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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Grass is Greener -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Growing up, I was a huge fan of Cary Grant, catching up with his classics from the '30s and keeping up with new productions like North by Northwest.

    Hitting the '60s, appearances began to slow down. Only six after his final Hitchcock epic.

    Olive has brought us two of those, The Grass is Greener (1960) and Father Goose (1964), both originally released through Universal.

    As directed by Stanley Donen, who had previously done Indiscreet and Charade, two superb films, The Grass is Greener comes off as a bit of a fun comedy of manners, with a greet supporting cast -- Jean Simmons, Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum.

    Produced in Technirama, this was a major production, and like many other TLA films, it was released reduction printed to 35mm Panavision and monaural audio.

    But it looked extraordinary in its original dye transfer prints.

    No more.

    TGiG is now merely a shadow of itself, both visually and aurally. Is it worth releasing as a Blu-ray?

    Knowing what it could look like, I'd say no.

    Overall, it has decent color, albeit with a slightly faded look, lacking in pop and resolution. Blacks are almost nonexistent, and colors are decidedly okay.

    On the audio front, dialogue is strangely sibilant, and unpleasant.

    A wonderful film, and an extremely weak offering on Blu-ray.

    Image - 2.5

    Audio - 2

    RAH
     
  2. JohnMor

    JohnMor Premium
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    Hmmm, doesn't bode well for the upcoming That Touch of Mink.
     
  3. classicmovieguy

    classicmovieguy Screenwriter

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    This title has never really fared well on home video, unfortunately. The UK DVD was a non-anamorphic mess.
     
  4. Robin9

    Robin9 Screenwriter

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    I saw this film when it first came out. I didn't like it much and I've never seen it again. Since then, Cary Grant and Robert Mitchum have become two of my ten favorite movie stars. I was planning to buy this BRD, partly to see if my view of the film has changed and partly because of the stars. However if it is bad as RAH thinks, I'll pass.
     
  5. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Screenwriter

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    This is occasionally shown on television and always looks very faded. I think the script would work better as a stage play than a feature film. The butler is played by Moray Watson in one of his few film roles. He is mainly known for his television work in the UK and has the most wonderful voice.
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'll be viewing this BD sometime this weekend. I'm pretty sure my video rating for it might be a little higher than RAH's as I think this BD is probably on par with prior Olive releases.
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Robert,

    Keep in mind, while viewing, that TGiG was shot with the same system / optics as Spartacus, El Cid and other large format productions, and should look on par.

    Unfortunately, in the case of those two, we're not really setting much of a video benchmark.

    RAH
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    RAH,

    I understand your POV, but if it wasn't for Olive there would be several titles not only unavailable on Blu-ray, but many of them weren't even released on DVD. So yeah, their video presentations should be better and the same for their audio presentations, but I am thankful still the same that Olive is releasing titles at a rate that no other studio/company is doing right now. At the same time, I'm discovering some fine films that I've never seen before seeing them on Olive discs.
     
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  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I've got to believe that had a licensing deal not gone to Olive, that some other entity would have picked these up. A very important package of product.

    RAH
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    What entity because I don't see them? Criterion has all they can handle so has TT and Warner/Paramount is not releasing titles at a rate many are happy with. The rest of the companies seem to be on par with Olive. You want excellence and I understand that and for the most part, I agree with you. However is that a reality for the way this physical video product industry is setup today with heavy emphasis placed on new releases from the studio down to the retailer segment? Blu-ray releases have never been released at the rate of the SD DVD and it never will before downloading/streaming takes it over with its slightly compromised PQ standards.

    I am haunted by our mission statement as it's what I want, but have little hope of seeing across the board on every BD release.
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The situation is actually far worse than one might imagine.

    High level Blu-rays, for the most part, signal preservation work having been performed, and films saved.

    Low level Blu-rays, such as The Grass is Greener and The Man Who Knew Too Much II, signal the use of extant damaged or low-resolution elements, while the originals continue to degrade.

    While each of the studios has viable preservation programs, semi-orphan films, such as the Grant and Hitchcock properties, may become irretrievably lost at full resolution. What we see on Blu-rays, which should be derived from the finest surviving elements, tell us far more than we might wish to know.

    RAH
     
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  12. Robin9

    Robin9 Screenwriter

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    Thank you. Please let us know your opinion.
     
  13. Brent Avery

    Brent Avery Supporting Actor

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    I watched it yesterday and as a " non expert " found it looked decent on my 42" lcd - trying it through the projector might be a different story of course but it did not look faded in the absoulute sense as the colors where acceptable and it was relatively sharp. There was a good amount of specks and other signs of print wear at times though. Certainly a passable blu ray and at least I went through cd imports so the price was reasonable.
     
  14. Douglas R

    Douglas R Screenwriter

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    I've always looked upon THE GRASS IS GREENER as a sort of companion piece to INDISCREET and have enjoyed its similar air of sophisticated comedy even though it's not as successful as the earlier film. Both films were, of course made by the Grant/Donen British production company Grandon Productions, who I suppose we must blame for not preserving the original material very well - didn't both films lose their copyright status at one stage? I haven't bothered to get any of the apparently terrible DVDs so will probably get this Olive release which I'm sure will be the best it's ever been on home video.
     
  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I watched the BD today. I agree with RAH and found the color lacking to what it should actually look like on film. An example being that green jacket worn by Grant during the dinner scene with all four stars. The green jacket was almost non-distinguishable in my opinion. Yes, it's a definite improvement over the DVD. However, the muted colors in a film that had gorgeous color throughout the film does hurt my film grade. I'll give it a 3 based on my scoring system of 1-5 with 5 being of the highest quality. Mitchum and Kerr had really good film chemistry together as I can see why they were friends in real life. Grant and Kerr weren't bad either on the screen.
     
  16. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    I had to laugh as you mentioned Spartacus and El Cid, indeed two of the worst examples of large format movies on Blu-ray. One could say they set a negative benchmark for how bad the quality can get from TLA and I hope we will not see anything worse in the future. The Grass is Greener is at least a bit better, or not?I always refer to King of Kings (1961) as an example of TLA done right on a presumably slightly higher budget and Circus World that is available in France is an example on what can be achieved on a shoestring. Too bad others do not seem to bother even with lower cost options to bring these movies to Blu-ray in an acceptable way i.e. preserving their visual and sonic qualities as far as it is possible on Blu-ray on a moderate budget.
     
  17. davidmatychuk

    davidmatychuk Screenwriter

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    I wish The Grass Is Greener was a better Blu-Ray. If a better Blu-Ray is made available, I'll buy it. It's Cary Grant. There couldn't be a lot of money to be made by restoring such films for Blu-Ray, so I think that if people encourage companies like Olive to carry on by purchasing what are indisputably the best current discs of these films, and to do better by parsing the possibilities in forums like this, what more could be done? In the meantime, there's a watchable Blu-Ray to replace a pretty terrible DVD. Bring on That Touch Of Mink and Penny Serenade! And where's Operation Petticoat?
     
  18. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Mink can hardly look worse than the current incarnations...
     
  19. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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    Harsh sibilants in an audio track; one of my biggest pet peeves in the home theater world.

    Olive used a reduction print for their release of the VistaVision film The Mountain (at least to my eye), and (criminally) a dupe for their release of High Noon, so their decision to use a poor source here is not surprising. The track should sound much better though, considering how young TGiG is in comparison to most films which have tracks with sibilant issues (at least in my experience).
     

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