The Great Escape - 50th Anniversary Restoration, TCM Showing in 2013 along with probable BD release

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by MLamarre, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. MLamarre

    MLamarre Second Unit

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    I'm sure I'm not alone in saying The Great Escape is one of my favorite films of all time. Ditto my excitement about the Blu-ray coming next year for it's 50th anniversary. I re-watched the film last night on DVD and it's still a wonderful experience. The image quality is quite good for it's time but I noticed several problem areas - several scenes are noticeably lesser quality than the rest of the film. I'm hoping they are fixed for the Blu-ray release and I thought I'd post them here:
    1:04:10 to 1:04:20
    This occurs towards the end of Blythe's bird lesson in which Garner gives him and Attenborough the wallet he pick-pocketed from the German soldier. The entire scene looks fine and then suddenly there's a cut to a different angle in the exact same room and it looks like VHS quality:
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    1:21:44 to 1:31:02
    This is during the 4th of July Moonshine celebration sequence. For some reason all of the exterior shots during this 10 minute period look washed out with almost no contrast. None of the other exterior shots in the film look like this. The interior shots that the film cuts to during this sequence of the German soldiers discovering the tunnel inside one of the cabins look perfectly fine - so it's pretty odd when it cuts back to an exterior shot and it looks like a different print.
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    2:40:15 to 2:42:40
    This is after Bartlett and MacDonald have been captured and are being transported by truck with the other 48 men back to what they think is the POW camp. There's a weird hazy effect during the exterior shots in the sequence and an excessive amount of digital noise.
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    Does anyone else have any areas they'd like to point out? Or a wishlist of things they want to see on the Blu-ray?
     
  2. Scott D S

    Scott D S Supporting Actor

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    In the Mr. Belston/Mr. Finn thread, a couple of folks had suggestions...
    Professor Echo mentioned this:
    And Joe Caps mentioned this:
     
  3. MLamarre

    MLamarre Second Unit

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    -Framing needs to be fixed. I checked out the DVD Beaver page for this film and it seems my 2004 SE DVD is missing information on the right and left sides of the frame. The 1998 DVD was too wide and the 2004 SE DVD was not wide enough. Only the Criterion Collection Laserdisc has the correct framing, approved by Director John Sturges before he died. Hopefully they correct this on the Blu-ray.
    -I read a review of the 2004 SE DVD here on HTF and someone mentioned that most of the scenes throughout the film, excluding those I posted above, have over-saturated colors. I noticed this too but I thought maybe it was just my display. This explains why I thought so many people's faces seemed impossibly bright, as if someone was shining a light an inch away. The contrast and lighting fluctuate from shot to shot so much (especially during indoor cabin scenes) that it creates a bit of a jarring experience. I hope this can be corrected.
    -Many people have mentioned in the past that none of the DVDs have had the John Sturges commentary that was available on the Criterion Collection Laserdisc. Given the relationship between Criterion and Fox perhaps a deal can be made so that this can appear on the Blu-ray.
     
  4. Paul Penna

    Paul Penna Supporting Actor

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    Those exterior shots resemble the effect you get with a fog filter. Do we know this not to be the case?
     
  5. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    I might as well put in my two penneth worth. They wound in far too much contrast on the DVD, uniforms are too dark, but worse is the ugly clipped-out whites on highlights, esp. on peoples faces. They were obviously going for a punchy image, but it looked nothing like that in the cinema. The DVD is a few years old now, so I hope they've learnt a thing or two, just a nice image please, nothing added, nothing taken away.
     
  6. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    I believe the 2-disc collector's set has that commentary.
     
  7. MLamarre

    MLamarre Second Unit

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    I don't think it's any kind of filter. Here's a shot from earlier in the same scene and there is no 'fog' effect:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    If I'm not mistaken, that commentary is an amalgam of pieces of Sturges' comments from an interview mixed with those of members of the cast. It is not the commentary track from the Criterion edition.
     
  9. David Weicker

    David Weicker Cinematographer

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    As for the look of those two shots, I've always seen it that way. I've never been lucky enough to see The Great Escape in a theater, but I do remember that those two segments looked that way on TV viewings from before the Home Video age, so I suspect that was the way it looked in the theaters.
    I just assumed that they were going for an early morning mist look (however they accomplished it - whether it was a different film stock, or filters, or even actual weather conditions when they filmed).
    It is true that the trio shot referenced in post #7 is clearer than the subsequent shots (post #1), but it is inconsistent in the lighting as well. The trio shot looks like it is taking place later in the day (seems sunnier to me), while the other shots (look like) and are supposed to be taking place at dawn.
    I had the same feeling with the truck shots thru the execution - they are supposed to be taking place at dawn, and it looks like a heavy German morning mist (at least to me).
    The barracks scene, well I don't think I've ever noticed anything there - may have to pull out my 2-disc DVD and take a look.
    I do know that there were big differences between the various DVD releases, so when discussing the 'problems' people are seeing, it might be helpful to identify which version people are viewing, as they may not be present on the different versions.
    Because the 'misty' scenes are the way I've always seen them, I don't consider them to be problems.
    David
     
  10. MLamarre

    MLamarre Second Unit

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    The trio shot in Post #7 takes place before the shots in Post #1, literally 15 seconds before. The entire beginning of this sequence as they prepare for the march looks like the trio shot in Post #7. Then suddenly there's a cut to a close-up of the American flag on the pole and then for the rest of the duration of the sequence looks like the shots in Post #1. There's nothing to suggest in this sequence that any part of it is set during a different part of the day. The issue here is the inconsistency from the beginning to middle and end.
    All of these screenshots are from the R1 2004 SE DVD.
     
  11. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I cannot claim to remember exactly what the film looked like projected in 1963 but from previous videos and TV showings I think those shots have always been like that. The second picture in the hut comes just before a dissolve so it looks to be a post production shot. I'm with David on the pics at 1:21:44 to 1:31:02 where the intention was clearly to give an early morning appearance (albeit somewhat inconsistently). The transportation scene certainly always looked like that, with an early morning fog effect.
     
  12. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Well to be honest I can't remember what it looked like, I was only 12. I still remember going to see it in my favorite cinema (Odeon, Westborne Grove, West London). I know it didn't look like the DVD, no films did. I remember buying the first DVD, it was non-anamorphic, I'd think from an old master (& with a lot of noise reduction on it), & as I said, I don't like the second one, but I'm sure they'll make a good job of the Blu if they don't try too hard to make it look like something it isn't.
     
  13. David Weicker

    David Weicker Cinematographer

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    I am aware that the 'trio/preparation' shot takes place just before the cut to the 'flag/men coming out' story-wise. I wasn't trying to say they were set at a different part of the day, merely that they looked like they came from later in the day (and probably were shot at a different time/day). They are inconsistent. It happens. IMHO, the look of the trio is the one that seems out-of-place, since I always felt they wanted an early-morning mist feel to the scene.
    The other point I was trying to make is that I remember the inconsistency from early TV viewings - well before the dawn of the home-video age (and for reference, I'm putting the home video age as early 80's when videotape started to get major penetration).
    David
     
  14. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    it's possible the 'vhs' shot, the first mentioned in the OP, was an optical enlargement. Meaning they shot it in a wider shot and enlarged it because they wanted to clarify the detail business the actors are concerned with in the scene (allowing the audience to see what was pickpocketed).

    As for the others, I think they're simply continuity issues with the script, shot on different days under diffferent conditions or possibly with filters to try and match previous days shooting conditions. I think this is simply continuity that never really matched because the scene was shot on different days. Some of the shots may have been more 'processed' than others when they were putting together the original film to try and get shot to shot to better match. Today, all this would be fixed in a DI pretty effortlessly with power windows etc to correct and even out the skies, color, or density issues.
     
  15. MLamarre

    MLamarre Second Unit

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    I agree that the truck scene is clearly early morning and supposed to look like that, I was just saying that there was an excessive amount of noise throughout the sequence.
     
  16. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    Please discuss/speculate..I received this info as part of a TCM e-mail in my AOL inbox today...
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    What do you think? They can't make money not selling it again.






    Crawdaddy
     
  18. David Weicker

    David Weicker Cinematographer

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    I think we all were expecting this title to come out 'someday'.
    I know that Cabaret was shown at last April's festival. And it won't be released until February.
    David
     
  19. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    I thought there was a thread a while back about a Blu of The Great Escape being released next year. The Bond Box apart, we don't get many United Artist releases, a shame as I love a lot of UA films from around this time. Maybe when they've finished Great Escape they could look at:
    Run Silent, Run Deep
    The Vikings
    The Alamo
    Tom Jones
    Taras Bulba (I understand the Australian release is not much cop)
    What's New Pussycat
    A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
    Sorry about all the lists, but so many films released on DVD not (& probably never will be) released on Blu-ray.
     
  20. Paul Rossen

    Paul Rossen Supporting Actor

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    It will be very interesting to see what MGM does with sound of THE GREAT Escape. A few years ago the Elmer Bernstein score in full stereo was discovered and released by both Varese and Intrada. I'm certainly hoping that MGM utilized these tracks to give fans the film as never before...
     

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