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'To Catch a Thief' - any reviews yet ?


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#1 of 174 OFFLINE   Deepak Shenoy

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Posted October 27 2002 - 06:12 AM

With the release date for 'To Catch a Thief' a little more than a week away, I was wondering if anyone here has managed to get a sneak peek at the DVD.

Though Paramount generally doesn't disappoint in the picture and sound quality department, it would be nice to know what to expect before I actually get my hands on the DVD.

#2 of 174 OFFLINE   Peter D

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Posted October 27 2002 - 06:50 AM

Considering how much restoration work Paramount themselves said it required, I think all fans of the movie are eagerly awaiting word on how well it went. Let's hope it's of the same quality as WB's North by Northwest.

#3 of 174 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted October 27 2002 - 06:55 AM

I've heard Lowry Digital Images did some transfers for Paramount, so this might be one of them.

If so, it should look stunning.

#4 of 174 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted October 27 2002 - 09:40 AM

I'm waiting to see a review too.

Meanwhile, Amazon.com is basing their price on an incorrect MSRP for this title ($26.98, when it should be $24.99). I pointed it out to them last week and they thanked me and said they would investigate, but no change yet.

#5 of 174 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted October 30 2002 - 04:25 AM

I saw it.

Right off the bat, the video is grainy and harsh, and the audio has audible wow and flutter, in other words, also harsh and out of tune.

Very disappointed. It's nothing like "North by Northwest," (which came from MGM).

#6 of 174 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted October 30 2002 - 05:18 AM

Jeffrey Wells over at moviepoopshoot.com talks about this disc in his column today (scroll down to the "Regrettably So" heading). Wells is not really a DVD reviewer but he was so disappointed in how this DVD looks that he took the time to talk to both Paramount's Martin Blythe & film restorer Robert Harris about the disc. The article is worth reading.

Bottom line - this one is looking like a major letdown.

Dee, MGM originally produced North By Northwest, but the DVD is from Warner Bros.

Three truths about movies, as noted by Roger Ebert:

 

* It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.

* No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.

* No good movie is depressing, all bad movies are depressing.


#7 of 174 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted October 30 2002 - 05:26 AM

And we all know that Paramount doesn't double-dip.... Posted Image


In other news, dvdreview seems to think the transfer is just fine.

Anyone else confused....

"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


#8 of 174 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted October 30 2002 - 05:34 AM

Quote:
In other news, dvdreview seems to think the transfer is just fine.
Yeah, they also thought the Sound Of Music transfer was great too. DVD Review is by far the least critical of the review sites.

Three truths about movies, as noted by Roger Ebert:

 

* It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.

* No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.

* No good movie is depressing, all bad movies are depressing.


#9 of 174 OFFLINE   Peter D

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Posted October 30 2002 - 05:34 AM

Wow...after reading that article I'm terribly disappointed. I was really looking forward to this one. Posted Image

#10 of 174 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted October 30 2002 - 05:42 AM

Dang. Posted Image
"Only one is a wanderer;
Two together are always going somewhere."

#11 of 174 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted October 30 2002 - 05:43 AM

Yeah, I know that Warners owns all the MGM stuff. Warners is responsible for many of our greatest films restored for DVD. I only mentioned MGM (North by Northwest) because Paramount isn't doing the best DVDs these days.

Also, it's hard to know exactly what state the original materials are in, and who would be responsible for that.

My Fair Lady was originally Warners, but then rights to the movie reverted to CBS, sometime in the 70s? I think. It was CBS who allowed that movie to become what it became (almost lost). Curiously, the DVD is a Warners product, so I guess it reverted back. (There is a 2-video version from CBS in the 80s that is virtually unwatchable).

But all this is moot -- To Catch A Thief's transfer is from 1999, done for television. Really, somebody should return to the original Vista Vision elements (according to Harris in that article, they're not in that bad a shape) and then scan these in and clean it up in the digital domain, like Lowry did for North by Northwest.

Anyway, the DVD is the worst of the widescreen/color Hitchcocks. Marnie looks better.

#12 of 174 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted October 30 2002 - 05:55 AM

Marnie looks better


Ouch.

"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


#13 of 174 OFFLINE   Matt Lucas

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Posted October 30 2002 - 06:05 AM



To Catch a Thief is literally one of my 10 favorite films.

But I'm so disappointed by this news that I'm seriously considering canceling my pre-order at Amazon. If it doesn't look much better than VHS, why should I bother upgrading to DVD? [That's a rhetorical question, by the way.] I'll wait for more reviews, but this doesn't smell very good...

mattl

#14 of 174 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted October 30 2002 - 06:18 AM

Another thing: I was stunned to realize that this disk is anamorphic. I've got plenty of non-anamorphic disks which look a lot better (like Charade).

#15 of 174 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted October 30 2002 - 06:51 AM

Too bad. I think that just moved it from "buy" to "rent" for me.

MARNIE was bad, but I thought THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956 version with Jimmy Stewart) was even worse looking. Hard to watch it's so distracting.

#16 of 174 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted October 30 2002 - 06:59 AM

Actually, I haven't seen The Man Who Knew Too Much on DVD.

This movie was one of the ones that Hitchcock owned and stored himself (like Vertigo and The Trouble With Harry and Rear Window) and famously, Hitchcock trashed most of the original materials (he was advised to do this, circa 1968).

Anyway, since I haven't seen it, I can't say whether or not it is better or worse than To Catch a Thief.

Really, these very famous and popular Vista Vision movies should all be given the royal treatment, always. Marnie could look better, as well as these others. And it's time for anamorphic transfers of Vertigo and Psycho -- time to double dip, Paramount.

#17 of 174 OFFLINE   Kajs

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Posted October 30 2002 - 07:18 AM

White Christmas is another Paramount VistaVision title (the first movie shot in VV) that I think looks horrible. There is a distracting "strobing" effect during the whole movie, why can't all these VV movies be the same quality as NxNW?

#18 of 174 OFFLINE   Scott Shanks

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Posted October 30 2002 - 07:29 AM

DeeF,
North By Northwest is a Warner DVD and Vertigo and Psycho were Universal releases.
-----------------------
I am curious to see it there are moire effects on Cary Grant's horizontal pinstripe shirt at the beginning of the movie. It's comical to watch my VHS tape of that part of the movie. You almost feel like the shirt is plugged into something it strobes so bad.
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#19 of 174 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted October 30 2002 - 07:38 AM

Yes, I know Scott, I was really referring to Vista Vision.

But this does bring up an interesting idea: why not a real Hitchcock boxed set? The studios were able to come together for Kubrick. Why not

Rear Window
Dial M For Murder
To Catch A Thief
The Trouble With Harry
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Vertigo
North By Northwest
The Wrong Man
Psycho
The Birds
Marnie

with a separate set for

Torn Curtain
Topaz
Frenzy
Family Plot

There are some moires visible (from the striped shirts), but I admit, it's not as bad as it could have been.


#20 of 174 OFFLINE   Scott Shanks

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Posted October 30 2002 - 09:13 AM

It's also interesting that this DVD appears to be framed at 1.85:1 when it was shown theatrically (according to imdb) at 1.66:1. Does this mean that this disc falls in the dreaded non-OAR category? In regards to video quality, Rear Window's transfer did not exactly set the world ablaze either, but I certainly enjoyed the movie and the disc very much.
Scott Shanks
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