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Press Release Criterion Press Release: 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg (Blu-ray)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    u8zW5OazrYxQD3wNBZLu8H9zaj8mTx_large.

    Vienna-born, New York–raised Josef von Sternberg directed some of the most influential and stylish dramas ever to come out of Hollywood. Though best known for his later star-making collaborations with actor Marlene Dietrich, von Sternberg began his career during the final years of the silent era, dazzling audiences and critics with his films’ dark visions and innovative cinematography. The titles in this collection, made on the cusp of the sound age, are three of von Sternberg’s greatest works, gritty evocations of gangster life (Underworld), the Russian Revolution (The Last Command), and working-class desperation (The Docks of New York) rendered as shadowy movie spectacle.


    FILMS IN THIS SET
     
  2. Message #2 of 24 Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
    Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    The price link below will take you directly to the product on Amazon. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

     
  3. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Another exciting upgrade!
     
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  4. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Essential purchase to set along the Dietrich/Sternberg set.
     
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  5. Danny Burk

    Danny Burk Second Unit

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    Great news! I'll be happy to upgrade the older set on DVD.
     
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  6. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I was looking at the other releases and saying, "Good, saving money" - then I saw this and said, "Oh, well, not saving money."
     
  7. Arthur Powell

    Arthur Powell Second Unit

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    I hope that the Gaylord Carter organ scores for "The Docks of New York" and "The Last Command" are included this time.
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Wow, you didn't like Matewan?
     
  9. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    This is the only title in the October announcements that I'm interested in but unless I missed something, nothing in their announcement lets us know if these are new transfers or the same transfers used for the DVD box set.
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    If it was a new transfer, they would've mentioned it so I'm thinking it's the same one used for the 2010 DVD release.
     
  11. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    Also, the DVD set had some lovely underscores, why would anyone want that replaced by some awful blaring organ music?
     
  12. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    In that case, I think I'll be content with the DVD set. They look quite nice and I can't imagine HD would make them look that much better. Of course, if the reviews indicate any different ..... I can't upgrade everything so I must pick and choose.
     
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  13. Arthur Powell

    Arthur Powell Second Unit

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    Um, how about some of us here are actually enthusiasts of that "awful blaring organ music" which was recorded in by a gentleman who actually was a theater organist during the silent era? Also, who said anything about replacing? The last I checked the blu-ray format is capable of supporting multiple audio tracks.

    Anyway, judging from Criterion's website the organ scores won't be included which is truly a shame. I'll still be buying the product, but I'm not as enthusiastic about it now. To be fair, I do recall the Robert Israel scores being good.
     
  14. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    I'll be upfront. Of all the musical instruments ever created, the only one I can't abide is the organ. I hate it, I loathe it, I despise it. I find the sound monotonous especially watching a two hour movie with the organ droning on. I like silent films with as full an orchestral score as possible whether it's Carl Davis's The Wind, Carmine Coppola's Napoleon or Ennio Morricone's Richard III to name just three. If I absolutely have to, I'll suck it up with a tinkling piano accompaniment but an organ? :P An organ can be effective if used sparingly or within the context of a full orchestral score as Bernard Herrmann so wonderfully proved with his scores to Obsession and Journey To The Center Of The Earth.
     
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  15. Arthur Powell

    Arthur Powell Second Unit

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    So, do you fast forward through the organ interludes during Mr. Coppola's Napoleon score? ;) It sounds we're at an impasse since you hate 'em and I love 'em (well, most of them - there are a few organists that I don't care for all that much). There's nothing more evocative of the silent era for me than a theater organ score. Instead of getting into a full discussion of the matter (which is not the point of this thread), for those interested, take a look at the theater organ featurettes that were included on Criterion's recent release of The Kid Brother.

    I will say though that it's a pity that Mr. Carter's score aren't being included since they do provide insight into how these films were originally presented.
     
  16. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    I saw Napoleon in 1981 at the Shrine auditorium in Los Angeles where Mr. Coppola conducted a full symphony orchestra live to accompany the film. It was not an organ score. As I have said, I can deal with an organ being part of a full orchestral score as I cited with the Bernard Herrmann examples. Do not twist my words :)
     
  17. Message #17 of 24 Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    Arthur Powell

    Arthur Powell Second Unit

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    You shouldn't twist my words either. :) I never said it was organ score. I said it had organ interludes. These interludes/solos, provided by Dennis James, were devised by Coppola to allow the orchestra members a few opportunities to rest during the film's duration. Perhaps the orchestral score was not as full as you remember. :) To quote the LA Times:

    "In addition to having presided since 1975 as resident organist for the Ohio Theatre in Columbus, the 37-year-old musician was selected by Carmine Coppola as organist for 1981 world tour of “Napoleon,” Abel Gance’s 1927 silent epic."

    These organ interludes are also included on the ancient Universal VHS/Laserdisc release, and I imagine will still be present if/when the Coppola version ever resurfaces (the Brownlow and Coppola disputes probably would make for a good melodrama). It sounds like Mr. James' work on Napoleon should be tolerable by your personal standards.
     
  18. battlebeast

    battlebeast Cinematographer

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    I didnt get the DVD set, so I’ll pick up the Blu Ray set. I’m sad that only one of Emil Janning’s three Oscar winning performances from 1927 is still extant; his work in the Best Picture nominees THE PATRIOT is lost, too (except the trailer).

    It’s too bad he became a nazi but I’m
    glad he faded into obscurity until
    Quinten Tarantino mentioned him in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.

    You would think Criterion would upgrade the picture quality for Blu Ray, but it might not be cost effective or it’s as restored as it can be.

    I hope it’s not full of spots and detritus.

    Im anxious for next week’s #1000 announcement.
     
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  19. Rodney

    Rodney Screenwriter
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    As one who was fortunate to be in the audience for a couple of live Gaylord Carter's performances, I am also in the camp where I wish they were included (as an optional audio choice so those that aren't inclined can choose something else).
     
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  20. Arthur Powell

    Arthur Powell Second Unit

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    Let me say that I envy your experiences! ;)
     
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