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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Cover Girl -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Charles Vidor's 1944 Technicolor musical Cover Girl, from Columbia, is high on many "best" lists when it comes to American musical films.

    It's hard to beat Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, Phil Silvers, , and the musical talents of Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin.

    Make no mistake, Cover Girl was gorgeous Technicolor.

    At least in 1944.

    I'm not certain what is being gained with this Blu-ray release, as resolution is far below standards, with contrast blooming, and blacks taking precedence over the normal Technicolor spectrum of colors.

    The problem appears to be Eastman color intervention. Probably going from either the original negatives or masters years ago to Eastman safety color stock, and the work was simply not performed well.

    Either that, and I've not asked, the loss of both the original negatives as well as protection masters.

    Bottom line, Cover is a film beloved by many, which in this particular incarnation, fails to appear like the original in any way.

    "Better to have left him."

    Image - 2

    Audio - 3

    RAH
     
  2. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Disappointing news.
     
  3. Richard Gallagher

    Richard Gallagher Well-Known Member
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    I watched it last night and will try to get a review up this evening.

    My overall impression was that it is overly dark, probably the result of the high contrast which RAH refers to.

    I have the DVD from THE FILMS OF RITA HAYWORTH box set and will do a comparison before I write the review.
     
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  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    You're correct, Richard. Seems to be a problem with an optically exposed IP from the original negatives, and a huge contrast gain.

    I'm told that the original negs are no longer in good condition, and there may be no fine grains.

    This may be as good as it gets.

    RAH
     
  5. Escapay

    Escapay Well-Known Member

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    Richard, when you compare the DVD & Blu-Ray, can you make an assessment about the "photo shoot" scene (around the 38-minute mark)? It's been my go-to scene for assessing how the colors of Cover Girl look, and I'd like to get a professional opinion. Actually, if RAH has time, I would love his input on that scene as well.
    I received my "Cover Girl" Blu-Ray on Saturday and was generally satisfied with the film's look overall (then again, I'm watching on a small 52-inch HDTV). I think I'd rank the different Cover Girl DVD/Blu-Ray releases as this:
    2010 Blu-Ray > 2003 DVD > 2010 DVD
    I loved how bright and colorful the 2003 DVD looked, and was shocked at how dark all the colors suddenly became in the 2010 DVD. The Blu-Ray looks like the same restoration as the 2010 DVD, but looked much better to me. This is what I wrote on the Twilight Time Facebook wall, although bear in mind, it was around midnight or so and I had spent an hour just switching three different discs back and forth on my player to watch various scenes:
    When I initially viewed the 2010 DVD, I thought it was inferior to the 2003 DVD, even though it was touted by Sony as being remastered (as was "Gilda" in the box set). I felt the 2003 DVD looked more colorful and was slightly brighter, even if it was riddled with artifacts and blemishes. The 2010 DVD removed those deficiencies and provided a sharper image, but was darker, duller, and didn't seem very Technicolor-y to me. Whenever I wanted to watch "Cover Girl," I'd just pull out the 2003 DVD as I loved the vivid colors and vibrancy that the picture had.
    However, when I put in the Blu-Ray, I was completely blown away by the image. It was MUCH better than the 2010 DVD, even though I think both were from the same restoration job. But the Blu-Ray just looked amazing. What I thought were duller colors had a new vibrancy to them, and the detail was amazing. And most importantly, there was grain. The 2010 DVD looked like the grain had been washed away. The Blu-Ray had a healthy layer that made the picture come alive in a way I had never seen before.
    For example, in the photo shoot scene (around the 38-minute mark), the 2003 DVD looked bright, but slightly faded. However, it seemed like it was the "correct" one to me for a long time. When I watched that same scene on the 2010 DVD, it was duller and the colors didn't really scream out the way the 2003 DVD did. Then I put in the Blu-Ray, and all of a sudden, Rita's hair gets that ginger sheen again, the green background actually looks real, and there's such fine detail in her face, make-up, and that veil, all of which I never noticed before. I felt like I could have reached in and kissed her. It was the same scene as I experienced on the 2003 and 2010 DVDs, but looked so much better than I imagined it ever could.
    Were my eyes simply seeing what they wanted to see?
    I like to think maybe I was just too taken by Rita Hayworth to pay much attention to how the actual picture looked.
    Granted, I'm still satisfied with the Blu-Ray, and will continue to watch it whenever I'm in a Cover Girl mood. But it would be great to read others' thoughts on the transfer.
     
  6. Richard Gallagher

    Richard Gallagher Well-Known Member
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    Albert,

    I only have the 2010 DVD for comparison purposes, and will pop it in to check it out in a few minutes. As it is late on the east coast I won't be getting the review done until tomorrow.

    The Blu-ray certainly is not unwatchable, but I expected it to be much brighter. I'll see if I agree with your assessment that it is a significant upgrade over the 2010 DVD.
     
  7. Escapay

    Escapay Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Richard. :)
     
  8. marcco00

    marcco00 Well-Known Member

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    after spending many frustrating hours fiddling with my tv's picture settings, i was just able to salvage the dark transfer of 2010's
    'cover girl' dvd: brightness and (particularly) contrast at the highest
    level possible--- sharpness at a low level to erase all that grain..... then, the 2010 dvd looks quite similar to the 2003 dvd (imho).
    perhaps that will help the blu ray also.
    ditto with 'tonight and every night' and 'salome' from ' the films of RH ' collection......the vhs releases were much brighter than their 2010 dvd counterparts
     
  9. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Well-Known Member

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    Blu-ray.com review; not a rave: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Cover-Girl-Blu-ray/45341/#Review
     
  10. Lidenbrock

    Lidenbrock Active Member

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    After reading Mr. Harris´s words, I´ve checked the screencaps at blu-ray.com, and I can only stare at them in disbelief. Mr. Harris, I respect your opinions very much and my eyes have always agreed with your "A few words about", but do you really think this blu-ray is that terrible? I have no idea what this film is supposed to look like, but I don´t find most of the screencaps less detailed than the ones from Singin´ in the rain.
     
  11. John Hermes

    John Hermes Well-Known Member

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    As has been said many times before, don't go by screen caps. RAH has seen both BDs projected onto a large screen. That is the only way to really judge things. Don't go by a screen cap a couple inches wide.
     
  12. moviepas

    moviepas Well-Known Member

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    I also have the two DVDs and the Laserdisc version. I was happy with the LD and it far exceeded a lot of color transfers I had seen at that time. I have not viewed the 2010 DVD(from a delayed DVD Box set that we finally got) and my shipment of the Blu Ray was only announced in the passed hour or so in my e-mails. I will see when I get it in a week or so.
     
  13. TheVid

    TheVid Well-Known Member

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    It's a nice blu-ray, but the contrast boosting was noticeable. I'm not unimpressed, just not excited. Sadly, as usual, the Harris view is right on, and a luscious, Technicolor version of COVER GIRL remains "long ago and far away".
     
  14. Richard Gallagher

    Richard Gallagher Well-Known Member
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  15. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Well-Known Member

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    Cover Girl is one of my favourite films and so this Blu-ray was an essential purchase for me. The picture quality is superior to that of the 2003 DVD but not as bright. Based on other comments it seems that it is not much of a step up from the (restored) 2010 DVD release which I do not have. I have made the same observations about Pal Joey and Bell Book & Candle. I think this will be the problem going forward with Blu-ray releases of classic films. If it is a favourite you will upgrade but if not the DVD may be good enough. The number of comments about a release on HTF may correlate with the number of copies sold. If this is the case Cover Girl Blu-ray may be in stock for some time.
     
  16. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    Gene Kelly's duel with himself is one of the Great Gene Kelly Scenes, but it never gets featured with the usual MGM-retrospective suspects for not being an MGM musical. That, and the title number, which is a retro blast to see what most magazine covers actually looked like in 1944. :)
     
  17. Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Well-Known Member

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    Watched my new TT blu of "Cover Girl" (got it during the sale). Never seen it before but got it since it had Phil Silvers, Eve Arden and of course Rita Hayworth.
    Impressive (I'm easy to please for blus) but yes, it did seem a little dim. Not much but barely noticeable. Still enjoyed the film and will watch it again.
     
  18. John Maher_289910

    John Maher_289910 Well-Known Member

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    The number that has never been featured in any MGM-retrospectives is "He's My Friend" from THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN, and it IS MGM! My favorite number from any MGM film.

    Gene Kelly punched-out Charles Vidor during the filming of COVER GIRL. Some say he looks disagreeable, throughout this film. Not being a Kelly fan, per se, it's been too long since I've seen it, so I can't comment on that. I like Rita, however, but prefer her with Astaire.
     
  19. ThadK

    ThadK Well-Known Member

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    I was not terribly impressed with the color on the TT "Cover Girl"... But then, I've seen it in 35mm Tech, so I'm biased. Frankly, by comparison, the TT "Used Cars" knocked my socks off!
     
  20. ROclockCK

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    I thought Cover Girl looked pretty darn good overall...I mean, for a film with a trashed negative. There was nothing upstream for Grover Crisp and his team to go back to...
     

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