Brainstorm, any news of a re-release?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Rogers, May 3, 2006.

  1. Michael Rogers

    Michael Rogers Supporting Actor

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    Caught Brainstorm recently on cable and was reminded about how much I liked this film. Though flawed, it was much better than it should of been under the cicumstances.

    I heard the DVD is awful and does not represent the multi aspect ratio film properly and is not anamorphic.

    Any one hear anything about a remaster?
     
  2. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    They are showing this in 70mm next week at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. I'm planning on going.
     
  3. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I'd buy a "Special Edition" in a NY minute!
     
  4. Dave-P

    Dave-P Agent

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    A friend of mine played "Barry" (Natalie Wood's boyfriend) in the flick. When she died unexpectedly, most of his footage with her ended up on the cutting room floor. Doubt we'll ever see these as they were "love scenes" and they were cut out of the fear of exploitation.
     
  5. wally

    wally Second Unit

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    I remember attending a lecture given by Douglas Trumbull at my university Missouri State several decades (sheesh) ago when a new theatre opened in a Showbiz Pizza (go figure). It was a new technology, I believe it became Showscan, where the 70mm film was projected at 60 fps and huge sound! It was incredible. Over the next couple years they screened several short movies using the new technology in a small theater inside the pizzeria. Anyway, IIRC, Brainstorm was supposed to be the first feature film to use Showscan technology. The “brainstorm” sequences were supposed to be in Showscan while the other parts of the movie just plain old projection technology. Great movie nevertheless.

    Of course from what I hear, it became a chicken/egg sceniaro, theatre owners hesitant of spending wads of cash for new projection equipment without films to screen and production companies hesitant of spending wads of cash on new production equipment (not to mention the scads of film stock for 60fps movies!) without venues to screen the movies.

    I’d buy a re-release too!
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I'm fond of this film, but a few things really hurt it critically. The core of the plot involves a stunning achievement: the construction of a device that can read human minds, record their thoughts, and play them back for other people to experience. That alone is stunning, and should have served as the basis of the film.

    However, soon we see that Natalie Wood has slickened the device's look into a sleek headset. A diversion.

    Then one of the company's prime player's looses his grip on reality by playing one of the lab worker's "memory tapes" of a sexual experience.

    Then the woman who pioneered the device is playing it and has a fatal heart attack while recording her experiences.

    And then it's up to our hero (and Natalie's "husband") to locate the tape and play back the experience of human death for his own edification.

    Well, that's a lot of plot points for a single story to bear. Any single plot point is strong enough to develop the film (principally, the first one).

    So I think this issue is one of the reasons the film never really took off.

    Yet, despite all this, I like Brainstorm.
     
  7. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    I was always a fan of this as well. I would snap up a re-release.
     
  8. Guido Bibra

    Guido Bibra Stunt Coordinator

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    Brainstorm has recently been released in Germany with a new anamorphic transfer after a recalled cheaply made pan&scan-version. I haven't seen the new transfer, but reports are that the whole movie is now in scope with the 1.85:1-parts windowboxed inside the 2.35:1 frame, as it was done in theatres.

    The big problem is that Warner made a big authoring error on the disc and the english soundtrack is only included in mono instead of 2.0-surround - so don't buy that disc! But there seems to be a new transfer, possibly HD, out there.
     
  9. andySu

    andySu Cinematographer

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    I have the reissue Laserdisc version, but unable to play it back in Dolby Digital, as both my two Pioneer Laserdisc players “CLD-1750” “CLD-2950” the only digital feature I can however play dts, thou I haven’t got the “Dolby AC-3” RF output, but I can play Dolby Digital via the three DVD players at hand, just thought I clear that one up!?

    Now I have heard the mix on the Laserdisc is in full “Dolby 5.1” which brings me to the DVD which only supports “Dolby 2.0” as MGM lost the plot!? What is there game, I really can’t figure it out, but I’m sure someone is willing to blow the whistle on this issue!?

    When I was working as projectionist many years ago, the 12 screen multiplex had a few smaller screens, with masking that opens “vertically” but only in the smaller screens, quite odd I would say, as I had never seen that done before, thou, most cinemas, have masking that opens on the horizontal and the vertical for “70mm” presentations, or “Academy” “scope” “W/S.”

    Now I believe the overall look of “Brainstorm” with the POV shots opens up on the horizontal and partly on the top part of the screen, thus sucking the viewer into the scene, however with the Laserdisc or any widescreen format available on the consumer market, it expands, or rather shrinks and expands on the vertical, doesn’t look right!?

    I am however waiting for MGM/UA to release a brand new Region 2 DVD with, Dolby 5.1 version in the future, and if they can work around getting the film in anamorphic that would be great.
     
  10. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    What's the problem with the aspect ratio of the current DVD? I know that during the special sequences, the sides open up into scope ratio from 1.66:1 (or was it 1.85:1?). The rest of the time, the image is centered in the screen, with black on all sides. At least that's the way it was on the old LD. Is that the way it plays on the current DVD?
     
  11. andySu

    andySu Cinematographer

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    Jeffrey

    Now that is how it should be, yeah keep the image centred to 1.85:1, and with the POV shots open outwards to expand the mind!

    Well, I’ll have to keep a lookout for the old Laserdisc version on the Ebay!

    Cheers mate.
     
  12. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    Yup...that's the way it was shown theatrically. When I saw the film during its original run, I distinctly remember that during the scenes when they're not using the "device" my mother turned to me and said "there's something wrong with the picture; it's not filling up the whole screen"!
     
  13. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    So how does it look on the current DVD then? How is it different than the LD?
     
  14. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    I don't have the DVD, so corrections are welcome, but my understanding from old discussions in alt.video.dvd is that the "real world" sequences are in 1.85:1, and that the image shrinks vertically to 2.2:1 for the "brainstorm" sequences (so that they fill less screen space and have less visual impact, pretty much exactly the opposite of the original intention).
     
  15. andySu

    andySu Cinematographer

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    It opens up on the vertical plane. Now I never had the chance to see “Brainstorm” when it opened theatrically, one I was why too young to see a “AA” certificate, which is the equivalent to a “15” in today’s certification.

    The first time I saw Brainstorm was when it was saw rented out n VHS PAL, P&S, 1983, over the years o have seen other P&S versions, with a Dolby Stereo soundtrack, but the one thing that I was observing was the image, which looked odd! A few years later when I brought my first Pioneer Laserdisc player, and was getting into seeing films in there correct aspect ratio, one day I received a copy of “Brainstorm” wow, stuck it on and the opening was fantastic!

    But when it cut to interior of the lab, I thought!? What’s going on hear then!? I read the back cover of the Laserdisc sleeve which said.

    Letter-Box Format- As seen in theatrical release, this film is presented in the a 1.85:1 aspect ratio “Letter-Box” Format with special sequences in a 2.35:1 Format.

    Arr, so that’s how they have formatted the film, about the same year of the pressing of the Laserdisc 1998, I worked for my last employer Warner Village Cinemas UK, as a projectionist, in one of the many screens out of the 12, the masking opened vertically, now that was disappointing to see, and the thought of seeing a film like “Brainstorm” flashed into my head.

    So I think they should show the film as it was seen, as Douglas Trumbull envisioned it, the screens for “16:9” in my opinion are the wrong shape for watching a scope film at home, a good IMAX shaped sized screen looks right, at least you can show all aspect ratios on it without compromising the image, ok so it doesn’t have masking, still it looks very impressive, a bit slow compared to “Showscan” 70mm 60fps.
     
  16. andySu

    andySu Cinematographer

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    The one thing I haven’t seen as a projectionist, is “Brainstorm” now what is the difference between the two prints, 35mm and the 70mm, besides have different soundtracks, the image on the frames, now for 35mm, if I where to take a guess, I would image the image been in anamorphic 2.35:1 scope for the opening parts of the film.

    After the opening credits I would imagine the framing and the rack lines on the print with thicker bars at the top and bottom of the frame, and thinner rack lines for the scope format!?

    Now if I where to show a film ads, then trailers with some in scope, I would have to quickly change the “aperture plate” then flip the “W/S lens over to scope” within a few seconds, now with “Brainstorm” I couldn’t imagine myself doing that because of the complex move and execution of getting right every time, now special lenses is the only way around this problem, but the cost of producing special lenses for theatrical runs at selected theatres would still be costly.

    So what was the technique behind the theatrical run of “Brainstorm” actual like and is there anything on the internet that can explore the origins of this more deeply regarding its image and sound!
     
  17. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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    I remember seeing this in 70mm when it first opened.
    The entire film is projected at 2.40:1 with the 1.85:1 non-Brainstorm sequences (the majority of the film) projected with large black bars on the left and right sides of the screen.

    This is also how the original MGM widescreen LD looked (in addition to the added black bars on top & bottom of the non-anamorphic picture) until consumer complaints forced MGM to remaster the disc to the same format as the current DVD which completely ruins the intended effect.
     
  18. andySu

    andySu Cinematographer

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    Well that just about explains it all!

    I’m going to keep a close eye out for the old Laserdisc version.
     

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