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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Red Dust -- DVD

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    How many films can you think of, in which a lead actor plays the same (or essentially the same) role in a re-make?

    Such is the case with this very important pre-code classic, with not only a great yarn, but huge star power.

    Take a look at the credits.

    Directed by Victor Fleming - Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz

    Photographed by Harold Rossen - Manhandled, Docks of New York, Tarzan the Ape Man, Red-Headed Woman, The Garden of Allah, The Wizard of Oz, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Duel in the Sun, Singin' in the Rain

    Edited by Blanche Sewell - Grand Hotel, Queen Christina, The Wizard of Oz, Ziegfeld Girl

    Art Direction by Cedric Gibbons - Wild Orchids, The Kiss, Grand Hotel, Rasputin and the Empress, Tarzan and His Mate, The Thin Man, The Merry Widow, David Copperfield, Mutiny on the Bounty, A Night at the Opera, A Tale of Two Cities, Camille, Yellow Jack, The Shopworn Angel, Boys Town, The Wizard of Oz, Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner, Ziegfeld Girl, Mrs. Miniver, Lassie Come Home, Madame Curie, Gaslight, Kismet,, Meet Me in St. Louis, National Velvet, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Yearling, Easter Parade, Little Women, Adam's Rib, On the Town, Kim, Quo Vadis, Singin' in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful, Kiss Me Kate, Brigadoon, High Society, Lust for Life

    A great many titles to make a simple point.

    This was a production created by M-G-M's "A" team.

    The problem was this.

    The original nitrate negative was lost in the GEH fire.

    No nitrate fine grain. The only decent surviving element was a safety fine grain, struck after a great deal of damage to the original.

    This is a film that really could not look decent without a heavy dose of digital medicine.

    And Warner's MPI has come to the rescue.

    While not pristine -- a virtual impossibility -- the new DVD is a very high quality representation of a film that I've personally never seen look anywhere near as good.

    Did I mention that it stars Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Gene Raymond, Marty Astor and Donald Crisp?

    A necessity for the collection of any true fan of the cinema, and a film via its pre-code roots that holds up beautifully eighty years after it was made.

    Image - 4 (based upon surviving elements)

    Audio - 3

    Very Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. WadeM

    WadeM Well-Known Member

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    Excellent film, and I love the remake too. Ordered!
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    And the connection between the remake and Lawrence of Arabia?
     
  4. Timothy E

    Timothy E Well-Known Member
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    Freddie Young?
     
  5. WadeM

    WadeM Well-Known Member

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    Freddie Young is what I would say, and would be the most noticed connection, as far as I know.
    On a more obscure note, there's Eva Monley: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/eva-monley-hollywoods-expert-africa-263629
     
  6. Adam_S

    Adam_S Well-Known Member

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    I'm excited this is finally released, too bad WB didn't put it on their bluray archives label as well. :)
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The cost to bring it up to proper BD quality would have been extremely prohibitive.

    RAH
     
  8. Adam_S

    Adam_S Well-Known Member

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    Ah, so they mastered to digibeta rather than HDCAMSR then? And I guess this means no DCP will be replacing the well worn 35mm prints that are available for rep houses either?
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Not afaik. This film has had major condition problems, and work done toward the archive title was akin to tilting at windmills.

    RAH
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    RAH,

    Is it a good assumption that the same element problem exists for titles like Test Pilot and A Guy Named Joe? Thankfully, MPI has made enough advances that those two titles should be coming our way through the Archive program.







    Crawdaddy
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    One should not make assumptions. All depends upon whether OCN survives, and if it does not, at what point in the OCN's life, a fine grain was produced.
    In the case of RD, everything that could go against, did.
    RAH
     
  12. ReggieW

    ReggieW Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review RAH.
    I've been championing for YEARS to get all of Ms. Harlow's films on DVD. Myself and many others around here grew frustrated as the years went on and films like Bombshell, Red Dust & Hold Your Man never saw the light of day. It was not until about two years before the release of Harlow's centennial collection via the archives last year, that we learned how bad the source material was for her films. This coupled with the dramatic decline in dvd sales in 2007-8 made bringing these treasures to DVD all the more difficult cost-wise.
    I was VERY impressed with the presentation of both Red Dust and Hold Your Man. As much as I'd love to see all of her films on Blu-ray, I know that it's probably not economically feasible at this time, though I'm betting we could possible see Warner release Dinner at Eight & MAYBE Hell's Angels from Universal at some point in the near future. I know The Public Enemy will be on Blu-ray via the gangster set, but I really consider this a signature Cagney film not a Harlow one.
     
  13. Mark-P

    Mark-P Well-Known Member

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    But a BD made from existing elements would still look better than the 1/6th resolution DVD. Sometimes it's hard to invest in a DVD knowing that a BD edition is a future possibility. I've been burned quite a few times buying DVDs that I thought had no chance of a Blu-ray release. That said, I'll probably pick this up the next time the archive has one of their special deals.
     
  14. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Well-Known Member
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    Wonder if Warners has ever found any better elements for Libled Lady? When I first watched it on DVD, I was appalled by how beaten up the film looked. Harlow's films really have been dealt a poor hand. I don't have Red Dust yet, but I do intend to get it at the next 5 for $50 sale.
     

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