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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Mr. Smith Goes to Washington -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    It's a extraordinary thing that a man who emigrated from his native Italy to America, arriving in 1903 as a 6 year-old, would create some of the most American of films during his half a century in Hollywood.

    While everyone seems to know It's a Wonderful Life (1946), which Mr. Capra created after returning to civilian life at the end of WWII, there are half a dozen films, all except one made for Columbia, that are full-bore, running on all 16-cylinders quintessential Capra.

    I'm not a fan of the term Capra-corn.

    To me, these are great films.

    To have to of them released at virtually the same time on Blu-ray is something devoutly to be wished.

    First, It Happened One Night (1934), and now Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) -- one of the most beautifully patriotic films to come out of Hollywood.

    ​Sourced from extant original negative, mixed and matched with other surviving elements, the film, as both preserved and as released via Blu-ray, is a perfect example of the art and science of digital film restoration.

    With printer functions built-in to the original cut and conformed negative, dupes are an essential part of the look, feel and textures of the film -- but they've always been there.

    Not so, shots missing from the original elements.  And some of the more interesting tricks in the our tool box has been used to make this restoration both as seamless as well as transparent to the original as possible.

    To put it plainly, once again, the crew at Columbia / Sony has knocked another one out of the park.

    One of the truly great films in cinema, beautifully restored, and brought to Blu-ray.

    Those in front of and behind the camera reads like a "who's who" of 1939 cinema:  From the leads, James Stewart, Claude Rains, Jean Arthur, Thomas Mitchell, Guy Kibbe and Edward Arnold, down to the supporting players, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, H.B. Warner (yes, That H.B. Warner), Harry Carey and all the bit players -- perfect casting, perfectly played.

    A score composed by Dimitri Tiomkin, cinematography by Joseph Walker, and the montage work of the great Slavko Vorkapich...

    For those desirous of a master's class in film restoration, the new Blu-ray of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a good place to begin.

    Image - 5*

    Audio - 5

    Pass / Fail - Pass

    Very Highly Recommended

    RAH

     
  2. JoHud

    JoHud Producer

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    Also, Pocketful of Miracles has just been released. While certainly not the same caliber as the other two, it still makes a Capra three-some on blu-ray this holiday season.
     
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  3. david hare

    david hare Supporting Actor

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    Just received this. The image (and sound) is absolutely sublime, unbelievably beautiful B&W. I don't have It Happened One night yet to compare it but I simply don't know how much better you could get with these Columbia 4k remasters.
     
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  4. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    And to think that if his original career path had worked out, Mr. Capra would have been a chemical engineer. When 20/20 did his obituary, they showed what was supposed to be his college diploma from Cal Tech. It was actually Capra's membership certificate to Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society. (I'm a fellow member.)
     
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  5. Ed Lachmann

    Ed Lachmann Screenwriter

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    I really love all of Capra's films, too, but wish fervently that somewhere a decent surviving print of MEET JOHN DOE may be waiting to be discovered.
     
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  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I believe orig elements are fine.
     
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  7. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    And I just peeked at Amazon where this title (digibook) is only $14.99. When I pre-ordered back on August 30th, it was $13.99!

    Unbelievable.

    And I, too, have my copies of Pocketful of Miracles (a blind buy for me) and It Happened One Night.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    The first 2 releases bearing fruit from Sony's restoration program supervised by Grover Krisp of the Capra Columbia film catalog gives me great hope for the recently-completed work done for "Lost Horizon"...already have "It Happened One Night" along with Kino-Lorber's "Pocketful Of Miracles"(which looks better than I've ever seen before) and am waiting somewhat impatiently for "Mr. Smith" to arrive on Dec. 2nd...thank you for your highly positive reviews of these initial Capra restorations, Robert!!! :cheers:
     
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  9. atfree

    atfree Producer

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    Watching "Pocketful of Miracles" right now. Excellent, probably the best Kino Lorber Studio Classic released so far. The transfer is superb IMO.
     
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  10. calvinm

    calvinm Stunt Coordinator

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    It sounds fantastic! The 'Capra Collection' banding gives me hope that my favourite of his films, The Bitter Tea of General Yen, will find its way to Blu-Ray.
     
  11. Raul Marquez

    Raul Marquez Supporting Actor

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    The price keeps going up. I just pre-ordered it but the price both through the HTF link and straight to the Amazon site is $ 16.99.

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (4K-Mastered + UltraViolet + Included Digibook) [Blu-ray]
    Rated: NR (Not Rated) Format: Blu-ray
    376 customer reviews

    List Price: $19.99 Price: $16.99 Free Shipping for Prime Members You Save: $3.00 (15%)
     
  12. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    The constant ebb-and-flow of Amazon pricing...
     
  13. Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Cinematographer

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    No joke there. I'm watching pricing on two Blu titles in my cart ("IAMMW", "Star Trek TNG, S6), both which had good price drops, and hope they stay that way or keep dropping till my pay catches up to my Blu buys. But Drat, drat and it's double Drat. Price went up $4 on the Blu for "Niagara".
     
  14. ShellOilJunior

    ShellOilJunior Stunt Coordinator

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    A timeless work from a master. It makes me laugh and cry and it's just as relevant today as it was in 1939.


    The Players - Wow, what a cast!
    Claude Rains, Jean Arthur, Harey Carey, Thomas Mitchell (What a 1939 he had!), Eugene Pallette, H.B. Warner and others are all exceptional.

    Oh, let's not forget James Stewart. His performance as Smith is beyond praise. Act III is as good as it gets in cinema, imo.
     
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  15. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    As is widely known, James Stewart placed second in the Academy Awards contest for Best Actor in 1939 just behind winner Robert Donat and before Clark Gable who placed third for Gone With the Wind. 1939 was the last year that the results of the voting other than the winners were revealed during the ceremony.
     
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  16. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Stewart won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Actor of 1939 for this picture.
     
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  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Right now, the Amazon price is $12.99. For those that haven't preorder it yet, I would do so now.
     
  18. Oblivion138

    Oblivion138 Second Unit

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    Wow! That price is unbelievable. Thanks for the heads-up, Robert. Pre-ordered!
     
  19. jim_falconer

    jim_falconer Supporting Actor

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    I was always planning on ordering this, but can't put it off any longer with this price...thanks Robert!
     
  20. Brent Reid

    Brent Reid Supporting Actor

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    Hi Ed,
    I recently added this section to MJD's Wiki page:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meet_John_Doe#Restoration_and_home_video_status

    I assume the release of the restored version has been buggered due to the proliferation of PD copies... :(
     

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