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Twilight Time announces Blu-ray releases March-June 2013

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#201 of 235 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted March 26 2013 - 10:03 AM

I don't see this as the kind of issue in which there has to be personal comments at all toward anyone regardless of how they feel about which score is better, whether replacement scores in general are ethically right or not etc. Mr. Redman may think I've been engaged in a long history of personal attacks on him, but I've been quite supportive of many other things he has done for the soundtrack community over the years, I don't see him any different ultimately as any studio that releases these products and in light of the experience I've had in the past with films like "1776" when a previous version of the film was denied to us in a new format for reasons not having to do with archival issues (like with "The Alamo" and "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World") or in the case of CBS/Paramount and the music replacement for "The Fugitive" TV series, it just happens that "Major Dundee" ends up being a title that brings both of these issues out into the open for discussion because of the decisions involved in the release of this film on Blu-Ray.

 

Mr. Redman has in a previous interview here at HTF been quite candid in using strong language to run down the importance of the original score of this film to justify the unprecedented step that was taken with the score replacement that of itself raises serious ethical questions no different from the kind later raised with "The Fugitive" music replacement issue.   He has used terms such as "absolutely ruinous" and couched the issue in terms of a debate over the supposed injustice that was done to Sam Peckinpah because of the presence of this score. He is entitled to that opinion but it is not an opinion etched in stone as a trusim in life because one can easily look at the production of this film and the chaos that took place behind the scenes and make a strong case that Sam Peckinpah is the one who should bear the blame for what happened in the film based on his obsession with trying to make an early version of "The Wild Bunch" instead of concentrating on developing a coherent storyline. The film sets up a fascinating premise of these two factions who have been engaged in war with each other, having to come together for a common good that itself becomes problematic as the mission goes on and the main objective, rescuing the children abducted by the Apache, is already fulfilled and it becomes instead a determination to go beyond that objective and kill the Apache leader.  As it is, has no ending and ends up treating the entire set-up piece of the movie, the Apache raid as a colossal afterthought as the film progresses (if you blink, you will entirely miss the fact that the children get rescued early on because Peckinpah spends so little time on this).   The film wastes a lot of time with the thrown-together group of Union and Confederates engaged in "down time" in villages, having more fights among themselves (a redundancy of a point already made earlier in the film that we didn't need more of)  worrying about the side threat of the French in Mexico, and then in the ultimate absurd detour serves up the unwelcome distraction of Senta Berger, who while great to look at, serves absolutely no point in the film except to drag it to a giant halt.   And you can't even blame the editing of the film after Peckinpah was removed for this general incoherence because they were stuck with a shooting script Peckinpah refused to work on or fix into something more substantive because he was obsessed with doing the things that might make him an icon to others, but which didn't help this film at all. The one area that *was* botched in the final edit, and which the long cut corrects, is resolving the matter of the fate of one character, a scout who disappears inexplicably with no explanation and leaving open the question of whether he was a traitor or not  unresolved.   WIth this plot point fixed, the movie does become improved from a narrative standpoint even if we still have the problem of no final act that the director/screenwriter never saw fit to give us.

 

All of this is to just make the argument that there can be people like myself who can gladly welcome the presence of a longer cut of the film to be a better viewing experience than the older cut of the film, but not at the expense of being forced to listen to an alternate score, especially when it should  not be regarded as a truism of life that the original score somehow has no place with an extended cut of the movie. As I've said, I'm willing to forego my objections to the ethics of engaging in music replacement at all, and also to allow for the subjective difference of opinion on who composed a better score aesthetically if we can all have the option of having both scores available with this longer, and better constructed narrative.  

 

The negative feeling toward Amfitheatrof's work, I feel is influenced by two things totally independent of the merits of the acutal underscore in the film.   First is the title song that plays over the main credits which is a much-too up-tempo song taking place over horiffic scenes of carnage and destruction. I freely admit this clashes overall and doesn't work. I do understand though the reasons why a song was commissioned, in the tradition of how many other movies of the day did the same thing, but there could have been a better and less intrusive way of doing this, perhaps over the End Credits instead, and using only an instrumental of the main theme over the Main Titles. I think because people are so negative about the song (and I do understand that attitude), that as a result when they hear the main theme throughout the movie properly used as underscore, their minds are still too much on the song and this leads to a preconditioned attitude that the rest of the score is wrong as well.

 

Also, the LP of the film soundtrack which has been reissued on CD, doesn't make a good case for the score either as it's loaded with bizarre sound effects and several songs that are not heard in the movie at all. It doesn't make for a good stand-alone listen. I have though watched this film more than once with an open mind trying to concentrate on the underscore only and whether what I hear clashes with the visual narrative on-screen. Only once did I think this happened, in a badly written scene (the fault of which rests on Peckinpah's shoulders) when Dundee has fallen into a drunken state in a lonely Mexican town and there is a comical use of the theme for a few seconds that falls flat.  

 

The score is not the greatest of scores composed, but it served its purpose for a film of this time and any flaws in the final end product, should not, IMO, and contrary to Mr. Redman's assertion, be laid at the feet of the composer especially when replacing the score ultimately gives cover to the man who bears the greatest responsibility for why this film didn't turn out right, and that was Sam Peckinpah.   Because of this, the DVD satisfied the biggest objection by letting those of us who like the idea of seeing a better cut of the film narrative wise, see it without having to endure music replacement in the 90% of the movie that is still there and which was scored by Daniele Amfitheatrof and should remain scored by him to maintain the integrity of a longer cut of the film as a product of its time. If an alternate score must exist for some people, then fine, let it be there *alongside* a version that satisfies the objections of others, and do not force us to have to watch an "archival copy" that serves no purpose except to lie on the shelf instead of to be watched. That's what this issue comes down to, and I have to admit, I think it's unfortunate that there can't for some people be a simple recognition that fairness and freedom of choice for the viewer could easily have made room for all sides of the subjective question of which version is better.   Most of those who are saying that the theatrical cut is enough, seem to be arguing this from the perspective of newcomers to the film who don't understand that if one isn't a newcomer to the film, and doesn't share Mr. Redman's view of the music situation, then that's not going to be a satisfactory solution.

 

Obviously what's done is done for this release, and I can only hope one day in the future there will be a more fair-minded perspective of how to release this film as formats improve further. At least for now the door isn't closed for me to see the film the way I'd rather see it, and if that means seeing it in standard resolution instead of HD, so be it.   HD of the old cut isn't going to be any more satisfying to me than a remastered version of "The Fugitive" with Mark Heyes music was than older lower quality versions with the music intact.


Edited by Jack P, March 26 2013 - 10:07 AM.


#202 of 235 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted March 26 2013 - 11:05 AM

While I would like to have the choice of both scores on the extended version, it is just not going to happen. Call me a defeatist but the title more than likely has been pressed and will be sent out in three weeks. I do have one on order as does about 1000 other people.
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#203 of 235 OFFLINE   Lromero1396

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Posted March 26 2013 - 12:20 PM

I don't see this as the kind of issue in which there has to be personal comments at all toward anyone regardless of how they feel about which score is better, whether replacement scores in general are ethically right or not etc. Mr. Redman may think I've been engaged in a long history of personal attacks on him, but I've been quite supportive of many other things he has done for the soundtrack community over the years, I don't see him any different ultimately as any studio that releases these products and in light of the experience I've had in the past with films like "1776" when a previous version of the film was denied to us in a new format for reasons not having to do with archival issues (like with "The Alamo" and "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World") or in the case of CBS/Paramount and the music replacement for "The Fugitive" TV series, it just happens that "Major Dundee" ends up being a title that brings both of these issues out into the open for discussion because of the decisions involved in the release of this film on Blu-Ray.

 

Mr. Redman has in a previous interview here at HTF been quite candid in using strong language to run down the importance of the original score of this film to justify the unprecedented step that was taken with the score replacement that of itself raises serious ethical questions no different from the kind later raised with "The Fugitive" music replacement issue.   He has used terms such as "absolutely ruinous" and couched the issue in terms of a debate over the supposed injustice that was done to Sam Peckinpah because of the presence of this score. He is entitled to that opinion but it is not an opinion etched in stone as a trusim in life because one can easily look at the production of this film and the chaos that took place behind the scenes and make a strong case that Sam Peckinpah is the one who should bear the blame for what happened in the film based on his obsession with trying to make an early version of "The Wild Bunch" instead of concentrating on developing a coherent storyline. The film sets up a fascinating premise of these two factions who have been engaged in war with each other, having to come together for a common good that itself becomes problematic as the mission goes on and the main objective, rescuing the children abducted by the Apache, is already fulfilled and it becomes instead a determination to go beyond that objective and kill the Apache leader.  As it is, has no ending and ends up treating the entire set-up piece of the movie, the Apache raid as a colossal afterthought as the film progresses (if you blink, you will entirely miss the fact that the children get rescued early on because Peckinpah spends so little time on this).   The film wastes a lot of time with the thrown-together group of Union and Confederates engaged in "down time" in villages, having more fights among themselves (a redundancy of a point already made earlier in the film that we didn't need more of)  worrying about the side threat of the French in Mexico, and then in the ultimate absurd detour serves up the unwelcome distraction of Senta Berger, who while great to look at, serves absolutely no point in the film except to drag it to a giant halt.   And you can't even blame the editing of the film after Peckinpah was removed for this general incoherence because they were stuck with a shooting script Peckinpah refused to work on or fix into something more substantive because he was obsessed with doing the things that might make him an icon to others, but which didn't help this film at all. The one area that *was* botched in the final edit, and which the long cut corrects, is resolving the matter of the fate of one character, a scout who disappears inexplicably with no explanation and leaving open the question of whether he was a traitor or not  unresolved.   WIth this plot point fixed, the movie does become improved from a narrative standpoint even if we still have the problem of no final act that the director/screenwriter never saw fit to give us.

 

All of this is to just make the argument that there can be people like myself who can gladly welcome the presence of a longer cut of the film to be a better viewing experience than the older cut of the film, but not at the expense of being forced to listen to an alternate score, especially when it should  not be regarded as a truism of life that the original score somehow has no place with an extended cut of the movie. As I've said, I'm willing to forego my objections to the ethics of engaging in music replacement at all, and also to allow for the subjective difference of opinion on who composed a better score aesthetically if we can all have the option of having both scores available with this longer, and better constructed narrative.  

 

The negative feeling toward Amfitheatrof's work, I feel is influenced by two things totally independent of the merits of the acutal underscore in the film.   First is the title song that plays over the main credits which is a much-too up-tempo song taking place over horiffic scenes of carnage and destruction. I freely admit this clashes overall and doesn't work. I do understand though the reasons why a song was commissioned, in the tradition of how many other movies of the day did the same thing, but there could have been a better and less intrusive way of doing this, perhaps over the End Credits instead, and using only an instrumental of the main theme over the Main Titles. I think because people are so negative about the song (and I do understand that attitude), that as a result when they hear the main theme throughout the movie properly used as underscore, their minds are still too much on the song and this leads to a preconditioned attitude that the rest of the score is wrong as well.

 

Also, the LP of the film soundtrack which has been reissued on CD, doesn't make a good case for the score either as it's loaded with bizarre sound effects and several songs that are not heard in the movie at all. It doesn't make for a good stand-alone listen. I have though watched this film more than once with an open mind trying to concentrate on the underscore only and whether what I hear clashes with the visual narrative on-screen. Only once did I think this happened, in a badly written scene (the fault of which rests on Peckinpah's shoulders) when Dundee has fallen into a drunken state in a lonely Mexican town and there is a comical use of the theme for a few seconds that falls flat.  

 

The score is not the greatest of scores composed, but it served its purpose for a film of this time and any flaws in the final end product, should not, IMO, and contrary to Mr. Redman's assertion, be laid at the feet of the composer especially when replacing the score ultimately gives cover to the man who bears the greatest responsibility for why this film didn't turn out right, and that was Sam Peckinpah.   Because of this, the DVD satisfied the biggest objection by letting those of us who like the idea of seeing a better cut of the film narrative wise, see it without having to endure music replacement in the 90% of the movie that is still there and which was scored by Daniele Amfitheatrof and should remain scored by him to maintain the integrity of a longer cut of the film as a product of its time. If an alternate score must exist for some people, then fine, let it be there *alongside* a version that satisfies the objections of others, and do not force us to have to watch an "archival copy" that serves no purpose except to lie on the shelf instead of to be watched. That's what this issue comes down to, and I have to admit, I think it's unfortunate that there can't for some people be a simple recognition that fairness and freedom of choice for the viewer could easily have made room for all sides of the subjective question of which version is better.   Most of those who are saying that the theatrical cut is enough, seem to be arguing this from the perspective of newcomers to the film who don't understand that if one isn't a newcomer to the film, and doesn't share Mr. Redman's view of the music situation, then that's not going to be a satisfactory solution.

 

Obviously what's done is done for this release, and I can only hope one day in the future there will be a more fair-minded perspective of how to release this film as formats improve further. At least for now the door isn't closed for me to see the film the way I'd rather see it, and if that means seeing it in standard resolution instead of HD, so be it.   HD of the old cut isn't going to be any more satisfying to me than a remastered version of "The Fugitive" with Mark Heyes music was than older lower quality versions with the music intact.

I've been out of the loop on this release. What exactly is stirring up controversy? Is music being replaced in Dundee for this release? Or are we talking something else?



#204 of 235 ONLINE   Peter Apruzzese

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Posted March 26 2013 - 01:05 PM

The Blu-ray contains two versions - the original theatrical cut with the original music score and the extended cut (said to be closer to Peckinpah's intentions) that was newly created in 2004/2005 with a new music score.What Jack wants is an option the DVD had, which was the newly created extended cut with the original music score, the blu-ray won't have that option.

Edited by Peter Apruzzese, March 26 2013 - 03:22 PM.

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#205 of 235 ONLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted March 26 2013 - 01:40 PM

Onto other topics: has anyone @ TT given serious thought to licencing Phantom of the Paradise? It seems like a match made in heaven.


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#206 of 235 OFFLINE   Lromero1396

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Posted March 26 2013 - 05:25 PM

Onto other topics: has anyone @ TT given serious thought to licencing Phantom of the Paradise? It seems like a match made in heaven.

It would sell quite well. Just like the horror titles, perhaps. It would make a wonderful cash-cow for TT so they can get into more obscure stuff I've been wanting like Untamed, Prince of Players, and The President's Lady.



#207 of 235 OFFLINE   haineshisway

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Posted March 26 2013 - 10:29 PM

There is a beautiful Phantom of the Paradise Blu-ray in France.  With region-free players costing chump change these days, it's just baffling why people forego some incredible other region releases - some of my most prized Blu-rays are other region and the player was quite inexpensive.



#208 of 235 OFFLINE   Lromero1396

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Posted March 27 2013 - 08:54 AM

The Blu-ray contains two versions - the original theatrical cut with the original music score and the extended cut (said to be closer to Peckinpah's intentions) that was newly created in 2004/2005 with a new music score.What Jack wants is an option the DVD had, which was the newly created extended cut with the original music score, the blu-ray won't have that option.

So the original music to the film cannot be heard at all with the extended cut (not on either the 5.1 mix or the isolated track)? Is the original music (same as on the DVD) included for the original theatrical cut? Or is that entirely different from that of the extended cut? I know absolutely nothing about this film.



#209 of 235 OFFLINE   Lromero1396

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Posted March 27 2013 - 08:57 AM

There is a beautiful Phantom of the Paradise Blu-ray in France.  With region-free players costing chump change these days, it's just baffling why people forego some incredible other region releases - some of my most prized Blu-rays are other region and the player was quite inexpensive.

That doesn't stop TT from releasing films. I'm all for obscure '70s stuff from TT, whether it has been released elsewhere or not. I happen to be a plebeian with a region A player and upgrading is not a financially viable option for me at this time.



#210 of 235 ONLINE   Peter Apruzzese

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Posted March 27 2013 - 09:36 AM

So the original music to the film cannot be heard at all with the extended cut (not on either the 5.1 mix or the isolated track)? Is the original music (same as on the DVD) included for the original theatrical cut? Or is that entirely different from that of the extended cut? I know absolutely nothing about this film.

On the Blu-ray there are two versions:

 

1. The 1965 theatrical release which contains the original score.

 

2. The extended version (newly created in 2004/2005) which only contains the new 2004/5 score. The 1965 music is not present on this version on the Blu-ray edition (the DVD release did contain an option to view this version with the 1965 music).


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#211 of 235 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted March 27 2013 - 09:43 AM

So the original music to the film cannot be heard at all with the extended cut (not on either the 5.1 mix or the isolated track)? Is the original music (same as on the DVD) included for the original theatrical cut? Or is that entirely different from that of the extended cut? I know absolutely nothing about this film.

 

#1-Yes, the original score for the film composed by Daniele Amfitheatrof can *not* be heard on the extended cut. This is the sticking point of controversy for the simple reason that an alternate track *with* the film's original score *was* included on the DVD alongside the 2005 replacement score. It simply comes down to wanting the same option that was available in that release.

 

#2-Yes, the original score is on the theatrical cut release.   Mr. Redman has decided that his obligation for the original score ends only with providing it for the shorter, less satisfying version of the film that is 14 minutes less and has some narrative defects that the longer cut, created from footage found in the vaults that was shot during the film's original production, fixes to a small degree (the most important footage being a scene that clears up the fate of a character).   In short, if you think that the idea of a replacement score is not proper but you want to see the cut of the film that is improved from a narrative standpont, you have to get the DVD version.   The Blu-Ray release has decided to suppress that version for this format.



#212 of 235 OFFLINE   Twilight Time

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Posted March 27 2013 - 10:10 AM

Again, and for the last time, just to clear up another of "Jack P's" willful pieces of misinformation. Sony's new Blu-ray master of MD's extended cut (as I explained clearly in my earlier post), ONLY contains the Caliendo score. The option to do what "Jack P" wants IS NOT THERE, whether we would be inclined to do it or not. Instead, the viewer gets something previously unavailable on any digital format -- the original theatrical release with its original score. End. Of. Story.

 

Best,

 

Nick.


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#213 of 235 OFFLINE   JohnWeller

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Posted March 27 2013 - 10:20 AM

Public image isn't your strong point, is it?



#214 of 235 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted March 27 2013 - 10:29 AM

Mr. Redman, I have engaged in no "willful misinformation".   I have simply taken you at your word regarding the entire approach that was made to this film from the beginning in which your contempt for the original score is quite evident, how you believe it was wonderful that the original score could be thrown out on a new cut of the film, how you felt it was a mistake to have even included a long cut with the original score in the DVD release and that to have done so at the time represented some imperfect solution rather than the fair solution that it was, and that you believe it is now a wonderful thing that a compromised cut of the film is being made available instead for those of us who don't share your opinion of the virtues of the replacement score.

 

I am well aware that you have to start with what Sony provided you when you began this project, but it seems to me (just in my personal opinion) that since you said last August and I quote, "at Sony's request the title has been pushed back to March / April 2013 while more restoration work is done on the master. We're sorry about that as we are as eager to see it released as anyone, but the wait will be worthwhile!" that it was certainly not beyond the power of TT or anyone there to recommend to Sony that this "more restoration work" to "make the wait worthwhile" could have included a recognition that the extended cut contain the same allowance for those who prefer the original score as the DVD did.   As it turned out, those extra months didn't make the wait worthwhile for me, only a major disappointment beause TT evidently had decided from the get-go that showing any kind of consideration for those who would have serious objections to the DVD option being removed from this release was not worth bothering Sony about, given your own stated views on how you think providing the compromised narrative of the theaterical cut is somehow supposed to be an acceptable consolation prize when it in this case comes off more like the booby prize. You may not like my take of events anymore than I don't like your take of events, but there has been no effort on my part to engage in "willful misinformation".   I'm only reporting how events have unfolded from one subjective perspective.


Edited by Jack P, March 27 2013 - 01:46 PM.


#215 of 235 OFFLINE   Twilight Time

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Posted March 27 2013 - 10:32 AM

I believe you would experience a smidgen of frustration too, John, if one particular person kept repeating the same tosh over and over despite being clearly informed of the reality. All you have to do is go back a couple of pages to read our explanation of the situation. I have to say it is always amusing to me that no-one minds how much negativity gets posted about TT or its releases, but the moment one of us pushes back, even a little bit, we are condemned with having a poor "public image." Seems a tad one-sided, does it not?

 

Best,

 

Nick.


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#216 of 235 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted March 27 2013 - 10:51 AM

Just for the record, I am not suggesting or encouraging that no one not buy the Blu-Ray as some statement of protest. That decision is entirely for individuals to make based on their own subjective feelings of how important this issue is to them. It matters to those who feel as I do on what this release could and should have done, and influences thusly how I choose to spend my money on this item or not.   Personal disappointment based on the fact that there is much about this film I do admire (when Mr. Redman claimed I had no particular interest in the film, that could easily have been described as "willful misinformation" by me, but I will forego that since I perhaps did not in initial messages make clear the things about this film I do enjoy which makes this a title of interest to me). But all I can do is express my views and have a fair-minded discussion with others about it and leave it at that.   I don't begrugde at all the sales figures that the release has generated so far.

 

I am sure that the standards of professional presentation on the end products are up to the standards I have seen done on other releases I've been glad to buy in the past and hopefully in the future there will be another title of interest to me that will be released in a definitive version I will be happy to spend money on.   My criticism is not of TT as an institution in general, it is simply the result of what's happened with one title that has fascinated me ever since a night back in graduate school when I first caught this movie on TBS and found myself hooked into a fascinating storyline that then sadly disappointed me greatly when the narrative fell apart in the second half.   The first half of the movie is one of the best I've ever seen in presenting a great storytelling dynamic and its because of that, that I have always been fascinated by the idea that there might have been additional material to salvage in part the flaws of the second half.



#217 of 235 OFFLINE   John Hermes

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Posted March 27 2013 - 11:41 AM

Jack P, I agree with you.  I think there should have been an option for the long version/original score.  At this point, you're beating your head against the wall.  You've made your point well.  I, and I'm sure others, are on your side. I think it's foolish to replace any original score.  I pre-ordered the movie but don't like the fact the above-stated option is not available.  It's not going to happen now, so I guess we just have to live with it and hope nothing like this happens again.  



#218 of 235 OFFLINE   Moe Dickstein

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Posted March 27 2013 - 01:26 PM

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I would like to thank Mr. Redman for taking the time to come here and set the record straight in the face of hostility.It seems very clear now that the audio option that Jack prefers was not even offered to TT as something to include on their release - therefore your issue is with Sony and not Twilight Time.
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#219 of 235 OFFLINE   Twilight Time

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Posted March 27 2013 - 02:03 PM

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Thanks, Moe, appreciate it. But if one thinks about it logically the "issue" is whether or not the music should ever have been replaced originally...there will always be (legitimate) arguments about whether or not that was the right thing to do. The point is, in 2004, Sony made the decision to re-score the picture for the "extended version," thus forever making the new score a part of that film. When the film is screened theatrically, as it regularly is, are viewers given the choice of which score they should watch it with? Of course not. Paul Seydor, Grover Crisp, and I will be speaking at an upcoming screening of the new DCP at Chapman in Orange County next month, and it will be shown with the Caliendo score. For all intents and purposes, from this point on, that is the music for the "extended version." We completely accept that there are purists who wish that wasn't the case, but rightly or wrongly, that is the case.

 

TT's new Blu-ray could not offer the seamless-branching function of the DVD simply because there is no Amfitheatrof score on the new master. However, we really did feel it was necessary to include the original theatrical cut with the original score, and Sony readily agreed to do the restoration, which they didn't have to do, to make this the best release it could be, considering all of the difficult and complex circumstances.

 

Best,

 

Nick.


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Posted March 27 2013 - 02:14 PM

Ye gods and little fishes ... am I the only one reminded of two cats in a burlap bag? We do get it ... a least one person is unhappy with the MAJOR DUNDEE release,  Could we maybe move on now? Like, oh say, to info on more upcoming releases?







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