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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Reds -- in HD (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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A couple of weeks ago I was able to take a cursory look at Warren Beatty's 1981 epic Reds in HD. It is not the length of the film at 195 minutes that places it in the epic category. This is a huge, beautifully mounted production that easily defines the term for the era.

I've now found the time to re-visit the film in it's entirety and am pleased to report that Paramount has done everything correctly. On a technical basis, Reds is simply gorgeous.

To my eye, the film looks much like a new 35mm print projected on a home theater-sized screen.

Color and densities seem proper. Grain structure, which some may find course, as it is visible, is as it should be for a 1981 production. There is no finer compliment to pay an HD disc than to report that it replicates the theatrical experience.

Like the image, audio is faithfully reproduced, now in Dolby 5.1.

As a film Reds holds up perfectly, having lost none of it's power or intelligence in the intervening decades. Because of the quality that went into the production, time has been kind. Whether viewers will find interest in the leftist politics is up to the individual. I personally found the interaction of the various intellectual and political camps, inclusive of the Greenwich Village of the era fascinating. On another level, Women's Rights was taking hold, and many of the characters represented were at it's center.

Something else that shone through was Mr. Beatty's mechanism of storytelling. The personal tale of John Reed and Louise Bryant works with the story told on the huge canvas much in a way that David Lean might have handled it, and political comparisons from a different viewpoint to Dr. Zhivago are unavoidable. As a historical note, John Reed is the only American buried within the Kremlin.

The main thing is that one cares about the characters, and interrelating the historical passages with the words of the "witnesses" is both telling and in some cases a humbling experience. Hearing the words of those who were there brings the film's concept of historical epic to an even higher level.

I loved this film when it was released a quarter century ago, and it holds up perfectly today.

Reds is brilliant filmmaking, especially with Mr. Beatty wearing multiple hats, and as a High Definition DVD, it seems not to matter whether one selects a Red or a Blue.

In this case both are politically correct.

Reds come Very Highly Recommended. If you have not experienced this film, do not allow the chance to pass you by.

RAH
 

Steve Tannehill

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Just curious, did you view it on HD DVD or Blu-ray Disc?

Thanks,
Steve
 

Robert Harris

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I viewed on HD, then sampled on BD, and saw no obvious differences.

I felt that with the subject matter, that I should stick with Red.

RAH
 

Steve Tannehill

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Gotcha. I zoned and did not realize that "HD" implied "HD DVD"...

I wonder when we'll be seeing Blue Velvet on Blu-ray Disc.


- Steve
 

DeeF

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Oh, one of my favorites, and I've now watched it (HD-DVD) twice. Thanks for your imprimatur, RH, which means a lot.

Here's a little anecdote. I work in the musical theater, here in NY. I have had several opportunities to converse, one on one, with Stephen Sondheim, who is credited for the score to Reds. He didn't really write the score, of course, but merely provided the main theme, which is actually a song with lyrics called "Goodbye for Now." He had agreed to write the score, but during the final post-production period of the movie, Sondheim found himself too busy to complete the score, which was ultimately finished by Dave Grusin.

Sondheim sent a cassette tape, made by himself, playing the piano in his home, to Warren Beatty, for approval of the song/theme. This little tape was sent on to Dave Grusin, who used it to create the moments in the score, but in several places, they simply used the tape itself. Sondheim's own playing and at-home recording is heard several times in the movie, to his own amazement, expressed to me in 1982.
 

DaViD Boulet

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Dee,

what a wonderful anecdote. Thanks for sharing!

RAH, as usual thanks for bringing a great film and a great HD capture to our attention here at HTF.
 

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