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A PEEK AT SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER, LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER, AND MORE (1 Viewer)

haineshisway

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What an absolutely amazing time it is for Blu-ray collectors right now, and we should revel in it and enjoy it for all it's worth - so many releases of so many interesting films in transfers ranging from stunning to, well, less than stunning. Here's what I've been watching for the past two days.

Love With the Proper Stranger - one of my all-time favorite movies, I was thrilled to give the world the world premiere of its gorgeous Elmer Bernstein score - in fact, the first score I asked for at the beginning of what turned out to be a wonderful relationship with Paramount. But this film - this film has never gotten its due from them. It had an open matte VHS release, someone here (I think) said it was on laserdisc, but I have no memory of that, and it never had a DVD release. In the few times it was shown it was always open matte. So, it's a thrill to finally have it in its proper ratio. I wish I could rave about it or even give it the pass it's getting from just about every site where it's been "reviewed" - it certainly has its moments in the close-ups, but it's never really detailed enough in medium or long shots, there's almost no grain to speak of - contrast is fine. The packaging touts "newly re-mastered in HD." Really? Everything on Blu-ray has been newly remastered in HD so what does that even mean? Clearly here's what it's NOT re-mastered from: the camera negative. It's also just as clearly not a new internegative off the camera negative. It's easy to know that since they haven't quite removed all the burned-in changeover cue marks, which is a bit shocking in this day and age. Had a new internegative been struck, those cue marks would not be there. So, this is just an HD transfer of whatever their last internegative was - it's not terrible by any means, but it really should look better. All those caveats aside, I give it my highest recommendation because it's widescreen, it's Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen at their absolute best - you just don't see star wattage like that anymore - the writing is wonderful, and Robert Mulligan was a great director back then. And the score - gorgeous. I love this movie.

Now, if you want to do the instant comparison of what a black-and-white film of that era can and should look like, look no further than the new disc of Suddenly, Last Summer, a gorgeous transfer with incredible detail and contrast - made three years earlier than Proper Stranger. But that's Grover Crisp for you - you know what you're getting when Sony has put their seal of approval on a new transfer. The film is so strange and wacky and Mankiewicz was such a good director that it's mesmerizing. Taylor, Clift, and Hepburn - well, exactly. Funnily, I've only seen snippets of the film before, never the whole thing. What really surprised me (in a good way) was the score by Buxton Orr and Malcolm Arnold - really good. A wonderful presentation of a seriously nutty film.

Kid Galahad - a rather charming Elvis Presley film directed by Phil Karlson. It's got a really good cast, including Charles Bronson, Gig Young, and Lola Albright, and it moves right along. As everyone knows, whether it's Twilight Time or Kino or whoever, with MGM/UA transfers you get what you get. Twilight Time is a little pickier about what they will and will not issue, which is much appreciated. This transfer is one of the better ones - in fact, it looks quite good, with good color and sharpness. No real complaints, actually.

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef - holy smokes - my jaw dropped when the main titles came on. I could not believe what I was seeing, actually. Stunning color, incredible sharpness, and glorious Herrmann music in stereo in WIDE 2.55. Schawn Belston, like Grover Crisp, really knows his stuff and this transfer is AMAZING. Matt reviewed it here, so I don't need to say more, other than but it now.

The Adventures of Captain Marvel - again I'd read very good notices, and the package touts "new 4K transfer" - well, anything can be transferred in 4K, but it, as always, depends on WHAT is being transferred. The quality here is really variable - sometimes it looks fine (but never great) and sometimes it just looks baffling, with some sections so dark you can't even see what's going on. They don't really tell you what elements were used but whatever they were, they've seen some wear and tear. This happens to be my favorite serial (well, it's a tie with the Commando Cody serial with George Wallace) - I saw it in 1954 at the Picfair Theater - they always showed a serial, a Stooges, cartoons and a double feature for the kiddie matinee - that kept up until about 1957. If you love serials, there's such a dearth of them on Blu-ray, that you'll probably need this, just as I did.

Gun Fury - I don't have 3-D so I watched the 2-D and it looked very good - the opticals in this one are really opticals - for example, in 12-Mile Reef the majority of the opticals are cut in short but even the main titles in that film look amazing. Here we get much more typical opticals but the minute you're out of them, it's very sharp and detailed, and the color is very pleasing. The film is fun - Raoul Walsh and all, and I imagine it looks great in 3-D.

Finally, The Long, Hot Summer - beautiful transfer that actually gets better after the first trial scene - but I thought it all looked pretty splendid. Again, what a cast - we just don't have these kinds of actors anymore. And guess what? NONE of them mumble or whisper - they speak up, you can hear every word clearly, and yet they are subtle and real - whoever is teaching and/or allowing this generation of actors to do what they're doing should be run out of town on a rail.

Sorry for the length of this, but what a great batch of movies.
 

Robert Crawford

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I thought Love with the Proper Stranger looked fine on my OLED and I watched it twice as I listened to the audio commentary. I have no complaints!
 

skylark68

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Great write up. I enjoyed reading through it. The subject matter of Suddenly, Last Summer doesn't really appeal to me much, but seeing the beautiful transfer and the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor definitely does. I need to pick this one up. Beneath the 12 Mile Reef is another one that I'm greatly looking forward to.
 

haineshisway

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I thought Love with the Proper Stranger looked fine on my OLED and I watched it twice as I listened to the audio commentary. I have no complaints!

I think you have a higher tolerance than I do - there's nothing horrible about it - it does look "fine" but it could look so much better, which was my point. One look at any superb black-and-white transfer from that era and you can see that this is not what it could or should be. But as I said, I wouldn't be without it, and most people will, I'm sure, be fine with it, just as the reviewers seem to be. When a film is one of my all-time favorites I want it to look superb, especially knowing this is all we're ever gonna get.
 

Robert Crawford

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I think you have a higher tolerance than I do - there's nothing horrible about it - it does look "fine" but it could look so much better, which was my point. One look at any superb black-and-white transfer from that era and you can see that this is not what it could or should be. But as I said, I wouldn't be without it, and most people will, I'm sure, be fine with it, just as the reviewers seem to be. When a film is one of my all-time favorites I want it to look superb, especially knowing this is all we're ever gonna get.
It's one of my favorites too, but as you stated, I have a higher tolerance than you as this is the best it looked to me than all my previous viewings. Due to the subject matter in 1963/1964, I was too young too see this film in a movie theater with my older teenage siblings, so I was relegated to seeing films like The Courtship of Eddie's Father or John Wayne films like Donovan's Reef or McLintock. However, I did sneak in to see 4 for Texas with bombshells like Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress and Goldfinger.:)
 
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haineshisway

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I saw it on its opening day - I just fell in love with everything about it. I had a 16mm print - very nice - and you're right - this is the best it's looked on home video - but for my top films I want perfection! :) I love Donovan's Reef, BTW, and wouldn't that be a spectacular Blu-ray if they actually did the right thing by a transfer.
 

Robert Crawford

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I saw it on its opening day - I just fell in love with everything about it. I had a 16mm print - very nice - and you're right - this is the best it's looked on home video - but for my top films I want perfection! :) I love Donovan's Reef, BTW, and wouldn't that be a spectacular Blu-ray if they actually did the right thing by a transfer.
Yeah, watching this Blu-ray was my first time actually viewing this film in its OAR. As to Donovan's Reef, another film I love since first laying eyes on it at my local Merritt theater. To this day, Lee Marvin cracks me up in that film. God, I hope they do right with that film having a proper Blu-ray release.
 

John Hermes

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Yeah, watching this Blu-ray was my first time actually viewing this film in its OAR. As to Donovan's Reef, another film I love since first laying eyes on it at my local Merritt theater. To this day, Lee Marvin cracks me up in that film. God, I hope they do right with that film having a proper Blu-ray release.
Paramount is really pathetic. I am still waiting for my favorite John Wayne film, The Sons Of Katie Elder. It's ridiculous that it, Donovan's Reef, and In Harm's Way continue to await Blu-ray releases. :wacko:
 

commander richardson

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What an absolutely amazing time it is for Blu-ray collectors right now, and we should revel in it and enjoy it for all it's worth - so many releases of so many interesting films in transfers ranging from stunning to, well, less than stunning. Here's what I've been watching for the past two days.

Love With the Proper Stranger - one of my all-time favorite movies, I was thrilled to give the world the world premiere of its gorgeous Elmer Bernstein score - in fact, the first score I asked for at the beginning of what turned out to be a wonderful relationship with Paramount. But this film - this film has never gotten its due from them. It had an open matte VHS release, someone here (I think) said it was on laserdisc, but I have no memory of that, and it never had a DVD release. In the few times it was shown it was always open matte. So, it's a thrill to finally have it in its proper ratio. I wish I could rave about it or even give it the pass it's getting from just about every site where it's been "reviewed" - it certainly has its moments in the close-ups, but it's never really detailed enough in medium or long shots, there's almost no grain to speak of - contrast is fine. The packaging touts "newly re-mastered in HD." Really? Everything on Blu-ray has been newly remastered in HD so what does that even mean? Clearly here's what it's NOT re-mastered from: the camera negative. It's also just as clearly not a new internegative off the camera negative. It's easy to know that since they haven't quite removed all the burned-in changeover cue marks, which is a bit shocking in this day and age. Had a new internegative been struck, those cue marks would not be there. So, this is just an HD transfer of whatever their last internegative was - it's not terrible by any means, but it really should look better. All those caveats aside, I give it my highest recommendation because it's widescreen, it's Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen at their absolute best - you just don't see star wattage like that anymore - the writing is wonderful, and Robert Mulligan was a great director back then. And the score - gorgeous. I love this movie.

Now, if you want to do the instant comparison of what a black-and-white film of that era can and should look like, look no further than the new disc of Suddenly, Last Summer, a gorgeous transfer with incredible detail and contrast - made three years earlier than Proper Stranger. But that's Grover Crisp for you - you know what you're getting when Sony has put their seal of approval on a new transfer. The film is so strange and wacky and Mankiewicz was such a good director that it's mesmerizing. Taylor, Clift, and Hepburn - well, exactly. Funnily, I've only seen snippets of the film before, never the whole thing. What really surprised me (in a good way) was the score by Buxton Orr and Malcolm Arnold - really good. A wonderful presentation of a seriously nutty film.

Kid Galahad - a rather charming Elvis Presley film directed by Phil Karlson. It's got a really good cast, including Charles Bronson, Gig Young, and Lola Albright, and it moves right along. As everyone knows, whether it's Twilight Time or Kino or whoever, with MGM/UA transfers you get what you get. Twilight Time is a little pickier about what they will and will not issue, which is much appreciated. This transfer is one of the better ones - in fact, it looks quite good, with good color and sharpness. No real complaints, actually.

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef - holy smokes - my jaw dropped when the main titles came on. I could not believe what I was seeing, actually. Stunning color, incredible sharpness, and glorious Herrmann music in stereo in WIDE 2.55. Schawn Belston, like Grover Crisp, really knows his stuff and this transfer is AMAZING. Matt reviewed it here, so I don't need to say more, other than but it now.

The Adventures of Captain Marvel - again I'd read very good notices, and the package touts "new 4K transfer" - well, anything can be transferred in 4K, but it, as always, depends on WHAT is being transferred. The quality here is really variable - sometimes it looks fine (but never great) and sometimes it just looks baffling, with some sections so dark you can't even see what's going on. They don't really tell you what elements were used but whatever they were, they've seen some wear and tear. This happens to be my favorite serial (well, it's a tie with the Commando Cody serial with George Wallace) - I saw it in 1954 at the Picfair Theater - they always showed a serial, a Stooges, cartoons and a double feature for the kiddie matinee - that kept up until about 1957. If you love serials, there's such a dearth of them on Blu-ray, that you'll probably need this, just as I did.

Gun Fury - I don't have 3-D so I watched the 2-D and it looked very good - the opticals in this one are really opticals - for example, in 12-Mile Reef the majority of the opticals are cut in short but even the main titles in that film look amazing. Here we get much more typical opticals but the minute you're out of them, it's very sharp and detailed, and the color is very pleasing. The film is fun - Raoul Walsh and all, and I imagine it looks great in 3-D.

Finally, The Long, Hot Summer - beautiful transfer that actually gets better after the first trial scene - but I thought it all looked pretty splendid. Again, what a cast - we just don't have these kinds of actors anymore. And guess what? NONE of them mumble or whisper - they speak up, you can hear every word clearly, and yet they are subtle and real - whoever is teaching and/or allowing this generation of actors to do what they're doing should be run out of town on a rail.

Sorry for the length of this, but what a great batch of movies.
Brilliant review writing...........do more please............
 

Michel_Hafner

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If they make a new internegative from the original negative it would not be scanned. They would scan the interpositive they had to make at the same time.
 

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