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A few words about...™ Niagara -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About Fox

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#1 of 37 Robert Harris

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Posted July 26 2013 - 09:58 AM

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Henry Hathaway's 1952 (released 1953) Niagara, was produced during a period of great change in the industry, as three-strip Technicolor was beginning to wind down, and Eastman direct positive was beginning to take over.

 

Fortunately for modern audiences, Fox's Niagara, which was shot on acetate stock, is a beautiful today as it was sixty years ago.  With surviving original elements, Fox's archival team, was able to create digital files that show off the production to its fullest potential.  And within that potential, Ms Monroe looks absolutely luminous.

 

I mentioned in the Shane thread that the two films had been finalized differently, with grain structure in Shane looking fully natural, while certain areas of the frame in Niagara have odd digital characteristics -- none of which are seen from a proper viewing distance.  I mention them only to tell the entire story.

 

The color extracted from the original elements is astoundingly beautiful.  Grain structure has a very comfortable, velvety palette to it.

 

Those seeking a fun-loving and carefree Monroe, may be visiting the wrong locale, for Niagara sets up a dark premise, which turns even darker -- all interesting set against gorgeous Technicolor hues.

 

A wonderful film, that stands the test of time six decades later.

 

Image 4.5

 

Audio - 5

 

Recommended.

 

RAH


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"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 37 John Hermes

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Posted July 26 2013 - 10:03 AM

Thanks for the review, RAH. You've been doing some serious movie watching lately.



#3 of 37 Professor Echo

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Posted July 26 2013 - 10:28 AM

Always love seeing praise for Hathaway, a very talented filmmaker who is relatively neglected by cinephiles, mostly mentioned only as the cranky director who blackballed Dennis Hopper. But I am consistently impressed by the varitey of his films, his technique and especially his masterful handling of widescreen. 


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#4 of 37 Richard--W

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Posted July 26 2013 - 01:41 PM

I haven't heard about the blackballing of Dennis Hopper, but then my knowledge of Hollywood trivia isn't very good. Glad to hear some appreciation for Henry Hathaway. I've gathered every Hathaway film that's been released on DVD and taped those that haven't off the air. He's one of those masters who could work in every genre with 100% creative success. Technically his films are clinics in direction, and he directed one flawless film after another including some of the strongest film noirs of the 1940s and some of the toughest war films of the 1950s. Even his early talkies -- like the Zane Grey adaptations at Paramount with young Randolph Scott -- are of interest. NIAGARA is my idea of a perfect film. It's also one of my favorite color films. The one film of his that mystifies me came at the end of his career, SHOOT-OUT (1971), a low-budget western that is extremely well-made but the director's story-telling choices are hard to explain.

 

Anyhow, I can check off another of my "most-wanted films on blu-ray" with the release of NIAGARA. Glad to hear it's been done right. Thank goodness it isn't a Warner Brothers film.



#5 of 37 t1g3r5fan

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Posted July 26 2013 - 02:54 PM

I haven't heard about the blackballing of Dennis Hopper, but then my knowledge of Hollywood trivia isn't very good. Glad to hear some appreciation for Henry Hathaway. I've gathered every Hathaway film that's been released on DVD and taped those that haven't off the air. He's one of those masters who could work in every genre with 100% creative success. Technically his films are clinics in direction, and he directed one flawless film after another including some of the strongest film noirs of the 1940s and some of the toughest war films of the 1950s. Even his early talkies -- like the Zane Grey adaptations at Paramount with young Randolph Scott -- are of interest. NIAGARA is my idea of a perfect film. It's also one of my favorite color films. The one film of his that mystifies me came at the end of his career, SHOOT-OUT (1971), a low-budget western that is extremely well-made but the director's story-telling choices are hard to explain.

 

I have quite a few of Henry Hathaway's movies myself and I agree that he is one of the more under-appreciated directors. For all the many quality works that he turned out over the year, he was nominated for an Oscar only once (for 1935's The Lives of a Bengal Lancer) - making him one of a few directors shamefully overlooked by the Academy, such as Rouben Mamoulian, Delmer Daves, Sam Peckinpah, Douglas Sirk, Jacques Tourneur, Robert Aldrich, and Raoul Walsh, to name a few. 


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#6 of 37 Osato

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Posted July 26 2013 - 06:41 PM

Thanks for the review Robert!!



#7 of 37 Persianimmortal

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Posted July 26 2013 - 11:44 PM

Yes, thanks for the confirmation. It looked good in the screenshots, but it's good to know it's faithful to the original look of the movie. Will be great to finally see this movie the way it was intended, as I've only ever seen the DVD presentation of it up till now.



#8 of 37 Lromero1396

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Posted July 28 2013 - 08:19 AM

Yes, thanks for the confirmation. It looked good in the screenshots, but it's good to know it's faithful to the original look of the movie. Will be great to finally see this movie the way it was intended, as I've only ever seen the DVD presentation of it up till now.

The DVD when compared to the BD seriously looks like it came from a lousy CRI as opposed to the OCN or a set of seps that the BD appears it could have come from. I assume the presentation is faithful except for the frozen grain in places which may be a side effect of grain management/noise reduction. Honestly, I'm just happy it didn't turn out like the release of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes did last year.

 

I have quite a few of Henry Hathaway's movies myself and I agree that he is one of the more under-appreciated directors. For all the many quality works that he turned out over the year, he was nominated for an Oscar only once (for 1935's The Lives of a Bengal Lancer) - making him one of a few directors shamefully overlooked by the Academy, such as Rouben Mamoulian, Delmer Daves, Sam Peckinpah, Douglas Sirk, Jacques Tourneur, Robert Aldrich, and Raoul Walsh, to name a few. 

This

 

Also, I'm overjoyed that Fox has finally wised up and opted to include the original audio in lossless. Considering that they also did so with Love Me Tender, I'm really hoping that it becomes standard on all classic releases.



#9 of 37 JohnMor

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Posted July 28 2013 - 06:06 PM

I'll be picking this up.  Thanks!



#10 of 37 clambake

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Posted July 28 2013 - 06:36 PM

Im a fan of Henry Hathaway's movies too. The Shepherd Of The Hills, Sundown, Call Northside 777, North To Alaska, all great ones. And Niagara is a really suspenseful film. Totally recommended to those of you who haven't seen it yet.

 

BTW, I know to a lot of people, Marilyn is considered the most beautiful and captivating American actress of the 50s.

 

But to me, it's her co-star in this movie, Jean Peters.

 

The first time I saw Jean Peters walk onscreen in Pickup On South Street, it was like love at first sight. I was instantly smitten. Birds swirling around my head like in the cartoons.  :wub:  :)

 

Howard Hughes was a lucky man.


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#11 of 37 classicmovieguy

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Posted July 28 2013 - 06:52 PM

Yes Jean Peters is lovely in this film.  Also gives a very clever, layered performance in the small noir gem "Blueprint for Murder".  Great movie.



"When I get a little money, I buy movies.  If there is some left over I'll attend to utilities and groceries".
 
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#12 of 37 David_B_K

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Posted July 29 2013 - 05:29 AM

Color me a Jean Peters fan as well. I've always considered Niagara to be primarily a Jean Peters movie. I've like her in everything I've seen her in, particularly the aformentioned Pickup on South Street.



#13 of 37 Rob W

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Posted July 31 2013 - 06:48 PM

Watched it tonight for the first time and thought it was a stellar transfer and a very enjoyable film, helped immeasurably that most of it was actually shot at Niagara Falls with a minimum of rear-projection until the finale ( understandably ).

 

If you haven't seen it, DO NOT WATCH THE TRAILER BEFORE YOU SEE THE FEATURE !!


Edited by Rob W, July 31 2013 - 06:51 PM.


#14 of 37 Tom Logan

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Posted July 31 2013 - 08:38 PM

Watched it tonight for the first time and thought it was a stellar transfer and a very enjoyable film, helped immeasurably that most of it was actually shot at Niagara Falls with a minimum of rear-projection until the finale ( understandably ).

 

 

I can't think of another movie where I got such a sense of the place, both its layout and its sensations.  Really an accomplishment on that score.



#15 of 37 Osato

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Posted August 01 2013 - 04:21 AM

Hoping Wal Mart or Costco have a good price again on this title and Bus Stop. Last summer they both had the MM titles for under $10.

 

Has anyone seen them at either retailer? If so, is the pricing the same?

 

Will try and get to them this weekend, but I have a very full week.

 

Looking forward to seeing both films!



#16 of 37 Scott Merryfield

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Posted August 01 2013 - 10:35 AM

We watched this last night -- it was my first time ever seeing the film. What a pleasant surprise. My wife and both really enjoyed this one.

 

I can't think of another movie where I got such a sense of the place, both its layout and its sensations.  Really an accomplishment on that score.

 

I agree. I have been to Niagara Falls many times, beginning in the early 1970's. It was quite interesting, though, to see the lack of traffic on the road by the Falls or congestion at the border crossing. Overall, though, the film does an excellent job of capturing the area, especially as it probably was in the '50's -- except, of course for the cabins, which were set pieces and not a part of the "real" Niagara Falls.



#17 of 37 Douglas_H

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Posted August 01 2013 - 03:03 PM

I've always considered Niagara to be primarily a Jean Peters movie.

 

Not me, I've always considered Niagara to be primarily a Don Wilson movie


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#18 of 37 Will Krupp

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Posted August 02 2013 - 12:52 PM

Not me, I've always considered Niagara to be primarily a Don Wilson movie

 

Hahahah!  I think I love you!  (but no props for Lurene Tuttle?)



#19 of 37 Eastmancolor

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Posted August 02 2013 - 01:05 PM

An absolutely stunning transfer.  Being one of a small number of Technicolor 3-strip original negatives on safety film (Fox switched over to Eastman color the following year) this is a title where the negative survives, unlike the nitrate era titles.  The disc is a prime example of just how good 3-strip can look when properly scanned to digital.

 

To think, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN could have looked like this.  If only...


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#20 of 37 Peter Rohlfs

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Posted August 02 2013 - 01:20 PM

I love this film and the great transfer they did.  I wonder what their marketing department is thinking.  No Niagara falls or the iconic red dress.  It's like they went out of their way to make the cover as boring as possible. 







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