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Blu-ray Review High Time Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

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By the 1960s, Bing Crosby was still dutifully finding movie projects for himself even though the box-office luster that he had achieved over more than two decades (including five years as the top draw in the movies) had faded considerably. Blake Edwards’ High Time is a pleasant comedy for Der Bingle, not particularly striking or outrageous (Edwards’ previous Operation Petticoat was much more raucous), but the movie showed Crosby was still game for just about anything. The movie doesn’t paint a particularly evocative picture of real college life either, but as an amiable time passer, it’s moderately appealing.





High Time (Blu-ray)
Directed by Blake Edwards

Studio: Twilight Time (Fox)
Year: 1960
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1   1080p   AVC codec
Running Time: 103 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 English
Subtitles:  none

Region: 0
MSRP: $ 29.98


Release Date: August 14, 2012

Review Date: August 10, 2012




The Film

3.5/5


With his kids grown, wealthy restaurateur Harvey Howard (Bing Crosby) decides he wants someone in his family to have a college degree, so he enrolls at Pinehurst College as a freshman and begins a four year journey to graduation. Along for the ride are his three roommates Gil Sparrow (Fabian), Bob Bannerman (Richard Beymer), and T.J. Padmanagham (Patrick Adiarte) and their gal pal Joy Elder (Tuesday Weld). They pledge fraternities together, work on class projects, cheer jock Gil on as he competes in football, basketball, and swimming, and help one another study. Widower Harvey also becomes intrigued with French professor Helene Gauthier (Nicole Maurey) whom he really likes but must keep at arm’s length due to their on-campus relationship as teacher and student.


Tom and Frank Waldman have written a screenplay that doesn’t really capture the essence of college life except in a few details around the fringes like sports events and bonfires and fraternity inductions. (It honestly seems more like high school than college with no talk of majors or careers for Harvey’s roommates, students continuing to take basic core classes like math or chemistry all four years, and a class valedictorian speech rather than any mention of Summa Cum Laude graduates.) The script naturally places the focus on the Crosby character’s determined efforts to be one of the gang, whether he’s doing chin-ups in gym, climbing to the top of the bonfire pile, or dressing in drag for a fraternity initiation. It doesn’t go into much depth with any of the other characters, however, and there's almost no conflict. We have no real knowledge about Beymer’s or Adiarte’s characters, and the romance between Harvey and the lady professor is on the low burner for the entire movie (she even does the proposing). Better are small touches that Blake Edwards does to give the project some flavor. The transitions between scenes are fun (sometimes fall leaves blowing or snow being scraped across the screen wiping into the next scene), and there are some glimmers of Edwards’ slapstick that he’d mine to greater effect in comedies that would follow later in the decade. He also shoots the bonfire sequence with the rising flames and an army of encompassing students from an elevated point of view really showing off its impressive size and structure. (A later scene outside the professor’s house with the student body carrying torches casts a similar spell). But apart from the lovely James Van Heusen-Sammy Cahn Oscar-nominated “The Second Time Around” and the carol “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” songs don’t enter much into the action, a surprise since the two top billed stars were famous as vocalists.


Fifty-seven and playing fifty-one, Bing Crosby uses all his professional know-how to give the movie a lightness and sense of ease even donning full drag in an extended sequence that is one of the movie’s highlights. The script doesn’t quite make it clear why he thinks marriage to the professor would be impossible once school is over, so the film’s ending seems a bit unsatisfying without an explanation as to why his opinion had changed. No one else in the cast gets an extensive character workout though Fabian gets the best opportunities to show off athletic prowess and sing one forgettable song. Tuesday Weld is really wasted as the gal pal/hanger-on who changes interests and philosophies with each passing year. As the thwarted love interest, Nicole Maurey is appealing visually but struggles a bit with acting in English. Gavin MacLeod as the accident prone chemistry professor scores in an early role.



Video Quality

4/5


The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is presented in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. There is pleasing sharpness of image throughout, and while color saturation occasionally seems subdued, colors are certainly under control, and flesh tones appear natural. There are occasional specks and bits of dust, and black levels can be good but are seldom great. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.



Audio Quality

4/5


The DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 sound mix offers a nice spread across the front channels for the film’s sound effects, dialogue, and Henry Mancini’s energetic score, the latter of which also folds into the rear surround channel effortlessly and to good effect. Dialogue is always understandable but, as with some other 4.0 mixes from Twilight Time, spreads entirely across the three front channels rather than simply existing in the center channel or seeming explicitly directional.



Special Features

2.5/5


The isolated score track is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo and sounds marvelous. There are clear suggestions here of Henry Mancini’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s score which would be coming up one year later as the next project he and Blake Edwards collaborated on.


The theatrical trailer is presented in 480i and runs for 2 ¾ minutes.


The enclosed six-page booklet contains numerous stills from the movie, the poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s incisive comments on the film.



In Conclusion

3.5/5 (not an average)


High Time is a slight albeit feel good comedy that suggested the generation gap wasn’t perhaps as wide as people of the time might have thought, a clearly rosy-eyed view of college life in the late 1950s. Only 3,000 copies will be available for this seldom seen entry in the Blake Edwards and Bing Crosby filmographies, so those interested should hop to www.screenarchives.com to see if copies are still available. They're also available via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.   



Matt Hough

Charlotte, NC

 

moviepas

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Prior to reading this review I just got mail that my order for this month has been shipped. I have never seen this film in color as I had only previously seen it on TV in the non-color days in my country. Yes, it is moderately entertaining and, as a Bing collector, I remember a few key scenes. The college bonfire with Bing pu on a chair at top still sticks in my mind.
 

RolandL

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"Dialogue is always understandable but, as with some other 4.0 mixes from Twilight Time, spreads entirely across the three front channels rather than simply existing in the center channel or seeming explicitly directional."
Directional dialog is a good thing. Most of the scope Fox titles from the 50's and early 60's had directional dialog
 

Matt Hough

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Originally Posted by RolandL /t/322942/high-time-blu-ray-review#post_3960850
"Dialogue is always understandable but, as with some other 4.0 mixes from Twilight Time, spreads entirely across the three front channels rather than simply existing in the center channel or seeming explicitly directional."
Directional dialog is a good thing. Most of the scope Fox titles from the 50's and early 60's had directional dialog
It is a good thing. I would rather have directionalized dialogue than have it spread at the same time over the front three channels.

This came up in a previous Twilight Time review. Some heard directional dialogue and some, like me, heard all talking in all three channels simultaneously. I think different equipment handles the sound mix differently.
 

TheVid

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Got my SAE shipment notice today, too, and I can hardly wait for this order to come. I've never seen HIGH TIME, and I'm really glad to find out it's CinemaScope stereo, as Henry Mancini can make a minor movie better for me. Likewise Tuesday Weld!
I think what some listeners perceive as dialogue spread across all front channels with some 4-track CinemaScope movies is the periodic problem of directional dialogue being out-of-phase at times. I read somewhere that boom microphones with dual pickups (pointing in different directions) above the actors resulted in this problem. It's more noticeable in some CinemaScope mixes than others; JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is ripe with it, although it's usually never constant in any mix, and a small price to pay for multi-directional dialogue.
Looking forward to BYE BYE BIRDIE, too! It had an original 3.0 stereo mix that has superb balance and a very good low end without an LFE channel. Hopefully Twilight Time will include that audio option, along with a DTS-HD 5.1 boost.
 

Robin9

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Mine is on its way but hasn't arrived.
I saw High Time when I was very young and I liked it a lot. It was my introduction to Bing Crosby. Is this the movie where he frequently says "I could no more do . . . . than I could fly" and at the end incorporates that into his leaving speech?
The song "The Second Time Around" is wonderful and quickly became a "standard" although more because Frank Sinatra adopted it than because of Bing.
 

Justin Ray

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Robin9 said:
Is this the movie where he frequently says "I could no more do . . . . than I could fly" and at the end incorporates that into his leaving speech?
Yes, High Time's the one-- my copy should arrive on Monday, and I can't wait!! Happy viewing :)
 

TheVid

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I finally watched HIGH TIME last night and the Twilight Time release has very good quality. The picture probably was a good vehicle for Der Bingle at the time, but it was too cutesy-poo for me, and so I just enjoyed the music by Mancini while waiting for it to finish up. HIGH TIME was a low point on the Blake Edwards totem pole.
I did want to point out that the sound mix is accurately multi-directional, but does contain many spots of out-of-phase dialogue. This causes some actors positioned right or left to have an echoey presence on the opposite side of the screen, an inconsistency that creates the effect of dialogue coming from more than one screen track. That said, the screen tracks sound generally correct most of the time.
 

ahollis

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First time to see HIGH TIME, and it was a blind buy, but I can not resist a Fox Cinemascope film. Not only do we have Bing, but Fabian, Tuesday Weld (sigh) and Richard Beymer before West Side Story and Yvonne Craig before Bat Girl. I did not recognize Gavin MacLeod at first, but his voice patterns gave him away.

I found the transfer to be very acceptable as was the stereo sound. It has all the makings to be a big musical, but decided to play it low with just a song or two for Bing and Fabian, which just about right.

The Henry Mancini score is terrific and you can certainly see some of the Blake Edwards touches that he would refine and become one of the great comedic directors of the absurd. I would find it interesting how Edwards and Crosby got along on this film for Crosby would hit those absurd comic elements like the pro he was in the Road pictures so Edwards vision might not be the stretch for him as it would for other actors.

Now Twilight, how about doing the same good job for SAY ONE FOR ME and DEAR BRIDGET. Again with Bing in one and Fabian in the other and either released on DVD.
 

Claude S

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I saw HIGH TIME at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara when I was enrolled at Brooks Institute of Photography back in 1960. The CinemaScope four track mag stereo presentation was excellent and I remember enjoying the movie very much and I am glad it is finally available on Blu ray and I am planning to get it
-Claude
 

haineshisway

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ahollis said:
First time to see HIGH TIME, and it was a blind buy, but I can not resist a Fox Cinemascope film.  Not only do we have Bing, but Fabian, Tuesday Weld (sigh) and Richard Beymer before West Side Story and Yvonne Craig before Bat Girl.  I did not recognize Gavin MacLeod at first, but his voice patterns gave him away.
I found the transfer to be very acceptable as was the stereo sound.  It has all the makings to be a big musical, but decided to play it low with just a song or two for Bing and Fabian, which just about right. 
The Henry Mancini score is terrific and you can certainly see some of the Blake Edwards touches that he would refine and become one of the great comedic directors of the absurd. I would find it interesting how Edwards and Crosby got along on this film for Crosby would hit those absurd comic elements like the pro he was in the Road pictures so Edwards vision might not be the stretch for him as it would for other actors. 
Now Twilight, how about doing the same good job for SAY ONE FOR ME and DEAR BRIDGET.  Again with Bing in one and Fabian in the other and either released on DVD. 
If you love Dear Brigitte it is available on a German Blu-ray in excellent quality. We just issued its soundtrack by George Duning - wonderful music.
 

Joe Caps

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The sound, is directional and spread over all channels at the same time.
this is because of the way fox, inlike any other studio,recorded stereo dialogue, with three mikes spread over a long pole.
Nominaly for left, center, and right, it did not always work out that way.
It depends how close the actors are to the camera.
Say three people are talking heads apread over the scope screen.
the person on the right says a line and the body of his voice is picked up bythat mike.
However, he also also close enough to be picked up by the two other mikes, where his ssss and ttts spit into the other mikes.
this was not a problem in a large theater, but at home, especially under headphones, it can sound confusing at times.
 

TheVid

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Joe Caps said:
The sound, is directional and spread over all channels at the same time.
this is because of the way fox, inlike any other studio,recorded stereo dialogue, with three mikes spread over a long pole.
Nominaly for left, center, and right, it did not always work out that way.
It depends how close the actors are to the camera.
Say three people are talking heads apread over the scope screen.
the person on the right says a line and the body of his voice is picked up bythat mike.
However, he also also close enough to be picked up by the two other mikes, where his ssss and ttts spit into the other mikes.
this was not a problem in a large theater, but at home, especially under headphones, it can sound confusing at times.
That explains it, then, because some of the dialogue is right on and some of it is oddly displaced. I have noticed that some CinemaScope films are far more accurate than others when it comes to dialogue placement, so it seems some directors maybe were more cautious of what could happen in the final mix when staging a scene (or maybe the microphones just kept improving).
 

TheVid

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haineshisway said:
If you love Dear Brigitte it is available on a German Blu-ray in excellent quality. We just issued its soundtrack by George Duning - wonderful music.
I can't wait for that soundtrack CD to arrive, and that German blu-ray is excellent, although I take it the film wasn't released in theaters with a stereophonic soundtrack.
 

ahollis

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Originally Posted by haineshisway /t/322942/high-time-blu-ray-review#post_3963200
If you love Dear Brigitte it is available on a German Blu-ray in excellent quality. We just issued its soundtrack by George Duning - wonderful music.
I got the Dear Brigitte/Mr. Hobbs soundtrack on order from you already. Ordered first day up.

I'll check on the German Blu-ray. Thanks for the heads up, you never steered me wrong yet.

Edit - Bruce, received the Deat Brigitte/Mr. Hobbs soundtrack today. Very enjoyable and great work. Thanks.
 

ahollis

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Originally Posted by Joe Caps /t/322942/high-time-blu-ray-review#post_3963201
The sound, is directional and spread over all channels at the same time.
this is because of the way fox, inlike any other studio,recorded stereo dialogue, with three mikes spread over a long pole.
Nominaly for left, center, and right, it did not always work out that way.
It depends how close the actors are to the camera.
Say three people are talking heads apread over the scope screen.
the person on the right says a line and the body of his voice is picked up bythat mike.
However, he also also close enough to be picked up by the two other mikes, where his ssss and ttts spit into the other mikes.
this was not a problem in a large theater, but at home, especially under headphones, it can sound confusing at times.

In the book "MEMO FROM DARYL F. ZANUCK" there is a memo that Mr. Zanuck sent to all his producers on the lot about a complaint from theatre owners that they were not using stereo to the full advantage. I'm sure this is not what he was talking about, but find the memo interesting.
 

RolandL

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ahollis said:
In the book "MEMO FROM DARYL F. ZANUCK" there is a memo that Mr. Zanuck sent to all his producers on the lot about a complaint from theatre owners that they were not using stereo to the full advantage.  I'm sure this is not what he was talking about, but find the memo interesting. 
I not sure if that is the same memo but, I remember Zanuck being upset that the surround track was not being used enough in some movies.
 

RolandL

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Joe Caps said:
The sound, is directional and spread over all channels at the same time.
this is because of the way fox, inlike any other studio,recorded stereo dialogue, with three mikes spread over a long pole.
Nominaly for left, center, and right, it did not always work out that way.
It depends how close the actors are to the camera.
Say three people are talking heads apread over the scope screen.
the person on the right says a line and the body of his voice is picked up bythat mike.
However, he also also close enough to be picked up by the two other mikes, where his ssss and ttts spit into the other mikes.
this was not a problem in a large theater, but at home, especially under headphones, it can sound confusing at times.
I was watching the How to Marry a Millionaire Blu-ray last night. There was a scene where Marilyn Monroe was on left side on the screen. She started talking and was facing the camera and her voice mostly came out of the left speaker. But as she finished her line she moved her head to the right and now it came out of the center speaker also.
 

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