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Robert Harris on The Bits - 10/13/04 column - OFFICIAL THREAD (1 Viewer)

Bill Hunt

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Afternoon everyone! The Digital Bits is very pleased to bring you Robert Harris' latest Yellow Layer Failure column today. In this edition, Robert discusses American Pantheon filmmakers, the latest Fox Studio Classics titles, new titles from Miramax and Disney, the two aspect ratios of The Country Girl, new film noir titles from Warner, Lord Jim in 70mm, David Mamet, new Michael Moore on DVD and the Ken Burns America collection from Paramount. Here's the link:

Robert Harris' latest Yellow Layer Failure column

As always, click on the link to read Robert's comments and then come on back here to this official thread at the HTF to discuss, give feedback, ask questions of Robert and sound off as you will. Best wishes to all of you!
 

Ken_McAlinden

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My addition to Andrew Sarris' "the pantheon" list from 1968 would have been Billy Wilder, but that's a good list, nonetheless.

I notice that House of Games got "the asterisk" despite being a full frame transfer. This is probably my favorite film that is available that I don't own on DVD. Is it really a good transfer, lack of widescreen presentation aside?

The thing I love about that film is how even when you have the plot twists and turns completely figured out or if you've seen it many times before, it still works on another whole level as a character piece about a compulsive personality. Very cool film.

Now how's the "Things Change" DVD from Columbia? That's an underrated Mamet film worth seeing.

Regards,
 

MarcusUdeh

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Philip Kaufman? I think not. When compared to other American directors Robert Altman, David Lynch and John Sayles.
 

Kirk Tsai

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I'm pretty sure the House of Games DVD was 1.85: 1.

Sarris seems to have warmed up more to Wilder in recent years. I wonder if he'll ever do an update on The American Cinema; it's a really wonderful read, whether you agree with him or not. I love his comparisons between Murnau and Lang, Hawks and Ford, Chaplin and Keaton and so on.
 

Craig S

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House of Games is definitely widescreen, although I believe it's non-anamorphic.

I gotta disagree on Kaufman myself. The Right Stuff & Unbearable Lightness of Being are both brilliant and among the best films of the 80s, no doubt. But the rest of his output doesn't do much for me. This year's Twisted was painful to watch - one of the worst of the year IMO.

The other name I'd add to the American pantheon would be Clint Eastwood.
 

Ken_McAlinden

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I am pleased that I was misinformed. House of Games has some cool compositions for a first-time directorial effort from a writer with a strong theater background. Some of the shots of two characters conversing in profile resemble that illusionist drawing where when looked at one way, it's a vase, while looked at another way, it's two faces in profile. I like to think it was intentional, since it makes thematic sense for the film.

Regards,
 

Robert Harris

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Robert Altman --- Expressive Esoterica

David Lynch --- Less Than Meets the Eye

John Sayles --- Fringe Benefits
 

Drew Salzan

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I agree that a lot of care generally goes into the Fox Studio Classics Series. In ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND, however, there is this persistent vertical line running down the left side of the frame (scratch in the emulsion). Were there no other suitable surviving elements to use? Can this problem be corrected digitally? I'd be interested to know.

I'm really looking forward to Three Coins in the Fountain.
 

Robert Harris

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The problem can be taken care of digitally, but not by any currently available
automated means.

Since automated processes seek out information on the previous and following frames to fix the damage on the central frame, this is all hand-worked pixel cloning at a rate of $15 -20/ hour. This could entail months of work to fix a couple of shots.

This is the same reason that Warner's new release of Seven Brides has similar, although less offensive vertical marks. There is simply no financially feasible means of fixing them with current technology.

They are what they are, and are the best the studios can deliver.

RAH
 

Drew Salzan

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Thanks for the information, Mr. Harris. I could just imagine how time consuming this would be. Using Photoshop pixel cloning to work on just one picture (analogous to a single frame of film) can be very laborious and time consuming indeed.
 

Robert Harris

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But anything that you do with one frame MUST MATCH the frames before and after for continuity.

RAH
 
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I'd definitely add David Cronenberg, although I don't know if Canadian counts.

I have to admit that I've had a down on Sarris for years, largely through my unrepentant status as a Paulette.
 

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