When will we see a large-format Black & White movie on BD?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Mark-P, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Messages:
    3,075
    Likes Received:
    937
    Location:
    Camas, WA
    Real Name:
    Mark Probst
    We all know how stellar black & white photography can look on Blu-ray (Casablanca, The Apartment, Manhattan), but imagine how a black & white movie scanned from a large-format negative might look!
    Now, it's hard to believe, but none of the movies shot in 65mm or Technirama were shot completely in black & white. The only black & white movies in a large-format were in VistaVision.
    Here's what we've got to choose from:
    The Rose Tattoo
    The Desperate Hours
    The Leather Saint
    The Proud and the Profane
    The Scarlet Hour
    The Search For Bridie Murphy
    Fear Strikes Out
    Hear Me Good
    Night Ambush
    Short Cut to Hell
    The Buster Keaton Story
    The Delicate Delinquent
    The Joker is Wild
    The Lonely Man
    The Sad Sack
    The Tin Star
    Wild is the Wind
    Another Time, Another Place
    Desire Under the Elms
    Hell Drivers
    Hot Spell
    King Creole
    St. Louis Blues
    Teacher's Pet
    The Matchmaker
    But Not For Me
    The Black Orchid
     
  2. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,006
    Likes Received:
    335
    Location:
    Palo Alto, CA
    Real Name:
    Robert Smith
    The Big Trail (shot on 65mm using a process Fox called Grandeur, a precursor of 65mm/70mm) will be on Blu-ray on May 8. I have seen the DVD and it is very interesting as an example of wide-screen photography, essentially giving you a large tableau for every scene.
    I might also add that a number of B&W films were exhibited in 70mm even though photographed in 35mm. These include:
    The Longest Day
    In Harm's Way
    Is Paris Burning?
    The Longest Day has already been released on Blu-ray.
    Most people agree that VistaVision B&W films did not have the special look generally associated with the process, which really comes to life with dye-transfer Technicolor. Several of these are very good for other reasons.
     
  3. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Messages:
    3,075
    Likes Received:
    937
    Location:
    Camas, WA
    Real Name:
    Mark Probst
    You are so right! The experimental 65mm processes of 1929/1930 completely slipped my mind! Would it be safe to say that the original elements are completely deteriorated on those films and anything we get would be dupes anyway?
     
  4. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Messages:
    3,075
    Likes Received:
    937
    Location:
    Camas, WA
    Real Name:
    Mark Probst
    Yes, but people have only seen these films optically reduced to 35mm. No one has ever seen a 4K scan of the oneg of a black & white VV film. It could show clarity that's never been seen before in a black & white film.
     
  5. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    2,209
    Likes Received:
    528
    Real Name:
    Ben Hufbauer
    This is an important point. I agree. I hope we can get some comments from RAH on this...
     
  6. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,006
    Likes Received:
    335
    Location:
    Palo Alto, CA
    Real Name:
    Robert Smith
    The materials with The Big Trail DVD (very nice!) noted that the 65mm negative had been transferred to 35mm by the Museum of
    Modern Art sometime in the 80's. The gentleman who did the transfer was an expert on odd film gauges.
    My guess is that the 35mm elements from the 80's will be used for the Blu-ray and not the original negative, which may well no longer be with us. This is just a guess.
    Perhaps RAH knows.
     
  7. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,954
    Likes Received:
    403
    Real Name:
    Joel Henderson
    No original 65mm Grandeur elements exist anymore. In fact we should be grateful that Fox did the 35mm Cinemascope reduction preservation of The Big Trail in the late 60s (although I suspect that may be a reason as to why the film is near unintelligible on DVD) considering its the only film made in Grandeur to survive, the rest either exist flat only or don't exist period.
     
  8. bujaki

    bujaki Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,699
    Likes Received:
    932
    Location:
    Richardson, TX
    Real Name:
    Jose Ortiz-Marrero
    The Bat Whispers (1930) was shot widescreen (65mm) as well as flat. The widescreen version survives, albeit in a 35mm reduction. I saw it at the Museum of Modern Art, where I also saw The Big Trail in both flat and widescreen versions.
    Both films are far more successful in their widescreen versions.
     
  9. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,954
    Likes Received:
    403
    Real Name:
    Joel Henderson
    Bat Whispers was actually preserved on 70mm, not 35. Its funny because apparently (at least according to in70mm.com) the widescreen version was never shown in 1931. This makes its survival even more remarkable.
     
  10. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    14,684
    Likes Received:
    3,086
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    The widescreen version of The Bat Whispers has never been released on DVD, has it? I'm sure the DVD version I've got is 1.33:1. We need to see the widescreen version!
     
  11. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    5,212
    Likes Received:
    1,176
    Location:
    Nor'east
    Real Name:
    Charles Smith
    It's on a wonderful Roan Group laserdisc. Don't know if it's made it to DVD.
     
  12. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    6,568
    Likes Received:
    1,544
    Location:
    New Orleans
    Real Name:
    Allen
    Both versions were released on DVD by Image in 1999. Wonders of wonders Amazon still has a few copies left for sale through them and not marketplace, but at $40.00. I got a copy when it came out and have enjoyed both versions. The widescreen is a bit more like a stage play with very little movement of the camera, while the 35mm camera moves around quite a bit. At $40.00 it still is worth the price to have both versions and anyone that loves film as you do would enjoy it.
     
  13. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    14,684
    Likes Received:
    3,086
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    Thanks for doing this little bit of detective work, Allen. Much appreciated!
     
  14. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    14,684
    Likes Received:
    3,086
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    Isn't it wonderful when you stumble across something you didn't remember you even had and it's something you wanted to see? I went looking tonight for The Bat Whispers and lo and behold, I have that Image release with both the 65mm widescreen and 35mm flat versions on it. Naturally, I watched the widescreen version tonight and had a fun time with it. I guess I did watch it when I first got this disc, but then I put it on the shelf and promptly forgot about it. So glad to have it now.

    I had thought the flat version was on the DVD with the 1959 version of The Bat with Agnes Moorehead, Vincent Price, and Darla Hood, but that has House on Haunted Hill as the second half of a double feature.

    Anyway, I'm so glad for this discussion of those versions so I could go rummaging through my collection and find a surprise. Thanks, guys!



    .AOLWebSuite .AOLPicturesFullSizeLink { height: 1px; width: 1px; overflow: hidden; } .AOLWebSuite a {color:blue; text-decoration: underline; cursor: pointer} .AOLWebSuite a.hsSig {cursor: default}
     

Share This Page