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It's a Wonderful Life (Artisan)


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#1 of 33 OFFLINE   Rick Z.

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Posted October 27 2005 - 02:47 AM

After watching a few Artisan releases like the horrendous looking The Quiet Man and High Noon, I bought It's a Wonderful Life, and to my surprise I found it to be rather good. Quite frankly it seemed to me that it looks much better than a lot of major studio B/W releases out there (there are still many terrible looking transfers). Could it be that it was helped the fact that it was (supposedly) mastered from the original negative and THX certified? It would frankly be the first time that I think THX being of some use.

What do you think?

#2 of 33 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted October 27 2005 - 03:00 AM

Paramount are even now working on IAWL (see here), but I agree the Artisan disc, while not perfect (the title sequence is badly marked isn't it?), is pretty good and for the most part excellent. I don't know much about THX (I've seen too many 'THX certified' titles that are frankly not up to much), but mastered from the original neg. can't have hurt too much.

While I agree that 'horrendous' is the word for The Quiet Man, High Noon - also being worked on you'll see - isn't quite in that category IMHO, just 'not bad, could be better'.
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#3 of 33 OFFLINE   Rick Z.

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Posted October 27 2005 - 03:06 AM

The Quiet Man it's still horrendous to me... and hilarious when you think that "Digitally Mastered Picture" was among the features of the Collector's edition.

#4 of 33 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted October 27 2005 - 03:13 AM

The Quiet Man it's still horrendous to me

I agreed with you...didn't I? Posted Image Take comfort in the fact that it's already been restored and just needs a decent transfer. I wonder if Paramount will be allowed to use the Artisan extras?
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#5 of 33 OFFLINE   Rick Z.

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Posted October 27 2005 - 03:14 AM

Also, the Artisan release of invasion of the Body Snatchers indicates that it was mastered from the ONEG but since it still is presented on the same SuperScope (fake widescreen) version and cropped from that, it would seem like it wasn't mastered from original materials.

#6 of 33 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted October 27 2005 - 03:58 AM

It's quite good, but it does have a few problems. Compression is a little too heavy and causes blocking in pretty much any shot that has fast movement. Quite a lot of DVNR was used, so you can see grain in faces "smear" around as seen in the Terminator 2 Ultimate Edition.

However, it still has excellent greyscale, good detail, and progressive encoding.

I'd love to see remastered editions from Paramount of both this and Body Snatchers. Hopefully from them, we'll finally get to see it without the SuperScope framing.

#7 of 33 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted October 27 2005 - 05:14 AM

If I remember, the audio on IAWL was what bothered some folks...the PCM on the laserdisc sounded much better (though I have and generally love the DVD).

"The Quiet Man it's still horrendous to me"

Agreed!

Hey...so has TQM really been restored? When and where? Is the print shown anywhere? Is it still public domain? What DVD company would be allowed to use the new print for a new DVD?
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#8 of 33 OFFLINE   Scott Shanks

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Posted October 27 2005 - 06:01 AM

There is a noticeably garbled dialogue sequence that lasts about a minute or so, then disappears. Strange. It starts, I think, around the time that George is in Mr. Gower's drugstore looking for suitcases.
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#9 of 33 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted October 27 2005 - 06:17 AM

Quote:
Hey...so has TQM really been restored? When and where? Is the print shown anywhere? Is it still public domain? What DVD company would be allowed to use the new print for a new DVD?

TQM was restored by Robert Gitt and his team at UCLA, and I don't think it was ever PD. An Argosy picture, the rights were part of the Republic catalogue which belonged to Artisan, but revert (sometime around now I believe?) to Paramount, when hopefully they will make best use of Mr Gitt's efforts.

And I quite agree about IAWL's sound problems...
So many films, so little time...
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#10 of 33 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted October 27 2005 - 07:07 AM

The UCLA Film & Television Archives (headed by Robert Gitt) holds the original 3-strip acetate camera negatives and acetate soundtrack negative to The Quiet Man, as well as new preservation fine-grain positives, and a new interpositive created from the 3-strip negatives.

http://cinema.librar....27115625&SID=1

UCLA also has the original fine-grain positive, as well as the isolated music/effects soundtrack negative to High Noon. For It's a Wonderful Life, they have a nitrate workprint (perhaps this has some deleted material?)

#11 of 33 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted October 27 2005 - 07:33 AM

Patrick,

your knowledge of these sorts of details (even if just knowing how to go about looking them up) is impressive. What do you do?
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#12 of 33 OFFLINE   Rick Z.

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Posted October 27 2005 - 07:51 AM

What about the missing frames on IAWL? Does anyone know the reason for this? Also, when we get to see the Building and Loan sign for the first time, it appears as if the frame freezes for a moment and I think this isn't the only time in the movie.

#13 of 33 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted October 27 2005 - 07:54 AM

DaViD:

I just spend way more time on the internet than I should. Posted Image You can look at UCLA's online inventory here: http://cinema.library.ucla.edu/

There's also a ton of information in newsgroups. Quite a lot of people in the restoration/remastering industry have posted in groups. alt.movies.silent and rec.arts.movies.tech are usually goldmines.

Rick:

They seem to hold the frame on anything that's stationary like the shot of George Bailey freeze-framed.

#14 of 33 OFFLINE   Jing_B

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Posted October 27 2005 - 08:40 AM

High Noon Collector's Edition horrendous looking? How is that?

#15 of 33 OFFLINE   Douglas R

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Posted October 27 2005 - 08:40 AM

Years ago I saw a 35mm print of It's a Wonderful Life at London's National Film Theatre. Having only previously seen the film on TV, seeing a sharp, well contrasted, new print on the big screen was a revelation and made the film so very much better. I hope Paramount will re-capture some of that look for their new DVD.

#16 of 33 OFFLINE   ScottR

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Posted October 27 2005 - 08:41 AM

There is also a nasty splice when George and Clarence are being tossed out of Nick's bar.

#17 of 33 OFFLINE   Mark_TS

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Posted October 27 2005 - 09:39 AM

anyone know when the Paramount edition might be released?
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#18 of 33 OFFLINE   Rick Z.

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Posted October 27 2005 - 10:26 AM

at this time there's no release date AFAIK, nor it has been officially announced

#19 of 33 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted October 27 2005 - 10:37 AM

David

Re: 16-bit PCM sounding better on the laserdisc - that's because it's not compressed in a lossy format as it is on the DVD! To think that these lossy formats even tried to tell us they were "transparent" to the original masters. Bull!

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#20 of 33 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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Posted October 27 2005 - 11:03 AM

Scott! I know the splice you're talking about and was very surprised to watch it on TV later and there was NONE on that version..


Posted Image d