Flesh + Blood Transfer and mini review

Discussion in 'DVD' started by MikeEckman, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    I just got done watching Paul Verhoeven's Flesh + Blood for the first time ever on DVD.

    I've never seen, or even heard of this movie before it was mentioned here, and just wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. I was surprised at how much graphic nudity and violence there was in this movie.

    Anyway, I wanted to comment on the transfer. Although I give the anamorphic transfer a definite thumbs up, there were some really bothersome problems with the darker scenes and I just wanted to ask if anyone familiar with this movie thinks this is how the movie always was.

    Anyway, the detail is pretty good, edge enhancement is minimal (at least on my 32" 16x9 WEGA it is). The overall color is slightly muted, which seems to work well with the movie considering its gloomy time period (Middle Ages) and age of the film. However in very dark scenes, things are VERY yellow. People's eyes and their teeth are almost Crayon yellow. Surely this can't be how the cinematographer intended. Was this just how it was transferred to DVD, or has the film deteriorated over time, or is this really how its supposed to be?

    Other than that though, I was pleasantly surprised at the transfer. The Dolby 2.0 soundtrack isn't anything special, but its clear and not overly tinny. Bass response is only slightly noticable in many of the scenes action scenes. This is a very active movie and a complete 5.1 restoration would have been nice, but Im just happy I got to experience this uncut version of the film.

    I recommend the movie to anyone as it is a great story, and doesnt water down what was probably a very graphic and violent time period.

    Definite thumbs up!
     
  2. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    Mike,


    Good to see your review on the board, and glad to hear that this underrated, idiosyncratic Paul Verhoeven classic has found a new fan. This is definitely my favorite take on the period, and even though some might quibble with its historical accuracy, Verhoeven's brazen, bawdy and unflinching vision really makes for an indelible portrait of a primal, painful existence in the 16th century (and also for a film that's decidedly not to everyone's taste). It's also shot-through with this mad dutchman's eroticism and sly sense of humor, making for a very odd stew of, yes, Flesh + Blood. In a bizarre way, I also think it's a feminist film. [vague spoiler follows...] Despite the brutality Agnes suffers, she still uses her strength and intelligence to endure and ultimately advantage herself, playing her two "suitors" off one another. It's as if the word "victim" isn't in her vocabulary.

    [end spoiler]


    I have only seen the film on murky, cropped VHS (I have the dvd on order), which was likely mastered from the source materials when they were much younger. I'll take a look for the yellowing problem you mention. I seem to remember a lot of the darker scenes having fire, candle or torch flame as the only source of illumination, so I wonder if this is a deliberate hue? I'll check my old tape and report back to this thread.

    But I'm thrilled to see MGM not only release it, but release it uncut, with a Verhoeven commentary track to boot. I assume it's anamorphically enhanced?




    --Jack
     
  3. Philip Verdieck

    Philip Verdieck Second Unit

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    Awesome! I didn't know this was finally out. I'll have to hunt it down...
     
  4. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    Mike, I took a look at my old VHS copy and didn't notice any glaring instances of inappropriate yellowing. As I mentioned, in some cases where firelight was the illumination for a darker scene, sometimes teeth and eyes weren't rendered as purely white. But nothing caught my eye; I'll keep this copy and compare to the dvd when I get it.
     
  5. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    Just took a look at the new dvd, and I couldn't spot any instances of yellowing. I'll let you know if I do.
     
  6. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    anamorphic...?
     
  7. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    Yes, very much anamorphically enhanced for the 16 x 9 action.

    I can't see how anyone could complain about this transfer.



    I put this in the other Flesh + Blood thread, but if anyone else picks this up, I'd be interested to know whether the title's shipping without liner notes; either I lack them, or they were never produced.
     
  8. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    Not sure if you'll check in on your thread again, Mike, but I just noticed some yellowing.

    It's either due to the original source materials or a case of inconsistent color timing (my guess; I don't know jack about the dvd mastering process), but in the infamous tub scene with Agnes--after Martin's band takes the castle--the candleflame hue varies from shot to shot, from white to a more yellowish tint. And that shift assumedly applies to anything in that color spectrum, including teeth, the whites of the eyes, etc. Over the course of the film up to this scene, I've only noticed one or two brief shots that meet your "crayon yellow" standard, and mostly because I was looking for it. It's definitely there, though, and it all seems to correspond to the hue of the flame they went with in each respective shot.

    Either way, a minor issue. I'm still blown away by this transfer, as you were.
     
  9. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    From a Verhoeven movie with the title: Flesh + Blood!?

    Sorry, just teasing. [​IMG]

    I'd known nothing of this film prior to its DVD release, but I am intrigued now, so I picked it up for under $10. Ah, that is the beauty of this forum, so much to discover.
     
  10. Michael Warner

    Michael Warner Supporting Actor

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    I also noticed some yellowing during candlelit scenes but that may well have been an artistic choice to make the lighting seem more authentic. Still, the close-up shots of Jennifer Jason Leigh's mustard yellow teeth during the bathtub scene almost, and I do say almost, distracted me from her other attributes on display.
     
  11. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Well at least yellow teeth would be accurate for the time period. I love say how Nicole Kidman looks in Cold Mountain.... Yeah, right....

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Love this movie and I LOVE the DVD. Great job on this one, MGM! [​IMG]
     
  13. Sven Lorenz

    Sven Lorenz Supporting Actor

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    I've just finished the great and at times rather political audio commentary on Flesh + Blood and it really made me wish for a new Starship Troopers commentary by Verhoeven.

    It would be nice to see what he has to say now that Starship Troopers has basically come true (minus the aliens of course).

    But that audio commentary would never be put on a Region 1 DVD anyway.
     
  14. Philip Verdieck

    Philip Verdieck Second Unit

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    Don't bring up politics.
     
  15. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    Could someone please tell me whether MGM shipped liner notes with this particular dvd? It's been their practice of late not to bother with some older catalog titles, but I just wanted to be sure. All I received was a lonely dvd...


    ----

    And yes, Sven--without getting political--I agree that Starship Troopers couldn't be more timely these days. I would also welcome a new Verhoeven commentary.

    I hope the upcoming direct-to-video sequel, which is also scripted by Ed Neumeier, retains some of the bite of the original.

    ----



    --Just a reminder, I'm still looking for help on that liner notes question. If I'm lacking, I'd consider returning my dvd.



    Thanks,

    Jack
     
  16. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

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    No insert this time.
     
  17. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    I think this DVD looks great [​IMG]

    Definitely pick it up if you like the movie.
     
  18. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    Thanks, Tony. Guess I'm not lacking anything.
     
  19. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    Sorry it took me so long to respond, but yeah, that was one of the scenes I was talking about. It only happened in the darker scenes, and I assumed it was either artistic choice or technicalities when filming. Im just glad its not my transfer showing it.

    I still havent listened to the commentary, I'll ahve to do that soon.
     

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