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Vertigo: Universal Legacy Series -- no mono track


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#1 of 37 OFFLINE   WilliamMcK

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Posted October 04 2008 - 04:36 AM

Apologies for not using one of the other Vertigo and/or Legacy threads, but this seemed serious enough to warrant its own thread (moderators feel free to move if you think best). I picked up the Legacy VERTIGO yesterday. The original mono track IS NOT INCLUDED on this release. There are two English language options (a 5.1 and a 2.0) but both feature the 1996 sound track. The back of the box indicates a 2.0 mono track, but it's not there (at least not on my copy). Going through the options one by one I got 1. 5.1 ('96), 2. 2.0 ('96), 3. commentary (Harris/Katz/Coleman), and 4. commentary (Friedkin). The picture is a noticeable (though not startlingly so) improvement over the Masterpiece Collection, so it's very frustrating for fans of this movie that the original sound track is not included. This does not bode well for the future blu-ray release.

#2 of 37 OFFLINE   BillyFeldman

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Posted October 04 2008 - 07:53 AM

Terrible. No purchase here. And from the screencaps I've seen, the main title is still the wrongly tinted version - is that right?

#3 of 37 OFFLINE   WilliamMcK

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Posted October 04 2008 - 08:04 AM

Yup! The color gaffe over the main-title "blank face" is still there. I've just finished watching the whole thing (with Friedkin's commentary--though I wasn't giving it my undivided attention), and I have to say it's the best this film has looked on home video. But unfortunately that doesn't mitigate Universal's failure to provide the original sound track. Bottom line is if you like the '96 sound then this is worth getting for the improved picture and the new extras; if you don't like the '96 sound save your money.

#4 of 37 OFFLINE   James 'Tiger' Lee

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Posted October 04 2008 - 08:55 AM

What an annoyance. Do you think Universal will do a replacement, given this is false advertising on their part?

#5 of 37 OFFLINE   Charlie O.

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Posted October 04 2008 - 08:59 AM

The 2.0 ('96) isn't a 2.0 dual mono track?

#6 of 37 OFFLINE   WilliamMcK

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Posted October 04 2008 - 09:23 AM

That's what the back of the box says, but on the menu it's cryptically labeled as "English" (as opposed to the default audio which is labeled "English 5.1"). I went through each available audio option, listening very carefully through the first two scenes of the movie (the rooftop chase and the first scene between Midge and Scottie in her apartment). I only have a two speaker set-up, but clearly both non-commentary options offer only the 1996 sound track. I know this because: 1. On both tracks the main title music is clearly in stereo. 2. On both tracks you can hear the "repeating" gun shot foleys that sound so anachronistic in a 1958 movie (the original track, available on the Masterpiece Collection has single gun shots). 3. On both tracks the sound of the cushions as Scottie sits down on Midge's day bed are missing (a silly thing to notice, but notice it I did--the sound is almost oddly prominent on the original track, as can be heard on the Masterpiece Collection). I haven't listened to the other scenes that particularly bother me about the 1996 sound track (the overly prominent street noises during Scottie's trailing of Madeleine; the seagull squawks just prior to Madeleine's jumping into San Francisco Bay; and the unintentionally humorous clattering/clunk as Madeleine's body falls onto the tiles of the Mission roof); but as far as I'm concerned those repeating gun shots during the roof top chase are a dead give away.

#7 of 37 OFFLINE   Craig Beam

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Posted October 04 2008 - 09:32 AM

What a crushing disappointment, as this is my favorite film of all time. HOWEVER... I'll still get it for the improved image and the extras. I still have both the Masterpiece Collection and the original non-anamorphic edition, and since I have no intention of parting with either of them, I'll always have the mono track at my disposal. Hell, it wouldn't be terribly difficult to put together a homemade combination of the new DVD image with the mono track.....

#8 of 37 OFFLINE   BillyFeldman

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Posted October 04 2008 - 01:01 PM

While the image may be improved in terms of sharpness - who cares, if the titles are still the wrong tint, and there is no original mono soundtrack? This is, to put it as kindly as possible, a travesty. Clearly they did not do a new transfer.

#9 of 37 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted October 04 2008 - 01:58 PM

This is an issue that should be looked into further. Universal has already done a transfer of Vertigo's surviving optical printmaster for the masterpiece edition release, so I can't see why they wouldn't bother simply slapping that track on this dvd. Also the initial PR listed the mono track being included.

#10 of 37 OFFLINE   WilliamMcK

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Posted October 04 2008 - 09:33 PM

Since I got it in advance of the street date, I suppose it's possible that I got an early incorrect pressing; but this much I can guarantee you, the Legacy set that I have does not include the original mono track (unless my Oppo player is malfunctioning in some way that I've never heard of; or unless Universal included it as an Easter Egg... do the studios even bother with those anymore?). I know Vertigo and both the 1958 original and 1996 redone soundtracks like I know my own name, and the original mono track is not one of the playable audio options on the set I have.

#11 of 37 OFFLINE   Bill Huelbig

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Posted October 06 2008 - 06:24 AM

WilliamMcK mentioned the noise Midge's couch made when Scottie sat on it. I'm with him - that and all the other original audio effects made up an extremely memorable soundtrack. If you don't hear them anymore when you expect to, it's very jarring. For me one of the worst additions on the 1996 track is the sound of Scottie flipping on a lightswitch when Madeleine appears as a dark silhouette at his door at dawn, to tell him about her dream. On the original track there was no sound at all except for the music as Madeleine's shadow brightened, revealing that it was actually her. All the strangeness and mystery in the shot is cancelled out by the sound of that lightswitch clicking on. If I were in charge of the new soundtrack, I would've seen to it that the 1958 track was copied completely, in every tiny detail. That would've been a fine professional challenge for the sound technicians, too.

#12 of 37 OFFLINE   Bryan Tuck

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Posted October 14 2008 - 07:53 AM

Has anyone contacted Universal about this? Was it an intentional decision to leave the original track off this release? Or is this a Superman-type mistake? It seems odd that they would include the original mono on the Masterpiece Collection, but then use a stereo mixdown of the 5.1 on this one and then mislabel the package.
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#13 of 37 OFFLINE   David_B_K

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Posted October 14 2008 - 08:21 AM

Is there a reason to get these new individual Legacy Hitchcocks if one already has the box set? Are they supposed to possess features not in the collection?

#14 of 37 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted October 14 2008 - 08:59 AM

There's new special features on these releases.

#15 of 37 OFFLINE   James 'Tiger' Lee

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Posted October 14 2008 - 09:33 AM

This is a commong occurance with the Hong Kong company Fortune Star, owners of the Golden Harvest films, who do the most vile remixes for the films they own. Although many of the actual DVD companies that release the films; Fox (US), Joy Sales (HK) and Hong Kong Legends (UK) pay for an 'original mono' track, often what they get is a downmix of the remix, and even then there is a lack of consistency. The UK DVD of Hand Of Death has a downmix, the US DVD genuine mono

#16 of 37 OFFLINE   WilliamMcK

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Posted October 15 2008 - 03:20 AM

A couple of other things to note about the new "Legacy" edition of Vertigo: The film during the credits has been noticeably cleaned up--it's now virtually speckle and dirt free. But some of the geometric images (particularly the green ones) no longer disappear or fade away--they break up in an almost digital way. It doesn't look good. Another sound issue (though this relates to the 1996 sound track, not to the Legacy edition specifically): the cop's scream as he falls from the rooftop after having tried to help Scottie is not nearly as loud--as a matter of fact it's overpowered by the music/effects. On the original '58 track the cop's scream pierces through the music/effects and is blood curdling.

#17 of 37 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted October 15 2008 - 10:02 AM

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#18 of 37 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted October 15 2008 - 10:56 AM

Well who do we get in contact with to get this resolved? Personally I don't really care about the mono track myself (from what I've heard in regards to the Masterpiece Edition, its nigh unintelligable at times due to the fact that the master is optical and from a rough print at that), but its still false advertising and Universal needs to be held accountable for yet another of its (many) blunders.

#19 of 37 OFFLINE   BillyFeldman

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Posted October 15 2008 - 11:32 AM

You don't care about the mono track. Fascinating, since that's the only track that contains the original mix of the film, you know, the one Alfred Hitchcock supervised and approved - why anyone would want any other mix is beyond my field of understanding. There is not one word that's unintelligible in the mono track on the Masterpiece Edition - it's a little harsh-sounding, but that's as bad as it gets.

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   Kevin Harper

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Posted October 16 2008 - 06:09 AM

Unfortunately it would appear that the people who actually want to see and hear films as they were originally made are a dwindling minority. OK, the track on the Masterpiece edition isn't that great but it's a damn sight better than the godawful remix. I was planning on buying the Legacy in order to get a slightly improved image and what look like some nice extras - but no mono track means no sale. I specifically bought the Masterpiece collection in order to get the mono on Vertigo and an Anamorphic Psycho. Both films appear to be little improved upon from that release... apart from Psycho still being the US version instead of the UK.




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