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

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Henry Hathaway's 1952 (released 1953) Niagara, was produced during a period of great change in the industry, as three-strip Technicolor was beginning to wind down, and Eastman direct positive was beginning to take over.

    Fortunately for modern audiences, Fox's Niagara, which was shot on acetate stock, is a beautiful today as it was sixty years ago. With surviving original elements, Fox's archival team, was able to create digital files that show off the production to its fullest potential. And within that potential, Ms Monroe looks absolutely luminous.

    I mentioned in the Shane thread that the two films had been finalized differently, with grain structure in Shane looking fully natural, while certain areas of the frame in Niagara have odd digital characteristics -- none of which are seen from a proper viewing distance. I mention them only to tell the entire story.

    The color extracted from the original elements is astoundingly beautiful. Grain structure has a very comfortable, velvety palette to it.

    Those seeking a fun-loving and carefree Monroe, may be visiting the wrong locale, for Niagara sets up a dark premise, which turns even darker -- all interesting set against gorgeous Technicolor hues.

    A wonderful film, that stands the test of time six decades later.

    Image 4.5

    Audio - 5

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. John Hermes

    John Hermes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review, RAH. You've been doing some serious movie watching lately.
     
  3. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Well-Known Member

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    Always love seeing praise for Hathaway, a very talented filmmaker who is relatively neglected by cinephiles, mostly mentioned only as the cranky director who blackballed Dennis Hopper. But I am consistently impressed by the varitey of his films, his technique and especially his masterful handling of widescreen.
     
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  4. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I haven't heard about the blackballing of Dennis Hopper, but then my knowledge of Hollywood trivia isn't very good. Glad to hear some appreciation for Henry Hathaway. I've gathered every Hathaway film that's been released on DVD and taped those that haven't off the air. He's one of those masters who could work in every genre with 100% creative success. Technically his films are clinics in direction, and he directed one flawless film after another including some of the strongest film noirs of the 1940s and some of the toughest war films of the 1950s. Even his early talkies -- like the Zane Grey adaptations at Paramount with young Randolph Scott -- are of interest. NIAGARA is my idea of a perfect film. It's also one of my favorite color films. The one film of his that mystifies me came at the end of his career, SHOOT-OUT (1971), a low-budget western that is extremely well-made but the director's story-telling choices are hard to explain.

    Anyhow, I can check off another of my "most-wanted films on blu-ray" with the release of NIAGARA. Glad to hear it's been done right. Thank goodness it isn't a Warner Brothers film.
     
  5. t1g3r5fan

    t1g3r5fan Well-Known Member

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    I have quite a few of Henry Hathaway's movies myself and I agree that he is one of the more under-appreciated directors. For all the many quality works that he turned out over the year, he was nominated for an Oscar only once (for 1935's The Lives of a Bengal Lancer) - making him one of a few directors shamefully overlooked by the Academy, such as Rouben Mamoulian, Delmer Daves, Sam Peckinpah, Douglas Sirk, Jacques Tourneur, Robert Aldrich, and Raoul Walsh, to name a few.
     
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  6. Osato

    Osato Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review Robert!!
     
  7. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Well-Known Member

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    Yes, thanks for the confirmation. It looked good in the screenshots, but it's good to know it's faithful to the original look of the movie. Will be great to finally see this movie the way it was intended, as I've only ever seen the DVD presentation of it up till now.
     
  8. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Well-Known Member

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    The DVD when compared to the BD seriously looks like it came from a lousy CRI as opposed to the OCN or a set of seps that the BD appears it could have come from. I assume the presentation is faithful except for the frozen grain in places which may be a side effect of grain management/noise reduction. Honestly, I'm just happy it didn't turn out like the release of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes did last year.
    This

    Also, I'm overjoyed that Fox has finally wised up and opted to include the original audio in lossless. Considering that they also did so with Love Me Tender, I'm really hoping that it becomes standard on all classic releases.
     
  9. JohnMor

    JohnMor Premium
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    I'll be picking this up. Thanks!
     
  10. clambake

    clambake Well-Known Member

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    Im a fan of Henry Hathaway's movies too. The Shepherd Of The Hills, Sundown, Call Northside 777, North To Alaska, all great ones. And Niagara is a really suspenseful film. Totally recommended to those of you who haven't seen it yet.

    BTW, I know to a lot of people, Marilyn is considered the most beautiful and captivating American actress of the 50s.

    But to me, it's her co-star in this movie, Jean Peters.

    The first time I saw Jean Peters walk onscreen in Pickup On South Street, it was like love at first sight. I was instantly smitten. Birds swirling around my head like in the cartoons. :wub: :)

    Howard Hughes was a lucky man.
     
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  11. classicmovieguy

    classicmovieguy Well-Known Member

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    Yes Jean Peters is lovely in this film. Also gives a very clever, layered performance in the small noir gem "Blueprint for Murder". Great movie.
     
  12. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Color me a Jean Peters fan as well. I've always considered Niagara to be primarily a Jean Peters movie. I've like her in everything I've seen her in, particularly the aformentioned Pickup on South Street.
     
  13. Rob W

    Rob W Well-Known Member

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    Watched it tonight for the first time and thought it was a stellar transfer and a very enjoyable film, helped immeasurably that most of it was actually shot at Niagara Falls with a minimum of rear-projection until the finale ( understandably ).

    If you haven't seen it, DO NOT WATCH THE TRAILER BEFORE YOU SEE THE FEATURE !!
     
  14. Tom Logan

    Tom Logan Well-Known Member

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    I can't think of another movie where I got such a sense of the place, both its layout and its sensations. Really an accomplishment on that score.
     
  15. Osato

    Osato Well-Known Member

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    Hoping Wal Mart or Costco have a good price again on this title and Bus Stop. Last summer they both had the MM titles for under $10.

    Has anyone seen them at either retailer? If so, is the pricing the same?

    Will try and get to them this weekend, but I have a very full week.

    Looking forward to seeing both films!
     
  16. Scott Merryfield

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    We watched this last night -- it was my first time ever seeing the film. What a pleasant surprise. My wife and both really enjoyed this one.
    I agree. I have been to Niagara Falls many times, beginning in the early 1970's. It was quite interesting, though, to see the lack of traffic on the road by the Falls or congestion at the border crossing. Overall, though, the film does an excellent job of capturing the area, especially as it probably was in the '50's -- except, of course for the cabins, which were set pieces and not a part of the "real" Niagara Falls.
     
  17. Douglas_H

    Douglas_H Well-Known Member

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    Not me, I've always considered Niagara to be primarily a Don Wilson movie
     
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  18. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Well-Known Member

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    Hahahah! I think I love you! (but no props for Lurene Tuttle?)
     
  19. Eastmancolor

    Eastmancolor Well-Known Member

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    An absolutely stunning transfer. Being one of a small number of Technicolor 3-strip original negatives on safety film (Fox switched over to Eastman color the following year) this is a title where the negative survives, unlike the nitrate era titles. The disc is a prime example of just how good 3-strip can look when properly scanned to digital.

    To think, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN could have looked like this. If only...
     
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  20. Peter Rohlfs

    Peter Rohlfs Well-Known Member

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    I love this film and the great transfer they did. I wonder what their marketing department is thinking. No Niagara falls or the iconic red dress. It's like they went out of their way to make the cover as boring as possible.
     

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