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A PEEK AT CAT O NINE TAILS, HAMMER, TAKE THE MONEY AND MORE (1 Viewer)

haineshisway

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Yes, I've been catching up on movie watching, and surprisingly, I've seen not much written about a few of the things below.

Cat O Nine Tails - finally got the Arrow Blu-ray after the second Amazon cock-up (first was The Apartment) - I had to cancel, since the date kept getting pushed, so I ordered from the UK and got that pretty quickly - Amazon eventually, magically got their stock but were magically charging list price for it - what a joke. Anyway, I rather like this film more than Plumage - this seems to be the whipping boy of Argento films of this era, mostly because he apparently denigrated it at some point and everyone of course immediately parrots that. I liked it when it came out and I like it even more now. First off, the Morricone score is great, Malden and the little girl are great, and the whole atmosphere is just right. But the transfer, what about the transfer, you say? Well, I didn't have much of a problem with the Blue Underground release - until seeing this one. And yes, this transfer really is all that - in fact, it may be the best representation of what a dye transfer print of this Techniscope film actually looked like. Color is absolutely perfect. I wouldn't call it a "restoration" because I don't bandy that word about as if it had no meaning. But it's a terrific transfer and I can't imagine anyone who likes this film being disappointed or preferring another transfer. And yes, it's darker than the Blue Underground, which was too bright. Mono sound is also excellent. I prefer the English dub on this because we get Malden and Franciscus' actual voices.

Take the Money and Run - I have seen nothing here about this transfer, really - did I miss it? In any case, I love this film, I love Janet Margolin, and the transfer is decidedly mediocre, frequently edging on out of focus territory on the wider shots. Clearly an older transfer - don't blame this transfer on the film's low budget, which, for the time, really wasn't that low for this kind of thing. But if you're a fan, you will want this. I just wish it were better, but with these kinds of licensing deals, you get what you get.

The two Inspector Maigret movies with Jean Gabin - the first, Maigret Sets a Trap, is a good deal of fun, a bit too long for its own good, sporting a lovely black-and-white image that is unfortunately and blatantly transferred in the wrong ratio, which minimally should be 1.66 and here is open matte. Every shot is visually compromised, with too much head and foot room - what a shame. The film was made in 1958. The followup film, Maigret and the St. Fiacre Case was made but a year later and is presented in 1.66 - I just don't get how labels don't understand this stuff. The second film isn't as much fun as the first, but I like them both pretty well.

The Hammer Volume Two Crime set - this was a treat for me. The first film, The Snorkel, is somewhat silly at times, but I enjoyed it and especially enjoyed Mandy Miller's performance. It goes on a bit long, but it's entertaining. The transfer is, for me, excessively grainy in an unpleasant way, but it's not horrendous. The second film, Never Take Sweets from a Stranger, was fantastic - as relevant and hard-hitting today as it must have been back then. The 2.35 black-and-white scope transfer is terrific - Freddie Francis is the cameraman. It's just a terrific film with great performances. The third film, The Full Treatment is basically a complete dud - the transfer is okay (although the edges of the left side of the frame are out of focus occasionally - don't know why), the story is rather inane, it's 110-minutes long and would play better at 80-minutes, and the hero's behavior is so irritating that you want to push him off the nearest cliff. That's the real problem - the actors are all asked to play what is basically the same scene over and over and over again. Finally, we have Cash on Demand and that one is right up there with Never Take Sweets from a Stranger in terms of quality. I'd never seen it - it's a great little programmer with superb performances by Cushing and Morrell and everyone else. It's taut, suspenseful, and is basically told in real time. I loved every second of it, and the transfer is top shelf. The US extended version is the one to watch. It came out here first and then finally came out in the UK shorn of thirteen minutes, most of them coming from the first part of the film - those missing minutes are all character related and without them things don't make much sense later in terms of character dynamics and relationships. A word about the extras: They're basically the same for every film - two thoroughly obnoxious pontificators pontificating, each with an irritating voice (there's also a woman pontificator, but she's not quite as annoying). I wanted to hurl my shoe through the TV. A couple have nice interviews with actors, and that's fun. But as a set, I'm thrilled to have it, even with the one dud.
 

lark144

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Well, I didn't have much of a problem with the Blue Underground release - until seeing this one. And yes, this transfer really is all that - in fact, it may be the best representation of what a dye transfer print of this Techniscope film actually looked like. Color is absolutely perfect.

Thanks Bruce, for sharing your thoughts and perceptions. I also received the Arrow CAT O NINE TAILS a few days ago. A certain blogger who received a review copy of CAT O NINE TAILS a few weeks ago was complaining on his site about how "dark" the film was compared to the Blue Underground, and speculated that the color timing on the Arrow must be wrong, and that it was also "ugly". I must confess that I tried to cancel my order, based on his say so, but was unable to because I ordered it with another item that had already shipped. I am so glad that i didn't cancel this order because this is one spectacular disc. It's really not "darker" so much as the color is more concentrated, more three-dimensional, more emotional in terms of the color temperature and timing in relation to what is going on in each scene, and yes, very beautiful, and very close to what a dye-transfer Technicolor print might have looked like back in the day. Now, I don't have as good a memory as Bruce for the specific colors of a film that I saw 45 years ago, but yes, the moment the film started, it was akin to Proust and those damn madeleines dipped in tea, it was 1971 and I was in a theater at Times Square (I don't remember specifically which one, but I think it was the Forum) and yes, that's exactly the way it looked--or should I say--a whole lot better, because those prints in Times Square theaters were far from perfect, and the color and registration on this Blu-ray is a thing of beauty. I also much prefer CAT O NINE TAILS to BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE. In fact, CAT O NINE TAILS may be my favorite Argento, and this new Blu-Ray, with its exquisite color makes an excellent case for the--oh hell, let me say it--the greatness of this film.
 

Charles Smith

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Well, I guess I'd better watch mine! Or at least promote it to a higher position in the backlog.
 

haineshisway

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These bloggers are ridiculous - they literally know nothing about film - all their knowledge is based on what they've read on the Internet or in articles, which is why every one of these people use the same exact phrases and language - it's hilarious, actually. But they base everything on previous video releases. One fellow I read kept saying the Blue Underground had more "pop" - really? I mean one just scratches one's head.
 

TravisR

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Yes, I've been catching up on movie watching, and surprisingly, I've seen not much written about a few of the things below.

Cat O Nine Tails - finally got the Arrow Blu-ray after the second Amazon cock-up (first was The Apartment) - I had to cancel, since the date kept getting pushed, so I ordered from the UK and got that pretty quickly - Amazon eventually, magically got their stock but were magically charging list price for it - what a joke. Anyway, I rather like this film more than Plumage - this seems to be the whipping boy of Argento films of this era, mostly because he apparently denigrated it at some point and everyone of course immediately parrots that. I liked it when it came out and I like it even more now. First off, the Morricone score is great, Malden and the little girl are great, and the whole atmosphere is just right. But the transfer, what about the transfer, you say? Well, I didn't have much of a problem with the Blue Underground release - until seeing this one. And yes, this transfer really is all that - in fact, it may be the best representation of what a dye transfer print of this Techniscope film actually looked like. Color is absolutely perfect. I wouldn't call it a "restoration" because I don't bandy that word about as if it had no meaning. But it's a terrific transfer and I can't imagine anyone who likes this film being disappointed or preferring another transfer. And yes, it's darker than the Blue Underground, which was too bright. Mono sound is also excellent. I prefer the English dub on this because we get Malden and Franciscus' actual voices.
I watched Cat last night and while I'm definitely no authority, I thought the disc looked great. It's funny to think of how far the Argento movies have come from when I first saw them in edited and full frame VHS presentations so it's a joy to see his classic work look so good on Blu-ray.
 

lark144

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Hey, Bruce. Loved your thoughts on the films. Ordered the Hammer Collection.
Yeah, I saw CASH ON DEMAND as part of a kiddie matinee double bill at my neighborhood theater (my theater showed a LOT of weird movie to us kids) & I remember loving it. I'd forgotten all about it until Bruce mentioned the plot. Guess I may have to get this set as well.
 

lark144

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These bloggers are ridiculous - they literally know nothing about film - all their knowledge is based on what they've read on the Internet or in articles, which is why every one of these people use the same exact phrases and language - it's hilarious, actually. But they base everything on previous video releases. One fellow I read kept saying the Blue Underground had more "pop" - really? I mean one just scratches one's head.
I'm sure they mean well, they love movies, but they just happen to be younger and never experienced seeing these films in 35mm. Their first experience was in VHS or DVD, and they're used to the look of faded Eastmancolor, or overly bright DVDs and think that's normal. They never had the experience of making a film and working with a color timer, and seeing what a difference there is from one print to the next, or working with labs and checking out the difference in prints. Fortunately, some of us are still around and can help educate them. I know that's what Mr. Harris tries to do.
 

Dick

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I recently purchased the Mill Creek set of SCREAM OF FEAR / NEVER TAKE CANDY FROM A STRANGER, both of which are damn good films with wonderful Sony transfers. I do not like THE SNORKEL and have not seen THE FULL TREAMENT, but I really like CASH ON DEMAND. Would it really be worth it for me to buy this not inexpensive Indicator set?
 

Vincent_P

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Arrow's THE CAT O'NINE TAILS looks stunning, but be sure to check your copies- Arrow delayed this for some time because of an authoring error that were supposed to be fixed on the final copies. Specifically, when attempting to access the "Child Actress" interview with Cinzia De Carolis, the interview with writer Dardano Sacchetti replays instead. The final discs were supposed to be a corrected version that fixes this authoring error (hence the delay), but something went amiss and some of the incorrectly authored Blu-rays made their way onto the market. Check your copy and see if yours plays correctly (mine does not).

Vincent
 

TravisR

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Arrow's THE CAT O'NINE TAILS looks stunning, but be sure to check your copies- Arrow delayed this for some time because of an authoring error that were supposed to be fixed on the final copies. Specifically, when attempting to access the "Child Actress" interview with Cinzia De Carolis, the interview with writer Dardano Sacchetti replays instead. The final discs were supposed to be a corrected version that fixes this authoring error (hence the delay), but something went amiss and some of the incorrectly authored Blu-rays made their way onto the market. Check your copy and see if yours plays correctly (mine does not).

Vincent
Mine worked correctly but thanks for the heads up!
 

Vincent_P

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I posted re: CAT on Facebook and it seemed like a pretty even split among my Argento-loving friends re: who got good ones vs. bad ones. I put in a request for a replacement from Amazon so hopefully that one will be okay.

Vincent
 

haineshisway

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I watched the Cinzia interview so I guess mine's fine - got it from Amazon UK, BTW. To Dick - since Mill Creek slaps double bills on discs without much care of how they're authored, I can't imagine the Arrow set wouldn't at least look a bit better. To me the UK set is worth it for it and Cash on Demand. But if you don't like The Snorkel, it's hard do know if you'd like The Full Treatment (aka Stop Me Before I Kill). I didn't like it at all, despite being a fan of Val Guest.
 

Joe Bernardi

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I saw Take the Money and Run in a small theater with about 30 or 40 others. I was the only one laughing out loud. (Which made it even funnier to me.)
 

Stephen_J_H

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Take the Money and Run - I have seen nothing here about this transfer, really - did I miss it? In any case, I love this film, I love Janet Margolin, and the transfer is decidedly mediocre, frequently edging on out of focus territory on the wider shots. Clearly an older transfer - don't blame this transfer on the film's low budget, which, for the time, really wasn't that low for this kind of thing. But if you're a fan, you will want this. I just wish it were better, but with these kinds of licensing deals, you get what you get.
Totally accurate. Disney doesn't seem to really care about these titles, as they keep providing dated masters for the orphaned children of ABC Films/Palomar/ABC Motion Pictures/Selznick International et al.
 

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