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Crawdaddy's "Random Thoughts" about Home Video, Film & TV

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Crawford, Feb 23, 2017.

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  1. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Cinematographer

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    KCC is a great film but not film noir, it's a straightforward crime film.
     
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  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    As I stated beforehand, I'm not so strident about the difference between crime and film noir films especially those made during the film noir era.
     
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  3. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer

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    Got my DVR set for Saturday.
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yeah, it's not really a film noir perse, but, "Johnny Eager" is a crime film that has some noir elements in it. I love this 1941 MGM film as l watched it many times growing up in the NYC Metro area as it constantly played on local TV there. A great cast with some really good acting performances. Robert Taylor, Lana Turner, Edward Arnold, Van Heflin (Best Supporting Actor Oscar) and Paul Stewart. A favorite character actor of mine, Stewart was always his best in baddie roles like this one and other similar roles in "Mr. Lucky", "The Window" and "Appointment with Danger". A great film ending too. As to Taylor, another underrated actor during his career, but, I find him in many of my favorite films. Lana Turner was such a hottie and an underrated actress.

    [​IMG]


    TCM's Noir Alley 2019 schedule.

    03-09-19: D.O.A. (1950)
    03-16-19: High Sierra (1941)
    03-23-19: Lady in the Lake (1946)
    03-30-19: Border Incident (1949)
    04-06-19: 99 River Street (1953)
    04-13-19: Nobody Lives Forever (1946)
    04-20-19: M (1951)
    04-27-19: Woman on the Run (1950)
    05-04-19: Nightmare Alley (1947)
    05-11-19: White Heat (1949)
    05-18-19: Key Largo (1948)
    05-25-19: Dead Reckoning (1947)
    06-01-19: The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
    06-08-19: Nora Prentiss (1947)
    06-15-19: Pickup on South Street (1953)
    06-22-19: Shadow on the Wall (1950)
    06-29-19: On Dangerous Ground (1951)
    07-06-19: The Tattooed Stranger (1950)
    07-13-19: The People Against O'Hara (1951)
    07-20-19: While the City Sleeps (1956)
    07-27-19: Thieves' Highway (1949)
    09-07-19: The Big Clock (1948)
    09-14-19: Nocturne (1946)
    09-21-19: The Woman on the Beach (1947)
    09-28-19: The Harder They Fall (1956)
    10-05-19: Trapped (1949)
    10-12-19: Clash By Night (1952)
    10-19-19: This Gun For Hire (1942)
    10-26-19: Force of Evil (1948)
    11-02-19: Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
    11-09-19: Johnny Eager (1941)
    11-16-19: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
    11-23-19: Kansas City Confidential (1952)
    11-30-19: The Mask of Dimitrios (1944)
    12-07-19: Berlin Express (1948)
    12-14-19: Criss Cross (1949)
    12-21-19: Cash on Demand (1961)
    12-28-19: Repeat Performance (1947)
    01-04-20: The Big Sleep (1946)
    01-11-20: The Big Night (1951)
    01-18-20: The Captive City (1952)
    01-25-20: Try and Get Me! (1950)
     
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  5. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I haven't watched the DVD in some years, so I'll be "eager" to listen to Eddie's comments before and after AND see the film.
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    :laugh:
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Some interesting commentary by Eddie tonight.:) I didn't know about that
    suicide attempt by Stanwyck. I heard about the affair between Taylor and Turner.
    By the way, Warner has done some work on this movie as TCM's presentation looked much better than the WA DVD-R 2009 release. No doubt that was in HD. Is it possible that it may come out on Blu-ray? I hope so as it has an impressive video presentation. As a kid, I didn't pick up the "gay" subtext between Johnny and Jeff. It wasn't until later on that I noticed it, as well as read about the "bi-sexual" rumors about Stanwyck and Taylor. Anyhow, I always enjoyed watching this movie even though Johnny must have had
    10 shots in each of those revolvers during that final gun battle.
    Love the ending and the irony of it. Mervyn LeRoy was an underrated director while Lana was one good-looking woman especially early in her acting career and was an underrated actress.
     
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  8. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    Johnny Eager. Good story. That fanfare of jolly music at the opening and closing of the film is definitely not Noir, but I think the film itself qualifies considering you spend 95% of the picture following a callous 'bad' guy who only finds redemption at
    his death.
    And yes, funny, I was counting the shots from those revolvers, as well, which almost matched the number of hubcaps flying off the Charger chasing Bullit's Mustang through San Francisco.

    The only way Jeff's addiction to booze and Johnny makes any sense at all is that gay subtext. And he's the only one you want to see
    hearing Johnny's last words,
    since theirs is the only true love story in Johnny's cynical life.

    I wasn't too fond of the film going in with all that cornball cliche MGM tough guy dialogue in the early goings, but it gradually won me over and the ending definitely delivered. And Johnny obviously
    did make that call to get the cop duty reassigned, which was also part of his final redemption.
    Well done.
     
  9. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    It's been a long while since I saw Johnny Eager, the last time probably just to appreciate the great performance that won Heflin the AA. The first time I saw the film was when I was in my mid-teens, and MGM in Puerto Rico decided to revive the film theatrically. Beautiful 35mm print shown in 1.85. Oh, well, I didn't know then that that was anathema!
     
  10. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Enjoyed the crisp presentation of the film on TCM when I watched it back tonight. I wouldn't have minded Eddie delving a little more into the superb supporting players from the MGM stock company. Many of these appeared in various Thin Man films, and it was fun seeing them playing something else: Don Costello, Henry O'Neill, Lou Lubin, Connie Gilcrest, Barry Nelson.

    Van Heflin truly deserved his Academy Award for this performance. And there is no question about his character's love and devotion for Johnny. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
     
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  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Is having a very critical eye towards audio and video presentations of movies a gift or a curse? I tend to believe it's more of the latter as I think it takes away some enjoyment from just watching movies. Over the last 20 years, I read and moderate this forum every day and there is little question in my mind that some grandmother watching TCM on a daily basis on her 40" TV that's probably not setup correctly, gets more enjoyment from watching classic movies on that channel than some HTF members with their mid-high end equipment watching the latest Blu-rays and 4K/UHD discs. Am I wrong with that perception? Perhaps, I am wrong. However, I don't see a lot of joy on this forum when there should be considering where we were at, back in day watching classic movies on our old black & white TV sets that helped spurn our love for classic movies in the first place.

    I get it, we want perfection. We want every movie on disc to follow this forum's Mission Statement. However, we all know that perfection is difficult to achieve in home video products. Years ago, if the studios took better care of their assets then perhaps the final home video products we're buying would be much better than they are today. If the studios spent more monies on preparing their home video products, we would receive better products. Unfortunately, we live in a world of reality in which compromises have been made and corporate "greed or profitability" is the "all mighty" for any studio or company releasing movies either digitally or on disc.

    Yes, I understand the grief being expressed about "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Far Country" discs. For the former, I don't see the same video imperfections that so many posters have expressed seeing on disc, digitally or just with posted pictures. TBH, I'm relieved that I don't see those imperfections At this time in my life when I'm entering my twilight years, I just want to enjoy my favorite movies and if they're not perfect or they don't adhere to the segment of HTF's Mission Statement posted below then it's a disappointment. We've all lived with disappointments and it's something you will never run short of, if you live long enough. However, I refuse to allow disappointment to overcome my enjoyment of watching my favorite movies for perhaps the last time or close to my last viewings of such movies.

     
  13. David Weicker

    David Weicker Producer

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    Robert, really good ‘essay’ that I agree with.

    One thing that’s always bothered me about the Mission Statement is the phrase “intended by the original creators”. Intent is such a subjective concept. Many times, the creators were dealing with the realities of the time, and may have actually wanted something better. Or maybe the technical aspects may have been lesser attributes, compared to entertainment value, actor performance, script, etc.

    Unless we have actual statements from Ford, Curtiz, Capra, Hawks, Wyler that ‘that was the perfect amount of grain’ or ‘that black level was perfect’ or ‘that second bush on the left was the right shade of green’, we’re only guessing at ‘Intent’.

    And of course, who are the “original creators” - the Director, the Producer(s), the Cinematographer?
     
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  14. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I just watched "The Hitch-Hiker" (1953) recently so I won't be watching the movie again. However, I will listen to Eddie's comments about this terrific film.

    [​IMG]


    TCM's Noir Alley 2019 schedule.

    03-09-19: D.O.A. (1950)
    03-16-19: High Sierra (1941)
    03-23-19: Lady in the Lake (1946)
    03-30-19: Border Incident (1949)
    04-06-19: 99 River Street (1953)
    04-13-19: Nobody Lives Forever (1946)
    04-20-19: M (1951)
    04-27-19: Woman on the Run (1950)
    05-04-19: Nightmare Alley (1947)
    05-11-19: White Heat (1949)
    05-18-19: Key Largo (1948)
    05-25-19: Dead Reckoning (1947)
    06-01-19: The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
    06-08-19: Nora Prentiss (1947)
    06-15-19: Pickup on South Street (1953)
    06-22-19: Shadow on the Wall (1950)
    06-29-19: On Dangerous Ground (1951)
    07-06-19: The Tattooed Stranger (1950)
    07-13-19: The People Against O'Hara (1951)
    07-20-19: While the City Sleeps (1956)
    07-27-19: Thieves' Highway (1949)
    09-07-19: The Big Clock (1948)
    09-14-19: Nocturne (1946)
    09-21-19: The Woman on the Beach (1947)
    09-28-19: The Harder They Fall (1956)
    10-05-19: Trapped (1949)
    10-12-19: Clash By Night (1952)
    10-19-19: This Gun For Hire (1942)
    10-26-19: Force of Evil (1948)
    11-02-19: Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
    11-09-19: Johnny Eager (1941)
    11-16-19: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
    11-23-19: Kansas City Confidential (1952)
    11-30-19: The Mask of Dimitrios (1944)
    12-07-19: Berlin Express (1948)
    12-14-19: Criss Cross (1949)
    12-21-19: Cash on Demand (1961)
    12-28-19: Repeat Performance (1947)
    01-04-20: The Big Sleep (1946)
    01-11-20: The Big Night (1951)
    01-18-20: The Captive City (1952)
    01-25-20: Try and Get Me! (1950)
     
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  16. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Yeah, I saw it recently, too, but I'll decide in the moment tomorrow.
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I watched it twice in its entirety back in September when the Ida Lupino BD Boxset came out. Also, I did a lot of sampling between the 2019 and 2013 Blu-rays. Here are my thoughts on it. Noir Alley's broadcast wasn't derived from the latest 2019 Blu-ray.

    I loved Eddie's commentary and will discuss further once others have posted their Noir Alley comments.
     
  18. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    The Hitch-Hiker. Tight little psychological thriller. This was the kind of film I was hoping the Breaking Bad movie El Camino was going to be - a road trip action thriller (and not, "How I got stuck in Albuquerque for days"). The big problem for this presentation was Muller's intro. For those of us who haven't seen the film before or knew the story; it was a complete spoiler:

    By telling us up front that director Lupino was inspired to do the film from meeting the victims, plus relating that she had met the criminal Cook/Myers in San Quentin, he revealed that everyone lived, so there was essentially no suspense on that part from the film. All we're left with, which is fine, are the psychological aspects - especially why these two men let themselves get pushed around and didn't try to escape more. C'mon, it's one guy with a bad eye. A psycho, though.

    Muller should talked strictly about Lupino's history or the production up front and saved those details for after the presentation, in my opinion.

    Finally, my hitch-hiker stories:

    I was never inclined to ever pick up a hitchhiker after seeing Inger Stevens (my pre-pubescent crush) pick up Mr. Death in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

    However, I did hitch-hike a few times in my late teens.

    One memorable incident was hitch-hiking with two freshman college buddies from the Miami campus to a party in North Miami one night. We got picked up by two Cubanos in a classic restored 1951 Chevy, and I was promptly instructed to take over driving the car. It turns out they were both tripping on acid and somewhat 'impaired.' They further instructed us to abandon the car in an empty lot near our destination. When they pronto split on foot without the vehicle, we surmised the car had also been stolen and they had been taking a joyride. We took off pronto on foot, as well, a little less joyful about the night's expectations from when we started. And the party was a bust by the time we finally got there.

    That was the last time I ever hitchhiked.
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Wayne,

    You made an excellent point about Eddie's "Before" comments regarding those that have never seen "The Hitch-Hiker" until Noir Alley. Eddie did a bad job there. He probably assumed that all of us have seen this fine film, but, that's not nearly accurate. I hope he gets some Twitter or FB feedback so he can do better for future Noir Alley showings.
     
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  20. English Patient

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    Wholeheartedly agree. I think with the technological advances of this modern era (4K digital restorations, etc.), we know there is the capacity for a near perfect presentation of a movie, so a lot of people automatically expect that every blu-ray release will be near perfect. It's a complete 180-degree turnaround from the days of past generations before home video when we were just glad to see a favorite movie on TV, in whatever quality. In fact, as a kid watching my favorite movies, I never once thought about things like the quality of the transfer. I didn't know what a "transfer" was.

    For me, because I remember those days pretty well, I can't really get hung up on things like compression problems, too much DNR, incorrect color timing. Maybe I'll notice them, but they never become deal-breakers for me. Yes, it would be great if every title received the restorative care of a Lawrence of Arabia or Godfather, but I don't get particularly upset if a movie is "only" restored at 2k or has too much DNR. I just don't have the visceral reactions that other more technically minded people do. Maybe that's the benefit of growing up in the very early dawn of home video.
     
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