Questions about two Ronald Colman movies

StevenFC

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Does anyone have an opinion about the quality of the DVD Lost Horizon? I'm thinking of buying it. I believe it was released some years ago. So I'm a little worried about how it looks and sounds.

Also, does anyone know of the likelihood of ever seeing A Tale of Two Cities on DVD?

Thanks for your help!
 

GlennH

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I'd like to see A Tale of Two Cities too. Which studio owns the rights? (Edit: looks like Warner released the VHS)

I have Lost Horizon. It looks pretty good on DVD for a 1937 movie. You may know this, but people should be aware that this movie had damaged film elements for which only the audio has survived. At several points the DVD goes to a still frame while the audio continues to play. It's a little jarring if you're not expecting it (although I think there's a warning about it at the start). But it's better than not having the audio for those scenes at all.

For more information see this review at thedigitalbits.com.
 

GlennH

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Speaking of A Tale of Two Cities, which is a favorite story/book of mine ...

Isn't it about time for Hollywood to do a good remake of this classic story? A big, modern, beautifully photographed, high production value version with some of today's best actors, that's still true to the book?

Who should direct and star in such a production?
 

Scott David

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I believe it's still MGM. They released the laserdisc I still have (until the eventual DVD release).
 

GlennH

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(Sorry, not to make this into a general A Tale of Two Cities thread, but your post got me going on this subject.
)

I see that MPI will be releasing the 1958 version with Dirk Bogarde on DVD next month.

http://www.mpihomevideo.com/productdetail.asp?pid=1631

I don't think I've ever seen that version. Comments on it?
 

DouglasBr

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I have it on VHS taped from TCM but have yet to watch it. Guess I won't now, since I'll get the DVD! I really like the story, and hope that Warner (who owns the rights now, I think) gets around to releasing the Ronald Colman version.

Is the PBS version from about 1989 any good? It's out on DVD (BFS Entertainment), but I have yet to see it. James Wilby & John Mills are the draws for that version.
 

Douglas R

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It's OK but nowhere near the quality of the Ronald Colman version. Colman's "A Double Life" is also available on DVD and is well worth getting.
 

Josh Steinberg

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"Lost Horizon" is a must-buy.

The condition of the film itself is not spectacular. Some of the footage is even missing, and still photographs play over those brief sections.

However, the film itself is a masterpiece, and worth being seen in any form.

The DVD itself is well put together. There's an informative commentary by Robert Gitt, the man who has been working on restoring Lost Horizon for decades. His commentary talks a bit about the making of the movie as well as the restoration, and in listening, you'll learn exactly what all of the problems are that they've had with the film and why it looks the way it does.

Bottom line: this is one of my prized DVD possessions. If you're a fan of Frank Capra, Ronald Colman, or even classic film in general, I think this is a must-have.
 

obscurelabel

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I saw Lost Horizon when it was released in the "restored" version to theaters years ago (1980s?). I remember reading that some of the footage where Coleman's character expresses some general anti-war sentiments was cut when the film was reissued later in the 30s or early 40s when the U.S. had either joined WWII or just before. The quality of the print dropped noticeably at these points (more "dupey" looking). There may have been some other footage that was trimmed for length for re-release as well (I think the full original release running time was 137 minutes), but I seem to remember that the "pacifist" segments were the easist to spot of the restored bits with the obvious differenc in visual quality.

There is only one segment where stills are used instead of footage to accompany the complete soundtrack IIRC (there isn't missing footage all through the picture) and in my opinion the whole sequence (that takes place in a marketplace) could have been dropped. It was quite confusing to follow (no doubt partly if not entirely due to not being able to see what was going on), and it didn't seem to have any direct bearing on the plot. I believe this footage may have been cut after some preview showings and perhaps was never part of the film "proper", as opposed to other material that was cut on re-release.

If I'm wrong on any of these factual points, please let me know.
 

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