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NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS -- blu-ray restoration

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Richard--W, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Well-Known Member

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    Hi- just to clarify one point.
    For the 128min version, approximately 102mins of original audio exists. The additional 26mins has been almost entirely re-looped. A few pickups are needed, but nothing earth-shattering.
    I would love to assist Paramount in finding the additional material from THE KEEP and the material still lost from the FRIDAY THE 13TH films.
    Maybe if there was a tech services exchange student program between M-G-M and Paramount...
    :)
     
  2. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Well-Known Member

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    I'm not exactly sure what part you're missing since you didn't ask a question but.......
    U.S. box office.
    U.S. home video sales
    U.S. home video rentals
    U.S. home video streaming
    U.S. cable deals
    Canadian box office
    Canadian home video sales
    Canadian home video rentals
    Canadian home video streaming
    Canadian cable deals
    U.K. box office
    U.K. home video sales
    U.K. home video rentals
    U.K. home video streaming
    U.K cable deals
    Italy box office
    Italy home video sales
    Italy home video rentals
    Italy home video steaming
    Italy cable deals
    German box office
    German home video sales
    German home video rentals
    German home video streaming
    German cable deals
    I could go on with other locations but I think the point is clear. Movies are sold all over the world, on so many formats that it's rare for any of them to actually lose money. The point being that DARK SHADOWS making its production budget back isn't going to be enough for a studio to pump extra moneys in it, a sequel or forgotten films that came before it. Had the film been a giant hit then perhaps making Special Editions would have made sense and if it had been even bigger then perhaps a few extra million could have been spent on this project.
     
  3. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Well-Known Member

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    I'd still like to know what the budget is going to be. I say this because if you follow any threads over at Nitrateville, it's rather shocking how many silent movies are out there ready to be released but aren't because no one can pay someone to record a music track for them. If the music track is too high then I really wonder what the price tag would be to fix the audio issues. I'm guessing once you get the dubbing back in order then you're going to have to work and re-score the entire picture. Darren might know exact numbers but if it's $500,000 then that's a lot of money to put into something that might not get that back in DVD sales. I don't know enough about to series to know if it's popular enough worldwide to even make that back with foreign, cable and all of those sales.
    Until someone pays for it to be put back together then it's really not out there. Just like all those silents that are viewable but in the vault because no one can pay for them.
     
  4. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Well-Known Member

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    There are no music licensing issues on this title. All the original music exists, it was all written by one composer, and all sync rights are cleared in perpetuity in all media, etc. etc.
    The sound work is all ADR editing, mixing, balancing, and sound effects editing, foley, mixing, and the final overall mix. Not items to be sniffed at, and real talent is needed in the booth.
    I'm not at liberty to give specific numbers but it would cost about a third of the amount you mention. The sound work would only be about 20% of the total cost. Almost all of it is in the telecine/transfer work.
     
  5. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the compliments Richard. I feel as if I owe you a check as my new PR man!
    :)
     
  6. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    We should all be thanking you, Darren. Without your efforts, there'd be no 128+ minutes version to hope for. I believe you located the preservation negative in 1999, is that right? Which means you started looking even earlier, and you've been patiently, persistently and professionally trying to facilitate a restoration for over 15 years. That's a long time. I do admire your perseverance and your optimism.
    I've been comparing the published script to the blu-ray and will be posting more observations about it soon.
    Does the published script represent the 150 minute version as well? Or is there a longer script?
    I find a few missing scenes in the script that I remember seeing in the 97 minute version before theatrical prints were conformed to the MPAA's directive for GP rating.
    Personally, I think the exposition of the characters going into the house through the basement, and the discoveries made there followed by the seance, are more important to the story's progress and to the suspense, and more in keeping with the tone of the film, than the outdoor action of Gerard Stiles going on the rampage. So I disagree with that decision of what to cut. But of course I understand why Dan Curtis had to sacrifice the plot for the action. He was up against James Aubrey, the accountant who sabotaged Blake Edwards' The Carey Treatment (1972) and Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) among others.
     
  7. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Well-Known Member

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    The published script is the final shooting draft with some handwritten changes and re-written pages in it. Apart from some on-set dialogue changes and a location change (the Quentin and Tracy apology/planning scene near the end is written to have the characters on the river road, instead, they shot it on the porch of the abandoned estate bowling alley building), it's an accurate representation of what would have been in the 129min cut.
    Aubrey seemed to have had his knives out for Grayson Hall and specifically requested her part be truncated. He may have specifically targeted the seance.
    Since it's one of her best performances, it seems particularly wrong-headed decision.
    Plus in cutting it down, the seance is a 5min scene, and they were looking for big chunks they could remove to bring the running time down. It was far from an ideal situation, and if given more time do do the recut, they probably would have made different decisions. Also, remember that Aubrey threatened to cut it down himself if Curtis didn't, so Curtis probably saw the writing on the wall and removed the seance himself.
    Aubrey did the same thing to GOING HOME and CHANDLER and a few other films to the point that a bunch of these directors publically protested about this situation and bought an anti-Aubrey ad in the trades.
     
  8. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    You should get the blu-ray, Brian. I find myself enjoying what remains of the story despite the disappointing and incomplete transfer. Watch it and share your impressions with us.
     
  9. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    All I can say is, if the 129 minute cut is anything like this script I want to see it more than ever.
    I wonder if Dan Curtis okayed the numerous camera directions Sam Hall put in the script. I was taught, and experience has borne this out, that just because a writer puts in "whip pan," "zoom in" and "rack focus" doesn't mean a director is obliged to shoot that way. It wasn't long before Dan Curtis honed his skills so that he no longer relied on these distracting moves.
    Yes, wrong-headed and destructive. She is sublime. Her modulation is flawless and her timing is so perfect. I get a kick out of the dialogue at the beginning where Tracy says "I'll bet the housekeeper looks like Mrs. Danvers." She is referring of course to the character in Hitchcock's REBECCA (1940) the severely dressed and disapproving personal maid famously played by Judith Anderson who obsesses over the previous lady of the manor. An apt analogy and apparent influence on writer Sam Hall.
    There's no way Curtis could have done a proper job in only 24 hours. Aubrey was being willfully destructive with that ultimatum. And it didn't stop him in any case from further hacking away at the film, did it.
    I've read about that ad but never seen it. If anyone has a scan perhaps they could post it here?
     
  10. KMR

    KMR Well-Known Member

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    I wonder about that, though (the published script being the final version). The name "Samantha" is used throughout, instead of "Laura". Wouldn't a name for a significant character (appearing or referenced in more than one scene) be established in the shooting script? The change to "Laura" certainly doesn't appear to be ADR in the film.
    Did they perhaps originally intend to cast Virginia Vestoff (who played a character named Samantha on the TV series) as Charles' wife, and then change the character's name to Laura when Diana Millay was cast?
     
  11. KMR

    KMR Well-Known Member

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    Wow, I just read the Wikipedia article on Aubrey. He must have been a real joy to work with. :rolleyes: While he may have been successful in saving MGM during his tenure, the art certainly suffered for it. (Sort of ironic given the company's motto, "Ars Gratia Artis"...)
     
  12. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Well-Known Member

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    Hi KMR. That is exactly what happened. The same thing with Trask/Strack- it was going to be Jerry Lacy and he was unavailable so Thayer David was cast and the name changed.
    They didn't bother to re-type it with the different name. On the actor's copy of the script, the SAMANTHA name is crossed out and LAURA written in in pencil.
    And Richard, the script was written very closely with Dan Curtis- long, intense meetings, breaking down the scenes, then off to the typewriter. All the camera directions that are in there, per Dan's instructions. It's a very accurate indicator of how things were staged for the most part. It's particularly valuable as it gives you a full mental picture of the hippie death/prologue would have been filmed. They decided not to film it a week into shooting. If you know the house and property, you can imagine exactly how it would have looked.
     
  13. KMR

    KMR Well-Known Member

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    Of course I understand that there's more than U.S. boxoffice. But the conventional wisdom is that it's not at all uncommon for a movie to not earn back its production and distribution budget. The movie business is profitable because there are a lot of movies that do indeed make a lot of money, and the profits from those help the studios and distributors sustain the losses on the other titles.
    Back to DS stuff, it's obvious that the 2012 movie was a domestic boxoffice disappointment, but apparently it has overall moved into the black (at least according to Tim Burton). DVD and Blu-ray sales have reportedly been very good. But it's unlikely Depp and Burton will return to Collinwood. (It would be interesting if Depp's production company would consider a TV pilot, with lower-tier stars.)
    In regard to the HODS and NODS Blu-rays, I was quite surprised a couple of weeks ago to see them featured in the Fry's Electronics ad in the Chicago Tribune. I did not think the titles would be considered anywhere near "mainstream" enough to show up in their ad. Hopefully these will turn out to be good sellers for WB, and encourage the studio to finally give the green light to the NODS restoration.
     
  14. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    As the stand-alone follow-up to a proven TV franchise and a hit film, Night of Dark Shadows was budgeted so low at $900,000 that it couldn't fail to turn a profit. How much money it made has not been reported. Only the first three months of the domestic release have been reported. The film earned $1,400,000 in its first three months, putting itself deep in the black right away. It continued to run in the USA and in foreign markets, but those stats have not been made public. I remember seeing it paired with House of Dark Shadows in the autumn of 1972 and as the bottom-half of another double-feature in 1973. So it was still a viable property two years later. Further, if the film had failed, Dan Curtis would not have been enabled to continue his producing and directing career. ABC-TV would not have given him $450,000 to shoot his next production, the movie-of-the-week The Night Stalker (1972), at a time when other movies-of-the-week were budgeted at $300,000 or less (Spielberg's Duel (1971, for example). By the time Curtis undertook The Night Stalker -- a monster hit, by the way and the start of another franchise -- he was known as a producer and director who could deliver an abundance of high-quality footage on low budgets and tight schedules. He was a money-maker.
    It is true, however that critics did not like Night of Dark Shadows. I remember reading the reviews at the time. Not because the film was bad, but because James Aubrey hacked it down to an incoherent 94 minutes. If he had not done so, the film would have left a better impression, been a better entertainment, and made more money. Many, many films trashed by the critics make money. Nevertheless, the reputation of Night of Dark Shadows has grown over the years as people got to know it. When Turner Entertainment acquired the MGM library, they successfully exploited the film on television and home video. The VHS continued to sell for a decade.
    So if anyone at Warner Brothers thinks Night of Dark Shadows isn't a good investment, better check the facts and think again.
    The 129-minute unreleased director's cut has become something of a legend, not unlike Peckinpah's workprint of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (another casualty of James Aubrey's reign at MGM). This was the perfect time to release the director's cut. It is an infinitely more commercial property than the hacked-down 94-minute version.
     
  15. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I agree that HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS (1970) has too much plot or too many subplots in its plot, although I really enjoy it. Jonathan Frid was a brilliant actor and a powerful screen presence. Compare HOUSE to the first episode of DARK SHADOWS: THE REVIVAL (1991). This prime-time hour-hour long soap began with a feature-length 86 minute episode (in a two-hour slot) which is virtually a remake of HOUSE. It is also directed by Dan Curtis, only twenty years later he's a more assured and relaxed director. No swish pans, rack focusing, or drastic zooms, but a more refined sense of pace, composition and mis-en-scene. He became a very fine director over the years (THE WINDS OF WAR, etc). The feature-length episode covers about half the same plot points including scenes that were cut from HOUSE. Some of those plot points -- like the delinquent boy David and his ghastly tricks -- were already outdated.
    The story thread of Barnabas being freed from his coffin and returning to Collinwood after two hundred years is a favorite with the fans and the producers. It's been done six times:
    1. The original episodes from the daytime soap April through September 1967.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0070B9RVU/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller=
    2. HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS (1970).
    3. THE RESURRECTION OF BARNABAS COLLINS (1967 / 1989) - MPI Home Video re-edit of the original episodes into a streamlined two-hour narrative, omitting all subplots and byways. Very well-done. The inaugural VHS release for the entire series on home video in 1989. But not on DVD in the two-hour edit, unfortunately. Fun to compare it to the feature film.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/630148049X/sr=1-1/qid=1353563913/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&qid=1353563913&seller=&sr=1-1
    4. DARK SHADOWS: THE REVIVAL (1991). The feature-length premiere episode is in the DVD set, but the VHS is 20 minutes longer.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PXYH9G/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller=
    5. DARK SHADOWS (2002) remake pilot. Ick. The less said about this the better. Unreleased.
    6. Tim Burton's backhanded reboot (2012). The less said about this the better.
    Dan Curtis talked about his frustration with the studios in trying to reboot DARK SHADOWS as a big-screen entertainment in the interview supplement on THE NIGHT STALKER / NIGHT STRANGLER DVD. Not enough attention has been paid to that.
    When? How long in the future? The restoration efforts started in 1999. Do the math. People have been clamoring for it since the dawn of DVD. The future started in 1999. The decision to finally release a blu-ray was the moment to restore the film and release the longer director's cut. It is infinitely more commercial than the theatrical version. Warner Brothers pulls in ten billion a year, so spending 200 thousand is not a problem for them.
    It is a pretty good film. Once you read the published script, and catch a glimpse of the cut footage in various trailers and TV spots, and realize what's missing, you may upgrade your opinion.
    It would have been gracious of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, who claim to be fans of the original program, to lend their support to the proposed restoration of Night of Dark Shadows. Spend their pocket change to do the job. The project needs a champion with clout to make it happen. But they probably see it as competition to their own money-making enterprise.
     
  16. jacksparrow900

    jacksparrow900 Active Member

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    They did change some things in House that are different in the show like Vicky was in love with Jeff not Maggie. Carolyn was bitten by Barnabas not because he wanted to she found out his secret. Professor Stokes in the movie has a different relationship with Barnabas than in the show. He never finds out Barnabas is a vampire and they become good friends. They added daphne to the plot. Of course the whole ending never happen in the show. Willie was beaten twice in the show but for a different reason. So you can watch House Of Dark Shadows without it ruining the plot of the tv series.
     
  17. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Same story, different avenues, with a juggling of characters. Works for me.
    I've had both region-free blu-ray players go on the fritz in the last couple of days. The Philips is just dead. The Panasonic won't be controlled by the remote anymore and is acting weird when I try it manually. So my list of cuts and defects in WHV's Night of Dark Shadows transfer will be delayed a few days.
     
  18. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Excerpts from current Blu-ray reviews:
    http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/57133/night-of-dark-shadows/
    EDIT: Please note that these reviews get two details wrong: MGM cut the film down to 94 minutes, not Dan Curtis.
    Dan Curtis edited the 129-minute version down to 97-minutes for theatrical release -- because MGM forced him to, not because he preferred it. That's the version I saw in New York in 1971 before MGM ordered the 97 minute prints shortened to 94 minutes. The 94 minute version is on the blu-ray.
    Second, the 129 minute version has 106 minutes of sound including the complete score. The remaining minutes have been looped by the original actors. See Darren Gross' posts in this thread.
     
  19. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Well-Known Member

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    Wow...
    I've really no interest or attachment to DARK SHADOWS at all, in any of its incarnations; the only DS-related thing I've seen is when I ran across HOUSE on television once, and couldn't get into it. BUT, reading about this butchering of NIGHT really makes me want to see this bloody film! I'm always up for discovering new old horror films that are exceptional...could this be one? And I'm talking about the 129-minute version; not sure if I should watch the 94-minute butchery...but I guess I'll probably have to, unless I want to wait another few years.
     
  20. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Jeffrey, if you didn't like the TV program you might still like this. NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS is a stand-alone film intended to please both newcomers and the fans. Although it uses motifs and characters from the TV program, it doesn't require a knowledge of the program to be understood. It's a low-key ghost story about unfinished business from the past intruding into the present and gradually taking over. Very European in its approach, although not consciously I'm sure. It plays out like an Italian Giallo. I've seen Italian and Spanish posters for it (on ebay that is). I wouldn't be surprised if NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS influenced certain Giallo's of the mid-1970s.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

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