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Robert Harris

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What a fortuitous event to have two Fred Zinnemann productions released within the span of a couple of months,

First High Noon from Kino in 4k, and now the extraordinary The Nun's Story from Warner Archive.

But here's the kicker on Nun's Story. It's a film shot on Eastman 5248 during the first six months of 1958, and Warner's MPI was able to capture a scan solely based upon the OCN and no other records.

After screening the new release, my feeling is that it appears much akin to the original dye transfer print I saw at the Bryn Mawr Theater in Philly.

What's interesting about this, at least to me, and possibly only to me, is that the OCN was in good enough condition that it didn't need additional layers to work. And my feeling is that that fits in perfectly with some other productions of the era - that were all processed at Technicolor London.

I call it Thames water syndrome.

And it's a good thing.

Bottom line Warner Archive's new Blu-ray of the film looks phenomenal. Pefect grain. Gorgeous color. So a huge shout out to the Thames.

A major contributor to this film was Franz Waxman, whose music supports the film at every turn, and like others who contributed to the film, was nominated for an Academy Award.

The Nun's Story was a masterpiece in 1959, and remains one today. Anyone who has not experienced the film is in for a treat.

Image – 10

Audio – 10 (DTS-HD MA 2.0 Monaural)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Upgrade from DVD - Without any hesitation

Worth your attention - 10

Slipcover rating - n/a

Very Highly Recommended

RAH




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https://www.amazon.com/Nuns-Story-B...prefix=the+nun's+story+blu-ray,aps,115&sr=8-1
 
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Allansfirebird

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Huge cost, minimal return.
The minimal return I definitely get. Are the 35mm OCNs in that dire of a state to make it cost more than a title like Guns for San Sebastian, which never even got a DVD release before WAC did a blu-ray? The DVD transfer of TSotF looked pretty good, I thought.
 
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Robert Harris

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The minimal return I definitely get. Are the 35mm OCNs in that dire of a state to make it cost more than a title like Guns for San Sebastian, which never even got a DVD release before WAC did a blu-ray? The DVD transfer of TSotF looked pretty good, I thought.
I would think so, as the OCN was used to strike multiple 70mm prints. That’s what affected Zhivago.
 

Konstantinos

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I have never seen this film.
I wonder if it is worth it a blind buy, or if I regret this like I did with "Pat and Mike".
 

Robert Crawford

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I have never seen this film.
I wonder if it is worth it a blind buy, or if I regret this like I did with "Pat and Mike".
Different type of films because this film is a serious drama while Pat and Mike is a romantic comedy. Subjectivity is more so with comedies because of the differences in each of our sense of humor. What’s funny to me, might not be funny to you.
 

haineshisway

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It is somewhat but not completely hilarious that we can't even get three posts into a thread about The Nun's Story before every post is about Pat and Mike :) So, let me get us back to the topic at hand:

One of the great joys in life is the joy of discovery, especially at my age. I’ve seen heaven know how many films since I began seeing films in theaters back in 1953 or 1954, and yet, somehow some classics slip through the cracks. Such is the case with The Nun's Story..

Back in 1958, I saw a movie entitled Vertigo. I’m not sure I knew what a nun was back when I was ten, but the nun who rises up from the dark at the end of Vertigo made me very nervous and frightened of nuns. I use that as the excuse that one year later I didn’t go anywhere near a motion picture entitled The Nun’s Story. It wasn’t until The Sound of Music and The Trouble with Angels that I was okay with nuns, especially when they were played by Julie Andrews and Rosalind Russell. When the DVD of The Nun’s Story came out (I believe it was part of a Warner Bros. set of movies about faith and religion), I bought it. I watched the credits and about two minutes more but I could not get past the ugly brownish transfer of a movie I knew had to look tons better because it was photographed by one of the greats, Franz Planer. The only thing I really knew about the film was that I had/have a pristine first edition of the novel on which it is based, and in the 1960s I had a stereo copy of the soundtrack by Franz Waxman, that I did like quite a lot.

Yesterday, the new Blu-ray of The Nun’s Story arrived and I had the joy of discovery of watching it. Is it the classic that everyone said it was back then and now? It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning – zero. It was, after all, the year of Ben-Hur and nothing could stop that rollercoaster. Miss Hepburn was nominated alongside Miss Hepburn for best actress – Audrey and Katharine. Simone Signoret won for Room at the Top. I liked her in that film, but I’m afraid Miss Hepburn (Audrey) should have taken the prize. The most astonishing Best Actress nomination that year was Doris Day for Pillow Talk. My two most-seen films of 1959 were North by Northwest and Li’l Abner, along with The Five Pennies. The Nun’s Story did play my favorite neighborhood theater, the Stadium in November of 1959, but they had a kiddie matinee on Saturday and I probably went to whatever that was and bolted before the scary nun movie. But I digress.

Anyway, the simple answer to my simple question of "is it a classic" is simple yes. It’s an episodic film of two-and-a-half-hours, roughly divided into three distinct sections, but it never lags and it always holds the attention. Audrey Hepburn is magnificent in it and it is a VERY complex role. The supporting players are all excellent, including Dean Jagger, Peter Finch, Edith Evans, Patricia Collinge (a favorite of mine for her brilliant performance in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt), and others. Fred Zinnemann directed – he was a wonderful director who knew how to tell a story with simple, effective camera placement and blocking. Planer’s photography is stunning, and a major player that was mentioned almost nowhere, even in current reviews, is the score by Franz Waxman. It’s one of his greatest because he knows when a scene needs music and when it doesn’t. I can’t think of another director of that era who would not have had the final scene scored with music right through to the end title card. But Zinnemann doesn’t – he lets it play in silence and it’s the perfect choice. The transfer rights all the wrongs of the DVD - great color throughout, nice detail, all of it. Highly recommended by the likes of me. Oh, and one other fascinating bit of tid I gleaned from researching this film in the newspapers of the time: What are the odds that 1959 had TWO Otto Preminger movies – Porgy and Bess and Anatomy of a Murder and that the two movies opened a week apart? Amazing. As is The Nun's Story.
 

Robert Harris

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It is somewhat but not completely hilarious that we can't even get three posts into a thread about The Nun's Story before every post is about Pat and Mike :) So, let me get us back to the topic at hand:

One of the great joys in life is the joy of discovery, especially at my age. I’ve seen heaven know how many films since I began seeing films in theaters back in 1953 or 1954, and yet, somehow some classics slip through the cracks. Such is the case with The Nun's Story..

Back in 1958, I saw a movie entitled Vertigo. I’m not sure I knew what a nun was back when I was ten, but the nun who rises up from the dark at the end of Vertigo made me very nervous and frightened of nuns. I use that as the excuse that one year later I didn’t go anywhere near a motion picture entitled The Nun’s Story. It wasn’t until The Sound of Music and The Trouble with Angels that I was okay with nuns, especially when they were played by Julie Andrews and Rosalind Russell. When the DVD of The Nun’s Story came out (I believe it was part of a Warner Bros. set of movies about faith and religion), I bought it. I watched the credits and about two minutes more but I could not get past the ugly brownish transfer of a movie I knew had to look tons better because it was photographed by one of the greats, Franz Planer. The only thing I really knew about the film was that I had/have a pristine first edition of the novel on which it is based, and in the 1960s I had a stereo copy of the soundtrack by Franz Waxman, that I did like quite a lot.

Yesterday, the new Blu-ray of The Nun’s Story arrived and I had the joy of discovery of watching it. Is it the classic that everyone said it was back then and now? It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning – zero. It was, after all, the year of Ben-Hur and nothing could stop that rollercoaster. Miss Hepburn was nominated alongside Miss Hepburn for best actress – Audrey and Katharine. Simone Signoret won for Room at the Top. I liked her in that film, but I’m afraid Miss Hepburn (Audrey) should have taken the prize. The most astonishing Best Actress nomination that year was Doris Day for Pillow Talk. My two most-seen films of 1959 were North by Northwest and Li’l Abner, along with The Five Pennies. The Nun’s Story did play my favorite neighborhood theater, the Stadium in November of 1959, but they had a kiddie matinee on Saturday and I probably went to whatever that was and bolted before the scary nun movie. But I digress.

Anyway, the simple answer to my simple question of "is it a classic" is simple yes. It’s an episodic film of two-and-a-half-hours, roughly divided into three distinct sections, but it never lags and it always holds the attention. Audrey Hepburn is magnificent in it and it is a VERY complex role. The supporting players are all excellent, including Dean Jagger, Peter Finch, Edith Evans, Patricia Collinge (a favorite of mine for her brilliant performance in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt), and others. Fred Zinnemann directed – he was a wonderful director who knew how to tell a story with simple, effective camera placement and blocking. Planer’s photography is stunning, and a major player that was mentioned almost nowhere, even in current reviews, is the score by Franz Waxman. It’s one of his greatest because he knows when a scene needs music and when it doesn’t. I can’t think of another director of that era who would not have had the final scene scored with music right through to the end title card. But Zinnemann doesn’t – he lets it play in silence and it’s the perfect choice. The transfer rights all the wrongs of the DVD - great color throughout, nice detail, all of it. Highly recommended by the likes of me. Oh, and one other fascinating bit of tid I gleaned from researching this film in the newspapers of the time: What are the odds that 1959 had TWO Otto Preminger movies – Porgy and Bess and Anatomy of a Murder and that the two movies opened a week apart? Amazing. As is The Nun's Story.
I’m shocked you never owned a dye transfer print. What an extraordinary film! Pity Zinnemann never tried his hand at a western…
 

haineshisway

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I’m shocked you never owned a dye transfer print. What an extraordinary film! Pity Zinnemann never tried his hand at a western…
If one had come available, I'm sure I would have snatched it up. Someday, remind me to tell you the amusing story of when my Nudie co-director called me and said he'd been offered a huge stash of 35mm films for $7500. I arranged for the money, he drove a truck to the mid-west and got the films, and brought them back to my house, where we took up the entire garage. In this stash were IB Techs of several Bond films, The Court Jester, Marnie, and many, many more goodies. Mark and I took ten films each for ourselves (of course, I snagged Court Jester and Marnie, You Only Live Twice and I'm not sure what all else - maybe Chinatown and The Music Man if memory serves. He took mostly older black-and-white movies, along with an IB Donovan's Reef. The money guy made three grand instantly and we sold everything else and both made out quite well. It was a time. Almost as good as the time when MGM was junking all their 16mm IB prints and a guy who worked there was grabbing them - many of them still on cores and never run before. It was raining Technicolor for six months. I was put in contact with the guy, we worked out our deal, and I ended up with multiple prints of Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris, Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz - you know, junk like that. :) The late Mike Hiatt got many of my 35mm prints, including my minty fresh Vertigo, which I instantly regretted getting rid of.
 

Robert Harris

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If one had come available, I'm sure I would have snatched it up. Someday, remind me to tell you the amusing story of when my Nudie co-director called me and said he'd been offered a huge stash of 35mm films for $7500. I arranged for the money, he drove a truck to the mid-west and got the films, and brought them back to my house, where we took up the entire garage. In this stash were IB Techs of several Bond films, The Court Jester, Marnie, and many, many more goodies. Mark and I took ten films each for ourselves (of course, I snagged Court Jester and Marnie, You Only Live Twice and I'm not sure what all else - maybe Chinatown and The Music Man if memory serves. He took mostly older black-and-white movies, along with an IB Donovan's Reef. The money guy made three grand instantly and we sold everything else and both made out quite well. It was a time. Almost as good as the time when MGM was junking all their 16mm IB prints and a guy who worked there was grabbing them - many of them still on cores and never run before. It was raining Technicolor for six months. I was put in contact with the guy, we worked out our deal, and I ended up with multiple prints of Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris, Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz - you know, junk like that. :) The late Mike Hiatt got many of my 35mm prints, including my minty fresh Vertigo, which I instantly regretted getting rid of.
Always wondered about GWTW in dye transfer 16. Had a 1954, and earlier a 16 Chrome.

DT Chinatowns were a rarity. Most after the first printing were Eastman.
 

willyTass

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on the other site they are showing some stats that warner mis-encoded this at about 19mbps. Unusual for an archive title. i must say , having looked forward to this for years, something seemed “off” when i viewed it . kept thinking the compression was so so.
 

Robert Crawford

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on the other site they are showing some stats that warner mis-encoded this at about 19mbps. Unusual for an archive title. i must say , having looked forward to this for years, something seemed “off” when i viewed it . kept thinking the compression was so so.
Oh boy!
 

Robert Harris

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Yup.

Oh, boy!

If this were a basketball game the low numbers might have meaning, and if you review by numbers, this could be an extremely problematic release.

But it’s about nuns.

Not murderous nuns, or car-chasing nuns, but nuns that don’t seem to move much.

Except for some girls that I knee growing up and who attended Catholic schools, the only violence of which I was aware was a girl getting slammed on the buckles with a ruler. I guess the nuns always carried them, locked and loaded.

But these are generally placid nuns.

The data stream can dip into the high single digits, or roll along in the high twenties, with nary a problem.

Yup.

Oh, boy!

Enjoy the nuns.
 
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