More Noir in December

Discussion in 'DVD' started by TimJS, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. TimJS

    TimJS Second Unit

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    According to DVDFile , MGM will be releasing Odds Against Tomorrow (1959-Robt Wise)w/ Robt Ryan , Crime Of Passion (1957)w/ Babs Stanwyck & Sterling Hayden among others , & He Walked By Night (1948) in December.

    I already have He Walked By Night in the Roan Anthony Mann anthology. Hope MGM cleans it up. Also slated for release in December are Darling & Lord Love A Duck (oh those whackee kids).

    Tim
     
  2. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    I'm looking forward to MGM's He Walked By Night -- I too have the Roan DVD, which was good for its day but doesn't hold up against quality B&W studio transfers (Roan says on the box, in the copyright notification blurb, that they "restored" the film, but that isn't necessarily evident -- they may have passed it through some sort of blemish removal software, ala the overcooked and possibly PAL converted White Zombie, I dunno). Roan's Dick Tracy Collection features outstanding transfers, but most of their product on DVD is in the "fair" realm (their presence on the format remains far less illustrious than they managed on laserdisc, despite a slew of titles). If MGM has rights to and ever brings out Mann's Raw Deal (the truest noir classic in Roan's set), I'll be more than happy to completely part with Roan's triple presentation from Mann. I only hope their Pre-Code discs are revisited by a major studio (probably WB, as I believe most or all of them are RKOs) in the near future.

    I have one question about Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow -- as a 1959 film, shouldn't this be matted to at least 1.66:1? It seems highly unlikely it would have played at that late date unmatted in many theatres (this has come up with previous releases from MGM and other studios in the transitional Hollywood period of the 1950's). MGM stubbornly (and I don't say that casually) refuses to anamorphically enhance 1.66:1, as does WB, so matting it on home video might not be a tremendous priority for purists, but if it were protected by the filmmakers for 1.78:1 or wider presentation (most likely 1.85:1), it would qualify for MGM's "minimum width" anamorphic policy, and we could have the film in a superior anamorphic presentation (this would require a new film to tape transfer from MGM, of course, but some of their open matte classics look like they've been derived from new masters -- if not, the old D2s are holding up remarkably well -- so I'd assume such cost isn't necessarily a deal breaker).

    If the cinematography only protected for 1.66:1, given MGM's policies, a 1.33:1 presentation (open matte) isn't a big deal. But as a 1959 film, seeing it wide and anamorphic would be a much bigger draw (again, I don't believe many theatres would have shown it unmatted in 1959, but if I'm mistaken, I invite correction from those with greater expertise in the film's theatrical history).

    I'll probably pass on it as is, whereas if it were 1.66:1 and anamorphic (a violation of MGM policy), I'd buy it.
     
  3. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    I would probably be more surprised if MGM created a new transfer for He Walked by Night vs. using the Roan transfer. Obviously I don't know what December's release will offer us, but I am not expecting a new transfer.

    Regarding Odds Against Tomorrow, the MGM/UA LD is a full frame presentation. I suspect this is a slightly zoomed open matte presentation due to side cropping of the opening credits; although it could be overscan on my older TV. ( I just popped the LD in and gave it a quick scan. ) The headroom in a number of shots also leads me to believe that this is an open matte presentation. Based on the LD, I'm afraid that a hypothetical 1.78:1 A.R. might be too claustrophobic as it appears the film was shot for 1.66:1 based on my admittedly crude appraisal of the LD's shot selections. ( Obviously selected zooms, if they exist on the LD, can be deceptive. )

    I will probably pass on this title since at first glance this will offer the same presentation as the LD release. Still it is nice to see more Robert Ryan & Robert Wise on DVD, especially for those who don't have access to the LD. I have no qualms about recommending the film on its own merits, assuming a decent presentation. I certainly would be purchasing the DVD if it improved upon the current LD ( and will if that proves to be the case. ) Looks like Crime of Passion will be the only title for me ( as I also have the Roan DVD of He Walked By Night. )

    Hopefully this means that MGM will be releasing other noirs, such as 99 River Street, Black Tuesday, The Crooked Way, Gun Crazy, Pitfall, and The Sound of Fury amongst others.

    - Walter.
     
  4. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    Odds Against Tomorrow = more Gloria Grahame.... there truly is a God...

    Herb.
     

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