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VistaVision--film by film chat and vote


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#1 of 453 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 24 2011 - 01:36 PM

I have been so impressed by the four VistaVision productions I have on blu-ray--The Searchers, North by Northwest, White Christmas, and especially the jaw dropping The Ten Commandments. Because of its high resolution and c. 1.8 to 1 ratio, VistaVision is great for blu-ray, but looking over the list of films made in the format I realize that I've never even seen most of them. Now I realize some might not be worthy as films or commercially viable for blu-ray, but I don't think the bar should necessarily be set too high. After all, if we can have Gamera--Guardian of the Universe and Ernest Goes to Camp on blu-ray, then I think maybe a fair number of the better VistaVision films might be considered at some point for blu-ray. (And by the way, I'm not really criticizing Gamera or Ernest, because I actually got both of those at bargain prices to watch with my kids at some point!)


Anyway, what I'd like to try to do is go down the list of VistaVision films chronologically, maybe two at a time, going on to the next two every other day or so, and see if anyone here has ever seen them (even if just on TV), and let people say what they think of them. With luck maybe we'd get to read some relatively spoiler free reviews, the pros and cons on the films, and whether the reviewer thinks the films in question might be worthy someday of a release on blu-ray. And even if they never make it to blu, based on these recommends I'm going to seek out some of these on dvd or even vhs to watch at some point.


Also, please post any photos you might or find that relate to the particular films or VistaVision in general.

OK, the first VistaVision film we already have, it's a wonderful film, and looks quite good on blu-ray. The next two I've never even heard of. Does anyone know anything about Tthese two?http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/





#2 of 453 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 24 2011 - 02:09 PM


3 Ring Circus is a 1954 film comedy starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. It was shot from February 17 to March 31, 1954 and released on December 25 by Paramount Pictures.

The film was the first starring Martin and Lewis to be shot in VistaVision. A clip from it was shown in a promotional short film, Paramount Presents VistaVision.


That's the basic info from wikipedia. I do like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, but I assume this is probably not a very funny movie or it would be more famous....? I don't know. I'm not sure even what the bottom picture is? I know it's an ad, but I just don't know why it's in that format. Anyone here know anything about that or about 3 Ring Circus? This was just a couple of years after DeMille's huge success with The Greatest Show on Earth, and so maybe that was part of the pitch for this one...



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#3 of 453 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 24 2011 - 02:13 PM

They are two Martin and Lewis pictures. At the time Martin and Lewis were among the biggest movie stars in the world. In 1954, they ranked as the second biggest box-office stars right after John Wayne. In 1955, they ranked seventh. (They had been #1 in 1952). Both are typical comedies in their filmographies, but I don't find either one of them among their best. Artists and Models was Shirley MacLaine's second feature film. Three Ring Circus has never been released on disc in Region 1.



#4 of 453 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 24 2011 - 02:21 PM

Artists and Models, as probably most of the rest of you know, is also a Martin and Lewis comedy. It actually sounds like fun, but is it?


From wikipedia:


"Martin and Lewis' fourteenth feature, Artists and Models was filmed from February 28 to May 3, 1955 at Paramount Studios.[1] It was released on November 7, 1955 by Paramount. The film was one of the team's highest budgeted pictures, at $1.5 million, and was shot with Paramount's VistaVision cameras in Eastman color, print by Technicolor, and stereophonic sound by Perspecta. Costumes were by Paramount wardrobe designer Edith Head.[1]

Artists and Models marked the first time Lewis worked with former Looney Tunes director Frank Tashlin, whom he admired greatly.[1] Martin and Lewis would reunite with him on their last film,Hollywood Or Bust, and Lewis would then work with Tashlin on six of his solo films.

Producer Hal B. Wallis chose Tashlin for Artists and Models on the basis of his background as a cartoonist, and the film contains many gags influenced by the director's animation work. When MacLaine kisses Lewis in front of a water cooler, the water steams up; in another scene, a massage therapist bends Lewis's leg all the way towards his head. Artists and Models is considered a milestone in movie satire for its mockery of mid-1950s pop culture. One scene satirizes the Kefauver hearings on violent comic books, and other targets in the film include the Cold War, the space race and the publishing business."



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#5 of 453 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 24 2011 - 02:30 PM



Originally Posted by MattH. 

They are two Martin and Lewis pictures. At the time Martin and Lewis were among the biggest movie stars in the world. In 1954, they ranked as the second biggest box-office stars right after John Wayne. In 1955, they ranked seventh. (They had been #1 in 1952). Both are typical comedies in their filmographies, but I don't find either one of them among their best. Artists and Models was Shirley MacLaine's second feature film. Three Ring Circus has never been released on disc in Region 1.



Thanks, Matt, for the interesting insights. I knew they were big, but I didn't know they were *that* big. Wow. But it sounds like you've seen these and would say they probably aren't worthy of the blu-ray treatment. Surely they beat Ernest Goes to Camp (which I've actually never seen), but I realize that's saying almost nothing. Too bad. These posters make these movies look like a lot of silly fun.  It might be nice to see a young Zsa Zsa Gabor and Shirley MacLaine in VistaVision...Not to mention the silly and mobile face of Jerry Lewis.


Maybe we should move on already to the next two...




I've seen The Desperate Hours, which is a quite good if rather grim crime drama with Humphrey Bogart. And it's even directed by William Wyler. I would give this one a thumbs up for Blu-Ray. I like Bogart in pretty much everything, even though I like it better when he plays the morally mixed character makes good rather than just the bad guy. But it's a very good film. Anyone else have thoughts on this one? I like Bogart in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and I think we all know how that one comes out.


I've never even heard of The Far Horizons.



#6 of 453 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 24 2011 - 02:37 PM

Martin & Lewis fans would disagree, I'm sure. I like their earlier films (when they were still getting along off stage), but these films were the beginning of the end for them. They are silly fun, and I'm sure would look wonderful on Blu-ray.



I would certainly be among the first in line with The Desperate Hours which I think is a GREAT film. I was VERY excited to get it on DVD when it first came out, and I'll bet a Blu-ray would be awesome. I think the cast is just superb, especially the Bogart-March face-offs and Aldo Ray in a great role for him.



#7 of 453 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 24 2011 - 02:42 PM

If there are any Martin & Lewis fans out there, please let us know what you think about these.


But so far it looks like we've got our first clear winner. I agree with you, Matt, it is a really strong film. And I even forgot it was Frederic March opposite him.  Wasn't this practically Bogart's last film?? And we've had some glorious black and white films already, like Casablanca and Sierra Madre, but this would be a widescreen high rez black and white with Bogart. Wow. It might be a stunner. When I saw it on vhs a dozen years ago in a pan and scan on a 20" tv it had impact. It's hard to imagine it on blu-ray, but I think it would be quite impressively tense.



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#8 of 453 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 24 2011 - 02:52 PM

Looking at the poster, I guess Aldo Ray wasn't in The Desperate Hours. I do NOT know which movie I'm thinking of. Maybe We're No Angels. I guess it was Dewey Martin whom I was so impressed with. I need to watch this again. Maybe tomorrow night!



#9 of 453 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 24 2011 - 02:55 PM

Love this thread, by the way!



#10 of 453 OFFLINE   Reed Grele

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Posted April 24 2011 - 03:48 PM

A few of my guilty VistaVision pleasures: The Joker is Wild, Beau James, and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.


The first two haven't even seen official DVD releases, let alone Blu Ray.


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#11 of 453 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 24 2011 - 06:44 PM

Reed Grele: Love those posters! Thanks. I have not seen any of those, but I sure would like to. Gunfight with that cast seems like a good guess to make it to blu-ray. Is Bogart in the Joker's Wild? Is it B & W or color. And what is that movie Bob Hope is in? Looks interesting....Do tell us some more about these, even if we're getting a little ahead of ourselves.

Oh, and I assume you agree with me and Matt that The Desperate Hours seems like it should be a yes?



#12 of 453 OFFLINE   Reed Grele

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Posted April 24 2011 - 07:37 PM

Beau James is the story of '20's New York contoversial mayor James Walker. One of Bob Hope's few serious roles. In color.


The Joker is Wild is Frank Sinatra's ode to Joe E. Lewis, a famous night club singer who had his vocal chords slashed by mobsters who run a rival night club. He went on to become a stand-up comedian, albeit with a bad drinking problem. This is in B&W.


Don't know why these 2 have never had a Home video release, but they show up on TCM once in a while.


I'm a big Bogart fan as well. Also hoping all of the VistaVision titles mentioned so far will make it to Blu Ray.



#13 of 453 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 24 2011 - 11:17 PM



Originally Posted by Reed Grele 

Beau James is the story of '20's New York contoversial mayor James Walker. One of Bob Hope's few serious roles. In color.


The Joker is Wild is Frank Sinatra's ode to Joe E. Lewis, a famous night club singer who had his vocal chords slashed by mobsters who run a rival night club. He went on to become a stand-up comedian, albeit with a bad drinking problem. This is in B&W.


Don't know why these 2 have never had a Home video release, but they show up on TCM once in a while.


I'm a big Bogart fan as well. Also hoping all of the VistaVision titles mentioned so far will make it to Blu Ray.


Bob Hope in a serious role. That's fascinating and almost hard to believe. How does he do in it?  How is the film overall?


I can't believe some of these have never had any home video release, esp. with Hope and Sinatra. (I made a mistake thinking Bogart was in it,)




#14 of 453 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 25 2011 - 12:20 AM

The Joker Is Wild is primarily remembered today as the movie that introduced one of Sinatra's song standards "All the Way." It won the Oscar that year as Best Song against formidible competition: "April Love," "Tammy," "An Affair to Remember," and "Wild as the Wind."



#15 of 453 OFFLINE   ShowsOn

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Posted April 25 2011 - 02:09 AM

I think Artists & Models is completely hilarious and would buy it on Blu-ray.





#16 of 453 OFFLINE   Robin9

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Posted April 25 2011 - 03:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MattH. 

Looking at the poster, I guess Aldo Ray wasn't in The Desperate Hours. I do NOT know which movie I'm thinking of. Maybe We're No Angels. I guess it was Dewey Martin whom I was so impressed with. I need to watch this again. Maybe tomorrow night!


The DVD is excellent. You may find yourself not being at all impatient for a BRD. (The movie itself is also excellent . . . and I've always loved Mary Murphy)




#17 of 453 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 25 2011 - 03:09 AM



Originally Posted by ShowsOn 

I think Artists & Models is completely hilarious and would buy it on Blu-ray.





ShowsOn: It sounds like a lot of fun! Can you tell us what you esp. like about it, and do you think that seeing it in VistaVision on blu would add something. I notice that the costumes are by the great Edith Head. What are they like? The participation of the off the wall cartoon people at WB makes it sound like a zany winner.



#18 of 453 OFFLINE   Reed Grele

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Posted April 25 2011 - 07:18 AM


     Quote:

Originally Posted by benbess 




Bob Hope in a serious role. That's fascinating and almost hard to believe. How does he do in it?  How is the film overall?


I can't believe some of these have never had any home video release, esp. with Hope and Sinatra. (I made a mistake thinking Bogart was in it,)




I thought Bob Hope did a fine job in the role of mayor James Walker. Some say that he was miscast, but I thought that he brought  just the right amount of comic relief, seriousness, and sympathy.


Also, all 3 of my picks have great music scores and songs, and that is partially what endears them to me. Beau James even had a soundtrack released in 1957 on LP in monaural (this was a year before stereo was introduced.)  These films were made back in the days when  just as much effort was put into the films score as the screenplay. Audiences would leave the theater humming the music. How often does that happen today?


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#19 of 453 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 25 2011 - 08:59 AM

Reed: Thanks for the report. That looks like a fun album. I like music of this era too, like Sinatra and Nat King Cole, and so I may try to track a copy down.

And here's another VistaVision movie with a great soundtrack album--Saint Louis Blues starring Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, and many others. Here are some songs that are on youtube from it:


Nat King Cole singing a stirring tribute to his mother in the film. The song is called Morning Star. In real life he had just lost his real mother not long before:





Eartha Kitt singing Careless Love to NKC's piano





Eartha Kitt singing St. Louis Blues with full orchestra. The orchestration was done by the great Nelson Riddle:






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#20 of 453 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 25 2011 - 09:34 AM

The Far Horizons is about the Lewis and Clark expedition. It looks like it's filled with more make believe history and racism than even the average Western, but it's hard to tell. Has anyone ever seen this one? I have to say the trailer for it doesn't look that great, but the cast is good, and the scenery would be spectacular in VistaVision:






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