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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Big Sleep (1946) -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Howard Hawks' The Big Sleep was produced for release in 1945, but for various reasons did not appear in theaters until 1946.


    There are two versions of the film. The earlier found in the Warner vaults a number of years ago, and preserved by UCLA.


    One of the wonderful things about this new Warner Archive release is that it gives us both -- the 1946 in a new gorgeous HD transfer, and the 1945 in SD, which is not a problem.


    It's the changes, the re-shoots and the re-editing between the two, as explained by UCLA's Robert Gitt, here for the first time, unedited, that makes this Blu-ray doubly exciting.


    For those poor souls who may be unaware, The Big Sleep in one of the greatest detective/noir films - ever. You remember Philip Marlowe.


    It is only slightly more confusing than the second season of True Detective, but that's part of its everlasting charm.


    Decades ago, when I was in my late teens and collecting old 16mm prints, I was occasionally gifted something by our distribution exec, that had come off the syndication inventory, as it was too splicy to be useful.


    One such print, was The Big Sleep.


    I already had a print, gifted earlier, that was off a dupe negative, and just a bit more murky due to TV density than I would have liked. Then this new/old print showed up.


    Dupont stock, heavy in silver content, and apparently old enough to have been reduction printed directed from the camera original.


    It had detail to beat the band.


    That gorgeous print pales in comparison to what the Warner Archive has just made available, with full grain structure, wide shadow detail and rich blacks. Resolution, when the element was shot totally sharp, is undeniable.


    Best not to get into the film, especially for those who have not been exposed to it, but suffice to say, that -- at least in this humble archivists opinion -- this very special release of The Big Sleep, turning up the brim of his hat, looking over his glasses and minding stating...


    umm...


    that it would be Bogart and Bacall at their best.


    My favorite line - "[She] tried to sit in my lap when I was standing up..."


    My advice?


    Just buy this one, watch it.


    And be amazed.


    The first truly Great catalog release of 2016, and probably one of the best of the coming year.


    Image - 5

    Audio - 5

    4k Up-rez - 5

    Pass / Fail - Pass


    Very Highly Recommended


    RAH
     
  2. atfree

    atfree Producer
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    Can't wait for my copy to arrive. Moments like these are when I am truly perplexed by the fact these catalog titles don't sell more copies to merit more releases.
     
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  3. atcolomb

    atcolomb Screenwriter

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    My dvd from 2000 has the documentary called "The Big Sleep Comparisons" with Robert Gitt of UCLA which I saw first before seeing the two cuts of the movie and that was very informative on the different versions of the film. I guess this has the same documentary but unedited and that makes it more of a must buy for me.
     
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  4. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer

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    And not to forget Dorothy Malone.
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    And Matha Vickers, who turned thumb-sucking into an art form...
     
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  6. OliverK

    OliverK Producer

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    I watched this one more than once in the pre-DVD days both in the cineam and on video but haven't revisited it since. This is going to be a treat!
     
  7. Oblivion138

    Oblivion138 Second Unit

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    My favorite Bogart film...maybe even my favorite noir of all time...I've been waiting for this one since I first got a BD player.

    Pity that the 1945 version is still in SD...I've always liked it a bit more than the release version. But at least it is included.
     
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  8. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer

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    I'm also one who prefers the '45 version. I would've loved to have them both in HD, but this is still a no brainer addition for me.
     
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  9. Oblivion138

    Oblivion138 Second Unit

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    Definitely. I'm looking forward to adding the entire Bogart/Bacall library to my collection, but The Big Sleep is priority number one, by a long shot.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The 1945 cut of the film has moderate to severe damage, that would preclude a simple HD transfer. Presentation in HD would have entailed inordinate expense.

    RAH
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    That is unfortunate for fans of this film.
     
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  12. Reluctant Santa

    Reluctant Santa Auditioning

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    It's a curio cut anyway. Good riddance.
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Welcome to the forum, but like others, I disagree with you because the original version does have some qualities that the released version doesn't have in it.
     
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  14. Message #14 of 125 Feb 5, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
    Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    I'd like to give a shout out to the wonderful Sonia Darrin ("What do those look like? Grapefruit?") and she doesn't even get billing! Everyone talks about Bacall, Malone or Vickers but Darrin's turn as Agnes steals the movie for me.
     
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  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    In the same vain, I like to give a shout out to Dorthy Malone in one of her earlier roles as the book shop girl. I always had a crush on her.
     
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  16. Easily my most wanted title on Blu. The day it was announced I happened to get in the mail this advertisement for it from an auction Leonard Maltin was having of some personal memorabilia.

    image.

    FWIW - my most wanted title now is "The Old Dark House." Make it happen, people!
     
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  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    By the way, the Amazon price has dropped to $17.99 for this BD title along with Key Largo and I Confess.
     
  18. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    Huge Dorothy Malone fan here. When I was in high school I actually wrote her a fan letter. That Christmas, I got a personally signed Christmas card from her.
     
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  19. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    I never knew there was an "original version", just the version I grew up looking at on the telly & then on VHS & DVD.
     
  20. Tim Munton

    Tim Munton Auditioning

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    Hi - This is great news!
    Forgive me for possibly sounding ignorant but when you say "4k Uprez" do you mean
    the film was scanned at 4k scan ( & then downscaled when encoded to ordinary blu-ray for this 23 Feb 2016 release ) or that it was scanned at 2k & you are watching it upscaled on a UHD 4k screen?

    Or more simply were the film elements used for this bluray scanned at 4k before restoration work began?!
    Thanks for reading this.
     

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