that Fox never seem to state the production year of films on their press releases. I would have thought that indicating the year is one of the most important things to provide, not only for information but for historical perspective. Of course, one tends to be hard pressed to find the date of a film on DVD and Blu-ray boxes either. If I was of a suspicious nature I might think that a reluctance to provide a date is in order to avoid putting off buyers (store buyers as well as individuals) who look askance at old films - such as the fellow (aged about 50) who turned to me in HMV once, pointed at a DVD of THE ALAMO on display and said, "Look at that. Fancy charging full price for an old film like that!"
Cavalcade is a lyrical masterpiece. Has the film dated? Well, that depends on one's point of view. The acting, however, is superb, the performances never faltering and the epic quality imbued by Fox's production values only serves to augment what was and remains one of Noel Coward's most astute social commentary plays. This is cinema as poetry and it deserves (nee, absolutely NEEDS) to be seen again and again. One of the greatest.
Now, if we could only get The Life of Emile Zola, The Great Ziegfeld, Around the World in 80 Days, The Greatest Show on Earth, Tom Jones and Marty on Blu-ray...one waits in baited, perennially renewed hope for these titles some day...soon. I'm not getting any younger!
They might not put it on press releases, but they're very good about putting the release years in the grids on their releases. It's usually small type, but it's there.
You can't put much faith in the Academy as they have always interpreted upper class British culture as unqualified, unequivocal ART. It doesn't always mean it isn't, but it doesn't always mean it is either.
Did you not read the press release? They told you.
Conversely, in today's world you can't put ANY faith in the Academy as they now interpret thuggish violent inner city and foreign criminal gang culture as unqualified, unequivocal ART. Upper class British culture would be a breath of very fresh air in comparison. Give me CAVALCADE or any of its sort any day of the week!
Since no advanced reviews of this disc have been published, I'll give a quick summary of what I saw on the disc I received this morning.
The image has some of the predictable gate weave as well as significant numbers of fine scratches. The audio definitely has been processed to remove noise and this is the least noisy I have ever heard the film sound. I only spot checked a couple of scenes, but this definitely is sort of comparable to Fox's The Big Trail release last year in terms of damage. Since this comes from the only available source provided by the academy, I can't fault the transfer. It appears very accurate to the source based on what little I have seen from it.
A note on the surviving film elements:
The OCN likely succumbed to one of the several Fox vault fires or junkings, so this is probably the same used release print that the VHS and 2011 TCM broadcast came from. But seriously, it looks decent to me.
I received my Blu Ray this week here in Australia & the little I saw of it I am happy with and this is the British print that has been around for yonks. That address is Berners Street/London off Oxford Street where around 1980 I stayed in a hotel in that tight street which at the time Oxford Street buses were detoured.
I decided to play it on my Region-FREE machine(remote code) & I got a page telling me I needed an update from the manufacturer. I coded in Region 1 and tried again and the same message. So I turned on my old Panasonic Blu Ray recorder which is Region B and it played like a charm but when I looked into the extras I noticed that it had new software on the disc I had not seen before but all was OK just the same. It was early Fox Blus from USA that I had trouble with and got my money back and still have the discs.
I just watched this for the first time and found it a difficult sit. Any number of films from '33 were, in my opinion, better, and certainly more entertaining (DINNER AT EIGHT, LITTLE WOMEN, QUEEN CHRISTINA, and of course KING KONG. It seems the Academy was even then prejudiced against fantasy material, to have not even nominated KONG, and nothing much has changed except with LORD OF THE RINGS).
Part of my impatience with CAVALCADE is the overly theatrical style of acting employed by most of the cast. This was four years into the sound era, and by then they should have had this straightened out. The woman all sound like Billie Burke (especially the lead actress, if you'll forgive a now-verboten word) and the men all like they're playing to the back row. True, sound recording equipment was still not well-tweaked, and all that does is accentuate the forced line readings. Even KONG had more naturalistic acting than this has. I know some members thought the acting in this was excellent, and I respect your opinion, as I hope you will mine.
Yet, as others have said, I am glad to have this, and will watch it again with lower expectations and probably enjoy it more the second time through. The transfer is very acceptable and I appreciate Fox's work on it. Schickel's commentary I have already spoken about.