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Chimes at Midnight

Robert Harris

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11 replies to this topic

#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Torgny Nilsson

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Posted February 18 2009 - 03:30 AM

Is there any information on the status of the restoration of Orson Welles' "Chimes at Midnight"? A restoration is supposedly near completion, and I have even heard that the DVD may be released in April 2009. But no one seems to be giving out any reliable information. Should people spend $30-$40 to buy the problematic DVD from Brazil or should they just wait a little bit longer for the restored version? Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.

#2 of 12 OFFLINE   JoHud

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Posted February 18 2009 - 07:17 AM

There is a $20 DVD available at the TCM website. I bought it several months ago, and it appears to be a release by a small DVD distributor in Oregon. I believe it is "Nostalgia Video"

http://www.tcm.com/t....tTitleId=70831

There are no subtitles available, but the print quality was quite good. It's probably as good or better than the Brazilian print.

#3 of 12 OFFLINE   bferr1

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Posted February 19 2009 - 02:57 AM

Thanks, guys! I was just going to post this question in the BD thread when I stumbled on this thread. Yesterday, I emailed Criterion asking if this and other Welles titles might show up on BD. Weird that Torgny and I are on the same wavelength! Anyway, I'm intrigued by the restoration Torgny writes about since his is the first I've heard of it. What more do we know about it?

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Torgny Nilsson

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Posted February 19 2009 - 06:04 AM

I have seen that version for sale, but I have not heard anyone compare it to other versions. As far as I know, the Brazilian version is the best version on the market right now. Roger Ebert said in June 2006 that the "Brazilian disc [by Continental I think] is clear enough and a thing of beauty". He also said that a restoration is said to be in progress and due to be released in 2007 or 2008 (obviously did not happen).

There is also a Suevia Films version (from Spain) but, according to DVDBeaver, it is "Another great film with lackluster print transfer to DVD. Picture quality falls somewhere between mediocre to bad, often hazy, sound is up and down." He goes on to say that "Robert Harris has assured me that there is a fine print available (not in need of restoration)"

I have also read that "In August 2004 restoration work began on the film by the same team that restored Welles's The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (1952)."

And I have heard that Peter Bogdanovich is involved in the restoration and that the DVD may be released in April 2009, but I doubt this date as I have not seen any confirmation of this rumor.

It would be nice to hear something with certainty about the restoration of this film.

#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted February 19 2009 - 09:27 AM

This film may be in need of a clean-up for dirt, but there is no reason to spend money on a restoration.

Fine quality elements survive. Next we'll hear that Air Bud is being "restored."

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#6 of 12 OFFLINE   bferr1

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Posted February 19 2009 - 01:16 PM

Ack! Somebody, git 'er done!

#7 of 12 OFFLINE   Torgny Nilsson

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Posted February 23 2009 - 09:50 AM

Thanks for the info Robert. I am glad that good quality elements survive and that the movie does not need a full restoration. But I suppose my question is then really whether this movie is already out in a version worth buying (if so, which one) or whether some new cleaned-up version is in the works and worth waiting for? Does anyone know?

#8 of 12 OFFLINE   Stefan Andersson

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Posted July 18 2011 - 08:08 AM

For news re: public showings and possible DVD release in the UK of Chimes at Midnight, go here and scroll down: http://www.criterion...=7121&start=250

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   Richard Kaufman

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Posted January 20 2012 - 02:29 PM

As good as the film may be, the audio problems are off-putting to most viewers. This title is not going to sell like Touch of Evil or Citizen Kane. So, unless someone is going to put up the bucks for prestige purposes, it's not likely to see a good DVD release. Hopefully some dedicated soul will get this on blu. I have both the Japanese laser disc and the Spanish DVD. They are problematic, but unless extensive (and expensive) work is done on the sound it's just not going to get the audience it should. If Criterion could extend itself for a daffy flick like Mr. Arkadin (enjoyable, but, yes, daffy indeed), there must be real rights problems with Chimes at Midnight or they would have done it by now. (I do realize they announced a laser disc release that never came to pass many years ago.)

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted January 22 2012 - 04:37 AM



Originally Posted by Richard Kaufman 

As good as the film may be, the audio problems are off-putting to most viewers. This title is not going to sell like Touch of Evil or Citizen Kane. So, unless someone is going to put up the bucks for prestige purposes, it's not likely to see a good DVD release. Hopefully some dedicated soul will get this on blu. I have both the Japanese laser disc and the Spanish DVD. They are problematic, but unless extensive (and expensive) work is done on the sound it's just not going to get the audience it should. If Criterion could extend itself for a daffy flick like Mr. Arkadin (enjoyable, but, yes, daffy indeed), there must be real rights problems with Chimes at Midnight or they would have done it by now. (I do realize they announced a laser disc release that never came to pass many years ago.)


I viewed a newly minted 35mm print of this several years back, and there were no problems with either image or audio.


Putting it out on Blu-ray would not be an expensive proposition, once rights are acquired.


RAH



"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#11 of 12 OFFLINE   Richard Kaufman

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Posted January 23 2012 - 05:08 AM

RAH, that's great news. I've never seen a print where the dialogue was perfectly synched and fully audible--that's always been a problem, even when I saw it at The Regency in New York many years ago, and on both the laser disc and DVD. But if a restored print has fixed that issue that's great. Would love to see it on blu-ray.

#12 of 12 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted January 23 2012 - 07:48 AM

Saw it once in 35mm, at a Welles festival at USC in 1981 or thereabouts, and loved the film.  Ever since, whatever bits I've seen here and there have been horrendous.  A good release would be an immediate purchase.