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A Passage To India


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22 replies to this topic

#1 of 23 Brent Avery

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Posted April 04 2008 - 12:06 PM

Right now, with so few "classics" being released on Blue ray I got an early copy of this disc but always thought it was - like pretty well all of David Lean's films - shot at 2:35. The back of the case lists it at 1:66 and IMBD shows it as 1:85. I have not watched it yet and honestly cannot remember the OAR from the SD DVD I viewed some time ago but it would be a bit of a let down for myself given the usually grand sweeping vistas that a 2:35 OAR brings - especially with Mr. Lean at the helm. Anyone care to comment on this? I will have my answer soon enough when I check it out between now and the weekend! I notice June is shaping up to be the best month yet for older films coming to BD from Sony and Fox for father's day - it's about time!

#2 of 23 Brandon Conway

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Posted April 04 2008 - 12:50 PM

1.66:1 is correct. Shot flat and a British film.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#3 of 23 Douglas Monce

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Posted April 04 2008 - 01:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Avery
Right now, with so few "classics" being released on Blue ray I got an early copy of this disc but always thought it was - like pretty well all of David Lean's films - shot at 2:35. The back of the case lists it at 1:66 and IMBD shows it as 1:85. I have not watched it yet and honestly cannot remember the OAR from the SD DVD I viewed some time ago but it would be a bit of a let down for myself given the usually grand sweeping vistas that a 2:35 OAR brings - especially with Mr. Lean at the helm. Anyone care to comment on this? I will have my answer soon enough when I check it out between now and the weekend! I notice June is shaping up to be the best month yet for older films coming to BD from Sony and Fox for father's day - it's about time!

I read an article about this film in American Cinematographer at the time the film was made. In that article they talk about how Passage was financed in part by HBO and as a result they asked that the film not be shot in a "Scope" ratio so that it would be easier to broadcast.

In fact in the mid 80s there was quite a bit of talk about how the "scope" 2.35:1 ratio might become a thing of the past because movies were making more and more money on TV. Super 35 almost single handedly saved "Scope" with its flexible ratio.

Doug
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#4 of 23 Stephen_J_H

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Posted April 04 2008 - 03:44 PM

I'm sure that if someone were to take the time to compile alist of films released in the 80s with their corresponding ARs, the majority would be ~1.85:1.
"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

#5 of 23 Douglas Monce

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Posted April 05 2008 - 04:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen_J_H
I'm sure that if someone were to take the time to compile alist of films released in the 80s with their corresponding ARs, the majority would be ~1.85:1.


I'm, sure your correct on this. I didn't see every movie that came out at that time but darn close. I remember lamenting the lack of scope releases, and being very excited when ever one came along. Die Hard in particular seemed to come along when there was quite a drought of films in 2.35:1.

Doug
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#6 of 23 john a hunter

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Posted April 05 2008 - 11:46 AM

Lean originally thought about 65 mm but given this was his "come back" film, he had little of his once considerable clout. He even had to give up on Scope because of HBO'S participation. Even though he was one of my favorite directors, when it was released I thought that if all they could think about was how it was to look on TV, there was no point seeing it in a theatre despite rave reviews. So I only saw it on LD, I believe,but have ordered the BD. Hopefully, Lawrence and Kwai won't be too far behind.Not his finest but still bloody good!

#7 of 23 Paul Arnette

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Posted April 05 2008 - 12:02 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by john a hunter
Hopefully, Lawrence and Kwai won't be too far behind.Not his finest but still bloody good!

Given Lean's stature, I'm sure. This will be a blind-buy for me, but I doubt seriously I will regret it.

And while I wouldn't want to tell someone to buy a movie that they aren't enamored with just to 'grow' a format, I would say that if you continually pass on the best catalog titles that are offered on that format, don't be surprised if the 'ones you really wanted' never show up at all.

Edited to add:

BTW, this last comment isn't directed at anyone in particular, merely a 'word of warning' for those interested in the long-term success of HDM.
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#8 of 23 willyTass

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Posted April 05 2008 - 01:05 PM

my copy arrives tommorow in australia- ill post on the transfer quality as soon as it arrives. Ill be seeing it on a 1080p pioneer kuro plasma

#9 of 23 MatthewA

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Posted April 05 2008 - 02:28 PM

I'll definitely be picking up a copy. I have never seen the film, but I want Sony to know there is a market for catalog titles on BD, and the only way to do it is to buy them.

Enough is enough, Disney. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray.

 

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#10 of 23 Jim_K

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Posted April 06 2008 - 01:15 AM

Quote:
Given Lean's stature, I'm sure. This will be a blind-buy for me, but I doubt seriously I will regret it.

And while I wouldn't want to tell someone to buy a movie that they aren't enamored with just to 'grow' a format, I would say that if you continually pass on the best catalog titles that are offered on that format, don't be surprised if the 'ones you really wanted' never show up at all.

Edited to add:

BTW, this last comment isn't directed at anyone in particular, merely a 'word of warning' for those interested in the long-term success of HDM.

Well to be honest I wasn't impressed with A Passage to India (though I realize it has it's admirers) and was more than a bit disappointed when I learned this would be Sony's first David Lean release.

Not saying that you're wrong in your thinking but I never bought into the theory that I should support releases by purchasing something I didn't care for in the hopes that would entice the studio's to release what I really want. Why is it my burden if they don't release the right titles? Posted Image

I just don't think my lack of a purchase of India will make any difference on how soon Sony brings out LOA, Kwai, Guns of Navarone, Das Boot, Major Dundee, Dr Strangelove, the Harryhausen films, etc, etc. If it does then so be it, I'm a collector/hobbyist not a philanthropist.

Death before Streaming!


#11 of 23 Paul Arnette

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Posted April 06 2008 - 04:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_K
Not saying that you're wrong in your thinking but I never bought into the theory that I should support releases by purchasing something I didn't care for in the hopes that would entice the studio's to release what I really want. Why is it my burden if they don't release the right titles? Posted Image

I understand your feelings on this particular matter, however I was speaking more generically. Mostly I was referring to those people that have become used to the vast selection of titles DVD has to offer compared to BD, and refuse to purchase anything but the uber A-list catalog titles on BD. If those types of buyer's turn out to be the majority of BD's consumer base, and I'm not saying they will, then they shouldn't be surprised if 2-3 years down the road the format as become a vehicle for publishing new releases and eye-candy only.

I guess what I am saying is that BD has proved its supreriority over DVD to me so much that any movie I consider worth owning, I consider worth owning on BD. I know that it is unreasonable to ask everyone to upgrade all of their movies, but perhaps it is more reasonable to ask that they can set their sights a bit lower in the short term for long term gain if they'd like to see BD grow.

Again, if you've seen A Passage to India, and you don't care for it, then, of course, don't buy it. However, even having not seen A Passage to India, I consider its offering a vast improvement over The 6th Day or First Knight, so I'm going to try to cast my 'vote' for more of these types of films. I know that you, Jim, have certainly 'done your part'. Posted Image
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#12 of 23 Douglas Monce

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Posted April 06 2008 - 04:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by john a hunter
Lean originally thought about 65 mm but given this was his "come back" film, he had little of his once considerable clout. He even had to give up on Scope because of HBO'S participation. Even though he was one of my favorite directors, when it was released I thought that if all they could think about was how it was to look on TV, there was no point seeing it in a theatre despite rave reviews. So I only saw it on LD, I believe,but have ordered the BD. Hopefully, Lawrence and Kwai won't be too far behind.Not his finest but still bloody good!

Lean was a brilliant visual story teller no matter what the format. In fact he made many visually spectacular films in 1.33 and black and white. Great Expectations anyone?

I don't think Passage is any less visually spectacular than Lawrence or Bridge, now I guess that some people find the story less than compelling but that's just a matter of personal taste. I really think that Passage is a wonderful example to filmmakers of how to use the 1.85:1 frame. So many directors to day and even DPs seem to know almost nothing about composition or how to use the frame effectively.

Doug
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#13 of 23 Jim_K

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Posted April 06 2008 - 05:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
I I was speaking more generically. Mostly I was referring to those people that have become used to the vast selection of titles DVD has to offer compared to BD, and refuse to purchase anything but the uber A-list catalog titles on BD. If those types of buyer's turn out to be the majority of BD's consumer base, and I'm not saying they will, then they shouldn't be surprised if 2-3 years down the road the format as become a vehicle for publishing new releases and eye-candy only.


I obviously misunderstood you before Paul because I agree with you here.

The attitude of the "I won't upgrade anything except Spielberg/Lucas titles or LOTR" crowd Posted Image is disturbing. If they liked a movie enough to own it (sometimes buying multiple versions) on DVD I don't understand why those titles aren't worth the upgrade to BD (when available).
Death before Streaming!


#14 of 23 Richard--W

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Posted April 06 2008 - 05:27 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Monce
Lean was a brilliant visual story teller no matter what the format. In fact he made many visually spectacular films in 1.33 and black and white. Great Expectations anyone?

I don't think Passage is any less visually spectacular than Lawrence or Bridge, now I guess that some people find the story less than compelling but that's just a matter of personal taste. I really think that Passage is a wonderful example to filmmakers of how to use the 1.85:1 frame. So many directors to day and even DPs seem to know almost nothing about composition or how to use the frame effectively.

Doug
Well said, and I agree. I see A PASSAGE TO INDIA as a return to the intimate dramas Lean perfected in the 1940s and 1950s, before he became known as an "epic" film maker. Actually this last film has an "epic" quality even though it's on the scale of a personal drama. A PASSAGE TO INDIA reaffirms David Lean as a master dramatist at the peak of his story-telling powers. The film is meticulously crafted and layered with nuance and detail, both visually and dramatically. Don't anyone underestimate this wonderful film.

#15 of 23 Brent Avery

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Posted April 06 2008 - 06:45 AM

I noticed there is a short review on this BD release over at the AVS Forum. There is mention by the poster of previews to LOA, Bridge On The River Kwai and Passage all in 1080 as part of the David Lean Collection celebrating his 100th birthday. Sounds interesting! I better check it out today.

#16 of 23 Richard Gallagher

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Posted April 06 2008 - 08:22 AM

I haven't received the BD screener yet. I would expect to have it in the next fews day and hopefully will have a review up by next weekend.
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#17 of 23 john a hunter

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Posted April 06 2008 - 09:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Monce
Lean was a brilliant visual story teller no matter what the format. In fact he made many visually spectacular films in 1.33 and black and white. Great Expectations anyone

Doug
He sure was, but he also realised the added benefits that widescreen and 65mm photography would bring. That's why he fought for them on Passage and lost to the bean counters. He fought for them again and won with Nostromo but unfortunately we all lost when he died before production began.

I am looking forward to the BD and would recommend the film highly, especially compared to the current issues that today's bean counters are giving us on BD.

#18 of 23 MatthewA

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Posted April 06 2008 - 09:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_K
I obviously misunderstood you before Paul because I agree with you here.

The attitude of the "I won't upgrade anything except Spielberg/Lucas titles or LOTR" crowd Posted Image is disturbing. If they liked a movie enough to own it (sometimes buying multiple versions) on DVD I don't understand why those titles aren't worth the upgrade to BD (when available).

Exactly. There are plenty of titles that are not written up about incessantly, do not have the worship of geekdom, or were even particularly well received when they came out, that I would buy on BD (assuming they were done right) in a second. There is a huge pantheon of old Hollywood classics, childhood favorites, obscure titles, foreign films and cult movies I would love to add to my BD collection. I've never even seen the Lord of the Rings movies.

Enough is enough, Disney. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray.

 

My DVD/BD List at DVD Aficionado


#19 of 23 willyTass

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Posted April 07 2008 - 12:35 AM

well I just finished watching it and its a fine transfer.

Its no I-Robot but theres nothing to complain about. Similar to bonnie and clyde in terms of sharpness.

no edge enhancement that i could see at 50"

#20 of 23 Johannes S

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Posted April 07 2008 - 08:57 AM

I received the BD of "A Passage to India" today and have very good news about this presentation. Posted Image

It is a BD 50 with a spectacular MPEG4/AVC encode with a bitrate averaging at about 25 to 30 Mbps with occasional peaks up to 40 Mbps, including two Dolby Digital True HD tracks. (english and french).

It is correctly framed at 1.66:1 with small black bars at both sides of the picture.

Incredible detail/color and natural film-like texture with a mild, but intact grain structure. Glad to see no evidence of excessive high-frequency filtering or degraining!

My highest recommendation!


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