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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Fighting Lady

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    For Cinema Archives has released The Fighting Lady. A superb WWII documentary produced by Louis de Rochemont, directed and with cinematography by the great still photographer Edward Steichen.

    Shot on 16mm Kodachrome, and with prints in 35mm from Technicolor, it's a film that few people have seen. The situation is clouded by the fact that while the majority of U.S. Government documentaries are in the public domain, this one is not.

    It's very much owned by Fox, which has it under copyright.

    Which is why I'm thrilled to finally see it released in any legitimate form.

    What has been transferred for the Cinema Archives DVD appears to be one of the generic 16mm Eastmancolor prints. While it isn't pretty, and has dirt making it appear to have been copied multiple generations, which it most likely was...

    It is.

    For anyone with an interest in WWII, this is a worthy addition.

    Image - 2

    Audio - 3

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Well-Known Member

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    Yet another half-hearted effort from the Fox MOD program. I'm sure that Fox at least had an IB nitrate studio print they could have used for the transfer. Very disappointing.
     
  3. Richard Gallagher

    Richard Gallagher Well-Known Member
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    A trivia note: The Fighting Lady (USS Yorktown) was originally designated to be USS Bon Homme Richard. However, that changed when the original USS Yorktown was sunk during the Battle of Midway in 1942. The new ship was renamed USS Yorktown and was commissioned in 1943. USS Bon Homme Richard (the ship I served on during the Vietnam War) had to wait until 1944 to be commissioned. USS Yorktown was decommissioned in 1970 is now a museum ship in South Carolina.
     
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  4. JoshZ

    JoshZ Well-Known Member

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    Is this DVD or Blu-ray?
     
  5. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    It appears to be DVD if you read the piece. RAH puts all his pieces in the Blu forum.
     
  6. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Well-Known Member

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    It most certainly is a mediocre Fox MOD DVD.
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    There are two 35mm nitrate prints at UCLA, one missing the first reel.RAH
     
  8. David Norman

    David Norman Premium
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    I had an interesting experience on that ship -- Boy Scouts troops often are invited to tour and spend the night on the ship during a "Field Trip." One of the things that they do (or used to) is have a screening of this film before bedtime. Really a neat thing to do -- Moms get to sleep in the Officer Quarter, the boys/Men get to sleep in the Crew Quarters in the hammocks. I really recommend an outing, but not really the best thing to do in the middle of August sitting in Charleston, SC. It was really a long miserable sweaty night though I will admit to some very strange dreams just imagining what it was like sitting in the Broiling sun in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in the Summer.
     
  9. Richard Gallagher

    Richard Gallagher Well-Known Member
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    At some point all of the active the Essex-class carriers had air conditioning installed, but the ship's engines needed to be running to power it. If they have hammocks now, they are probably trying to recreate what it was like to be aboard the ship in WWII.

    The Bon Homme Richard had air conditioning, but in the summer of 1969, while the ship was in the South China Sea, the a/c in the forward section of the ship conked out for a couple of days and the living spaces were unbearably hot. We ventured in only as long as it took to grab some clean clothes from our lockers, and we slept on the floor in work spaces where the a/c was still working.

    Here is a photo of the ship as it looked in 1969 - it looks very much like Yorktown.

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/023125.jpg
     
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  10. David Norman

    David Norman Premium
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    Didn't know or at least didn't remember that about the AC (though I think my wife said it was pretty comfortable in the twin bed in the officers quarters), but yes it was supposed to be sort of a recreation of theoriginal WWII. The hammocks were triple stacks and I got to sleep in the top one about 6 inches from the ceiling itfelt like with my 2 boys below -- not the most comfortable night in the world.
     
  11. Richard Gallagher

    Richard Gallagher Well-Known Member
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    That's interesting. I know that WWII ships had hammocks, but on my ship the bunks were made of steel and doubled as our lockers. They were six feet long, about 30 inches wide, and roughly six inches deep. Each was equipped with a reading light. They had thin mattresses which made for uncomfortable sleeping, but there was a store in San Diego which sold a very primitive version of a memory foam mattress that I put under my regular mattress and made it comfortable. The bunks were stacked three high. This link will give you an idea of what they looked like:

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2120/2426461183_e2f2198ce3.jpg
     
  12. David Norman

    David Norman Premium
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  13. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Well-Known Member

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    When I was just a young boy I spent a night on The Fighting Lady with my Boy Scout troop and it was a rather hot and sweaty night. As I fell asleep, I wondered how miserable it would have been out in the hot Pacific sun. Coincidentally, that weekend I spent there is also when I saw the film The Fighting Lady for the first time; exactly what has inspired me to revisit it all these years later.
    Some of the PD labels released the film using those as a source, I assume. Considering that the PD discs did not look at all like 16mm.
     
  14. Richard Gallagher

    Richard Gallagher Well-Known Member
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    I found a place called Zeno's Flight Shop which specializes in air combat videos. They appear to have a better copy of The Fighting Lady than the Fox MOD. A bit less expensive, too.

     
  15. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Well-Known Member

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    This film would make a wonderful companion piece to Wing and a Prayer. If that film ever gets a Blu-ray release, I'd like to see The Fighting Lady included as a hi-def extra using a proper 35mm source. Since Wing and a Prayer is just 97 minutes in length, The Fighting Lady (runtime: 61 minutes) could easily be included on a BD-50. I'm 99.9% sure that what I'm expressing here is wishful thinking, however.

    I'd also like to add that the theme music written for The Fighting Lady was reused in a number of following 20th Century Fox productions as well as in trailers for Fox films. The theme and score as a whole is very nice and I think it'd be amazing if Nick Redman happened to discover the original scoring session tracks for this film, if they still exist, that is.

    Oh, and Mr. Harris; I forgot to thank you in my last post for taking the time to have a look over at UCLA. I always appreciate when you add what info you can on surviving elements that their archive holds.
     
  16. Jacksmyname

    Jacksmyname Well-Known Member

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    I can confirm that August is not the best time to visit the museum. We live about a half hour from there, and we've been there several times. One trip was to see an air show which we watched from the deck. Great time!
    It's a great place to visit, but if you get the chance, try for cooler weather. It gets seriously hot down here, and that can take away from the fun.
    Next place I want to see is Fort Sumter.
     
  17. theonemacduff

    theonemacduff Well-Known Member

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