1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

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

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Message #1 of 35 Sep 19, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2019
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    12,377
    Likes Received:
    14,921
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    My technical background enables me to wax on about grain structure in old films, color fade, black levels, shadow detail, stability of the image, et al.

    All of which makes my words regarding virtually all Warner Archive titles, to be quite honest, boring.

    Take The Letter, one of Bette Davis' finest, the William Wyler directed, 1940 Warner Bros. production.

    Photographed in black & white by Tony Gaudio (The Adventures of Robin Hood), based upon the play by W. Somerset Maugham, with a screenplay by Howard Koch, and a score by Max Steiner, the film is a magnificent achievement.

    Quite rightly, it was nominated for seven Academy Awards, inclusive of Best Picture, Actress, Editing, Director, Cinematography (b/w), score, and Supporting Actor.

    As far as I know, the original nitrate negative survives, but apparently a decade ago, the studio ordered a meticulously prepared wet-gate fine grain, which is the source of this Blu-ray.

    As noted, this is boring.

    The Blu-ray is magnificent in every detail, and to my jaundiced eye appears to be akin to an original 35mm print.

    For those who really want to get into the weeds, there is a problem, but as far as I can tell, it's been there for eighty years.

    Look closely at the main title sequence, and you'll see a lack of stability.

    Not the type the you'll find from an old telecine, where the entire frame wobbles about, but rather, within the production of the title negative itself, with a certain amount of movement between the background plate, and presumably, the hold-back matte, and title overlay.

    I feel better, now that I've found something to write about.

    Essential Davis, essential Wyler, and essential to any serious library.

    A perfect Blu-ray.

    Image – 5

    Audio – 5

    Upgrade from DVD - Absolutely!

    Pass / Fail – Pass

    Very Highly Recommended

    RAH

     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    43,872
    Likes Received:
    19,606
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    One of the best opening movie sequences in film history. I can't wait to watch this Blu-ray in the coming days.
     
    Suzanne.S, PMF, Peter Keller and 2 others like this.
  3. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Messages:
    2,511
    Likes Received:
    3,398
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    PA
    Real Name:
    Will
    Us, too!! What a snoozefest all this perfection has been!

    Now, who do we see about a recall?? :rolleyes:

    All kidding aside, thanks for the great news and I can't wait to see this again as well! I've mentioned before but it contains one of my favorite Bette Davis moments from her entire career and I can't wait to make a night of it.

    Thank you, sir! :)
     
    Suzanne.S, PMF, Danny Burk and 7 others like this.
  4. B-ROLL

    B-ROLL Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    Messages:
    2,467
    Likes Received:
    2,191
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Real Name:
    Bryan
    Try not to make it too bumpy ;) ...
     
    PMF likes this.
  5. warnerbro

    warnerbro Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    645
    Likes Received:
    619
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    Burbank, California
    Real Name:
    Darrell
    Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night.
     
  6. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Messages:
    2,511
    Likes Received:
    3,398
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    PA
    Real Name:
    Will
    'Tell ME my credits are wobbly! I'll show that son of a bitch a bumpy night"
    [​IMG]
     
  7. lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    798
    Likes Received:
    859
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Real Name:
    mark gross
    As Bogie (playing Philip Marlowe) says to Colonel Sherwood in the beginning of "The Big Sleep": "Hmmmmmmmmm! Then Colonel Sherwood asks, "What does that mean?" Bogie responds: "Just Hmmmmmmmmmmm!"
     
  8. Paul Penna

    Paul Penna Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Messages:
    777
    Likes Received:
    287
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Real Name:
    Paul
    Similar to the credit for Max Steiner in Jezebel; just after the dissolve to it, the text jumps down a bit in relation to the background.
     
  9. Frank M

    Frank M Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    10
    What about the subtitles? Are they ALL CAPS and yellow again? There's something to write about...
     
    Peter Keller likes this.
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    12,377
    Likes Received:
    14,921
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    Actually, there are two or three shots in the opening sequence that could have easily been culled from one of Universal’s Talbot epics.

    Precisely what might Ms Davis looked like, as the moon came out from behind those ominous clouds, had she been bitten by her victim before he succumbed?
     
    B-ROLL, ahollis, PMF and 1 other person like this.
  11. Message #11 of 35 Sep 20, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
    PMF

    PMF Producer

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Messages:
    4,118
    Likes Received:
    4,540
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Real Name:
    Philip
    Can't imagine any greater unveilings from WAC;
    but I'll be remaining in this very line, just in case there's more.:thumbs-up-smiley:
     
    Conrad_SSS and Will Krupp like this.
  12. Conrad_SSS

    Conrad_SSS Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    126
    Trophy Points:
    110
    I’ll be right behind you. Those folks continue to provide us with exceptionally great releases.
     
    lionel59 and PMF like this.
  13. lionel59

    lionel59 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    583
    Likes Received:
    230
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Real Name:
    Michael Robert Lionel Evans
    One of Wyler's, Davis', Steiner's and Warner's best, which is saying A LOT.
    Seems like this is the year for Davis and de Havilland on blu ray (Criterion are releasing NOW, VOYAGER in November and did THE HEIRESS earlier this year. Plus we have been blessed with HOLD BACK THE DAWN, a new rendition of THE SNAKE PIT, JEZEBEL etc). Keep 'em coming!
    P. S. Thanks for the review Robert.
     
    Conrad_SSS, PMF and Will Krupp like this.
  14. Message #14 of 35 Sep 21, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
    PMF

    PMF Producer

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Messages:
    4,118
    Likes Received:
    4,540
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Real Name:
    Philip
    And what would they call this film if they ever decided to do a remake?
    "The email"? "The Tweet"?, "The Instagram"?
    Somehow, within our times, such a concept would simply not succeed nor translate as well.
    And that, my friends, is why we love our catalog titles and all that's done towards the preservation of film.:thumbs-up-smiley:
     
    ahollis and lionel59 like this.
  15. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,009
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Real Name:
    John Moreland
    The Text.
     
    B-ROLL and PMF like this.
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    43,872
    Likes Received:
    19,606
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    Yes, they're all caps and in yellow.
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    43,872
    Likes Received:
    19,606
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    I watched it and I'm very happy with it.
     
    PMF and Will Krupp like this.
  18. Message #18 of 35 Sep 22, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
    PMF

    PMF Producer

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Messages:
    4,118
    Likes Received:
    4,540
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Real Name:
    Philip
    Yellow subtitles on B/W films have worked best for me;
    but now I've learned that this is not the case for all.
    I wonder if there is such a thing as a single type of subtitle that would universally work the best?
     
  19. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    3,781
    Likes Received:
    3,173
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Richardson, TX
    Real Name:
    Jose Ortiz-Marrero
    ALL CAPS ARE DREADFUL!!
     
    Douglas R likes this.
  20. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,009
    Likes Received:
    2,140
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Real Name:
    John Moreland
    ESPECIALLY IN YELLOW!!!
     
    Douglas R, B-ROLL and bujaki like this.

Share This Page