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A few words about…™ Peter Ibbetson – in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Before researching further aeons ago, I somehow thought that Peter Ibbetson was a film set in 17th century Dutch New York.

It isn't.

I was led to this film, probably 40 years ago, by David Shepard, as it was one of his favorites.

It's an oddity, albeit a beautiful one, anyway one looks at it. And I'm thrilled that Kino has finally released it in a lovely form.

A serious love story, only 85 minutes in length, with the first 15 or so taken up by the pre-history and child actors, who never do much with their roles. Fortunately, Gary Cooper and Ann Harding take over as the adult characters.

As a 1935 production, it's also interesting as the director isn't someone that might role off the tip of one's tongue as the right guy for the job, when it comes to an extremely etherial love story.

It also marked three films in a row with star Gary Cooper. Now and Forever (1934), The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935), Peter Ibbetson.

The following year, Mr. Hathaway would direct the first Technicolor film shot on location (The Trail of the Lonesome Pine) also available on Blu-ray from Kino.

Did I use the word etherial?

That's probably the best way to reference the cinematography of Charles Lang and his beautifully filtered black & white work on this film.

As a Blu-ray it comes across quite well. Although one may occasionally find a bit of detritus or extremely fine vertical scratches in the fine grain, the overall impact is lovely. A nice gray scale, attractive grain and pleasant black levels yield a quality image.


Absolutely worth a viewing.


Image – 4.25

Audio – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Yes

Recommended

RAH
 

Robert Crawford

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For the most part, I concur with your review!

However, as a fan of this movie that has watched it 5-6 times over the last 20 or so years, I again, disagree with you. This time it's about the child actors, as I thought both, Dickie Moore and Virginia Weidler were pretty good in this film.
 

lark144

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I also got this last week and watched it. Maybe this Blu-Ray isn't quite as pristine and ethereal looking as the first time I saw it at MOMA, in what I think was a nitrate print, as the whites glowed and radiated a richness beyond my expectations, that seemed to caress both Mr. Cooper and Ms. Harding, but this will more than suffice. I think the Blu-Ray is lovely. Andrew Sarris was of the opinion that Henry Hathaway's direction was unemotional and perfunctory, and that it was Charles Lang's cinematography that makes the film worth watching, but after seeing it again, I beg to differ. I think it's brilliantly directed.
 

Robert Harris

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I also got this last week and watched it. Maybe this Blu-Ray isn't quite as pristine and ethereal looking as the first time I saw it at MOMA, in what I think was a nitrate print, as the whites glowed and radiated a richness beyond my expectations, that seemed to caress both Mr. Cooper and Ms. Harding, but this will more than suffice. I think the Blu-Ray is lovely. Andrew Sarris was of the opinion that Henry Hathaway's direction was unemotional and perfunctory, and that it was Charles Lang's cinematography that makes the film worth watching, but after seeing it again, I beg to differ. I think it's brilliantly directed.
Not an easy story to direct.
 

lark144

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Not an easy story to direct.
I agree. It's not just the way the film is lit, though that shimmery, mist-laden look certainly helps. It's also about camera placement, the quality of the performances, the way an eyelash quivers or the intensity of a glance, the duration of each shot and the shots that follow. It's all perfect. I couldn't detect a false step, a shot that didn't belong or was held too long or not long enough. And the rhythm. It weaves a spell upon the viewer, takes them to another place and a different time. And the way the shots are sequenced, the way the story is told visually, makes you want to know what comes next, to almost anticipate that next image, yet you're continually surprised. I think Andrew Sarris may have dismissed this film as "minor" because it didn't fit his view of Henry Hathaway's oeuvre--being mostly adventure and action oriented films. But even in the most matter of fact thriller, such as "The House on 92nd Street" or "Call Northside 777", there are moments of extraordinary beauty, where everything suddenly stops, and the camera stays on a image of trees rippling in the wind. Yes, film is a collaborative medium, and on "Peter Ibbetson" Henry Hathaway had some extraordinary collaborators. But this is clearly the vision of one man. Everything works, and that doesn't happen by accident. The film is very personal, in its storytelling, tone and use of imagery. He never did anything else like this, but maybe he felt he didn't need to.
 

Dan Cooper

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Thanks for the review as i was hoping you would get the time to look at kino's new release of it. I am no expert on grain. I know that the dvd had what would be considered very heavy grain and kino used a dirt removal tool on this that did take some of the heavy grain out but glad that you didnt see any film grain problems as in the infamous laurel and hardy blu ray box set. After that review i am always worried on having too much grain removed in these old films.
 

Dan Cooper

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Also many people feel that gary cooper was miscast in this film because of his westerns and adventure fims but i am glad he was in this movie to show that he was capable of a much broader range as an actor. Hathaway was very proud of his work on this picture for the rest of his life.

Below is a story I read on this:

"Some seven years later, Hathaway directed Constance Collier, now a grand dowager of the theater, in The Dark Corner. One day, during a break on the set, she suddenly said, “Henry Hathaway. My God, you’re not the Henry Hathaway who made that dreadful picture out of my play Peter Ibbetson with that horrible man — that Gary Cooper. My God, you’re not that Hathaway!” He said, “I sure am,” and Collier dropped the subject. Hathaway was proud of his movie; he couldn’t understand why Collier was so offended."
 
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Robert Harris

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Also many people feel that gary cooper was miscast in this film because of his westerns and adventure fims but i am glad he was in this movie to show that he was capable of a much broader range as an actor. Hathaway was very proud of his work on this picture for the rest of his life.

Below is a story I read on this:

"Some seven years later, Hathaway directed Constance Collier, now a grand dowager of the theater, in The Dark Corner. One day, during a break on the set, she suddenly said, “Henry Hathaway. My God, you’re not the Henry Hathaway who made that dreadful picture out of my play Peter Ibbetson with that horrible man — that Gary Cooper. My God, you’re not that Hathaway!” He said, “I sure am,” and Collier dropped the subject. Hathaway was proud of his movie; he couldn’t understand why Collier was so offended."
He didn’t cast her.
 

Dan Cooper

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I disagree with your rating of 4 for sound on this. I dont see any problems with the sound for this film and you make no comments on the sound in your review. In your review of the little rascals vol 1 with early 1929 known sound problems you give that the same rating of 4 and i am curious on what problems you heard with Peter Ibbetson.
 
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ArnoldLayne

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I disagree with your rating of 4 for sound on this. I dont see any problems with the sound for this film and you make no comments on the sound in your review. In your review of the little rascals vol 1 with early 1929 known sound problems you give that the same rating of 4 and i am curious on what problems you heard with Peter Ibbetson.
Not worth the quibble. But my guess is RH doesn’t use an absolute scale but rather considers the circumstances of each movie…
 

Dan Cooper

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Not worth the quibble. But my guess is RH doesn’t use an absolute scale but rather considers the circumstances of each movie…

Yes not worth the quibble but i will anyway for audio that i believe is a 5. Robert is entitled to his opinion as am I. The strange thing is he rates it as a 4 which isnt bad but considering that 95 percent of his reviews he gives audio a 5 on these type of movies and he has no comments about it in his review or postings. I have about 5 professional reviews staring at me and they list the audio as major plus for this blu ray. Oh well im done posting on it after this post.

I will finish on a dvd talk review for audio for Peter Ibbetson.

"The DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono soundtrack is in good shape. Dialogue and ambience is well-balanced, and the musical score is powerful without overwhelming the track. There are only a few scenes near the end with truly powerful FX, and they deliver the proper dramatic oomph."
 

Robert Harris

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Yes not worth the quibble but i will anyway for audio that i believe is a 5. Robert is entitled to his opinion as am I. The strange thing is he rates it as a 4 which isnt bad but considering that 95 percent of his reviews he gives audio a 5 on these type of movies and he has no comments about it in his review or postings. I have about 5 professional reviews staring at me and they list the audio as major plus for this blu ray. Oh well im done posting on it after this post.

I will finish on a dvd talk review for audio for Peter Ibbetson.

"The DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono soundtrack is in good shape. Dialogue and ambience is well-balanced, and the musical score is powerful without overwhelming the track. There are only a few scenes near the end with truly powerful FX, and they deliver the proper dramatic oomph."
The original track would have variable density, which has probably survived as either a fine grain or dupe. It’s fine, but I don’t believe is what it once was.
 

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