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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Whales of August -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. 1 Dec 4, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2017
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Lindsay Anderson's The Whales of August, is a simple story of two sisters at their home on the Maine coast.

    It's also one of the most magnificent cinema experiences set to celluloid.

    And another film for which I've been waiting aeons to arrive in a respectable form for home video consumption.

    Thanks to Kino Lorber, it's here.

    The sheer overabundance of acting experience in this film is astounding, but that's not the half of it.

    There's something spellbinding watching this film, and those in it.

    Those in it...

    Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Vincent Price, Ann Sothern. Add in the experience of Harry Carey, Jr., and you've got over 300 years of acting between them.

    It's enough cinema history all rolled up into a single film, to make you sit up straight, as the hair on the back of your neck stands on end.

    I probably won't get this correct. I'll let you check sources on the inter-web...

    But I recall a comment at the time of release which went something like this.

    Director Anderson, commented to Lillian Gish that she was doing a terrific job with her close-ups.

    Bette Davis, overheard the comment, glared at Anderson, giving him one of those "you've can't be serious" looks, and told him something like...

    "Miss Gish, doing a terrific job on her close-ups! She invented them!"

    This is another of those very rare films that must be experienced.

    Kino's Blu-ray is of high quality, with superb color, nice grain structure, and stable enough for government work.

    Buy a copy, and enjoy. And don't forget to sample the extras. There are many, and they're worth their weight in gold.

    Lest readers don't get the message, I love this film!

    Image - 4.5

    Audio - 5

    Pass / Fail - Pass

    Upgrade from DVD - Absolutely

    Very Highly Recommended

    RAH

     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    It's been many years since I viewed this film. At least 25 years so I'm looking forward to seeing this film again. I never watched my 2003 DVD of it. This Blu-ray is full of bonus material.
     
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  3. PMF

    PMF Cinematographer

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    Fantastic Davis quote.:cool:
     
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  4. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

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    Thanks.

    Based on this review, I will upgrade from DVD, which I probably would not have done otherwise.

    The film itself is wonderful and everything RAH says that it is IMHO.
     
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  5. atcolomb

    atcolomb Supporting Actor

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    In Roger Ebert's review of the film he also mentions the Bette Davis remark about Miss Gish. The National Board of Review gave Lillian the best actress award for her performance.
     
  6. 6 Dec 4, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
    RichMurphy

    RichMurphy Stunt Coordinator
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    In addition to the performances, I love this film for its gentle, relaxed pacing (it's obviously not a hyper-kinetic Michael Bay film) and for the beautiful setting and sense of place. It transports me back to the New England of my youth whenever I watch it. Can't wait to receive my pre-ordered Blu-Ray.
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Somehow I cannot imagine Mr. Bay directing either Miss Davis or Miss Gish.
     
  8. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Unless they were CGI.
     
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  9. Bernard McNair

    Bernard McNair Stunt Coordinator

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    I am really looking forward to revisiting this film as my only other experience with it was on VHS. Great performances as I recall.
     
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  10. Konstantinos

    Konstantinos Screenwriter

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    I'm glad this looks great.
    I saw ths film once a couple of years ago, and I too found it quite appealing in its simpleness..

    Reading the review it seems like this is a new scan? perhaps 2K?
     
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  11. octobercountry

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    I'll definitely have to pick this one up; have always liked this picture, and am very interested in all the bonus material. I think it's a marvelous and fitting send-off for these truly legendary actresses (let's just pretend Bette's few scenes in "Wicked Stepmother" never happened, and that this is her last film). My only nitpick is that both Bette and Lillian seem to be about two decades too old for their parts, as scripted. For me, the film would have made more sense if it were talking about women in the 65-75-year age range.
     
  12. PMF

    PMF Cinematographer

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    In this case, I'd opt for talent over a literal age; especially with the combined acting chops of these two legends.
    Not many scripts in those days for such combined greatness.
     
  13. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I've never seen this film. But I'll be blind-buying.

    I love slow "simple story" films. Some of my favorites include Driving Miss Daisy, The Trip to Bountiful and On Golden Pond.

    If Whales of August can compare to films like that, I'm all in.
     
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  14. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    And I can't get the thought of a Bay-directed CGI Lillian Gish out of my head.

    I shudder as to what her super-power might be...

    :D
     
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  15. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Yes to "slow" and "simple story" films.

    And I would say you're in for a big treat, sir.
     
  16. RichMurphy

    RichMurphy Stunt Coordinator
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    Gish would be so powerful, she could endlessly rock out of the cradle.
     
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  17. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Just got my copy. Bought this blindly based on HTF member favorable opinions.

    Will probably watch next week. Will report back here.
     
  18. B-ROLL

    B-ROLL Screenwriter

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  19. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    And a treat it was.

    "Wow" to the acting talent in this film. The story was secondary to the powerhouses that starred in this film. They were able to take those characters and make them completely real. I shudder to think what any lesser actress may have done with that scene in which Gish's character (Sarah) celebrated her wedding anniversary alone. Never did I feel like there was a contrivance of any sort. Davis was crazy good at no over-playing her character's blindness. And Price, Sothern and Carey were all on their game, too.

    Loved it...even though the story didn't seem to move me all that much.
     

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