- Apr 5, 2008
- Real Name
Actually, that's not what I'm saying at all.You're certainly welcome to disagree, but what I'm describing is not about the L&H "mythos". It's a matter of reality. These were shot on film, and L&H's images and the essences of their gags were captured and preserved by film grain. Take away the grain and you're taking away the essential record of their performances which is on the grain.
It's the same as transferring analogue sound, which is a sign wave, with lots of high and low range information, to the digital realm, which is a square wave, which only preserves the middle range, and then using an overly aggressive cleaning tool to get rid of the tape hiss. Yes, you can hear the voices and instruments without any impediment, and it may sound "better" to an untrained ear, but there's very little information left. What remains is a pale shadow of the original performance, so that many people hearing Maria Callas for the first time on CD might think her voice isn't all that impressive, because so much of what made that voice great is missing.
You talk as if there is only a choice between dupey, contrasy images and the overly clean ones, denuded of grain and reality, that are on this set. But it would have been easy, if perhaps a bit more time consuming, to use a cleaning program carefully, and preserve the grain while leaving the images even more crystalline and easy to see, as the grain would still be there, for taking out the grain softens the image considerably. That's the point Mr. Harris and others are trying to make.
I sometimes get the feeling we're having two different conversations; that we're speaking two different languages. (And, believe me, if you're going to throw tech talk at me, it WILL be read as a foreign language.)
Essentially, and simply, Mr. Harris is saying that the transfer from restored elements to Blu-ray could have been handled more effectively and that we'd have a better looking product heading to the homes of collectors as we speak.
I get it. And I have no reason to doubt him, you or anyone else on this site.
I'm referring to the statements you made along these lines...
"Without grain, Laurel and Hardy do not exist. Their sight gags are no longer funny, as the glow and essence that illuminates them is gone."
And I'm not saying you're wrong about that. You spoke of a film grain effect that might impact my perceptions even though I might not be consciously aware of it. That's entirely possible. I related how the introduction of additional music had spoiled my enjoyment of some of these films. That was very especially true of THE MUSIC BOX, and for more than 30 years I couldn't put my finger on the reason behind it. Now, after listening to Richard Bann's commentary on this new set, I understand. There was a central truth of Stan's original intent that I had picked up on without knowing it. So, maybe I've been picking up on some essence of reality from the grain in the flawed prints I've been watching most of my life.
I'm saying that, yes, we do only have two choices. We have what came before, and we have this new set. We do not have the set that Mr. Harris hoped to see, because it was not mass produced by his preferred method for the home market. Period.
AND, having watched nearly all of the films in this new collection, I say that I'm seeing the same Stan and Ollie I've always loved. To me the gags ARE just as funny. Their essence IS still there. If you say that grain is lacking, I believe you. If you say the "gags are no longer funny," well, that's where you lose me.
You can wax poetic on the virtues of film grain. More power to you.
You may consider my tastes to be plebeian; that I'm an "untrained ear" at a film grain concert.
That's okay. I've said that I'm no film student. I'm not an aficionado.
I'm a fan in an organization of buffs. John McCabe said I was welcome. I can appreciate a non-pristine print of COME CLEAN. Well, William K. Everson would surely understand.
Hell, even Mr. Harris said that I would love this set, because I'm a truly passionate fan... and nothing wrong with that. Isn't that enough of an endorsement?