New Casablanca SE

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 30, 2003.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As we seem to be behind on the Bits column, I wanted to make it known that I've screened Warner's new release of Casablanca.

    Someone has handled digital cleanup properly as while the grain structure is still very much intact and similar to that of the previous release, the dupe sections now look appreciatively better, with a better rendition of gray scale and better contrast values.

    Both visually and sonically, the new Casablanca is a treat and is highly recommended.

    Its the best that I've seen it look in decades.

    RAH
     
  2. Paul W

    Paul W Second Unit

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    I am looking forward to picking this one up (as well as the new Lawrence, obviosuly).
     
  3. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the information Robert. I can't wait for this disc. I haven't seen the movie since I purchased the original DVD about 3 years ago and am looking forward to seeing it again as well as listening to the Ebert commentary.
     
  4. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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  5. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I like the LDI transfers, but knowing that this one will keep the grain...this ought to be one of their best.

    It probably helps that Casablanca was restored on film first and looked great already. This is the icing on the cake. The grain on the original DVD looked just right...

    Among the major problems with the film that I noticed was a slight "washout" to the image and a tear or two.

    I hope that The Maltese Falcon could be one of their next projects. The film quality on the original transfer is great, but the dupe footage and light nitrate decomp could be corrected now.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    To the best of my knowledge LDI does not do transfers.

    They take digital files and manipulate them.
     
  7. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    John Lowry stated in his chat that the preservation of original film grain (rather than accumulated grain from dupe elements) is a standard for the company. This obviously wasn't the case with their first few releases (Citizen Kane in particular, also their additional clean-up work on Disney's digital files for Snow White; I'll have to revisit Now Voyager here soon and pay close attention to the grain, which I didn't note on my first viewing back when it was released), but after Sunset Boulevard and Roman Holiday (I'm not absolutely thrilled with the latter, but the issues aren't grain related), it seems clear they're very much on the right track all around.

    I wonder how involved they are with the upcoming Warner Legends releases? LDI's involvement isn't necessarily advertised (as per the gorgeous release of Them, for instance).
     
  8. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    I can't wait for this release (and the Ebert commentary)!!

    As to LDI: After the brilliant (and miraculous) work they performed on Singin'in the Rain, I've totally forgiven them for the small "rain snafu" on Citizen Kane. This company can now do no wrong in my book!
     
  9. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    cannot wait to see Casablanca again on dvd

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Sounds like it's worth more then a hill of beans!
     
  11. Brendon

    Brendon Second Unit

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    Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yes!

    Should be dropping through my front door in a day or two now...

    Seriously, this is tremendous news. After the reviews of the Citizen Kane restoration, I was a touch concerned. I've bought the new set anyway, solely for the extras - I was always happy with the first issued DVD. That the transfer is as per Mr. Harris and other reviewers say, well, I'm simply elated!

    Bren
     
  12. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    This could be the start of....


    ah... nevermind.

    Excellent news. Can't wait.

    -Scott
     
  13. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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  14. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Thanks, Robert.

    Your endorsment carries more weight to me than pretty much any DVD review.

    I'm glad to hear this one is worth picking up! [​IMG]
     
  15. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    "I'm shocked, shocked, to discover that there is film grain in this digital restoration!"

    "Here are your notes of apology to John Lowry, sir."

    "Oh, thank you, very much."

    [​IMG] Well, it sorta works, as Claude Rains roles over in his grave ....

    Patrick -- John Lowry revealed Them! (is that a pun? Maybe ...) in his chat. This was quite an eye opener for me, as I'd happened across Them! on a store shelf, having heard nothing about it, a few weeks or a month or so earlier. I'm not a tremendous fan of 50's giant bug movies, but I couldn't resist that cover art, so I brought it home, popped it in ... and discovered the most stunning B&W film transfer I've yet seen. It's an extraordinary job of clarity and luscious film-like contrast. I haven't specifically watched it with grain in mind, but that first viewing nearly knocked me off my seat (unlike portions of Kane, not a frame of it had that flattened, stark look of video to me). A while later HTF held their chat with Lowry and I discovered just whom I had to thank for that disc -- somehow it just hadn't occured to me that Lowry might be brought in on a campy monster movie. Now I know to think outside the box with LDI!

    As to Ultra Resolution, the jury is still out. John Lowry, again in that chat, was asked by a man named Chuck Wood:

    "Can your ULTRA RESOLUTION process work on the b and w protection masters of Eastman Color films? Cinemascope films?"

    Mr. Lowry didn't offer any correction to this assumed ownership of the process, but instead answered:

    "Yes, this is a very attractive area. We have a project in house that orignated on YCM separation and is yielding stunning color and fidelity. We think this is the future, and this project may establish the next high water mark."

    Was this an oversight, or did WB commission Ultra Resolution from LDI? Was it developed jointly, or perhaps by LDI for exclusive license to WB, or ... what? Robert Harris offered that he believes it's an internal WB technology on another thread, but Lowry's chat intrigues me, and of course LDI has said they'd love to return yet again to Gone With the Wind and other Technicolor pictures ... hmmmm. I think definite answers about this are still to be found, though I certainly value the input that's been knocked about thusfar.

    As to the films on which they've worked ... it's anyone's guess. [​IMG] The pictures you've named, along with Them!, are the only ones I know of currently announced or on the market (I think Peter Bracke said LDI worked on the Indiana Jones pictures over at DVDFile, but that's the only place I've heard it; has this been confirmed?), but there may be others (I'm tempted to think Cukor's The Women, which just looks amazing, including the marvelous three-strip sequence, could owe some of its luster to LDI, but it's difficult to say), but in the above chat Lowry also revealed that they've completed work on Brief Encounter and Sabotage for MGM (the former looks great from Criterion already, so I'm eager to see what more has been done with it, and then of course Sabotage ... Lean and Hitchcock: what a pair of titles to look forward to sometime in the future!), and Pocahontas for Disney (presumably as part of an upcoming reissue). I think these and your titles complete the list. Here's my best effort at a summation (corrections welcome):

    (Seemingly) Confirmed:
    1. North by Northwest (Available on DVD)
    2. Citizen Kane (available on DVD)
    3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (OOP on DVD)
    4. Gone With the Wind (PAL only; I don't know if
    this restoration is on DVD overseas or not)
    5. Dr. Zhivago (Available on DVD)
    6. Now, Voyager (Available on DVD)
    7. Peter Pan (Available on DVD)
    8. Them! (Available on DVD)
    9. Sunset Boulevard (Available on DVD)
    10. Roman Holiday (Available on DVD)
    11. Casablanca (Available on DVD August 5th, 2003)
    12. Brief Encounter (not yet announced; MGM)
    13. Sabotage (not yet announced; MGM)
    14. Pocahontas (not yet announced; Disney)
    15-17. Indiana Jones (Available on DVD November 4, 2003)

    Possible:

    If Ultra Resolution is an LDI (or LDI developed) process:

    18. Singin' in the Rain (Available on DVD; SE version only)
    19. The Adventures of Robin Hood (Available on DVD September 30th, 2003)

    Rumored (no confirmation yet available):

    20. Gone With the Wind: 65th Anniversary Edition (2004)
    21. King Kong (2004)

    And then there are the "who knows?" titles, like the upcoming Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Yankee Doodle Dandy, RKO restorations for Warner Bros. (including Kong, of course, but he was too big to leave off the list), The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Days of Wine and Roses, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (wouldn't it be fantastic to see a careful digital restoration of the 1931 version? If it's either/or, though, the 1941 version seems most likely for the upcoming single release of both in January) ... any major classic property, particularly from WB, could have an LDI touch. Without a studio announcement, and given LDI's general unwillingness to discuss upcoming projects themselves, it's anyone's guess. I've left The Women off the list because I've heard nothing of LDI involvement with the title, but then again I'd heard nothing about their work on Them! until the chat ... the sky's the limit for possibles.
     
  16. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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  17. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    What's your source in saying so, Patrick? Did you check the chat I mentioned earlier in my post, along with the quotes? The issue seems uncertain.
     
  18. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I forget where, but an article came out about Ultra Resolution and it says it's Warner's.

    Since LDI doesn't do the film transferring, this would make sense.
     
  19. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    I can confirm that LDI definitely worked on the Indiana Jones' films (in fact, Paramount even stated as much in their initial Press Release for those movies) and that Ultra Resolution is a LDI developed process.

    The King Kong (1933) video restoration is also generally known to be one of their projects as well.

    Here's a quote from the initial Paramount Press Release for the Indiana Jones Movies:

     
  20. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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