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Into The Woods (Stephen Sondheim) (Blu-ray) Available for Preorder

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 5, 2014.

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  1. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I believe the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert from 1992 is one of those titles. It was originally a live broadcast back then, and was put out on VHS back in the day too. I was expecting the Blu-ray to be upconverted SD but it actually does look like it's HD. I could be wrong but I don't think there was ever a film element, as it was a live broadcast.
     
  2. david hare

    david hare Supporting Actor

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    That's interesting information Bruce and it goes some way to explaining things for me.

    My real bugaboo is why can't someone do a NEW high quality recording from live performances, rather than retread a now technically prehistoric digibeta and audio with a battery of mixing desk tweaks. I have a small collection of "post HD" Music BDs but the most electrifying for me are any or all of the Abbado/Lucerne Mahler Symphonies recorded live, (finally bought them all after he died last year) and of all things, The Met JImmy Levine (for the first two only) Robert lePage Ring Cycle, again live. I have a real thing about filmed plays and filmed musical shows for that matter. They need the hand of a real movie director to make them work on screen,thus Cukor, Leroy, MInelli, Losey's Don G etc etc. The latest Opera to hit my desk is Michael Haneke's direction of Cosi fan Tutte for the Madrid Opera!! (It's fabulous!!!!)

    I agree Lapine's staging is deadly.

    Having perhaps unwisely said all that I don't want to detract from anyone's pleasure in this disc, I just wish there was a new, hitherto undiscovered production of incredible excellence.
     
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  3. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    The 30th Anniversary Concert was shot by Sony/Columbia in native 1080i resolution, so it's an early TRUE HD production...
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Cool, that's what I thought. It looked better than expected!
     
  5. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    And you never will. The experience of watching live theater, however skillfully transferred to taping, cannot be replicated. One can appreciate its archival value as a record of the show and when very well done, an approximation of what it was like to watch the show. But it will never ever capture the genuine experience.
     
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  6. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Today we have HDTV and smaller cameras and cranes and therefore a greater number of possible angles, some of which were impossible with those old, giant studio cameras. I don't know what kind this production used, though.

    That said, I was hoping using a codec other than MPEG-2 would offer at least some improvement. And if it's the only live record of several original cast members.

    As for Joanna Gleason, she has better luck in picking stage shows than she does with TV shows; she was in Hello Larry and Bette! :D
     
  7. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I doubt they were studio cameras. More than likely Betacam SP field cameras, which would have been broadcast standard at the time, but still standard definition quality.

    To my eyes, it's as good of a live taping of a stage show could get without making the taping the primary purpose. Live shows recorded for broadcast (e.g. late shows) work great for the home audience, but if you're there in person, you're basically a warm body to provide applause sounds and a well-timed cutaway if you're laughing and/or attractive.
     
  8. classicmovieguy

    classicmovieguy Producer

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    I taped EVERY episode of "Bette" mainly because of Joanna Gleason. The show wasn't that bad - I still enjoy going back and watching it.
     
  9. David Weicker

    David Weicker Producer

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    Well, she does have some family experience in regards to choosing things. Her dad was Monty Hall.
     
  10. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned
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    And no one even remembers the original Baker, Chip Zien, as Howard the Duck? :(
     
  11. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    Well, of course, the vast majority of Broadway show tapings were never intended to be artistic films in and of themselves. They were meant to essentially preserve a record of the show. Just as we have precious film moments of Sarah Bernhardt, Eleanora Duse and Paul Robeson that never truly represented their theatrical productions, someday in the not very distant future, Angela Lansbury, George Hearn, Bernadette Peters et al will have shuffled off this mortal coil and future generations will have these tapings as one of the very few links to these marvelous performers and shows.
     
  12. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Amen to that! I've seen Bernhardt's surviving silent film, and the acting is awfully theatrical and grandiose. I've also heard recordings of her voice, and the declamation was of the old-fashioned school. But still, it is a record of a legend. As an aside, I also own a numbered, limited edition of her autobiography (1909), autographed by the old dame. It's one of my treasures.
    I've also seen Duse's film, CENERE, also silent, and her acting is so subtle and modern: a revelation. I've seen all of Robeson's films, but only have the recording of his B'way OTHELLO. So yes, any recording, good or mediocre, that will give you an indication of the talents of artists long gone (or about to leave this mortal coil), will always be welcome.
     
  13. Ejanss

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    Or Mandy Patinkin in Sunday/George, or Kevin Kline in the original '80 stage Pirates of Penzance.
    Similarly, although we have Yul Brynner's "King & I" immortalized on film, imagine if we'd had a recording of the Nathan Lane/Matthew Broderick "Producers" instead of the crappy movie version.

    I remember when I was in college in NYC one semester, and Columbia(?) housed the archival Broadway Library, they only had a few recordings of performances--The most-requested and hardest to get was the original videotape transcript of Sondheim's "Pacific Overtures", a musical not likely to be headed for movie versions any time soon.
    I'm sure, with lobbies now showing video for Act I latecomers, there are plenty more recordings than there used to be, but much of the 70'-80's Silver Age is just a mass of Tony-Award TV clips, like the 50's-60's is just a mass of Ed Sullivan numbers.

    (I confess I always had this curiosity about Broadway flops, growing up, since once a musical is gone, it's gone--You can read the play, and hear the cast album, but there's no permanent record of the stage experience the way there is with failed films or TV shows.)
     
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  14. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I liked it, too, and she and Bette did have chemistry together. At least in your neck of the woods, they actually aired the whole show. CBS dumped it right when Robert Hays took over as the husband, and the dreaded bugaboo music rights will keep it off DVD in this country for awhile.
     
  15. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Ejanss,
    I saw the original staging of PACIFIC OVERTURES. It was taped for a future PBS broadcast that never happened. I got myself a copy of said tape. It sure was an incredible show, and it's better than just having the original cast recording. BTW, I also saw Patinkin/Peters in SUNDAY...; Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou in SWEENEY TODD; and went to Central Park to see PENZANCE with Kline. The recordings may be faint memories of the original, but it's better than nothing.
    As for flops, I wish I had seen LOLITA; THE AMBASSADORS with Alfred Drake and Danielle Darrieux (sigh); but I did see, along with just a handful of people, the original staging of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG. I happened to like it a lot.
    On a funny note, I saw a 1975 flop called CHICAGO, with Verdon and Chita Rivera. It was wonderful, rich, luxurious. Who would have thought that a bargain-basement version of this show would be running for decades...
     
  16. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned
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    (Although I should add, my college experience was back in the 80's, when videotape was still rare, and YouTube uploads of recordings didn't exist.)
     
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  17. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Fred Ebb for some reason got enormous satisfaction in saying that the original production of CHICAGO was a flop, but he was in fact wrong. It did return its investment and is in the record books as a hit (if only a minor one in terms of sales).
     
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  18. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    I came across that recording of Pacific Overtures on YouTube...copied it before someone decided to pull it. There's also a fairly bad recording of Merrily We Roll Along out there with the original cast. It's amazing what you can find if you look hard enough. Oh yes, I found a pro-shot Hedwig with John Cameron Mitchell. And a bootleg with NPH. Both are well worth seeking out. I wish they were all released legitimately.
     
  19. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Yes, that Pacific Overtures was made for Japanese television (so I understand), and I was lucky enough to see it courtesy of Peter Jones. I never understood why they couldn't get the rights to show it here after the show closed. (Or maybe no one was interested.) It's a fascinating work.
     
  20. classicmovieguy

    classicmovieguy Producer

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    The original "Chicago" wasn't a flop, but it was overshadowed by "A Chorus Line".
     

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