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A few words re: The Adventures of Robin Hood

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    After a brief spin of the new Robin Hood release from WB, I highly recommend their offering.

    The Technicolor records have been beautifully rendered from both original and dupe elements, and form the best looking version of the film in modern times. It should be noted that while this release does not accurately represent the 1938 original, those familiar with early three strip Technicolor will be aware that a proper representation of the original look would be met by a less than enthusiastic reception in 2003.

    This Robin Hood is wonderfully portrayed and reproduced for its entertainment pleasure, which is immense.

    A primary disc and a second are packed with additional material inclusive of a documentary on the Technicolor process and a large group of deleted scenes and outs.

    This is a disc which belongs in the collection of anyone who loves film and a bargain at under $20.

    RAH
     
  2. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for chiming in on this, Mr. Harris! Glad to see it get your recommendation. This is one of my all-time favorite films and I absolutely can't wait to get this in my hot little hands.
     
  3. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Premium
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    I saw this film at Cinerama in Seattle several weeks ago and it looked great there. One neat-o thing was the prior to the film, they showed the Bugs Bunny cartoon where Robin Hood has a cameo. I do hope that is included on the DVD.

    Mark
     
  4. BruceKimmel

    BruceKimmel Well-Known Member

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    Wait a mo! You mean all those people who were "disappointed" in this disc without even seeing it because of some rather inane online reviews will be HAPPY? It's lovely to have Mr. Harris here, because he is one person who knows what things should look like (I've had enough 35mm tech prints in my life to also have a pretty good notion). Lesson one: Really, take these online sites' "reviews" with a large container of SALT.
     
  5. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Well-Known Member

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    All that about 90% of on-line reviewers do is keep jive alive.

    Hail, Robert Harris! [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  6. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Well-Known Member

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    To film purists this version does not look like the original Technicolor version, as Mr. Harris opines. A similar debate occured when Gone With The Wind came out. Color values were changed for modern tastes. Let the bickering begin. [​IMG]
     
  7. DeeF

    DeeF Well-Known Member

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    Could you expound slightly further, Mr. Harris, about the difference in color in Robin Hood from the original?

    I'll ask some questions to get you started...

    Is this because of the original "key" strip, say, a print of 50% of the blue negative (printed in grays), which was used for contrast and a kind of edge enhancement? So the original would have been darker, shadowier, and somehow punchier than what we currently see.

    Although I understand that the colors are different now, I seem to recall that Selznick was very happy with the colors of Gone with the Wind in 1954, pronouncing them a huge improvement over the original color of that movie. Now Robin Hood was made by Warners, but in an off-handed way, the change in color mimics the other film, since both were 3-strip Technicolor with "key" strips.

    In any event, the current DVD and prints of Robin Hood are very pleasurable. I've seen other movies on DVD from 1938 (including You Can't Take It With You, the AA winner that year) and they look OLD, scratchy and worn.

    I hope you'll comment on the quality of "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" since it's the one of these current three Warners SEs that seems to have some problems, print damage and other video problems.
     
  8. John Knowles

    John Knowles Well-Known Member

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    I realize that this isn't about the DVD per se, but does the new restored print that's making the rounds in theaters right now have "the look" of the original or has it been "modernized"?
     
  9. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Well-Known Member

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    When showed a copy of the newly registered and LDI processed Singin' in the Rain (it wasn't clear in the article whether this was shown to him on a scanned film print or on DVD), co-director Stanley Donen, in an LA Times article (available only by subscription now, but previously posted by the paper on-line) said "it didn't look that good when we made it!" The article doesn't read any sarcasm into this, so ... there ya' have it. The directors of Robin Hood are no longer with us, and neither are the cinematographers, but if the same aesthetic of "improvement" brought to Singin' in the Rain is again on display here, I wouldn't worry (that doesn't mean they'd look the same, and of course they shouldn't, but rather that the same principles of digital restoration/remastering and home video transfer have been applied, based upon any number of factors in the original elements).

    Also, while they didn't name the specific film, in their last chat Warner Bros. said they had a new Ultra Resolution product on the way that bested what they had achieved with Singin' in the Rain. Most have assumed all along that product would be The Adventures of Robin Hood, and if it indeed equals or bests the aesthetic achieved in the UR Singin' in the Rain ... well, this bodes exceedingly well for the rumored 65th Anniversary Edition of Gone with the Wind next year. [​IMG] to WB for their continuing dedication to DVD excellence -- they remain a high water mark for the industry, and I'm on tenter hooks awaiting my copy of the Legends set (the DVDFile review of The Adventures of Robin Hood states there isn't the slightest trace of EE, and if this is so ... I may have a new favorite disc on my shelf! The most persistent problems in the industry remain EE and "high frequency filtering," and studios really need to dedicate themselves to treating the DVD format, six years old and counting, with the digital precision it demands, and cease the now needless use of antiquated analogue "fixes" to low res troubles established with VHS and laserdisc, among them the application of edge enhancement -- I just can't wait to see this release; a tentative, but hopeful, bravo to WB).

    For those wondering about Treasure of the Sierra Madre, I rented it once on VHS and seem to recall the same odd "brighter/darker" banding mentioned by others here and manifesting itself in one scene, but I can't be certain until I've seen the disc. If I'm right, it's a print error (or possibly an error on the original camera negative, perhaps heat damage such as that seen in parts of Lawrence of Arabia, or a photochemical error of one sort or another), as it has manifested in multiple home video masters. Just a guess, though.
     
  10. DeeF

    DeeF Well-Known Member

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    The stripes I see in that one scene in Treasure couldn't possibly be chemical. There are 3 perfectly straight geometric slices through the picture horizontally. It's some kind of digital error.
     
  11. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    Thanks, RAH. I was definitely considering this before; now it's a must buy.
     
  12. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Well-Known Member

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    The original color pallette for Robin Hood and Gone With The Wind was considerably muted compared to the original Singin' In The Rain. Bill, I believe you're comparing Apples and Oranges (or whatever) in this instance. Rain was always "over the top" with the color in my opinion ... it was meant to be.

    I once read that the studios were very afraid of 3 stripTechnicolor and feared that audiences would not like ithe "garishness" of it so they went conservative in the beginning. The Cinerama Dome is showing the digital version of Robin Hood so I assume all the current versions running in theatres are the more modern color pallette. "I shot an arrow into the air, and where it....." [​IMG]
     
  13. Michael Boyd

    Michael Boyd Well-Known Member

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  14. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Well-Known Member

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    Author Bill Warren saw ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD in DLP a few nights ago in Los Angeles. And movie historian par excellence Tom Weaver saw ADVS... in NYC a few weeks ago. He said it looked gorgeous, but he isn't sure if it was DLP or just a great 35mm print.

    Either way, it's a great way to see this film(though I'd probably opt for a mint 35mm print if I had the choice).
     
  15. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Well-Known Member

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    I'll be playing it as part of the Big Screen Classics series in Suffern, New York, at the Lafayette Theatre, some time next February or early March. 35mm film only, of course...
     
  16. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Well-Known Member

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    Peter Kline wrote:
     
  17. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Well-Known Member

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    To the best of my knowledge, Lowery has had NOTHING to do with Warner Brothers' upcoming DVD of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD.
     
  18. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Well-Known Member

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    According to the above-mentioned LA Times article, Lowry Digital provided cleaning and anti-flare digital services on the Singin' in the Rain digital restoration/remastering effort. As I've mentioned several times elsewhere, John Lowry, in his chat here at the HTF (which can be found at the "chat transcripts" link at the top of this page), took credit for Ultra Resolution in a direct question about the potential of the process.

    The matter is far from resolved. Robert Harris (I believe) has mentioned elsewhere that the process was developed by AOL (presumably for purposes other than film strip registry) and came into use by WB when the two companies merged. But LDI most definitely worked on Singin', and if, as all indications suggest, Robin Hood is another Ultra-Resolution project, it stands very much to reason that LDI has again provided digital clean-up services, at the very least. They have a long-standing relationship with WB that includes a great many films on disc (Citizen Kane, North by Northwest, Now, Voyager, The Women, Them!, Mildred Pierce, Singin' in the Rain ... to name just those that come to mind at the moment).
     
  19. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Well-Known Member

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    I wonder: should we just call Bill Burns, Mr. Burns? I vote he should have one-word posts where he says, "Excellent"

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    A few notes:

    I do find it odd when individuals take credit for something that they have nothing to do with by simply not denying the fact.

    While "ultra-rez" is a fine process, which works well with older three strip (and presumably) separation elements, this process is not unique to W/AOL and has been in use in the digital domain by others which track the separate records and conform them to one another.

    We're currently using this process at Kodak's CineSite facility in Hollywood for Williamsburg's The Story of a Patriot.

    Three strip films produced during the early years of the process generally had an extremely heavy, muted, sepia look with low color levels. Some give the impression of almost being a lightly tinted version of a sepia toned black and white image. The silver record, as I recall, derived from the green master was used to help the dye image along.

    I should also make it clear that while I've noted that Robin Hood no longer looks as it did in 1938, that this is not necessarily a negative attribute. We're not looking at the new release as an "archival" entity, but rather as a source of modern entertainment, at which it succeeds mightily.

    RAH
     

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