A Sneak Peek at Gun Crazy

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by haineshisway, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Is it coincidence or just serendipity that the two latest Wild Side releases from France, Curse of the Demon and Gun Crazy, two completely different kinds of films, both star the wonderful Peggy Cummins?

    Gun Crazy the little Blu-ray is inside of a great big box that houses a gorgeous hardcover book by American noir expert, Eddie Muller, which is in French. However, it is loaded with script excerpts, incredible photos and a poster gallery so it's fun to look at and it's just a shame that the text couldn't be in English and French, although the actual photocopied script excerpts and the various production letters are in English. It's very expensive, but, like Curse of the Demon, I love the film so much that I just bought it anyway.

    I first saw Gun Crazy at some point in the mid-1970s when I got a 16mm print of it and I instantly fell in love with everything about the film - the brilliant direction, script, photography and the performances. I watched it quite often. At either the first or second Telluride Film Festival I went because Joseph H. Lewis was there to talk about Gun Crazy, which they were showing. That was an amazing experience, because at that festival was the first time I ever saw Sunrise by Murnau, which they showed outdoors. I remember being huddled under a blanket with some young woman I'd just met - believe me, it was fun. :)

    I can't find my DVD of Gun Crazy at the moment. But watching the new Blu-ray from Wild Side I was immediately struck by how many opticals are in the film. Of course, watching for that sort of thing is a by-product of the Blu-ray age and discussion boards - certainly it would never have occurred to us to watch that sort of thing in the old days when we just watched movies. It is wall-to-wall opticals, rather like Giant in that regard - one after another, with very long scenes playing completely as optical dupes. When you finally cut out of those shots to the few non-optical shots in the film, then you get wonderful clarity, that looks quite fetching in this transfer. The detail is really nice as is the contrast in all those shots. The opticals, of course, don't look as good. If I could find the DVD I could tell you better whether there's been an attempt to clean up the grain in the opticals - with the exception of a few of them, they don't have much grain, but that wasn't bothersome to me, and that may just be the way they look. I'll keep trying to find the DVD which is here somewhere and then I can compare.

    But I'm happy to have this and watching it again was very pleasurable and Miss Cummins is absolutely brilliant. There are some extras, and since most of the participants in them are American (or English in the case of Miss Cummins, who I was rather surprised to see is still with is, as her segment was taped at the Castro Theater in San Francisco this past summer - she's still beautiful and still feisty), you can watch and enjoy them. The film has removable English subtitles (via remote) and despite the Region B listing, it plays fine in my region A player, just as Curse of the Demon did. Again, some of the detail in this transfer is rather breathtaking, but the many opticals are not as sharp, which is as it should be. If you love the film, I can't imagine you wouldn't be pleased with this package, presuming you want to pay the price.
     
  2. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Producer

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    I'm paying the price, happily, for this and the DEMON set. I walk on the Wild Side regarding their excellent releases.
     
  3. lark144

    lark144 Stunt Coordinator
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    Bruce, thanks so much for letting us know about this new set! I also owned a 16mm print of GUN CRAZY in the early 70's. There was one scene in particular that I would watch over and over. It was a very long take of what may be the first robbery in the film, with the camera in the back seat of the car. Peggy Cummings is going over the mundnae details of what John Dahl needs, "Dear, do you have the gun & sunglasses?' etc. The car pulls up to a bank, John Dahl gets out, and in the distance one hears gunshots as the camera (in what seems like a hand-held movement) suddenly moves forward into a close-up of Ms. Cummings' face, and it is clear that she is becomming quite excited, and almost glances into the camera in a knowing, almost self-conscious fashion, the same way Anna Karina used to wink in those early Jean-Luc Godard films. For me (although I don't think there's any documentation) those amaing car scenes in PIERROT LE FOU come from a very deep study of GUN CRAZY. And yes, this has long been one of my favorite films (along with DEMON) so I guess I will eventually have to own these sets.

    But before I do, how does that robbery scene (i seem to recall that it begins with a dissolve, so it's probably a dupe) look on the Blu ray?
     
  4. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Yes the entire robbery scene comes out of a dissolve and is in one very long and amazing take. That scene is dissected in the extras, but I already knew all of it because of seeing Lewis talk about it in Telluride. The dissolves aren't bad-looking, just not as detailed as the normal shots.
     
  5. Steen DK

    Steen DK Stunt Coordinator

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    What's stopping you? Take a cue from me: I never bothered upgrading to either DVD or blu-ray. I stuck with VHS via my trusty 14" CRT TV. I'm just watching the movies.
     
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  6. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Is this necessary? It isn't and completely misses the point, don't you think? The point was and is in MOVIE THEATERS where we were watching something called 35mm film, we didn't sit there watching to see how the opticals looked or the grain structure or any anomalies in the image, we watched the movie. It has nothing to do with VHS, as you well know. We're trying to have a nice and easy thread here and there is no reason for your sort of post.
     
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  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Bruce, my Gun Crazy DVD is in a film noir boxset from Warners with The Asphalt Jungle, The Set-Up, and others. Maybe that may help you find it.
     
  8. Steen DK

    Steen DK Stunt Coordinator

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    But see, I don't agree with this. We may not have talked about grain structure, because it was film, not digital, so of course there was grain - sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on film stock - but you make it sound like no one cared about the quality of the prints. You really didn't care about "any anomalies"? Ok, it may well be that you've always been lucky about seeing pristine prints, but I certainly haven't. A couple of years ago I walked out of a screening of A Place in the Sun because the print was so worn that I couldn't hear what was being said - and it didn't help that there were subtitles because they couldn't be read.

    And I've sat through screenings of several movies where the shape of the prints completely took me out of the experience. So OF COURSE I cared about the quality - just like I do now when it comes to blu-rays.
     
  9. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Producer

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    By the way, with VAT removed for Americans buying via Amazon France, GUN CRAZY is only $56, and DEMON just a Twilight Time-y $34...steals! :) Can't wait to see them.
     
  10. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    He can correct me if I misinterpret him, but I'm certain he's not talking about the quality of a praticular print, of course no one is suggesting that bad and worn prints are somehow acceptable. He's saying that no one came out of a showing of Gun Crazy in 1950 and said, "Too bad that long dupe section with the robbery was so soft."
     
  11. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Exactly the point and thank you for restating it even more clearly
     
  12. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    That spoonful of sugar definitely helps the medicine to go down.
     
  13. Wade Sowers

    Wade Sowers Second Unit

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    Glad you mentioned this - the removal of the VAT might not be well known by people over here when we consider ordering stuff from England, France, Germany, etc. I ordered both of these myself - now I need to find out about the Region Code/Englishness of this restoration of DUCK YOU SUCKER! due in a couple of weeks, around the 18th. Initial reports are that it does have the English dub track.

    http://www.amazon.it/dp/B00G2UUUM0/?tag=bluraycom0c-21
     
  14. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Producer

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    Let us know, Wade (or some other buyer).
     
  15. Wade Sowers

    Wade Sowers Second Unit

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  16. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Aha, brilliant - found it immediately :) Just looked at it - other than being a DVD the grain stuff is similar, but the Blu-ray obviously has much more detail and to my eye better contrast.
     
  17. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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    This discussion has prompted me to revisit that boxset, which was the first Warner noir set, and I think it had the best collection:
    The Asphalt Jungle (just watched it again last night), Gun Crazy, Out of the Past, Murder My Sweet, and The Set-Up.

    They look pretty good for DVDs, and seem to be based upon pretty good prints, but I'd love to see BDs of these films.
     
  18. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

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    Agreed. It was difficult not to feel a bit let down by the subsequent noir sets... each had great films to offer, don't get me wrong, but none of them quite lived up to that first amazing collection.
     
  19. SeanAx

    SeanAx Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the information. This is one of my all-time favorite films and the temptation is great ...
     
  20. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Screenwriter

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    It would be great if Warners released some of these sets (or even individual films) on blu ray. I agree that the first set had some good films, but my favourite is The Narrow Margin (from set 2). I am sure that a couple of sets containing the best films would be good sellers on blu-ray.
     

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