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NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS -- blu-ray restoration
51 replies to this topic
Posted November 19 2012 - 11:52 AM
Hi- just to clarify one point. For the 128min version, approximately 102mins of original audio exists. The additional 26mins has been almost entirely re-looped. A few pickups are needed, but nothing earth-shattering. I would love to assist Paramount in finding the additional material from THE KEEP and the material still lost from the FRIDAY THE 13TH films. Maybe if there was a tech services exchange student program between M-G-M and Paramount... :-)
Posted November 19 2012 - 01:27 PM
I'm not exactly sure what part you're missing since you didn't ask a question but....... U.S. box office. U.S. home video sales U.S. home video rentals U.S. home video streaming U.S. cable deals Canadian box office Canadian home video sales Canadian home video rentals Canadian home video streaming Canadian cable deals U.K. box office U.K. home video sales U.K. home video rentals U.K. home video streaming U.K cable deals Italy box office Italy home video sales Italy home video rentals Italy home video steaming Italy cable deals German box office German home video sales German home video rentals German home video streaming German cable deals I could go on with other locations but I think the point is clear. Movies are sold all over the world, on so many formats that it's rare for any of them to actually lose money. The point being that DARK SHADOWS making its production budget back isn't going to be enough for a studio to pump extra moneys in it, a sequel or forgotten films that came before it. Had the film been a giant hit then perhaps making Special Editions would have made sense and if it had been even bigger then perhaps a few extra million could have been spent on this project.
Posted November 19 2012 - 01:30 PM
I'd still like to know what the budget is going to be. I say this because if you follow any threads over at Nitrateville, it's rather shocking how many silent movies are out there ready to be released but aren't because no one can pay someone to record a music track for them. If the music track is too high then I really wonder what the price tag would be to fix the audio issues. I'm guessing once you get the dubbing back in order then you're going to have to work and re-score the entire picture. Darren might know exact numbers but if it's $500,000 then that's a lot of money to put into something that might not get that back in DVD sales. I don't know enough about to series to know if it's popular enough worldwide to even make that back with foreign, cable and all of those sales. Until someone pays for it to be put back together then it's really not out there. Just like all those silents that are viewable but in the vault because no one can pay for them.
I get your point, but the analogy doesn't apply. The 8+ hour version of GREED can't be released because it doesn't exist. There is a shorter version, and that hasn't been released on DVD either. The 128+ minute director's cut of NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS does exist and can be released after some routine editing on the sound..
Posted November 19 2012 - 01:44 PM
There are no music licensing issues on this title. All the original music exists, it was all written by one composer, and all sync rights are cleared in perpetuity in all media, etc. etc. The sound work is all ADR editing, mixing, balancing, and sound effects editing, foley, mixing, and the final overall mix. Not items to be sniffed at, and real talent is needed in the booth. I'm not at liberty to give specific numbers but it would cost about a third of the amount you mention. The sound work would only be about 20% of the total cost. Almost all of it is in the telecine/transfer work.
Posted November 19 2012 - 02:54 PM
Thanks for the compliments Richard. I feel as if I owe you a check as my new PR man! :-)
Posted November 20 2012 - 04:37 AM
We should all be thanking you, Darren. Without your efforts, there'd be no 128+ minutes version to hope for. I believe you located the preservation negative in 1999, is that right? Which means you started looking even earlier, and you've been patiently, persistently and professionally trying to facilitate a restoration for over 15 years. That's a long time. I do admire your perseverance and your optimism. I've been comparing the published script to the blu-ray and will be posting more observations about it soon. Does the published script represent the 150 minute version as well? Or is there a longer script? I find a few missing scenes in the script that I remember seeing in the 97 minute version before theatrical prints were conformed to the MPAA's directive for GP rating. Personally, I think the exposition of the characters going into the house through the basement, and the discoveries made there followed by the seance, are more important to the story's progress and to the suspense, and more in keeping with the tone of the film, than the outdoor action of Gerard Stiles going on the rampage. So I disagree with that decision of what to cut. But of course I understand why Dan Curtis had to sacrifice the plot for the action. He was up against James Aubrey, the accountant who sabotaged Blake Edwards' The Carey Treatment (1972) and Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) among others.
Posted November 20 2012 - 05:20 AM
The published script is the final shooting draft with some handwritten changes and re-written pages in it. Apart from some on-set dialogue changes and a location change (the Quentin and Tracy apology/planning scene near the end is written to have the characters on the river road, instead, they shot it on the porch of the abandoned estate bowling alley building), it's an accurate representation of what would have been in the 129min cut. Aubrey seemed to have had his knives out for Grayson Hall and specifically requested her part be truncated. He may have specifically targeted the seance. Since it's one of her best performances, it seems particularly wrong-headed decision. Plus in cutting it down, the seance is a 5min scene, and they were looking for big chunks they could remove to bring the running time down. It was far from an ideal situation, and if given more time do do the recut, they probably would have made different decisions. Also, remember that Aubrey threatened to cut it down himself if Curtis didn't, so Curtis probably saw the writing on the wall and removed the seance himself. Aubrey did the same thing to GOING HOME and CHANDLER and a few other films to the point that a bunch of these directors publically protested about this situation and bought an anti-Aubrey ad in the trades.
Posted November 20 2012 - 06:08 AM
You should get the blu-ray, Brian. I find myself enjoying what remains of the story despite the disappointing and incomplete transfer. Watch it and share your impressions with us.
Darren, Well I'm glad that you still hold out some hope for the restored Night of Dark Shadows. Of the two films, it is my favorite. I do hope that your dream does come true and the restored version is finally released for everyone to see and then perhaps the bad reputation that Night of Dark Shadows has will finally fade. Sadly for myself, this ship has sailed. I do not hold out any hope to ever see the 129 minute version. I purposely avoided reading the film script for many, many years all in the vain hope that the longer version would some day surface. With the announcement of the films on DVD and Blu-ray, I finally gave up and read the script. In the end I felt that it was the only way that I was ever going to get the full story. If the film matches the shooting script even 90% then the imposed cuts and restructuring is even more sad. This film would have trully been something special. So, as I said I have given up. I did not buy the DVDs nor the Blu-Rays. I do not really care for House of Dark Shadows and buying Night of Dark Shadows just for widescreen and cleaned up picture and sound just wasn't a selling point for me. I have to agree with Richard-W. Warner's has washed their hands of the film and until another studio takes an interest then the film will forever stand at the 94 or 97 minute hacked up mess. Trully, trully sad. Sorry, but I just can't express my level of disappointment enough. I feel that Warner's really made a huge mistake here.
Posted November 20 2012 - 06:34 AM
All I can say is, if the 129 minute cut is anything like this script I want to see it more than ever. I wonder if Dan Curtis okayed the numerous camera directions Sam Hall put in the script. I was taught, and experience has borne this out, that just because a writer puts in "whip pan," "zoom in" and "rack focus" doesn't mean a director is obliged to shoot that way. It wasn't long before Dan Curtis honed his skills so that he no longer relied on these distracting moves.
The published script is the final shooting draft with some handwritten changes and re-written pages in it. Apart from some on-set dialogue changes and a location change (the Quentin and Tracy apology/planning scene near the end is written to have the characters on the river road, instead, they shot it on the porch of the abandoned estate bowling alley building), it's an accurate representation of what would have been in the 129min cut.
Yes, wrong-headed and destructive. She is sublime. Her modulation is flawless and her timing is so perfect. I get a kick out of the dialogue at the beginning where Tracy says "I'll bet the housekeeper looks like Mrs. Danvers." She is referring of course to the character in Hitchcock's REBECCA (1940) the severely dressed and disapproving personal maid famously played by Judith Anderson who obsesses over the previous lady of the manor. An apt analogy and apparent influence on writer Sam Hall.
Aubrey seemed to have had his knives out for Grayson Hall and specifically requested her part be truncated. He may have specifically targeted the seance. Since it's one of her best performances, it seems particularly wrong-headed decision.
There's no way Curtis could have done a proper job in only 24 hours. Aubrey was being willfully destructive with that ultimatum. And it didn't stop him in any case from further hacking away at the film, did it.
Plus in cutting it down, the seance is a 5min scene, and they were looking for big chunks they could remove to bring the running time down. It was far from an ideal situation, and if given more time do do the recut, they probably would have made different decisions. Also, remember that Aubrey threatened to cut it down himself if Curtis didn't, so Curtis probably saw the writing on the wall and removed the seance himself.
I've read about that ad but never seen it. If anyone has a scan perhaps they could post it here?
Aubrey did the same thing to GOING HOME and CHANDLER and a few other films to the point that a bunch of these directors publically protested about this situation and bought an anti-Aubrey ad in the trades.
Posted November 20 2012 - 07:03 AM
I wonder about that, though (the published script being the final version). The name "Samantha" is used throughout, instead of "Laura". Wouldn't a name for a significant character (appearing or referenced in more than one scene) be established in the shooting script? The change to "Laura" certainly doesn't appear to be ADR in the film. Did they perhaps originally intend to cast Virginia Vestoff (who played a character named Samantha on the TV series) as Charles' wife, and then change the character's name to Laura when Diana Millay was cast?
The published script is the final shooting draft with some handwritten changes and re-written pages in it.
Posted November 20 2012 - 07:16 AM
Wow, I just read the Wikipedia article on Aubrey. He must have been a real joy to work with. While he may have been successful in saving MGM during his tenure, the art certainly suffered for it. (Sort of ironic given the company's motto, "Ars Gratia Artis"...)
Aubrey did the same thing to GOING HOME and CHANDLER and a few other films to the point that a bunch of these directors publically protested about this situation and bought an anti-Aubrey ad in the trades.
Posted November 20 2012 - 07:53 AM
Hi KMR. That is exactly what happened. The same thing with Trask/Strack- it was going to be Jerry Lacy and he was unavailable so Thayer David was cast and the name changed. They didn't bother to re-type it with the different name. On the actor's copy of the script, the SAMANTHA name is crossed out and LAURA written in in pencil. And Richard, the script was written very closely with Dan Curtis- long, intense meetings, breaking down the scenes, then off to the typewriter. All the camera directions that are in there, per Dan's instructions. It's a very accurate indicator of how things were staged for the most part. It's particularly valuable as it gives you a full mental picture of the hippie death/prologue would have been filmed. They decided not to film it a week into shooting. If you know the house and property, you can imagine exactly how it would have looked.
Posted November 20 2012 - 11:29 AM
Of course I understand that there's more than U.S. boxoffice. But the conventional wisdom is that it's not at all uncommon for a movie to not earn back its production and distribution budget. The movie business is profitable because there are a lot of movies that do indeed make a lot of money, and the profits from those help the studios and distributors sustain the losses on the other titles. Back to DS stuff, it's obvious that the 2012 movie was a domestic boxoffice disappointment, but apparently it has overall moved into the black (at least according to Tim Burton). DVD and Blu-ray sales have reportedly been very good. But it's unlikely Depp and Burton will return to Collinwood. (It would be interesting if Depp's production company would consider a TV pilot, with lower-tier stars.) In regard to the HODS and NODS Blu-rays, I was quite surprised a couple of weeks ago to see them featured in the Fry's Electronics ad in the Chicago Tribune. I did not think the titles would be considered anywhere near "mainstream" enough to show up in their ad. Hopefully these will turn out to be good sellers for WB, and encourage the studio to finally give the green light to the NODS restoration.
Movies are sold all over the world, on so many formats that it's rare for any of them to actually lose money.
Posted November 20 2012 - 04:50 PM
As the stand-alone follow-up to a proven TV franchise and a hit film, Night of Dark Shadows was budgeted so low at $900,000 that it couldn't fail to turn a profit. How much money it made has not been reported. Only the first three months of the domestic release have been reported. The film earned $1,400,000 in its first three months, putting itself deep in the black right away. It continued to run in the USA and in foreign markets, but those stats have not been made public. I remember seeing it paired with House of Dark Shadows in the autumn of 1972 and as the bottom-half of another double-feature in 1973. So it was still a viable property two years later. Further, if the film had failed, Dan Curtis would not have been enabled to continue his producing and directing career. ABC-TV would not have given him $450,000 to shoot his next production, the movie-of-the-week The Night Stalker (1972), at a time when other movies-of-the-week were budgeted at $300,000 or less (Spielberg's Duel (1971, for example). By the time Curtis undertook The Night Stalker -- a monster hit, by the way and the start of another franchise -- he was known as a producer and director who could deliver an abundance of high-quality footage on low budgets and tight schedules. He was a money-maker. It is true, however that critics did not like Night of Dark Shadows. I remember reading the reviews at the time. Not because the film was bad, but because James Aubrey hacked it down to an incoherent 94 minutes. If he had not done so, the film would have left a better impression, been a better entertainment, and made more money. Many, many films trashed by the critics make money. Nevertheless, the reputation of Night of Dark Shadows has grown over the years as people got to know it. When Turner Entertainment acquired the MGM library, they successfully exploited the film on television and home video. The VHS continued to sell for a decade. So if anyone at Warner Brothers thinks Night of Dark Shadows isn't a good investment, better check the facts and think again. The 129-minute unreleased director's cut has become something of a legend, not unlike Peckinpah's workprint of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (another casualty of James Aubrey's reign at MGM). This was the perfect time to release the director's cut. It is an infinitely more commercial property than the hacked-down 94-minute version.
Posted November 21 2012 - 05:08 PM
I agree that HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS (1970) has too much plot or too many subplots in its plot, although I really enjoy it. Jonathan Frid was a brilliant actor and a powerful screen presence. Compare HOUSE to the first episode of DARK SHADOWS: THE REVIVAL (1991). This prime-time hour-hour long soap began with a feature-length 86 minute episode (in a two-hour slot) which is virtually a remake of HOUSE. It is also directed by Dan Curtis, only twenty years later he's a more assured and relaxed director. No swish pans, rack focusing, or drastic zooms, but a more refined sense of pace, composition and mis-en-scene. He became a very fine director over the years (THE WINDS OF WAR, etc). The feature-length episode covers about half the same plot points including scenes that were cut from HOUSE. Some of those plot points -- like the delinquent boy David and his ghastly tricks -- were already outdated. The story thread of Barnabas being freed from his coffin and returning to Collinwood after two hundred years is a favorite with the fans and the producers. It's been done six times: 1. The original episodes from the daytime soap April through September 1967. http://www.amazon.co...TF8&me=&seller= 2. HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS (1970). 3. THE RESURRECTION OF BARNABAS COLLINS (1967 / 1989) - MPI Home Video re-edit of the original episodes into a streamlined two-hour narrative, omitting all subplots and byways. Very well-done. The inaugural VHS release for the entire series on home video in 1989. But not on DVD in the two-hour edit, unfortunately. Fun to compare it to the feature film. http://www.amazon.co...&seller=&sr=1-1 4. DARK SHADOWS: THE REVIVAL (1991). The feature-length premiere episode is in the DVD set, but the VHS is 20 minutes longer. http://www.amazon.co...TF8&me=&seller= 5. DARK SHADOWS (2002) remake pilot. Ick. The less said about this the better. Unreleased. 6. Tim Burton's backhanded reboot (2012). The less said about this the better. Dan Curtis talked about his frustration with the studios in trying to reboot DARK SHADOWS as a big-screen entertainment in the interview supplement on THE NIGHT STALKER / NIGHT STRANGLER DVD. Not enough attention has been paid to that.
I finally got around to spinning this last night. Never saw it (or House...for that matter) until these Bds. I was aware going in of all the kvetching about studio imposed cuts, and was fully under the impression that House was the 'good' film while Night was seen to be the stake in the heart of the properties theatrical aspirations. Fortunately I ignored that chatter and ordered both at the same time since they were relatively inexpensive enough (had they been $20 Bd archive titles, I'd likely have only picked up House as the 'safer bet'). Good thing as I found House to be so fast paced and hell bent on cramming as many episodic plot points from the serial in, as to frequently induce laughter. I've read of the list of cuts on that one, and frankly don't see much of them adding or alleviating the main problems the film has- which is just trying to cram in too damn many things for it's own good. More is definitely less here.
When? How long in the future? The restoration efforts started in 1999. Do the math. People have been clamoring for it since the dawn of DVD. The future started in 1999. The decision to finally release a blu-ray was the moment to restore the film and release the longer director's cut. It is infinitely more commercial than the theatrical version. Warner Brothers pulls in ten billion a year, so spending 200 thousand is not a problem for them. It is a pretty good film. Once you read the published script, and catch a glimpse of the cut footage in various trailers and TV spots, and realize what's missing, you may upgrade your opinion.
OTOH, I had no problem whatsoever (until some jarring cuts show up in the climax) in following Night, and the more relaxed pace helps to worm the creepy vibe under your skin. Not a 'great' horror movie, but a pretty good one as it is. I would love to see a longer cut at some point in the future- ...
It would have been gracious of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, who claim to be fans of the original program, to lend their support to the proposed restoration of Night of Dark Shadows. Spend their pocket change to do the job. The project needs a champion with clout to make it happen. But they probably see it as competition to their own money-making enterprise.
There is only one way to cut through the corporate fog and that's putting your money where your mouth is. If they think there is a market segment worth exploiting, they will- eventually.The woeful Burton adaptation didn't help the cause of getting a taint off this property either.
Posted November 22 2012 - 12:45 AM
They did change some things in House that are different in the show like Vicky was in love with Jeff not Maggie. Carolyn was bitten by Barnabas not because he wanted to she found out his secret. Professor Stokes in the movie has a different relationship with Barnabas than in the show. He never finds out Barnabas is a vampire and they become good friends. They added daphne to the plot. Of course the whole ending never happen in the show. Willie was beaten twice in the show but for a different reason. So you can watch House Of Dark Shadows without it ruining the plot of the tv series.
Posted November 24 2012 - 01:38 AM
Same story, different avenues, with a juggling of characters. Works for me. I've had both region-free blu-ray players go on the fritz in the last couple of days. The Philips is just dead. The Panasonic won't be controlled by the remote anymore and is acting weird when I try it manually. So my list of cuts and defects in WHV's Night of Dark Shadows transfer will be delayed a few days.
Posted November 24 2012 - 06:10 PM
Excerpts from current Blu-ray reviews:
It's obvious when viewing the movie that it suffered some final cuts in the editing room. Long-time enthusiasts of the show know the history behind the making of the film and the existence of lost footage. Director Curtis was given 24 hours to re-cut the movie from 129 minutes to 94 minutes by MGM. Fans of the film petitioned to have the chopped sequences restored and a director's cut released. The footage was found in 1999, but it was without sound. The scenes are said to give "Night of Dark Shadows" a darker mood and reinstate the original cohesion and framework of the film. It's unfortunate that what we get here is still the 94-minute version released by the studio in 1971. However, beggars can't be choosers http://www.examiner....nition-transfer
The powers that be at MGM forced Curtis to remove over 35 minutes from his cut of the film, and the outcome is an overly incoherent but very watchable film. It seems that Curtis was trying to create something that was different than the first film with a large amount of spooky ingredients included (loosely based on the "parallel time" episodes of the series) and its his sturdy direction that salvaged the project as it was released at 94 minutes. Sometimes an editor’s scissors helps make a film tighter and better enjoyed, but most have no doubt believing NIGHT would be far more rewarding in its longer, director-appropriated cut, something the public never got to see to this day. Some of the confusion on hand: Quentin behaves cruelly, attempting to kill his wife several times with no explanation relating this behavior to the ancestor that possesses him. Also, a demented, stuttering handyman (James Storm, who bloodily appeared on the cover of Famous Monsters after the film’s release) tries to kill most of the cast including Quentin, Tracy, and their friends, the writing couple of Alex and Claire Jenkins (Karlen and Nancy Barrett). No real explanation is given for his motivation. Next, Carlotta (Grayson Hall) the housekeeper tells Quentin that she is the reincarnation of a little girl who lived in the manor when Angelique was hanged. She claims to be carrying out Angelique’s will, thus initiating Quentin into the frightful shenanigans. At the end of the film she commits suicide by jumping off the manor’s roof after a mysterious voice calls to her; again, there is barely an explanation! The scene is effective, but what’s the meaning of it? All of the components that make a gothic horror film work (period costumes, ghosts, skeletons, candelabras, period flashbacks involving witch-hunting, etc.) are here, but the resulting substance is debatable due to the cuts. The film indeed makes great use of Tarrytown’s Lyndhurst Estate, where it was entirely filmed in and around, and had everything going for it; cast, director, production values and a terrifically haunting score again by Cobert (including “Joanna’s Theme” and “Quentin’s Theme” from the series). The outcome is never boring, but fans can’t help but wonder what the big differences would be in seeing Curtis’ intended cut .... Most of the removed footage from NIGHT was found over a decade ago, albeit without sound. There was talk of a full restoration of the film in the works with the missing audio being re-dubbed, but this never saw the light of day. Those hoping that NIGHT be finally released in such a cut will be disappointed, as it would have been nice to have at least had the silent, excised scenes thrown on as an extra (even HOUSE had several bits removed from the final cut after a test screening), but the presentation is of the film in its theatrical cut only. http://www.dvddrive-...ight7071blu.htm
"Dan Curtis was evidently forced to cut large swaths out of this picture before Metro Goldwyn Mayer would allow it to be released, something which may account for at least some of its tonal imbalances and weirdly lurching quality." http://www.blu-ray.c...y/49978/#Review
When Night of Dark Shadows was given a theatrical release, the film was cut to shreds by MGM studio execs anxious over its 125 minute runtime. Truncated to 94 minutes, director Dan Curtis cried foul, claiming the poor box office returns were a result of the studio's creative interference. Many fans had been holding out hope for years that someone would reassemble the original cut for home video. This is not the case, nor does this Warner Bros. Blu-ray release offer any of the missing 31 minutes of footage discovered in 2002 which remains unreleased in any format. It's simply the same cut that was released to VHS and DVD years ago. Adding insult to injury, http://www.dvdverdic...adowsbluray.php
EDIT: Please note that these reviews get two details wrong: MGM cut the film down to 94 minutes, not Dan Curtis. Dan Curtis edited the 129-minute version down to 97-minutes for theatrical release -- because MGM forced him to, not because he preferred it. That's the version I saw in New York in 1971 before MGM ordered the 97 minute prints shortened to 94 minutes. The 94 minute version is on the blu-ray. Second, the 129 minute version has 106 minutes of sound including the complete score. The remaining minutes have been looped by the original actors. See Darren Gross' posts in this thread.
"It seems that Curtis’ carefully constructed film initially came in with a rather epic (for this kind of film) running time of 129 minutes. Perhaps fearing that a movie based on a recently cancelled show would land in theaters DOA, the distributor apparently forced him to trim it down to its final 94 minutes within the timespan of one day. That would certainly account for the inexplicable, head-scratching plot turns late in the film. It also explains why a few curious mysteries, such as the full story of estate hand Gerard Stiles (Jim Storm), go unresolved. It’s a shame that the movie was hacked into near-incoherence." http://www.cinemalow...rk-shadows.html
Posted November 25 2012 - 07:31 AM
Wow... I've really no interest or attachment to DARK SHADOWS at all, in any of its incarnations; the only DS-related thing I've seen is when I ran across HOUSE on television once, and couldn't get into it. BUT, reading about this butchering of NIGHT really makes me want to see this bloody film! I'm always up for discovering new old horror films that are exceptional...could this be one? And I'm talking about the 129-minute version; not sure if I should watch the 94-minute butchery...but I guess I'll probably have to, unless I want to wait another few years.
Posted November 25 2012 - 05:03 PM
Jeffrey, if you didn't like the TV program you might still like this. NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS is a stand-alone film intended to please both newcomers and the fans. Although it uses motifs and characters from the TV program, it doesn't require a knowledge of the program to be understood. It's a low-key ghost story about unfinished business from the past intruding into the present and gradually taking over. Very European in its approach, although not consciously I'm sure. It plays out like an Italian Giallo. I've seen Italian and Spanish posters for it (on ebay that is). I wouldn't be surprised if NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS influenced certain Giallo's of the mid-1970s.
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