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The Birds: Legacy?


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#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted August 19 2007 - 11:17 PM

I recall reading that The Birds would be re-released in September in a Legacy edition, but that was months ago and I've seen no mention of it. Does anyone know what happened to the release? Is it moved back? Cancelled?

#2 of 18 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted August 20 2007 - 12:03 AM

I don't think that this was no more than rumor or speculation. In fact nothing for Universal's legacy series has been announced. Rumors included several Hitchcock titles as well as "Touch of Evil". I would rather see the later, as the Hitch titles have all had multiple releases.

#3 of 18 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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Posted August 20 2007 - 10:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Peterson
I don't think that this was no more than rumor or speculation. In fact nothing for Universal's legacy series has been announced.

Actually, it was more than simply rumor. The Digital Bits posted back in March that Universal had announced the Legacy versions of Psycho and The Birds. They're not infallable, but it counts as more than rumor, as they take their info from the studio announcements.

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   Dick

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Posted August 20 2007 - 12:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Peterson
I don't think that this was no more than rumor or speculation. In fact nothing for Universal's legacy series has been announced. Rumors included several Hitchcock titles as well as "Touch of Evil". I would rather see the later, as the Hitch titles have all had multiple releases.
I would like to see a Legacy series TOUCH OF EVIL, too, with the doc and commentary that had originally been promised us. But PSYCHO and THE BIRDS could use some serious remastering, also. THE BIRDS, in particular, looks simply horrid on any screen over 27" diagonal. Artifacting galore.

#5 of 18 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted August 20 2007 - 01:09 PM

Actually, it was more than simply rumor. The Digital Bits posted back in March that Universal had announced the Legacy versions of Psycho and The Birds. They're not infallable, but it counts as more than rumor, as they take their info from the studio announcements.

Sorry, I didn't realize that the Bits posted it. I generally trust their information also.

I would like to see a Legacy series TOUCH OF EVIL, too, with the doc and commentary that had originally been promised us. But PSYCHO and THE BIRDS could use some serious remastering, also. THE BIRDS, in particular, looks simply horrid on any screen over 27" diagonal. Artifacting galore.

Yes, "Touch of Evil" is desperate need of a new edition. I would even like to see the original theatrical cut along with the re-construction.

I haven't watched my "The Birds" disc in a long time, so I didn't realize it was that bad. Why didn't Universal do it right when they re-released it a couple of years ago. I'm so tired, of re-re-releases in order to get it right. The last two times that I've seen this film, I've been lucky enough to see it in a theater. The last time with an introduction by Tippi Hedren. (See autographed my poster!) Posted Image

#6 of 18 ONLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted August 20 2007 - 03:33 PM

The version of The Birds in the 15-disc Hitchcock "Masterpiece Collection" set is vastly better than the original version. It lacks the terrible compression, noise reduction, and edge enhancement on the first disc. It also has quite a lot of extra digital cleanup, noticable right away on the opening credits. While it's a little grainy on effect shots, it always looks sharp, detailed, and like film.

Don't forget that Psycho also has a new 16x9 remaster that's on the MC. While the non-anamorphic disc isn't as bad as the first The Birds disc, the new edition is sharp, detailed, and clean. Both films have their making-of documentaries moved to the bonus disc to clear up space. The Legacy sets would be nice (if they add commentaries and a music-only track for Psycho), but the versions in the box set are mostly definitive.


I'd buy a Legacy Series of Touch of Evil regardless of cost. It would be really neat to have both the restored cut and the 1958 theatrical cut (maybe even the 1970s interm re-cut), as well as commentaries, the making-of, and other extras.

#7 of 18 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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Posted August 20 2007 - 04:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Peterson
Yes, "Touch of Evil" is desperate need of a new edition. I would even like to see the original theatrical cut along with the re-construction.

I haven't watched my "The Birds" disc in a long time, so I didn't realize it was that bad. Why didn't Universal do it right when they re-released it a couple of years ago. I'm so tired, of re-re-releases in order to get it right. The last two times that I've seen this film, I've been lucky enough to see it in a theater. The last time with an introduction by Tippi Hedren. (See autographed my poster!) Posted Image

I couldn't agree more! How many re-releases until they get it right. And as much as I'd love to get better versions of both films (I'll buy the Legacies, if they come out), as you and others have said, there are others films that need re-release more, especially Touch of Evil.

#8 of 18 OFFLINE   RolandL

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Posted August 22 2007 - 10:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McCart
The version of The Birds in the 15-disc Hitchcock "Masterpiece Collection" set is vastly better than the original version. It lacks the terrible compression, noise reduction, and edge enhancement on the first disc. It also has quite a lot of extra digital cleanup, noticable right away on the opening credits. While it's a little grainy on effect shots, it always looks sharp, detailed, and like film.

It will never happen but, it would be fun if they included in a DVD release, the 3-D scenes (in the field-sequential format) that were never shown theatrically but were at the Alfred Hitchcock The Art of Making Movies attraction at the Universal Theme Park years ago.

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#9 of 18 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted September 09 2007 - 12:50 AM

Today's New York Times has an article about the new season of DVDs, and mentions "The Birds" as coming Sept. 25. It's listed under "Other Releases." Here is the link:

http://www.nytimes.c....al&oref=slogin

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   Deepak Shenoy

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Posted September 09 2007 - 06:09 AM

Out of the 14 titles in the Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection they have already done separate releases (with the same new and improved transfer) for 10 of the titles. So I guess their plan is to give the remaining 4 (Birds, Psycho, Rear Window and Vertigo) the Legacy Series treatment. That would be a bummer for those of those who invested on the Masterpiece Collection but it would still be nice for those who wanted these titles to be available separately.

Wasn't 'Touch of Evil' one of the better transfers during the early days ? It's been a while since I watched it. But I do remember that they did not include the feature length making-of documentary due to rights issues and so a Legacy release including the documentary would be welcome.

Also instead of releasing the same titles over and over again I wish Universal would focus instead of their vast library of unreleased titles including all the film-noir gems that are missing on DVD.

-D

#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted September 09 2007 - 07:12 AM

Eh I'm still hoping Criterion can score Vertigo somehow.

#12 of 18 ONLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted September 09 2007 - 08:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Dalek
Eh I'm still hoping Criterion can score Vertigo somehow.

What would Criterion contribute to a release that Universal hasn't? The MC remaster is 16x9, has 5.1 and original mono, a commentary, making-of doc, alternate ending, trailers, and a stills gallery. While the MC's mono track hasn't been cleaned up much and there's the color timing faux pas in the opening credits, Vertigo doesn't need an upgrade until the HD-DVD/BluRay release.

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   StevenJ

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Posted September 09 2007 - 08:17 AM

I remember reading that both The Birds and Psycho Legacy Series would be out in the beginning of 08

#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted September 09 2007 - 10:28 AM

Sam, thanks for the TIMES link. I'm naturally skeptical considering this is less than a month away and there's been no announcement nor pre-orders. My guess is that the author was given bad information.

Agree that Criterion is not necessary. Not to take away from their fine product, but in 2007 they are overrated. Warner, Fox, and Universal have all repeatedly demonstrated their ability to release first class product when it comes to classic films and at a price that is a fraction of what Criterion charges. Where Criterion excels is getting films to market that the majors won't touch or don't feel they can release profitably.

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#15 of 18 OFFLINE   ReggieW

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Posted September 09 2007 - 10:33 AM

Solely speaking for myself....

I will purchase The Birds, Psycho, Vertigo, & Rear Window on HD-DVD only. I already have these nicely presented in SD in the masterpiece Collection and have no need for a non HD Legacy release.
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#16 of 18 OFFLINE   Deepak Shenoy

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Posted September 09 2007 - 12:04 PM

Quote:
Agree that Criterion is not necessary. Not to take away from their fine product, but in 2007 they are overrated. Warner, Fox, and Universal have all repeatedly demonstrated their ability to release first class product when it comes to classic films and at a price that is a fraction of what Criterion charges. Where Criterion excels is getting films to market that the majors won't touch or don't feel they can release profitably.

I also agree. I want Criterion to stick to the arthouse and foreign classics that other studios won't release. Anything that the major studios are willing to release I am sure they can do it just as well at a much lower pricepoint. For instance Paramount's Conformist had a great transfer and plenty of extras for $10 while a Criterion release of the same would have cost $25.

-D

#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted September 11 2007 - 09:45 AM

Yes, but so far Universal has not really come through on this title with a transfer/digital restoration that's worthy of the film. The second release was much better, to be sure, and perhaps there's only so much room for improvement. But the Masterpiece Collection, while welcome, is certainly lacking on many titles, only just acceptable on others, and none which strike me as revelatory.

And I'm bored to death with those repetitive, fauning Bouzerau documentaries with their cutesy anecdotes and superficial hack analyses. Yes, Hitchcock was a popular filmmaker, but he was also an artist of a depth not sufficiently acknowledged or reflected in Universal's releases. I'm certainly not convinced that Universal will come through with the scholarship (or the transfer).

For example, the British Film Institute commissioned a series of books on great films, and the Hitch-loving author of "Sexual Personae", Camille Paglia, was selected for "The Birds". Her analysis of certain of the overarching themes in the film - of nature's tyranny, of the awesome power of female sexuality and the mythic associations that Hitch was conveying - are especially insightful. She even formulates something of a creed in connection with the film ("We all go to school in Bodega Bay!"). It's the sort of analysis that really opened my eyes to the deeper themes Hitchcock was conveying in this, his most enigmatic of films, and made me appreciate both the film and filmmaker all the more. She's the very sort of person Criterion would reach out to for critical scholarship as opposed to the boring, conventional, unilluminating hagiographies that Universal lards into its Hitchcock discs.

In short, I'd gladly pay more for a Criterion release. But don't worry bargain-hounds... it'll never happen!
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#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Bradley-E

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Posted September 11 2007 - 12:23 PM

I think Universal may be waiting to release it and PSYCHO next year along with HD DVD versions.


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