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Billy Wilder's Fedora on Blu-ray


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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   AdrianTurner

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Posted May 21 2014 - 03:35 AM

Billy Wilder’s Fedora is one of my favourite films which I first saw in 1978, just after it’s unveiling at the Cannes Film Festival.  Neil Sinyard and I had been writing a book about Wilder’s work and Fedora seemed to us a summation, albeit a flawed one, and we loved it from day one.  As everyone on here will know, the film received a fairly negative press and Fedora’s commercial career was brief - it sort of vanished even before it had appeared.  The only DVD was Spanish and which looked like a duped VHS. 

 

Now there is a Blu-ray from France which I have just seen.  The movie is released by Carlotta Films and is in English with French subtitles which cannot be removed.  The quality of the image is simply magnificent, bringing to life Gerry Fisher’s lustrous photography.

 

There is also a magnificent documentary, Swan Song, which is almost as long as Fedora itself.  Directed by Robert Fischer, it’s a leisurely history of the production featuring interviews with actors Marthe Keller, a startling-looking Michael York and Mario Adorf; Gerry Fisher; production executive Harold Nebenzal and IAL Diamond’s son, Paul.  All these interviews are excellent, full of info and anecdote, though unfortunately Keller’s interview is in French and not subtitled.  There are also several archive selections from on-set footage and various press conferences.  

 

One of Fischer’s key associates on the documentary is Rex McGee, who was a sort of intern on the movie and had a small role as the official photographer from AMPAS in the magical Henry Fonda sequence.  McGee reportedly once had a print which was 7 or 8 minutes longer than the theatrical release and which also contained the full and unexpurgated Miklos Rozsa score.  While the documentary does include one deleted scene, it doesn’t really delve into the reasons for the cutting or the unfortunate rift in Rozsa and Wilder’s long relationship.

 

All in all, this rather pricey Blu-ray has resurrected a rather lost movie and hopefully it might now find an audience.  Given Robert Fischer’s relationship with Criterion, perhaps we can look forward to a Criterion edition in due course. 


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#2 of 21 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted May 21 2014 - 03:55 AM

I thought Olive Films was going to be releasing a Fedora blu-ray in the United States...or am I mistaken...



#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Keith Cobby

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Posted May 21 2014 - 04:47 AM

I buy from Carlotta and have not had a problem removing the subtitles on any of my Panasonic players.



#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted May 21 2014 - 04:54 AM

Also a German release coming on July 17 that supposedly does not have forced subtitles. 



#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Joe Caps

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Posted May 21 2014 - 05:39 AM

the guy who had the alternate cut of Fedora was on this forum before.  I hope Olive films can make a deal with him to use his print.

I saw his version of Fedora in a test screening in Manhattan.   The film worked so much better with all of Rozsa score in the film, and played at a proper volume level.  I would kill to see that version again.



#6 of 21 ONLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted May 21 2014 - 06:19 AM

I have only one Carlotta Blu-ray (Matinee), but its subtitles could be turned off just fine.

 

Would love to have that alternate cut!

 

I loved Fedora, and I fondly remember going to see it a few times in Westwood.  Years later, got the laserdisc which I vaguely recall looked okay, but I really look forward to the Blu-ray.



#7 of 21 OFFLINE   Douglas R

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Posted May 21 2014 - 06:24 AM

Someone once posted on this forum claiming that the AFI had a print of the original full version. I'd certainly love to see that but I'm sure Olive's release will be the same restoration of the released film as that on the French disc.

#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Ken Koc

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Posted May 21 2014 - 06:34 AM

I wish the voices...depending on which language had not been dubbed.   That it is not Marthe Keller's voice in the English version bothered me greatly when it was first released and once again now that I have the french Blu Ray.


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#9 of 21 ONLINE   Robin9

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Posted May 21 2014 - 09:16 AM

I've been dithering on whether or not to buy this French disc as Olive have still made no announcement about their disc. Those "extras" make the Carlotta disc very attractive. I'll check on the specs for the German disc and then decide.

 

 



#10 of 21 OFFLINE   Ed Lachmann

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Posted May 21 2014 - 09:49 AM

I love Carlotta and the discs of theirs I do own all have removable subs.  They're a brave company, too, who had the gumption to produce lovely BDs of Frank Borzage's wonderful trilogy of silent dramas SEVENTH HEAVEN, LUCKY STAR and STREET ANGEL.  All three I heartily recommend.  You'll never see an American company do something like this.


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#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Keith Cobby

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Posted May 21 2014 - 10:40 AM

I have had this in my amazon.fr basket for some time but cannot decide whether to buy it. I haven't seen the film and am also put off by the dubbing of Marthe Keller and Hildegard Knef (big fan). I prefer sub-titles for non- English speaking parts.



#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted May 21 2014 - 10:47 AM

I love Carlotta and the discs of theirs I do own all have removable subs.  They're a brave company, too, who had the gumption to produce lovely BDs of Frank Borzage's wonderful trilogy of silent dramas SEVENTH HEAVEN, LUCKY STAR and STREET ANGEL.  All three I heartily recommend.  You'll never see an American company do something like this.

 

In the days of Standard DVD, an American company *did* do something like this; even more:  Fox's Murnau-Borzage box set.

 

While this story may be apocryphal, I read that after Fox's "labor of love", when sales were so disappointing, that was when Fox pulled out of the "catalog" business (at least on Standard DVD).



#13 of 21 OFFLINE   JoHud

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Posted May 21 2014 - 11:11 AM

It didn't help that the Murnau-Borzage had a large batch of defective discs.



#14 of 21 OFFLINE   bujaki

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Posted May 21 2014 - 11:29 AM

Now more than ever I hope Olive does not get to release FEDORA. Their bare-bones release will not do this film justice, particularly after reading reviews from the European release(s). Although better Olive than nothing.



#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Mike*HTF

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Posted May 21 2014 - 01:54 PM

EuroVideo, the distributor in Germany states that their BD will have the Swan Song as an extra as well as an interview--for EU12 cheaper that the French disc!

 

Dokumentarfilm "Swan Song: The Story of Billy Wilder's 'Fedora'" (87 Min.) von Robert Fischer; Interview mit Mario Adorf (ca. 15 Min.)


#16 of 21 OFFLINE   Douglas R

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Posted May 21 2014 - 02:10 PM

EuroVideo, the distributor in Germany states that their BD will have the Swan Song as an extra as well as an interview--for EU12 cheaper that the French disc!


Yes, I see their website says the German sub-titles are removable so I think I'll be getting that version rather than the French.

#17 of 21 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted May 21 2014 - 02:16 PM

Now more than ever I hope Olive does not get to release FEDORA. Their bare-bones release will not do this film justice, particularly after reading reviews from the European release(s). Although better Olive than nothing.


Olive's release of TWILIGHTS LAST GLEAMING was full of extras. It only seems that it's the Paramount and Republic Pictures releases that are so barebones. But we will see what is announced, when announced.
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#18 of 21 ONLINE   Robin9

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Posted May 21 2014 - 09:08 PM

I have had this in my amazon.fr basket for some time but cannot decide whether to buy it. I haven't seen the film and am also put off by the dubbing of Marthe Keller and Hildegard Knef (big fan). I prefer sub-titles for non- English speaking parts.

 

??? It's an English-language film. 



#19 of 21 OFFLINE   TexasRex

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Posted May 28 2014 - 06:03 AM

It's Rex McGee, and I'm happy to report that Bavaria Media is working with AMPAS to restore and/or include the deleted scenes from FEDORA on the U.S./Olive Blu ray release.  Robert Fischer's documentary, SWAN SONG, is an extraordinary record of the history of Billy's last great film.


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#20 of 21 OFFLINE   Douglas R

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Posted May 28 2014 - 08:17 AM

It's Rex McGee, and I'm happy to report that Bavaria Media is working with AMPAS to restore and/or include the deleted scenes from FEDORA on the U.S./Olive Blu ray release.  

 

Wow! That's the news I've been waiting for Rex. Can we hope that Rozsa's complete score will also be restored?






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