Warner Archive Discussion Thread (The Announcements/The Films)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 18, 2009.

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  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I think it's quite underrated as a musical capturing the angst buried underneath the surface calm of the characters making it one of the first truly adult musicals. And I love the Andre Previn/Comden and Green/Roger Edens score. The numbers are a tonic (Cyd's "Baby, You Knock Me Out" is quite appropriate as she's clearly a knockout here; Dolores Grey is a stitch in both of her numbers and as the two-faced smiling cobra of a TV star; the trash can lid dance and Kelly's "I Like Myself" couldn't be more entertaining).

    But the truth is that the film was made under duress. The two directors were openly hostile to one another, Kelly was jealous of Michael Kidd and had his big showcase number "Jack and the Space Giants" axed from the movie, and with Roger Edens not present during its making, there was no calming presence presiding over the enterprise. Read the whole story in Hugh Fordin's terrific book about the Freed Unit. This film was a nightmare for all concerned, so the fact that I (and others) find it quite entertaining is something pretty remarkable.
     
  2. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    I've just been reading Andre Previn's No Minor Chords - lightweight memoirs but well-worth reading - and he says nothing about the making of It's Always Fair Weather. An amusing anecdote about auditioning the score but that's all.
     
  3. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    In Fordin's book, he denigrates his score saying he was new to songwriting and didn't really know what he was doing. I find it a very tuneful score. I remember finding the soundtrack LP in a record store during one of my NYC jaunts and practically squealing in delight. I never thought I'd own it.
     
  4. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Reading Andre Previn's book you get the impression that after he left Hollywood and became more heavily involved with Classical Music, which in turn led him to becoming the leader of the London Symphony, his film years became something of an embarrassment to him and is something he sadly disassociates himself with.
    Shame, because all of his excellent film work will be most fondly cherished and remembered long after his classical career is over.(not even sure if he is still active)
    Certainly money-wise he should at least thank Hollywood for financing his later chosen lifestyle.
    Sad.
    Maybe the lyrics to his song sums it up best."Can it be, I like myself....."

    Doug.
     
  5. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    That is not the impression I got. In fact, if his Hollywood career embarrassed him, why would he have written his memoirs of Hollywood?
     
  6. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    I don't know Mr. Fordin's qualifications and I haven't read his book. Andre Previn's work at MGM would have given him a thorough grounding in the nuts and bolts of music by the time he came to work on It's Always Fair Weather. Being new to songwriting does not impede melodic imagination.

    When Henry Mancini wrote Too Little Time for The Glenn Miller Story, he was new to songwriting. Burton Lane was new to the game when he wrote Everything I Have Is Yours. David Raksin was "a beginner" - Frank Sinatra's description by the way - when he wrote the melodic theme for Laura. How many songs had Johnny Mandel written before writing The Shadow Of Your Smile for The Sandpiper?
     
  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    That wasn't Fordin's opinion of the songs. He quoted Previn's opinions on his first attempts at songwriting.
     
  8. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    My apologies. I mis-read your post.

    I'm astonished that Andre Previn would have said that. It doesn't make sense. By the mid-1950s, Andre Previn had worked on a wide variety of films including musicals. He had worked on two scores by Cole Porter and he has expressed great admiration for Porter's songs. ("I would have if I hadn't admired the songs so much. Rhythmically and harmonicaly I thought they were remarkable.") He was a friend of Gene Kelly's. The idea that he didn't know what a musical score should do is absurd.

    It is possible that songwriting did not come easily to him and in No Minor Chords he does at one point emphasise that songwriting is a special gift, separate from normal compositional talent. If, at the time of Mr. Fordin's book, Andre Previn believed his score was not particularly good, that's one thing. To suggest it was because he was a new songwriter is another.
     
  9. JoelA

    JoelA Screenwriter

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    Matt, I agree with you on this one. I find It's Always Fair Weather very enjoyable. Darker than other musicals, but with many highlights. I wonder what it would have been like with Sinatra and Jules Munshin who were the originally discussed stars for the roles played by Michael Kidd and Dan Dailey eventually. Rhino Handmade released a wonderful cd of the soundtrack a few years back. Glorious stereo with underscoring and outtakes. I think Andre Previn's score has only improved over the years.
     
  10. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    I watched the DVD of It's Always Fair Weather last night. It's a really good DVD! I'd forgotten that.
    And yes: Cyd Charisse is an absolute knock-out.
     
  11. MattPriceTime

    MattPriceTime Second Unit

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    Eddie's Father, Chinook the Wonder Dog, and Fibber McGee and Molly were the soup of the day today.
     
  12. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Looks like there have been some updates on WBshop.com

    This should make the pressed-only camp happy: There is now a category called "Replicated Discs" showing every WAC title available on pressed discs, revealing a few I had no idea about like the Court Jester/Five Pennies double feature

    Best of all, that category lists the long awaited Dr. Kildare Movie Collection which includes all 9 of the Lew Ayres films, leaving only the post-Ayres/Dr Gillespie films left to be released. The Dr Kildare set is due for release next week on 1/21.
     
  13. MattPriceTime

    MattPriceTime Second Unit

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    Hmmm when they said Kildare was coming in 2014 they weren't kidding. He's getting two releases back to back. So this probably completes next week's releases with the next Monogram cowboy set and the Jimmy Stewart show.
     
  14. Richard M S

    Richard M S Supporting Actor

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    Wow, the Lew Ayres Dr. Kildaire set is almost too good to be true, I have never seen any of those films so this is a must-buy for me.

    Going forward, I hope Warners releases more of their musicals on Blu-ray this year - especially the Technicolor ones of course.

    Reading the above posts about Andre Previn reminded me of a pre-concert interview I saw one Sunday afternoon maybe two years ago at Lincoln Center, before a chamber music piece of his was performed. Someone asked about his MGM musical work, and he said 'Basically if you heard 2 harps together and Esther Williams was in the water, that was me." He got a big laugh.
     
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  15. MattPriceTime

    MattPriceTime Second Unit

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    BTW did anymore here get the Grant and Chinook set? I saw on facebook people mentioned they had the slip up of the wrong disc (i've had that before, and the only other instances i've seen it's always titles that will be next to one another alphabetically). Just wondering if anyone here can report they've gotten that fixed by now or not. It's still up and i remember back when they had problems with the Nick Carter set they pulled it from the site until it was fixed and had sent out replacements.

    I'm interested in both the Grant and Chinook sets, but am just curious if i should wait longer to see if the little snafu has been fixed yet...not like i don't have other things to buy in the meantime if i chose to wait lol.
     
  16. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    No, I haven't gotten a fixed Grant and Chinook set yet. I had to mail mine back after calling customer service, however I don't think that was necessary. The Facebook PM I got simply said a new one will be shipped after I notified them the previous day. The replacement should be coming this week but it might take longer.
     
  17. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    One new DVD is up for preorder, a Robert Wise directed B-noir called Mystery In Mexico (1948). Release date is 2/4/2014. More likely to follow.

    Also, in addition to the Lew Ayres films, the Kildare Movie set will also include the unaired 1961 pilot TV episode.
     
  18. Garysb

    Garysb Screenwriter

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    The pilot for the TV show is an amazing find. It's the type of thing I would have expected when TVland began and they showed the Time Element from Desilu Westinghouse Playhouse which was the unofficial pilot for the Twilight Zone. I think I read that Lew Ayres decided against doing the TV show because he asked that there be no cigarette ads during the show and this request was turned down. It would be odd seeing him without the characters that were in the movie. I could see them having a picture of Lionel Barrymore on the wall in memorium.

    I am also a little surprised that Warner decided to release only the Lew Ayres films and not mix in some of the Dr. Gilespie films and release the series in two volumes. There may be less chance the later films will be released without including a Kildaire film in the mix.

    Its 9 films on 5 discs and no mention of pressed discs on first batch. No restoration ether.
     
  19. JoelA

    JoelA Screenwriter

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    Both new Kildare releases are listed as "Replicated Discs" and/or "pressed"-

    http://shop.warnerarchive.com/category/movies/replicated+discs.do?pp=96&promo=leftnavREPLICATEDhome

    No mention of remastering season 2 of the Kildare TV series, however, the site does have a disclaimer for the thatrical films that they are manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available and have not been remastered or restored for this DVD/Digital Download release.
     
  20. Garysb

    Garysb Screenwriter

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    You are correct. I was looking at the order page for the set and did not see anything about pressed disks. I was unaware that the Archive had a separate section listing which sets have pressed disks. Thank you for the information.

    Its an odd list where every DVD listed has a made to order stamp, which would seem to indicate the discs are burned, and only one blu ray is on list when all Warner Archive exclusive blu rays are pressed.
     

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