Warner and Peter Weir

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jeff Newcomb, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. Jeff Newcomb

    Jeff Newcomb Second Unit

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    Warner usually leads the way for the major studios when it comes to DVD quality, but I'm so disappointed in the three Peter Weir films that they own. Granted, most of these were early titles from them, released before they saw the proverbial light. It's time for re-issues.

    Weir has directed 12 theatrical features, all of which are available on DVD. Janus owns three (plus a TV movie), Paramount owns three, Warner has three, Disney has two, and Fox has one. While reluctant to provide commentary, Weir likes to be involved in the DVD process, from approving transfers to recording interviews. He's been able to be involved with all of his DVDs, except Disney's Green Card and the three titles from Warner.

    The most disappointing of the bunch is Fearless. This is one of Warner's early pan-and-scan hackjobs. Weir himself expresses his disappointment with this release in this podcast. Warner has surprised me by repeatedly saying at chats that they have "no plans" to revisit this one. They did acknowledge at the last chat that The Year of Living Dangerously could use a DVD makeover. Their Mosquito Coast disc is pretty mediocre as well. Hopefully, they will get Weir involved, and use the opportunity to redo all three for a Weir promotion like Paramount did last year with their three titles.
     
  2. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    Was Gallipoli an improvement?
     
  3. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    Gallipoli was a great disc. For the price-range, it was outstanding.

    I, too, would like to seen the Warner Weir discs get revisited, but I think of all Weir's studio films these three are the least-watched. It's easy to see them being ignored.

    The only one that truly needs a new disc is Fearless. The other two are being treated about as well as their demand deserves.

    In a perfect world, all films would have A+ DVDs.
     
  4. AndrewWickliffe

    AndrewWickliffe Second Unit

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    Fearless is, I believe, an open matte transfer. I have the letterboxed laser and I'm stick with that one. But I did hear it was open matte. Most of that wave of Warner releases (Innocent Blood and Clean and Sober, etc) were just open matte.

    Not to say it doesn't deserve a new release. Just watched Fearless a couple weeks ago for the first time. Great film.
     
  5. Jace_A

    Jace_A Second Unit

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    Fearless is hard matted at 1.66:1, as with all films photographed by Allen Davieu. The DVD is cropped.
     
  6. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    I'm a great admirer of Weir; marvelous filmmaker. All the Warner DVDs are weak and need new transfers, commentaries, etc.

    Off topic, but Dead Calm needs a SE.
     
  7. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    FEARLESS is easily one of the most under-rated films of the 1990s. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's one of the best English-language films of that decade, period.

    Vincent
     
  8. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    I'm very dissapointed with the current transfer of Fearless as well. I only bought it becuase it was AUD$9 and I love the film. The Australian Region 4 transfer is not only pan and scan, but NTSC!

    Warner are currently dumping copies of The Year of Living Dangerously in Australian department stores. I've seen it new for AUD$6.20 (~US$4.70).

    The original version of The Year of Living Dangerously in Australia was also NTSC, but I think this cheap copy they are dumping is PAL. Possibly a conversion of the NTSC transfer, but I'm not sure.
     
  9. donnie_d

    donnie_d Stunt Coordinator

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    well...maybe if Peter Weir was still attached to Shantaram with Johnny Depp, we would expect warner to revisit all his old DVDs but too bad he dropped.let's wait and see who will helm the project and ruin it.
     
  10. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    I agree with FEARLESS. It is a remarkable film and deserves much better treatment on DVD. Common Warner, you have always set the bar high with your DVD's how about revisting FEARLESS and THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY?
     
  11. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Supporting Actor

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    Fearless was show on the hdnet and it looked pretty good,and it wasn't
    cropped
     
  12. Nick Laslett

    Nick Laslett Stunt Coordinator

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    Not much of a fan of Fearless which I saw in the cinema.

    But Mosquito Coast is a particular favourite of mine. It is a flawed film, but extremely interesting nonetheless.

    If they could involve Weir, Paul Schrader and the author of the original novel Paul Theroux you could have some excellent extras.

    For me the film did a credible job of trying to dramatise the relationship between the West and the developing third world.

    Mosquito Coast needs a reappraisal like Ernest Rister did for Empire of the Sun. It's ambitions far exceeded it's reach, but for a film of the 80's tries to tackle some series themes.
     
  13. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    I'm a big fan of MC too, Nick. The current disc is certainly serviceable- out of all of Warner PW films, it easily sports the best a/v so far, but a new 2K HD transfer would likely yield noticeably better results.
    YOLD is just a rebaged early MGM disc and while anamorphic, it still has its share of pixilation and compression artifacting. It could and should look a lot better than it does.

    I've only seen Fearless once and am not familiar with the dvd, but if the framing is off, it goes without saying that it should be corrected and re-issued at some point.

    I would be up for a Peter Weir Box set with updated versions of all these- but I would really love to see them in HD.
    this year was the 20th ann of MC and next year will be the 25th ann of YOLD. I don't know if anniversaries are marketable with films like this, but I do hope they get re-done.
     
  14. Richard Michael Clark

    Richard Michael Clark Second Unit

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    Fearless needs a proper SE with the kind of wonderful transfer Warners has become known for.
    Please Warners. Please!
     
  15. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf Stunt Coordinator

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    When I visited Los Angeles back in late '93 I saw FEARLESS at the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. The film made a strong, lasting impression on me.

    I had flown by myself to the US from New Zealand, saw the film the night I landed and it connected with me on so many levels. My relationship at the time was in it's last days, I felt frustrated that I was at a dead end in my life, and very much alienated from those around me. Like Jeff Bridges in the film, I felt like nobody was speaking my language, that I was suddenly in a space that nobody could reach. I left the theater impressed with what I had just seen but also affected and moved on a deeper personal level.

    I bought the subsequent widescreen laserdisc and have told many people about the film over the years. One of the criminally underrated Jeff Bridges' best performances (has he ever given a bad performance?) and possibly Peter Weir's most overlooked film (even more so than THE MOSQUITO COAST of which I am also a fan).

    I keep waiting for the day when Warner's will reissue this intelligent and literate film in a widescreen dvd edition that I will happily add to my permanent collection.

    Johnny B.
     
  16. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    FEARLESS has the unfortunate timing of being released amongst a slew of Warner Bargain titles. These films were pretty much released FULL FRAME with an open matte. If FEARLESS was released a few years later perhaps it would have been Anamorphic. Never say never though, Warner DOES seem to read these boards and it could show up. A Peter Weir box would be great.
     
  17. Joe_Pinney

    Joe_Pinney Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd like to chime in with my support for an anamorphic transfer of Fearless. I own the current pan-&-scan DVD, despite its poor quality, and would jump at the chance to get director-approved re-release. It's an outstanding film that deserves much better than it's been accorded so far.
     
  18. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    Witness & The Year of Living Dangerously have always been high on my fav list - they could both use some TLC.

    TYOLD was my first exposure to Linda Hunt, and her role as a man completely fooled me. Amazing.

    E
     
  19. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    Ugh, don't remind me. Overall I think the Warner is one of the best DVD studios out there, but they seriously need to revist these neglected titles. Clean and Sober, Arthur, Fearless, etc.
     
  20. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    It is hard to believe but when DVD was new Warner was 'testing the waters' I guess because they released a whole slew of films FULL FRAME only. Some have been remastered with Anamorphic Transfers (The Bodyguard, Chariots of Fire, Driving Miss Daisy, Purple Rain, National Lampoon's Vacation, Caddyshack). Unfortunately there are great number of films that are still only FULL FRAME including Fearless, The Bridges of Madison County, Hooper, Sharky's Machine, Deathtrap, Star 80, Doc Hollywood, Guilty By Suspicion, Arthur, Clean and Sober, Funny Farm, Spies Like Us, Final Analysis, Frantic. Hopefully Warner is 'working' on fixing this problem. The upcoming Grumpy/Grumpier Old Men Double Feature has NEW Anamorphic transfers. Perhaps they will consider a Peter Weir collection and will remaster Fearless. I've held back on buying it even though the price is low.
     

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