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Stupid 'Doctor Zhivago' DVD Question


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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Jay Gregory

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Posted February 12 2002 - 12:02 PM

Are the screen cards used during the "Overture," "Intermission," "Entre'acte" typical of what a viewer would have seen during these sections in the movie's initial release?

Or would the screen be dark during these interludes?

If they were absent from the initial release prints were they added for home video presentations?

Any other elaboration about when these cards starting showing up in other "epic"-type movies, either in release prints or home video presentations, would be appreciated.

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Eric Paddon

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Posted February 12 2002 - 12:11 PM

Theater audiences would have seen a black screen. The cards are strictly a home video invention done for the benefit of people who wouldn't understand why all that music is playing with nothing happening. This wasn't always done at the outset of home video because I remember the first VHS release of "Judgment At Nuremberg" using a black screen for its overture and exit music of German songs and I was totally bewildered by what I was hearing until I learned all about Overtures, Entr'acte's etc.

There are some purists who feel adamant that a home video presentation should preserve the theatrical experience by never running those cards and keeping the screen black, but I'm not too gung ho about that, personally.

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Jon_W

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Posted February 12 2002 - 12:44 PM

Defintely not a stupid question I wondered the same thing. I wondered if Zhivago was an exception or not. I had no idea whether those screeen cards were part of the original show since I'm too young to have seen any of the great epics in theatres Jay seems to have answered that question.
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#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Rob W

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Posted February 12 2002 - 12:46 PM

Actually, theatre audiences would NOT have seen a black screen ; they would have seen the curtains in front of the screen during the overture, and then watched them open as the overture faded and the opening credits began. Playing the overture from speakers located behind the screen and behind heavy theatrical curtains didn't always allow for the best sound reproduction, but that's usually how it was done.

Anybody still remember curtains ?

Count me in as one of the purists who would rather have a dark screen during the overture and entr'acte .

FYI the recent restoration of FUNNY GIRL actually has the guts to leave the screen blank during the overture on the DVD. Thanks, Columbia.

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted February 12 2002 - 12:58 PM

The Enter'acte especially needs to be kept without anything on the screen.

The card ruins the sudden "tunnel".

Check out the new Roadshow instructions section on www.widescreenmuseum.com. It's worth a read and would make a 16x9 projection setup even more spectacular.

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted February 12 2002 - 01:55 PM

An additional note re: audio played behind curtains or curtains and scrim.

In some cases there were multiple recordings or versions of an Overture, Entr'acte, etc. for play in different theatrical settings. They differed in their frequency range with higher
frequency recordings for theatres with heavier draperies.

RAH

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#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Sam_K

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Posted February 12 2002 - 04:24 PM

I remember that the audience actually see those "cards" in the theater.

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Bill McA

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Posted February 12 2002 - 04:34 PM

Quote:
In some cases there were multiple recordings or versions of an Overture, Entr'acte, etc. for play in different theatrical settings. They differed in their frequency range with higher
frequency recordings for theatres with heavier draperies.


Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
       

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Paul P

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Posted February 13 2002 - 05:49 AM

I remember that used to be the way it was done for longer movies, particularly epics, including Gandhi, Dr. Zhivago, and Lawrence of Arabia. At some between act point, there would be an intermission. Though I'm not old enough to remember zhivago in the theater, Gandhi had a still picture and a timer counting down showing the remaining time in intermission.
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#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted February 13 2002 - 05:59 AM

You have not heard the Zhivago Entr'Acte until you have heard it mastered for quarter-inch velvet, man.

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   TedD

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Posted February 13 2002 - 10:55 AM

Sam_K, sorry but your memory is faulty. Posted Image

None of these cards were ever used in a theater, unless you saw it in the last year or two in an illegal showing using the DVD or LD rather than film.

Ted

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted February 13 2002 - 11:35 AM

Doctor Zhivago was re-released in 1995, so that release might have had those cards spliced in.

Theaters these days know spit about proper presentation...

#13 of 14 ONLINE   Reed Grele

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Posted February 13 2002 - 10:24 PM

Maybe as an alternative to showing a still frame with text superimposed, or a black screen, some studio will try the curtains opening/closing solution. I don't think this has ever been tried yet. At least JSP won't see a black screen and think there's something wrong with the TV set. And purists won't have to sit through a slide show.

What do you think?

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#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Douglas R

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Posted February 13 2002 - 10:42 PM

Another detail about roadshow presentations. During the intermission no music was played in the theater until the Intermission music (which was usually on film) began. At that point the lights began to fade. The Intermission music was not treated as "background music", it was usually played as loud as the film itself. I saw many, many such presentations and the only card you ever saw was a 10 second or so Intermission card at the end of part 1 of the film.