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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Holiday - in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. Message #1 of 16 Dec 31, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2020
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    There was a time, as a late teen, before I learned to speak fillum, that I might confuse, or conjoin George Cukor's wonderful 1938 romantic comedy Holiday, with Leo McCarey's wonderful The Awful Truth, produced the year previous.

    Both star Cary Grant, while Awful feature him with Irene Dunn, while Holiday, Katharine Hepburn and Doris Nolan.

    For those unaware of either, or both, you've a treat in store.

    Because finally, we have both on Blu-ray.

    Both are Columbia productions, and neither has been seen in prime condition for many years.

    While Holiday looks like film, grain haters need not apply, as the majority of the image is derived from a nitrate duplicate neg, presumably in turn, derived from a nitrate lavender.

    Most viewers won't notice the digital cleanup, as the film look remains, but elements appear to have been in less than stellar condition.

    Work performed is of the highest caliber.

    Audio is lively and clean.

    Criterion has included the 1930 version of the film, also based upon the Barry stage play, and it fairs a bit better than the main feature.

    But, those who love fine cinema can finally marvel at the words, the directing and the acting, in a far more appealing manner than in recent years.

    An extraordinary film.


    Image - 4.25

    Audio - 5

    Pass / Fail - Pass

    Very Highly Recommended

    RAH

     
  2. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I’m very excited! I just wish that I had it on hand to watch tonight.
     
    Suzanne.S, David Weicker and Darby67 like this.
  3. Message #3 of 16 Dec 31, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
    Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    I am a grain hater but I'll be buying this disc because the film is a favorite of mine and I anyway accept that film grain "goes with the territory" when you're talking about late 1930s movies.
     
    Darby67 and B-ROLL like this.
  4. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Sorta wishing this were a Few Words About a Roman Holiday, but I'll take it! :)
     
    Nick*Z, ScottHM and battlebeast like this.
  5. battlebeast

    battlebeast Cinematographer

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    I would love that, too!
     
  6. PatrickDA

    PatrickDA Second Unit

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    Would "Talk of the Town" look any better or is it in the same condition as "Holiday"?
     
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  7. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    It’s a few years newer, which may work in its favor.
     
  8. Message #8 of 16 Jan 3, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
    Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

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    I read somewhere once that studio chief Harry Cohn was notoriously cheap and Columbia made their release prints from the original negatives rather than creating duplicate negatives , which was the norm. No idea if it's true, but it certainly would explain why so much of the Columbia library has needed work.
     
  9. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Screenwriter

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    Film grain goes with the territory in any decade.
     
    plektret likes this.
  10. roxy1927

    roxy1927 Stunt Coordinator

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    As I have written probably on another thread I have seen Holiday a number of times in different revival houses and on TV. It is one of my favorite films especially because of the performances of Lew Ayres and Jean Dixon and I think it might be Cukor's best film. But I have never seen a good print. The grain has always been bad as if the 35mm prints had been transferred from 16mm. And the prints have shown a fair amount of fading. So I do wonder if there is going to be any real difference.
     
  11. Message #11 of 16 Jan 6, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
    David Weicker

    David Weicker Producer

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    Received my copy today.

    The ‘38 version looks good, and is one of my favorite films. Such joy and chemistry. Plus “the Witch and Dopey”. We like it

    The ‘30 version looks fantastic. Ann Harding is terrific. And it has Horton’s “bottle speech”, which is a joy. I’d only seen a horrible YouTube version before now.

    A wonderful Criterion package.
     
    philip*eric, LeoA and Will Krupp like this.
  12. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Ann Harding and Mary Astor are both terrific and give the film some lift. So does Horton. I really like the '30 version...if only it had Lew Ayres...
     
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  13. david hare

    david hare Supporting Actor

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    And Cary!
     
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  14. Mark Mayes

    Mark Mayes Stunt Coordinator

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    I had never seen the Ann Harding version until I got this disc last night. I am starting to prefer it. The male stars are not as good, but Harding delivers a coherent performance that I wasn't expecting.
     
  15. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Yes, yes, yes! I can't say it enough. Harding is so much better. And Astor as well. I can't even remember the sister in the remake.
     
    Mark Mayes likes this.
  16. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Cinematographer

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    You know, I love Hepburn, but I can't help but agree with you. Harding is so natural and less theatrical than Hepburn there really isn't a comparison. (Heaven help me for saying so!)

    Linda's "farewell" speech to her family reeks of artifice at the BEST of it (it's a Philip Barry clunker, IMO) but Harding ALMOST makes you believe it, while Hepburn seems to be pitching it to a matinee balcony. It's always bothered me that, again, as much as I love Hepburn, most of her lines were just that, lines she was reciting (sometimes shouting for no fathomable reason.) Now I see what it SHOULD look like and I found myself actually ROOTING for Linda (even though I already knew the ending!)

    Nice to have both versions and I still DO enjoy the 1938 (though it's crazy that the 1930 looks better and fresher)

    Lovely disc to have!
     
    Marc Hampton, bujaki, Rob_Ray and 2 others like this.

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