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More Warner B&W BD plans: Maltese Falcon, Marx Bros., Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Bogart.


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#1 of 54 Brandon Conway

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Posted October 12 2009 - 07:36 AM

http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=3525

And

http://www.homemediamagazine.com/blu-ray-disc/black-white-blu-17280 (original article)

"They are currently planning on bringing more classic films to Blu-ray, including those from the Marx Brothers, Errol Flynn, Betty Davis and Humphrey Bogart. Already on schedule, "The Maltese Falcon" will be released next year on Blu-ray."

I know they've also been prepping King Kong (1933) and some of the Astaire/Rogers films per previous articles.

My guess is that the Marx Bros. title(s) has got to at least be A Night at the Opera, while Flynn is likely Captain Blood and/or The Sea Hawk. As for Davis.... Jezebel, perhaps? And hopefully some Bogart beyond The Maltese Falcon, perhaps even The Big Sleep or To Have or Have Not.

"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


#2 of 54 Scott Merryfield

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Posted October 12 2009 - 07:45 AM

More Bogey on BD is great news! With the Marx Brothers, though, I want to read more about any restoration plans. The film elements used for the current SD-DVD's look pretty rough. Without a major restoration effort, I doubt the upgrade to BD would be worthwhile.


#3 of 54 Brandon Conway

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Posted October 12 2009 - 07:51 AM

Well, restoration efforts aside, classic B&W will always benefit greatly from the HD upgrade because the grayscale does not have to be toned down like it is on SD (which is done to prevent the ringing/banding effect).

"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


#4 of 54 oscar_merkx

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Posted October 12 2009 - 09:45 AM

From the same interview
Quote:
It’s not just the major studios trying out black and white on Blu-ray. Kino International announced in September the Nov. 10 release of Buster Keaton’s 1926 comedy The General on Blu-ray. Thanks to an original print that survived with only minor problems, Kino was able to make an HD transfer out of a 35mm print and paint out the few blemishes left over. 

 



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#5 of 54 Brandon Conway

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Posted October 12 2009 - 10:18 AM

Yes, I am very excited about The General. I'm hoping that it sells well enough for a few more Kino distributed silent films to follow (notably Metropolis, The Black Pirate, Nosferatu and a few more Keaton comedies) and perhaps even the one Kurosawa they have rights to - Dersu Uzala.

"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


#6 of 54 John Morgan

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Posted October 12 2009 - 10:35 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Merryfield View Post

More Bogey on BD is great news! With the Marx Brothers, though, I want to read more about any restoration plans. The film elements used for the current SD-DVD's look pretty rough. Without a major restoration effort, I doubt the upgrade to BD would be worthwhile.
Didn't some recently discovered footage reappear for NIGHT AT THE OPERA? (Such as the beginning that shows they are in Italy) I would think this would be our only chance to seeing a really restored version with a first class presentation.

#7 of 54 TravisR

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Posted October 12 2009 - 10:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post

Didn't some recently discovered footage reappear for NIGHT AT THE OPERA? (Such as the beginning that shows they are in Italy) I would think this would be our only chance to seeing a really restored version with a first class presentation.

I remember reading that over in the SD DVD section way back but I'm pretty sure that it was never confirmed (and maybe not even remotely true).

#8 of 54 Douglas Monce

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Posted October 12 2009 - 10:49 AM

Very excited about The Maltese Falcon. I would also love to see a genuine clean up on The Big Sleep. The dvd release looked a little milky compared to the Falcon with quite a bit of flicker.

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#9 of 54 Brandon Conway

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Posted October 12 2009 - 10:54 AM

The DVD release of The Big Sleep is relatively old now (Feb. 2000), so they could definitely improve it. Hopefully they'll include both versions if they decide to do it.

Other Bogart potentials would have to be The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Key Largo, and Dark Passage.

In fact, probably a great indicator of potential Warner catalog titles would be any release that got a 2-Disc SE from 2000-2007 or so, a la The Adventures of Robin Hood and Casablanca.

Personally, I'm holding out hope for Bringing Up Baby.

"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


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Posted October 12 2009 - 11:32 AM

This is the best tease I've heard in a long time. Marxes in hi def! I hope its Treasure of the Sierra Madre (awful PQ on its SE DVD). Such a grainy, messy film (I've seen it on film on the big screen) it really would benefit from greater resolution/bit rate.

I've guessed elsewhere that the Bette Davis might be the obvious flagship title All About Eve, or perhaps from a later decade Whatever Happened To Baby Jane.

#11 of 54 Brandon Conway

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Posted October 12 2009 - 11:36 AM

All About Eve is a Fox title (which they should release, by the way), so Whatever Happened... seems possible for Warner. Maybe Dark Victory?

"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


#12 of 54 BillyFeldman

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Posted October 12 2009 - 11:59 AM

 I'm hoping that the French company that did The General will do a Blu-Ray of it - I have never seen a better transfer, and there's no way the Kino will be as good - and the French has a great score by Joe Hisaishi that is perfect for the film.  Fingers crossed, because I have little faith in Kino based on the hyperbole of their press releases versus the actual transfer on view.

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Posted October 12 2009 - 12:23 PM

Kino's Keaton DVDs are older than the M2K ones, which are, as you say, superb. The Masters of Cinema Keaton shorts were far superior too to Kino's Keaton box, but still, if you're a Buster fanatic like me, you won't want to wait till another company announces it... This one's got a release date! Yippee!

#14 of 54 Brandon Conway

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Posted October 12 2009 - 01:25 PM

It also sounds like Kino is using a rather solid 35mm print for the basis of their transfer, so here's hoping....

"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


#15 of 54 Jack Theakston

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Posted October 12 2009 - 02:04 PM

The KINO transfer is from a fine grain made from the camera negative.  It will look spectacular, I am sure.

-J. Theakston

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Posted October 12 2009 - 02:54 PM

It better do. Still a month away...

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Posted October 12 2009 - 03:08 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Conway 

All About Eve is a Fox title (which they should release, by the way), so Whatever Happened... seems possible for Warner. Maybe Dark Victory?
 
Just did a quick imdb and turns out aside from the one I remembered (Dark Victory), Bogie and Bette's careers intersected quite a bit. They starred together:

The Petrified Forest (1936), Marked Woman (1937).

As well as these, where Bogie was a minor character:

The Bad Sister (1931),  Three on a Match (1932).

Most famous of all of these I would say is Dark Victory (1939), also featuring Ronald Reagan. I'm hoping one of these pictures doesn't kill two hopes with one stone, particularly seeings it would cancel out the possibility of a Big Sleep or a Sierra Madre... But still, its a possibility..

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Posted October 12 2009 - 03:13 PM

And re: Errol Flynn, he starred in several directed by Michael Curtiz that have featured in really nice DVD editions from Warners with original poster art. There are about 37 different movies he starred in for Warners that might be referred to in this "black and white" themed press-release. Hopefully its a swashbuckler. I haven't seen any Errol Flynn really aside from Robin Hood, which I adore, so this'll be a good opportunity to blind buy whichever one Warners chooses for me.

#19 of 54 Brandon Conway

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Posted October 12 2009 - 03:19 PM

Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk are easily the Flynn films that will get looked at first. Not only are they top notch entertainment, but they had really nice DVD transfers, they were both in the Errol Flynn Vol.1 box set, and they are both historically good selling films on home video. Of the other titles in that Vol. 1 box set, 2 were color (Dodge City, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex), and They Died with Their Boots On is not quite on par in popularity/quality of film as Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk.

As for Bogart/Davis collaborations, only Dark Victory and The Petrified Forest have a video history that suggests good enough sales/interest to release on BD.

For what it's worth, just looking at 2-Disc SEs that Warner released between 2002-2007, here's what is not yet on/announced for BD (though I may be missing a handful). Black & White films italicized:

All the President's Men (1976)
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Ben-Hur (1959) (4-disc, including Ben-Hur (1925)) (Known to be on the schedule)
The Big One (1980)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
The Cardinal (1963)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Citizen Kane (1941) (Known to be on the schedule for 2011)
The Color Purple (1985)
Doctor Zhivago (1965) (Known to be on the schedule for 2010)
East of Eden (1954)
Easter Parade (1948)
Forbidden Planet (1956) (Released on HD-DVD; should make it out on BD sooner or later)
Giant (1956)
Grand Prix (1966) (Released on HD-DVD; should make it out on BD sooner or later)
The Green Mile (1999)
Hamlet (1996)
The Jazz Singer (1927) (3-disc)
King Kong (1933)
(Known to be on the schedule)
Malcolm X (1992)
The Maltese Falcon (1943) (3-disc) (Known to be on the schedule for 2010)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
The Mission (1986)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) (Released on HD-DVD; should make it out on BD sooner or later)
Network (1976)
New Jack City (1991)
O Lucky Man! (1973)
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
The Outsiders - The Complete Novel (1983)
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Prince of the City (1981)
Rebel without a Cause (1955)
The Right Stuff (1983)
Ryan's Daughter (1970)
Selena (1997)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1955)
Singin' in the Rain (1952) (Known to be on the schedule)
Space Jam (1996)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

If I'm a betting man, I look at that list and see amongst them the most probable titles to get upgraded to BD.

Plus, here's a few prominent 1-disc catalog releases that were released in that time period:

The films of the Gangster collection Vol. 1: The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, Angels with Dirty Faces, White Heat, The Petrified Forest, The Roaring Twenties

Marx Bros: A Night at the Opera is the most obvious. Perhaps A Day at the Races. A Night in Casablanca's distribution rights have not been renewed apparently. The 4 films on the 2 double-feature discs seem unlikely.

Maybe some Garbo: Ninotchka and Grand Hotel would be most likely.

We also know that the Astaire/Rogers films are being considered, which I take to mean the more popular ones: Top Hat, Shall We Dance, and Swing Time. Perhaps The Gay Divorcee as well.

Just some ideas....

"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


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Posted October 12 2009 - 03:44 PM

I take that Marx Bros. news with a grain of salt... Planning could mean someone saying "we own a few Marx Brothers films right?"

Collectors have been looking for better elements for years. I'm talking Horse Feathers and Night at the Opera (which has been missing footage since WW2). Those obsessed with the Marx Brothers know there isn't much out there. They had a chance to show off what they had back in 2004 on DVD and it wasn't much. Warner has never said anything about going to Hungary to get that complete print of Night of the Opera rumored to be sitting in some vault.





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