The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Andy_G, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,



    I was recently reading Cubby Broccoli's 1998 autobiography, and was reminded of the commercial failure but critical success from 1960: The Trials of Oscar Wilde, starring Peter Finch.

    So far as I can tell, it has only ever appeared on VHS (and possibly DVD http://www.moviesunlimited.com/musite/product.asp?sku=D56762&utm_source=google&utm_medium=base ) (Sorry about the poorly-formed link). In the event, I have never seen it in any form.


    IMDB informs that it was shot in Technirama and color. Because it is from the dreaded year of 1960, I worry that it may be lost forever (paging Bob Harris?).

    I wonder whether anyone knows who owns the rights to this film, and whether it exists anywhere in a usable form? Has anyone seen it in recent memory? More practically, is there any prayer of it appearing in blu-ray?
     
  2. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    The credit titles say "Photographed by Ted Moore in Technirama Technicolor" The credits also say "Copyright MCMLX Warwick Film Productions".


    In view of Cubby Broccoli's later involvement with James Bond - and this movie uses both Ted Moore and Ken Adam - I was astonished to see in the credit titles a supporting actor named Ian Fleming!

    I've no idea who today holds the copyright on the Warwick movies Cubby Broccoli made in partnership with Irving Allen. Most of them have never been released on DVD.
     
  3. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    The film is regularly shown in the UK. In fact it has several showings on TCM this month. I don't know who distributes it to UK TV though. "Wide Screen Movies" (Carr & Hayes) claims that it was shown in Super Technirama 70 but I think that must be a mistake.
     
  4. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting. Thanks Douglas. It doesn't look like there's been a UK release on DVD (or anything else recently)


    Super Technirama 70 seems at least possible: Technirama was large format, and the aspect ratio would have been right for a 70mm blowup.


    Worryingly, all of the youtube clips (some with TCM badges) are in pan-and-scan and look crummy.


    I sent (or tried to send) a shot-in-the-dark email to Michael G. Wilson to see if he knows anything about it.


    Robin is right that there are some very familiar names in the credits. I would think that at least someone would be interested in seeing this on home video.

    [BTW, boo to the new(ish?) HTF reply boxes for interfering with the OS X system-wide dictionary.]
     
  5. John Skoda

    John Skoda Stunt Coordinator

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    An ad for the film on the Widescreen Museum site does mention Super Technirama 70 (ad near the bottom of the page):


    http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/wingtr3.htm
     
  6. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    So I see. Clearly this was an "A" movie. Sad that it's apparently in purgatory.

    It's in good company.
     
  7. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    I don't recall that it was released initially in 70mm.While young at the time of its release(!!), if in 70mm I am sure it would have been re-released in that format during the 60's or 70's when my recollection is much better. It was not,but just disappeared.Perhaps a case of the distributors trying to enhance its attractions by the use of the Super Technirama tag.!
     
  8. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    Does TCM show any other Warwick movies?
     
  9. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    Robin - I don't recognise any other Warwick title (as listed on IMBd) being shown on TCM (UK).
     
  10. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    Too bad. Anyone have a contact with TCM UK? I'd love to find out who they think owns the title.
     
  11. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    Thank you.


    I find it rather sad that the Warwick Movies seem to have disappeared. They weren't the greatest films ever made but they were enjoyable and are essential for completist fans of stars like Victor Mature, Alan Ladd and Anita Ekberg.
     
  12. Jon Lidolt

    Jon Lidolt Stunt Coordinator

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    This film did get a 70mm release in England and was nominated for a number of British Film Awards. Both Peter Finch and John Fraser were nominated for the Best Actor Award although neither won. It didn't do as well as it should have because a rival Oscar Wilde film (shot in B&W) starring Robert Morley came out at exactly the same time. Because the two Wilde films were fighting for the same audience, neither movie was very successful at the boxoffice.
     
  13. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    If the film really got a 70mm release, then the negative is probably wrecked and faded, depending on how many prints they ran off of it. If it even still exists.
     
  14. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    Any evidence as to where, Jon?
     
  15. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    I have in my hands the DVD from Movies Unlimited that I linked to up top. I scanned through it, and it's awful. Pan and scan, and apparently dubbed off of a worn VHS tape.

    Oh, and it's a DVD-R.

    The copyright is claimed by "Retro Flix."

    How bad? This bad (excuse VLC's linear deinterlacing):


    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    You get the picture. . .
     
  16. Jon Lidolt

    Jon Lidolt Stunt Coordinator

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    The Internet Movie Database mentions both 35 and 70mm screen ratios for this film. In addition, the book Wide Screen Movies has it listed as 70m release (although it's often inaccurate). I asked John Fraser, who appears in the movie, about it and he can't remember for certain if it played in 70m in London or not, but thinks it probably did. It makes sense, because in the 60's a great many features that were only distributed in 35mm in N. America had 70mm prints manufactured for their European playdates.
     
  17. Jon Lidolt

    Jon Lidolt Stunt Coordinator

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    I just ran across an English ad for The Trials of Oscar Wilde with the "in Super Technirama-70" credit on it. You can find a picture of it here:


    http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/wingtr3.htm


    - Jon
     
  18. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    Wide Screen Movies as you rightly say is often(or should that be mostly)inaccurate. An advert is hardly evidence for reasons already stated. The only only way to be reasonably certain is to to check the BFI records as to where the film was originally shown and until then it is" unproven" as they say in Scotland.

     
  19. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, for me it's enough to know that it could have been shown in 70mm. And assuming there's anything left of the original elements, it still could be. I'm not expecting that it ever will be, though.
     
  20. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I had a look at the version which TCM are showing in the UK and it contains the United Artists and M-G-M logos (latest versions). So M-G-M owns the copyright. However, in view of M-G-M's financial problems I don't suppose this film will make it onto DVD anytime soon. The TCM print is very good (vastly better than those awful stills posted above) but unfortunately is pan and scan.
     

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