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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by trajan, Jun 22, 2014.
On Amazon FR.
No doubt the horrible near-colorless transfer John Badham decided was "his" original intended look. If so, no sale.
Come on Dick---Its still a good film with a great John Williams score.
Of course it will be, sadly. What was once such a sumptuous film now looks like crap. On the plus side, since he was unable to make the film this way originally, at least I got to see many beautiful screenings on the big screen back in the day. And the average viewer today probably doesn't know it ever looked different anyway. Sigh.
Although I wasn't allowed to go and see it in 1979 because it was rated "R" (I was only twelve) I was able to catch the original color scheme when it eventually aired on HBO as all of the original TV, VHS, and first laser masters were unmolested in terms of color (though, obviously, cropped) and I can still vividly remember the gorgeous fall colors in the scene where Lucy races to warn Dracula and is wrestled to the ground.
I've never actually "bought" Badham's claim that the current, color drained version was what he "always" intended (he contends that he didn't find out he COULDN'T release it this way until after he had shot it and he was told it would only have been possible using Technicolor's by then discontinued dye-transfer process.) If he had intended it to only be seen devoid of bold colors, he could have easily shot it that way in-camera with filters (Colin Higgins managed to do just that a year later for the Jane Fonda/Dabney Coleman fantasy sequence in 9 TO 5 with no issues, after all) and the original color design was so meticulously realized (those gorgeous pink sunsets that now look like Dracula is wandering around in broad daylight, the creepy blue crypt scenes interrupted by terrifying shot of a ghostly white, decomposing Mina with her face covered in fresh crimson blood that now looks like she was just eating a chocolate sundae, the aforementioned fall foliage, etc etc etc) that I just cannot believe they would have gone to the trouble, that Badham would have let them go to the trouble, for something he never intended to be seen.
As it stands now, I think he has selfishly diminished the beautiful efforts of Gilbert Taylor's cinematography and Peter Murton's production design out of pure hubris. Blech.
I once ran a Fuji 16mm scope print. All the beautiful colors were there. The violent opening of the film
was intensified by the vivid color contrasts, even though it was a night scene.
I have yet to meet a single person who prefers the re-imagined "original" version to the theatrical release.
I too saw the sumptous, full color release first. Once you ring a bell, you can't unring it.
If it aint broke, don't fix it!
And the gorgeous glow of the candlelit dinner scene at Carfax between Kate Nelligan and Frank Langella. Sigh.
As much as I want to hear how the score sounds on blu-ray, I simply will not purchase this version again. I got suckered in twice: on vhs I was shocked to see it and thought it was simply a bad mastering job by Universal. I bought the dvd thinking it would be fixed only to then find out that it was a deliberate choice on the part of the director. I've (unintentionally) supported this version twice and that's two more times than I should have (or would have had I been a member here back in those days and been forewarned).
Oh, yes. You're one of the young ones here.
I can beat that bit of nonsense as I bough it twice ON DVD ALONE knowing FULL well what it was going to look like!
The last time I watched the DVD I dialed up the color saturation to the Max on my 60" Pioneer Elite and the colors returned. It's hard for my old yes to tell if they reached the levels that I saw in 1979, but it was a great improvement.
For all of you not purchasing it, you can also not purchase it as a Zone A Blu-ray in September.
And Will, count me as one who prefers John's intended look for the film.
Since I work with John regularly, I've been able to ask him about this in depth. The early home transfers that everyone remembers are overly boosted from even what was in original prints.
JB and his collaborators DESIGNED the film to have a muted palette of color - this production was based on the Broadway revival with an essentially monochrome set design.
The labs at Universal were unable to achieve the right look in 1979, and so the film went out as close as they could get it.
Then the early video masters were very boosted, and it wasn't until the DVD that John was finally able to get the film looking the way it was meant to.
If you want to follow the director's intent on another of his films, turn the color totally off on Who's Life is it Anyway?. That he wanted to release in true b&w, but the studio refused.
John is truly one of the kindest people I've had the pleasure of knowing in this industry, and it pains me to read comments like these. Why does someone who creates a piece of art have no say in how that work should be perceived, just because you like some pretty colors?
I have watched John's intended version on the DVD. And if that's the way he truly intended the film to look, I'll accept it. But I wish that I could also have the option of it looking the way I first saw it... Bloody colorful.
It would be nice if Universal released this classic vampire tale both ways. A sort of "have your stake, and eat it too" version.
I had the DVD & thought it just looked awful. Why not a b/w & colour version? To Universal this is just an obscure catalogue title, so they're not going to bother, but I suppose you could say at least they released it on Blu, with some other studios it wouldn't have had a hope.
Would you ask a painter to paint two versions of his work for you because one would match your kitchen better?
Having a "wrong" version of a film out is not just a "whatever" thing if you're a filmmaker who cares about how your work is presented.
Enough things go wrong and don't come out as planned when making a film that we don't need to let things be wrong that don't need to be.
Sorry Moe, I can't agree. Badham is not a painter, he's a film director who directed this film, which was released world-wide in glorious colour. He can't go back to it & change it dramatically & expect people not to care (or mind). If he wants it in b/w why not have a b/w version as well as the colour. And to repeat...it was released in full colour. I'm not asking the director to change it for me, I'd just like to see what I saw at the pictures all those years ago, I think that's reasonable.
Not if what was released was a compromise of the original intent.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't recall that John Badham released any statements at the time of the release of the film to the effect that a full color version was not his intended vision. To keep silent for so many years and let the public embrace the film as it was released was not a good move on his part if he was really so dissatisfied.
George Lucas never warned the public not to buy tickets for Star Wars because it did not turn out the way he envisioned it.
For better or worse, we enjoyed these (and other) flawed masterpieces for many years in their original form. If directors want to make revisions or corrections once they have the clout to do so, all well and good. But at least give the public the option to choose which version they prefer.