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

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    "What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died..." Fox has released one of the consummate noir dramas of any era on Blu-ray, and as far as surviving elements go, it looks generally superb. Otto Preminger's 1944 Laura, was nominated for five Academy Awards, and won for Best Cinematography (Joseph LaShelle). If only the vault staff at Fox had taken that into consideration before they did the deed. The new Blu-ray, which an image that appears to have been harvested from a fine grain, still has a quality image, but I'd pay several times the price to have that image harvested from either the original negative, or a higher quality fine grain. But we have what we have, and the archival staff as Fox have taken the element, and made it extremely presentable. Good black levels, decent grain and resolution, and in many cases decent shadow detail. Some sequences appear just a tad open, but without reference, any certainty is difficult. Old video incarnations are of no value. Gene Tierney is magnificent, and Clifton Webb, Vincent Price and Judith Anderson are sublime. Dana Andrews is terrific as the straight man, trying to solve the mystery. One of the great films, and a quality Blu-ray. Image - 4 Audio - 4.5 For those few who may never have seen this film, you're in for a treat of the highest degree. Read nothing before viewing. Very Highly Recommended. RAH
     
  2. Jacksmyname

    Jacksmyname Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Robert. I've loved this film since I first saw it. I was around 11, I think; I'm now 63. Glad to read that Fox did a good job with this Blu Ray.
     
  3. John Morgan

    John Morgan Well-Known Member

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    I saw a rare nitrate 35mm print of this film in the 70s. Although I didn't remember that "extra" scene per se, I do remember a sequence that didn't have Laura playing, which I never remembered from TV showings. Ray Faiola wrote this explanation on the FSM boards: Two of the montage sequences have non-Raksin source music that resulted in National Telefilm Associates, who syndicated the Fox Library, CUTTING the scenes from the picture because they didn't want to pay the license fee. NTA took this miserable "we won't pay the two dollars" attitude to quite a few films, most notably JOHNNY APOLLO which was shorn of more than ten minutes, including the scene where Ty Power first meets Dorothy Lamour. If the music wasn't covered in NTA's blanket license agreement, out went the footage! The above certainly makes sense to me.
     
  4. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it makes sense that in TV showings that music was removed. It's always been in the theatrical prints.
     
  5. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    Very close to my thoughts on the transfer - not the best black-and-white transfer I've seen, but very nice looking, especially given the very long and very frequent opticals. There are a few close-ups of Miss Tierney that are gorgeous, though.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Gorgeous, beyond belief!
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    You got that right!
    Crawdaddy
     
  8. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    Just a friendly head's up that the limited edition Laura soundtrack CD we announced on Monday is about to sell out, so if you want one high tail it over to kritzerland.com.
     
  9. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Well-Known Member

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    Just as I go to finalize my order of this BD from Amazon, I'm confronted with the message that it's now unavailable due to complaints. I just hope it's not due to people whining about the cover picture.
     
  10. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    Lol. That's the only problem I can see with the release and I have watched it four times since Tuesday. I have fallen in love Miss Tierney.
     
  11. moovtune

    moovtune Well-Known Member

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    I watched this last night finally and was disappointed with the flutter in the audio through much of the film, particularly obvious during music scenes. It's quite noticeable in the scene where Dana Andrews comes back to the Laura's apartment and wanders around prior to dozing off ...a rather important scene featuring David Raksin's lovely tune. I thought the picture quality was quite satisfactory, but it's difficult to hear David's score wowing and fluttering so much. I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this.
     
  12. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    I mentioned it in another thread or somewhere. It's very noticeable throughout. Our CD has no wow and flutter issues at all.
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yeah, I watched it again today and was again captivated by Gene Tierney.
    Crawdaddy
     
  14. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bruce, I ordered my soundtrack from Screen Archives which shows the date of the 6th. I will still get my copy right? I just thought I would ask. I sure want this sound track. Thanks again for telling us when it was up for per order. I just wish as i told you in the other thread I had bought from you. What a stupid error I made. I see they still at Archives have it up for pre order. Whats this with problem with the BD? I have watched mine about 4 times since Tuesday. thanks Mark
     
  15. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    Didn't notice the flutter. I'll give it another look again and clean my ears.
     
  16. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    We'll have our discs next Wednesday and they'll have theirs three working days later, probably on Monday or Tuesday of the following week.
     
  17. moovtune

    moovtune Well-Known Member

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    After thinking about it for a day I decided to return my copy to Amazon. As much as I'd like to have an HD copy of the film, I don't want to condone this lack of audio quality for future releases by keeping this one and not complaining about the fluttering audio throughout. Maybe I'm too sensitive about it because I QC audio for a living at another film studio, but if this had come through my room I won't have passed it. Although, the powers that be can always say, and on occasion have, "it is what it is" and allow it through. Perhaps a Fox audio QC person flagged this audio and was told the same thing. I can allow an occasional wow in these older titles, but a constant issue is not acceptable IMO. I'm somewhat surprised that so many are praising the audio/video of this release.
     
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I checked the scene you mentioned, but I didn't hear your flutter complaint.
     
  19. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Don't have this yet, but will soon. I know about the flutter from having heard it on the DVD, but I thought I'd read that it was fixed on the Blu. And how in the world could it not have been??
     
  20. PJK WhitePlains

    PJK WhitePlains New Member

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    While this is the best transfer in terms of picture detail, it lacks the brilliance and contrast one usually finds from 35mm film of the era, even in a "safety" reprint of a nitrate era production. For sharpness, the blu-ray is much better than the VHS and DVD releases. However, it terms of image density and gray scale range it is lacking. My guess is that the reason for this is that all that remained for Fox to work with was a low contrast reproduction made when National Telefilm Associates distributed "Laura" and a bunch of other Fox pictures to t-v in the 50's. Back then, the telecine cameras could not handle high contrast film which required low contrast prints to be made for t-v exhibition. The fact that Fox replaced the original studio logo at the opening with a more modern version indicates to me that, indeed, they were stuck using low contrast NTA elements for this blu-ray transfer. When NTA syndicated the Fox package, they replaced the Fox logo with one of their own creation which started with the Fox logo, then dissolved into an NTA credit while the Fox fanfare continued, and then either dissolved into the feature's main title card or used a quick fade as a transition. NTA cut their version of the Fox logo into the 35mm negatives or fine grains they used for making their 16mm materials for printing. The VHS of "Laura" contains the barest glimpse of the NTA credit before the main title appears in a jump cut from black. Clearly, Fox had to eliminate any NTA credit from this blu-ray. As a practical matter, this is probably as good as "Laura" is going to look unless a pre-NTA version can be found. Probably the worst scene in terms of lack of contrast is a daylight exterior of Laura's apartment which looks completely washed out, as if badly over exposed by an amateur cameraman. Having met Otto Preminger, I'd dare day he'd be most vocal in his disapproval.
     

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