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It's a mad mad mad mad world

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by BendurTailpipe, Aug 15, 2008.

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  1. John Morgan

    John Morgan Well-Known Member

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    I agree. It looked wonderful. Maybe it was a decision that the station made, but the Intermission music was missing as was the recently found radio broadcasts. I hear it is or was on its way to Blu Ray from a friend at Fox, so in one way, I hope so, in another way, I hope they (Robert Harris) do a proper restoration for the roadshow cut.
    And I wonder if this Hi Def version was from the 65mm or 35mm masters. Another friend of mine saw Hi Def clips of this a few years ago at some festival and it was said to be from the 65mm elements.
     
  2. Techman707

    Techman707 Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad to hear that they finally got the colors correct. MGM/UA DVDs has a BAD track record as far as I'm concerned. Their DVD release of "The Hallelujah Trail" looked as though it was first dragged through the back lot at Culver City. I've seen junk prints look better. On top of that, it was letterboxed and not anamorphic.

    It will be interesting to see the restoration of "The Alamo" in Blu-ray. I thought that picture was lost forever. I recall a friend of mine who worked for Pathe Labs in New Jersey in the mid sixties telling me that the (in his words) "the negatives of the Alamo were toast", after they had a big fire there. Apparently, enough "untoasted" was found to restore it.
     
  3. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Well-Known Member
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    I couldn't resist the urge to check in here, watched the film tonight on MGM HD and all I can say is WOW, it looks as good as the best transfers I have seen of any classics. Beautiful job! What a month, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Fiddler on the Roof and It's a Mad World all restored and shown on sat.tv. Chitty looks awesome as do the other 2. Problem with Chitty was it was 2:35:1 for the titles and then 1:85:1 for the rest (yeah, that's Cinemax). But the other 2, WOW! Now where are the Blu-rays with the 1080p and lossless audio?
     
  4. RolandL

    RolandL Well-Known Member

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    DVD vs. MGM HD broadcast - http://www.cineramahistory.com/iammmmwhddvd.htm . The DVD is cropped on all four sides.
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I believe everyone is waiting until the outcome of the MGM situation.
     
  6. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Well-Known Member

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    That does not surprise me at all
     
  7. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    Well the MGM HD version looks fabulous.
    Has anyone figured out what version this is?
    It's in a 3 hr slot.
    The beginning was about 3 minutes of the opening song on a black screen then the Main titles.
     
  8. RolandL

    RolandL Well-Known Member

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    The DVD was 161 minutes and I don't think it had overture music so maybe the MGM HD version is 164 minutes?
     
  9. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    Ok but were did this MGM HD version come from?
    Was it just the dvd remastered or is it from actual "film" .
     
  10. Techman707

    Techman707 Well-Known Member

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    I think someone mentioned that the "theatrical version" had been "restored" by MGM, whatever that means. But it obviously came from film elements from somewhere. I think it's disgraceful that pictures as recent as the 1960s even need to be restored by having to "hunt down" the original elements. If they can't maintain their "property", they should lose the copyright. These aren't junk "B" pictures we're talking about, these are major classics.
     
  11. allanfisch

    allanfisch Active Member

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    Ok but were did this MGM HD version come from?
    Was it just the dvd remastered or is it from actual "film" .


    I can't tell you anything about this master, except, of course it came from film. HD transfers are not remastered from DVD(SD) masters. The work-que now is to create the HD master and downconvert the SD(PAL and NTSC) from that...
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The theatrical version cannot be restored as it needs very little true restorative work. An entity calling it "restored" would be incorrect.
    RAH
     
  13. RolandL

    RolandL Well-Known Member

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    If the theatrical version does not need any restoration then, only the extra 30-35 minutes in the original roadshow version would need to be restored right? If no one wants to spend the dollars to restore the 30+ minutes then, why don't they do as Fox did with South Pacific? Add the extra minutes without the restoration. Are those 30+ minutes in a lot worse shape than the extra 15 minutes of South Pacific? Add the 15 or so minutes for the intermission radio calls and you will have about the full 210 minute original roadshow.
     
  14. Techman707

    Techman707 Well-Known Member

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    .
    YUC!!!! I have the Blu-ray of South Pacific, which comes with 2 discs, one version being the theatrical version and the other with the "extra unrestored footage" being called the "Road Show" version. On the Road Show version, that unrestored footage intercut with the theatrical version looks like hell. Never mind restore, they didn't even TRY to color correct it. It reminds me of the Laser Disc version I have of Mad World, the intercut additional footage is just terrible.

    And now to confuse things (at least in my mind) even further, I came across this post about Mad World on Amazon:

    Code:
    By [URL="http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/AT07UZQQR7ZEH/ref=cm_cr_dp_pdp"]Stephen H. Wood "Film scholar and vintage mov...[/URL] (South San Francisco, CA) -    [B]This review is from: [URL="http://www.amazon.com/Its-Mad-World/dp/B0000CBY1C/ref=cm_cr_dp_orig_subj"]It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (DVD)[/URL][/B]
    Stanley Kramer's IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (1963, UA) is my favorite comedy of the sound era and the most fondly remembered movie of my 1960's childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. It has a sunny and airy mood, the comedy cast of a lifetime, sharp and hilarious dialogue, an irrestible greed plot, a melodic music score by Ernest Gold, and furious pacing for almost, or just over, three hours (depending on what version you are watching). The more I watch it on DVD at 161 minutes or at 182 minutes on Turner Classic Movies, the more I love it and want to see the long-lost 192 minute Cinerama world premiere version.

    MAD WORLD does something right that every other movie of its type gets wrong--it starts a chase plot in reel one, then develops character outward as we go along. It does not spend 45 minutes setting up the story, as similar movies do. In the opening scene, a dying millionaire (Jimmy Durante) tells a group of people in the Southern California desert that a large sum of money is buried "under a big W" in a park south of San Diego. Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett are gag writers headed for Las Vegas. Milton Berle is headed for a vacation with wife Dorothy Provine and Ethel Herman as the mother-in-law to beat all mothers-in-law. Sid Caesar and Edie Adams are a dentist and his wife. And Jonathan Winters is driving a van of furniture. Monitoring all of them, as they race after the money, is Spencer Tracy as the coastal city (a compilation of Long Beach and Santa Monica) police captain with a wall map.


    So we have a slapstick chase movie to end all slapstick chase movies. (WARNING: PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD!!) Heading a golden age of television cast are Caesar and Adams, who get to fly in a makeshift plane, then get locked in a hardware store basement. In a career performance, Winters hilariously gets to completely demolish a desert gas station. Berle has a running battle with the mother-in-law from Hell, Merman, who in turn has been given some gloriously acidic dialogue by superb sreenwriters William and Tania Rose. The Roses have never been given enough credit here. All of the sublime dialogue is on the printed page. Along the way, Winters meets up with Phil Silvers, who in turn mixes up with miner Mike Mazurki. Silvers is staggeringly funny with a car at the bottom of a canyon, then later drowning in a river. Rooney and Hackett are in another plane that flies through a Coke billboard after pilot Jim Backus knocks himself unconscious. There is also Dick Shawn as Merman's lifeguard son at Silver Strand Beach. And a phone running battle in his inner police office with Tracy and his wife and daughter that escalates over a simple vacation. And this is only part one, before the film's intermission! Part two has some of the funniest dialogue and greatest car chases in all of movie history for me. And the grand climax has never been topped for me--not even by silent era clowns.


    MAD WORLD got mixed reviews when it opened city by city in late 1963, right before President Kennedy's tragic death in Dallas. The positive ones praised a wonderful cast and hilarious chase plot. The negative reviews said it was too long and repetitious at 193 minutes. So producer/director Kramer and his editors carefully cut the Cinerama world premiere version, two months into its run, to 162 minutes. It played in 70mm Cinerama engaggements at 162 minutes until 35mm engagements in Spring 1965. It was further cut then to 154 minutes with roadshow music and intermission removed. All 35mm prints today--and since 1965--run 154 minutes. The DVD, which may or may not still be for sale, restores roadshow music and runs 161 minutes. At an aspect ratio of 2.55, it also blessedly comes close to restoring the ultra-wide widescreen images of the original film. Maddeningly, though, this 161 minute DVD print is curiously missing the Oscar-nominated title song overture.

    But there is also a 182 minute print of MAD WORLD (!), restored by my dear filmmaker friend Paul Scrabo, MGM executives, and a dying Kramer in 1991. That is the version that hit VHS and laserdisc in 1991 with a splendid hour-long documentary that I wish could be seen nowadays. It briefly surfaced on one DVD edition, then removed from another that has no bonus material. (So we have two different 161 minute DVD prints that may both be on moratorium! One with a lot of bonuses and one with none. It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world!) Anyway, the 1991 documentary combines behind-the-scenes filmmaking with cast/crew reminiscences. Almost everyone recalls a lot of hard work in desert heat, but also a heck of a lot of slapstick fun. One other thing I love about the movie is that the Southern California desert landscapes are deserted for miles--no other cars and no homes, just an occasional truck and gas station.

    For 22 years, Paul and I and others have been on a futile quest to restore IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD back to its original 192 minute Cinerama world premiere length. The closest we have come is the 182 minute reconstruction on home video and cable TV, and it includes preview material. So we are still missing at least ten minutes of crucial visual material and as much as fifteen minutes. Included in the still lost material (I have the complete script--I think) are Shawn stealing his married girlfriend's (!) convertible, more of Buster Keaton's cameo as a crook, getting Jim Backus INTO a shower he subsequently is removed from, the identity of a strange man in the police station (he is a police reporter told to sit on the story for now), Tracy learning who Silvers is (an unemployed piano player and gambler), and the beginning of almost all the police office scenes. Current prints, including the 182, join them in progress.


    There are easy-to-find Internet articles on Stanley Kramer's immortal masterpiece that claim the great Robert Harris and James Katz, who restored VERTIGO and MY FAIR LADY among others, want to reconstruct MAD WORLD. My Internet sources claim Harris has in his possession "188 minutes of bona fide world premiere footage
    ." Only four minutes missing off the original 192 minute print--close enough for me! The Internet claims further that Harris just is waiting for a $2 million purchase order--lunch money in today's Hollywood--to do the work that needs to be done to restore this wonderful movie back to the length it ran when it opened in Los Angeles on November 7, 1963; the version that early in 1964 got six Oscar nominations.

    We owe it to the memory of a great filmmaker and a magnificent cast, many still very much alive, to reconstruct and restore IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD from 154 or 161 minutes to 192 minutes for theatrical re-release (it has always been an audience favorite) and letterboxed 2.76 ratio home video sales. It is a precious part of our cinematic and cultural heritage. THIS REVIEW IS BASED ON THE 161 MINUTE DVD and 182 MINUTE CABLE TV PRINTS.

    I'm not sure what to make of this.
     
  15. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    Jeez did that extremely long post actually get on here and then get deleted?
     
  16. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I would give up a decade full of Avatars to simply see IAMMMMW done right on Blu, with all versions available through seamless branching and, at a minimum, all previous home 'extras' packed in. Is that too much to ask?
     
  17. BendurTailpipe

    BendurTailpipe Active Member

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    I agree 100%. At least there is still hope
     
  18. CULTMAN1

    CULTMAN1 Well-Known Member

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    me too....
    I FIND THE LONG POST PREVIOUSLY MOST REFRESHING AND A GOOD UPDATE. LETS KEEP THE PRESSURE ON A RESTORATION ,AWAITING OF COURSE THE FATE OF MGM....
     
  19. Mutley

    Mutley New Member

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    I also watched the MGMHD version and thought it was stunning!! So why can't that be transfered to a Blu-ray??
     
  20. Techman707

    Techman707 Well-Known Member

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    I finally got to see the MGM-HD version of IAMMMMW that was broadcast on April 1st. That is from THE SAME HD master that the SD DVDs were originally made from, it's NOT a new master. While most of the transfer looks okay, for the most part, the titles STILL look like crap AND STILL HAVE THE WRONG COLORS. While I realize if you don't know what the proper color is you wouldn't be able to tell the difference, the wrong end title color alone changes the whole "feel" of the picture for me. The disolve from the hospital ward, which should be to a full light YELLOW screen (with a white "the end" in the middle) is now muddy orange/reddish brown.

    And while I don't know what they made that HD master from, I'm virtually certain it wasn't made from ANYTHING CLOSE to any 65mm elements.

    You are CERTAINLY RIGHT....calling it "restored" would be incorrect....to say the least. But they DO need to restore, at least, the main title, intermission snipe and end screen to reflect the proper colors. If they need a reference, I'd be glad to supply it.
     
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