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ManW_TheUncool

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Have never seen this original version(!). Sounds like a must-own (and just in time for the current and likely soon upcoming sales)... and I should be so privileged to be able to own and see this for the very first time via this WAC BD!

Cheers, y'all! :cheers:

_Man_
 

Robert Crawford

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Who says physical format collecting is dead?!
It's not dead, but it's on life support.
Have never seen this original version(!). Sounds like a must-own (and just in time for the current and likely soon upcoming sales)... and I should be so privileged to be able to own and see this for the very first time via this WAC BD!

Cheers, y'all! :cheers:

_Man_
If most disc consumers are waiting on discounted sales then that hurts the bottom line for WAC as it cuts into their profit margins. Seeing Amazon cut pricing is great for consumers, but it could be a troubling sign that sales are not happening at the initial discounted pricing of $17.99. Eventually, that could be the death of physical media releases.
 

PMF

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[…]However, the scene where a deranged actor walks up to the front of the Academy Award celebration and strikes the person on stage looked strangely familiar.
Nice catch. And don’t forget that re-make star Bradley Cooper was on hand during the commercial break.
 
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ManW_TheUncool

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It's not dead, but it's on life support.

If most disc consumers are waiting on discounted sales then that hurts the bottom line for WAC as it cuts into their profit margins. Seeing Amazon cut pricing is great for consumers, but it could be a troubling sign that sales are not happening at the initial discounted pricing of $17.99. Eventually, that could be the death of physical media releases.

I don't always wait for deeper discounted sales, but for blindbuys, which probably make up a majority of purchases for me, I definitely tend to. Don't think I could (comfortably) afford to buy (often enough including multiple upgrades of same titles) as much as I do otherwise -- it's either I buy greater volume at lower prices or be much more selective (and likely reduce blindbuys and lesser titles by a lot) w/ smaller quantities at higher prices... to end up spending in similar ballpark overall... and then, I may or may not feel justified in also spending significantly to upgrade my HT (now and then) to make fuller use of a substantially (or much?) smaller collection or to upgrade to a new format...

But yeah, I get what you're pointing out... and I'm definitely *not* unsympathetic and do sometimes intentionally skip waiting for better sales -- I was certainly ready to take the plunge on the Godfather Trilogy 4K set last week, for instance, if not for the controversy downgrading my enthusiasm toward that...

I would hope though that their business models (for WAC, Criterion, et al) do already take good enough account of consumer behavior despite the dwindling market in making all this work well enough for continued production and reasonably sustainable, healthy business...

Anyway, I don't expect to wait that long for this particular BD -- will likely get it w/in the next couple weeks...

Cheers!

_Man_
 
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Will Krupp

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If most disc consumers are waiting on discounted sales then that hurts the bottom line for WAC as it cuts into their profit margins.

Does it, though? I thought discounts were put on the margin between the wholesale cost (what WAC gets) and the retail price, meaning that discounts (usually to steer sales to a specific outlet) should only affect the retailer as it doesn't change what they paid to have the disc to sell in the first place, at least not for some time. Has something changed?
 

Robert Crawford

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Does it, though? I thought discounts were put on the margin between the wholesale cost (what WAC gets) and the retail price, meaning that discounts (usually to steer sales to a specific outlet) should only affect the retailer as it doesn't change what they paid to have the disc to sell in the first place, at least not for some time. Has something changed?
If that’s true then why did George Feltenstein mentioned in a recent podcast that buying WAC titles at heavily discounted prices hurts their ability to turn a profit and release more titles?

Anyhow, any in-depth discussion should take place in a more appropriate thread so that’s all I’m going to say for now.
 

RobertMG

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It's not dead, but it's on life support.

If most disc consumers are waiting on discounted sales then that hurts the bottom line for WAC as it cuts into their profit margins. Seeing Amazon cut pricing is great for consumers, but it could be a troubling sign that sales are not happening at the initial discounted pricing of $17.99. Eventually, that could be the death of physical media releases.
Studios are not exaclty helpful exception WAC and KINO (not a sudio) - As I have posted before Lionsgate sitting on the Flash Gordon Serials (been speaking with them for nearly a year with a Home Vid firm plus another home vid firm has been trying to get the Blondie films for 3 years) then we have Universal sitting on the Henry Aldrich films too again I know of a firm that made an offer to Universal and was told "Make another offer" So firms want to release product studios are as I was told "are only interested in 6 figure deals"
 

kpjwest

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At least partially based (without credit) on George Cukor's 1932 What Price Hollywood, the 1937 A Star is Born, directed by William Wellman, is a film ripe for a re-make, and might even make an interesting vehicle for a musical, since they seem to be back in style.

Warner Archive's release of this 1937 Technicolor marvel offers a master's class into color design of early three-strip Technicolor.

Since I'd only encountered original dye transfer prints of this film, as well as Nothing Sacred in my travels, I had always presumed - incorrectly, and without evidence - that the overall look of the Selznick films from this era were based entirely upon post color timing, and that if the original negatives were run, the color would be that of the blazing Technicolor one generally thinks to be the norm.

But it isn't.

And this is just one element that makes this release a "must-own" for anyone interested in the technology.

First, and most important, the scanning and color of A Star is Born have been done to perfection, representing what is on the film, and not the look of the film that has survived as prints.

Take a serious look, especially at make-up (most interesting is Janet Gaynor), and you can see the beginnings of the overall desire toward a more subtle palette. Production design and costumes subtly follow suit.

And yet, other than these very tiny design anomalies, this is pure three-strip Technicolor, and one of the earliest we are apt to see from original elements. It should be noted that Scott MacQueen did an analogue recombine from original elements of The Garden of Allah (1936) during his tenure at Disney. Look at the credits of that film, and you'll see that Technicolor was taking an overriding credit, and allowing none for the men behind the camera.

The use of Technicolor grew exponentially from it's feature beginnings in 1935 into the 1940s, as prints could be produced more assuredly, and more cameras became available.

Feature films with the majority of footage in the process went from one in 1935, to five in 1936, six in 1937, thirteen in 1938, twelve in 1939, and sixteen in 1940. There probably would have been more in 1939, had one film not been using multiple cameras.

For those unacquainted with what some may fear to be an antique, A Star is Born is also an extraordinary film. Great screenplay, wonderful acting, some decent music by someone named Steiner, who would work for Selznick again, and magnificent (did I mention Technicolor) cinematography by W. Howard Green, who would do The Adventures of Robin Hood the following year, and was generally the cinematographic king of Technicolor in those early years.

To the basics, black levels are knock-out gorgeous, registration is beyond reproach, and the grain level has been set - yes, there has been grain manipulation, but it's a necessity, especially for early Technicolor - and it works perfectly, mimicking the appearance of a dye transfer print.

Do I love this release from Warner Archive? Let me count the ways.

The cast, led by Janet Gaynor - when she accepts her Academy Award, it actually her award from Seventh Heaven (1927) - Fredric March (you'll recall him from Jekyll and Hyde), Adolph Menjou, May Robson, Andy Devine et al. The young woman in the casting office is Peggy Wood.

Presumably, while you'll want a copy, it's also a good idea to hand onto the previous Kino release, based upon an original dye transfer print, to see the two very different looks to this film.

One of the most important releases thus far for 2022.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from first Blu-ray – Yes

Works up-rezzed to 4k - Beautifully

Very Highly Recommended

RAH
I bought both the Kino and Warner Star Is Born blu rays, not because it is a film I was especially eager to own, but because it presented a possibly unique opportunity to compare an excellent transfer from a Technicolor Nitrate print and a harvest from the OCN records. I have also been trying learn more about the "G record". What I surmise is that in addition to the Y C & M color records, early Technicolor prints had a G record, a silver nitrate image on the film to subdue the color intensity, possibly one of the other records, perhaps the magenta record, reproduced in partial transparency in silver nitrate, along with the soundtrack. Looking at the Kino and Warner 1937 Star is Born, the red is the most desaturated in the Kino nitrate print restoration which suggests to me that a partially transparent G layer is from the Magenta--Magenta is opposite Green on the color wheel. Is this all correct? I would love to be corrected if it is not.

Apparently, later on the G record was dropped from most die transfer prints, new prints of old films and newer films beyond some point in time (when?) were never printed with the G record, just the soundtrack. Was a return of the G record what was attempted in Moby Dick in the 1950s?

Back in the 1970s I saw a lot of old nitrate prints at the American Film Institute Theatre in the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. One of them was the 1937 A Star is Born. Another was "Jack Warner's personal Technicolor Nitrate" of The Adventures of Robin Hood. The fact that it impressed me at the time as the most beautiful and lush color film I had ever seen suggests to me now in 2022, that it may have been a later reissue print without the G record, because it didn't look like the frames printed in this thread or the Kino Star is Born. I later saw a British Technicolour Nitrate of Black Narcissus, which took the place of pride from the Robin Hood nitrate. I never did see a Technicolor print of Elizabeth and Essex, but I am mightily impressed by the new Warner blu ray, which suggests to me that it is time for a new harvest from the OCN of The Adventures of Robin Hood.
 
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Will Krupp

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Hopefully I can help with at least a little part of your question

I have also been trying learn more about the "G record". What I surmise is that in addition to the Y C & M color records, early Technicolor prints had a G record, a silver nitrate image on the film to subdue the color intensity, possibly one of the other records, perhaps the magenta record, reproduced in partial transparency in silver nitrate, along with the soundtrack.

Just as an FYI, the semi-transparent key image was not actually designed to subdue color intensity, it was designed to improve black levels on the positive print since the early dyes used didn't make complete black when they were combined. It's the same principal still used in 4-color printing for magazines, brochures, etc. It may have subdued intensity, but that was a by-product and not the original intent.

Looking at the Kino and Warner 1937 Star is Born, the red is the most desaturated in the Kino nitrate print restoration which suggests to me that a partially transparent G layer is from the Magenta--Magenta is opposite Green on the color wheel. Is this all correct? I would love to be corrected if it is not.

The key image was generally printed from the green (magenta) record at 50% transparency. I say generally because, according to the late Martin Hart of "Wide Screen Museum," UCLA found that the original print run of Becky Sharp was printed with a key image from the blue record (Perhaps Jack Theakston can confirm that, if true) but, in any event, this was soon abandoned in favor of using the green record. The green/magenta record, being photographed onto its own negative directly behind the lens (while the other two were recorded from reflected light at a 90 degree angle), was the sharpest of the three and with the most tonal detail.

The only place I might disagree with you is concerning the lack of red in the positive print. Each primary on the positive print was recreated by the combination of two dye layers from the matrices. In which case red would have been recreated by the combination of magenta + yellow so I don't believe that a black and white image from the green (magenta) record would be fully responsible for a reduction in red intensity (though it might cause a subduing of magenta, I must admit I never actually thought about it.)

I hope that helps as a start!
 
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kpjwest

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Hopefully I can help with at least a little part of your question



Just as an FYI, the semi-transparent key image was not actually designed to subdue color intensity, it was designed to improve black levels on the positive print since the early dyes used didn't make complete black when they were combined. It's the same principal still used in 4-color printing for magazines, brochures, etc. It may have subdued intensity, but that was a by-product and not the original intent.



The key image was generally printed from the green (magenta) record at 50% transparency. I say generally because, according to the late Martin Hart of "Wide Screen Museum," UCLA found that the original print run of Becky Sharp was printed with a key image from the blue record (Perhaps Jack Theakston can confirm that, if true) but, in any event, this was soon abandoned in favor of using the green record. The green/magenta record, being photographed onto its own negative directly behind the lens (while the other two were recorded from reflected light at a 90 degree angle), was the sharpest of the three and with the most tonal detail.

The only place I might disagree with you is concerning the lack of red in the positive print. Each primary on the positive print was recreated by the combination of two dye layers from the matrices. In which case red would have been recreated by the combination of magenta + yellow so I don't believe that a black and white image from the green (magenta) record would be fully responsible for a reduction in red intensity (though it might cause a subduing of magenta, I must admit I never actually thought about it.)

I hope that helps as a start!
Thanks for the reply. One of the things I have always loved about Technicolor IB prints is that blacks are much deeper and blacker than on color film prints. From what you say it would appear that the early dyes needed the G record to improve the blacks since the YCM dyes by themselves were not dense enough to give sufficiently dark blacks. As dyes were changed and improved, it would appear that the same or better black levels could be achieved without the G record and it was abandoned. However the G record did also serve to subdue color intensity even though that may not have been the intent.

I mentioned the much subdued reds because that was especially obvious in some of the early scenes in the movie, where red ribbons and such really stand out in the Warner disc, but are more in keeping with the rest of the tonal palette in the Kino disc. The overall tonal palette is shared in both but there is much more in the way of bright color touches in the Warner disc. However, it is also quite obvious that the color palette visible on both discs of A Star Is Born is radically different from the palette used in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and other later films. I recall reading somewhere that the G record was also used for making black and white prints of Technicolor films because the G record gave the closest approximation of the look of panchromatic film used for Black and White movies. If that is the case, it would also be true that the G record would also de-saturate all colors to some degree, though my informal observation so far is that the de-saturation is more apparent on the red end of the spectrum and less on the violet end.
 
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Will Krupp

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From what you say it would appear that the early dyes needed the G record to improve the blacks since the YCM dyes by themselves were not dense enough to give sufficiently dark blacks. As dyes were changed and improved, it would appear that the same or better black levels could be achieved without the G record and it was abandoned.

I believe that's exactly right, yes!

The overall tonal palette is shared in both but there is much more in the way of bright color touches in the Warner disc.

It's also worth noting that it has been said that Technicolor prints, because of their particular densities, don't make for optimal transfers as they don't play especially well with telecine machines.

I recall reading somewhere that the G record was also used for making black and white prints of Technicolor films because the G record gave the closest approximation of the look of panchromatic film used for Black and White movies.

That's the reason that a film like Nothing Sacred had its green/magenta record so severely damaged that the entire first reel of it was found to be unusable.
 
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