A SNEAK PEEK AT MELVIN AND HOWARD, STAGECOACH, etc.

3 Stars

Haven’t done one of these since March, so I’ll keep it brief – I’m finally catching up on Twilght Time stuff since Nick’s passing.

THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN

Early Cinemascope (or Cinnamonscope as my daughter used to call it), corny soap opera, but very appealing performances, a great title song, and it all moves along quite well, not to mention some gorgeous scenery. I’m actually not going to say anything about the transfer’s color – I’m going to wait until others chime in before having that fun. I will say it’s reasonably sharp for early scope and it’s blemish-free. :)

STAGECOACH

I always want to like this more than I do. I was disappointed in it when it came out and I haven’t really changed my opinion watching it again. You can’t beat John Ford is the simple answer. The best of the film is Van Heflin, who, in my book, is always superb. Slim Pickens is always fun, Ann-Margret looks stunning and is very good, Stefanie Powers doesn’t have much to do but look sensitive and mournful, Red Buttons thinks he’s doing vaudeville, Bing Crosby was probably thinking there’d be an Oscar nomination for playing a good-natured drunk, Michael Connors still had a bit too much “Touch” in him, Keenan Wynn is always amusing, Bob Cummings does many comedy “takes”, and Alex Cord is not John Wayne. Gordon Douglas is always a competent director and there’s some decent action. If I recall the DVD of this, it was very brown and muddy – this is an attractive transfer with good clarity and better color.

MELVIN AND HOWARD

Believe it or not, I never got around to seeing this film. I’m a Demme fan but find him an erratic director, the best of him being the atypical Silence of the Lambs. I know this is a critics’ darling, this film. But seeing it for the first time, I wasn’t bowled over by it, frankly. Once it became obvious that Jason Robards, Jr. wasn’t coming back after the first scene and that it wasn’t really Melvin and Howard but Melvin and everybody else, I just wasn’t that interested, despite some good scenes and some terrific performances, including a great one by Paul LeMat. But in one scene (and a short reprise at the end), Robards is so good that once he’s gone the film never quite attains the magic of those first ten minutes or so. The transfer seems to me to be kind of typical not new transfer from Universal – it’s fine, color’s nice and all but I’m sure it could look better. Still for fans of the film, I’m sure it will do the trick.

THE SNAKE PIT

I saw this movie on TV when I was very young, maybe seven or eight and it seriously freaked me out, as did another Fox movie, Dante’s Inferno. I thought poor Olivia would never get out of the looney bin and it also seemed like the movie ran about six hours thanks to her ordeal. It’s rather antiquated now, of course, but Ms. de Havilland is really good in it, as is Leo Genn as her doctor. Transfer seems fine to me – not a lot of grain and a lot of opticals in this movie.

Overall, an enjoyable batch o’ movies.

Published by

haineshisway

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56 Comments

  1. The Snake Pit leans teal. It has always leaned that way, even when I saw a 35mm print. Teal, all the way. Which means, of course, that the transfer is correct. Leo Tover knew what he was doing with his lights and filters. Teal.

  2. bujaki

    The Snake Pit leans teal. It has always leaned that way, even when I saw a 35mm print. Teal, all the way. Which means, of course, that the transfer is correct. Leo Tover knew what he was doing with his lights and filters. Teal.

    It's not April Fool's, but I'll bet you got a few people with this post.

  3. bujaki

    The Snake Pit leans teal. It has always leaned that way, even when I saw a 35mm print. Teal, all the way. Which means, of course, that the transfer is correct. Leo Tover knew what he was doing with his lights and filters. Teal.

    Gee, I don't know about that teal push, for the last time I saw THE SNAKE PIT, the skin tones were pink!

    Yep, that Leo Tover was certainly ahead of his time, able to simulate late 50's Eastmancolor fade on a black and white film.

  4. bujaki

    The Snake Pit leans teal. It has always leaned that way, even when I saw a 35mm print. Teal, all the way. Which means, of course, that the transfer is correct. Leo Tover knew what he was doing with his lights and filters. Teal.

    I stand to be corrected but I believe that Twilight Time is so sick of all the teal/blue complainers that out of pure spite they are only releasing the B&W version which was shot simultaneously.

  5. Thomas T

    I stand to be corrected but I believe that Twilight Time is so sick of all the teal/blue complainers that out of pure spite they are only releasing the B&W version which was shot simultaneously.

    I have never seen any indication that TSP was filmed in color. I've always only seen it in B&W, and IMDB (while not always reliable) indicated B&W, as do all video guides. I'm scratching my head here. I thought the teal thing brought up in post #2 was a joke, but as posts mount here, I begin to think a few people are very serious about this. Any links to sources? Might you be referring to a colorized version?

  6. The reason colored filters were used was because almost all of Olivia de Havilland's clothes were black and white. The most recent colored dresses she had were from "Gone With the Wind" and they were thought too old-fashioned. Fox developed their famous blue look to overcome the resulting pink faces. Not many people know that!

  7. View attachment 57808

    bujaki

    The Snake Pit leans teal. It has always leaned that way, even when I saw a 35mm print. Teal, all the way. Which means, of course, that the transfer is correct. Leo Tover knew what he was doing with his lights and filters. Teal.

    I don’t think the teal is that noticeable, do you? 😀

  8. Ken Koc

    I was very disappointed with the color palette of THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN….very muted. My iTunes HD copy of this has more color.

    Can you be clearer in what you're saying? I said nothing about this because I want others to chime in first. So, please explain what exactly you mean and what colors are involved. I can't find my DVD, but I'm sure this new Blu is better than THAT. Don't know what their showing on iTunes.

  9. The colors do not seem as vibrant as I had hoped and at times….the Cinemascope "mumps" seemed more pronounced and some blurriness occurred.. ( to be more precise , looking the same as iTunes, Vudu and Amazon)
    At one point it had been indicated it was a new 4K restoration, I believe the transfer is not new.

  10. I once worked at a mental health center where an employee picked out THE SNAKE PIT as the movie for the day program clients to watch one day. The employee didn’t know how traumatic it would end up being for the clients to watch. Whoops!

  11. Ken Koc

    The colors do not seem as vibrant as I had hoped and at times….the Cinemascope "mumps" seemed more pronounced and some blurriness occurred.. ( to be more precise , looking the same as iTunes, Vudu and Amazon)
    At one point it had been indicated it was a new 4K restoration, I believe the transfer is not new.

    But I do think it's a new transfer.

  12. Ken, would you say the Tender is the Night transfer is on a par with past Fox transfers, you know, the ones that are always too blue – excluding The King and I, just for the sake of not having that one muddy the waters.

  13. haineshisway

    Ken, would you say the Tender is the Night transfer is on a par with past Fox transfers, you know, the ones that are always too blue – excluding The King and I, just for the sake of not having that one muddy the waters.

    As I posted elsewhere, the teal-push fanatics will have difficulty complaining about Tender Is The Night. It's possible the transfer needs a tad more blue, particularly in some of the interior scenes where Leon Shamroy's lighting is masterly. I don't know the film well enough to judge confidently.

  14. Robin9

    As I posted elsewhere, the teal-push fanatics will have difficulty complaining about Tender Is The Night. It's possible the transfer needs a tad more blue, particularly in some of the interior scenes where Leon Shamroy's lighting is masterly. I don't know the film well enough to judge confidently.

    I agree the transfer is quite handsome. My only problem with it and it's a minor one is that in some (not all) sequences, the music tends to be unnaturally louder in comparison to the dialog. Never having seen the film during its original theatrical run, I have no idea if its inherent in the original sound mix or the way the blu ray sound source was handled. Or maybe my hearing is just screwed up 🙂

  15. haineshisway

    Ken, would you say the Tender is the Night transfer is on a par with past Fox transfers, you know, the ones that are always too blue – excluding The King and I, just for the sake of not having that one muddy the waters.

    I need to look at the Blu Ray again. I'm in London currently and when I return I will check. In retrospect all the colors in Tender is the NIght seemed vibrant with TCITF looking a bit washed out..

  16. Robin9

    As I posted elsewhere, the teal-push fanatics will have difficulty complaining about Tender Is The Night. It's possible the transfer needs a tad more blue, particularly in some of the interior scenes where Leon Shamroy's lighting is masterly. I don't know the film well enough to judge confidently.

    I suspect it's not a new transfer, hence is closer to the DVD look.

  17. The cover says restored. It definitely looks it. I never seen Tender is the Night letterboxed.
    It will play on a region A player.
    TCITF looks identical to the widescreen version I purchased years ago on iTunes. The sound, however, is much better on the Blu Ray.

  18. Thomas T

    I agree the transfer is quite handsome. My only problem with it and it's a minor one is that in some (not all) sequences, the music tends to be unnaturally louder in comparison to the dialog. Never having seen the film during its original theatrical run, I have no idea if its inherent in the original sound mix or the way the blu ray sound source was handled. Or maybe my hearing is just screwed up 🙂

    Unless my hearing has deteriorated in exactly the same way as yours – pretty unlikely! 🙂 – the music is not too loud. It's more that the dialog in places is too quiet. On this disc the dynamic range – the span between the quietest and the loudest moments – of the dialog is wide. Even in scenes with no music, voices sometimes are difficult to understand.

    At the beginning of the big "reveal" scene, when Jennifer Jones is slumped on the floor her voice is hushed while Jason Robards is easy to understand and Bernard Hermann's contribution is very quiet. As he offers her the glass, the music become louder and more urgent, but their voices are raised and easy to hear so the music does not impede the dialog. (As I have never been a fan of Jennifer Jones, duty compels me to say she does really well in this scene)

    I've watched this disc three times in ten days. I'm fascinated by how this film is so much better than I thought it was.

  19. Robin9

    As I have never been a fan of Jennifer Jones, duty compels me to say she does really well in this scene. I've watched this disc three times in ten days. I'm fascinated by how this film is so much better than I thought it was.

    Well, I adore Jennifer Jones but alas, she's about 10 years too late for the part. While still a beauty, she's rather matronly at this stage of her career, something the Nicole of the book is not. If it had been filmed in 1952, she would have killed it. Not saying she's not good in the part, she is but she's just too old for it.

  20. Thomas T

    Well, I adore Jennifer Jones but alas, she's about 10 years too late for the part. While still a beauty, she's rather matronly at this stage of her career, something the Nicole of the book is not. If it had been filmed in 1952, she would have killed it. Not saying she's not good in the part, she is but she's just too old for it.

    All the actors skew too old, good as they are.

  21. What does everyone think of MELVIN & HOWARD?

    I am watching it and early on, when Hughes is found, it’s dark, and on the right side of the picture is a black blob. Is that just my TV? Or is the picture of the disc kinda hazy?

  22. Thomas T

    Well, I adore Jennifer Jones but alas, she's about 10 years too late for the part. While still a beauty, she's rather matronly at this stage of her career, something the Nicole of the book is not. If it had been filmed in 1952, she would have killed it. Not saying she's not good in the part, she is but she's just too old for it.

    That's a problem with several films of the 1950s. The established stars still had loyal followings who could guarantee big box-office takings, and so they were given leading roles which ideally should have been played by someone much younger. It is of course much easier to make a twenty-year-old look forty than to make a forty-year-old look twenty.

  23. haineshisway

    Kevin Collins submitted a new blog post

    A SNEAK PEEK AT MELVIN AND HOWARD, STAGECOACH, etc.
    [​IMG]

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.

    Um, can someone explain this to me? I made my usual post, and now some guy named Kevin Collins makes it a review? What IS this? Can someone help and contact Kevin and have him put it back the way it was? I've reported it but it really needs to be fixed and would be nice to know how such things could even happen.

  24. haineshisway

    Um, can someone explain this to me? I made my usual post, and now some guy named Kevin Collins makes it a review? What IS this? Can someone help and contact Kevin and have him put it back the way it was? I've reported it but it really needs to be fixed and would be nice to know how such things could even happen.

    Kevin Collins is a co-owner of HTF and I have contacted him about this issue.

  25. Just a thought about THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN—Wouldn’t the movie have made a great three-panel Cinerama film? It has all of the trappings of the 50s Cinerama travelogues: great scenery, musical moments, a brakeless truck running amok with one of the stars in peril, and a simple story, occasionally told with humor, about looking for love. Also, the wide 2.55:1 aspect ratio as well got me to postulating about this possibility.

  26. Robin9

    That's a problem with several films of the 1950s. The established stars still had loyal followings who could guarantee big box-office takings, and so they were given leading roles which ideally should have been played by someone much younger.

    Agree. My pet peeve in this regard is William Holden in Picnic.

  27. haineshisway

    Um, can someone explain this to me? I made my usual post, and now some guy named Kevin Collins makes it a review? What IS this? Can someone help and contact Kevin and have him put it back the way it was? I've reported it but it really needs to be fixed and would be nice to know how such things could even happen.

    Bruce. It was an unintended consequence of featuring this post on the front page which is based on Word Press. Kevin takes a popular thread every few days and features it on the home page. That process is supposed to link the thread with the front end and keep them in sync so replies to either location are visible in both. It looks like a side effect of that was over writing your first post with a link back to Word Press. Since Kevin was the one who featured it, it associated it with his name. I manually edited your original post in this thread with your original text, but I left the art from the blog in. I can remove it if you want. I'll engage Kevin and Dave and see if there is a process we can use going forward that keeps the original post intact.

    Sorry for the inconvenience.

  28. Adam Gregorich

    Bruce. It was an unintended consequence of featuring this post on the front page which is based on Word Press. Kevin takes a popular thread every few days and features it on the home page. That process is supposed to link the thread with the front end and keep them in sync so replies to either location are visible in both. It looks like a side effect of that was over writing your first post with a link back to Word Press. Since Kevin was the one who featured it, it associated it with his name. I manually edited your original post in this thread with your original text, but I left the art from the blog in. I can remove it if you want. I'll engage Kevin and Dave and see if there is a process we can use going forward that keeps the original post intact.

    Sorry for the inconvenience.

    No worries. 🙂 And many thanks for fixing it and I hope you can fix whatever the problem is because what you're trying to do is a good idea. Word Press, since the last insane update, is really wacko and I'm still getting used to it – barely.

  29. My 3 Coins has just arrived and I must say from a quick wiz through, am very happy with the transfer.
    Couldn't see any"teal push" but a very nice colour balance .
    Sure its softer compared, say with the Bravados which also came, but that's four or so years later filmed on a better Eastman stock.
    Considering it's early Scope nice and sharp too.
    Overall very pleasing and with a lovely stereo track.
    Oh,fun to see Senator Gallo's villa from the Robe hosting a modern "orgy".
    It appears Jay Robinson wasn't invited!

  30. I have friends who are of the opinion that many of these Fox releases are "too blue" or have an incorrect colour balance.
    Off the top of my head ( and I'm typing this at 6 am before I head off for the day to Sydney), I can't think of any!!
    The King and I is a favourite transfer and excellent in my opinion.
    They seem accurate to me.

  31. I agree with you about their accuracy. And that's my problem with Three Coins – it's almost like they decided to get even with the blue brigade and do a browner transfer. The skin tones are weird to me and while there certainly is blue it's not as deep as it should be and nothing pops. Now, maybe it's just that the Three Coins negative is problematic, which is probably the case. But then that doesn't explain the not quite right Bedazzled.

  32. Interesting thoughts ,Bruce.
    I can't say I thought it too brown overall and it seemed to have enough blue(sky, convertible, etc).
    Given Italy, well they do have a lot of sun there, but yes, Jourdan's complexion does vary somewhat.
    I didn't expect much by the way of "pop" as this seems just a new scan not a full restoration.
    Can't compare it to Bedazzled but I'm still pretty please with it overall.

  33. haineshisway

    I agree with you about their accuracy. And that's my problem with Three Coins – it's almost like they decided to get even with the blue brigade and do a browner transfer. The skin tones are weird to me and while there certainly is blue it's not as deep as it should be and nothing pops. Now, maybe it's just that the Three Coins negative is problematic, which is probably the case. But then that doesn't explain the not quite right Bedazzled.

    I watched this last night and I'm very disappointed. I don't think there's a brown push as such. I think the transfer is simply too dark. It's not as extreme as in the Blu-ray disc of the King Vidor/ Audrey Hepburn War And Peace but it's enough to subdue all the colors. I hope that a European boutique label like Arrow will take this on and try to do it better, as happened with The Quiet Man.

  34. Robin9

    I watched this last night and I'm very disappointed. I don't think there's a brown push as such. I think the transfer is simply too dark. It's not as extreme as in the Blu-ray disc of the King Vidor/ Audrey Hepburn War And Peace but it's enough to subdue all the colors. I hope that a European boutique label like Arrow will take this on and try to do it better, as happened with The Quiet Man.

    Would I be correct in surmising that you've been able to compare both the MoC and Olive's Signature editions of "The Quiet Man"?
    If so, please fill us in on those differences; as I was under the impression that they were equal. Will buy MoC if it's better.

  35. PMF

    Robin9, did I read your post correctly?
    Are you saying that you've been able to compare both the Masters of Cinema and Olive Signature editions of "The Quiet Man"?
    If so, please fill us in on those differences, as I was under the impression that they were equal. Will buy MoC if it's better.

    I have all three releases of "The Quiet Man" on Blu-ray. The first Olive release of 01-22-13 followed by the MOC release of 11-23-15 and finally the Olive Signature release of 10-25-16. I seriously doubt you can tell the difference between the MOC and the last Olive Signature releases.

  36. Robert Crawford

    I have all three releases of "The Quiet Man" on Blu-ray. The first Olive release of 01-22-13 followed by the MOC release of 11-23-15 and finally the Olive Signature release of 10-25-16. I seriously doubt you can tell the difference between the MOC and the last Olive Signature releases.

    Correct. My point was that the first Olive disc was severely criticized and the U.K. disc showed what was wrong. Olive made amends with the second disc.

  37. haineshisway

    I agree with you about their accuracy. And that's my problem with Three Coins – it's almost like they decided to get even with the blue brigade and do a browner transfer. The skin tones are weird to me and while there certainly is blue it's not as deep as it should be and nothing pops. Now, maybe it's just that the Three Coins negative is problematic, which is probably the case. But then that doesn't explain the not quite right Bedazzled.

    '3 Coins' was a few weeks ago shown on UK BBC TV in HD. The picture quality was truly excellent with wonderful colors and good sound.
    The TT release which I have is not hardly as good so I was disappointed and in comparison to the BBC HD showing it resembles DVD quality.

  38. commander richardson

    '3 Coins' was a few weeks ago shown on UK BBC TV in HD. The picture quality was truly excellent with wonderful colors and good sound.
    The TT release which I have is not hardly as good so I was disappointed and in comparison to the BBC HD showing it resembles DVD quality.

    That's interesting and suggests that it should be possible for another label to obtain better results.

  39. commander richardson

    '3 Coins' was a few weeks ago shown on UK BBC TV in HD. The picture quality was truly excellent with wonderful colors and good sound.
    The TT release which I have is not hardly as good so I was disappointed and in comparison to the BBC HD showing it resembles DVD quality.

    That's an interesting comment because I'm afraid I didn't think that BBC broadcast of "Three Coins in the Fountain" which I have on my hard drive and watched on my 4K 60" LG was very good. For one thing, it's far too dark. For instance, when Maggie McNamara is in Rome station at the beginning of the film, the interior station area behind her can barely be made out, being dark and obscured, compared to the DVD where everything can be clearly seen. The color was better than the DVD but was still rather dull. I have the TT on order so will be interested in doing a comparison, to see if I agree with you that the TT is even worse!

  40. There is also the possibility that they got all the color they could out of the negative, but this film was designed as a travelogue drama and the colors were designed to show off the location properly.

  41. Douglas R

    That's an interesting comment because I'm afraid I didn't think that BBC broadcast of "Three Coins in the Fountain" which I have on my hard drive and watched on my 4K 60" LG was very good. For one thing, it's far too dark. For instance, when Maggie McNamara is in Rome station at the beginning of the film, the interior station area behind her can barely be made out, being dark and obscured, compared to the DVD where everything can be clearly seen. The color was better than the DVD but was still rather dull. I have the TT on order so will be interested in doing a comparison, to see if I agree with you that the TT is even worse!

    I recommend that you also do what I did and compare the colors and the brightness of the DVD against the Blu-ray disc. To my eyes, the DVD gets it about right while the Blu-ray disc is too dark. I'd be interested in your opinions about both comparisons.

  42. commander richardson

    '3 Coins' was a few weeks ago shown on UK BBC TV in HD. The picture quality was truly excellent with wonderful colors and good sound.
    The TT release which I have is not hardly as good so I was disappointed and in comparison to the BBC HD showing it resembles DVD quality.

    I previously said that contrary to the above, i didn't think much of the BBC TV showing of THREE COINS.

    I now have the TT and am very pleased with the picture quality. To say that it is not as good as the BBC showing is absurd because In comparison the BBC version looks like upscale SD – I suspect that's what it is. Here are a couple of examples simply taken off my TV screen. The top one is the BBC broadcast. The one below is the TT, which apart from the vastly better definition is also not as dark.
    View attachment 58703 View attachment 58704 View attachment 58705 View attachment 58706

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