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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Hold Back the Dawn - in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. Message #1 of 19 Jul 15, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The name Mitchell Leisen doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, say like Hitchcock, Sturges, Wilder, Wyler, or many others, that have become an acknowledged part of our cinema experience.

    Regardless, Mr. Leisen was a fixture at early independents, and later at Paramount, starting his career as a designer - costume / art direction / set decorator - before he made the move to assistant director, and then director in 1933.

    Among his projects, Death Takes a Holiday, Easy Living, Midnight, I Wanted Wings, and in 1941, Hold Back the Dawn.

    His Technicolor films are a delight.

    A bit unusual in Hollywood in the 1920s-40s, he was out, be it gay or bi - and possibly because of that, never hit the same turf as the other Paramount filmmakers.

    I'll not get political here (once again), but the topic of Hold Back the Dawn is a relationship kindled as our lead Charles Boyer (an emigrant from France, appearing initially in American films in the early 1930s) discovers that he can legally cross the border from Mexico into the U.S., if he marries an American citizen. The majority of the film takes place at the border. The woman in question is Olivia de Havilland (born in Tokyo into a British family, arriving here as a child).

    Strangely, the film seems to have undertones of another film that was released a year or so later, which has world-weary travelers trying to make their way to the U.S., while stuck in Morocco, hanging out at a joint called Rick's.

    The wonderful French actor Victor Francen is one of the supporting players. Hold Back the Dawn was his first American studio picture. Born in Belgium, he made his earlier films, including Abel Gance's remake of his own J'Accuse, in France, leaving there for the Colonies, when the Germans arrived.

    Mr. Leisen has a role in the film, as Ms. de Havilland's former suitor.

    The film sports a fun wraparound sequence, on set at Paramount, with bits by John Hamilton (you'll remember him as Perry White in the Superman TV series), along with Veronica Lake, and Brian Donlevy.

    Hold Back the Dawn never received the reputation that it deserved, but now on Blu-ray, courtesy of Arrow and Universal, hopefully that can be corrected.

    Did I mention that it was written by the team of Brackett and Wilder?

    And there's score by Victor Young.

    What more do you need to give this one a try?

    Harvested from what appears to be dupe neg (yes, the credits are a bit soft), which works nicely throughout all of the film's production photography, by Leo Tover.

    For those who aren't yet hooked, it was nominated for six Academy Awards - Black & white cinematography, Music, Scoring for a Dramatic Picture, Art Direction / Interior Direction (black & white), Best Actress in a Leading Role, those two guys for Best Screenplay, and Best Picture.

    Image - 4

    Audio – 4

    Pass / Fail – Pass

    Upgrade from DVD - I'm unaware of a DVD release, so this is news.

    Highly Recommended

    RAH
     
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  2. PMF

    PMF Producer

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    As if Billy Wilder weren't enough.
    Oh yes,this film fills in such a multitudes of lists.:popcorn:
     
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  3. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    I watched the Arrow Blu-ray disc last night. I'm pleased with the disc and I think the film is superb. Although born abroad, Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland were two of Hollywood's finest and both are excellent in Hold Back The Dawn.
     
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  4. Message #4 of 19 Jul 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
    Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Funny thing is that Olivia de Havilland was raised in the States from the time she was 3 years old. Her younger sister Joan wasn't even 2 years old when she arrived in the States.

    Edit: By the way, I received my copy of "Hold Back the Dawn" yesterday. Unfortunately, it's going to be a while before I can watch it as I got too much going on in home projects to watch much TV nor any movies.
     
  5. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    There was an R2 DVD released by Universal in France in 2010 that plays in English without French subtitles. I have it (the picture is decent) but I'll definitely be upgrading to the Arrow blu. You neglected to mention Paulette Goddard (who has an important role in the film) and one of the reasons I enjoy the movie.
     
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  6. roxy1927

    roxy1927 Stunt Coordinator

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    Leisen(who I think is a wonderful director) I believe was disparaged by Wilder. Can somebody either confirm or refute this as I am not sure where I read this. It was long ago. I remember the interviewer bringing him up and Wilder dismissing the director.
     
  7. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Both Wilder and Preston Sturges resented what Leisen did to their respective screenplays. There were other factors involved as well.
     
  8. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    Writers are not always the best judges of their own work. Both Remember The Night and Hold Back The Dawn are superb films, perfectly paced, with excellent performances from the entire cast and with the camera always in the right place.
     
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  9. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Stunt Coordinator

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    Mitchell Leisen directed three episodes of The Twilight Zone in its first season including "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine," starring Ida Lupino and Martin Balsam about an aging actress who wanted to escape into the pictures of her past. That episode also features a score by Franz Waxman.
     
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  10. battlebeast

    battlebeast Cinematographer

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    My copy hasn’t even shipped yet from B&N and they’ve delayed the arrival date. :/
     
  11. lionel59

    lionel59 Supporting Actor

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    Terrific movie with great performances and wonderful dialogue. My favourite line is Olivia's one about "leaving a tip".
    I believe it is the last Wilder screenplay directed by someone else (other than screenplays he was called in to improve/fix). Sturges paved the way for him to demand of Paramount that he be permitted to direct his own scripts. The first was THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR, also due out on blu ray in the UK this year. I seem to recall some conflict between Wilder and Boyer during the production. Paulette Goddard makes an impact and the US border issues are still relevant today. Top film.
     
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  12. Message #12 of 19 Jul 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
    PMF

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    AKA "Hold Back the Discs".:mellow:
     
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  13. B-ROLL

    B-ROLL Cinematographer

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    The Major and the Minor will also be available in the US
    Thanks Arrow!
     
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  14. lionel59

    lionel59 Supporting Actor

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    There was also an Italian release with optional subtitles. I'm guessing taken from the same (respectable) transfer.
     
  15. battlebeast

    battlebeast Cinematographer

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    HAHAHA!
     
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  16. lionel59

    lionel59 Supporting Actor

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    I pre-ordered and pre-paid directly from Arrow. I noticed it had been released and I emailed them asking why my copy had not been shipped out as yet. I received a refund with no comment, let alone an apology. I paid a little more to get one from amazon.co.uk which I am still waiting to receive. Very poor.
    A similar thing happened re pre-ordering the UK Criterion blu of THE HEIRESS from a company called Zavvi. The date of release came and went and nothing was sent to me and when I asked when it was likely to be shipped they said they were out of stock and had no idea. Again, I cancelled but this time got one for less. I will never order from either company again.
    This is Olivia's year for blu ray. A UK blu ray of THE SNAKE PITwith more extras than TT's edition has been released. Time TO EACH HIS OWN came out on blu ray. It's flawed and forgotten, but I'd like to see THAT LADY in CinemaScope. Paul Scofield is in it and Olivia wears an eye-patch (!) It was online in Scope for free but you couldn't download it and it disappeared before I got around to watching it.
    Speaking of Wyler, the extras on THE HEIRESS are great, especially the interview with Merv Griffin and Wyler, Olivia, Bette and Walter Pidgeon. It is edited and Samantha Eggar is seen briefly. He reportedly gave her a very hard time on the set of THE COLLECTOR, but maybe after the Oscar nomination all was forgiven. He is my favourite director, so it is disheartening to learn that certain performers like Eggar and Jean Simmons were reportedly treated poorly by him on set. I would love Wyler's CARRIE to come out as a Criterion blu ray with extras. Details re the altered ending (I believe he shot the novel's ending in which the Olivier character suicides as well as the softer ending, which Paramount preferred). The McCarthy climate hindered the movie - as anything critical of American life was seen as pro-Communist - and it was shelved for nearly two years. Many of the same team from HEIRESS worked on this film and I believe it to be the equal of that excellent production. Many think it Olivier 's finest work on screen and Jones is great in it and should have been Oscar-nominated. Long overdue on blu ray (and the background details would be fascinating-the book was initially banned too)
     
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  17. Message #17 of 19 Jul 27, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
    battlebeast

    battlebeast Cinematographer

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    Where was TO EACH HIS OWN released? in the UK? I can't seem to find it anywhere.
     
  18. lionel59

    lionel59 Supporting Actor

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    Hi. I was saying it is time for TO EACH HIS OWN to be released on blu ray, not that it has come out in that format.
     
  19. battlebeast

    battlebeast Cinematographer

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    ah. I missed "Time" part. :rolleyes:
     

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