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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Pandora and the Flying Dutchman - in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, a 1951 fantasy directed by Albert Lewin, is an interesting film.

Photographed by Jack Cardiff, it's also (or has been in the past) a beautiful film.

Because of this, and a discussion I had with Ray Rohauer, (the source for the Cohen library) aeons ago,
I expected more from this Blu-ray. Which may not be the fairest way to begin a review.

There's no way to know if what I was told had any bit of truth, as Ray was one of the more interesting
scoundrels I've ever known - and I mean that in the nicest way possible - think 18th century England.

He supposedly held the pristine camera negatives, as well as protection elements.
In the intervening decades, they may well have deteriorated.

What the Cohen group has apparently accessed, are not those elements, but rather another set of masters,
that were deposited by MGM with GEH in Rochester. And these elements are noted to be problematic.

So what can I report about the new Cohen Blu-ray?

On most levels it's superior to any previous video releases. In overall resolution, and lack of blooming contrast,
it wins kudos. Digital clean-up and registration of the elements are fine.

But the loss here - not having an original negative - having improperly produced protection elements -
I'd like to drop on Ray, as the Cohen group can only access what survives.

Dupes, which are at least fifth generation, get a bit unpleasant, but they are what they are.

Audio seems fine.

The main title sequence, is an abomination, and presumably doesn't survive anywhere in original or protection form,
short of prints, of which there are enough to go around.

At the end of the day, while I'm pleased to have PatFD on Blu, I can't but help to think of what it might have been.
Had the masters been, once again, scanned, might it have looked better than what we have?
Possibly, but the cost could have been prohibitive.

I can't speak to the color palette, but would have preferred a bit less warm overall imagery.
In the restoration demo, I actually preferred several of the before to the afters, especially in color and resolution.

All of that noted, it's a film worth seeing, although I'm unable to agree with The New York Times and their opinions, to whit,
a part of my problem is with the Times' comment (quoted for publicity) - and I respect the Times - have since 1851, that "The glorious Technicolor modern myth, digitally restored to sensational effect, sayeth J. Hoberman, a reviewer who I also respect.

Along for the ride is Mr. Lewin's 1957 The Living Idol, which may best be forgotten. Strangely, the film, which was shot
by another British cinematographer of note, Jack Hilyard, is presented with a "restoration trailer," but is unrestored.

Not that it matters, as its a terrible film. If one is going to invest in a film, this isn't the one.

Image - 3.25

Audio - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Yes

Recommended

RAH

 
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Robert Harris

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Kevin Brownlow considered Raymond Rohauer a "pirate" for the way he collected his films.

I seldom disagree with Kevin. Ray was an “interesting” dude. Word had it that he had a little party trick. apparently, he would search out films in their 28th year, and ripe for renewal. If a film got to within a week or so of missing the deadline, he would renew in his company name. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. If one does research, there are often dual renewals - one legit - one not.

I had heard that if the actual owner didn’t renew, he would contact them after the fact, and offer to share the property, if they made him their rep. There’s a whole list of films that falls into this category, which makes protection for many, questionable, at best.

i recall speaking with Paul Killiam shortly after Ray no longer trod the earth. He told me that Bill Everson had stopped by his office with two bits of news. Bill had gotten married, and Ray had died.

in his wonderful way, Paul thought a moment, and replied. Congratulations, but I honestly can’t say which event makes me happier...
 
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Andrew Budgell

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Thank you for your review, Mr. Harris. My copy is winging its way to me now, and while I wish this release had scored higher in your review, I'm pleased that I'm finally able to add this film to my collection. Pandora is a very enchanting and haunting film, and has stayed with me ever since I first saw it on TCM a few years back.
 

Ken Koc

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The opening credits as well as the first part of the film I was watching "Reflections in a Yellow Eye".......but this was certainly not the director or DPs choice.
 

david hare

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I’ve heard Rohauer referred to in another place as “ the noted copyright speculator”. Another far more notorious “collector”, was Galeshka Moravioff in France whose realms extended to every non-Mafia resale-owned Rossellini title, and whose prints of vast range and quality still grace the vaults of the Cinémathèque Française. Unlike Moravioff Rohauer took care of his possessions and I will never forget a season of re-issued Keaton features which he screened the winter 1972 in uptown Manhattan, all in superb quality. I was so broke (and starving
) back then l could only afford the uptown subway from the Village, and would walk back from 125th St through the winter sludge. It was worth it.
 

Camps

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Robert you note that the trailer (only) on The Living Idol is restored but not the feature itself (?!) Can you tell us what exactly is the quality on the feature?
 

Robert Harris

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Robert you note that the trailer (only) on The Living Idol is restored but not the feature itself (?!) Can you tell us what exactly is the quality on the feature?

I did not say that the trailer is restored. It notes restoration. Living Idol appears to be a nice scan of a 35mm element, with appropriate color and little else. I have no problem with this, for two reasons.

First, it's "free" extra. and Second, the film, imho, is not worth the expense or a clean-up.
 

Camps

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I did not say that the trailer is restored. It notes restoration. Living Idol appears to be a nice scan of a 35mm element, with appropriate color and little else. I have no problem with this, for two reasons.

First, it's "free" extra. and Second, the film, imho, is not worth the expense or a clean-up.

OK. Thanks.
 

roxy1927

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vincent parisi
A movie that was supposed to open at Radio City but at the last minute they pulled it and out of desperation stuck in Too Young to Kiss which had the lowest grosses of the year. The trailer on youtube. It is from hunger. Other Music Hall films that year included Royal Wedding, Showboat, and American in Paris. I don't even think Pandora got a major midtown release opening in a smaller house.
 

RolandL

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11/14/51
pan.jpg


12/07/51
pan2.jpg
 

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