Is the MGM R2 anamorphic "ANNIE HALL" the best available transfer?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Rich Malloy, Oct 20, 2004.

  1. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Like many of you, I was disappointed when MGM released the first Woody box, and ported over the old non-anamorphic transfer of "Annie Hall". It's my favorite Allen film, my wife's favorite, and possibly yours. I definitely want it in the best available format, and now that I've got a widescreen TV the 16x9 enhancement has taken on a new significance for me.

    And, yes, I've searched! Here, there, everywhere... DVD Beaver, DVD Compare, etc. It's noted only that the R2 disc is anamorphic in various threads on this forum, without any comment on quality (much less a comparison). DVD Compare seems to assume it's a better transfer without much comment (and I sometimes wonder if they just go by specs without even viewing the alternate versions). And, unfortunately, the trusty DVD Beaver has not compared the various versions. I even posted this exact message in the DVD Talk International Forum last week, as that forum generally gets a good deal more traffic than this one. However, I was very surprised to find that not a single person had any idea, and it seemed only a few wanted to know.

    So, as near as I can tell, it remains an open question as to whether the anamorphic transfers (R2-UK, specifically, but there are also anamorphic releases in R2-France, and R4-Australia-OOP?, as I understand it) are actually superior to the R1 non-anamorphic.

    So, you're my final hope Home Theater Forum members... (short of actually spending the money to find out personally!). Has anyone compared these? Does anyone have any of the anamorphic releases about which you can comment?

    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. Bruce Morrison

    Bruce Morrison Supporting Actor

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    I can't answer your question, but I'd be quite surprised if MGM don't release a special edition of 'Annie Hall' in both R1 and R2 within the next year or so. Along with 'The Graduate' and 'Midnight Cowboy', it's probably one of the MGM classic titles most in need of a re-visit.
     
  3. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    What would MGM include in this 'special edition' in light of Allen's absolute refusal, stated time and again, to revisit any of his films or provide any form of special features?
     
  4. AndrewWickliffe

    AndrewWickliffe Second Unit

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    A snippet of Woody telling people to get over special features and to enjoy the mono sound?
     
  5. Alan Orson

    Alan Orson Auditioning

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    First off, I can't help with a comparison between any Annie Hall versions.

    BUT: I have the UK R2. The anamorphic transfer is fine, looks sharp(ish) and is pretty solid on colours - including that orange background! The Print itself is a little soft and does look it's 'age' but it's probably the same print that was used for the non-anamorphic R1 transfer ...I could imagine.

    All-in-all, having collected all the Woody MGM's, it looks to be a pretty standard anamorphic MGM transfer. Having never seen the R1 and the R2 is pretty cheep - I'd pick it up! It's certainly better then the "Everything you ever wanted to know about sex..." transfer.

    Oh, and I'd be VERY surprise if there was a Special Edition!
     
  6. Gareth Flynn

    Gareth Flynn Stunt Coordinator

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    I did a comparison of the PAL and NTSC Annie Hall transfers a couple of years back, and despite being anamorphic the PAL transfer had a softer picture, as if it had gone through some kind of noise-reduction process.

    Unfortunately, I can't show you the pictures as I sold my PAL version just the other day (timing, eh?). However, if anyone with the PAL transfer wants to put up some grabs, I'll happily put the corresponding ones from my NTSC version.
     
  7. Bruce Morrison

    Bruce Morrison Supporting Actor

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    I know Woody Allen isn't interested in participating in special editions of his films, but MGM could still produce a nice anamorphic remaster and commission a commentary track from Diane Keaton. I assume Allen doesn't have a total veto on the participation of the other principals in a special edition - or does he?
     
  8. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    He may not vis a vis MGM, but Keaton isn't likely to participate without his permission.
     

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