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CALAMITY JANE and THE HARVEY GIRLS (1 Viewer)

GerardoHP

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I just got my copies of these two titles and for someone who's been looking forward to them as much as I have, the news is good and bad, respectively.

CJ boasts a new transfer that brings out the brightness of the original Technicolor. In other words, it looks great. The extras are nor extraordinary but this is certainly not a bare bones edition.

HG, on the other hand, has great extras, including a very interesting (so far as I've been able to listen to it) commentary track by the director, George Sidney. On the other hand, the transfer is going to be a disappointment to Technicolor geeks like myself. It appears to me that this is the same old overbright transfer that's been shown on TCM for the last few years. While one can appreciate the brilliance of the colors in the film, the DVD makes you think more about what might have been than what it is.

I found that by bringing the brightness control on my TV down, the colors look better, but this is not something that the user should be doing -- rather, it should be done at the time of the transfer by those who produce it.
 

DaViD Boulet

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I have the anchor-bay version of Calimity Jane. Is this the same disc or has it be re-released/re-transfered?

-dave
 

Jefferson

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The Harvey Girls looked beautiful in the LD transfer, and the extras on the LD , including the George Sidney commentary, seem to have been duplicated for this dvd release. Maybe I like that flashy color look, because I remember the old vhs transfer from the eighties that was washed out. Not surprised that there were no extras for Calamity.....Jack Warner was not famous for saving anything......too bad they couldn't have coaxed Doris Day out of Carmel, CA to do a commentary.
 

Patrick McCart

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Although I haven't seen the AB CALAMITY, it's certainly a re-release and I would imagine it's been re-transfered because the colors are absolutely brilliant -- in fact, I'm almost certain this version is the one that has been playing on TCM only for a couple of months, as TCM used to show the "other" (blueish, washed-out) version regularly.
It's neither.

The Anchor Bay Calamity Jane and the WB-owned Calamity Jane are two different movies. The version WB owns, I think is either an MGM or WB movie from 1953.
 

DaViD Boulet

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My version has Doris Day. I'll have to go home and check it out and compare on the web to see what's what.

thanks for the feedback!
 

GerardoHP

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I thought they were the same movie, with Doris Day, directed by David Butler. Like I said, I haven't seen the AB version but the WB version (it is a WB film from '53) is a great rendition of the movie.
 

Doug Bull

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The Anchor Bay Calamity Jane will most certainly not be the 1953 Warner version with Doris Day.

It is owned by Warners , is not public domain and Warners do not lease out titles.

I have a feeling that Anchor Bay's might be a made for TV non musical that may have starred Elizabeth Montgomery.

I have to disagree about the quality of the new Warner DVD of Calamity Jane.

While it looks ok at times, overall it is substandard.

It has color blemishes, specks, really bad Technicolor registration problems, is overly soft, skin tones have an annoying pink tinge early on, the contrast and sharpness levels are all over the place,sometimes even in the same scene.

It also has mild edge enhancement. The laserdisc is a much more accurate depiction of the original film.

The DVD is most definitetly not up to the usual standard of Warners.

I have yet to get Harvey Girls, but I hope that it's a lot better than Calamity.

The restored version of the Harvey Girls on the laserdisc box set was a technicolor travesty.( it was also a bit soft)

It didn't resemble the original color in any way.

I know because I once owned an original 35mm IB Technicolor print of the film.

If you really want to see a pretty accurate IB Technicolor reproduction of what the film should look like, take a look at the laserdisc's super sharp outtake of Judy Garland and the girl's pastel dresses in the Doagies number. That's almost an exact match color wise with the original IB Technicolor print.

If this disc looks anything like that, then I will be happy.
 

Roger Rollins

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The new WHV "HARVEY GIRLS" DVD is truly stunning, IMHO. I thought the later LD transfer was muted and dull, whereas the new DVD is bright and vivid. The sound is OK, not great, but perfectly acceptable for a film that is 56 years old.

The supplementary material is terrific too. While it is true that most of the contents were made available on MGM's sensational GARLAND LD Boxed Set, everything looks and sounds better here...

The deleted musical numbers are all newly transferred and seem to have been re-edited (from the dailies) in a much more creative manner. How great it is the WHV includes all this material, and only charges $20 list price for the

whole package.

You get nearly two hours of pre-recording session material

(much of it in stereo) which is fascinating to hear, as is George Sidney's directorial commentary....

My favorite special bonus, is the presentation of ON THE ATCHISON, TOPEKA & THE SANTA FE in sterephonic sound, using the original multi-channel pre-recordings as a source for this mix.

This is one of those musicals that people who don't like musicals usually enjoy, like "7 BRIDES...". I urge everyone to go out and pick up this baby in order to show Warner that we'll support their classic releases, because God knows there's more gold in them thar vaults...!
 

TedD

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Another reviewer that must be using a 19" TV :angry:
This DVD (Calamity Jane, in case there was some confusion) has serious registration problems, specifically on the right side of the image. So bad, it made me stop the movie and throw up the fine cross hatch pattern to make sure my projector's convergence hadn't drifted.
In addition, the focus is soft, and the colors look more like Eastman color than IB Technicolor.
Ted
 

Patrick McCart

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This DVD (Calamity Jane, in case there was some confusion) has serious registration problems, specifically on the right side of the image. So bad, it made me stop the movie and throw up the fine cross hatch pattern to make sure my projector's convergence hadn't drifted.
The color separations may have shrunken.
 

Roger Rollins

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THE HARVEY GIRLS looks terrific, including the three outtake musical numbers. The image is clean and sharp.

I think Warners has done an outstanding job.
 

Doug Bull

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For a DVD to be considered Stunning, it certainly should not display any of the picture quality faults that are clearly evident and commented on in both mine and Ted's criticsm of the Calamity Jane disc.

Even the reviewer on Glenn's link, while being a bit overly generous and not 100% observant in his views, did however comment on several problems with the disc.

If you compare the laserdisc with the new DVD you will see the difference. The laserdisc source material was in much better condition.

I will however concede that in some scenes the DVD does indeed look terrific, but overall the disc is plagued with problems and for that reason it is a major disappointment.

I would have thought that just the Technicolor registration problems alone, would have stuck out like a sore thumb.

Moving off the subject of what constitutes Stunning and onto another matter concerning "Calamity Jane"

Has anybody explored the rumoured Lesbian angle of the Calamity and Katie characters.

It is said that the Director cleverly hid clues along the way ( I doubt that even the super pure Doris Day was aware of what might have been going on)

My Wife and I have always considered it a lot of nonsense, but now I'm not so sure.

In 1953 the mere thought of Homosexuality on the screen was taboo.

Take into account, the highly masculine Calamity and the feminine Katie living together in that tiny cabin.

I was still unconvinced of the Lesbian theory however, until I viewed the DVD the other night.

I may well be imagining things ( and probably am) but, take a look at the Tree behind Calamity when she sings "Secret Love", a song about love, but to whom? and what's the big secret? Very interesting lyrics.

You might have to stand on your head, but that Tree looks suspiciously like a certain part of anatomy and Calamity, in all her fancy buckskins, still looks somewhat butch.

There are other moments when Calamity acts rather strangely. The shootout, the jealousy and the obvious hurt that Calamity is suffering over Katie's attraction to a man?. ( The Film allows us to believe that they are fighting over the same man)

Of course both Gals get their Men in the end, but I guess for Jack Warner, the theater going public and the censorship act, that had to be.
 

GerardoHP

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There most definitely is a lesbian subtext in CALAMITY JANE. Now that may habe been deliberate or not, but it is there. Doug, your observations about this are, IMO, right on the nose.
 

DaViD Boulet

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I've been surprised at how many trasnfers that looked "stunning" on my callibrated 34" monitor reveal major flaws when I display them on a 100" screen on my friend's 16x9 DLP. "Singing in the Rain" looked to be a reference transfer on my "TV". On the big screen I thought I was watching a CRT projector out-of-alignment the color registration was so bad...there was a green "halo" outlining the right side of every object!

-dave
 

Jefferson

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I guess you could view the Calm/Katie thing that way, but it couldn't have been intentional. I also have friends who insist that Ernie and Bert.....well, I just can't go there :)
 

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