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A Few Words About A few words about...™ 1776 -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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image1.JPG

For your delectation, an image taken at the time of the commentary recording.  We'll probably be hearing from the young man in the shadows:

 

I've always been a huge fan and avid reader regarding most anything about the American Revolution.  Colonial Williamsburg is one of my favorite places on Earth.  I'm currently watching Sons of Liberty, which is far better than I surmised.

Back in November of 1972, when 1776 arrived as a Columbia production with Jack Warner at the helm, it was news.  The film was based upon the Broadway show, which was directed by Peter H. Hunt, who would go on to direct the film.

When originally released, the film ran 142 minutes.  And many of the film's delights had hit the cutting room floor.

The film appeared on a Pioneer laserdisc, with a rough reconstruction, and later on DVD.

The new Blu-ray contains two versions of the film, the Director's Cut at 165 minutes and the Extended Cut at 168.

I know that someone, somewhere is going to react to one of these cuts negatively, because as was the case with Mad World, everyone seems to be desirous of controlling their own cut.

For the record, the spider pit has not been restored to this version of the film.

The reason most people will be reading this is to find out how it looks.  One should not need to read this, as Grover Crisp is behind the tech work.  I'm also told that we may not have it at all, had it not been for the efforts and support of Sony's Jeremy Glassman, and for his efforts, he has my thanks.

In short, the new Blu-ray looks stupendous.  With virtually all material being scanned at 4k from the original negative, and being beautifully color timed and cleaned, there is nothing here but positives.

I love 1776.  Anyone who hasn't seen it needs to get a copy asap.

But why listen to me.  Here's a more apt comment::

"In restoring 1776 there was no problem big or small that Grover didn't give full attention to and ultimately solve. His tenacity and skill in protecting our film heritage are legendary." - Peter H. Hunt

Image - 5*

Audio - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

 

jim_falconer

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Looking forward to this very much. The image and sound appear to rate top marks, so that'll be something special to witness. However, as I'm sure others will undoubtly mention, 165 minutes of the extended cut, is still 15 minutes shy of the Pioneer LD. I know the overture, intermission, and exit music comprise a good deal of those 15 minutes, but it'll still make me sad to not see scenes I'm use to seeing on the LD. The DVD was such a huge disappointment, I couldn't even finish watching it. I'm sure the BD will be a much better experience.
 

Moe Dickstein

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jim_falconer said:
However, as I'm sure others will undoubtly mention, 165 minutes of the extended cut, is still 15 minutes shy of the Pioneer LD. I know the overture, intermission, and exit music comprise a good deal of those 15 minutes, but it'll still make me sad to not see scenes I'm use to seeing on the LD. The DVD was such a huge disappointment, I couldn't even finish watching it. I'm sure the BD will be a much better experience.

Let me try to finally clear up some misconceptions.


First of all, the Laserdisc cut is not 180 minutes. If you look at your packaging, it states that is an approximate time. I've just gone back and checked all these numbers, the exact time of the laserdisc is:


2:57:40, or 177 minutes and 40 seconds.


The Directors cut I believe is 165, and the extended Blu Ray cut is 168. I don't yet have the disc to get an exact run time, but perhaps Mr. Harris can grab an exact time from his disc if he gets a moment and I can update this with totally correct numbers.


So that gets us 9 minutes difference, give or take.


Let us also remember to factor in that the Blu-Ray versions of the film contain new material that was not in the Laserdisc version so that actually artificially closes the gap if you are looking solely at running time.


To the second, the running time of the material that exists on the laserdisc and not in the Blu-Ray is 10:02


Pretty major right?


There are 3 pieces of music that were constructed from scratch for that LD release. The run time for those totals 8:37 (Overture [4:07], Intermission Lead In [:10], Intermission [4:20])


There are three sections of the film that have not been reincorporated:

Thomas Paine Quote / Jefferson watches kids play :19

Lamplighter / Franklin steals a plum :46

Lyman Hall walks into Congress :20


So that is 1:25, or 85 seconds of the actual film that is not here. Everything else from the Laserdisc is included in the extended cut on the Blu-Ray.


The phrase about cutting off one's nose to spite one's face comes to mind. Or perhaps babies and bathwater.
 

JoeDoakes

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1. Who is the young man in the photo?


2. By Sons of Liberty, do you mean the miniseries or the outstanding short?
 

jim_falconer

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I appreciate you clearing that up Moe, and as I said, I'm very much looking forward to the BD presentation. My comments of missing certain scenes was not a slight at the work performed to get 1776 presented in HD, in as complete a version as could be. Your ending comments were uncalled for, and more than that, undignified.
 

Moe Dickstein

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For those who are curious about the differences between this extended BD version and the previous DVD, this is what I recall off the top of my head:


Complete version of Piddle Twiddle restored

Lee's Reprise restored

Underscore restored to scene of Franklin being painted

Replaced with alternate take a line from Hopkins that was originally changed to achieve a G rating (now faithful to Broadway version)

Audio fixed to remove double line as Martha comes down stairs

Franklin's line to Martha "Then we are doubly flattered..." restored


And aside from that it's scanned and colored in 4K from the original negative (save one shot I believe), cleaned up, stabilized and gone through the hands of Grover Crisp and Company to achieve a look like it's never had before. You can tell the lenses now the image is so good, The costumes pop like never before, and the sound is fantastic. I've seen this film hundreds of times, and the couple times in this new version were unlike any that came before in the sheer joy of the quality of what I was looking at.


We've been working off and on for nearly 5 years on bringing something to the fans of this film that would show this film in a way that befits it, I think that has been done. I especially hope that people enjoy the Commentary. Peter was never happy with how the DVD one turned out and doing something new and good was his first wish when this project came around. We were able to enlist, as you see above William Daniels and Ken Howard who add some wonderful stories and memories to the track. Most of the track is with Peter and we spend days preparing in advance, we wanted to get in as many great stories as we could, we wanted to make sure they landed in the right place, we listened to the previous tracks to make sure we left nothing out and we had notes about things that had never been talked about that were important.


It's as good as we could make it, and I'm very excited to hear it.


I'll monitor this thread and try to answer any questions people have. I know Ron Epstein has a surprise in the works that I think people will enjoy as well. There will also be an official HTF review coming soon. We also have some other interviews and things in the works, and I'll link all that material here as it becomes available.
 

Moe Dickstein

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jim_falconer said:
I appreciate you clearing that up Moe, and as I said, I'm very much looking forward to the BD presentation. My comments of missing certain scenes was not a slight at the work performed to get 1776 presented in HD, in as complete a version as could be. Your ending comments were uncalled for, and more than that, undignified.

Apologies, I should remember that trying to use RAH type wit is dangerous in the hands of amateurs... Unfortunately you perhaps bore the brunt of if not the King's tyranny those who are less magnanimous than yourself on this topic ;)
 

Moe Dickstein

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JoeDoakes said:
1. Who is the young man in the photo?


2. By Sons of Liberty, do you mean the miniseries or the outstanding short?

That is me in the photo. In addition to being a filmmaker myself, I work with Peter Hunt and was honored to be involved in helping the team building the restoration and BD release . The three stars of the commentary were gracious enough to let me have that photo taken, and Mr. Harris asked if it might be used to illustrate this review.


I would guess he meant the History Channel Miniseries. I too rather enjoyed it more than I'd thought I would.
 

haineshisway

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Moe Dickstein said:
Let me try to finally clear up some misconceptions.


First of all, the Laserdisc cut is not 180 minutes. If you look at your packaging, it states that is an approximate time. I've just gone back and checked all these numbers, the exact time of the laserdisc is:


2:57:40, or 177 minutes and 40 seconds.


The Directors cut I believe is 165, and the extended Blu Ray cut is 168. I don't yet have the disc to get an exact run time, but perhaps Mr. Harris can grab an exact time from his disc if he gets a moment and I can update this with totally correct numbers.


So that gets us 9 minutes difference, give or take.


Let us also remember to factor in that the Blu-Ray versions of the film contain new material that was not in the Laserdisc version so that actually artificially closes the gap if you are looking solely at running time.


To the second, the running time of the material that exists on the laserdisc and not in the Blu-Ray is 10:02


Pretty major right?


There are 3 pieces of music that were constructed from scratch for that LD release. The run time for those totals 8:37 (Overture [4:07], Intermission Lead In [:10], Intermission [4:20])


There are three sections of the film that have not been reincorporated:

Thomas Paine Quote / Jefferson watches kids play :19

Lamplighter / Franklin steals a plum :46

Lyman Hall walks into Congress :20


So that is 1:25, or 85 seconds of the actual film that is not here. Everything else from the Laserdisc is included in the extended cut on the Blu-Ray.


The phrase about cutting off one's nose to spite one's face comes to mind. Or perhaps babies and bathwater.
I'm sure at least one person will make a large deal out of that eighty-five seconds :)
 

Steve...O

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Thanks, RAH. Ted, thank you for all of your efforts to make this a reality. Please relay my thanks to Mr Hunt and the Sony team as well. This is my favorite musical and I love the historical aspect as well.

Question for Ted: was a DCP created? If so, I'll lobby my local independent theater to book this.
 

Robert Harris

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JoeDoakes said:
1. Who is the young man in the photo?

I believe it to be the gentleman who posted above.

2. By Sons of Liberty, do you mean the miniseries or the outstanding short?
The mini
 

moviebuff75

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Are the scenes not incorporated into the film in the deleted scenes portion of the extras? It seems to be like that would have been a nice compromise. At any rate, I first fell in love with the dvd version so I'm sure I'll love this!
 

Moe Dickstein

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Steve...O said:
Question for Ted: was a DCP created? If so, I'll lobby my local independent theater to book this.

The DCP was actually created previously to the Blu-Ray. It screened as a test last July when it was about 95% done at the annual July 4th showing for the American Cinematheque here in LA, and then the final version premiered at the TCM Festival at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood this March.


The fully 4K DCP version is available for bookings through Sony, and it is the 165 minute Director's Cut, the version with the full Piddle and Lee's Reprise is exclusive to the BD.
 

Moe Dickstein

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moviebuff75 said:
Are the scenes not incorporated into the film in the deleted scenes portion of the extras? It seems to be like that would have been a nice compromise. At any rate, I first fell in love with the dvd version so I'm sure I'll love this!

I haven't gotten my hands on the final copy of the disc, but I believe there is both a deleted scenes section that includes these pieces (along with commentary by Peter Hunt) as well as a branching option where you can view EITHER cut at your discretion.


If you like the DVD this will be even better :)
 

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