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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 19, 2013.
I believe Lost Horizon was stereo in 35mm originally...
I've never seen any stage version of Cabaret so I'm wondering if there was something comparable, on stage, to the insert shots in the movie of the old man in the cap growing increasingly disturbed and disgusted by what he was witnessing in that moment. To me, those insert shots of that old man were key to the resonant power of the scene. On film, that is. At one point, the camera slowly moves in closer to him in order to emphasis how this man's reaction is key to what is really going on underneath. I don't mean that his character is "telling us how to feel" about the scene, but that his reaction is showing us the value of appropriate doubt and cynicism over such seemingly Sunny and Positive proceedings. At first, our impression is he is just a grumpy old man incapable of enjoying a lovely moment of communal expression at a picnic. Then we grow to understand what was really disturbing him about the moment all along. That's a lot of subtext and complexity to squeeze out of a couple of insert shots and, imo, speaks volumes about the power of cinema to accomplish so much with so little. I also wonder how that black-out and leave you to deal with it during intermission effect, accomplished so well on stage as you say, could have been done in a movie without an intermission that must move on to the rest of the story within seconds. I also hate it when movie versions of great stage plays/musicals gut some elements that were critical to my enjoyment of the stage version. But never having seen any stage version of Cabaret puts me in an uncomfortable position of defending what was done here. I can only say that the scene in question was and still is one of the most memorable, chilling and, for lack of a better word, "instructive" about the methods and motives of real world evil I've ever seen in a movie. And it is one of the reasons I believe Cabaret, the movie, belongs on the list of 50 or so greatest movies ever made.
I was specific to the 1970s
I believe that Ken Russell's THE MUSIC LOVERS was 1970. Certainly in stereo as I saw it in the London roadshow in blow up 70mm and 6 track stereo.
Fiddler on the Roof" (1971) was 35mm mag /optical in the UK.
If you are referring to its showing at the Odeon Haymarket, that was 35mm mag.
Is it wrong of me to be reminded of Rock of Ages by all this talk of a musical movie deviating significantly from the original stage classic?
I believe the story of the landlady and her Jewish boyfriend was unique to the stage musical and not part of either the Berlin stories or I am a Camera, which were the basis of Cabaret. The story of the two English language students was a part of the earlier works. The landlady story was created to give a part to Lotte Lenya who originated the role. It's hard to say how close a movie adaption of stage musical should stay. Sometimes close adaptions work like West Side Story and sometimes they don't like The Producers.
A bit more information regarding the quality of Cabaret, and how Warner's Ned Price and MPI brought the film back to life, delivering a superb Blu-ray. The image, which is harvested from an interpositive, was digitally color corrected to the frame, as apparently the printer on which it was made decades ago, appears to have had sticky valves. As color changes are programmed shot to shot, those changes are meant to hit at the splice cutting from one shot to the next. It didn't work that way. There were long light lags at every cut, which meant that frames at every cut had the wrong color timing. On top of that the print stock and processing, which were not done at Technicolor, but another lab, were also problematic. MPI's colorist, Janet Wilson, worked her magic, massaging the film shot by shot and frame by frame, to not only eliminate the problems, but to match a dye transfer reference print. But let's make matters even worse. Reel 6AB, a full twenty minutes of the film was damaged by a scratch in cleaning decades ago. That scratch, which went the entire length of the reel had to be digitally removed. The original mix was 4-track stereo, and it ran at AMPAS in that manner in interlock, for award consideration. There is no record of the film actually being released in stereo. For due diligence, Mr. Price checked the studio print, which was magnetic, and used for the premier, and found it to be monaural. The original magnetic master was destroyed long ago. The stereo on the new Blu-ray, which sounds superb, and had me questioning what I was hearing, as I was aware that the original tracks did nor survive, was created from the mono mag, separating the vocals on one channel, from the composite M/EFX on the other. It all works to add some nice dimensionality. This is an exciting release, made all the more important by the pure effort and sweat that went into its creation by Warner Bros. When people and companies do superb work, it should be recognized. RAH
Very anxious to see it, and it's nice to know that at long last they are using dye transfer prints as reference. This is a key thing. As I said, and which Mr. Harris is corroborating, the film was released in mono only. The interlock version was stereo and previewed that way at the Village and now, apparently, that same interlock was used for a screening at AMPAS for award consideration. This really sounds like a stellar release.
I don't recall the theatre but if The Music Lover's played roadshow at that theater that's where I saw it. It was exhibited with an Overture and Intermission Ent'racte and was certainly multi channel or surround stereo. Did you see the film in London roadshow? I 'thought I had seen it during summer of 1969 but that date seems incorrect as the film is dated 1970 or 1971. If it wasn't summer 1969 it must have been summer of 1971.
Can't remember the time of year, Paul, but its initial London release was at the Haymarket Odeon.You must have seen it there.
If only that mag used for interlock survived!
I can't wait for me pre-order to ship. We love this film in our house. Not much mention of the original straight version from UK, I am A Camera with Julie Harris. That is in my collection as a DVD. Michael York had made another pre-War Nazi-era film set in Germany in the 1970s, Rape of the Third Reich aka England Made Me. The film was released in Australia as England Made Me but on VHS as Rape of the Third Reich but no DVD to date except from Spain. Odd. In respect of the missing negatives, that is obviously a scandal, the destruction of a vault load of material during a takeover to do with Orion is another scandal. We are talking longer versions, outtakes, trims and stereo masters. One man's decision. Whoever he was.
When essential source material is lost it's always the fault of those who have no involvement or interest in production or quality. A long while ago, when most of our work still involved tape - track laying on multitrack and mixing onto 1/4 inch centre track time coded stereo - one day I needed an empty 1/4 reel and found a surprisingly very good supply in the studio store. The one I took was labelled in my writing and read (Name of programme) Master Mix Part One TC Stereo. And Part Two was beside it. The management had given orders to clear away the space taking shelves of carefully stored Masters. And also junked the multitracks. So for anyone who doesn't have direct experience of the realities of production that's why the Cabaret Masters have gone and why we're so grateful to those who attempt salvage. I was convinced I saw The Music Lovers in 70mm and whenever that was it was still in production in the autumn of 1969 when I was out of work and cleaning the house of the writer.
The people who destroy original materials do it in the name of God and Upper Management.
They aren't blithering idiots.
They believe they're doing the right thing.
They need storage space.
They desire to cut storage expenses.
They are merely the wrong facilitators, in the wrong place, under the wrong management, at the wrong time.
Some of this occurred when elements were transferred from one company to another, and there were far too many cartons to deal with. And then, knee-jerk reactions.
The Cabaret situation is actually a small thing.
A storm in a teacup.
The Fox Nitrates.
The Universal Silents.
Those are the real thing.
The last time I was aware of this mindset was in the mid-'70s, and I was seeking a license from a company that owned the rights (or controlled the elements) to a film that had fallen into the public domain. It was in non-theatrical release in black & white, but I knew it to be a Technicolor production. When I contacted the company in question, I was told that they already had it licensed, but regardless, it was a black & white film.
When I insisted that it was not, the exec offered to assuage my concerns by going to their inventory.
There, he found that they had multiple negatives.
All black & white.
And therefore, it was a black & white.
And that since they had no need of three negatives, he would have someone examine them, pick the best, and destroy the other two.
I explained that what he had were three Technicolor black & white negatives.
The film was Nothing Sacred.
Fortunately, today, every studio has rational, intelligent people in place, with archival heads on steady shoulders.
I cannot imagine anything like this occurring today.
In the case of Cabaret, we fortunately had the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the knowledge and desire to make things as correct as humanly and technologically possible.
What a monumentally scary story. Good lord!
I've also seen the film version with Brian saying F-maximillian rather than screw maximillian. All video versions seem to have "screw" max at that point. Just a quick request from anyone who has seen this new disc: is the F-word used at this point?
As soon as I read "three negatives" I went "GAH! That's Technicolor originals!" You've trained us well Obi-RAH
The film script is so much better than the original play that it is hard to see anyone going back willingly. Do we really want "An Ordinary Couple" returning? Or move "My Favorite Things" back to its original place? The R&H organization has become very flexible about exactly how the shows are produced, preferring to see them done in some form than to have them ignored. It will be interesting to see exactly what they come up with. Bob