Robert Harris

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Million Dollar Mermaid, a 1952 production, directed by Mervyn LeRoy, and starring Esther Wiliams, Victor Mature and Walter Pidgeon, used to be a breathtakingly gorgeous three-strip show, and now, as released by Warner Archive, it looks better than it has, with the exception of original dye transfer prints, which is comes near to equal.

I'd call it "breathtakingly gorgeous," and it should be known the others have placed it within that pantheon of the most beautiful three-strip productions.

The film is a reality-based production - Annette Kellerman, an Australian swimmer, who came to the Colonies, first doing live shows at the Hippodrome in New York, and then moving on to Hollywood c. 1909, and entered silent films. I believe she the first to do a legit nude scene in Daughter of the Gods in 1916. The basic facts seem to be there, but as it film, it seems stilted today. I may have been in 1952.

Miss Kellerman did approve of Esther Williams playing her in the film, and one would presume some sort of compensation.

The upgrade here from the previous DVD, which was IP-based is enormous, as the previous incarnation had registration issues.

In the new Blu-ray some will note (you've got to look really closely) that printer functions are a tiny bit soft, as they were built-in, and and natural to the production.

Another magnificent three-strip from Warner.

My singular problem with the film?

Neither Ms Williams nor Mr. Pidgeon have Australian accents. But I guess if they did, they would have been dubbed a la Mad Max...


Image – 5

Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA 2.0 - Monaural)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD - without a doubt

Recommended
 

lark144

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Another sterling review, Mr. Harris, but, speaking of Australian accents, can you really imagine Walter Pigeon saying to Ms. Williams, "Let's have a brewskie at the barbie, mate"?
 

CJamesCook

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In the new Blu-ray some will note (you've got to look really closely) that printer functions are a tiny bit soft, as they were built-in, and natural to the production.
I'm confused. Are you speaking of the registration (alignment) of the three different negative layers used with the old Technicolor process? If not, would you please elaborate? The only other thing I can figure is wipes and dissolves.

If you are speaking of layer registration, when this problem was famously(?) identified by Grover Crisp during a preview of the restored Gone with the Wind, a new generation of software tools was produced to allow correction by aligning the three layers in software and correction of 3-D warping. I would be surprised if Warner were not using them.
 

Marc Hampton

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This is great news. Ive always longed to see what those two Busby Berkeley numbers look like in their full Technicolor glory (or at least as close a we can currently get). The movie itself is ok...but it really comes roaring to life during those two sequences. (There's a good episode about Esther Williams...and some scary behind-the-scenes drama on this film...on Karina Longworth's podcast "You Must Remember This.")
 

Josh Steinberg

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As always, if the sales numbers are good for this title, we’ll have a good shot of more if the same. If they’re not good, then we won’t. If they get a big surge of preorders and purchases on or near street date, that’ll make the best possibly impression. If people by and large do things like wait for a 4/$44 sale to buy it, then we won’t get more. These days, it’s really that simple - buy right away and at full price if you want to support the release and encourage more of the same. The problem for years has been that consumers show interest in theoretical releases but that support rarely seems evident in the sales numbers.
 

RichMurphy

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As always, if the sales numbers are good for this title, we’ll have a good shot of more if the same. If they’re not good, then we won’t. If they get a big surge of preorders and purchases on or near street date, that’ll make the best possibly impression. If people by and large do things like wait for a 4/$44 sale to buy it, then we won’t get more. These days, it’s really that simple - buy right away and at full price if you want to support the release and encourage more of the same. The problem for years has been that consumers show interest in theoretical releases but that support rarely seems evident in the sales numbers.
Sad but true. I keep reading the posts about the Twilight Time going-out-of-business sale and people complaining that the items they wanted were no longer available. Maybe if they had bought them months (or in many cases, years ago) they wouldn't have that problem. For that matter, if Twilight Time had been able to sell all 3,000 copies of each title upon release, it might still be a ongoing entity.

I'm old enough to remember Magnetic Video VHS releases of Fox feature films going for about $79.99 in 1977. (about $350 in today's dollars, and that's for VHS quality!). I was never rich enough to buy a 16mm print of a feature film.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Yeah, I keep seeing people calling the TT sale a success, and I think that’s just a fundamental misunderstanding of their business and what was going on. TT’s business model was designed around the idea that they’d sell 3000 copies of a title at full price - they didn’t even do sales for their first several years, and then initially it was only one sale per year. But once people got the idea that they could wait and pay less later, they did, which unraveled the company’s business plan. In the best of times, it was a business run by people passionate about that industry, working basically a “break even” operation. Their closing sale wasn’t about making a bunch of money; it was about trying to recoup pennies on the dollar. I’m glad they sold as much as they did and glad those discs are going into the hands of people that want them instead of the dump, but it wasn’t exactly the greatest money maker.

It’s similar with the Warner Archive stuff - it’s full price purchases on or near street date that count most towards whether a title is a success. If it sells a lot right away, that encourages them to do more. If it doesn’t, it sends the message that whatever type of film was just released is no longer viable on physical media.

I want more Esther Williams movies remastered in HD, so I’ll either preorder this or buy it when it comes out. That’s the only way I can show my interest. If I wait until a Christmas sale or something, I know that’ll be too little, too late in terms of influencing future releases.
 

Robert Harris

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Yeah, I keep seeing people calling the TT sale a success, and I think that’s just a fundamental misunderstanding of their business and what was going on. TT’s business model was designed around the idea that they’d sell 3000 copies of a title at full price - they didn’t even do sales for their first several years, and then initially it was only one sale per year. But once people got the idea that they could wait and pay less later, they did, which unraveled the company’s business plan. In the best of times, it was a business run by people passionate about that industry, working basically a “break even” operation. Their closing sale wasn’t about making a bunch of money; it was about trying to recoup pennies on the dollar. I’m glad they sold as much as they did and glad those discs are going into the hands of people that want them instead of the dump, but it wasn’t exactly the greatest money maker.

It’s similar with the Warner Archive stuff - it’s full price purchases on or near street date that count most towards whether a title is a success. If it sells a lot right away, that encourages them to do more. If it doesn’t, it sends the message that whatever type of film was just released is no longer viable on physical media.

I want more Esther Williams movies remastered in HD, so I’ll either preorder this or buy it when it comes out. That’s the only way I can show my interest. If I wait until a Christmas sale or something, I know that’ll be too little, too late in terms of influencing future releases.
Thank you for posting that, Josh. Waiting for product to show up at the Dollar Store, on close-out, won’t enable more product.
 

Mark-P

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I’m going to disagree to a certain extent. If the 4 for $44 sales were only about unloading unsold product at a loss that might be true. But WAC discs are manufactured on demand in short runs just to keep up with demand. These sales must be generating revenue for Warner (as in the high volume of discs they move during the sales bring in more money than would come in with fewer items sold at full price). If they weren’t making a profit during these sales, it would be irresponsible to the stockholders to have them. There’s no shame in being a bargain hunter.
 

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