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Press Release Criterion Press Release: Magnificent Obsession (Blu-ray)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, May 15, 2019 at 6:51 PM.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    5Pvpc7nsRpgo8lu3IQVlAeheME1g9w_large.
    Reckless playboy Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson, in his breakthrough role) crashes his speedboat, requiring emergency attention from the town’s only resuscitator—at the very moment that a beloved local doctor has a heart attack and dies waiting for the lifesaving device. Thus begins one of Douglas Sirk’s most flamboyant master classes in melodrama, a delirious Technicolor mix of the sudsy and the spiritual in which Bob and the doctor’s widow, Helen (Jane Wyman), find themselves inextricably linked amid a series of increasingly wild twists, turns, trials, and tribulations.

    FILM INFO
    • Douglas Sirk
    • United States
    • 1954
    • 108 minutes
    • Color
    • 2.00:1
    • English
    • Spine #457

    SPECIAL FEATURES
    • High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • Audio commentary from 2008 featuring film scholar Thomas Doherty
    • Magnificent Obsession, John M. Stahl’s 1935 adaptation of the same novel, newly restored
    • From UFA to Hollywood: Douglas Sirk Remembers (1991), a documentary by German filmmaker Eckhart Schmidt
    • Interviews from 2008 with filmmakers Allison Anders and Kathryn Bigelow, in which they pay tribute to Sirk
    • Theatrical trailer
    • PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien
    Cover based on a theatrical poster


    August 20, 2019
     
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  2. Message #2 of 22 May 15, 2019 at 6:51 PM
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 7:09 PM
    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. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    Definite upgrade. Now all that remains is for Criterion to upgrade their Written On The Wind DVD to blu ray!
     
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  4. Message #4 of 22 May 15, 2019 at 7:21 PM
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 8:43 PM
    B-ROLL

    B-ROLL Cinematographer

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    Hopefully this new Sirk release is not All That Heaven Allows ;) ...
     
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  5. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Cinematographer

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    Oh wow, this is great!! Thanks for the info!
     
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  6. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Second Unit
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    I get this film and All That Heaven Allows plots mixed up as they have basically the same cast. I much prefer Written but really wish Criterion would get new material especially Imitation of Life as that is the definitive Sirk film to me and would warrant a ton of extras.
     
  7. mop

    mop Auditioning

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    Wow! The Irene Dunne-Robert Taylor version, newly-restored, as a bonus! Fabulous!
     
  8. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    Extremely unlikely as Sirk's Imitation Of Life has already been out on blu ray for four years now as a double feature with the 1934 version. As for as extras, both have feature commentaries as well as a retrospective documentary on the making of the 1959 film and its themes. Universal touts that the film was restored from original 35mm elements so there's not much Criterion can do with the film that hasn't already been done. And if they could, does the film have a strong enough fan base to double dip and make it profitable?
     
  9. lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

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    I happen to think the Stahl version is superior to the Sirk, though I'm deliriously ecstatic to have both as a double bill.

    It's also instructive to compare the two. For instance, whereas Stahl evokes transcendence though scrim-softened lighting and shallow depth of field, Sirk uses the subliminal fakery of back-projection (in both this film and ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS) to achieve the same over the top yet emotionally affecting result.
     
  10. david hare

    david hare Second Unit

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    I think it’s possibly the least wonderful of the Hunter weepies, but there’s one sequence that towers above the rest. Wyman is now blind and in the hotel room in Switzerland. She’s alone so she tries to get up and around the suite, to the balcony. As she fumbles through she knocks over a vase smashing it. All through this ordeal Metty and Sirk intricately light and decorate the top of the image to show bits of detail lost in shadow, much as it might appear to someone losing their sight. It’s very beautiful and it’s the one single sequence that really makes spectacular use of the headroom, all of which is basically lost in the 2.00 masking. Only people viewing the picture in Academy open matte screenings could ever have seen it.
     
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  11. lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

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    For those of us who used to see these films in church basements or friends' apartments in 16mm with prints in TV ratio--and I think David, if I'm not mistaken, you were in New York then, and we would run into each other from time to time--that sequence was engraved upon our memories. It doesn't really come across that well in 2:00:1. In fact, I falsely remembered that shadow effect being on the DVD, but I just checked the scene and you'r right. What I was remembering was seeing the film multiple times in 16mm.
     
  12. 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.

     
  13. david hare

    david hare Second Unit

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    The French Carlotta DVD from ten plus years ago presents it in Academy ratio. I think there is no doubt Bob Furmanek and others have done us and the film a favor by working so hard to get movies back to their intended ratios. But This has always been a problematic one, although 99% of it looks right in WS that one sequence sticks out like the proverbial. I was in NYC often after 1971. Mostly as a visitor.
     
  14. lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

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    David, I just ran through the Criterion DVD of MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, and while most of the film looks perfect in that widescreen ratio, there's the scene with the Swiss doctors, and those strange shadows and elusive colors that linger on the walls and ceiling above Jane Wyman that she doesn't even seem to be aware of and yet seem to be coming from her, mirroring her increasing disappointment, are completely missing. And yes, one might say that is the key moment of the film.

    btw, In the early 70's, I took a course taught by Fred Camper at NYU where he screened the films of John Stahl, Douglas Sirk and Frank Borzage in double bills, which was a real eye opener. Especially when one saw say, Stahl's IMITATION OF LIFE followed by Sirk's later version. Or A MAN'S CASTLE followed by ONLY YESTERDAY. The only director missing, I think, was Minnelli, and especially THE COBWEB, a film that many friends of mine abhor, chiefly because it's about a profound existential crisis brought on by the dilemma of choosing the right wallpaper; but one must remember that for Minnelli, choosing wallpaper was a deeply moral act with massive implications. One only need watch any scene from THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE to see that process being played out.
     
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  15. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Second Unit
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    IMHO it’s a much more important film as it one of the first stories that exposes the race scar that still rips this country to this day. In addition it also deals with the pluses and minuses of capitalism and issues of economic disparity. There are so many other layers going on in it besides those I’ve mentioned and technically it’s a much better film than either of the others. And it could use a 4K scan. So yes to me it deserves more analyses that only Criterion can provide and I would think it also has a huge fan base so it would sell.
    Having said that I don’t think I will happen for the reasons that you’ve mentioned but I can still wish for it to.
     
  16. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I have the German Blu-ray which is rather poor. If Criterion has done substantial work to improve the master (notice they are not claiming that it's a new transfer, but only a digital restoration) then I might buy it again. I need to wait and see the degree of improvement.
     
  17. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    I'm assuming they're just using the same transfer from 2007. In which case many of the deficiencies present there that existed on a film level will be replicated here.
     
  18. commander richardson

    commander richardson Stunt Coordinator

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    already out in Bluray by Universal with brilliant picture and sound......no extras apart from English Sub-Titles.
     
  19. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    You forgot the "In France Only" part.
     
  20. commander richardson

    commander richardson Stunt Coordinator

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    France maybe but I was writing about the recent release in Spain which is a legit release on UNIVERSAL and not a bootleg . I suspect the French release does not have English HOH sub -titles.
     

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