A Few Words About A few words about... The Sting

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I mentioned in my notes regarding To Kill a Mockingbird, that Universal Home Video is making a rise to its former position of quality in the home video industry.

    Their new release of The Sting, the Academy Award winning Best film of 1973, after a earlier release which should never have been, only re-enforces that fact.

    Not only do we finally have this important film properly represented in a wide screen anamorphic format, but I had the pleasant surprise of hearing the main title music now in 5.1 stereo. The bottom line is that the film both looks and sounds better than it ever has on home video. Examining an interior scene with the cast sitting around a table, wearing costumes of varying colors and textures... it appears that every bit of the information on the film elements has been beautifully and perfectly rendered.

    The new transfer of The Sting is one of the most perfect I've seen of a film from the era. Every shot, like every moment of the film is pitch perfect.

    With the delivery of The Sting and The Deer Hunter, cineastes now have every Best Picture winner of the modern era in quality DVD form with the exception of The Sound of Music, West Side Story and The Last Emperor.

    Like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sting is a DVD release of the highest standards, and is highly recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Matt Butler

    Matt Butler Screenwriter

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    What RAH said.

    I picked this up yesterday along with Toy Story and sampled it. The film and new DVD are truly class acts. The (too long) a wait has been worth it.
     
  3. Dale MA

    Dale MA Screenwriter

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    Wow, I'm really happy to hear that Mr. Harris. I'm importing The Sting to the UK & I'm really looking forward to checking it out.
     
  4. Dave Hahn

    Dave Hahn Second Unit

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  5. Dale MA

    Dale MA Screenwriter

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    Yes, I too would be very interested to hear your opinions on that particular matter Mr. Harris.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I've taken yet another look at The Sting, and find it to be one of the finest transfers I've seen of any film from its era. The colors, textures and grain structure are perfect and miraculous.

    And yes, there are definate matteing problems with the image.

    I've seen prints of this film, and they have little holes that run at each edge, as well as the two lines running next to the image on one side, and all are missing.

    C'mon Universal. Get your act together and give us the entire image.

    RAH
     
  7. Chris Cheese

    Chris Cheese Stunt Coordinator

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    Is there a problem with the special edition versions of Sound of Music and West Side Story that I'm not aware of?
     
  8. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Not only that, I've seen some newer movies that have the same exact problem--only they have microscopic dots between those little holes on the left side of the frame. Why don't we ever see those? Why don't we ever hear about this problem?

    I think this is a larger problem, and we should start a letter-writing campaign.

    - Steve

    P.S.: [​IMG] Seriously, the only time I have seen the sprocket holes captured for display was when the Zapruder film was processed frame-by-frame for DVD release. The extra image was, arguably, of historical significance. Thanks for keeping things in perspective, Mr. Harris!
     
  9. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i'm always dissapointed when i dont get to see the reel markers anymore.

    i'm confused about the WSS comment.

    what is the version i have in the red box?
     
  10. Steve Tannehill

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    West Side Story in the red box apparently has a sound sync issue. I don't think the first release had this problem.

    The Last Emperor gets my vote as the worst-looking Best Picture DVD. Talk about an oxymoron!

    The Sound of Music should be rectified soon. Thanks, Fox!!!

    - Steve
     
  11. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  12. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    [​IMG] But there is a serious question here. If the director intended this to be 1.37, to invoke the era of the film, then the open-matte dvd would be correct. That's obviously open to speculation, but this isn't simply that people want the 'whole' picture, no matter how inappropriate, rather it's a more serious issue of director intention & framing.

    It's not like there are boom mikes, or anything else in the open-matte picture to indicate that the open-matte is not the intended AR, though aside from speculation, there's nothing to indicate that 1.85 isn't the intended AR, either.
     
  13. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As I recall, original dye transfer prints of The Sting were optically matted at 1.85.

    Open matte prints would have been produced for revival after Technicolor shut down its facility. These prints would have been Oneg to IP to dupe to print via direct positive. The addition of a matte necessitates an optical stage into the process, which is not a good thing, and would have been left out of the process.

    Current prints are not a proper reflection of the original film.

    Please keep in mind that at the time The String was produced, projection at 1.37 would have been a virtual impossibility at most venues, which would have been outfitted for 1.85 and scope.

    The only modern film that I can think of that was created specifically for 1.37 projection was One from the Heart, for which theatres would have had to bring in special optics and cut aperture plates.

    RAH
     
  14. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    RAH,
    Thank you for confirming my thoughts on this matter.






    Crawdaddy
     
  15. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Robert,

    That info is much appreciated.
     
  16. Dave Hahn

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    I take it by your facetious answer [​IMG] that you find my concern; the fact that the top of the heads of Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Robert Shaw, etc. have been cut off to one degree or another throughout the film, to be without merit. I don't have the software to do proper screen captures, and I know my photos aren't very clear, but still the comparison, to me, is astounding. In the second set of photos, you can see that in the SE DVD half of Robert Redford's face is cut off. I have a hard time believing this was on purpose.

    Yet, if this framing of the film was indeed a cinematographic decission by Mr. Hill, then I must and will accept it.


    RAH, would you elaborate on this. I'm not sure what you mean.

    When you say prints, do you mean actual film prints or the dvd issues being discussed?

    ". . . not a proper reflection" refers specifically to: incorrect framing, color, length, ???
     
  17. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    I think one thing that hasn't been touched upon nearly enough in regards to this new release is the quality of the extras, which is downright awful.

    Seriously, the hour-long documentary (the only real extra in the set) on Disc 2 may be the worst major making-of doc I've ever seen on a DVD. They rounded up all the major living players in the film (including Redford and Newman), and there's maybe six or seven minutes of genuinely interesting content. The rest of the time, everyone talks about what a genius everyone else is, and we see the whole movie essentially played back in clips. Worth a buy for the film, but the slapdash doc is absolutely unforgivable.
     
  18. Ken_McAlinden

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    The other wide release 1.37 film of the modern era was "The Blair Witch Project" which had release prints windowboxed in a 1.85:1 matted frame, but the source material was not particularly mis-served by this approach due to 16mm and video origination.

    Regards,
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I did touch on this subject matter in the other thread and while I agree with you about the lack of extra material, I don't agree with your opinion about the documentary. I liked the documentary and I think those not knowing a lot of the details about the production of this film will get some good information from it.




    Crawdaddy
     
  20. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    I also enjoyed the documentary, and I didn't think it was too clip-heavy. Most of the genius-tributes from the participants are about George Roy Hill, who passed away a few years ago. Those do get a bit repetitive, but I thought there were also lots of interesting details about particular bits of direction he gave to some of the actors, especially from Dimitra Arliss and Eileen Brennan. David Ward's comments about constructing the script were interesting as well.
     

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