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A few words about...™ Gentlemen's Agreement & Pinky-- in Blu-Ray

A Few Words About

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#1 of 11 Robert Harris

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Posted November 11 2012 - 03:09 AM

Anyone aware of the production background of Fox, especially in the Daryl Zanuck years, should be aware that the studio wasn't shy about taking up causes.  The basic American tenets of justice, freedom and personal rights are found in many of the films he fostered.


Fox's Kazan at Fox - Volume One, "selected by Martin Scorsese," is a great set, filled with pure Kazan.  I don't quite understand the "selected" moniker, as I don't see what there was to "select" here.  It's wonderful that Mr. Scorsese supported Mr. Kazan's extraordinary work, and possibly pushed Fox to get them out on Blu-ray, but we have two volumes, each with four films.  And since Mr. Kazan's entire output at Fox was eight films...


Possibly a more accurate word might have been used to publicize the set.


That aside, these are cinematic treasures.


Volume one includes two of the more important "passing" films.  Gentlemen's Agreement (1947), was a ground-breaking film about anti-semitism, with Gregory Peck as a journalist passing as Jewish to capture the reality of the problem.


Pinky (1949), has Jeanne Crain as a very light-skinned black, passing herself off as white, who returns to her southern roots.  This is a story that could be better explored today, going even deeper than the filmmakers went in 1949, but viewing this film today is still an extremely powerful experience, and makes it point beautifully.


The other two films in this set, available exclusively on-line from Fox Connect, are Boomerang (1947) and Panic in the Streets (1950).  If time can be found, I'll be adding a few words in the future.


All of the films are a part of Fox's nitrate legacy, or lack of it, as almost all nitrate was unceremoniously copied in bulk, and without requisite quality control or thought in the mid-1970s, and the original elements, tons of them, junked.


What this means is that the archival staff at Fox, who have inherited the problem, are short on original elements, and while black & white films have survived in far better shape than those shot in three-strip Technicolor, there are still short-comings.


Fortunately, these two films have been reproduced on Blu-ray very, very well.  The only real problems that one can see are the dupes -- fades and dissolves -- where an extra generation has been added, and not with the highest level of care.


Once you get out of the dupes, for example, the opening minute or so of Pinky, you're generally in for a treat, as black levels, shadow detail, grain structure and overall image quality, are far better than one might expect under the circumstances.  Gentlemen's agreement fares even better, with some startlingly beautifully resolved images.


The bottom line here, is that while Fox has virtually kept these releases hidden, and from what I can tell, generally unreviewed, they've absolutely put their best foot forward.  At $40 for the set of four, these are also a huge bargain.  I presume the trick is to try to keep up with what's occurring at Fox Connect, as there may be future hidden treasures.


While there may have been a fear that these transfers may have been at a lesser level than one might like, that isn't the case.  These are high quality Blu-rays.


Gentlemen's Agreement


Image - 4.5


Audio - 4


Pinky


Image - 4


Audio - 4


Extremely Highly Recommended.  And for whatever Mr. Scorsese may have done toward getting these out on Blu-ray, he is to be lauded.

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


#2 of 11 Robert Crawford

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Posted November 11 2012 - 03:20 AM

RAH,


Are you a fan of film noir?


I like to read your comments about Boomerang.  A film about an actual crime that took place in my hometown back in my grandfather's days.


Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#3 of 11 Russell G

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Posted November 11 2012 - 03:30 AM

Went onto the site and couldn't enter a Canadian address. I'll have to hope that these hit regular retail. :(


My wallet cries me to sleep!
 
This post kills threads!


#4 of 11 Robert Harris

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Posted November 11 2012 - 03:32 AM

Originally Posted by Robert Crawford 

RAH,


Are you a fan of film noir?


I like to read your comments about Boomerang.  A film about an actual crime that took place in my hometown back in my grandfather's days.

Huge noir fan.  Have a huge stack of product to get through, but will report on it eventually.


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


#5 of 11 Matt Hough

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Posted November 11 2012 - 03:44 AM

I wonder if some of these aren't going to be sold as singles, too. When we were at Fox a couple of weeks ago and they touted their upcoming slate of Blu-ray vault titles, there was no mention of a Kazan box, but they did show Gentlemen's Agreement, Wild River, Titanic (1953, not a Kazan film, I know), and others as coming in January and February.



#6 of 11 Richard Gallagher

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Posted November 15 2012 - 05:40 PM

Robert,


In another thread you mentioned a Fox Connect coupon code, but I haven't been able to figure out what it is. Can you tell us what code you used? Of course, it is possible that it has expired.


Rich Gallagher

#7 of 11 Robert Harris

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Posted November 15 2012 - 10:45 PM

Robert, In another thread you mentioned a Fox Connect coupon code, but I haven't been able to figure out what it is. Can you tell us what code you used? Of course, it is possible that it has expired.  

As I recall, registering with the site in advance yields an emailed code.

"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


#8 of 11 Eric Vedowski

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Posted November 16 2012 - 12:46 AM

I registered but I never received any confirmation email or code-checked around and found others had the same problem. If you don't get the 10% off, email customer service and they'll send it to you. I haven't had a chance to check out what I got (Vol 2) yet but the packaging is decent.

#9 of 11 atcolomb

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Posted November 16 2012 - 05:00 AM

Speaking of Kazan, "Wild River" (1960) will be release on Blu-ray by Fox on January 15th. One of my favorites from Kazan and one that was hard to find on any home video format and finally did buy the region 2 UK dvd last year.

#10 of 11 ShowsOn

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Posted November 22 2012 - 04:12 PM

Speaking of Kazan, "Wild River" (1960) will be release on Blu-ray by Fox on January 15th. One of my favorites from Kazan and one that was hard to find on any home video format and finally did buy the region 2 UK dvd last year.

Wild River is part of the Volume 2 box which is currently just $35 for 4 films: http://www.foxconnec...-the-13783.html

#11 of 11 Richard Gallagher

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Posted November 23 2012 - 04:20 PM

Originally Posted by ShowsOn 


Wild River is part of the Volume 2 box which is currently just $35 for 4 films:
http://www.foxconnec...-the-13783.html


I picked up both Kazan BD sets for $35 each, with free shipping. It's pretty much a no-brainer at slightly less than $9/film.


Rich Gallagher





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