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Houdini (1953)---comments?

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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Craig99



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Posted June 16 2008 - 06:43 AM

Just watched this over the weekend; last time I remember seeing the movie was on a black and white TV (think it was NBC Saturday Night at the Movies, or something) so it was wonderful to finally see it in color! However, compared with some other DVDs of 1950s films (War of the Worlds, This Island Earth etc.) I thought the picture quality could have been better. Colors were very nice, but lots of artifacts/grain in some scenes. Anyway, it was a great flick and long overdue on DVD.

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Malcolm Cleugh

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Posted June 17 2008 - 12:16 AM

This is one of the cheapo releases from Legend Films of licensed old back cataolgue titles from Paramount. Would therefore not expect the same care, attention and money spent on them as one of the official Paramount releases, of other films they own from same era e.g. original War of the Worlds. Also I have read that that most of these Legend Films releases are on single layer DVD5s so you would expect more compression issues than if a dual layer DVD9 had been used. Given these films were never likely to be released by Paramount we should be grateful they are getting an official release at all.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   ahollis



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Posted June 17 2008 - 08:51 AM

I ordered a bunch of the Paramount titles from Legend and was very surprised at the quality. While it they are not the best thing ever released I was apprehensive coming from Legend Films. Since the company is a niche and mostly does colorizing of black & white films I had no idea what to expect. I also remember seeing “Houdini” on the NBC Saturday Night at the Movies at my cousin’s house who had the only color set for ten blocks. Even after these number of years I remember the color a lot more radiant than the DVD. The colors on the DVD should have been more dazzling since it was a three-strip Technicolor production, but again I do not know what Legend had to work with or what Paramount gave them. I am glad to finally have Houdini, Those Daunting Young Men, Serial, The Skull and others that have evaded me over the years whether DVD or laserdisc. I notice in August that Paramount is going to re-release just about every 80’s catalog title they have produced on DVD so far under the heading “I Love The 80’s.” The titles range from Airplane to Terms of Enderment. I can only image if they used their marketing skills with a series of un-released titles on DVD using that same heading and more such as “I Love the 70’s’ and I Love The 60’s.” Maybe we would see “A Separate Piece”, “American Hot Wax”, “Once Is Not Enough”, “Friends of Eddie Coyle”, “Looking for Mr. Goodbar”, “Such Good Friends”, and others. Hopefully Legend had a success with the titles and will do another group of films and if they do, one of my suggestions is “Skiddoo.”
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Charles H

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Posted June 17 2008 - 09:59 AM

If Legend can do WON TON TON, THE DOG WHO SAVED HOLLYWOOD, then why not SKIDOO? Does Legend have any licensing agreement with Paramount beyond those already released or announced?
Charles Hoyt

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Jack Theakston

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Posted June 17 2008 - 10:30 AM

Frankly, I don't know what the bickering is about. I thought the DVD of HOUDINI was quite nice, aside from the color being boosted up a little too much. Legend does their transfers on state-of-the-art equipment, so if you've got an issue with grain, take it up with the cinematographer or the state of the elements.
-J. Theakston

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Richard--W



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Posted June 17 2008 - 10:43 AM

HOUDINI looks fine to me. I'm satisfied with the transfer and the color. All in all I have no complaints about any of the Legend / Paramount releases, except for the difficulty in ordering the latest titles from Best Buy. Whomever made the decision to release them as Best Buy exclusives needs to get his head examined. George Pal, the producer, invested HOUDINI with the same sense of wonder that made all his films memorable and entertaining. I can't recommend it highly enough.

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

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Posted June 17 2008 - 05:51 PM

Skidoo is owned by the Preminger estate. His wife hates the film, so I doubt she will allow it to be released.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   ahollis



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Posted June 18 2008 - 04:23 AM

That explains why TCM showed a pan-scan version of Skidoo a few months back. Paramount had no reason to up-grade the print from its original TV showings. That is a shame, while the film was dreadful it does have its champions and it is something to see. I guess we put this on the same category of movies that are caught in owner’s hell like Porgy and Bess and The Hanging Tree. Glad the Berlin estate decided to allow people to view Annie Get Your Gun again after years of being locked up. Does anyone know if “Hurry Sundown” has some kind of rights issue or is it also owned and locked by the Preminger estate? It seems that this film along with “Skidoo”, “Such Good Friends” and “Tell Me That You Love Me Julie Moon” are missing from the DVD market and were all produced by Otto Preminger Films. I know that Warner HV released “The Cardinal” and “Advise and Consent”, which one must assume a deal was made with Mrs. Preminger. Those four films that Paramount released would look good on my shelf (hint, hint someone). Back on the topic, there are a lot of Paramount titles from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s that are just caught in Paramount hell. Here's a toast that Legend and Paramount can make another deal for another 30 films.
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   George Reis

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Posted June 20 2008 - 04:41 AM

I've been happy with all the Legend releases I've seen so far. They've really taken a big bite out of Paramount's catalog this year, releasing titles we'd probably would never have seen on DVD had it not been for their deal. I hope they can get more from Paramount, as well as tap into the resources of other studios who are still sitting on hundreds of unreleased titles.