Anastasia (1956) Blu-ray Review

Hollywood classic at its classiest 4.5 Stars

A grand amalgamation of historical fiction and romantic fantasy, Anatole Litvak’s Anastasia features striking performances and a first-rate production of a novel idea based loosely on a real-life claimant to the Romanov dynasty.

Anastasia (1956)
Released: 13 Dec 1956
Rated: UNRATED
Runtime: 105 min
Director: Anatole Litvak
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Yul Brynner, Helen Hayes, Akim Tamiroff
Writer(s): Arthur Laurents (screenplay), Marcelle Maurette (play), Guy Bolton (play)
Plot: An opportunistic Russian businessman tries to pass a mysterious impostor as the Grand Duchess Anastasia. But she is so convincing in her performance that even the biggest skeptics believe her.
IMDB rating: 7.2
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Fox
Distributed By: Twilight Time
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 45 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: clear keep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: All
Release Date: 03/15/2016
MSRP: $29.95

The Production: 4.5/5

A grand amalgamation of historical fiction and romantic fantasy, Anatole Litvak’s Anastasia features striking performances and a first-rate production of a novel idea based loosely on a real-life claimant to the Romanov dynasty. The movie works its magic so evocatively that by the end it doesn’t really matter the truth or falseness of the story; we’ve come to care so much about the movie’s principal figures that we can bask in the glow of those satisfying emotions even if they were brought about artificially.

Russian exile General Sergei Pavlovich Bounine (Yul Brynner) is earning a decent living as the proprietor of an artists’ café in Paris in 1928, but he longs for great wealth, and he hits on the idea of finding a stranger to pass herself off as the lost Princess Anastasia, the possible last surviving member of the ruling Romanovs in power at the time of the Russian Revolution and executed summarily to end their dynasty. A destitute, suicidal woman Anna Koreff (Ingrid Bergman) is thought to have some passing resemblance to the last pictures of the Princess Anastasia, and Bounine begins grooming her in order to pass her off as the Princess with a waiting fortune in the Bank of England of £10 million. But to claim the money, she must convince a long litany of surviving palace servants, the Princess’ intended fiancé Prince Paul von Haraldberg (Ivan Desny), and finally the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (Helen Hayes) now living in Copenhagen. Anna is willing enough to try it, but oddly as time passes during her lessons, she begins to display knowledge of the royal court and family and mannerisms of the Princess known to a very few people and for which she has no explanation. The evidence seems to point to her actually being the long lost princess.

Adapted from a French play by Marcelle Maurette and translated for American audiences by Guy Bolton, screenwriter Arthur Laurents has fleshed out the stage version with many new characters and additional scenes that show the claimant’s enigmatic knowledge of mannerisms and court personages making for a much more involving story with a real mystery at its core: is this woman really Anastasia, and if she isn’t, where did she come by all of her insider information? The movie may provide no clear cut answers (history and forensic science finally solved the matter once and for all), but the answers to those questions don’t matter when the story is so compelling and it’s being acted by masters and directed by one of the more under-heralded directors in Hollywood, Anatole Litvak. Litvak isn’t afraid of dialogue-heavy scenes because he shoots them interestingly and makes the most of the widescreen frame to capture the gorgeous production design by Andrei Andrejew and Bill Andrews in which London soundstage sets genuinely persuade us that we’re in grand halls, hotel suites, cafes, concert halls, and vast ballrooms. The intense drama with all of the grilling examinations that Anna endures to convince others of her identity is milked to the fullest, and you’ll look long and hard to find a more compelling and emotionally powerful scene than the fateful meeting between the Dowager and a woman who might be her granddaughter. He also provides smooth segues between scenes handled most stylishly late in the film when an argument between Bounine and Anna switches to the evening’s formal presentation through a simple, slight camera pan across a staircase.

The film had the great good fortune to bring Ingrid Bergman back to American films after a seven-year exile when she was condemned and basically blacklisted for leaving her family and falling in love and marrying Italian director Roberto Rossellini. She certainly earned the Oscar she won for her performance (also the New York Film Critics and Golden Globe Best Actress awards) of alternating fire and futility, fierceness and frailty, and genuine earnestness as Anna Koreff. 1956 was a triumphant year for Yul Brynner appearing in three of the year’s biggest hits: The Ten Commandments, The King and I, and Anastasia. He may have won his Oscar for The King and I, but he’s every bit as impressive as the dynamic manager of the enterprise who gets more emotionally involved in his ruse than he could ever have expected. The script even finds a couple of occasions for him to take out his balalaika and sing some songs while accompanying himself. Helen Hayes never did screen acting any more formidable and impressive than she does here giving great nobility and pitiable loneliness to the character of the Dowager Empress. Akim Tamiroff as Boris Chernov offers able, amusing assistance to Brynner’s puppet master while the always delightful and impressive Martita Hunt puts on a great show as the fluttery lady-in-waiting Baroness Elena von Livenbaum. Felix Aylmer, Ivan Desny, and Natalie Schafer all do well with their relatively minor supporting roles.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

The transfer is presented at its Cinemascope 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio and is offered in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. There is great improvement in the color dynamics on this high definition master from the previously released DVD with skin tones much more richly rendered and overall color stronger and more resilient. Sharpness is very good, too, black levels are certainly decent, and there are no age-related problems with dust and scratches to report. If the image is a shade darker than one expects robbing the picture of some vibrancy, that’s the only weakness to nitpick. The movie has been divided into 24 chapters.

Audio: 4.5/5

The disc offers two lossless encodes from which to choose: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 stereo sound mixes. While the 5.1 doesn’t do great things with the rear channels apart from Alfred Newman’s stunning background music, one can sense directionalized speech throughout, and atmospheric effects are used sparingly and well. Dialogue sounds very good in both mixes, and either one should please fans of the film. No evidence of age-related hiss or crackle remains.

Special Features: 4/5

Audio Commentaries: two entertaining commentaries offer a wealth of information and impressions on the film and its personnel. In the first, ported over from Fox’s DVD release of the movie, film historian Sylvia Stoddard offers historical background on the film and real life while music expert Jon Burlingame discusses Alfred Newman’s wonderful score. Screenwriter Arthur Laurents’ comments are edited into the mix along with actor James MacArthur commenting on his mother Helen Hayes’ work in this film and her long career in show business. In the second commentary, film historians Julie Kirgo and David Del Valle have an entertaining back-and-forth about the actors, the film, and the real life story of Anna Anderson.

Isolated Score Track: Alfred Newman’s haunting, rapturous Oscar-nominated score is presented in beautiful DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo.

Fox Newsreels (7:18, SD): four vintage newsreel excerpts shown in montage cover the film’s premiere, awards won by it and other Fox films and personnel in 1956, and the fall of the Romanovs.

Song Demo (2:47): an audio track which puts words to Newman’s gorgeous main theme, sung in this demo by Ken Darby.

Theatrical Trailer (2:20, SD): this also offers an isolated score track in DTS-HD Master Audio 3.0.

Six-Page Booklet: contains some color stills, original poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s forceful analysis of the movie.

Overall: 4.5/5

Hollywood classics don’t get much classier than Anatole Litvak’s Anastasia with Oscar-winning work by Ingrid Bergman and a score of actors and studio technicians that make this a polished and prized gem of the studio era. There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested in purchasing it should go to either www.twilighttimemovies.com or www.screenarchives.com to see if product is still in stock. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.

Published by

Matt Hough

author,editor

128 Comments

  1. I'm just sad that films like this, Lilies of the Field and Exodus aren't released to the general public. The modern day Joe Shmo thinks only that American Pie I-IV are classics.

  2. You cant' go into any  Best Buy and buy these nor order direct from Amazon – you have to know about Twilight Time and special order on-line at astronomical prices.  And by the way what happened to you 5th anniversary sale? Many of us are waiting as it is the only way we can afford your "limited" editions.

  3. Ben Hur, Touch of Evil and countless other classics are available at any Barnes and Noble, etc if you walk into their stores. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

  4. It doesn't seem right because you think it doesn't seem right.  Any company who actually puts these titles out as a BUSINESS (you know, operating from a logical business standpoint) know that 3,000 of a title like Anastasia will, most likely, sell half the run and maybe, just maybe, if their lucky over the next three years, they might sell all 3,000 although I would seriously doubt it.  You seem to have this crazy belief that because a film from, what, almost sixty years ago won  on Oscar that that means there are – 5,000 people who'll be clamoring for it?  Because if there were, Fox would be putting these out themselves although even at 5,000 it wouldn't be worth it for them.  As Twilight Time very simply puts it – if these things had the kind of life you think they have they'd be doing it themselves (the studios).  You know, Twilight Time put out Born Free and Oliver, both huge Oscar-winning hits.  Sony didn't put them out.  Why?  And that's a very long list we could go down – The Way We Were? Bye Bye Birdie?  And about a hundred others.

  5. I doubt many Criterion titles sell over 3,000 copies and cost more yet you can easily buy them at any Barnes & Noble  Amazon AND they get discounted 2x yearly @50% off. And I'm not limited to buy them at Criterion.com

  6. "Anastasia" is one of three films that mark my earliest memories of movie-going.  The other two are "The Ten Commandments" and "War and Peace".  I was 7 going on 8, the year was 1956, and I remember being mesmerized by the stories and the scope of the films."Anastasia" by Alfred Newman (on LP) was an early soundtrack acquisition and has remained a favorite all these years.Bergman, Brynner and Hayes are all splendid.  Hayes SHOULD have been Oscar-nominated for supporting actress.

  7. Just read the entire thread.  My (above) comments were based on an initial reaction as I was reading along.The education here, for those just catching up, is that WE Cinephiles are just damned lucky to be at the place we are at, right now.Some title will come from Criterion, some from WAC and some from Twilight Time.Bless each and all for there collective contributions and making so-o-o-o-o-o many titles available.The moment one title becomes available, our personal Rolodex of titles generate another "Wish-List".Of course we want more and more and more.  Nonetheless, it took over a century to produce so many films; and now we expect each and all to become available within the time span of a few years.It's give and take.As for "Anastasia"?  Well…that just happens to be the film that Twilight Time opted for; which, I imagine, meant that they took a title that someone else would not make available.  Some prices will be higher; some lesser; and some in the middle.  Let us always remember how lucky we are that all have collaborated to make as many titles available as possible.Support Twilight Time for making it available; as other, possibly, opted not to.One day you shell out $30-40 bucks; another day, you get a steal somewhere else.  It all balances out in the end.My greatest argument in favor of Criterion, Twilight Time, WAC, et al can only be answered by RAH or other experts.  What would be the asking price of one 35 or 70mm print of a single title?  Once such a price is known; and placed in juxtaposition of owning a film in an handy light palm-of-your-hand BD for under $40 bucks one would have to take pause.These past few years has been a nirvana for film buffs; and, oh my God, for those who cherish restoration.We are in a renaissance period and few seem to recognize it.  Step back – see – and celebrate.  It's a glorious period for all who love film.

  8. Just read the entire thread.  My (above) comments were based on an initial reaction as I was reading along.The education here, for those just catching up, is that WE Cinephiles are just damned lucky to be at the place we are at, right now.Some title will come from Criterion, some from WAC and some from Twilight Time.Bless each and all for there collective contributions and making so-o-o-o-o-o many titles available.The moment one title becomes available, our personal Rolodex of titles generates another "Wish-List".Of course we want more and more and more.  Nonetheless, it took over a century to produce so many films; and now we expect each and all to become available within the time span of a few years (or even within the second it pops into our heads).It's give and take.As for "Anastasia"?  Well…that just happens to be the film that Twilight Time opted for; which, I imagine, meant that they took a title that someone else would not make available.  Some prices will be higher; some lesser; and some in the middle.  Let us always remember how lucky we are that all have collaborated to make as many titles available as possible.Support Twilight Time for making "Anastasia" available; as others, possibly, opted not to.One day you shell out $30-40 bucks; another day, you get a steal somewhere else.  It all balances out in the end.My greatest argument in favor of Criterion, Twilight Time, WAC, et al can only be answered by RAH or other experts.  In the age before Home Video, what would had been the asking price of one 35 or 70mm print of a single title?  Once such a price is known; and placed in juxtaposition of owning a film in a handy-light palm-of-your-hand BD for under $40 bucks, one would have to take pause.These past few years has been a nirvana for film buffs; and, oh my God, especially for those who cherish restoration.We are in a renaissance period and few seem to recognize it.  Step back – see – and celebrate.  It's a glorious period for all who love film.

  9. Well folks, thought I'd chime in here as my interest in "Anastasia" (if we ever have a baby girl, that might be what we name her) has been piqued since Twilight Time's announcement.  Oh as for my purchase plans, last quarter was Disney's turn as I ordered 5 Disney titles (with 4 more now on the back burner) but this quarter, Twilight Time gets a shot (tax refund was quite sizable this year).  My TT titles that have my interest are:1. Anastasia2. In The French Style3. Mississippi MermaidActually I plan to pair up my coming TT purchase of Anastasia with the 1997 animated version which should make a very interesting comparison.  Anybody here who has seen the animated version AND the 1956 theatrical version go ahead and chime in on what I can look forward to (without any spoilers of course, I have yet to see either film thought I know the start of the general story.  I've been deliberately skipping some reading here so it doesn't get spoiled.

  10. TT you have always held a large part of my heart where classic films are.  I shall as always support you guys anyway I can.  I am sorry about the region business.  I hope I read that right.  Please considrer with Fox of course the Monroe early years. Love Nest and so many others.To me you are the greatest!!!  I also know we the people born in the 5os see our movies coming out in few titiles unless TT or another company comes out with a BD movie.Time for me to say thank you Twilight Time.

  11. Color timing is not the issue on this disc, but rather color saturation, contrast, and some interminable gate weave and wobble beginning in the scene where Anna first meets members of the committee and is recognized by her mother's lady in waiting. Image instability is glaringly obvious in the next few scenes where Bounin is training Anna in the ways of addressing various members of the court, the side to side weave so obvious it's fairly impossible to keep one's eyes focused on the actual performances being given, as Bergman hurls the book balanced atop her head. This review also fails to mention the obvious tear that occurs seconds before the end, just between "the end" credit and the one that identifies the production as "A Cinemascope Release". But it's the color and contrast that suffer the most. While much of the early sequences look passable – if slightly darker than expected – we enter some challenging moments in the scenes taking place at the opera. Note that there are no true reds in this transfer; carpeting, wallpaper, etc. all registering as weak, washed out hues of a sort of pseudo-red/purple/pinkish shading. I am grateful this transfer did not adopt the blue/teal/beige bias so many Fox Cinemascope catalog have, but this is still far from perfect color balancing, and the transfer also suffers from some weak contrast levels. Viewed in a completely darkened room, the transfer is – again – passable, but even in a room with dim lighting it looks rather anemic and dark. Finally, the isolated score features several tracks in which the audio is ever so slightly attenuated. Listening to the intro to the Russian Easter cue or the various snippets of the Sleeping Beauty ballet and you'll hear what I mean; a slight warping that could have been easily corrected. Still, it's very gratifying to have Alfred Newman's score retained in its complete form for the first time. This is one of his best. I really wanted to love this disc, because I simply adore the movie and have been a fan of it for many years; owning the LaserDisc, DVD, and now this Blu-ray. But the transfer itself rates about a 3 out of 5 and that's all. Giving it a 4.5 suggests it is almost perfect, which I sincerely assure you, it is not! Regrets.

  12. I always wish I knew what people were talking about.  🙂

    They are always under the mistaken impression that somehow there are more than 3,000 people who'd love to have Anastasia.  I suspect they'll be lucky to sell half that number.  And really, would it be THAT much cheaper through Kino Lorber?  And my other really is to Noel Aguirre and his supposition that if Lillies of the Field and Exodus were released to the "general public" (as opposed to – the NON-general public?) that the "modern day Joe Shmo will suddenly think they're classics alongside American Pie 1-4 because something is seriously not computing with me.  At this late date in the Twilight Time game, you'd think people would be tired of complaints they were making when the company began.  They (and we board denizens) have heard 'em all.  A lot.  Over and over again.  Twilight Time has, in fact, been a godsend to collectors of films, from day one.

  13. I think he means via a wider avenue of retailers.  If you asked a person on the street what Twilight Time was, I doubt they could tell you.

    And if you asked a person on the street what Kino Lorber was or Olive was they wouldn't be able to tell you either, so what IS your point.

  14. You cant' go into any  Best Buy and buy these nor order direct from Amazon – you have to know about Twilight Time and special order on-line at astronomical prices.  And by the way what happened to you 5th anniversary sale? Many of us are waiting as it is the only way we can afford your "limited" editions.

    Oh please.

  15. My point (initially) was that I'd wished Kino or Fox could have released "Anastasia", a title which sold very well on DVD for quite a few years.  If "Inn of the Sixth Happiness" could have had a regular retail release, then why not this?

  16. You cant' go into any  Best Buy and buy these nor order direct from Amazon – you have to know about Twilight Time and special order on-line at astronomical prices.  And by the way what happened to you 5th anniversary sale? Many of us are waiting as it is the only way we can afford your "limited" editions.

    Nice attitude.  🙂  You can't go into Best Buy and find Kino Lorber either.  And you know what else (and I've used this argument a lot, but it STILL holds) – if it was twenty bucks people would complain it's not fifteen, if it was fifteen they'd say "Oooh, I'll wait it out until it's ten" and when it was ten they STILL wouldn't buy it.  It is, well, I don't know what it is.

  17. Ben Hur, Touch of Evil and countless other classics are available at any Barnes and Noble, etc if you walk into their stores. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

    Do you have an internet connection, Noel? I think you do or you wouldn't be posting at this here site. The general public knows as much about Twilight Time as they do about any other boutique label — and those that want the titles we release, well, they do something radical, like they go ahead and buy them!

  18. My point (initially) was that I'd wished Kino or Fox could have released "Anastasia", a title which sold very well on DVD for quite a few years.  If "Inn of the Sixth Happiness" could have had a regular retail release, then why not this?

    I'll tell you why – because maybe Anastasia on DVD was in a different time and a different market.  Check.  Maybe (and I don't think there's much maybe about it) Inn of the Sixth Happiness didn't sell well – in fact, maybe NONE of the titles Fox put on Blu-ray were worth it for them – none justified the cost of them putting it out and maybe, just maybe, that's why Fox has released how many Blu-rays in the past twelve months?  You do the math and it's really simple math.

  19. Don't be belligerent. You can buy Kino Lorber on Amazon.And discounted at that!

    I don't think it was me who was being belligerent – I just read my posts really carefully to see if there was even a hintarooni of belligerence and I came up empty, which makes me belligerent, frankly.  🙂  No, just responding to your posts, Noel – that's what happens on a message board.  If you post, folks can respond.

  20. And yet other labels are racing ahead with their classic output.  Again, I say (and it's a hopeless wish now) that I'd have preferred "Anastasia" to be via Kino and then watch the sales figures rise.  It's too good a movie to be limited to 3,000 copies.  If that offends anybody I am deeply sorry.

  21. I'll tell you why – because maybe Anastasia on DVD was in a different time and a different market.  Check.  Maybe (and I don't think there's much maybe about it) Inn of the Sixth Happiness didn't sell well – in fact, maybe NONE of the titles Fox put on Blu-ray were worth it for them – none justified the cost of them putting it out and maybe, just maybe, that's why Fox has released how many Blu-rays in the past twelve months?  You do the math and it's really simple math.

    It seems very difficult for some folk to understand that if Fox, or any other studio were making money from catalogue blu-rays, then they would be releasing them and not licensing the titles to third parties – but we know what this is really all about – it's the "we'll only buy if it's five dollars brigade" – and to paraphrase The Wild Bunch – "those days are closing fast."

  22. Ben Hur, Touch of Evil and countless other classics are available at any Barnes and Noble, etc if you walk into their stores. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

    Yes, you can occasionally find one copy of a classic at Barnes and Noble – better do that quickly, though, because Barnes and Noble is not long for this world.  So, they have their one copy of Ben-Hur.  They've had it for a while if you're still finding it, and when they have no use for it they'll return it to Warners for a full credit.  And last I looked I didn't see one Kino Lorber or Olive title at a Barnes and Noble.  And Anastasia is not Ben-Hur or Touch of Evil for that matter although I suspect sales of the latter were merely okay.

  23. And yet other labels are racing ahead with their classic output.  Again, I say (and it's a hopeless wish now) that I'd have preferred "Anastasia" to be via Kino and then watch the sales figures rise.  It's too good a movie to be limited to 3,000 copies.  If that offends anybody I am deeply sorry.

    You can wish for it to be released by whoever you like – but whichever of those companies you pray it would be, the 3,000 unit threshold is not going to be crossed. So, if those said labels release them at a very cheap price, that company loses money, and what you are in essence hoping for, and your wish will be granted, is the demise of classic titles on blu-ray.

  24. It seems very difficult for some folk to understand that if Fox, or any other studio were making money from catalogue blu-rays, then they would be releasing them and not licensing the titles to third parties – but we know what this really all about – it's the "we'll only buy if it's five dollars brigade" – and to paraphrase The Wild Bunch – "those days are closing fast."

    I will be happy to fork out for any movie I desire (and believe me, even with the tumbling exchange rate, I still spend quite happily), but seeing a title like "Anastasia", with it's pedigree and Oscar win, to be limited to only 3,000 copies doesn't seem right.

  25. Agree plus Amazon would discount it. And it wouldn't wind up on EBay for $125. Just sayin.

    You can "just say" whatever you want – but you'll still be wrong. No chance that Anastasia ever sells 3,000 copies – so no chance of it ever being on eBay at that high price. And if Kino, or any other any label, released it at a $4.99 price point – it still wouldn't sell 3,000 copies – but  the company that did that would be out of business in a hurry.

  26. I purchased TWO copies of TT's "Lost Horizon" (just to make sure that, down the track, I had a backup in case something went wrong), plus "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" and a handful of others.  I just need to be careful these days.  I will eventually get "Anastasia" too. 

    But some customers DO live outside the US who love these films, and whilst I wouldn't sneeze at $29.95, a reasonable price in the regular Blu-ray world, once you factor in the exchange rate and shipping it all comes to significantly more than that.

  27. It doesn't seem right because you think it doesn't seem right.  Any company who actually puts these titles out as a BUSINESS (you know, operating from a logical business standpoint) know that 3,000 of a title like Anastasia will, most likely, sell half the run and maybe, just maybe, if their lucky over the next three years, they might sell all 3,000 although I would seriously doubt it.  You seem to have this crazy belief that because a film from, what, almost sixty years ago won  on Oscar that that means there are – 5,000 people who'll be clamoring for it?  Because if there were, Fox would be putting these out themselves although even at 5,000 it wouldn't be worth it for them.  As Twilight Time very simply puts it – if these things had the kind of life you think they have they'd be doing it themselves (the studios).  You know, Twilight Time put out Born Free and Oliver, both huge Oscar-winning hits.  Sony didn't put them out.  Why?  And that's a very long list we could go down – The Way We Were? Bye Bye Birdie?  And about a hundred others.

    A few of the titles you've mentioned were released in other countries and have proved quite popular.

  28. I suppose you've never heard of Amazon either and only buy retail. Good for you.

    Yeah, I've heard of Amazon and I buy many things from Amazon at many different price points.  But if a movie I want is not available via Amazon I buy it from who has it.  Seems pretty simple to me.

  29. I buy movies from Twilight Time.  I buy movies from other labels.  I pay full price.  I buy at discounts.  My collection is a mix of things I had to have at any price, and things that were only worth it to me at a certain price.

    I wish this wouldn't turn into an argument each time.  I respect that there are members on this forum who can and are willing to pay non-discounted prices for movies.  I respect that there are members on this forum who cannot afford to do so regularly.  And I respect the commonly heard refrain that some members wish that these titles, and Blu-ray in general, were more popular with the general public.  Isn't that last point something we all wish for, that there were more people who shared our hobby so that more releases would be more financially feasible for the companies releasing them?

  30. A few of the titles you've mentioned were released in other countries and have proved quite popular.

    We can keep going around in circles but – how do you know how popular they were?  You don't.  For all you know if The Way We Were came out in Guam they might have sold six copies.  You just don't know.  Twilight Time has a business model that is working for them.  Kind of the end of the story.

  31. Indeed.  I mostly pay full price for my movie purchases (a lot of times over and above, especially when the $$ wasn't so hot).  I don't have a problem with that.  I just wish these movies weren't so elusive in the wider market.

  32. I purchased TWO copies of TT's "Lost Horizon" (just to make sure that, down the track, I had a backup in case something went wrong), plus "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" and a handful of others.  I just need to be careful these days.  I will eventually get "Anastasia" too.

    But some customers DO live outside the US who love these films, and whilst I wouldn't sneeze at $29.95, a reasonable price in the regular Blu-ray world, once you factor in the exchange rate and shipping it all comes to significantly more than that.

    We do understand that the exchange rate and shipping is a factor if you live overseas, and right now the currency conversion hurts everybody – it hurts us, because our sales are down, it hurts you because the costs are up. We have to ride that wave. No choice for either of us. Our model is predicated on being available online only, and in a unit run of 3,000 copies – save for a few titles, the 3,000 number is spot on. Interestingly, the titles you mention, Lost Horizon, and Love is A Many-Splendored Thing, are both still widely available despite their having been on the market for years – bearing out our point – there are no large numbers of people clamoring for these titles – and companies like us are losing money providing them to members of the public like you – yet we still continue to do so – should we just stop?

  33. I'm not saying stop.  I'm just dismayed that such wonderful films are on a decreased level of availability.  It saddens me deeply that "Anastasia", a film which has captured my imagination for so long, will be on Blu-ray but only the 'faithful few' will ever know it.

  34. I'm not saying stop.  I'm just dismayed that such wonderful films are on a decreased level of availability.  It saddens me deeply that "Anastasia", a film which has captured my imagination for so long, will be on Blu-ray but only the 'faithful few' will ever know it.

    The "faithful few" is all there are – and when you grasp that fact, you'll have a better understanding of how the business right now is currently operating.

  35. We can keep going around in circles but – how do you know how popular they were?  You don't.  For all you know if The Way We Were came out in Guam they might have sold six copies.  You just don't know.  Twilight Time has a business model that is working for them.  Kind of the end of the story.

    Well, I know for quite certain how popular the Australian Sony BD release of "Oliver!" was because I had to go on a wait-list.  The store I ordered it from couldn't get in enough copies to fill the demand.

  36. Mr Hainsehisway should name one Kino Lorber American Classic title on caliber with Anastasia, Lilies of the Field, etc, etc, etc

    Why?  The argument was that it's so easy to walk into a Barnes and Noble and find all these great movies on Blu-ray.  You named two.  I said I've never seen a Kino or Olive title in ANY store.  I'm not sure what it is you're not comprehending about that.

  37. Well, I know for quite certain how popular the Australian Sony BD release of "Oliver!" was because I had to go on a wait-list.  The store I ordered it from couldn't get in enough copies to fill the demand.

    It's all relative, isn't it?  You went to a store that probably ordered ten copies and sold them – seriously.  Even if they sold 100 copies and you were on a waiting list, that doesn't make it a popular Blu-ray bought by 5,000 people, does it?

  38. Sigh…  I think this has gone as far as it needs to, don't you?  I simply made one reasonable statement, that I'd wished Fox or one of its retail affiliates would have released "Anastasia", but that I was happy regardless.  And I get howled down. 

    Matt Hough, I deeply apologise that your marvelous review has been derailed in this way.  It was never my intention for it to do so.

  39. And yet other labels are racing ahead with their classic output.  Again, I say (and it's a hopeless wish now) that I'd have preferred "Anastasia" to be via Kino and then watch the sales figures rise.  It's too good a movie to be limited to 3,000 copies.  If that offends anybody I am deeply sorry.

    Yes, other labels are proceeding rapidly with releasing titles. But have you noticed at what price levels? Check the prices on the latest releases from Kino and Olive, and then check the latest boutique label prices in the U. K.

  40. Ben Hur, Touch of Evil and countless other classics are available at any Barnes and Noble, etc if you walk into their stores. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

    I don't buy Blu-ray discs from stores so I'm out of the loop, but in the past two or three years several posters here at HTF have informed us that their local super stores have massively reduced their stock of Blu-ray discs. I'm sure some of those posters will tell you they don't have a Barnes & Noble near them.

    As for "countless other classics" may I remind you that the standard complaint here at HTF is that there aren't countless classics available on Blu-ray disc.

  41. Well, having not opted to go multi-region, I much prefer it when TT releases an old favourite, it means that I can play it, unlike Kino's region A locked releases, & by the time the disc arrives, the pain of paying a few extra quid has passed.

  42. I saw this in HD on the telly a couple of years ago, & the scene that sticks in my mind is when they're in a Paris apartment with a huge window that has a panoramic view of Paris. It's not a painted backdrop as there's as train that moves (there's also a night shot where everything is lit up). I thought it was a very clever miniature, but reading that some of it was shot in France, could it be the real thing?

    I thought it looked great on the telly, but reading comments here, the Blu-ray looks even better.

  43. And yet other labels are racing ahead with their classic output.  Again, I say (and it's a hopeless wish now) that I'd have preferred "Anastasia" to be via Kino and then watch the sales figures rise.  It's too good a movie to be limited to 3,000 copies.  If that offends anybody I am deeply sorry.

    I'm apparently missing something.

    I've just taken a look at Twilight Time's release of Anastasia, it is not typical catalog fodder, as might be released by other licensees. 

    There are licensees because the owner of copyright has no belief that the particular title will make a profit.

    In the majority of cases, especially for MGM titles, no funds are expended to create new masters, and as far as I'm aware, NO domestic licensees, with the exception of Criterion and Twilight Time, expend any funds regarding upgrade of image or audio quality.

    Both work to do what they can to upgrade quality, based upon what has been delivered.

    While others will pay a similar amount for the license, that's only the beginning.

    There are costs involved for extras — commentary tracks, the creation and printing of monographs, additional video material, and then, isolated scores, which are of major import to collectors of Twilight Time releases.

    3,000 units published, is usually far in excess of the number needed, but is a necessity to achieve a rational production cost.

    In those few instances, in which a title sells out, a new contract must be signed, and funds paid for the license to reprint.

    I would advise anyone who truly loves catalog titles, to start their own label, negotiate with rights holders, purchase licenses, take delivery, do your initial QC, accept or reject masters, locate and create extra materials, produce, market and distribute the final product, and wait for the cash to roll in.

    Want to see your discs sold via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Deep Discount, Best Buy?

    Take your proposed list price, and cut it by at least 50%.

    Then calculate your license fee, all internal expenses to cull through studio masters, the upgrade of those masters, the research, costs and production of extras, and see what's left as a potential profit.

    Once you've done all of the above, take another financial hit by pressing to BD50s, to hold quality.

    Any idea how many catalog titles are compressed, and pressed to BD25s to save costs?

    Give it a try, and then you'll know why I hold publishers like Twilight Time in high esteem.

    And a final word of advice.  Be aware of the reality of your potential audience.  Most people will have zero idea who Ingrid Bergman was, and have no interest in purchasing antique films, so when you order your first pressing of 10,000 copies, be prepared with warehouse space.

    Lots of it, as inventory piles up.

    RAH

  44. I saw this in HD on the telly a couple of years ago, & the scene that sticks in my mind is when they're in a Paris apartment with a huge window that has a panoramic view of Paris. It's not a painted backdrop as there's as train that moves (there's also a night shot where everything is lit up). I thought it was a very clever miniature, but reading that some of it was shot in France, could it be the real thing?

    I thought it looked great on the telly, but reading comments here, the Blu-ray looks even better.

    The window view of Paris is definitely a backdrop and model train. There is, in fact, very little location shooting.

    I thought the UK HD broadcast looked very good as well until I saw the TT release, the picture quality of which is better overall and has more vivid colours.

  45. I'm apparently missing something.

    I've just taken a look at Twilight Time's release of Anastasia, it is not typical catalog fodder, as might be released by other licensees.

    There are licensees because the owner of copyright has no belief that the particular title will make a profit.

    In the majority of cases, especially for MGM titles, no funds are expended to create new masters, and as far as I'm aware, NO domestic licensees, with the exception of Criterion and Twilight Time, expend any funds regarding upgrade of image or audio quality.

    Both work to do what they can to upgrade quality, based upon what has been delivered.

    While others will pay a similar amount for the license, that's only the beginning.

    There are costs involved for extras — commentary tracks, the creation and printing of monographs, additional video material, and then, isolated scores, which are of major import to collectors of Twilight Time releases.

    3,000 units published, is usually far in excess of the number needed, but is a necessity to achieve a rational production cost.

    In those few instances, in which a title sells out, a new contract must be signed, and funds paid for the license to reprint.

    I would advise anyone who truly loves catalog titles, to start their own label, negotiate with rights holders, purchase licenses, take delivery, do your initial QC, accept or reject masters, locate and create extra materials, produce, market and distribute the final product, and wait for the cash to roll in.

    Want to see your discs sold via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Deep Discount, Best Buy?

    Take your proposed list price, and cut it by at least 50%.

    Then calculate your license fee, all internal expenses to cull through studio masters, the upgrade of those masters, the research, costs and production of extras, and see what's left as a potential profit.

    Once you've done all of the above, take another financial hit by pressing to BD50s, to hold quality.

    Any idea how many catalog titles are compressed, and pressed to BD25s to save costs?

    Give it a try, and then you'll know why I hold publishers like Twilight Time in high esteem.

    And a final word of advice.  Be aware of the reality of your potential audience.  Most people will have zero idea who Ingrid Bergman was, and have no interest in purchasing antique films, so when you order your first pressing of 10,000 copies, be prepared with warehouse space.

    Lots of it, as inventory piles up.

    RAH

    Thanks so much, Robert, for the much needed infusion of common sense!

  46. The window view of Paris is definitely a backdrop and model train. There is, in fact, very little location shooting.

    I thought the UK HD broadcast looked very good as well until I saw the TT release, the picture quality of which is better overall and has more vivid colours.

    Thanks, that's what I thought at the time. A nice bit of craft there, it must have been a lot more fun working on that than sweating over a computer screen arranging pixels.

  47. Thanks so much, Robert, for the much needed infusion of common sense!

    Sigh…  I think this has gone as far as it needs to, don't you?  I simply made one reasonable statement, that I'd wished Fox or one of its retail affiliates would have released "Anastasia", but that I was happy regardless.  And I get howled down.

    Matt Hough, I deeply apologise that your marvelous review has been derailed in this way.  It was never my intention for it to do so.

    Can we stop picking on classicmovieguy?  Many valid points were made by RAH, Twilight Time and some others about the realities of the marketplace for classic films on Blu-ray.  Let's move on please.

  48. I hope it hasn't come off as picking on anyone – what people have been picking on is the notion that this would somehow have been better served on a different label.  And I'm sorry, that kind of thing must be refuted.  And Mr. Harris was finally the one who introduced the most salient point: While it's nice to have stuff available via Amazon, Amazon doesn't take 50% they take 60%.  So you can imagine what comes back to a label after 60% and it's why the major studios are licensing out their titles, big and small.  It's why I stopped selling Kritzerland titles on Amazon and only do so now as a third-party seller, where I charge what I need to and the fees are much less.

    In other news, I'm anxiously awaiting my viewing of Anastasia.  I have a somewhat long history with Anastasia, having recorded a cast album of the reworked version of Anya, called The Anastasia Affaire, and then finally issuing the original Anya album.  It's a grand story and the film is really a great example of what nobody did better than Fox.

  49. I hope it hasn't come off as picking on anyone – what people have been picking on is the notion that this would somehow have been better served on a different label.  And I'm sorry, that kind of thing must be refuted.  And Mr. Harris was finally the one who introduced the most salient point: While it's nice to have stuff available via Amazon, Amazon doesn't take 50% they take 60%.  So you can imagine what comes back to a label after 60% and it's why the major studios are licensing out their titles, big and small.  It's why I stopped selling Kritzerland titles on Amazon and only do so now as a third-party seller, where I charge what I need to and the fees are much less.

    In other news, I'm anxiously awaiting my viewing of Anastasia.  I have a somewhat long history with Anastasia, having recorded a cast album of the reworked version of Anya, called The Anastasia Affaire, and then finally issuing the original Anya album.  It's a grand story and the film is really a great example of what nobody did better than Fox.

    Yes, I have the Kritzerland album of "Anya" (plus the Bay Cities release of "The Anastasia Affaire") and both are a delight.

  50. Yes, I have the Kritzerland album of "Anya" (plus the Bay Cities release of "The Anastasia Affaire") and both are a delight.

    I have them both, too. LOVE Anya. I'll never forget Lillian Gish appearing on Mike Douglas (or was it Dick Cavett?) and chiding a theater critic who was on the show as a guest with her about his pan of Anya saying, "We all loved the show so much and didn't want it to close. Shame on you for helping to close it!" I can't remember who the theater critic was who was there. I don't think it was John Simon, but it might have been.

  51. I have them both, too. LOVE Anya. I'll never forget Lillian Gish appearing on Mike Douglas (or was it Dick Cavett?) and chiding a theater critic who was on the show as a guest with her about his pan of Anya saying, "We all loved the show so much and didn't want it to close. Shame on you for helping to close it!" I can't remember who the theater critic was who was there. I don't think it was John Simon, but it might have been.

    Good on Lillian for saying that!  From the score it deserved a much longer run.

  52. So do I.

    Me, too.  And "Untamed", "Three Coins in the Fountain," "Boy on a Dolphin", "Peyton Place" and on and on.  I WISH they were releasing "Daddy Long Legs".  Kino Lorber won't be doing the isolated score, and for me, THAT is always worth the extra $10 I pay for a Twilight Time release.

  53. I think that people would be very surprised if they could see how much or should I say how little revenue is generated from disc sales of classic titles that are not among the most popular titles out there.

    Unfortunately we never get these numbers but I have heard more than one story of titles selling far below what was expected.

  54. Sorry to revive this but I've always been under the impression that "Anastasia" was amongst the most popular of the Fox classics selection.  It was one of Fox's steady sellers for almost 10 years on DVD, and for countless years before that on VHS.

  55. What was popular in the DVD era has nothing to do with what sells on Blu-ray.  It was a completely different world.  In other news, Anastasia has arrived and I'm about to watch it.

    Fantastic news – I'm interested to read what you think of it. 🙂

  56. First off, it's just a wonderful movie – great script, great score, with beautiful costumes.  You just have no actors today who could do this kind of film, period.  Brynner, Bergman, Hayes – they're all amazing, and the character actors are brilliant (again, we don't really have character actors like this anymore).  The transfer is really excellent, IMO.

  57. Sorry to revive this but I've always been under the impression that "Anastasia" was amongst the most popular of the Fox classics selection.  It was one of Fox's steady sellers for almost 10 years on DVD, and for countless years before that on VHS.

    Do you have any data or sales numbers to back this up?

    Actual sales numbers for Blu-rays seem almost impossible to come by so I wonder if that was different for DVDs.

  58. First off, it's just a wonderful movie – great script, great score, with beautiful costumes.  You just have no actors today who could do this kind of film, period.  Brynner, Bergman, Hayes – they're all amazing, and the character actors are brilliant (again, we don't really have character actors like this anymore).  The transfer is really excellent, IMO.

    That's pretty much my opinion too.

  59. When we met with TT in October they said most of their recent Blu-ray's sell only 1500 copies or less. They just love movies and are not making much money on the Blu-ray sales.

    It's great that TT loves movies, but it's depressing that more people aren't aware of vastly superior films than the majority of today's titles.

  60. They both take as their starting point the Marcelle Maurette/Guy Bolton play.  I can see lovely echoes of the '56 "Anastasia" in the 1997 animated film.  I should add that I'm a bit biased when it comes to the animated film, having fallen in love with it as a young teen when it first came out.  I bought every piece of the merchandising that I could.  It's a great, solid musical.

  61. They both take as their starting point the Marcelle Maurette/Guy Bolton play.  I can see lovely echoes of the '56 "Anastasia" in the 1997 animated film.  I should add that I'm a bit biased when it comes to the animated film, having fallen in love with it as a young teen when it first came out.  I bought every piece of the merchandising that I could.  It's a great, solid musical.

    Well, it's about to open as a stage show – more songs by Flaherty and Ahrens.

  62. TT you have always held a large part of my heart where classic films are.  I shall as always support you guys anyway I can.  I am sorry about the region business.  I hope I read that right.  Please considrer with Fox of course the Monroe early years. Love Nest and so many others.

    To me you are the greatest!!!  I also know we the people born in the 5os see our movies coming out in few titiles unless TT or another company comes out with a BD movie.

    Time for me to say thank you Twilight Time.

    Thanks so much, Mark — we really appreciate your support — it's people like you who keep us going!

  63. The increase in detail over the DVD is staggering at times:

    http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=542&y=160&d1=7792&d2=7793&s1=74239&s2=74249&l=0&i=5&go=1

    I does not seem to have the typical bluish deluxe look of other Fox releases of the time, which to me makes this release even better looking, excellent!

    Well, why is that?  Because there is almost no blue in the production design or lighting.  This transfer has just as much blue as every other transfer in terms of its palette and you can see that when the parade is happening.  I love all the Fox transfers 🙂

  64. Actually I plan to pair up my coming TT purchase of Anastasia with the 1997 animated version which should make a very interesting comparison.  Anybody here who has seen the animated version AND the 1956 theatrical version go ahead and chime in on what I can look forward to (without any spoilers of course, I have yet to see either film thought I know the start of the general story.  I've been deliberately skipping some reading here so it doesn't get spoiled.

    The animation film is very good too and has some greatly executed scenes, but i hate the comic relief character, Bartok. I wish he wasn't included. (a film on this character was made also and is included in the bluray)

    The songs are exceptional with "once upon a December" being sublime, and one of my favourite film songs ever.

    it sounds like it's coming straight from a 50s hollywood musical.

    Pity it wasn't nominated for an oscar!

    By the way, have you got TT's Nicholas and Alexandra?

    it serves like an exceptional "prequel" to the Anastasia film.

  65. Well, why is that?  Because there is almost no blue in the production design or lighting.  This transfer has just as much blue as every other transfer in terms of its palette and you can see that when the parade is happening.  I love all the Fox transfers 🙂

    I am quite certain that I will love this transfer a bit more than River of no Return, Cleopatra and a few others but I am happy for everybody who likes all of them 🙂

    Anastasia also reminds me that I still did not get around to watch Nicolas and Alexandra, I should certainly get that one in before Anastasia!

  66. The increase in detail over the DVD is staggering at times:

    http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=542&y=160&d1=7792&d2=7793&s1=74239&s2=74249&l=0&i=5&go=1

    I does not seem to have the typical bluish deluxe look of other Fox releases of the time, which to me makes this release even better looking, excellent!

    Dear Oliver:

    There is no 'typical' Deluxe bias toward blue, only an egregious error on the part of whoever is responsible for a good deal of the more recent Blu-ray releases of Fox back catalog – the mastering resulting in a blue, or occasionally teal/beige bias. I assure you, NONE of Fox's DeLuxe movies originally projected in a darkened theater ever looked like they currently do on Blu-ray, especially The Blue Max, Wild River, The Black Swan (1942), Desk Set, The Best of Everything, The King and I, and, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. If you want a good barometer of what vintage DeLuxe ought to look like on Blu-ray I strongly suggest you seek out Criterion's release of Bigger Than Life which ought to be the exemplar to follow.

  67. Dear Oliver:

    There is no 'typical' Deluxe bias toward blue, only an egregious error on the part of whoever is responsible for a good deal of the more recent Blu-ray releases of Fox back catalog – the mastering resulting in a blue, or occasionally teal/beige bias. I assure you, NONE of Fox's DeLuxe movies originally projected in a darkened theater ever looked like they currently do on Blu-ray, especially The Blue Max, Wild River, The Black Swan (1942), Desk Set, The Best of Everything, The King and I, and, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. If you want a good barometer of what vintage DeLuxe ought to look like on Blu-ray I strongly suggest you seek out Criterion's release of Bigger Than Life which ought to be the exemplar to follow.

    In your opinion.

  68. And that of at least two color technicians presently working at DeLuxe who have chosen to remain anonymous but were kind enough to share their 'opinions' with me.

    Their opinion means nothing to me without verification as anybody can pose as such on the internet.

  69. I find it rather incredible to the extent a moderator of any forum would go to discredit even something only he would consider an 'alternative' or 'theory'. At the very least, the purpose of a forum ought to be to invite fruitful discussion from all sides without having to worry about being 'slapped down' for expressing such ideas as part of this same shared experience. Frankly, considering our past run in's on this forum, Robert, I am not terribly surprised you've taken this directive in addressing me. I am, alas, saddened, you cannot engage me on a more intellectual level of discussion other than to say, "you're wrong" and "shut up." How very sad, indeed!

  70. I find it rather incredible to the extent a moderator of any forum would go to discredit even something only he would consider an 'alternative' or 'theory'. At the very least, the purpose of a forum ought to be to invite fruitful discussion from all sides without having to worry about being 'slapped down' for expressing such ideas as part of this same shared experience. Frankly, considering our past run in's on this forum, Robert, I am not terribly surprised you've taken this directive in addressing me. I am, alas, saddened, you cannot engage me on a more intellectual level of discussion other than to say, "you're wrong" and "shut up." How very sad, indeed!

    Well, let me say this, I never said you were wrong or you should shut up!  I said it was your opinion then you mentioned some anonymous inside sources that supported your opinion which I replied I don't place much credence on such information because anybody can pose as somebody they're not.

    I don't see how my position is out-of-line for a forum moderator.  I never said you can't continue your POV in this thread, but that doesn't mean I can't voice my personal POV that counters yours.  Frankly, I have no personal bias against you, we just don't agree on this issue or in some other previous discussions.

    I hope you're not suggesting that I should mute my right to express my personal opinion on this forum just because I'm a moderator.  I have no problem if others disagree with my stated opinion.  Contrary opinions is one of the reasons why this forum and others like it are used as an avenue to exchange ideas and opinions.  As long as civil discourse is maintained throughout such discussions, such threads of discussion are exactly what the HTF tries to be all about.

  71. Dear Oliver:

    There is no 'typical' Deluxe bias toward blue, only an egregious error on the part of whoever is responsible for a good deal of the more recent Blu-ray releases of Fox back catalog – the mastering resulting in a blue, or occasionally teal/beige bias. I assure you, NONE of Fox's DeLuxe movies originally projected in a darkened theater ever looked like they currently do on Blu-ray, especially The Blue Max, Wild River, The Black Swan (1942), Desk Set, The Best of Everything, The King and I, and, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. If you want a good barometer of what vintage DeLuxe ought to look like on Blu-ray I strongly suggest you seek out Criterion's release of Bigger Than Life which ought to be the exemplar to follow.

    Thanks for you post Nick, very interesting.

    In the spirit of staying positive I thought that it would be a good idea to point out the lack of the "deluxe-look" that has been hinted at/proposed by members of this forum and the impressive resolution.

    I agree with you in that I do not like how the titles you mention look on Blu-ray but I would suggest to take this to the appropriate thread as Anastasia for once does not seem to be affected by whatever is making the other titles so blue and or teal/cyan.

    Maybe we can continue the discussion in another thread as I am curious if somebody from Fox consulted with the people working at Deluxe and ask for their input.

  72. Their opinion means nothing to me without verification as anybody can pose as such on the internet.

    Unfortunately people can lose their job over taking part in forum discussions which is a sad reality.

    Maybe if Nick tells us a bit more about what they had to say everybody can make up his mind himself. Didn't we have a thread about Fox and blue / teal where this discussion could be moved to?

  73. I'm not going near any of this, other than to say I know where at least ONE of the things spoken of in Nick's post came from.

    As to Bigger Than Life being the poster child for Deluxe color – who do you think did that transfer and color timing – let me help: The same folks who did all the others.

  74. Why would anyone presume that someone working at deluxe today, might know the details of what color timers, cinematographers and film stocks, after fade, dupes and damage might properly look like?

    Anastasia is a very nice Blu-ray, of a film that may never see a restoration.  My presumption is, that it's derived from an IP, taken from a slightly shrunken original, and looks as good as it can without a huge investment.

    While I've not had time to write up a review on Twilight Time's Anastasia, except for the slight jitter, I'm quite pleased with it, and appreciative that they've seen fit to make the investment to make it available.

    Is it perfect?  No.  But it is!

    RAH

  75. Dear Oliver:

    There is no 'typical' Deluxe bias toward blue, only an egregious error on the part of whoever is responsible for a good deal of the more recent Blu-ray releases of Fox back catalog – the mastering resulting in a blue, or occasionally teal/beige bias. I assure you, NONE of Fox's DeLuxe movies originally projected in a darkened theater ever looked like they currently do on Blu-ray, especially The Blue Max, Wild River, The Black Swan (1942), Desk Set, The Best of Everything, The King and I, and, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. If you want a good barometer of what vintage DeLuxe ought to look like on Blu-ray I strongly suggest you seek out Criterion's release of Bigger Than Life which ought to be the exemplar to follow.

    The Black Swan was in Technicolor, not DeLuxe. I don't know what it looked like in 1942 when "originally projected in a darkened theater" because I wasn't alive at the time! 🙂

  76. The Black Swan was in Technicolor, not DeLuxe. I don't know what it looked like in 1942 when "originally projected in a darkened theater" because I wasn't alive at the time! 🙂

    I'd like to ask NickZ one question: How old are you and did you see all the referenced titles in your post in darkened theaters at the time of their release.

  77. The Black Swan was in Technicolor, not DeLuxe. I don't know what it looked like in 1942 when "originally projected in a darkened theater" because I wasn't alive at the time! 🙂

    I examined the nitrate reference print.  It was luscious, velvety, warm, with a silver record.

    Other-worldly.

  78. Yeah, Anastasia and Exodus aren't included in the sale, but I bought them anyway, along with I think three others that were on sale. I love this movie and the caps-a-holic comparison #7 is quite astonishing.

  79. I examined the nitrate reference print.  It was luscious, velvety, warm, with a silver record.

    Other-worldly.

    In other words…are you saying that "The Black Swan" is in considerations for a better BD, than that now available?

  80. Saw Anastasia years ago on TV and loved it. Have always been fascinated with Russian History…they did find her remains along with others in her family along a road side though back in the 90s I think.

    I have the animated version of Anastasia and it's fantastic too but it does put a spin on it though…it puts Rasputin in a bad light which I read about before I watched it and thought I might not like it but I was wrong…an excellent movie! Oh…The Diary of Ann Frank is another great one…just wanted to throw that in.

  81. I remember years ago 60 Minutes did a special on a woman claiming to be Anastasia…she married some American man and they both lived in Maryland or Virginia…at the time nothing could be proven if she was or wasn't….they do know now though.

  82. WilliamHg

    I remember years ago 60 Minutes did a special on a woman claiming to be Anastasia…she married some American man and they both lived in Maryland or Virginia…at the time nothing could be proven if she was or wasn't….they do know now though.

    Yes that was Anna Anderson. The 1956 movie version uses her story as the main inspiration.

  83. It's been years since I saw it but I do remember it and it's an all time favorite…a bit sad though. I didn't know the movie was based on her life…that's very interesting…thanks for that tasty little morsel classicmovieguy!

  84. I love the TT release of Anastasia and it does look and sound better than it had in any other home video release. I was surprised to read a review which stated it should have been framed at 2:55 instead of the 2:35 it is presented in. I know the standard switched in 1956 and this was released late in the year so I would think the 2:35 was correct for this. Any thoughts from others?

  85. Matt Hough

    I've always heard that Bus Stop was the movie that signaled the changeover from 2.55 to 2.35. It was released at the end of August of 1956, so Anastasia would seem to be right at 2.35.

    There was a discussion awhile back (and I wish I could remember where it was) about that very question. I read the same book (or books) YOU did, Matt, and was always under that impression as well (that BUS STOP was the first Fox magoptical release print that reduced the CS ratio to 2.35:1) but Bob Furmanek had different information available. I have to see if I can find what thread it was in but maybe Mr. Furmanek, if he reads this, can come in and clarify. I want to say the changeover was more gradual and actually started EARLIER but damnit I can't say for certain without revisiting it. In any regard, I'm sure by late 1956 the standard release print would have been 2.35:1.

  86. It is a bit of a challenge to determine which aspect ratio is correct for films from this transition period. Basically, an expert has to examine the negative and determine which centerline the cinematographer was using. For example one Academy Award winning film that was released in 1957 and was always shown off-center in 2.35:1 prints was discovered to have been framed with the 2.55:1 centerline. The Blu-ray of this release shows it properly centered in a 2.55:1 aspect ratio

  87. Mark-P

    It is a bit of a challenge to determine which aspect ratio is correct for films from this transition period. Basically, an expert has to examine the negative and determine which centerline the cinematographer was using. For example one Academy Award winning film that was released in 1957 and was always shown off-center in 2.35:1 prints was discovered to have been framed with the 2.55:1 centerline. The Blu-ray of this release shows it properly centered in a 2.55:1 aspect ratio

    And would that be Bridge on the River Kwai, Mark?

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