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

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As a Woody Allen film, his 1978 Interiors, was a bit of an anomaly.

    It wasn't a comedy, but rather headed in the direction of Ingmar Bergman.

    As Julie Kirgo notes in her excellent monograph, Mr. Allen was coming off of Annie Hall, and could do no wrong.

    And he didn't.

    It's just that Interiors wasn't what much of the world was expecting.

    MGM's transfer, via Twilight Time, is precisely what one might expect.

    Presumably taken from an IP, there is occasional embedded dirt and other minor problems that could have been easily corrected, along with the fact that the film never stops ever-so-slightly, moving.

    That might be considered a good thing, if one is desirous of mimicking the look of cinema, but home video aficionados have become more attuned to stability.

    Film moves. It always moves.

    Make a continuous contact IP from the OCN, and it will move even more.

    Project a print derived from a dupe neg, in turn which has been derived from the IP, and one has movement in virtually all directions.

    But some of it disappears as one has even more movement added by the projectors various mechanisms.

    That's what cinema is (or was), and the eye is used to it.

    Not so with home video.

    One of the very special things about Interiors, is that it was shot by Gordon Willis.

    I have no idea whether this transfer follows his intent or not.

    Bottom line, it's very nice to finally have this film on Blu-ray, and Twilight Time should be commended.

    Image - 4

    Audio -5

    4k Up-rez - 3.75

    Pass / Fail - Pass

    Recommended

    RAH
     
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  2. atcolomb

    atcolomb Supporting Actor

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    As with most of Woody's early films on disc not a lot of extras or commentary but nice to see them on Blu-ray.
     
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  3. titch

    titch Second Unit

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    Am I correct in thinking that I read somewhere that Julie Kirgo had recorded a commentary track - which would have been a first on a Woody Allen home video film - but was forced to remove it? I purchased the region B Arrow version last year but would have gladly double-dipped for a Twilight Time commentary with Julie.
     
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  4. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    This movie left me, and a lot of others, flat cold. While beautifully photographed, I found it pretentious and boring as a drill bit. One of a half-dozen Allen films I will not have in my collection, and I own most of his catalog (38 and counting). I love the actresses here, and Woody has certainly led a number of women to Oscars, but this film just does not click for me at all.
     
  5. Message #5 of 27 Feb 26, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
    titch

    titch Second Unit

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    I was prompted by Mr Harris' review and Dick's post to dig out Interiors and watch it as a double-bill yesterday with Bananas, both from Arrow, as I hadn't seen either of them for about 30 years - since college days. I am really glad that Twilight Time and Arrow are producing nice editions of Woody Allen's old films, given the masters they have to work with. I found Bananas to be much worse than I remembered; not only did Allen have no idea how to direct and edit scenes (the lighting must be the worst in any Woody Allen film), the music was terrible and there were so many embarrassingly stupid sketches. Sure, there were plenty of jokes, but he never manages to cut after the punchline and just continues for far too long. After making five more films and coming fresh off Annie Hall, the difference between Bananas and Interiors (especially seen right after each other) was quite staggering. Beautifully acted, written and directed and you can see what someone like Gordon Willis brought to the cinematography and lighting. I agree with you, I also find it pretentious and fake, nobody sounds like the characters in the film. "I left my audience", is what Allen said of Interiors. Probably the best thing to emerge from Interiors was Gordon Willis' and Allen's next project, Manhattan, which, apparently, they came up with during a dinner conversation, while filming Interiors in the Hamptons. Still, I support directors who go and make the films they want to make. While no comparison to Woody Allen, his contemporary Martin Scorsese hasn't exactly given Paramount a box office hit with Silence - his "personal" project.
     
  6. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Supporting Actor

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    Another crummy MGM transfer; where basic clean up could have sufficed, they cannot even be bothered to invest in that. If they are truly broke and unable to write the checks even for common decency and maintenance of their back catalog then perhaps it is high time they start shopping around either the permanent or temporary sale of that catalog to a distributor who will care for it properly and share in the profits from future distribution.

    AFI, Film Foundation, MOMA, anybody? Any takers?!?! Curate, preserve and restore your history or you are doomed to lose it. What? No millionaire film lovers around the world who would be willing to join in the cause? No millionaire film makers who understand the importance of art preservation; not only their predecessors' work but their own for future generations?

    Spielberg, Scorsese, Ridley Scott? Are any of you boys listening?!?! Okay, in fairness, Scorsese has been the most proactive of the lot. But hey, there is MORE than enough money floating around out there for the asking and taking. MGM needs to start a strategic marketing plan to cull some of it together under an alliance/distribution agreement that can only benefit everyone. Their present 'wait and see' mentality (akin to 'don't know/don't care') is appallingly short-sighted and literally responsible for the degenerative tragedy of thousands of movies caught in their various stages of decomposition. The original camera negatives ARE NOT getting any younger, folks! Neither am I!!!
     
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  7. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Would be great if the Koch brothers were huge film and film restoration fans.
     
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  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Not "crummy," but rather unfinished. Most viewers will be blissfully unaware.
     
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  9. Jimbo64

    Jimbo64 Supporting Actor

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    You just said a mouthful! That would be utterly amazing
     
  10. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    I absolutely support a director's need to begin working outside his own personal box. I certainly do not fault Allen for INTERIORS (1978). I simply don't enjoy it. I will never watch it again. But then came MANHATTAN one year later, a hybrid containing elements of ANNIE HALL and INTERIORS, and it is is one of my favorites (in no small part due to the Willis black and white, widescreen cinematography and the Gershwin music). Allen was in the midst of shaking his slapstick persona and exploring more mature styles and subject matter, and this has given us at least a dozen arguable near-masterpieces (HUSBANDS AND WIVES, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, BLUE JASMINE, ZELIG, etc.) that include humor in varying degrees but which are also quite serious on their bottom lines, and I respect that wholeheartedly.

    I still find BANANAS, sloppy as it is (I agree with you on that part of it, Titch), to be pretty damned funny with gags that work well more than half the time. I feel the same way about LOVE AND DEATH and EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW... And then there is SLEEPER, which absolutely floors me even now -- one of the most consistently hilarious comedies for decades. But lining up Allen's filmography in chronological order certainly indicates a sure and admirable metamorphosis from a (very funny) larvae stage into a fully-developed and often beautiful, introspective and thoughtful butterfly. There are failures along the road. Who doesn't have them? I love this man's work, from all the way back to his stand-up comedy days. He has a very particular way of looking at life and the meaning of it that is shared by no other artist I am aware of in quite his way but with which audiences can identify, and for that, I give his lesser films a huge pass.
     
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  11. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    Spielberg? Scorsese? Scott? Uh, how about Woody Allen? Mr. Allen is a bit of a control freak when it comes to his films. He's never done any commentaries or interviews on DVD or blu for his films and discourages anything but the most basic "bonus features" (trailers, red carpet puff pieces etc.). Once he's finished a film, he doesn't appear eager to revisit any of them. He's concentrating on the next one. But one would think he would be interested on how his films look on video. Remember, this was the man who insisted that Manhattan be shown wide screen when first shown on TV, a bold and rare move at the time. I'm not sure if Allen is aware (or even gives a damn) about his films on blu ray but it would be nice if he had "approval" on the transfers.
     
  12. titch

    titch Second Unit

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    You are obviously a kindred spirit - I feel exactly the same way! There are few auteurs that can compare with Woody Allen's oeuvre, an astonishing career, which has produced at least as many masterpieces as his hero Ingmar Bergman did. Of course he has turned out several turkeys and misfires, but probably no other director - apart from Spielberg - has had such total control over their movies for their entire career. Even at this late stage, he can still attract the cream of talent, in front of and behind the camera.
     
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  13. Message #13 of 27 Mar 2, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
    PMF

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    I'm looking forward to this BD of "Interiors".
    To the best of my memory, its been around 30 years since I saw it.
    It's an art piece, from all that I remember; but it resonated with me.
    Was it the photography?
    Was it that "Interiors" had veered away from all expectations of Woody Allen, within that period?
    Was it the mood and tone of introspections?
    Only time will tell upon an updated viewing.
    But I, for one, had always admired the film as a whole.
    For my take, some of the Woody Allen works are complete and accessible to all;
    whereas a film like "Interiors" are akin to a painters sketch book and not for all.
    Either way, I'll gladly take both the pages from the sketch books and the murals, too.
    The journey is all and its been prolific.:thumbs-up-smiley:
     
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  14. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Yes. I don't know where it was first announced that they intended to do one, but I saw a note on Facebook from TT that they had to cancel that plan.

    I recall hearing elsewhere that the contracts for distributing Allen movies specifically prohibits the inclusion of substantial bonus features like commentaries, which is a shame if true.
     
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  15. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Her essay in the booklet is so enthusiastic that the commentary would have been quite revelatory, I suspect.
     
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  16. Twilight Time

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    Just as a point of accuracy, Woody Allen's office signed off on the commentary - it was the studio that got cold feet at the last minute - a shame as the commentary was very supportive of the film and everything that it accomplished as Mr A's first dramatic endeavor.
     
  17. cinemiracle

    cinemiracle Supporting Actor

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    I saw I it in NYC when it first opened. At the time , I considered it to be Allen's crowning achievement. A masterpiece.
     
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  18. titch

    titch Second Unit

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    Wow, that was such a shame - and very surprising. As I wrote in an earlier post, I would certainly have purchased the Twilight Time disc for the commentary alone - I already have the Arrow version. The Twilight Time commentaries are so informative and entertaining, that I find they are among the few commentary tracks worth listening to these days. I can't understand why the studio would get cold feet - MGM as a video entity doesn't seem to have any creative input towards their catalogue and doesn't appear to have any consistency when it comes to producing the video masters. I have a few biographies on Woody Allen, the indispensable Stig Björkman book, "Woody Allen On Woody Allen", also the documentary produced in 2012, so I am familiar with his thoughts on Interiors, among his other works. I have 32 of his films on blu-ray, including som rather shoddy, Scandinavian-produced transfers (that resemble up-rezzed DVD masters). None of the films have any supplements beyond the odd trailer, perfunctory featurette or photo gallery.

    I don't rate Interiors highly, because of the dialogue. I prefer his other "serious" chamber films, September and Another Woman. In Tom Shone's great book Woody Allen: A Perspective (2015), Woody Allen himself says: "After Interiors, months later, I was sitting at home and suddenly thought to myself, 'Gee, did I make this mistake?' Because of my exposure to foreign films, in my ear for dialogue, was I really writing subtitles to foreign films? When you see, say, a Bergman film, you're reading it because you're following the subtitles. And when you read it, the dialogue has a certain cadence. My ear was picking up on subtitle-style dialogue and I was creating that for my characters. I worried about that. It's something that I never really resolved clearly. I don't know".

    But I don't count Interiors among his worst films, in my opinion: Hollywood Ending, The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion, Anything Else, Whatever Works and To Rome With Love.

    I hope Twilight Time and Arrow will continue to release Woody Allen's catalogue - maybe there will be a new chance in the future for a commentary track?
     
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  19. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    I never doubted that many people champion the film, and I'm glad for your and their sake that it got released on Blu.
     
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  20. PMF

    PMF Cinematographer

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    Is it possible that Woody Allen feels that each work should speak for itself;
    or that he doesn't want to impose definitives through his own commentaries?
    Or is it, that he's so busy writing that doing 40 plus commentaries would simply remove the creative juices from all that's ahead?
    Either way, it would be nice to see him support Film Restoration.
    Certainly, he couldn't be opposed to the preservation of Gordon Willis' work;
    or, for that matter, Ingmar Bergman's.
    After all, if memory serves me correctly, "The Sorrow and The Pity" was financially restored or, at least, cleaned up for re-issue through Mr. Allen. Right?
     

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