A few words about…™ Gone to Earth / The Wild Heart — in Blu-ray

4 Stars

Gone to Earth (1950), and The Wild Heart (1952), are two different renderings of essentially the same film as created by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, but re-imagined, ie. shortened, with new material shot to please David Selznick, and promote his inamorata.

It’s another of P & P’s divine Technicolor outings.

Kino is presenting both versions of the film on the same disc, and they look generally okay. There seems to be no real restorative effort, as YCM dirt, and far more than occasional mis-registration of the records make viewing at best, an okay experience.

The pity is, that a good deal of the problems could have been dealt with, even in the HD realm.

When the Technicolor imagery works, it can yield some lovely images, and for that reason, and Mssrs. P & P, this is a disc worth accessing, even for the historical value, and tracking the versions and changes.

If you’re thinking prime P & P, lower your expectations, and enjoy, regardless.

Image – 3.25

Audio – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

15 Comments

  1. Hmm, this is about what I expected. I adore P&P but given that it's Kino and they weren't likely to pay for any kind of restoration efforts, I didn't expect a miracle. Have never seen the film, so curious to know what other people think of it. Regardless, will likely still pick this up as it's probably the only way we'll ever see this released on disc in Region 1.

  2. Mark VH

    Hmm, this is about what I expected. I adore P&P but given that it's Kino and they weren't likely to pay for any kind of restoration efforts, I didn't expect a miracle. Have never seen the film, so curious to know what other people think of it. Regardless, will likely still pick this up as it's probably the only way we'll ever see this released on disc in Region 1.

    Kino, as a licensee, generally releases what they’ve been given. It’s up to the owner of the IP to see that their children have shoes.

  3. Robert Harris

    Kino, as a licensee, generally releases what they’ve been given. It’s up to the owner of the IP to see that their children have shoes.

    Indeed. It only appears that in rare cases (e.g., The Big Country), they'll pony up for any kind of remastering efforts.

  4. Robert Harris

    Kino, as a licensee, generally releases what they’ve been given. It’s up to the owner of the IP to see that their children have shoes.

    That said, it would have been prudent of the current custodians of these masterworks to afford them some basic clean-up and re-alignment of the Technicolor records before merely 'renting' their catalog to other third-party distributors, merely to make a quick buck. Again…I know, in a perfect world. What's that?!?

  5. Nick*Z

    That said, it would have been prudent of the current custodians of these masterworks to afford them some basic clean-up and re-alignment of the Technicolor records before merely 'renting' their catalog to other third-party distributors, merely to make a quick buck. Again…I know, in a perfect world. What's that?!?

    Too much IP owned. Not enough funds available, even for the most important assets. The alternative is to not permit release.

  6. Robert Harris

    Too much IP owned. Not enough funds available, even for the most important assets. The alternative is to not permit release.

    I know. It's just disheartening to watch such releases, chronically out of focus on an projected screen. Eye-strain galore!

  7. Nick*Z

    I know. It's just disheartening to watch such releases, chronically out of focus on an projected screen. Eye-strain galore!

    Is it less disheartening not to watch such releases at all? Those are the choices these studios have to make such as Warner with their huge film catalog.

  8. [​IMG]
    DIRECTOR
    Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
    STARRING
    Cyril Cusack, David Farrar, Jennifer Jones, Sybil Thorndike
    Screening in 35mm as part of the retrospective series POWELL & PRESSBURGER: THE ARCHERS!

    Roundly dismissed by critics in its day, more recently reclaimed and rehabilitated by Powell and Pressburger enthusiasts and cultists, this tour-de-force of Technicolor design was adapted from a 1917 bodice-ripper by Mary Webb, and features Hollywood star Jennifer Jones as a young country girl torn between the sacred love of a mild preacher (Cyril Cusack) and the profane love of a lusty squire (David Farrar). GONE TO EARTH is pitched at the level of a fairy tale, with its simple heroine, its colorful milieu, its mystical overtones. Like so many of Powell and Pressburger’s films, it gives us a world where the magical and the mundane coexist – we can get an earthy depiction of a turn-of-the-century carnival one minute, and then hear the Faerie Music whispering in the trees the next.

    Producer David O. Selznick, who instigated the project as a vehicle for wife Jones, disliked the results, and issued a severely cut, inferior American version, with additional footage by Rouben Mamoulian, under the title THE WILD HEART. This restored version "allows GONE TO EARTH to claim its rightful place as the last of Powell and Pressburger's great Technicolor epics of the Forties" (Ian Christie). "A visually spellbinding romance. Christopher Challis' photography evokes Shropshire and the Welsh borders so that you can smell the earth. . . [T]he haunting, dreamlike consistency recalls that other fairy story of innocence and menace, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER" (Time Out). Selected by Sight and Sound critic Pam Cook as one of the ten best films of all time.

    I found this about a 35mm screening – it says restored but not when it was.This was shown in Austin, Texas.

    I thought I had read about a showing in the UK in the last month of a restored print

  9. philip*eric

    [​IMG]
    DIRECTOR
    Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
    STARRING
    Cyril Cusack, David Farrar, Jennifer Jones, Sybil Thorndike
    Screening in 35mm as part of the retrospective series POWELL & PRESSBURGER: THE ARCHERS!

    Roundly dismissed by critics in its day, more recently reclaimed and rehabilitated by Powell and Pressburger enthusiasts and cultists, this tour-de-force of Technicolor design was adapted from a 1917 bodice-ripper by Mary Webb, and features Hollywood star Jennifer Jones as a young country girl torn between the sacred love of a mild preacher (Cyril Cusack) and the profane love of a lusty squire (David Farrar). GONE TO EARTH is pitched at the level of a fairy tale, with its simple heroine, its colorful milieu, its mystical overtones. Like so many of Powell and Pressburger’s films, it gives us a world where the magical and the mundane coexist – we can get an earthy depiction of a turn-of-the-century carnival one minute, and then hear the Faerie Music whispering in the trees the next.

    Producer David O. Selznick, who instigated the project as a vehicle for wife Jones, disliked the results, and issued a severely cut, inferior American version, with additional footage by Rouben Mamoulian, under the title THE WILD HEART. This restored version "allows GONE TO EARTH to claim its rightful place as the last of Powell and Pressburger's great Technicolor epics of the Forties" (Ian Christie). "A visually spellbinding romance. Christopher Challis' photography evokes Shropshire and the Welsh borders so that you can smell the earth. . . [T]he haunting, dreamlike consistency recalls that other fairy story of innocence and menace, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER" (Time Out). Selected by Sight and Sound critic Pam Cook as one of the ten best films of all time.

    I found this about a 35mm screening – it says restored but not when it was.This was shown in Austin, Texas.

    I thought I had read about a showing in the UK in the last month of a restored print

    One would need a definition of the word “restored.”

  10. I was blown away by the beauty of the print of THE WILD HEART! It is some of the most beautiful cinematography I’ve ever seen. I had never even heard of this film before. I thought I had been aware of all of P&P’s work, but somehow this slipped through the cracks. Kino did a beautiful job on this. I can’t imagine it looking any better. It looks so much better than DUEL IN THE SUN.

  11. For some reason I had never seen GONE TO EARTH until Kino's Blu-ray but I thought it a wonderful film with some unforgettable images. I watched the shortened and altered WILD HEART as well but that is clearly a travesty of the original and hardly worth watching other than as curiosity value. I don't know if Robert Harris' Image rating refers solely to THE WILD HEART but to my eyes the transfer of GONE TO EARTH is considerably better than the Selznick version.

    Maybe Kino or someone can now release a Blu-ray of another neglected Michael Powell film LUNA DE MIEL (HONEYMOON) which, for what it lacks in plot, makes up for as a stunningly colorful, Spanish travelogue.

  12. Douglas R

    For some reason I had never seen GONE TO EARTH until Kino's Blu-ray but I thought it a wonderful film with some unforgettable images. I watched the shortened and altered WILD HEART as well but that is clearly a travesty of the original and hardly worth watching other than as curiosity value. I don't know if Robert Harris' Image rating refers solely to THE WILD HEART but to my eyes the transfer of GONE TO EARTH is considerably better than the Selznick version.

    Maybe Kino or someone can now release a Blu-ray of another neglected Michael Powell film LUNA DE MIEL (HONEYMOON) which, for what it lacks in plot, makes up for as a stunningly colorful, Spanish travelogue.

    Better, yes…

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