Bells are Ringing

Discussion in 'DVD' started by ArthurMy, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    Since Herb hasn't gotten around to this title yet, let me just say that I was looking forward to this title more than anything in the set (no, it's not the best in the set, but I just really love it a lot) - I'm happy to say I'm halfway through the film and the transfer is great. After years of enduring the horrid laserdisc from MGM (brown, hazy, and completely ugly - the same transfer that is continuously shown on TCM), we finally have Bells are Ringing looking as fresh and colorful and sharp as the day it was released. The 5.1 remix is very nice, too, and I'm looking forward to the extras once I finish the film.

    I couldn't be happier about this transfer.
     
  2. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

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    Glad to hear this Arthur; I bought the set primarily for FINIAN'S RAINBOW, which I also am halfway through. I haven't seen FINIAN look this good since I saw it on its opening day.
    BELLS will be fired up at the end of the RAINBOW. [​IMG]
     
  3. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    I love Bells are Ringing too and I'm just happy to be able to see it in widescreen at last; pan-and-scan is absolute hell on a movie like this (Vincente Minnelli uses every inch of the 'Scope frame). Judy Holliday is so wonderful and lovable that you almost forget you're watching a movie; when she sings "It's a Perfect Relationship" it's like she's there in the room with you, pouring out her heart.

    The new featurette is very nice, and features a touching tribute to Holliday from Hal Linden, who understudied the male lead on Broadway and sang "The Midas Touch" in the movie version. It was also good to see the cut number, "Is it a Crime." I understand why they cut it; it's a great number in the stage version, but it's a very long and static number that would have slowed down the movie. But seeing Holliday perform it is a treat. Also note that the whole scene is done in one uninterrupted take. Minnelli loved long takes.

    The flaw of Bells Are Ringing is that Dean Martin, who had just been so good for Minnelli in Some Came Running and Howard Hawks in Rio Bravo, doesn't seem at his best here. He has the slightly bored look he gets when the project doesn't really engage him, and he doesn't have a lot of chemistry with Holliday. Still, he's certainly appropriate casting for a character whose creative partner has broken up with him, and who has to learn to succeed on his own. [​IMG]
     
  4. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    "Bells" looks great - the color has been restored!

    On the down side, I noticed the framing at the top was a bit tight when peoples heads were cut off (In many shots)

    I compared the image to the laserdisc and was surprised to find picture information from the top and bottom is missing, but more so from the sides - especially the left side.

    The framing is tight - I'm surprised no one at Warner Bros. checks things like this. The last time there was a framing problem which I can recall was the Cole Porter musical box set with the "Kiss Me Kate" DVD. Warner Bros. remastered that title after getting complaints.
     
  5. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    I checked out a bit of Finian's, too, and it's amazing-looking.

    I think the framing of Bells looks swell.

    And The Band Wagon - wow.
     
  6. Ken Koc

    Ken Koc Screenwriter

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    "Finian"s" sound level seems to be lower than any of the other discs in the set. I had to turn the volume way up to hear it at the sound level that the other 4 musicals had.
    Has anyone else noticed this sound anomaly?
     
  7. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

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    If you're referring only to the opening sequence when Pet Clark's "Look to the Rainbow" fades INTO the film, it's not an anomaly.
    I kept my same volume level for both FINIAN and BELLS (didn't fire up BRIGADOON, yet),and made no adjustments, I haven't got to the mono tracks on EASTER PARADE, BAND WAGON yet.
     
  8. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    Several people have mentioned the static quality of the cut number - Is It a Crime. But this is not a finished number. Minelli shot the master long shot and would have gone back to shoot the all important closeups, which ewere never completed.
     
  9. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I'm certainly grateful to get Bells are Ringing looking like this. Judy Holliday was a genius (note that her performance of Is It a Crime? is partially looped, and mostly live!) and this captures her in all her glory.

    I disagree that Vincente Minnelli knew how to use the widescreen, though. I think the widescreen was his downfall. The beautiful camera activity of Meet Me In St. Louis and The Band Wagon is missing in Brigadoon and in this one too. Gigi is surprisingly static -- the scenes are all played in the center, very flat looking.

    The real surprise of all of these movies is Finian's Rainbow, which is amazingly well-rendered by Francis Ford Coppola. "If This Isn't Love" -- well, this is the way to film a wonderful old song like that.
     
  10. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    I am going out today to purchase BELLS ARE RINGING and FINIAN'S RAINBOW. I am happy to hear the above comments on the quality. I used to own the Bells are Ringing letterbox laserdisc and it was terrible in color, though not too bad in sound. I am excited to see what they have done with remastering. FINIAN'S RAINBOW is a good film, and I love the music. I got a chance to see it on cable about 6-7 months ago and it was the new master, it looks great. I also plan to pick up the reissue of the Bette Midler tv version of Gypsy, which I have read looks much better than the previous dvd issue, which has been out of print for years now. The orchestrations are fantastic on this, and Bette does an admirable job.

    As for Brigadoon, what a transfer. I saw it in High Definition on HDNET a few months ago, and it's still on my high-def dvr. One thing I feel bad about is that here was broadcast BRIGADOON in high-def, and the only thing I can purchase is the dvd in regular NTSC. So, with HD dvds coming out latrer this year, how many movies do I invest in the regular format knowing many will be issued in HD? I am being extremely picky on what I buy now on regular dvd. I know that it will take time for them to release these films in HD, but after buying a VHS copy, then laserdisc, then a remastered laserdisc, I am tired of replacing the same movie.

    Thanks to George Feltenstein at Warner for taking such care with all of these classic musicals. I just wish the other studios would do the same. Universal has yet to issue PIRATES OF PENZANCE and FLOWER DRUM SONG. They did great transfers of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE and SWEET CHARITY...Paramount has virtually no extras on many of these classic musicals but their transfers have been very good, COLUMBIA needs to remaster OLIVER in a big way, and it would be nice to see some of these like Funny Girl in superbit.And where's LOST HORIZON?
     
  11. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    Ah, okay. I couldn't tell because Minnelli was so fond of long takes that it would have been entirely in-character to do the whole number in one take. But anyway, when I say the number is "static" I didn't so much mean the camerawork as the nature of the number: just one person standing around doing a routine for five minutes. It's fine for the stage, but not so much for film.
     
  12. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    While I commend George Feltenstein for his work at Warners, really, let's give credit where credit is due. Mr. Feltenstein is not in charge of transfers - that work is done by others and they are, for the most part, most deserving of our praise. Bravo to them, whoever they are - they are the real heroes.
     
  13. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    I find Minnelli's direction of all the numbers in BAR to be static. It's just not fluid like St. Louis or The Band Wagon.
     
  14. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I agree, Arthur. All (or most) of the action set in the center of the screen, not a very good use of the widescreen. I don't know why Minnelli was so hampered by this ratio, but he wasn't alone. A number of directors who trained in the classic Academy ratio didn't like the widescreen -- because humans aren't shaped that way.

    In a musical, particularly, one wants to show the performer head-to-toe.
     

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