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Meet Me in St. Louis


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#1 of 35 OFFLINE   ScottR

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Posted July 16 2004 - 06:10 PM

I think WB did a fabulous job with this film. One question though......at the end of "The Boy Next Door" as Judy is closing the curtain, there are weird pink artifacts running vertically down the screen. The same thing happens in the background at the end of the summer dinner table scene. Are these Technicolor related on the print, or some kind of mistakes during dvd production? Can someone with this disc look at it and give me an opinion? Thanks!

#2 of 35 OFFLINE   Mick B

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Posted July 17 2004 - 10:18 AM

Hi Scott. Give us the times where these artifacts occur so that we can zoom in on them quickly. mick

#3 of 35 OFFLINE   ScottR

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Posted July 17 2004 - 11:38 AM

The first time it happens is at approx. 12:36 (during "The Boy Next Door" as soon as she closes the curtain, the pink artifacts start running vertically down the screen, about two inches from the left.) This lasts until the lap dissolve into the next scene. The second time it happens is at approx. 26:15 (when Rose starts to sit back down at the table, after the phone call.) You can see the same artifacts on the wall behind the mother, and they run all the way down Mrs. Smith's face into her dress. As Katie the maid crosses the camera, and the camera starts to zoom in on the table, the artifacts are very apparent on the wall between Mrs. Smith and Rose. This lasts until the lap dissolve into the next scene. .....I didn't notice this on the vhs, but the resolution of the dvd is so great, that maybe the artifacts are more apparent. Thanks for all your help!

#4 of 35 OFFLINE   Mick B

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Posted July 17 2004 - 12:26 PM

Whoa. Those are strange. The artifacts maintain the same two inches to the left even when the camera dollys in at the end of the dining room scene. In the curtain they appear to be red, green, and blue dots. Computer genrated? I'm at a loss as to what they may be. Hope RAH sees this and offers some insight. Thanks for pointing these out.....I think. Mick

#5 of 35 OFFLINE   John Whittle

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Posted July 17 2004 - 12:48 PM

While I didn't see a "pink artifact" at the points you mention I did notice some very light negative damage less than a quarter of a frame in fron the left. A few points about Technicolor 3-Strip productions from this period. The original camera negative (which was nitrate) had to be duplicated to make up a fades or dissolves. Many producers opted for effects "with handles" which means that they only ordered the dupe footage of the effect with a short piece to cut it in, normally one foot. You'll notice this on many old films where there is a change in contrast or a slight shift in picture size or placement when the fade or dissolve takes place. Technicolor did all this work within their own system and did what are called "full scene" dupes. This means from the cut to the shot thru the effect to the end of the next shot is all dupe footage. (In Technicolor this required a fine grain and dupe negative for each effect for the red/green/blue negatives for the yellow/magenta/cyan printing matrices). Since the blemnish appears as "minus" density it is most likely on the negative. Since Warners went back to as far as possible to create the new version, they pulled either the cut negative (with dupes) or the protection finegrain (which would be one generation from the camera negative except for effects which would be several steps further down the line. This blemish could have been present as far back as the orignal theatrical release. You'll notice that the shot of Judy at the window in the close up is much grainer and softer than the shot before it. It also might be that the negative damage happened years ago when other dupes were made. MGM made CRIs at Metrocolor on many of the 3-strip titles back in the 1970s. I can't judge by your "distance" since that will be determined by your screen size. On my set it's about a foot in from the left (on a JVC 55 inch widescreen set running 3:4 in the middle). John

#6 of 35 OFFLINE   ScottR

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Posted July 17 2004 - 04:12 PM

It almost looks like some sort of water damage, but it is odd that the same artifacts are in the same place in a different scene. Looking at the vhs, you can very faintly see the same artifacts on Mrs. Smith's dress in the parlor scene, but they are white as opposed to pink on the dvd. John, I reread your post, and the dupe situation makes sense because the "damage" is present from the beginning of the cut until the dissolve but then disappears.

#7 of 35 OFFLINE   John Whittle

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Posted July 18 2004 - 09:57 AM

It might just be that those two fine grains were made the same day and then sent to the optical department to make the dupe negative with the dissolve in it. These were done years before the "wet-gate technique" which was a major Technicolor project. Henry Imus who was one of the guys in the Research Department (and I later met at Movielab) held several patents on the wet-gate process. But it came forty years too late to "fix" this problem in MMISL. Dick May who oversees much of the "classic" Warner Bros. collection has said that he often has found original reels (a 35mm picture is in 1000 foot lengths called reels) of Technicolor negative that contain as much s 700 feet of dupe footage due to the full scene dupe policy of Technicolor. This all dates back to an age where everything inside Technicolor was "secret" and they did negative cutting, opticals, and titles. They didn't charge "extra" as all the dupes and matrixes were part of the release print charge. One major advantage to a producer to use Technicolor was they would ship matrices to London and Rome and thus a picture could be released overseas without the producer having to make a dupe negative and pay customs and shipping charges to get it to the lab overseas.

#8 of 35 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted July 22 2004 - 05:46 AM

I'm beginning to think that me and classic films don't mix.

Bought this blind and watched for the first time ever last night. Really found it very syrupy and melodramatic, not to mention being irritated by the endlessly annoying "theme song" which seemed to have only one verse that was sung over, and over, and over, and over... (the one thing I agreed with Father about, see below).

Some other issues:

1. All the middle-aged actors trying, and failing miserably, to portray high school/college age kids. (EDIT: A little additional research shows JG was 22 which is not too bad, but she looked older. The rest were all mid-late 20's...a little long in the tooth for their characters).

2. Esther practically on the verge of picking out a china pattern for marriage to a man she's not only never yet met, but only known the existence of for 3 weeks.

3. The Halloween scene. I guess I have to take back my comments about how kids today are so much worse than they used to be. What a horrible bunch of brats. Why are they allowed to have this huge bonfire in the street? Where are they getting all the stuff they're burning? Throwing flour in people's faces (flour provided by their parents/maid no less) and yelling "I hate you!"? I'd never heard of such a thing before, but would advocate horsewhipping within an inch of their life any child who acted so maliciously.

4. Zero consequences for Tootie's continuous lying, foul mouth, and temper tantrums. This kid should have been spanked hourly.

5. The Imperious, Dictatorial father figure. Makes rash decisions that destroy the lives of nearly a dozen people then wonders why he's not kept "in the loop" on other issues. Can't postpone his precious bath for one evening to accomodate an important event in his child's life? Ooops, that's right, he didn't know about it (because the family knew how he'd react anyway and were trying to avoid the "iron fist").

6. The nonsensical "change of mind" at the end. When the father first made his announcement, he had tears and protests from the entire family. But little Tootie throwing yet another tantrum on Christmas Eve, after the house is already packed up, is the catalyst that finally changes his mind?

7. Early reinforcement that only the pretty, popular people should be respected (some think this is a modern day issue, apparently not) when, in what they think is a colossal joke, Esther and Rose fill a rival's dance card with "nerds" and "fatties."

8. Probably due to age, but there was a "pulsating" of the colors noticeable at several points. One scene Esther's face went from pink to pale to pink to pale to pink....

I've been trying to broaden my horizons by blind buying lots of classic films, but as I watch more and more of them, I'm beginning to think perhaps I should set a moratorium on classic films. Posted Image

Others I've watched recently:

All About Eve
Sunset Boulevard
Grand Hotel
Some Like it Hot


I'm not sure I could say I enjoyed any of them, but they're probably in order of descending enjoyment.

I still have most of the Fox classics, lots of Warner classics, and the Film Noir box set (just ordered days ago) to be watched (all blind buys). I'm not exactly looking forward to them. Posted Image
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#9 of 35 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted July 22 2004 - 07:48 AM

Malcolm, What kind of films do you like?
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

"Subtitles good. Hollywood bad." - Tarzan, Sight & Sound 2012 voter.

"My films are not slices of life, they are pieces of cake." - Alfred Hitchcock"My great humility is just one of the many reasons that I...

#10 of 35 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted July 22 2004 - 10:38 AM

I generally like a little of everything. Some favorites from various genres: Casablanca Driving Miss Daisy Halloween Finding Nemo 28 Days Later The Naked Gun The Bourne Identity The Lord of the Rings Legends of the Fall Harry Potter A Nightmare on Elm Street Ruthless People Beauty and the Beast (Disney) The Wizard of Oz Mulholland Drive The Muppet Movie Starship Troopers The Evil Dead Austin Powers Gremlins Indiana Jones
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#11 of 35 OFFLINE   Agee Bassett

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Posted July 22 2004 - 12:34 PM

Malcolm, below is a list of films I always use as a primer for those entering the world of classic films for the first time. At least most of these, I feel, can be appreciated by one with modern sensibilities. Unfortunately, not all of them are on DVD, though most are.

M, 1931
The Bride of Frankenstein, 1935
The 39 Steps, 1935
Gunga Din, 1939
The Grapes of Wrath, 1940
His Girl Friday, 1940
The Sea Wolf, 1941
Citizen Kane, 1941
The Devil and Daniel Webster, 1941
Sullivan's Travels, 1941
The Magnificent Ambersons, 1942
To Be or Not to Be, 1942
Arsenic and Old Lace, 1944
Double Indemnity, 1944
Mildred Pierce, 1945
And Then There Were None, 1945
The Big Sleep, 1946
Great Expectations, 1946
Oliver Twist, 1948
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948
White Heat, 1949
Twelve O'clock High, 1949
The Third Man, 1949
The Big Carnival (a.k.a., Ace in the Hole), 1951
A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951
The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957
Paths of Glory, 1957
Sweet Smell of Success, 1957
A Face in the Crowd, 1957
12 Angry Men, 1957
Touch of Evil, 1958
Vertigo, 1958
North by Northwest, 1959
Some Like it Hot, 1959
Psycho, 1960
The Hustler, 1961
The Innocents, 1961
Lawrence of Arabia, 1962
The Manchurian Candidate, 1962
Dr. Strangelove, 1963
Seven Days in May, 1964

"By conservative estimate, the goddamned-ist thing ever seen." - James Agee on Bill and Coo (1948)

#12 of 35 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted July 22 2004 - 01:06 PM

Well if you like Casablanca and Wizard of Oz, then you certainly like at least 2 classics. But like anything else, classics come in all shapes and sizes. Agee listed some great films (though some you've already indicated you don't like), and I'll add a few more (I could second many of Agee's suggestions, but will just list ones he didn't):

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
To Have & Have Not (1944)
The Killers (1946)
Notorious (1946)
The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1947)
In the Good Old Summertime (1949)
- I have no idea if you'd like this, but since you like Wizard of Oz and don't like Meet Me in St. Louis, whether you like this one or not could help narrow down what you like/don't like about these films
Adam's Rib (1949)
The African Queen (1951)
High Noon (1952)
Stalag 17 (1953)
Rear Window (1954)
The Court Jester (1956)
Pillow Talk (1959)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Apartment (1960)
Charade (1963)
From Russia With Love (1963)
A Hard Day's Night (1964)


I don't know how far to take classics, but I'll stop where Agee stopped.
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

"Subtitles good. Hollywood bad." - Tarzan, Sight & Sound 2012 voter.

"My films are not slices of life, they are pieces of cake." - Alfred Hitchcock"My great humility is just one of the many reasons that I...

#13 of 35 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted July 22 2004 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I own all these, but have not yet watched them:

The Bride of Frankenstein, 1935
The Grapes of Wrath, 1940
Citizen Kane, 1941
Arsenic and Old Lace, 1944
Mildred Pierce, 1945
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948
12 Angry Men, 1957
Touch of Evil, 1958
Lawrence of Arabia, 1962
Notorious (1946)
The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1947)
Adam's Rib (1949)
The Apartment (1960)

I'll start watching a few of these. I was actually going to watch "Arsenic & Old Lace" tonight, but decided to watch "Camp" instead. :b Posted Image
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#14 of 35 OFFLINE   Will Krupp

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Posted August 03 2004 - 03:12 AM

It's funny your choosing Arsenic and Old Lace to watch next. That's one that I, who has always LOVED golden age cinema, just can't seem to stomach. I find the whole thing irritating to the point of distraction and wish somebody would have slipped Mortimer a couple of valiums. Shame you didn't St. Louis, it's one of my all time favorites and actually the first videotape I ever purchased (well, maybe the second......)back in the day. But I have to give you an "A" for effort and..well, INVESTMENT in your "classics education." So how'd ya like Camp? I thought it was a hoot.

#15 of 35 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted August 03 2004 - 03:17 AM

"Camp" was pretty good, though my expectations may have been too high after reading some reviews. And Dan Letterle isn't the greatest actor. Haven't got back to the classics just yet. Been too hot here lately to sit around a stuffy apartment and watch movies. I may give "Meet Me..." another shot, as I have some relatives who've expressed an interest in screening it at some point in the future.
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#16 of 35 OFFLINE   Russ Lucas

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Posted August 03 2004 - 06:10 AM

Malcolm, I enjoy a bunch of the titles on your list of bought-but-yet-to-be-watched, but your comments on the films you've watched suggests that some of the conventions and styles that characterize older Hollywood films don't connect with you. Is there any way you can return some of those to stores if they haven't been opened? It seems to me that you'd be better off spending $22 a month for a couple months of Netflix to see if any of those films are your cup of tea. On topic, I've never noticed the artifacting mentioned and will check my disc. I love that they included the television pilot on this release. It's abysmal, and a nice reminder that studios milking a property for a needless spin-off isn't a recent phenomenon.

#17 of 35 OFFLINE   Will Krupp

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Posted August 04 2004 - 04:46 AM

I agree with you all the way Russ, HORRENDOUS. Celeste Holm couldn't look more uncomfortable and even the appearance of Reta Shaw (SO good in the PAJAMA GAME) couldn't do anything but make me stare at the clock wishing it would all be over. Is it just me, or did John Truett look downright "slutty"?

#18 of 35 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted August 05 2004 - 03:23 PM

Watched "Arsenic & Old Lace" tonight and found it pretty enjoyable, actually laughed a few times. But I still find the old style of acting to be over-acted and hyper-dramatic. And, yes, Mortimer was a bit manic to the point of distraction. Capra should have told Grant to turn it down about two notches. Posted Image

And I miss musical scores. There seems to be little music in these classic films (save musicals, of course) except for opening and closing titles, and when when there's a ridiculous fanfare for "reveal" moments such as when Jonathan bursts through the curtain over the window seat (or when the husband is revealed in "Sunset Boulevard"...ba ba BAAAAA!!!!!!).

But this was definitely a pretty good film, and gives me hope that I will at least find a few classics I enjoy.

Though I can't figure out why the Aunts didn't just let Jonathan and Dr. Einstein drink the wine. She took it right out of their hands and put it away. If the Aunts didn't want them around, the easy thing would be just to let them drink. It's not like there was any great familial bonds, he'd been disowned and away for so long. But then I guess we wouldn't have had much of a movie. Posted Image
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#19 of 35 OFFLINE   Will Krupp

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Posted August 05 2004 - 03:30 PM

It's been awhile since I've been able to sit through this one, but I think the answer to the question is that the aunts don't murder for convenience, revenge, or for gain of any kind. They actually believe that they are doing those poor old men a favor. They would never poisone anyone to get them out of the way.

#20 of 35 OFFLINE   rasputin1963

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Posted April 21 2008 - 12:33 PM


No, you are quite right in trusting your impressions of MMISL, Malcolm... It is indeed exceedingly sentimental in every way... and all the modern enlightened viewer can do is attempt to view it with "1940's eyes", if you know what I mean.

Andy Griffith, commenting on his longrunning 1960's show THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW and MAYBERRY RFD, has stated frankly in recent years something to the effect of "....even when that show debuted in 1961 it was depicting a lifestyle that was already gone for most Americans.... "

Thus it was kind of an exercise in rose-tinted nostalgia even in 1961. Posted Image (Ever see any "colored" drinking fountains on ANDY GRIFFITH?)

I think the same is certainly true about MMISL.... it was attempting to evoke a certain swath of American middle-class, Midwestern life that was already long-gone by the time the film came out. Plenty of 1940's viewers, though, could remember the "Gay 90's", 1900's, 1910's and 1920's.... but modern audiences might be mystified as to what all the sentiment is about... Posted Image

For a little less Judy mawkishness, I love the MGM musical SUMMER STOCK, which features some rather sharper humor, some mindblowing dance sequences, (even hints at some G/L characters!! egad! Posted Image ).

Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, though: take a gander at some old pictures like THE BEST YEARS OF THEIR LIVES, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, CARNIVAL OF SOULS (this is "Lynch" 20 years before "Lynch" !), MILDRED PIERCE, MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE, THE CAT PEOPLE, CAPE FEAR, MISS LONELYHEARTS, SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER , VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, and THE LOST WEEKEND. These classic films are still enormously watchable....

Myself, I am a sucker for the Technicolor melodramas of the 1950's and early 60's, like IMITATION OF LIFE, WRITTEN ON THE WIND, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, THE PAJAMA GAME, WEST SIDE STORY, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, A SUMMER PLACE, OUR VERY OWN, TEA AND SYMPATHY, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, SOME CAME RUNNING, PEYTON PLACE. Once you get yourself into a "Douglas Sirk-ian" frame of reference, you may find these films fascinating. (And the colors!) And of course, the better Hitchcock films are not to be missed.

ras




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