A Few Words About A few words about... Fort Apache -- in standard definition

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, May 30, 2006.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Knowing that generally the RKO original negatives have not proven to yield beautiful results because of deterioration, over-printing, re-cutting, etc., I did not have high hopes for one of Mr. Ford's acknowledged classics, and the first third of what became the Cavalry Trilogy.

    Fort Apache is stunning.

    The new DVD has a full rich gray scale, perfect contrast ratios, and a crisp, clear image.

    This is fortunate, as it gives us a record of Archie Stout's magnificent cinematography -- brilliant blue and white high contrast skies, and the mauves, rusts, browns and occasional greens of the desert, all visible as portrayed on his spectacularly exposed, (and specially processed) infrared black and white negative stock.

    Fort Apache gives us desert vistas that cannot be reproduced via normal film and exposures.

    Fort Apache also gives us something else.

    I'm continually seeking actors with "star" power, and have come up quite short in the modern cinema.

    Watching John Wayne and Henry Fonda, supported by character actors Ward Bond, George O'Brien and Victor McLaglen, a star in his own right, exhibits precisely what we don't have today. One look at these people at work during the non-commissioned officers ball, or Mr. Wayne and Mr. Fonda in disagreement, and you'll see what I mean.

    What we do have today are some superb actors, the likes of Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris and others, but what we lack are "stars" in that unique sense of the classic cinema.

    In this age of hundred million dollar opening weekends, we have personalities galore, but not "stars."

    Fort Apache, available singly or as part of the John Wayne / John Ford Collection gives us precisely that, classic actors in a bona fide classic motion picture, which has stood the test of time in any number of ways.

    At $11 street price, the purchase of this film is a no-brainer.

    It comes Extremely Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. JohnPM

    JohnPM Second Unit

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    Intersting to think that several cast members of "Fort Apache" had once been major stars in their own right, including McLaglen, George O' Brien, Shirley Temple (still a big name in 1948, but not like she was in the thirties). Even Grant Withers and Dick Foran had played leads at one time, not to mention the silent veterans like Mae Marsh. Incredible cast, and another insightful Robert Harris review of same.

    http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/
     
  3. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    another grand film I own
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I've watched this film so often over the years that I know it by heart. IMO, it's one of the best westerns ever made.




    Crawdaddy
     
  5. Bob Graham

    Bob Graham Supporting Actor

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    For my money, this contains Henry Fonda's greatest performance. He takes a character that many would find cold and despicable and makes him tragically likeable. I've already got the German R2 edition, but I'll be gladly double-dipping when this comes out next week.
     
  6. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

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    Sorry but is the slightly condescending "in standard definition" qualifier really necessary? It makes it sound like a second generation VHS bootleg.
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    "-- in standard definition" is a qualifier.

    RAH
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    What else do you want to call it?




    Crawdaddy
     
  9. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    On DVD, perhaps? Afterall, it is already in the HT Software - Film and Documentary forum, which is assumed to be standard definition anyway.

    Anyway, while I am sure that it was not intended to be condescending, I can see why someone would take it that way.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    While I generally attempt to consider the feelings of people as well as animals, I'm less concerned with hurting the feelings of a DVD simply because it was born of Standard Definition parents.

    RAH
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Or is it hurt feelings for those that own these standard definition dvds? From somebody with over 3200 of them and is not ready to commit to the new HD formats, I don't feel a bit hurt about the use of such terminology.[​IMG]




    Crawdaddy
     
  12. Arnie G

    Arnie G Supporting Actor

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    Since this is not the HD forum a qualifier is not necessary.
     
  13. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Arnie G,

    Exactly.
     
  14. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    I think it is just that Mr Harris gets the opportunity to see the new HD disc formats at work. In comparison, regular (S.D.) DVDs are starting to look like a compromise.

    It took a couple of years before the studios realised the sort of money and procedures they needed to invest to make archive films look good on DVD. Now that they have got the processes down, the limitation seems to be the resolution of the standard DVD format, rather than the time, effort, and money spent on the (usually H.D.) transfer.

    I must admit when I see a good regular DVD transfer, especially of a large format film (e.g. Ryan's Daughter), I kind of think "now what would this look like projected in H.D.?".

    I only own a very modest widescreen TV. So regular DVDs will be good enough for me until I can upgrade my display (I prefer spending money on DVDs instead).
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Although forum dependent, the qualifiers make it easier for me to keep track of my own comments, as there are already discs available in both formats concurrently, ie. Rumor Has It, as well as others in the pipeline.

    RAH
     
  16. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

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    I dunno, on first glance to me the thread title looked like this: "A few words about... Fort Apache -- but don't get too excited, it's only in standard definition, sorry..."
     
  17. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Fort Apache "The Crappy Version"
     

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