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When will we see a large-format Black & White movie on BD?


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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Mark-P

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Posted April 01 2012 - 06:51 PM

We all know how stellar black & white photography can look on Blu-ray (Casablanca, The Apartment, Manhattan), but imagine how a black & white movie scanned from a large-format negative might look! Now, it's hard to believe, but none of the movies shot in 65mm or Technirama were shot completely in black & white. The only black & white movies in a large-format were in VistaVision. Here's what we've got to choose from: The Rose Tattoo The Desperate Hours The Leather Saint The Proud and the Profane The Scarlet Hour The Search For Bridie Murphy Fear Strikes Out Hear Me Good Night Ambush Short Cut to Hell The Buster Keaton Story The Delicate Delinquent The Joker is Wild The Lonely Man The Sad Sack The Tin Star Wild is the Wind Another Time, Another Place Desire Under the Elms Hell Drivers Hot Spell King Creole St. Louis Blues Teacher's Pet The Matchmaker But Not For Me The Black Orchid

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   rsmithjr

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Posted April 01 2012 - 07:10 PM

The Big Trail (shot on 65mm using a process Fox called Grandeur, a precursor of 65mm/70mm) will be on Blu-ray on May 8. I have seen the DVD and it is very interesting as an example of wide-screen photography, essentially giving you a large tableau for every scene. I might also add that a number of B&W films were exhibited in 70mm even though photographed in 35mm. These include: The Longest Day In Harm's Way Is Paris Burning? The Longest Day has already been released on Blu-ray. Most people agree that VistaVision B&W films did not have the special look generally associated with the process, which really comes to life with dye-transfer Technicolor. Several of these are very good for other reasons.

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Mark-P

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Posted April 01 2012 - 08:01 PM

You are so right! The experimental 65mm processes of 1929/1930 completely slipped my mind! Would it be safe to say that the original elements are completely deteriorated on those films and anything we get would be dupes anyway?
The Big Trail (shot on 65mm using a process Fox called Grandeur, a precursor of 65mm/70mm) will be on Blu-ray on May 8. I have seen the DVD and it is very interesting as an example of wide-screen photography, essentially giving you a large tableau for every scene.


#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Mark-P

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Posted April 01 2012 - 08:09 PM

Yes, but people have only seen these films optically reduced to 35mm. No one has ever seen a 4K scan of the oneg of a black & white VV film. It could show clarity that's never been seen before in a black & white film.
Most people agree that VistaVision B&W films did not have the special look generally associated with the process, which really comes to life with dye-transfer Technicolor. Several of these are very good for other reasons.


#5 of 14 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted April 01 2012 - 08:19 PM

Yes, but people have only seen these films optically reduced to 35mm. No one has ever seen a 4K scan of the oneg of a black & white VV film. It could show clarity that's never been seen before in a black & white film.
This is an important point. I agree. I hope we can get some comments from RAH on this...

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   rsmithjr

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Posted April 01 2012 - 09:05 PM

You are so right! The experimental 65mm processes of 1929/1930 completely slipped my mind! Would it be safe to say that the original elements are completely deteriorated on those films and anything we get would be dupes anyway?
The materials with The Big Trail DVD (very nice!) noted that the 65mm negative had been transferred to 35mm by the Museum of Modern Art sometime in the 80's. The gentleman who did the transfer was an expert on odd film gauges. My guess is that the 35mm elements from the 80's will be used for the Blu-ray and not the original negative, which may well no longer be with us. This is just a guess. Perhaps RAH knows.

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted April 04 2012 - 07:46 PM

No original 65mm Grandeur elements exist anymore. In fact we should be grateful that Fox did the 35mm Cinemascope reduction preservation of The Big Trail in the late 60s (although I suspect that may be a reason as to why the film is near unintelligible on DVD) considering its the only film made in Grandeur to survive, the rest either exist flat only or don't exist period.

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   bujaki

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Posted April 04 2012 - 09:32 PM

The Bat Whispers (1930) was shot widescreen (65mm) as well as flat. The widescreen version survives, albeit in a 35mm reduction. I saw it at the Museum of Modern Art, where I also saw The Big Trail in both flat and widescreen versions. Both films are far more successful in their widescreen versions.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted April 05 2012 - 05:23 AM

Bat Whispers was actually preserved on 70mm, not 35. Its funny because apparently (at least according to in70mm.com) the widescreen version was never shown in 1931. This makes its survival even more remarkable.

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 05 2012 - 06:17 AM

The widescreen version of The Bat Whispers has never been released on DVD, has it? I'm sure the DVD version I've got is 1.33:1. We need to see the widescreen version!

#11 of 14 ONLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted April 05 2012 - 06:22 AM

It's on a wonderful Roan Group laserdisc.  Don't know if it's made it to DVD.

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted April 05 2012 - 06:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattH. /t/319745/when-will-we-see-a-large-format-black-white-movie-on-bd#post_3913639 The widescreen version of The Bat Whispers has never been released on DVD, has it? I'm sure the DVD version I've got is 1.33:1. We need to see the widescreen version!
Both versions were released on DVD by Image in 1999.  Wonders of wonders Amazon still has a few copies left for sale through them and not marketplace, but at $40.00.  I got a copy when it came out and have enjoyed both versions.  The widescreen is a bit more like a stage play with very little movement of the camera, while the 35mm camera moves around quite a bit.  At $40.00 it still is worth the price to have both versions and anyone that loves film as you do would enjoy it.     
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 05 2012 - 12:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahollis /t/319745/when-will-we-see-a-large-format-black-white-movie-on-bd#post_3913644 Both versions were released on DVD by Image in 1999.  Wonders of wonders Amazon still has a few copies left for sale through them and not marketplace, but at $40.00.  I got a copy when it came out and have enjoyed both versions.  The widescreen is a bit more like a stage play with very little movement of the camera, while the 35mm camera moves around quite a bit.  At $40.00 it still is worth the price to have both versions and anyone that loves film as you do would enjoy it.     
Thanks for doing this little bit of detective work, Allen. Much appreciated!  

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 05 2012 - 06:33 PM

Isn't it wonderful when you stumble across something you didn't remember you even had and it's something you wanted to see? I went looking tonight for The Bat Whispers and lo and behold, I have that Image release with both the 65mm widescreen and 35mm flat versions on it. Naturally, I watched the widescreen version tonight and had a fun time with it. I guess I did watch it when I first got this disc, but then I put it on the shelf and promptly forgot about it. So glad to have it now.   I had thought the flat version was on the DVD with the 1959 version of The Bat with Agnes Moorehead, Vincent Price, and Darla Hood, but that has House on Haunted Hill as the second half of a double feature.   Anyway, I'm so glad for this discussion of those versions so I could go rummaging through my collection and find a surprise. Thanks, guys!





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