Citizen Kane - Why no 5.1 soundtrack?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Douglas R, Aug 24, 2001.

  1. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    There's a DVD review book in the UK called "The Ultimate DVD Guide" which contains reviews originally published in DVD Review magazine. The review for Citizen Kane, which was released in the UK by Universal, contains the following enlightened comment:
    "The opportunity to have created the definitive version of the true classic on DVD has, at least for the moment, been lost. Universal offers an unenhanced version of the film that threatens to let the flaws of the print distract from the drama and simple stereo when by now 5.1 Dolby should be industry standard"
    It's amazing that the "reviewer" who wrote this can display such ignorance. On the one hand acknowledging the film as a classic yet wanting the sound altered so that it is in DD 5.1. It also displays a complete misunderstanding of how soundtracks are created - presumably the writer thinks you can put a soundtrack master through a machine, punch a few buttons and thereby convert it to surround sound. The reference to the disc being in stereo is also, of course, incorrect. I'm surprised that this reviewer didn't also ask why it wasn't in widescreen.
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  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    People this stupid should be put to sleep! (Quote by R.J. Fletcher from UHF.)
    You know what? WB could have easily put a great 5.1 soundtrack on the disc. They found all the separate dialogue, music, and sound effects tracks and remixed them digitally into a 2-channel mono mix.
    But think of this...is there any B&W films with 5.1 soundtracks? No. I think a 5.1 mix would perhaps make the sound enveloping, but it's not what was intended.
    Some remixes actually suit the film perfectly like the ones for Wizard of Oz, Vertigo, North By Northwest, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure...
    I just think 5.1 is just not much of a match for a B&W film.
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  3. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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  4. Brett Cameron

    Brett Cameron Stunt Coordinator

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    "But think of this...is there any B&W films with 5.1 soundtracks? No. "
    How about Schindler's List and Ed Wood? Those were B&W films with 5.1 soundtracks.
     
  5. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer

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    The thing to ALWAYS keep in mind:
    WHAT IS THE ORIGINAL AUDIO???
    This film was made in mono.
    Clean it up, sure, but don't give me
    a 5.1 audio track...that is the same
    as giving me a colorized version of this film.
    Don't ADD stuff to the film.
    mw
     
  6. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Well, with a 5.1 soundtrack, maybe we could get some great LFE effects to enhance all those explosions. And when Kane whispers "Rosebud", it could come from all 5 channels (or better yet, add DTS ES and make it all 6 channels). [​IMG]
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  8. Duane M Davis

    Duane M Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    Years ago when Ted Turner was on his colorizing kick, he considered colorizing Citizen Kane. He was thwarted by the original contract that Orson Welles signed. It stated that the film was not to be altered in any way. I'm sure this applies to the sound mix.
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  9. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    You know guys, I don't think he meant soundtrack when he said
     
  10. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I want to see some whoop ass CGI monsters in here, I mean, they are standard now too, right? I mean, come on.
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  11. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    The sad thing is, I'm sure some people would want a cropped 1.77:1 anamorphic transfer *rolls eyes*
     
  12. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer

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    Personally, I am STILL upset
    that Jaws did not
    contain the original mono soundtrack
    (which won the Oscar that year), and
    has a bastardized 5.1 soundtrack.
    The slap on the Schieder's face
    from the boy's mother sounds totally different
    now...frankly...WRONG!
    Do we care about the INTEGRITY of the original elements or not?!?!?!
    mw
     
  13. James D S

    James D S Screenwriter

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    After reading that absurd 'reviewer's' statements, this would be a perfect time for the 'throw-up smilie.'
    *insert throw-up smilie here*
    I hope it was just a joke, but there are a lot of nuts in the world, so...
     
  14. richard plumb

    richard plumb Stunt Coordinator

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    so is the R2 release of Citizen Kane a poor one? Is it worth replacing my VHS if the DVD is a ropey transfer?
    Is the new R1 version a good version?
     
  15. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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    The R2 (PAL) DVD is made from bad film elements, long before Warners discovered an original nitrate inter-positive of the film. The R1 will most likely be much better in terms of picture quality than the R2.
    PatrickMcCart! Were did You read about Warners discovering the separate audio tracks? This is sensational since it would mean the possibility of an original soundtrack CD release!
     
  16. paul o'donnell

    paul o'donnell Second Unit

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    Ah, this reminds me of the big "discussion" we had on Jaws and the remixing phenomenon [​IMG]
    The main reason stated why people aren't so anal retentive about preserving original audio as well as OAR is because it expands on music cues and adds a new dimension to the film.
    I personally don't agree and think that original sound is hugely important. Kane in nice crisp mono is the way to go for me.
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  17. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    It's not just original mono tracks that get left to
    the wayside. Original stereo or multi-track mixes
    are more often discarded than their mono counterparts.
    Where's the original discrete tracks for "Superman",
    or "Ben Hur", which also won awards for best sound mix?
    Personally, I won't buy DVD that isn't in 96/24 DTS 6.1
    with an encoded Height channel. [​IMG]
     
  18. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I read on a DVD site (Digital Bits?) that WB digitally remixed the tracks to mono (a la Yellow Submarine except mono only.)
    Ben-Hur was released with surround sound (70mm), so the DVD basicially has a remix of that mix, right?
    Superman's 5.1 mix is fantastic and didn't Richard Donner say the original mix was kind of lacking? I vividly remember past broadcasts of the films on TV (P&S even...yechh) had really poor sound.
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  19. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    "The slap on the Schieder's face
    from the boy's mother sounds totally different
    now...frankly...WRONG!"

    Mark- Perhaps what you are hearing is the sound of us, the true movie lovers getting slapped in the face [​IMG]
     
  20. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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