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A Few Words About A few words about... The Sound of Music

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The newest version of The Sound of Music from Fox Home Video takes a large step forward at trying to make amends for past transgressions, but in the end, doesn't quite get there.

    This shouldn't be all that difficult when its predecessor was one of the worst looking discs to come from a major studio.

    While eminently more viewable, changes haven't gone far enough.

    The horrific electronic enhancement which covered the first go 'round is gone, and that's certainly a step in the right direction.

    But color varies throughout from quite nice in some scenes to impermissable in others -- the night scene which includes the song "sixteen going on seventeen" for example with horrific flesh tones.

    Overall in many interior scenes, the color is simply pumped too high, making Eleanor Parker's gown, face and hair in one shot look almost monochromatic.

    The wonderful delicate golden tones which Mr. Wise used in his prologue title over the city is almost an ochre with the right side of the image going decidedly green.

    The initial scenes as Maria is introduced to the baron and the children look fine, with the exception that the left side of the image is blue.

    There is also a vertical scratch which offends the opening shots -- something that could easily have been corrected digitally, if someone cared enough.

    Overall the image seems soft, looking as if it were rendered on an archaic piece of transfer equipment.

    In short, hopefully someone at Fox will make yet another attempt to do right by this classic, which seems beloved to at least a handful of people. I've got to believe that sales will go above 500 units, so additional time and effort should have been taken.

    We'll look forward to the high definition version.

    One thing that I found delightful was a recent half hour visit with the "children" allowing them to place their performances and experience in perspective, while allowing viewers to get to know a bit about them. There are additional extras, which all will still look better than the film, which one would think should be the centerpiece of the effort.

    Recommended, more or less.

    RAH
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    And how many years did The Sound of Music play in the theaters??? The younger generation would be amazed at the length of TSoM's theatrical run.

    What a shame, Robert.


    ...speaks volumes.

    I'll make the purchase as its better. But this one should be given the full treatment.
     
  3. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Screenwriter

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    I don't love this film enough to reward a substandard effort just to have it on DVD. I'm willing to wait until they get it right.
     
  4. Yumbo

    Yumbo Screenwriter

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    good "House" comment, Mr. Harris.
     
  5. Will Ryan

    Will Ryan Agent

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    A new restoration is not needed on this title since the Academy Film Archive did a great one in 65mm about three years ago. FOX just needs to use these elements (I'm guessing they will for a hi-def release)
     
  6. John Gilmore

    John Gilmore Stunt Coordinator

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    Mr. Harris:

    Based on your comments, it sounds as if Fox did a totally new transfer of the film, as opposed to simply going back to the previous master sans edge enhancement. From your point fo view, is that a correct presumption? If so, why, considering that, IIRC, Robert Wise signed off on the color timing of the previous edition (although even on the last transfer I thought that the color on the "16 Going on 17" number looked odd).
     
  7. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Will: Why would Fox use the Academy restoration for a hi-def release, but not now?
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I don't believe that this is a new transfer, although certain things do look a bit different, ie. the separation look in the earlier version.

    I'm not an expert in transfer technology, and have not requested any specific information regarding the release.
     
  9. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the "few words...", Robert. As always, your background and experience benefits us all.

    As for me, I'll upgrade. I love this film too much and I simply cannot stand the picture quality on the current DVD. So I suppose that makes me a sucker since I'll upgrade yet again if they do the disc right on the next go round.

    Robert's points are well taken. This is not some fringe cult classic that interests a select few. This is one of Fox's crown jewels. You'd think it would be treated as such.
     
  10. PaulBigelow

    PaulBigelow Stunt Coordinator

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    Considering the movie practically saved Fox....
     
  11. ScottR

    ScottR Screenwriter

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    In my mind, this film has never been properly presented on any home video format, which is a shame. I'm low on funds, and will probably skip this release.
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I'm quite certain that the film has been properly restored by Fox in association of The Academy Film Archive.

    It is possible that this release is not representative of the latest work...

    which means that this should be one of the high definition first buy, necessities from Fox.

    Hopefully, it will re-appear in 12-18 months.
     
  13. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    Any 65mm video transfer done 3 years ago will be sub-standard.

    4K film scanners capable of handling 65mm film are a fairly recent development.

    If anyone wants to see the result of using a 4K film scanner, they need look no farther than the latest "Wizard of Oz.

    Ted
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    WB handles their scanning in a different manner. And I believe have followed the lead we set with My Fair Lady over a decade ago, in scanning from a specially prepared 35mm interpositive in 65mm AR, produced directly from the large format element.

    I can't wait to see what they've done with Ryan's Daughter.
     
  15. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    It is strongly preferable to use the original 65/70mm element for scanning purposes. Any optical printing introduces degredation, and 35mm film simply doesn't have the resolution to transfer properly to High Definition. Both facts are masked by the 35mm's cutting off the gradual slope of the large-format MTF curve very sharply, so that it actually looks clearer than the large-format element out to its limit of resolution; but that limit falls too low for High Definition work. One of the first pieces of HD equipment ever built was a 70mm telecine, so surely somebody has one which works right by now! It's been a good 30 years.
     
  16. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    I thought the color on the previous dvd of Sound of Music was right on the money. I watch on a standard 35 inch tv.
     
  17. John Gilmore

    John Gilmore Stunt Coordinator

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    I did see the recent, Robert Wise-approved 70mm print that was shown at the Samuel Goldwyn theatre a couple of years back, and the color on the previous DVD was very close to that print. It would be a shame if they messed it up on the new DVD.
     
  18. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I saw that print, too. Then I saw another newly struck 70mm print a few months ago at the widescreen weekend. Colors were subdued and the picture was overall soft.
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Optics!
     
  20. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Robert: Why wouldn't they have used this "proper restoration" for this release?

    It's a real shame that they didn't.
     

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