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A Few Words About A few words about...™ A Matter of Life and Death

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    "One is starved for Technicolor up there..."

    A Matter of Life and Death, the Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger production released in 1946 was an Archers film.

    For the uninitiated, the Archers productions were all about quality, entertainment and the art of filmmaking.

    There is nothing else like them.

    The film stands, along with The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and a heavenly handful of others, as some of the finest filmed entertainment ever created.

    This particular Matter of Life and Death appears to have come from dupe three-strip elements, and has minor occasional problems, but still represents the film beautifully.

    I'll give you no background, no verbal trailer. Nothing.

    This is one of those films that one would take along to a desert island. One of the greatest films ever made.

    Short, sweet and simple.

    A Matter of Life and Death is now, and will be, one of the most important films to be released on DVD in 2009. It is available as the first of a pair of Powell films -- the other being Age of Consent (1969) -- as The Films of Michael Powell, a Sony Collector's Choice release.

    Extremely Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. chas speed

    chas speed Well-Known Member

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    I had bought the old Region 2 PAL DVD of the movie that didn't look that good, but from what I've heard the new release is an improvement. I wanted to rent it out on Netflix before buying it, but it's in the "long wait" section.
     
  3. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

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    a.k.a. "Stairway to Heaven" in the USA.

    I don't care for the way they packaged this as a two-fer with Age of Consent, with no option to buy it alone. What if I don't want the other film?
     
  4. rich_d

    rich_d Well-Known Member

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    I agree and don't want to encourage the practice. That's why I'm Netflixing it.
     
  5. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    That will all depend on the price. If the price is good for AMoLaD alone, you can throw away the other disc if you like.
    And perhaps they will be sold separately as well (or after some time).

    I too have the R2 version (bought 4 years ago, after years and years of waiting) and it's very good news that it will finally be available in R1 as well.
    Hopefully a fine transfer, as RAH already suggests.


    Cees
     
  6. Greg_M

    Greg_M Well-Known Member

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    It's an excellent transfer. Sony DVD's usually retail for $20 for a single title. I bought AMoLaD at Fry's for $20 - I have no interest in the other film, but the price probably wouldn't have been any less for a single disc with just one film since this is SONY
     
  7. Rob W

    Rob W Well-Known Member

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    If Criterion had licensed this and released it at $29.95 s.r.p. they would have been hailed as heroes of the film community. Sony packages it with a 2nd feature from the same director for a very reasonable price and people complain as if they are being forced to buy Police Academy 2 as the second disc.

    I firmly believe that someone at Sony who cares about film saw this as a way to release two important films from a major director and packaged the 2nd film with the first in order to amortize the cost of the project and allow a lesser known film to see the light of day in the only way it could be brought to market.

    Bravo to Sony !
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    It also means that new elements were most likely created for AoC, which is a win-win for all concerned. A great move by Sony / Columbia with the support of The Film Foundation.
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    I hadn't realized it is already out.

    Exactly.
    Indeed not the ultimate masterpiece, but after all based on a novel by Norman Lindsay (think 'Sirens') and certainly visually interesting.
    With James Mason and Helen Mirren.

    Here's a Spanish original poster of the film, BTW:

    [​IMG]


    Cees
     
  10. BillyFeldman

    BillyFeldman Well-Known Member

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    I love when people say "I'm not interested in the other film" without actually having seen the other film.
     
  11. rich_d

    rich_d Well-Known Member

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    Yes and I firmly believe that $ony packaged these two films together to make an extra buck and don't give a rat's ass about some lesser loved film being brought to the market.

    Please drop the hyperbole about Police Academy 2 and the like or suggesting this is a good offering to consumers because it could have been more expensive if Criterion released it. That all falls in the category of 'it could have been worse', hardly a reasonable point of merit and sophistry at best.

    If they offered a two-fer AND offered the titles individually it would have been fine. Criterion currently offers The Red Balloon and White Mane as a two-fer BUT they offer them individually as well. To my thinking as a consumer the same holds for box sets. Consumers should have the option of buying the full box set or individual titles. If someone wants Rear Window they shouldn't have to buy it in a two-fer with Topaz.
     
  12. Martin Teller

    Martin Teller Well-Known Member

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    Age of Consent is a fine film... not as great as AMoLaD, but definitely worth checking out.
     
  13. John Hodson

    John Hodson Well-Known Member

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    Just when you think you've seen it all...

    You can get this excellent set for a very reasonable price, you don't want to watch Age of Consent (and I can't think of a reason why anyone who has the faintest interest in the films of Michael Powell wouldn't), then consider it a free coaster, or better still give it away to someone who will appreciate it.

    The only reason I've held off is that I have A Matter of Life and Death (thank you Sony for resisting any temptation to use the U.S. release title) - courtesy of various R2 collections - three times already, and I'm keeping everything crossed for a BD version. Though my resistance is crumbling...
     
  14. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Well, if you buy the pair, you can always throw away that disc. [​IMG]

    Age of Consent is available at Amazon/UK for over $25 (£21.98), a Marketplace seller that is (meaning: higher shipping costs).

    Here, you'd have it for below $23.


    For those who always wanted to see Helen Mirren in Caligula, but were afraid to buy, you'll get this disc for free when buying the classic AMoLaD, and you'll not see less of her. [​IMG]


    Cees
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The U.S. release version of AMoLaD, Stairway to Heaven, is a different cut of the film, with the former being the "uncut" version.
     
  16. Charles H

    Charles H Well-Known Member

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    MATTER and CONSENT are the only two Powell films that are under the control of Columbia so I understand that this would be the only opportunity for CONSENT to be released. I wish that they would do a similar twofer for Borzage (NO GREATER GLORY and A MAN'S CASTLE) or Carol Reed (THE KEY and THE RUNNING MAN). If you are interested only in "seeing" MATTER and you are not interested in Powell, Netflix would be the way to go.
     
  17. John Hodson

    John Hodson Well-Known Member

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    Quite so; I fancy Sony must have been tempted to market it as 'Uncut at last - Stairway to Heaven'; as I said, well done...
     
  18. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

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    I understand all these defenses of the packaging strategy, and I really don't care that much one way or the other. Just stating my opinion that something doesn't sit well with me when a studio decides that it can't release a classic title by itself. I can understand certain box sets where some films aren't available individually, but that rarely if ever happens for a recognized classic title. Just my opinion.

    I'm sure there are a number of people who would be interested in purchasing a classic film like AMoLaD from 1946, but who conversely have no interest in owning what would be considered a lesser unrelated (except for director) film from 1969, which also happens to be rated R for nudity, something many fans of 1940's classics may object to.
     
  19. Greg_M

    Greg_M Well-Known Member

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    Never said I didn't see it - I just didn't want to own it.
     
  20. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I should have noted that Age of Consent is also the uncut version with newly restored audio.

    Sony is trying to do right by Mr. Powell.

    RAH
     

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