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Wizard of Oz in blu ray - Wire Removal ??

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Rob Gilmore, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Rob Gilmore

    Rob Gilmore Active Member

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    Prior to purchasing the new blu ray version of "The Wizard of Oz", I sold my 3-dvd collection of the film to fellow employee at my office.

    I recall that on the dvd, there were scenes in which the wire supporting Bert Lahr's tail were quite visible in some of the Emerald City scenes. In fact, in one of the dvd's documentaries, the folks who were involved in the dvd transfer made a point of saying they debated whether to remove the wire or not, ultimately deciding to leave it in for the sake of "purity".

    I watched the blu ray version a couple weeks ago - just the movie - and I don't recall seeing that "tail wire" during the Emerald City scenes. (Maybe I was just tired and not being all that observant !)

    I might replay those scenes over the weekend to see if the wire really has disappeared.

    If so, then it would appear that the folks in Burbank may have had a change of heart about this item.

    Does anyone have any information about the debate over the "tail wire"?
     
  2. Guest

    All wires belonging to scarecrows, winged monkeys, and lions have been removed.
     
  3. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Well-Known Member

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    That sucks- glad I didn't buy this.
     
  4. shazzerman

    shazzerman Active Member

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    Did I miss something? I thought this was one of the releases of the year?
     
  5. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Were the wires visible when the movie was first shown in theaters? If they weren't, it seems to me that removing the wires is bringing the movie closer to the original theatrical experience. There's a similar issue with the original War of the Worlds. The wires holding up the alien machines are quite visible on the dvd but I don't think they were when the movie was first shown in the theaters. I believe it would have been appropriate to remove them on the dvd. Jeez, if they put it on blu, they will really show.
     
  6. Craig_Ehr

    Craig_Ehr Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I'm sure it was the director's artistic intent to have the wires visible.

    A better reason not to buy would be WB not including 'Dark Side of the Moon' as an alternate language track.

    I'll go try to pry my tongue out of my cheek now...
     
  7. Rob Gilmore

    Rob Gilmore Active Member

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    When I watched the dvd extras a few years ago, it was the "purists" who won the debate. They argued to leave the wires in because they thought - well, that's what audiences in 1939 WOULD have seen.

    So I guess the question is: Are there any "depression-era babies" out there who remember watching the film in 1939 and thinking to themselves AT THE TIME: "Geez ... Couldn't they have removed those wires!" ?

    It seems that in the last year or so, thoughts on this issue have changed over at WB. Personally, I don't mind the elimination of the wires.

    I like Craig-Ehr's sarcastic comment about the director's intent to "have the wires [be] visible". It's hard to imagine Victor Fleming saying something like: "No, no, no. I like it better with the wires showing. Leave them in."
     
  8. cafink

    cafink Well-Known Member

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    We can't know what the director would have done under any and all circumstances. We only know what the director actually did in the circumstances under which the movie was actually made. Maybe Fleming would have digitally removed the wires, had the technology been available to do it at the time. Maybe he would have used CGI effects to depict the winged monkeys instead of actors in costumes. Does that mean it's okay for Warner to replace the winged monkeys with CGI creatures for the next Blu-ray release of the film?
     
  9. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    If you're kidding never mind, if not that's a ridiculous thing to say.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Wires were not visible in 1939. Same situation in a number of Chaplin films. Also in Godfather Part II for that matter. Wires needed to be removed in two sequences.
    Wires now show when OCN is scanned, especially at 4k resolution. Removal is a necessity for viewing and is not a matter of opinion. Any argument that positions itself around the concept that if something is in the frame of the OCN that it should survive and be seen, is totally incorrect for any number of reasons.
    RAH
     
  11. cafink

    cafink Well-Known Member

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    Then please share some of those reasons with us.
     
  12. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    Really?

    Why do you need a reason to not see the wires when you watch a movie?
     
  13. cafink

    cafink Well-Known Member

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    Because those wires were part of the film as it was originally shot, and I, for one, enjoy watching films as they were originally created and released, especially films as culturally important as The Wizard of Oz. I could just as easily ask you why you don't feel that you need a reason to preserve historically significant films in their original form.
    Robert Harris has characterized this view as "totally incorrect," and claimed that there are a number of reasons why this is so, but didn't actually say what any of those reasons are. I could never hope to know as much about film as the esteemed Mr. Harris, so I hope he's willing to share some of those reasons with us, so we can all have a more informed opinion on the subject.
    As you have thus far been unwilling or unable to defend your position that it's okay to change films even decades after their director has died, except to dismiss opinions to the contrary as "ridiculous," I hope you'll listen to what he has to say, as well.
     
  14. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    Terminator 2 had wires visible when it was shot and removed.

    why do you want to see wires?
    Just because it was shot with Wires?
    seriously?
     
  15. cafink

    cafink Well-Known Member

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  16. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    Whats the significance of the wires?

    They are only there because they didn't know how to remove them in 1939.

    Nothing is hurt to take them out.

    Either way we disagree.
     
  17. cafink

    cafink Well-Known Member

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  18. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    I didn't say that, this is just about the wires, which is what the topic is about from the op.
     
  19. cafink

    cafink Well-Known Member

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    You said that the wires "are only there because they didn't know how to remove them in 1939," but have provided no evidence for that assertion.
    But that's kind of beside the point, anyway, so I'll grant it to you. For the sake of argument, I'll agree that the director would have removed the wires had the technology to do so been available to him. That still leaves you to explain why you believe it's okay to change one element of the film (using CGI to remove the wires) to conform to the way it would have been made using today's technology, but it's not okay to change another (using CGI to render the winged monkeys) for the same reason.
    I await your response.
     
  20. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    Films with wire effects were always shot in such a way that the wires would not be visible in release prints, if at all possible. The DoP would light from certain angles to make the wires less visible, and filmmakers knew that since the film would typically be several generations away from the OCN, wire work would be obscured by the buildup of film grain from generation to generation.

    By the late 1980s, digital effects were in their infancy and one of the earliest forms they took was wire removal, early examples being Die Hard 2 and The Hunt for Red October. One of the concerns at the time was that filmmakers would become lazy and not use established techniques to obscure wires, now that they knew that wire removal was available.

    Personally, I put wire removal in the suspension of disbelief category. If I see wires, it takes me out of the movie. If I don't see them, much easier to enjoy the film for what it is. Comparing this with replacement of effects with CG "improvements" is really comparing apples to oranges. A fairer comparison would be the removal of the glass reflection in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
     

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