1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

PENNIES FROM HEAVEN-both versions!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jon Hertzberg, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,522
    Likes Received:
    46
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Real Name:
    Jonathan
    Hats off to WB for bringing us, not only, the feature version of Pennies From Heaven, but also the original BBC mini-series, also titled Pennies From Heaven, upon which the film is based.

    Can't wait to get both of these when they come out on 7/27.

    The 1981 film is presented 16:9 OAR with the original trailer.

    The mini-series is presented in its original 4:3 ratio with commentary, tho I'm not sure from whom since Dennis Potter is no longer with us.

    Jon
     
  2. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,219
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is great news indeed. Hopefully, we will see more Potter in the future, KARAOKE, COLD LAZARUS, and LIPSTICK ON YOUR COLLAR.



    Potter only wrote the films so you still have the director who may do commentary. I looked him up and had honestly never heard of him, or any of the films he made before or since.

    Potter's films are some that disprove the director as auteur theory. He was the one who had his mark on the film most of all.
     
  3. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    6,693
    Likes Received:
    2,763
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Maine
    Real Name:
    Rick
    God love ya, Warner Bros.
     
  4. Greg Krewet

    Greg Krewet Stunt Coordinator
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 1999
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Piers Haggard is not exactly unknown just not well known.
    However I think the commentary might be from the actors
    especilly Hoskins. I believe Gambon did the commentary
    on Singing. Those who follow Masterpiece Theater will recognize many of the names such as Craven, Freddie Jones
    and others in the cast.
    Best
    Greg
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    4,301
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    That's great news. I've never seen the original, but I love the movie. I'll be picking up both for sure. [​IMG] Life is much better ever since Warner tumbled to the fact they have a giant vault full of great old movies that people want to buy. [​IMG]
     
  6. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I must have this DVD....of course I must have Ed Wood also. [​IMG]
     
  7. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Got the movie version yesterday, have only had a little time to check it out but the commentary seems excellent and the video is quite sharp to my eyes.
    My audio is not really a happenin' thing at this time so I can't comment on that.
    Thanks for the heads up on the TV version....that's something I must have.

    Now, where the f*ck is Dreamchild?
     
  8. BillGo

    BillGo Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I hate to bust anyone's bubble, but the review on dvdfile.com for the 1981 Steve Martin version of Pennies From Heaven was not too favorable. They were dissapointed in both the video quality and the mono audio.

    "For diehard fans only."
     
  9. Conrad_SSS

    Conrad_SSS Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Messages:
    378
    Likes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    110


    I wouldn't put too much stock in that review.

    Anyone really familiar with the film would know that the audio was monaural in original release purposefully, as Dolby Stereo was in wide use by 1981. Since most of the music in the film consists of original 1930s music (and whatever new music was added was EQd to match that 30s sound) a mono soundtrack is the only way to present the film.

    Accordingly, this film was shot by Gordon Willis, and had a very diffused look in its original release.

    I doubt the DVDFILE reviewer saw the film when it first opened theatrically.....
     
  10. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 3, 2003
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Precisely! When a sound designer goes through the trouble of making a first rate mono soundtrack, in keeping with the tone of the film, I find it extremely humorous that the review states that this film cries out for a 5.1 mix!

    It doesn't.
     
  11. BillGo

    BillGo Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The points about the 1930s music and cinematography style are well taken.

    However, didn't people back in the 1930's hear live music with both ears, hence, in stereo? Or is the mono presentation the way the sound designer perceived what the music sounded like in the 1930's?
     
  12. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 3, 2003
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Yes, they heard with both ears, but they weren't hearing stereophonic sound, they were still hearing monaural sound WITH both ears. . .
     
  13. IvanT

    IvanT Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2001
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    I am assuming that this is the same as the British R2 edition which has been available for some time, in which case the commentary is by the director (Piers Haggard--I wouldn't call him unknown but he hasn't exactly been directing blockbusters really) and producer (Kenith Trodd). Be aware that it's only on the first and last episode.

    Other than that, I must say that I was a bit surprised at how good this show looked on DVD--it is a 25 year old TV series after all--but the stunning cinematography and direction really come through brilliantly.

    Added bonus is that if you turn on subtitles, they actually made the effort to properly identify all song titles/performers so you may want to do that even if you don't need them.

    But, once again, all this is assuming that R1 version is the same as R2--I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be.

    I
     
  14. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Tony

    Am I the only one that objects to live music being called "monaural."????
     
  15. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 3, 2003
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Uncle Henry! (sorry, momentary lapse of reason) :b

    Well, in the 1930s, would live music really have presented in an all-encompassing fashion? Or, would it have sounded more like Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound?"
    Recorded music, as presented in PENNIES FROM HEAVEN, was undoubtedly monaural. With rare exception, weren't the first TRUE stereo recordings done in the late 1950s - I know that the Original Broadway Cast Recording of BELLS ARE RINGING was one of the first of Columbia's stereo show albums. . .
    Back to PENNIES, though. Wouldn't the film's characters be solely exposed to the music from a monaural standpoint? More than the sound design, I feel that the sound of the song from the CHARACTER's point of view, is more important than the audience being given a souped up mix.
     
  16. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    5,110

    In the case of Pennies from Heaven, we're not talking about live music. We're talking about music as it would have sounded on old gramophone recordings. Hence, mono.

    I started the miniseries tonight. Since I missed the PBS broadcast in the early 90s, this is my first chance to see this legendary production, and so far it's everything I could have hoped.

    M.
     
  17. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0

    Michael.
    Thanks for the clarification, but "we"...BillGo, Tony & I, actually were talking about live music.
     
  18. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    5,110

    I'm not sure why, since this thread is about Pennies from Heaven, the sound design of which has nothing to do with live music, now or in the 30s. My comments were intended to bring the thread back to topic.

    M.
     
  19. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,684
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Not to burst anyone's bubble, but this movie contains plenty of "live" music, a score, arranged and recorded by Marvin Hamlisch, which neatly plays off the original recordings. Personally, I think it would have been great to have a 5.1 mix. Often, the score is meant to augment the old records, to "fill out" the soundscape, so to speak.
     
  20. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2001
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think the point that is being missed here is that Herb Ross & Co. deliberately did not make this film with a Dolby Surround Stereo track. In 1981, such tracks were increasingly commonplace, especially for big-budget productions. This picture cost a fortune to make (at the time).

    They made a conscious choice to keep things more evocative of the period. Even eschewing a Panavision or 70mm approach, as an expensive musical would normally find to be a pre-requisite at the time.

    I'm all for the great 5.1 tracks that can be made where original source elements still exist, and provide the opportunity to do what original creators would have likely been initiated originally, had technology, and/or market conditions allowed it. BLAZING SADDLES is a good example of this (virtually no one was using stereo in 1974..not even MAME!).

    But here is a case, where in 1981, they easily, and cheaply, could have made and released the film with a multi-channel soundtrack, but chose not to for artistic reasons.

    Herb Ross certainly had used stereo tracks on several other films made not too much before PENNIES (Funny Lady and Turning Point are two I can think of). It seems pretty obvious to me that, given the nature of the film, that they made a specific choice not to go the stereo route here, and I for one, appreciate that Warner respected that.
     

Share This Page