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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. Worth

    Worth Producer

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    Nick Dobbs
    With very few exceptions, younger people are never going to be interested in vintage movies. That has always been the case. When I was growing up in the 80s, almost no one wanted to watch anything that wasn't new, and that was at a time when there was comparatively little original content being produced. Now, there's more than anyone could conceivably watch, even if you spent every waking moment trying to do so.

    Also, fewer and fewer people under 40 have disc players of any kind, or cable subscriptions, so the only vintage films they're likely to encounter are those on Netflix, which are buried under a mountain of new programming.
     
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  2. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    With all due respect, I was a teenager in the 80's and attended high school with a considerable legion of fans who were crazy for Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. Today, I work with a lot of young people (mid-20's) and have seen more than a handful who continue to hold up the aforementioned as pop icons, and are eager to explore the careers of other bygone stars. I also chaired a recent university panel discussion which had nothing to do with film, but afterward took notice of some young people who were indulging in a discussion of who was a better singer - Bing Crosby or Dean Martin! So, the attitude that young people in general are just not interested in anything that came before their arrival on this earth is moot.

    I will concur with you that the number is dwindling. But again, that's largely due to the lack of vintage content on mainstream channels. When I was a boy, there were only 3 to watch - ABC, NBC and CBS, but the honorable nods went to UHF channels on the weekend that aired, Creature Features (vintage 50's sci-fi and horror), also, Blondie and Dagwood, Our Gang, Abbott and Costello and Bill Kennedy at the Movies - who covered just about everything else. A rainy afternoon, bored with seemingly nothing to do, and the teenage mind could be persuaded to watch 'something old' to pass the time. Occasionally, what was watched was even heartily digested as, 'of interest'. Today's compartmentalization of television programming (the vintage stuff going to those fortunate enough to have cable and/or streaming subscription access), not to mention the distraction of the internet and cell phone technology has diverted attention to other avenues of exploration. Mercifully, I still meet a lot of younger folk who like 'old movies' and stay home at Easter or Christmas to watch The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life respectively.
     
  3. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Yep, I consider myself really lucky to have grown up during the 3-network time where available afternoon and evening hours were given over to Jungle Theater (Tarzan, Jungle Jim, Sheena, Bomba), Shock Theater (every conceivable horror/sci-fi film), Mystery Theater (Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, Mr. Moto, Philo Vance), afternoon movie series ("Dialing for Dollars"), The Late Show every week night, and the networks did their bit with Saturday Night at the Movies, Tuesday Night at the Movies, CBS Thursday and Friday movies, and ABC Sunday movie. And then, after Merv Griffin's CBS late night talk show fizzled, CBS instituted the CBS Late Movie.

    And UHF stations with no network affiliation ran movies and old syndication comedy and drama shows all day and into the night and early morning.

    Nirvana!
     
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  4. Bartman

    Bartman Agent

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    I had the MGM laserdisc, SE DVD and streamed in HD from Amazon Prime. At each stage the additional resolution shows more deficiencies in the print, I assume the best print is being used each time and that it's prohibitively expensive to strike a brand new print.

    My question is: does Criterion have the technology to digitally correct all the known deficiencies in The Great Escape?

    I believe there are other MGM films in a similar state of limbo, The Thomas Crown Affair and Point Blank immediately come to mind.
     
  5. DanH1972

    DanH1972 Second Unit

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    Criterion getting this just means we're that far removed from seeing a 4k disc release. When you can get schlock like Tammy and the T-Rex on 4k Blu-ray disc from a relatively no-name distributor, and absolutely nothing from Criterion... that just takes the cake!
     
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  6. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Producer

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    Well they wouldn't use a print as such, it would be a negative source (original negs/interpos/interneg), ideally it would be a wet-gate scan of the original cut negatives, but who knows what state they're in, & even if that was done, there's all those dupes cut in (the shot before & after every dissolve), & time hasn't been kind to dupes. As I said in an earlier post, I'll be happy with a warmer picture, whoever the colourist was for the MGM Blu-ray, he/she didn't have a clue what it should look like. Don't expect miracles, just a more pleasing picture.
     
  7. Bartman

    Bartman Agent

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    Thanks for the explanation of source materials. Would the Warner Ultra or Lowry processing help these films? Is Criterion or anyone else still employing these processes to improve the presentation?
     
  8. Bill Huelbig

    Bill Huelbig Second Unit

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    The Great Escape was the first movie I went to see all by myself. It was October 1963, and I was 8 years old. Times certainly have changed.
     
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  9. Timothy E

    Timothy E Screenwriter
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    S
     
  10. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    One slight correction: the movies referred to herein were not produced by MGM proper but by UA and its affiliates like The Mirisch Co. which derived its distribution from UA. I think we all already know this, but just wanted to clear up, if the misconception exists among newer subscribers to this thread. Back during the Laserdisc days, MGM/UA indeed stood as one company - a conglomerate fractured after the sell off of movies actually made by MGM went, first to Ted Turner, and then were sold outright to Warner Bros., creating one gigantic storehouse of movie-land magic, but effectively, to alienate UA from MGM, the former becoming a satellite of MGM/Fox, most recently to have been swallowed up by Disney.

    Exactly who now manages the rights to the distribution deal between MGM and the newly retired Fox, as well as the titles under the UA banner remains open for discussion thus far. Criterion appears to have a deal with MGM for this UA release, as we all know, Disney Inc. licenses virtually nothing to ANY third party distributor, but instead, have become hoarders of Walt's legacy - even the deep catalog they have zero interest in releasing themselves. Song of the South, anyone? Oh no! Same can of worms. Different fish on the hook!
     
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  11. Bartman

    Bartman Agent

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    Thanks for the update. The knowledge of forum members continues to amaze me.

    Does anyone have comments regarding the technology required to substantially improve the look of The Great Escape?

    I threw Warner Ultra and Lowry out there based on my limited knowledge of the subject.
     
  12. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    This is great news. One of my earliest Criterion laserdiscs is The Great Escape. Loved the map drawing on the gatefold. I also have the laserdisc from MGM and the two DVD releases and the Blu Ray. As a kid, I even audio recorded this off the TV speaker. Looking forward to owning another copy!

    What a great movie when they made all star epics!
     
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  13. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Criterion usually discloses in the booklet for the release any notes they have about the restoration and transfer.

    MGM has recently been redoing its masters for more high profile films. This generally entails scanning at film element at 4K resolution and then performing additional work to remove dirt, debris and other signs of wear and tear, along with color correction to counteract any potential fading.

    The UltraResolution process is a proprietary name for a Warner process to digitally recombine original three strip Technicolor film elements. It’s since been superseded by more current technology and restoration methods.

    Similarly, the Lowry process was a proprietary digital restoration system by a company that doesn’t really exist anymore as an independent entity. They were among the first to popularize the idea of digital cleanup but there are lots of vendors that now offer similar tools.

    In other words, there doesn’t need to be a brand name attached to get good results here :)
     
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  14. atcolomb

    atcolomb Screenwriter

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    A1.
    One of things I liked about laserdiscs were some of the nice gatefolds.
     
  15. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::)

    It will be interesting if the new Criterion Blu Ray booklet will include this drawing of the camp layout.
     
  16. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    Is there a better movie for the 10 year-old boy in all of us? I don't think so.
     
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  17. darkrock17

    darkrock17 Screenwriter

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    It's little things like that that make Special/Collector's Editions worthwhile to own.
     
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  18. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Unfortunately "good results" aren't always attainable due to the rudimentary production technology of the era as in the case of this dupe riddled film.
     
  19. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    To me, a good result would simply be presenting the film as it’s meant to look - and if that means with opticals and dupe sections that have always been part of it, so be it.
     
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  20. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    When I see Criterion releasing 4k remasters only on BD, I can't help but think back to the early days of DVD, when they refused to use anamorphic encoding. What a waste. . .
     

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