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Olive Films Blu-ray Release and Discussion Thread

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#21 of 706 OFFLINE   Paul Penna

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Posted August 04 2012 - 05:32 PM

Just finished watching Johnny Guitar last night.  First let me say what an incredibly great film this is.  Fun camp, but at the same good drama.  Fantastic score by Victor Young.  More great character actors than I could count.  And the TruColor process really brought out the colors.  That said, there is one problem with the original film elements, and it was a problem that plagued many films of the 50s and 60s.  Whenever the shot was strictly on one of the female leads, there was a soft-filter lens put over the camera lens.  This was suppose to keep any blemishes or wrinkles that the ladies may have had, to a minimum.  Unfortunately, it also takes away the sharpness of the image.

That was a reason it was sometimes done. It was also part of the esthetic of classic-era glamour photography, in still portraiture and illustration as well as in motion pictures. In other words, it was a deliberate artistic judgement. It's the way they wanted it to look, so I don't see why that makes it a "problem." It's like saying that the high-contrast lighting of film noir is a "problem" because it can make things in the shadows too dark to make out clearly.

#22 of 706 OFFLINE   John Hermes

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Posted August 04 2012 - 05:48 PM

That was a reason it was sometimes done. It was also part of the esthetic of classic-era glamour photography, in still portraiture and illustration as well as in motion pictures. In other words, it was a deliberate artistic judgement. It's the way they wanted it to look, so I don't see why that makes it a "problem." It's like saying that the high-contrast lighting of film noir is a "problem" because it can make things in the shadows too dark to make out clearly.

Master cinematographer Harry Stradling Sr. had a special adjustable diffusion filter which kept the eyes sharp while softening the rest. He felt this was a better way to diffuse a face.

#23 of 706 OFFLINE   jim_falconer

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Posted August 05 2012 - 01:54 AM

Originally Posted by Paul Penna 


That was a reason it was sometimes done. It was also part of the esthetic of classic-era glamour photography, in still portraiture and illustration as well as in motion pictures. In other words, it was a deliberate artistic judgement. It's the way they wanted it to look, so I don't see why that makes it a "problem." It's like saying that the high-contrast lighting of film noir is a "problem" because it can make things in the shadows too dark to make out clearly.


IMO, it was an erroneous practive to do at the time, and in retrospect you can see the effects it has now on viewing enjoyment.  Actors and Actresses went into makeup for hours prior to being called to the set for a reason.  Putting the soft-filter lens on them after all that effort seems kind of silly nowadays, wouldn't you agree?   And watching Johnny Guitar in high def drives home that point all more clearly.  One shot will be crystal clear, with even beads of sweat on the actors faces standing out.  The next scene looking at Emma or Vienna, and it's like looking at VHS quality.  I'm glad you have no problems viewing films that employ this process, but I've found it to be quite distracting.

#24 of 706 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted August 05 2012 - 05:16 AM

Robert - don't know if you want to list the previous Blu-ray releases from Olive, but here they are (sans amazon.com links):


1900

Amer

Assault on a Queen

Badge 373

Boeing (707) Boeing (707)

Breaking Glass

The Buccaneer (1958)

Carmen (1984)

The Colossus of New York

Come Blow Your Horn

Crack in the World

Denver and Rio Grande

Despair (1978)

The Geisha Boy

The Hangman (1959)

Hannie Caulder

The Hellstrom Chronicle

High Noon (1952)

Hit!

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

It'$ Only Money

The Jayhawkers!

The Mountain

The Night of the Grizzly

Nijinsky

The Perfect Weapon

Project X (1968)

Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958)

Run for Cover (1955)

Sands of the Kalahari

Silver City (1951)

The Space Children

The Spirit Is Willing

Tales That Witness Madness

Too Late Blues

Where Love Has Gone

Who's Got the Action?

Who's Minding the Store?



Also being released 10/30/12:


The Brain (1969)

Greed in the Sun

Taxi for Tobruk


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#25 of 706 OFFLINE   Paul Penna

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Posted August 05 2012 - 07:56 AM

IMO, it was an erroneous practive to do at the time, and in retrospect you can see the effects it has now on viewing enjoyment.  Actors and Actresses went into makeup for hours prior to being called to the set for a reason.  Putting the soft-filter lens on them after all that effort seems kind of silly nowadays, wouldn't you agree?   And watching Johnny Guitar in high def drives home that point all more clearly.  One shot will be crystal clear, with even beads of sweat on the actors faces standing out.  The next scene looking at Emma or Vienna, and it's like looking at VHS quality.  I'm glad you have no problems viewing films that employ this process, but I've found it to be quite distracting.

You make it sound like the right hands didn't know what the left hands were doing at the studios. Also, that the intent at all times was, or should have been, to make every image as sharp as possible. In fact, the use of diffusion filters was not restricted to facial close-ups. You see them used in scenic and landscape shots, as an example, for exactly the same reason: an esthetic choice to convey a desired mood or atmosphere. Can it call attention to itself? Sure it can, to me as well. But just because it strikes you personally as a flaw doesn't mean that others won't react, "Wow, isn't that beautiful!" Which was undoubtedly the intent. This is just one of the techniques of classic motion picture production which are no longer employed that may strike present-day viewers as being artificial, but the fact is that it was not always the intent to depict the real world realistically. I know you're expressing your honest reaction, which of course is perfectly OK. But to call these techniques silly, or a mistake or a flaw just doesn't reflect the artistic intent and esthetic concepts that were common at the time.

#26 of 706 OFFLINE   Bob Furmanek

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Posted August 05 2012 - 08:06 AM

Excellent post, Paul. I agree 100%.

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#27 of 706 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted August 07 2012 - 11:45 AM

Originally Posted by Brandon Conway 

Robert - don't know if you want to list the previous Blu-ray releases from Olive, but here they are (sans amazon.com links):


1900

Amer

Assault on a Queen

Badge 373

Boeing (707) Boeing (707)

Breaking Glass

The Buccaneer (1958)

Carmen (1984)

The Colossus of New York

Come Blow Your Horn

Crack in the World

Denver and Rio Grande

Despair (1978)

The Geisha Boy

The Hangman (1959)

Hannie Caulder

The Hellstrom Chronicle

High Noon (1952)

Hit!

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

It'$ Only Money

The Jayhawkers!

The Mountain

The Night of the Grizzly

Nijinsky

The Perfect Weapon

Project X (1968)

Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958)

Run for Cover (1955)

Sands of the Kalahari

Silver City (1951)

The Space Children

The Spirit Is Willing

Tales That Witness Madness

Too Late Blues

Where Love Has Gone

Who's Got the Action?

Who's Minding the Store?



Also being released 10/30/12:


The Brain (1969)

Greed in the Sun

Taxi for Tobruk


Thank you Brandon.  I've added the Amazon links to the first post in this thread, but you can find these titles cheaper at Deep Discount and ImportCDs.com


Today, I watched Rio Grande, I thought it look alright except for some heavy grain now and then.  I thought it looked better on HDnet Movies a ways back, but maybe I misremembered it being so.  Hopefully, I'll have Johnny Guitar tomorrow and will watch it immediately.







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#28 of 706 OFFLINE   DakotaSurfer

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Posted August 08 2012 - 02:51 AM

Thank you Brandon.  I've added the Amazon links to the first post in this thread, but you can find these titles cheaper at Deep Discount and ImportCDs.com Today, I watched Rio Grande, I thought it look alright except for some heavy grain now and then.  I thought it looked better on HDnet Movies a ways back, but maybe I misremembered it being so.  Hopefully, I'll have Johnny Guitar tomorrow and will watch it immediately. Crawdaddy

I watched it also and I disagree on the quality. I put in my 2003 Collector's Edition in my BR player and the quality was just as good so the new BR is not worth the $20. And the case insert is horrible, from an old movie poster of the film, the printing was even substandard. If the other 27 films come out this way it won't be worth the money. And what hat are they pulling The Oregon Trail from? Posted Image Why doesn't Paramount do it themselves? They did a good job on the recent release of Hondo, since it had been recently remastered made it a great release and they put out a great case insert. Plus the $12 price was much more acceptable. Posted Image
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#29 of 706 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted August 08 2012 - 03:58 AM

Originally Posted by DakotaSurfer 


I watched it also and I disagree on the quality. I put in my 2003 Collector's Edition in my BR player and the quality was just as good so the new BR is not worth the $20. And the case insert is horrible, from an old movie poster of the film, the printing was even substandard. If the other 27 films come out this way it won't be worth the money. And what hat are they pulling The Oregon Trail from?
Posted Image
Why doesn't Paramount do it themselves? They did a good job on the recent release of Hondo, since it had been recently remastered made it a great release and they put out a great case insert. Plus the $12 price was much more acceptable.
Posted Image

What are you disagreeing about?


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#30 of 706 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted August 08 2012 - 01:58 PM

Originally Posted by jim_falconer 


IMO, it was an erroneous practive to do at the time, and in retrospect you can see the effects it has now on viewing enjoyment.  Actors and Actresses went into makeup for hours prior to being called to the set for a reason.  Putting the soft-filter lens on them after all that effort seems kind of silly nowadays, wouldn't you agree?   And watching Johnny Guitar in high def drives home that point all more clearly.  One shot will be crystal clear, with even beads of sweat on the actors faces standing out.  The next scene looking at Emma or Vienna, and it's like looking at VHS quality.  I'm glad you have no problems viewing films that employ this process, but I've found it to be quite distracting.

I thought this Olive BRD looked very good.  By far, it's the best I'd ever seen Johnny Guitar on any video format.  I just wished it was released in 1.66:1 ratio.









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#31 of 706 OFFLINE   WilliamMcK

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Posted August 23 2012 - 04:51 AM

Regarding MY SON JOHN: It's a creepy strange movie. If Leo McCarey's politics weren't so well known I'd almost suspect that he meant this as a subversive satire (at least the first half). It's not the sharpest Blu-Ray image I've ever seen, but given the almost complete unavailability of this movie up until TCM showed it a year or two ago, I think Olive should be commended for bringing it out. My guess is that they did as good a job as they could with the elements at hand. Regarding RIO GRANDE: Not much I can add about the movie (it's just brilliant!), but unlike others I was thrilled by presentation. I should put on my old DVD for a more accurate comparison, but as I was watching the blu-ray I kept thinking how much better the picture looked (granted: I have watched the DVD in about two years). It's a shame they have that embarrassing gaffe on the menu page ("The Making of HIGH NOON" -- huh?), and the extras themselves are... lame, but nevertheless I was quite pleased with the disc.

#32 of 706 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted August 23 2012 - 05:20 AM

Originally Posted by WilliamMcK 

Regarding MY SON JOHN:
It's a creepy strange movie. If Leo McCarey's politics weren't so well known I'd almost suspect that he meant this as a subversive satire (at least the first half). It's not the sharpest Blu-Ray image I've ever seen, but given the almost complete unavailability of this movie up until TCM showed it a year or two ago, I think Olive should be commended for bringing it out. My guess is that they did as good a job as they could with the elements at hand.
 


They only release what transfer Paramount gives them.  It is the same with Twilight Time and their releases.  How good the image looks is only how good the transfer is.  Neither Olive nor Twilight do any work on the transfers so any complaints should be geared toward the owner of the film and not the company that released it.  On the other hard, a company that releases a poor transfer should know better.  Twilight Time found that out with Violent Saturday and have since passed on some titles that were not up to standards.

And yes Olive should be commended for releasing that title and many others that are more or less falls into cult favorites such as Skidoo and the upcoming Child's Play and Man On a Swing.

"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#33 of 706 OFFLINE   JoHud

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Posted August 23 2012 - 06:24 AM

Neither Olive nor Twilight do any work on the transfers so any complaints should be geared toward the owner of the film and not the company that released it

Actually that preconception has been discredited by the recent interview with Frank Tarzi, Olive's Head of Acquisitions.

As you may be aware, I also handle reviewing duties for another label that licenses product, in this case from Fox and Columbia-Sony, the niche label Twilight Time. In Twilight Time's case, they are provided with pre- existing HD masters from the studios' assets catalog. Did you know going in there were HD masters for your Paramount titles? Well, here's the thing: Olive created HD masters for all our 2010 and 2011 releases. Wow! Really? I had no idea. I just assumed you were being provided with HD masters. Well, in some cases we are. But in many cases, we're not; we created the HD masters from the available film elements. That's really interesting. That means, then, that you're really investing some significant capital in bringing these catalog titles to Blu-ray. Absolutely. Now in a perfect world, everything would have pre-existing HD masters [laughs]. But for the first 25 or so titles, we did all the mastering ourselves. We were luckier with the second batch, 6 or 7 of the titles had pre-existing HD masters, but we did the rest ourselves.

However, they are still dependent on the condition of the source elements and don't normally finance additional restoration work, outside of perhaps some digital touching up. Twilight's Last Gleaming is suppose to be "restored", but I'm guessing it's not a photochemical restoration of the actual print and will be more of a digital restoration cleaning up the image of the transfer.

#34 of 706 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted August 23 2012 - 06:51 AM

Originally Posted by JoHud 


Actually that preconception has been discredited by the recent interview with Frank Tarzi, Olive's Head of Acquisitions.
However, they are still dependent on the condition of the source elements and don't normally finance additional restoration work, outside of perhaps some digital touching up. Twilight's Last Gleaming is suppose to be "restored", but I'm guessing it's not a photochemical restoration of the actual print and will be more of a digital restoration cleaning up the image of the transfer.

If they are creating HD masters only form exiting transfers, then they are dependent on what Paramount gives them and there is no difference. That also came from the same interview where he said High Noon was perfect and to me it is a good release, but to others, they were not happy with it so I am not sure how much digital touching up there is.  There certainly was not any that I can see on My Son John.  Which by the way a one heck of a movie.

I understand that Twilight's Last Gleaming is a different story, they are even going to add a documentary to it, where they do not even have trailers for the Paramount titles.  Different company means, I am sure a different deal.


Olive has done a great job and looking at them before their Paramount deal, they were and still are a great independent company that produced and released some excellent titles with extras.  I have no beef with the company and own many of their titles.  I have been purchasing Blu-ray titles of the films they have been releasing that I want if available, but do not intend on repurchasing titles I have on DVD.  The Blu-rays while good, IMHO, are not great and only just a couple of degrees better than the DVD.  If they were anymore than 4 dollars above the cost of the DVD I would purchase the DVD.


Edit:

I think RAH's "A Few Words About ... Rio Grande - In Blu-ray" pretty well points out that they just used the transfer that given to them and did not do any digital touching up.  To my eyes this is what most of the releases look like. 


"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#35 of 706 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted August 24 2012 - 02:38 AM

Originally Posted by ahollis 

If they are creating HD masters only form exiting transfers, then they are dependent on what Paramount gives them and there is no difference. That also came from the same interview where he said High Noon was perfect and to me it is a good release, but to others, they were not happy with it so I am not sure how much digital touching up there is.  There certainly was not any that I can see on My Son John.  Which by the way a one heck of a movie.

I understand that Twilight's Last Gleaming is a different story, they are even going to add a documentary to it, where they do not even have trailers for the Paramount titles.  Different company means, I am sure a different deal.


Olive has done a great job and looking at them before their Paramount deal, they were and still are a great independent company that produced and released some excellent titles with extras.  I have no beef with the company and own many of their titles.  I have been purchasing Blu-ray titles of the films they have been releasing that I want if available, but do not intend on repurchasing titles I have on DVD.  The Blu-rays while good, IMHO, are not great and only just a couple of degrees better than the DVD.  If they were anymore than 4 dollars above the cost of the DVD I would purchase the DVD.


Edit:

I think RAH's "A Few Words About ... Rio Grande - In Blu-ray" pretty well points out that they just used the transfer that given to them and did not do any digital touching up.  To my eyes this is what most of the releases look like. 


The point should be made that digital clean-up of dirt in HD is neither difficult nor expensive.  Had anyone actually looked at the Rio Grande HD element before approving, they would have seen a chunk of dirt on the negative through which a 1960s Buick Electra could be driven.


RAH


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#36 of 706 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted August 24 2012 - 03:14 AM

Originally Posted by Robert Harris 


The point should be made that digital clean-up of dirt in HD is neither difficult nor expensive.  Had anyone actually looked at the Rio Grande HD element before approving, they would have seen a chunk of dirt on the negative through which a 1960s Buick Electra could be driven.


RAH

As usual what takes me four long paragraphs and still not making my point fully, you can do in two sentences.  Posted Image


So I am going to take it, that if it is true that Olive makes their own HD transfers from the elements that Paramount gives them, then they are not even looking at the elements and pushing on as if it is as good as it can get. If so it is a pity.

"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#37 of 706 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted August 24 2012 - 03:49 AM

Originally Posted by ahollis 

As usual what takes me four long paragraphs and still not making my point fully, you can do in two sentences.  Posted Image


So I am going to take it, that if it is true that Olive makes their own HD transfers from the elements that Paramount gives them, then they are not even looking at the elements and pushing on as if it is as good as it can get. If so it is a pity.

I'm not the person to be able to discuss that.  From the interview discussed above, one can discern -- more or less -- that Olive may (or may not) have been given the elements on The Quiet Man, and that they seem to have done the work on High Noon.


As I recall, much of this may come down to how one might read the word "we."


This may or may not be accurate.  I would also presume, that if the original elements to The Quiet Man had been turned over to them, which something that I would not suggest doing, that they may or may not have someone with a bit of archival knowledge on their team.


Or would at least hopefully have someone on said team, that may know someone with necessary background.


Or had possibly at one time read an article about someone (anyone) doing said work.


And hopefully, not the individual doing the artwork restoration in Europe.


RAH


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#38 of 706 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted August 24 2012 - 06:05 AM

Originally Posted by Robert Harris 


The point should be made that digital clean-up of dirt in HD is neither difficult nor expensive.  Had anyone actually looked at the Rio Grande HD element before approving, they would have seen a chunk of dirt on the negative through which a 1960s Buick Electra could be driven.


RAH

That is a fair criticism even if Olive and a certain internet reviewer thinks otherwise.


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#39 of 706 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted August 25 2012 - 04:56 AM

How much longer does Olive have to release these titles on BRD is unknown, but the following read is interesting in it's conclusion that the end of BRD could be around the corner.


http://www.usatoday....ming/57256000/1


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#40 of 706 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted August 25 2012 - 06:30 AM

That USA Today article was an interesting read, but I didn't see any real statistics to back up what they were saying.  It almost appeared they were just spouting out numbers and percentages without back-up.  But that is my opinion.

"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman






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