KISS ME KATE (flat only! UGH!)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve Phillips, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    The 3-D classic KISS ME KATE has been announced for DVD release this spring, but unfortunately it seems this disc will be a flat only release.

    That is sad, as this flick is awesome in its intended stereoscopic format. It still gets released to revival houses in 3-D from time to time. I was able to see it in the original dual projector polariod format, and it rocked!

    The aspect ratio is sure to spark debate. The film was shot for academy ratio (1:37 to 1) and looks better that way, even though some theatres matted it for widescreen even in original release. The DVD is announced as 1:37 to 1, which is a good thing. A widescreen version shows up on TCM from time to time, but I prefer the ratio intended during production.

    All of the dozens of 3-D flicks shot in 1953-55 look better in 1:37 to 1. Many theatres cropped them, some were even advertised as being in widescreen, but academy ratio works much better for these.

    I wish I could hold out hope a field sequential 3D version will be included on the disc along with the flat one. I would LOVE to be wrong about this.

    Note: Way back in 1981, a terrible red/blue anaglyph downconverted TV version ran on SelecTV. It looked horrible, and in no way represented what the original polariod 3-D prints looked like. I wouldn't have any interest in an anaglyph print; but the studio could easily include a full color field sequential version. Warner, Columbia and Universal alone have a gold mine of 3-D material.
     
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Don't jump to conclusions. While I have my doubts it'll be 3-D on DVD, you're basically saying it'll be flat without even looking at the disc.
     
  3. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    As we all know doing 3D on video is difficult unless you use special attachments and glasses. Analygraphic (sp?) blue and red is simply awful. Polaroid lenses would render images too dark. It's going to be flat (as a door nail).
     
  4. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    He is right, it looks great in 3D...
    saw it that way in NYC a few years ago.
    I was blown away. It was an amazing experience.
    Think back to the first time you saw an IMAX movie or
    something...that kind of fun.
     
  5. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    As stated above, without two projectors, it's impossible to get anything approximating the same effect on home video.
     
  6. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Not impossible- the field-sequential system isn't perfect but pretty damn good. If they can put out "Camp Blood" in 3-D, they can put this out too!
     
  7. Mark Fontana

    Mark Fontana Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, Steve is correct. It is possible to do real, full-color 3D on video using the field sequential process (in which alternating 60 Hz fields present the left and right eye views sequentially). Inexpensive liquid-crystal shutter glasses sync to the composite video signal from your DVD player.
    Aside from the 3D effect (which does work well), this process does NOT look that great, especially on a big screen, generally due to the low vertical resolution (240 lines). However, for a 3D film as significant as KISS ME KATE, it would be terrific to have a field-sequential 3D transfer of the film present along with a flat version. Those interested enough to want to see the 3D version could buy a set of glasses separately for this purpose from places like this.
    KISS ME KATE is among the classiest of the dual-strip 3D films and is definitely worthy of this treatment. There must be some film geek at MGM who agrees and could push this through...?
     
  8. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    The field sequential format has its limitations, but can look quite good at home. Don't judge the format by the camcorder horror flicks and IMAX downconversions out there now. They are hardly the best examples I've seen.

    Bootlegs of field sequnetial videos are fetching BIG bucks. The glasses have sold quite well and steadily through the years as they are also used for various PC games, etc. The studios should see they can make this money for themselves. I don't care if they want to include a flat version on the DVD, but adding a 3-D version would be a wise decision. Lots of 3-D stuff was released years ago in Japan; they shouldn't hold back here and now.

    As I said, I would LOVE to be wrong about this. Hopefully HOUSE OF WAX???
     
  9. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Yeah, Ann Miller throwing scarves at the audience while tap dancing. Saw it in 3D at the Tiffany Theatre in Los Angeles in the early 80s. They used two synced projectors.
     
  10. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    MGM has beautiful L/R twin strip masters, so it wouldn't be hard at all for MGM to make a field-sequential 3-D version for DVD, along with the "modified to fit flat on your screen" 2-D version that's seen on TV. :wink: ..With DVD's flexibility there is no excuse! Kiss Me Kate deserves a 3-D video release!
    WBs has delayed their releases of Dial M for Murder and House of Wax on DVD for some time now. They've toyed with the idea of a 3-D video release, but it is still unclear if they will follow through or not. Maybe they won't drop the ball like other studios have with DVD and 3-D. ..Keep the fingers crossed!
     
  11. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    I think the problem lies with Mr. J. Sixpack. More and more, the studios don't want to confuse the uneducated. If they were to release a 3D version on the same disc as the flat version, you'd get lots of ticked off people with no field-sequential glasses who would complain that they couldn't watch it in 3D out of the box. On the flip side, a separate 3D release would cater to such a small market that it would make the production costs unrecoupable. As much as I would love to see these films in 3D, I don't see them coming out in the near future. It's a shame. I saw DIAL M FOR MURDER several years ago and it was great fun.
     
  12. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    I've seen Kiss Me Kate theatrically in 3D and while it was moderately amusing, it was essentially a useless gimmick that didn't add much to the film beyond the actors tossing things toward the screen without much motivation other than to occasionally remind the audience that it was 3D.
    It's an excellent musical that plays much better flat than with it's cheesy 3D distractions.
     
  13. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Thomas T, I don't agree at all.
    KISS ME KATE was designed for 3-D and the flat version doesn't work nearly as well. Every camera set up was blocked for stereoscopic presentation and the flat version is well...flat. Modified. Like a panned and scanned version of a widescreen movie.
    If you think 3-D is just a cheesy distraction, I have an idea for you. Walk around for a week with an eyepatch; and then tell me if you think 3-D is nuttin but a gimmick!
    [​IMG]
    Seriously, we aren't talking about JAWS 3-D here...
     
  14. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    3D in film looks nothing like 3D in everyday life. Our brains and eyes don't see things that way. It is a gimmick, a nice one, but eye strain and mostly poor films killed it. I'd rather see a properly presented 70mm film (in theatres) any day. My opinion. By the way Andre de Toth, who directed House of Wax, was blind in one eye!
     
  15. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    Thank you, Peter, I couldn't have said it better myself.
    I stand by my statement. Kiss Me Kate works much better without the gimmick even if, Steven, every set up was blocked with that gimmick in mind. One can savor the musical performances much better without Kathryn Grayson throwing beer mugs at you!
     
  16. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    I hve to agree with Peter and Thomas. All 3-D films ever did for me was to land me with a colossal headache. There was a good reason it never took off. And Kiss me Kate has always played fine for me as a flat film. Although, for the supporters of this format, Warners could have added both versions to the DVD.
     
  17. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Ann Miller STILL throws stuff at you in the flat version. [​IMG] Just not in 3-D.
    The mix of good and bad 3-D flicks in the fifties was no different than the mix of good and bad flat movies. Now, in the 80s, I'd agree the flims existed for no reason other than to point sticks at you..but in the fifties, most of them were not tremendously gimmicky.
    KISS ME KATE, HOUSE OF WAX, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, CHARGE AT FEATHER RIVER...all these are awesome in original polariod 3-D and blow that flat versions out of the water. Even newer stuff like SPACE STATION in IMAX 3-D is far far more impressive than the flat version is.
    Properly projected 3-D doesn't cause headaches. Of course, most theatres didn't do it right, did they? The glasses and the quality of the movies is not what killed it back then. It was the fact that the studios wanted double the rental fees since they had to ship two prints of each reel out; and the projection complications. Theatre owners simply didn't want the extra expense or hassle.
    I am surprised to hear so many HTF members stating these altered/modified versions are OK. Lots of people think panned and scanned widescreen videos are OK, too.
    In any case, you are still getting your modified, flat version. What we are wondering is why not include a 3-D version in the package as well for us "purists" who'd like to see the films as intended?
     
  18. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Actually Steve, EVERY motion picture viewed on a television is modifed and not what the filmakers had in mind. They envisioned large theatres with big silver screens and an audience to share the experience! [​IMG]
     
  19. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Back in 1967 I moved to Los Angeles, straight out of the US Army (there was a peacetime draft then). In Hollywood at the Ivar Theatre was a film called "The Bubble". It was not terribly good, but did feature some of the best 3D ever to be seen on a theatre screen up to then. The system was called "Spacevision". Instead of having to sync two projectors, the two images were printed on the same strip of film. A prism in front of the projection lens overlapped the images on the screen. Polaroid glasses were used. Images actually floated off the screen to within a few inches of your face. I remember a tray with a bottle of beer and a glass that you could seemingly reach out and touch. The film was produced and directed by Arch Obler. It was later released as "Fantasic Invasion Of The Planet Earth" or something like that. An acquaintance of mine at the time, Johnny Desmond - the singer, was in it along with Michael Cole and Deborah Walley. I was working for Capitol Records at the time. A few years later Capitol bought the patents - I don't know why. I don't beleive the process was ever used again.
     
  20. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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