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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: That's Entertainment! - The Complete Collection

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#1 of 26 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted December 27 2007 - 01:02 AM



#2 of 26 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted December 27 2007 - 04:20 AM

Started watching this Christmas Eve and was pleasantly pleased.

Mind you, I have never been a huge fan of most musicals from
the 40s and 50s. In fact, it would have been impossible to
convince me to watch, let alone purchase any of the That's
Entertainment!
films years ago.

I decided to finally add these to my library because....well....
they represent the very best of what has made musicals what
they are.

So, here I am on Christmas Eve watching That's Entertainment!
with a smile on my face. Talk about some incredible moments
where you just go "WOW!" I think the most impressive moment
for me was Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling --- and me trying to
figure out how it was done so fluidly. I also found myself gasping
at the pure scope of a camera pullback on a western train station
(think it was from The Harvey Girls). I mean the production numbers
don't hold a candle to anything modern cinema does today with all
its CGI.

The overall quality of video is a mixed bag on Blu-ray. As has been
noted, there can be a lot of grain in the B&W shots. However, much
of that is made up with the gorgeous technicolor shots that are
reproduced quite well here. I still think even the best footage shows
hints of debris which makes me wonder if Warner replaced original
footage or not here.

I look forward to watching parts II and III over the next few weeks.

This is a title that must be added to any hi-def collection.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#3 of 26 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted December 27 2007 - 01:52 PM

i wish i hadnt bought the sd set just before this was announced, i would have the br version now.
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#4 of 26 OFFLINE   WadeM

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Posted December 29 2007 - 12:50 AM

Anyone have any screen shots from this comparing it with the SD? I'm especially curious about just how affecting the grain is on the B&W. I can imagine how good the technicolor looks.

#5 of 26 OFFLINE   Raul Marquez,MD

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Posted December 29 2007 - 01:18 AM

Hiya Ron, First of all Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!! Yesterday I was in my local Specs (f.y.e.) store holding the Blu-ray and the HD DVD boxes of That's Entertainment, and couldn't decide which version to buy. Have you heard of any differences? I decided to hold off on buying this title until I did some more research on this forum. I'm completely format neutral so far, so I was tempted to get this on HD DVD just to even out my HiDef collections (I have 46 BR vs 35 HDDVD titles so far). Take care, Raul

#6 of 26 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted December 29 2007 - 01:26 AM

Since Warners uses the VC-1 codec and Dolby TrueHD on both the HD-DVD and the Blu-ray, I don't think there will be any differences at all with the releases. There is no content difference between the two either.

#7 of 26 ONLINE   Wayne_j

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Posted December 31 2007 - 12:11 PM

Yes, Warners have been updating the clips from the That's Entertainment series as improved restorations have been completed. The digital bits has an interview that Robert Harris conducted with someone at Warners around the time of the DVD release.

#8 of 26 OFFLINE   Carter of Mars

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Posted December 31 2007 - 02:36 PM

Am I reading the review right? Are clips not being presented in the original aspect ratio on this set?

#9 of 26 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted December 31 2007 - 03:43 PM

Yes, you are reading that correctly, and it isn't unique to the Blu-ray. Those same clips are cropped and blown up on the sDVD set as well. I checked. It isn't every clip, of course, but in my mind, the only one they had a right to tamper with was the one from THE GREAT ZIEGFELD which Sinatra specifically stated was being altered to look like a clip from a more modern film. The rest should have been left alone.

#10 of 26 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted December 31 2007 - 04:15 PM

And I believe those clips were tilt n' scanned for the original theatrical release, since pillarboxing for modern theatres is a fairly recent practice.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#11 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark B

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Posted December 31 2007 - 04:26 PM

I've always interpreted Sinatra's (scripted) comment as meaning that the sequence from that film would look the same in (1974) due to the high level of production value attributed to it in 1936; that it couldn't be done any better.

#12 of 26 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted January 01 2008 - 01:30 AM

Correct, at least for the first two. The third one never made it to my area of the world. Since they don't do it for every Academy ratio clip, the need to do it at all continues to mystify.

#13 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark B

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Posted January 01 2008 - 02:54 AM

Can someone explain "tilt and scan" to me please? Edit: I just did a little "Googling" and found my answer. So, does this mean that in the original theatrical release of TE! ALL of the academy ratio clips were compromised? If so, the footage of the narrators would also have been matted, would it not?

#14 of 26 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted January 01 2008 - 06:09 AM

The original theatrical release of TE looked exactly the same as the current video releases in terms of which sections were blown up and which were not. The footage of the hosts was all in academy ratio and not matted. When the movie first appeared on television (in the 4:3 days) almost the entire movie was in the 4:3 ratio which got rid of the blow-ups but caused the wide screen clips to be either cropped or panned and scanned.

#15 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark B

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Posted January 01 2008 - 10:01 AM

I have every VHS and laserdisc release of these films, as well as the SD-DVD version, so I'm aware of the home video progression, upgraded clips, and letterboxed segments. I've always been curious about the original theatrical exhibition, hence my questions.

#16 of 26 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted January 01 2008 - 10:10 AM

The footage wasn't "blown up", it was simply matted (in the projector) as most 1.85:1 films are. Of course the old footage wasn't shot with matting in mind so the framing may seem very tight. When shown on TV they most likely scanned it in at 1.37:1 and didn't push it to the point where the top and bottom mattes wouldn't be seen on tv. The effect may simply be that the host segments seem to have a bit more head room than would seem to be normal, and the old footage would be seen at almost full frame. Doug
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#17 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark B

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Posted January 01 2008 - 11:35 AM

This sounds to me like it would explain how a 35mm general release may have been handled, but what about the 70mm version?

#18 of 26 OFFLINE   Gary16

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Posted January 01 2008 - 03:03 PM

In the theatrical release of TE, some of the original footage from movies shot in the 1.33:1 ratio was "blown up" to fill the 1.85:1 frame. If the top and bottom had just been matted, then it would have looked like a letterboxed film where the width is still the same as the 1:33.1 ratio but the height is lower. The "blow up" is what causes the softening of the picture during these portions (this is especially noticeable during "Showboat" and "The Harvey Girls" segments) both theatrically and in the new video releases.

#19 of 26 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted January 01 2008 - 03:27 PM

All 1.85:1 films are actually 1.37:1 (1.33:1 actually hasn't been used since the advent of sound) films that have just had the top and bottom of the frame matted out using the projector aperture plate. There would be no "blow up involved because they would just cover the top and bottom of the frame with the 1.85:1 projection aperture plate. They might have shifted the top of the frame down however to meet the top of the 1.85 frame line so you wouldn't end up with heads cut off when projected in the theater. But there is no blow up involved because the actual frame size is exactly the same as a 1.85:1 before the matte is applied. The older clips most likely look softer than the new host segments for several reasons. One they more generations away from the camera negative than the host segments, and two the newer film stocks used for the host segments are just able to resolve more information than the older film stocks. Not to mention better lens optics. Doug
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#20 of 26 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted January 01 2008 - 03:33 PM

They would be handled exactly the same as any 1.85:1 film blown up to 70mm. They would crop the sides or pillerbox the image at 1.85:1. They could also pillerbox the image at 1.37:1 if they wanted too, but I doubt they would have done that in the 70s. Doug
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