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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Bend of the River - in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. Message #21 of 105 Apr 3, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
    PMF

    PMF Producer

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    If there's an Anthony Mann commentary, then I'll support it way down the road during a sale. I bid 10 bucks.
    And yes, absolutely, Blu rays need to be supported; but they've got to support us in return.
    This review reflects a now very small and near single-digit percentage of BD's with low grades;
    so my first monies will be prioritized and earmarked for those discs that achieved something far better.
    "Becky Sharp" (KL), "Beat the Devil" (TT), "The Sea Hawk" (WAC), "In the Heat of the Night" (Criterion);
    and, based upon these scores, even Olive's so-so Signature of "Operation Petticoat" would now suffice.
    Yes these would be - off the top of my head - the first Blu rays to gain my next-in-line support.
    Support, IMHO, must always be a two-way street.

    NOTE (some hours later):
    Kino Lorber continues to have my unwavering support, as there are dozens of BD's still to be bought.
    As a matter of fact, I happen to watch "The Ox-Bow Incident", last night.
    So, in the end, we're really only talking about one goofy transfer.
    So carry on, collectors; for all we're asking here is for our waiter (KL) to send this entree back to the kitchen (Universal).
     
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  2. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    I happened to watch this streaming a few weeks ago, and as the review says the picture quality overall is poor. And although it has several good parts to it, and as usual a strong performance from James Stewart, I don't think it's one of Mann's best films.
     
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  3. Rodney

    Rodney Cinematographer
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    I guess I am sticking with the German blu. Off to cancel my pre-order.
     
  4. Bob_S.

    Bob_S. Screenwriter

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    I guess I may have to purchase the German one. I've been waiting for this and am majorly disappointed. It's my second favorite Stewart/Mann western, the first being Winchester '73.
     
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  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Why purchase the German disc? This Kino title will be on sale for around $10 between now and early summer and it has an audio commentary.
     
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  6. Bob_S.

    Bob_S. Screenwriter

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    Sorry, for some reason I thought the German one was better than this U.S. one with R. Harris saying it was unwatchable. I guess I'll wait for the reviews from folks who purchase it. I have no desire to pay any amount for a blu that's unwatchable but then again I don't have a keen eye like Mr. Harris. I think my viewing experience lines up more with yours, Robert.
     
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  7. Spencer Draper

    Spencer Draper Stunt Coordinator

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    This is really sad but unsurprising news. The Mann Westerns are still criminally undervalued and I'd argue that all five Stewart-Mann Westerns are among the most important ever made-even the seemingly lesser more typical feeling ones like Bend of the River and The Far Country. But then again I really appreciate Mann and even like lesser films like The Last Frontier in addition to great ones like Man of the West.

    Since the five fall between different studios and handling it appears the odd ones out are the middle films. Winchester '73 was done in 4K by Universal so it was said and Man From Laramie was well treated by Sony and released via Twilight Time/MOC. The Naked Spur has several issues including an apparent softness baked into the source that appears on the DVD which is only video release of the film there is. The print sometimes shown at Western festivals that I saw last year seems to be the same one used for the DVD. But hopefully WAC will tackle that.

    This leaves Bend of the River and The Far Country which Universal has apparently left to be preserved in these aging masters merely spiffed up to HD years ago. I would think the other foreign releases of other Stewart westerns and films of this period will be the same such as the ones for NIGHT PASSAGE.

    Bend of the River's master dates back to the Laserdisc double set with TFC. The transfer there was very good for the time, but is identical to the eventual DVD release complete with the color issues. This Blu-ray seems like something made for HD airing several years ago and is maybe slightly tweaked but little else has been addressed.
    The Far Country is a bit different since the LD was a nice looking 1.33 presentation of a print source, the first DVD was 1.33 but brighter and then was matted to 1.85 for the DVD reissue. I'm sure if it arrives on BD somewhere it will be the same scenario and thus dishonor the importance of these massively important Westerns.
     
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  8. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Apparently Universal is working on a Far Country restoration. That was scheduled for release in Germany at the same time as Bend of the River and keeps getting postponed. The website for the German distributor (Koch, I think) for Far Country said that it was going to be from a brand new 4K master than Universal was still working on.

    I’m hoping that’s still true. That Kino said they asked for Far Country and were told it wasn’t available for licensing at this time has me hoping that it is being worked on.

    It’s probably my favorite of the bunch.
     
  9. Message #29 of 105 Apr 4, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
    Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Producer

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    Yup, it was leaked that Arrow will be releasing The Far Country, & I'd think they'd only do that if it was a new master (great news!)

    I'd love a lovingly redone Bend Of The River (but shot in 3-strip Technicolor, it could be a big job - calling Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation), & will be buying the new Winchester '73 from whoever releases it. The only one I'm not that bothered about is The Naked Spur, I just find James Stewart a bit too intense & full of angst in that one.
     
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  10. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Very Disappointing news on my favorite Mann Western.
     
  11. Message #31 of 105 Apr 4, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
    OliverK

    OliverK Producer

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    Sorry to hear that it is your favorite but then Mann aficionados have it very bad anyway as many of his movies look very disappointing on Blu-ray:

    Bend of The River
    The Last Frontier
    El Cid
    Fall of the Roman Empire
    A Dandy in Aspic

    There are number of others that look OK but certanly not great and so far to my knowledge only two of his color movies can be said to look good or very good on Blu-ray: The Man from Laramie and Strategic Air Command.

    A great shame as Mann was a very visual director with his movies often having truly remarkable cinematography that cannot really be appreciated with these substandard releases.
     
  12. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I had no idea - that’s great news. Hope it comes this year. I’ve been dying to see it again but have been holding off on rewatching the DVD with the promise of something better on the horizon.
     
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  13. Bill Fisher

    Bill Fisher Auditioning

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    Yet still no review of Universal's blu ray of FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS. would love to know what you think.
     
  14. rcmeserve

    rcmeserve Extra

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    Another great Mann western, “Devil’s Doorway,” can only be seen on a Warner Archive MOD-DVD. It, too, deserves a blu-ray.
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Taking the fifth
     
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  16. PatrickDA

    PatrickDA Second Unit

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    Beautiful black and white photography. The lightning storm during the bar fight scene is fantastic. One of Robert Taylor's best performances. I hope WB puts it out on blu-ray sometime.
     
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  17. OliverK

    OliverK Producer

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    This is a great western-noir and again it is hard to appreciate its magnificent cinematography on the subpar MOD-DVD.
     
  18. Roco

    Roco Agent

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    Was looking forward to Bend Of The River, but looks like I'll keep my dvd. I just received a copy of Shenandoah its and Italian release It is a very good blu ray transfer.
     
  19. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Unfortunately, the blu-ray of For Whom got a 1 star for pq from blu-ray.com....

    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/For-Whom-the-Bell-Tolls-Blu-ray/131957/#Review

    "Universal took the cheap route, and while extreme instances like the scene noted above have been toned down, Bell Tolls remains plagued by registration issues during its entire running time. The effect is visible not only in color fringing but also in the variable sharpness, detail and densities that can be observed throughout the film. Perhaps in an effort to conceal these shortcomings, the image has been noticeably darkened for Blu-ray, so that the many scenes in caves lit by firelight or outdoors at night have been markedly drained of color; indeed, some of the scenes shot day-for-night look almost black-and-white."

    This is a pity, since I really like this gloomy epic.
     
  20. Tom St Jones

    Tom St Jones Supporting Actor

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    Whether we're talking abt a film or a home video presentation of a film, one person's "good" is of course another person's "awesome". I suspect most people who buy/ see this presentation will think it looks awesome.
     

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