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A PEEK AT MIDNIGHT COWBOY

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by haineshisway, May 29, 2018.

  1. Message #1 of 58 May 29, 2018
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
    haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I am so irritated right now. SO irritated. For WEEKS the other board has been having conniption fits over this transfer, despite it not being released until today. In other words, yes, the dreaded and terrible screen caps, which would lead you to believe that this was a horrible green mess - carefully chose screen shots I might add and from where, heaven knows, because they seemed to appear before any reviews had appeared. Of course, you all know where this is heading.

    And a few days ago some people go early copies and still on they go about green tints, just to cover themselves with the angry, know-it-all mob over there. Well, I got this thing today and it is one of the most accurate and beautiful transfers I've ever seen. It's BREATHTAKING. I have never ever liked any home video iteration of this movie - they all look like crap. Finally we get a proper transfer and all these misguided few can do is complain about green and most of them without having seen a frame of this disc and all of them not ever having seen this film in a theater. There is not one HINT of a "green tint" in ANY scene, including the one they all point to, the one shot of the cook in the diner. The color is what it's supposed to be - but they all use the previous MGM transfer to tell everyone how wrong this is, as if they a) knew what they were talking about, and b) refuse to understand that previous transfers are not the gospel. And these same people who do this over and over and over again stop people from purchasing the disc. Then when the word finally gets out how amazing a transfer is, they all disappear without so much as a word of "oops." Every color in this film is perfect - the blues, the greens, the yellows, the reds, the purples, all of it. Adam Holender supervised this transfer and he did a fantastic job of getting this film to look just as fresh as the day it opened. And yes, there is popcorn-size grain in the early opticals, which is exactly right, and well, just buy it and understand how perfect it is. Blanket green, my backside. How do you explain all those other vivid colors and the perfectly BLUE sky? You can't because there is not one iota of a blanket green tint or any green tint, whatever that actually means. So, once again the screen shot brigade does their damage. And I really do not want to hear anything about "that's an actual shot right off the actual Blu-ray, because whatever is happening in those screen shots is so inaccurate as to be laughable.

    I cannot say enough about this transfer. Those who know me know how I am about color. This is fantastic.
     
  2. Message #2 of 58 May 29, 2018
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
    PMF

    PMF Producer

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    In other words, it's not a Green Back;
    but, rather, it's a Joe Buck.
    No worries, haineshisway;
    as these are also the very same people who believe that "money" is spelled as M-O-N-Y.
    Once again, you bring excellent news; which is something anyone here can always take to the bank.
     
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  3. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Well, Bruce, I haven't always agreed with you when you have insisted some discs, such as THE KING AND I, had no skew toward blue/teal. ;). But I surely hope I agree with you regarding MIDNIGHT COWBOY. I did see this in 1969 in NYC (still celebrating having passed that liberating age of 18 the previous year) and it left me speechless for hours after, but it has remained one of my favorites and a powerful example of a most unlikely but, as it turns out, life-affirming friendship. Can't wait for the July B&N sale.
     
  4. Jimbo64

    Jimbo64 Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the good news Bruce!
     
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  5. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I didn't ever say The King and I wasn't BLUE. I said it was BLUE. Not teal. There is not a speck of teal anywhere. Too much blue? I don't know - all I know is in scenes without blue lighting (a Shamroy trademark), like the yellow scenes when Anna is first in the palace, there's no blue anywhere at all. I know most people are unhappy with it, so count me among the few who doesn't have much of a problem with it.
     
  6. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Screenwriter

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    I was one who was barking over the “tinting” of specific shots. I also am cautious over what is correct or not. True the MGM isnt perfect.

    Regarding the shots with the cook.
    The color choice doesnt look as bad as I thought, moments when there is no tint esp with the tight shot near the end of their talk. However that very first shot before the credits no way you cant say it doesnt have a tint.

    The Criterion is way sharper than the MGM transfer and I REALLY appreciate the original United Artist Transamerica logo restored to this edition.

    Criterion got my money, but the teal push is real on many releases, and to me its a red flag. If we keep supporting by buying them it sends the wrong message that any distributor can hash out any revisionist transfer they want and we all run to buy them.

    What if the Criterion came out and had his hat and shirt to be true white, would anyone have complained?

    Again all the revisionism with so many films makes me not very trusting when it comes to Midnight Cowboy.

    I always hope for the best but now everytime Criterion announces a BLU I always wonder how different its going to look. I hate getting burned so to speak.

    Dressed to Kill is one example that comes to mind. Better detail and transfer but there are some shots that look drastically different.

    Compare near the beginning of DtK when Angie Dickinson is in bed with her husband and check out the bedspread and decor. Wow its so different between both transfers

    I will watch Midnight Cowboy this weekend and Im sure I will enjoy it, and I will keep an open mind.

    I do appreciate getting more thoughts on the transfer.
     
  7. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    There is no green TINT. Period. There is green in the scene and green in the lighting. This is what the film looked like - no other release has ever been close. You think they're going to add a TINT to a shot that lasts mere seconds? I recommend listening to the Adam Holender extra where he explains all the choices they made - very interesting. There is no revisionism here and you cannot use the previous transfers as if they actually meant something. That is everyone's biggest mistake in all this.
     
  8. commander richardson

    commander richardson Second Unit

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    100% correct.....it is outstanding in quality and matches the cinema release exactly .
     
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  9. Message #9 of 58 May 30, 2018
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
    lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

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    OK, I'm going a little bit out on a limb here, because I haven't bought the Criterion yet, and I'm basing my memory of a film I haven't seen in a very long time, but the scene with the cook is green because of the fluorescent lights, which appeared on the Eastman color stock that was used at the time as a metallic green. Generally, what one did in those days was to use a filter to color correct for fluorescent lights, but I believe that the director and cinematographer chose to shoot fluorescent lights without color correcting (I would imagine that Mr. Holender discusses this on the disc; if I'm mistaken Bruce, please let me know). The reason I'm bringing this up is because when I first saw the film, I was somewhat taken aback by the strong green cast in certain scenes, and was under the impression that they used a green filter or light with a green gel for those scenes. The next year I began making amateur films using 16mm color Eastman stock, and discovered that that greenish "tint" was simply the green color cast by fluorescent lights, so when I saw MIDNIGHT COWBOY again a number of years later, as I had shot footage in a diner with fluorescent lights without using a filter, I recognized that what I had previously thought was a green "tint" was simply the way the lights in that diner looked without color correcting ; in other words, that green cast that is in certain scenes of MIDNIGHT COWBOY is completely natural. It's just the way the light in those places looked.
     
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  10. PMF

    PMF Producer

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    I'm buying mine "Toots" sweet.
     
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  11. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

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    I saw this film at 3 different, high-quality venues during original release. However, my memory of the color may not be very good because I was no longer a projectionist, was in grad school, and was not very focused on technical issues of movies and presentation during that period of my life.

    So I have watched the new Criterion Blu-ray of Midnight Cowboy over the last few days trying to remember what it looked like in original release.

    My initial impression of the first few minutes was that it was fairly green. Not unbearably green in the died-in-the-wool manner that The King and I is overly blue. Certainly greener than the other home media presentations that I still own for comparison.

    After more watching, I think this new Blu-ray is probably like the original release prints. haineshisway is right about the color being accurate.

    The movie itself is just as urgent and honest as it was in original release, very compelling and beautiful. Volumes could be written about it.
     
  12. Message #12 of 58 May 30, 2018
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
    Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    I don't think this is even a question of adding a tint (a la the silent films) because I don't think that happens, but is rather the result of someone tweaking the color balance during re-mastering process. I am not an expert in this field and can only conjecture. Regarding my comment about "teal" in THE KING AND I, I apologize if I misrepresented your comments. I have seen an HD of this with the rich colors I remember from the theatrical release and the Blu-ray ain't it by a long shot. But going back and forth about that film has its own thread(s), so no point in continuing it here. With regards to MIDNIGHT COWBOY, as I said, I look forward to getting my copy, and will watch it with a completely open mind. As rsmithjr inferred, perhaps the Criterion is the first accurate transfer after years of inaccurate ones. My recollection of the film in theaters is that it had very saturated colors and did not lean the tints in any particular direction. But lark144's post is also relevant.
     
  13. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Well, you're certainly entitled to that opinion. The word "teal" implies a lean toward blue/green, and perhaps we are misusing that term. But, as you say, it does have a blue bias.
     
  14. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Yes, the brief shot is part of the entire stylized opening and of course there's fluorescent lighting, but even with that it isn't blanketed green like these people say - it just looks like it's supposed to look. The previous release is brown, literally all brown. They like that. :)
     
  15. battlebeast

    battlebeast Cinematographer

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    Just wondering, you are complaining about the Criterion transfer before having seen it?
     
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  16. CarlosMeat

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    Thanks very much for the review ! I appreciate the fact that it turned out well. Not one of my favorite films but a good one. I was one who used the screen cap as part of my "fear of failure" regarding 2001. I stand corrected.
     
  17. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    Can anyone tell me about the documentary on screenwriter Waldo Salt that's included and whether that was upgraded at all, or what it looks like? Thanks.
     
  18. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Screenwriter

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    I was complaining having seen screen shots floating around. I now have it and its not as harsh as those caps made it out to be, but im still not 100% convinced. Being sold so many questionable transfers in the past you can understand doubt one would have.

    when Joe comes to the diner and talks to the cook all the fluorescent lights above are clearly OFF.

    But the transfer is clearly better than the MGM, more defined the grain looks incredible to me. And the icing on the cake is the United Artists Transamerica opening logo intact.
     
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  19. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Emphasis mine:

    "This new digital transfer was created in 16-bit 4K resolution on a Lasergraphics Director film scanner from the 35mm original camera negative. A 35mm interpositive was used for some sections where the negative was damaged. A 35mm theatrical print made for the 2004 twenty-fifth anniversary of the film -- supervised by director John Schlesinger, producer Jerome Hellman, and cinematographer Adam Holender -- was referenced for color correction. The 4K digital restoration was approved by Holender. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, and warps were manually removed using MTI Film's DRS, while Digital Vision's Phoenix was used for jitter, small dirt, grain, and noise management, and Pixel Farm's PFClean for flicker and chroma breathing."

    So basically the director, producer, and cinematographer approved these colors as opposed to Joe Calibration Disc at soandso.com. Sounds legit.
     
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  20. lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

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    The first Blu was abysmal. Calling it brown is being kind. I remember when this film opened, it had the most beautiful colors, all natural from a New York Times Square illuminated dark night of the soul. The thing is Bruce, we saw these films when they came out, and remember what they looked like. The younger members of our forum grew up watching faded 16mm television prints (or DVDs derived from the same) and are under the impression that these films are supposed to look orange, pink and brown, so when the films are suddenly restored to their original color scheme, it seems wrong because they were so used to seeing faded colors, that seeing all that blue, green and yellow is a big shock. Fortunately, some of us are still around to testify that this is indeed how these films looked on first release.
     
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