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Chinatown DVD

Discussion in 'DVD' started by MarcoBiscotti, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Will we ever see a Special Edition release??

    Should I give up already and just pick this up?


    Also, is there any chance that L.A. Confidential might see a new release, perhaps with an added commentary track and sans snapper this time?


    Thanks!
     
  2. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Sorry for upping this but I am about to place an online order for a number of DVD's and would just like to know the following:

    Are "Chinatown" & "To Catch A Thief" safe buys?

    Are re-issues or updated releases expected? Paramount isn't big on revisiting films from what I've seen so I'd just like some sort of confirmation to rest assured in my purchase as right now, neither seem to be definitive versions which offer many supllemental features...

    Thanks.
     
  3. Scott Shanks

    Scott Shanks Second Unit

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    Nothing is ever a sure thing. I've heard nothing of re-releases of either of those titles and To Catch A Thief is a relatively recent release with a good array of supplements (especially for a Paramount title).

    Chinatown has short but worthwhile interviews with Evans, Towne and Polanski. Come on Marco, its Chinatown.
     
  4. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Youre right Scott, sold!

    Thanks for the help.
     
  5. ScottFH

    ScottFH Stunt Coordinator

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    JMHO,

    but I was disappointed with the visual "appearance" of the "Chinatown" DVD picture: very "soft" looking, not at all like I remember in theaters when the film first came out.

    I read several reviews on the DVD, none of whom made any mention of this - in fact, most praised the transfer/"appearance" of the image.

    I was/am a big fan of this film - saw it several times when it was first released.

    My girlfriend is a photographer & fan of the film and she, too, was disappointed.

    But, better than not having it at all...

    Again, JMHO...
     
  6. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    Okay...please take what I have to say with a grain of salt, because I was too young to see this film during its original theatrical release. However, I just watched the DVD for the first time this past week and found the transfer to be excellent. There were a few soft shots, but given the age of the film I was very impressed the color and the black levels. If you're a fan of the film then I would not recommend holding out for an SE, personally, because I have a feeling Paramount won't be releasing one anytime soon.
     
  7. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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    I'm resurrecting this thread after doing an "advanced forum search" for this topic and coming up... here. I'm wondering if anyone's done any comparisons of the newer Centennial Collection 2-disc CHINATOWN and the original single disc edition?


    Having recently picked up the Centennial Collection set, I just compared the two and found that the newer disc is quite disturbingly... less good than the original. It's a dark movie. Shadows are dense, crowding, encroaching. But on the newer disc, I found those shadows are surprisingly blotched and unclear.Couple of quick examples: See the twilight entry into the nursing home driveway ("Mar Vista"): the shrubs that line the wall of the stucco building are clear and definitive in the original disc, with shadows within shadows. On the new disc, they are a black blob smeared on the side of the building. At the very very end of the film (after "It's Chinatown"), the camera lifts up, off the street, over the heads of the people and we see the street itself, black asphalt. On the original disc, the street is there, blue-black asphalt, covered in trash, papers, etc. In the new disc, the street is a blotch of black shadow that looks underexposed, with no detail at all, like an oil slick.
    I'm thinking that the original disc print of the film is more clear, more nuanced, with deep shadows that don't hide details. The new print of the film is almost a mess in comparison, blobby shadows with no definition and no detail at all. I'm sort of shocked by this, how bad the two discs are in comparison, and wondered if anyone else has had this experience. Usually the HTF is all over stuff like this, but no one seems to have mentioned the new CHINATOWN disc set. (I did an "advanced forum search," remember?) I have not seen or heard anything about this comparison.
    Now what? I will try to find a 3-disc holder, I think. I will keep the original disc to watch. The new disc has a commentary on it, so I'll use it for that. The second disc (of the 2-disc set) is bonus stuff, so I'll keep that.


    What do you think? Any opinions? Any serious comparisons made out there?


    MC
     
  8. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I will preface my remarks with the admission that Chinatown is something of a religion with me. I saw it projected many, many times during its original theatrical release in the summer and fall of 1974 and I've been known to drive vast distances to catch repertory screenings. I've seen it projected about a hundred times over the years and I'm not finished with it yet.

    DVD Beaver compares the original disc (November 1999) to the Special Collector's Edition (November 2007) here:

    http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews20/chinatown_dvd_review.htm

    but it is not updated to compare with the more recent Centennial Edition (October 2009).

    The Centennial Edition is a sharper, cleaner, more present film, but the transfer is too bright. They didn't need to brighten it so much. The present generation of timers and telecine operators are accustomed to the look of digital video and they are schooled in digital technologies, not in film emulsions and lighting techniques. They don't understand that darkness tells a story. Instead of allowing shadows to drop off into darkness, as the filmmakers intended, they brighten it so that the textures can be seen. The brightening takes the mystery out of Ida Sessions dark apartment, the sense of danger out of Jake's night time visit to the acquaduct where he encounters the midget, and robs the final dialog "Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown" of its visual metaphor in the street at the end.

    There seems no way of correcting this rampant problem.

    Dr. No and especially From Russia With Love suffer similarly from too much brightening.

    End of rant.
    Try adjusting your display.
     
  9. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    I didn't even know that the Centennial Edition existed. Does anyone know why its been discontinued, while the 2007 collectors edition is still available?

    Doug
     
  10. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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    Huh. My display (Sony KDS) is totally calibrated and looks amazing. My Centennial Collection CHINATOWN, as I mention above, is... dark and dense with no shadow definition at all.
    Your quoted description here could be describing my impression of the print on the original disc; maybe it's a little "too bright." But it certainly has more definition in the shadow zones than the blobby Centiennial Collection print.

    So confusing.

    MC
     
  11. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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    You guys used to be all over this kind of thing. I could always count on the HTF to get into the weeds about this kind of stuff, especially with a film of this caliber.

    Oh well. :(





    MC
     

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