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Press Release Criterion Press Release: The Great Escape (1963) (Blu-ray) Available for Preorder

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    He’s joking that it’s illegal for people of a certain age not to have seen the film, it was directed at me because I haven’t seen it yet :)
     
  2. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Producer

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    Yes Mr Battlebeast, just 'avin a laff. I did quote Josh in my post.

    It would be interesting to see what someone thinks about it who has never seen it, maybe it won't be quite as impressive as we thought in the sixties. But it is big on star power & has an amazing score by Elmer Bernstein.
     
  3. john a hunter

    john a hunter Screenwriter

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    For the same reason BD catalogue titles are slow -they don't seem to sell as well as new titles.
    Hopefully we may get some older titles as a 4k transfer can knock you for six as anyone who has seen Bridge on River Kwai from a 4k disc will attest.
     
  4. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Producer

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    Well I read that Spartacus & Jaws will get a 4K release in June, they would fit the bill.
     
  5. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    But catalog BD titles weren't that slow, and they picked up steam as the format gained acceptance.

    The opposite seems to be true for 4K. A couple years ago, we seemed to get a good array of catalog releases, but those seem less frequent now...
     
  6. Message #66 of 133 Feb 16, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
    Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    They're not. Add to this the considerable cost of doing a full ground-up 4K restoration, preservation and remaster of older titles - always an expensive endeavor, and you had better be damn assured you are going to make your money back on a 4K disc release. The new movies, shot in 4K already are a no brainer. The cost of a disc is about the only cost incurred - ditto, for packaging, marketing etc. But older titles need meticulous preservation - frame-by-frame.

    Otherwise, in 4K, everything shows. Well, that costs. Don't misunderstand. I was absolutely floored by Warner's releases of The Shining and 2001 in 4K. Less so, by The Wizard of Oz, but only because Warner did such a fine job of the original Blu remaster. And bar none, there is no finer transfer of The Bridge on the River Kwai but Sony's 4K remaster, which took a problematic film element and made it absolutely sparkle in UHD.

    I would absolutely love to see movies like The Sound of Music, Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, My Fair Lady, Star!, Singin' in the Rain, Gone with the Wind, Ben-Hur, Hello Dolly!, Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, The Mission, Out of Africa, Cry Freedom, Driving Miss Daisy, and the like come to native 4K.

    Realistically, I don't see it happening and, frankly, even in projection, am mostly contented with how most of these look on standard Blu-ray (all except for Zhivago, which definitely needs to be revisited. The movie received a UHD theatrical reissue in the UK a few years ago. I suspect, it wouldn't take much to reissue it on 4K disc.)

    We can wait around and hope for these. Personally, I would much rather encourage Warner and the rest of Hollywood to continue releasing their back catalog on standard Blu-ray for the time being: you know, long awaited titles like The Alamo, Raintree County, Star!, Around the World in 80 Days, The Rains Came, Marie Antoinette, Royal Wedding, Babes on Broadway, Random Harvest, and, on and on which currently only exist in lack luster DVD incarnations, and need the necessary proactive work done on their preservation for future generations to enjoy in a quality befitting their original integrity. So, my vote is for more Blu-ray product, mastered properly in 4K. Then, if the market allows somewhere down the line, a true 4K release will not be so costly to procure. Just thoughts, folks. Just thoughts.
     
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  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Nick,

    For the same reason you cited studios being hesitant about putting 4k content on discs, it's equally as true for Blu-ray.

    We are in a completely new era of movie watching and collecting.

    It's hard to sell those old titles. The new generation has little interest in them.

    Most of these titles go to boutique labels.

    The most popular titles will continue to see the light of day on 4k and Blu-ray but a lot of those back catalog titles may never.

    Some of those could go to Warner Archive, though that studio has been hesitant to throw money into anything they deem unsellable.

    I know I am just repeating conversations we have had over and over again.
     
  8. DP 70

    DP 70 Screenwriter

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    I saw a 4K DCP of this at Bradford years ago and it looked great.
     
  9. Brian Husar

    Brian Husar Second Unit

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    Did this have the original pre Transamerica UA logo? I hope they have the original UA logo and not the new one plastered over.
     
  10. Message #70 of 133 Feb 17, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
    Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    Agreed, but having just recently watched WAC's Blu of O'Steen's Sparkle (1976) I have to sincerely wonder who is picking what catalog gets released on Blu. Not only is the movie awful, but the elements used to remaster it were not altogether successfully preserved over the decades. Sometime back, George Feltenstein made a comment, something to the effect that if fans and collectors picked what was being released it would bankrupt the studio in no time.

    His comment inferred that only 'viable' releases could therefore be considered for Blu-ray remastering. I'll accept that claim. But there is always a way of making deep catalog viable. Universal's been doing it with their lesser known monster mash-ups, via Shout! Factory, and their other deep catalog, via Kino Lorber, and, somehow, continues to turn a profit for both itself and its third-party distributors. Granted, Uni's commitment to remastering falls far short of the stellar work done at WAC on a consistently high level. But the point is - their back catalog is being made available in hi-def; imperfect transfers, maybe, but updated to the current standard in viewing.

    By now, DVD 720p ought to have been antique; a defunct format, well past its prime. But no. Studios continue to push 3 competing formats (DVD, Blu-ray and 4K) which only helps to siphon off some of the dollars that otherwise might better be spent on remastering more of their catalog in HD! Even MGM/Fox is coming around to the idea something has to be done with their older titles. The Great Escape 4K remaster - even in 1080p is a step in the right direction. Not a quantum step. But I'll accept the baby steps for now. To quote Lawrence of Arabia: big things have little beginnings.

    PS - of the aforementioned titles in my previous email, only Raintree Country has NEVER been made available on ANY disc format. Not a great film, but historically important in MGM's troubled 50's history; worth noting for the last gasp of Dore Schary's regime and the near-fatal accident that forever altered Montgomery Clift's handsome visage.

    Top Ten Culturally Important Movies still not on Blu-ray

    1) Marie Antoinette (1938) - Thalberg's opus magnum and the most expensive production up until that time.

    2) The Great Ziegfeld (1936) - Oscar-winning Best Picture with sincere performances from William Powell and Myrna Loy

    3) Wilson (1944) Alexander Knox's sublime portrait of Woodrow Wilson, in Zanuck's personally supervised Technicolor masterpiece, sorely undervalued in its own time.

    4) National Velvet - Elizabeth Taylor's breakout performance that made her an iconic child star.

    5) Around the World in 80 Days - Mike Todd's 'ice cream sundae' of a movie, chocked full of star cameos and a passion for doing 'Cinerama' out of one hole.

    6) The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) - Selznick's enduring original of the famed swashbuckler, with exquisite sets and performances by Ronald Colman, Raymond Massey and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as the unscrupulous Henzau

    7) Scaramouche (1952) glowing, flowing Technicolor reboot of the silent Sabatini epic, featuring Stewart Granger and Mel Ferrer in the most lavishly appointed and harrowing sword fight ever depicted on film.

    8) Star! (1968) - Robert Wise's superb retelling of a portion of the life of the immortal Gertrude Lawrence with Julie Andrews as the grand dame and Daniel Massey (coached by Noel Coward) playing his uncle - Noel Coward.

    9) Executive Suite (1954) - another Wise masterpiece, and a powerful indictment on the business of business and the disastrous fallout of corruption and greed at the highest levels of corporate America.

    10) The Alamo (1960) - John Wayne's super colossus that Wayne intended to run forever. Again, not a perfect picture, but historically important in the pantheon of picture-making.
     
  11. DP 70

    DP 70 Screenwriter

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    Hi Brian,

    This had the new MGM Eye Logo, when i saw a 2K DCP a few years before at in the same cinema it had the same MGM logo as the current
    Blu ray and the 2K DCP looked as bad as the Blu ray does.
     
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  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    In regard to "Sparkle" that Archive release is the second Blu-ray release for that title. I have the 2013 Blu-ray which came from Warner, but not Warner Archive. I believe nothing changed presentation-wise and that Warner Archive now releases all catalog titles for Warner including re-releases. I've seen other titles like "Guys and Dolls" now getting a second Blu-ray release, but from Warner Archive and not Warner like its first Blu-ray release.
     
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  13. Message #73 of 133 Feb 17, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
    Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    One addendum to my previous comments - I would be sincerely 'over the moon' if Warner proper decided to split their output in terms of what they deemed 'important' Blu-ray releases and 'lesser' Blu-ray releases, farmed out to Kino or Shout! or both. I thought that's what was happening when we started getting quality Val Lewton horror classics via Shout! last year. But then, that trickle was abruptly stopped. I think WAC would have better success marketing 'lesser' known catalog if they bundled titles together into collections, as Warner proper did back in the heyday of DVD - releasing box sets with say three big ticket titles, and two all but forgotten back catalog together as a set.

    Personally, I never would have discovered either 1949's bone-chilling noir thriller, Border Incident, or the brilliant 1950 noir masterpiece, Mystery Street, had neither not been inserted into a noir DVD box set that included The Asphalt Jungle. And my cultural experiences at the cinema would have indeed been ill served by this oversight!

    Granted, in today's hi-def market - half of those aforementioned DVD transfers would never hold up to today's technologically advanced scrutiny.

    So, remastering would have to occur. But I really didn't understand the point of Warner farming out Cat People to Criterion and then farming other Lewton horror masterpieces to Shout! when they might have secured a 'box set' release from either Criterion or Shout! that would have garnered interest in all of Lewton's masterworks. Remember when Criterion gave us such handsome offerings as David Lean Directs Noel Coward on Blu-ray. Smart move, as I don't believe any one of the titles in that set would have sold nearly as well as a single (well...perhaps, Brief Encounter).

    So, why didn't Warner and Criterion get together on, say, a Spencer Tracy/Kate Hepburn box set to include Woman of the Year, Adam's Rib, Pat and Mike, Keeper of the Flame, The Sea of Grass, Without Love. If they had really wanted to do things up right, they could have split the set in two and also arranged for licencing of State of the Union, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and Desk Set, from their respective studios. But no. Instead, Criterion licensed only Woman of the Year, which appeared to be the harbinger of more Tracy/Hepburn classics to follow from them, except that no other releases ever came down the pike. So, the excitement over such random cherry-picking of an actor's body of work left one begging for more, and utterly deflated when no more followed it.

    I once suggested to Warner they could do a fascinating box set of 're-makes' - offering the collector two versions of the same movie in a comprehensively produced collector's set: so, The Philadelphia Story vs. High Society, The Women vs. The Opposite Sex, Red Dust vs. Macambo, Grand Hotel vs. Week-end at the Waldorf, two versions of Showboat, two of The Prisoner of Zenda, and two of Scaramouche and The Merry Widow. It would have put a new spin on collecting vintage product, plus afforded WAC to feature a cornucopia of remastered product - much of which would likely not have sold nearly as well as singles on their own. Never heard back from WAC, despite Mr. Feltenstein's oft prompted podcast inference, he welcomes new ideas from fans.

    No, frankly, Hollywood in general and WAC in particular is not maximizing their efforts on deep catalog releases. They need a marketing hook to whet the appetite of generations who have yet to discover their glories and virtues. Parceling off title by title, and charging a premium for them isn't going to work. You could probably still get away with dumping older transfers to hi-def and charge far less. However, as someone who sincerely cares about the quality, as well as the quantity of deep catalog releases, that's a conversation I really wouldn't want to entertain. Again, just thoughts.
     
  14. Chelsearicky

    Chelsearicky Stunt Coordinator

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    Universal has also done a 4K restoration of 'Thoroughly Modern Millie', so I would assume several (hopefully numerous) other titles are also ready for disc release.
     
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  15. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    It would be helpful if members would leave their questions or new information following a quote associated with it. Without that, it is hard to know what you refer to. Without having to go back and figure it out, what movie are you asking about with regards to the UA logo?
     
  16. Brian Husar

    Brian Husar Second Unit

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    The movie that this thread is about. The Criterion release of The Great Escape.
     
  17. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Thanks for clarifying. Many titles have been getting discussed here. I don't really care for any of the UA logos with the exception of the animated UA/Transamerica one. That's just me! :)
     
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  18. Brian Husar

    Brian Husar Second Unit

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    Very true. That’s my favorite one as well. But it still would be nice for the UA logo during this time. That being said, did The Great Escape have one? I know a number of the UA roadshow films didn’t have one.
     
  19. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Very few films by UA prior to 1967 had an opening logo. In fact when they did have them, it was pretty random and mostly British productions.
     
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  20. darkrock17

    darkrock17 Screenwriter

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    It's A Mad. Mad, Mad, Mad World main titles say it's a UA release underneath Stanley Kramer Presents.

    [​IMG]
     
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