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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Hello, Dolly! -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Gene Kelly's 1969 Hello, Dolly! is one of those magnificent musical entertainments that seems to age like the finest wine.  It gets better with every viewing.  Mine initial viewing was in early 1970, in 70mm.

    A bit of background from the technical side.  The film was photographed by Harry Stradling, cut by William Reynolds, with production design by John De Cuir.  Take a look at the audio credits, and you'll see Murray Spivack.

    Do a bit of quick research on these names, and you'll find that Hello, Dolly! is cinematic royalty.

    There are so many times, when so much quality and talent goes into a production, and then it hits home video, and the work of so many professionals is lost.

    I'm thrilled to find that this is not the case here.  Fox's archival and mastering team, with necessary requisite surviving elements at hand, has been doing masterful work.  Hello, Dolly! tops everything that has come before.

    As a 65mm production, I feared that it might be problematic, or possibly just imperfect, but all of the right hands have touched this one.  Beginning with Schawn Belston and his staff at Fox, to the creation of a new large format film element, and the necessary scanning and color by the team at FotoKem, this particular Hello, Dolly! deserves the exclamation point.

    Everything has been performed to perfection.  The scanning is so precise, that one can see the final long shot over the Hudson match dissolve into the final credit roll.

    An absolutely clean image, but with all of the proper grain structure in place, we have a final result that is totally cinematic.

    Color, resolution, black levels (red levels!), shadow detail.  Everything is as it should be.

    Watching and listening to it just made me smile.

    There has been quite a bit of discussion recently regarding the future of home entertainment, and specifically 4k.  If it ever occurs, and by that I don't refer to faux 4k, but rather a disc running full 4096, Hello, Dolly! should be on the first short list of product to be released. This master is that good.

    While viewing, one of those strange thoughts went through my mind.  Something that happens all too often, when people go to see a musical.  As I was watching the huge Hello, Dolly! production number, I could almost hear someone a few seats away, whispering to their companion...

    "Oh, is that from this?"

    An iconic piece of entertainment.

    A perfectly produced Blu-ray.

    We'll be seeing this film discussed early next year, when votes come in for Best Catalog title of 2013.

    Image - 5* (the * denotes something extraordinary and superb)

    Audio - 5

    Just perfect!

    Very Highly Recommended.

    RAH

     
    benbess, PMF, Everett S. and 2 others like this.
  2. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member

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    Beautiful. Thank you.
     
  3. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member

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    That's to RAH, of course, for communicating so effectively what he sees. But a huge thank you as well to Fox for this treasure. (A second one. I think thanking them was one of the first things I did in another thread upon watching this last week. Hey, can't have too many.)
     
  4. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Cinematographer

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    That says it all! Thank you. Now if we can get Star! released with equal quality in bluray, I'll really be happy. The new 70mm print playing the same revival circuit as Hello Dolly looks equally impressive and hopefully any bluray would give Dolly a run for its money in the quality sweepstakes.
     
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  5. OliverK

    OliverK Producer

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    I have seen both prints and imo photographically Star! is just not quite up there with Hello, Dolly which is so over the top in a good way, there is just so much to see (and hear) in it. Still Star! is a worthwhile candidate for a Blu-ray release, but I would rather first have a similar treatment of The Agony and the Ecstasy which is also a candidate for one of the showpiece releases in an upcoming 4k format. But back to Hello, Dolly!: I found the textures and detail extraordinary and imo this is one of the very few large format releases that really shows how good 65mm originated movies really were.
     
  6. trajan

    trajan Screenwriter

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    I saw DOCTOR DOLITTLE when it first came out, and it was the sharpest looking TODD-AO film I had ever seen.
     
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  7. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Cinematographer

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    Other titles, especially "The Sound of Music", use so much diffusion that the benefits of large-format imaging are often more subtle. They don't come much more impressive than "Hello Dolly!" I remember that the loudest applause the film received at a screening a few years back was at the first glimpse of the Harmonia Gardens set. It looked that stunning in 70mm.
     
  8. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Well, there you are. Missing from this discussion, however, are those people nitpicking this transfer to death - especially with "blooming whites" and contrast problems and white skies and no detail in lace and on and on. I hope they've all read this.
     
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  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Can we stop sending darts back and forth.
     
  10. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Screenwriter

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    I should be thankful my first time seeing this film was from the Blu-Ray release. (of course I am sure it would look great in a large format theatrical release) I had no idea the film was going to be as good as it was, and that it looked like I took a trip to Disney World!

    I had to walk upstairs after watching the movie last Saturday only to my dismay to find how horribly awful the MN weather was outside! (I expected to see summer sunshine!) Can't wait to watch this BLU again on an upcoming summer night.
     
  11. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I'm honestly not trying to send darts - but truth is truth: :) Every one of the people who've been complaining has said "I want to hear what Mr. Harris has to say." And not a one has been here to comment. It's all fine. I gather from the other thread that you don't happen to think it's a great transfer (at least I think that's what you were saying) - and there we can agree to disagree if that's the case. It's just me, but from my vantage point I think it's just as important to send Fox the message that a great job is appreciated just as much as sending the message that a screw-up like the original Patton is not a great job.
     
  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    You gather wrong as I have not viewed the BD in question nor do I place much importance on screen caps. I am just trying to keep the peace so we can have constructive discussion on this forum without it getting sidetracked with issues that have little value to the rest of the membership.
     
  13. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    On the basis of that last inarguably awful DVD of STAR!, I had given up hope we'd ever see it look something close to the fabulous original 70mm showing I saw upon its original release.The fact that there is a new print playing the circuit gives me hope that one day we might get something comparable to HELLO, DOLLY!
     
  14. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Cinematographer

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    The only issue with the new 70mm print of Star! that has played revival venues lately is that it's missing the overture.
     
  15. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Thank you Robert Crawford.

    For the record.
    I for one never said "I want to hear what Mr.Harris has to say" (so I hope I was not being referred to)
    There has been a few occasions when I have not agreed with the reviews of Robert Harris, however I do respect him and his enlightened contribution.

    Which brings me back to what I said on the other thread - "We all see things differently".
    We all have different viewing conditions and various standards of equipment, not to mention the countless set-up configurations.
    I'm sure most here would say that their equipment has been professionally or expertly calibrated.
    Yet we continue this silly argument of I'm right and you're wrong.
    Surely we are all entitled to our individual thoughts and opinions, without this silly right or wrong nonsense.

    Certainly I have not been overly critical of the Dolly disc.
    I still say there are minor and I repeat "minor" contrast problems in some scenes.
    That's just my humble opinion.

    Overall HELLO,DOLLY! looks spectacular and those responsible at Fox should take a bow.

    With regards to rating blu-rays of other large format films, I'd give it a 4/5 only because both South Pacific and Circus World (french version) to my eyes at least, look better and both those titles deserve the 5/5.

    Doug.
     
  16. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Supporting Actor
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    Who, who, who?
    Excuse me- you are sending darts! And as for we were all waiting to hearing "what Robert Harris has to stay" is absolute utter nonsense (no offense to Sir Robert).
     
  17. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Supporting Actor
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    Totally agree - and South Pacific is 10 years older than HD.
    I would actually say 4.5 video. but the audio 4.0. The laserdisc Hello Dolly sounds so much better and as I recall the Parade number was really kicking in the theater.... but not on this blu.
    I also think TSOM looks almost 3D in its outdoor shots compared to HD's. But that's not to say I don't like the HD blu either- I just feel it's slightly lacking.
     
  18. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    You can’t even have an adult discussion on this forum. Few have pointed out some concerns and they may or may not be legitimate, but instead of trying to address reasons for those concerns some on this forum have regressed back to elementary school playground level of name calling and I’m right your wrong :ha, ha , ha ha, ha: grow up guys…honestly if this is what this forum has turned into, this will be my last post here. Some of these posters have been removed from other sites for these very reasons
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Why don't you start having it then as I've been trying to get you and some others to do since last night.

    The second bolded part is not fair to the majority of this forum's membership nor the Administrative Staff that works very hard to keep this forum a place for constructive discussion regarding film and home theater issues. We're not perfect, but we strive to be, in giving you and every other member a place to have such discussions without it being a hostile posting environment.
     
  20. DP 70

    DP 70 Screenwriter

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    Remember this is screening in 70mm DTS SV on the Cinerama curved screen at Pictureville Bradford in this years
    Widescreen Weekend 2 weeks today.
     

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