Robert Harris on The Bits - 10/3/02 column - OFFICIAL THREAD

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bill Hunt, Oct 3, 2002.

  1. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Insider
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    We've just posted Robert Harris' new column on The Digital Bits. In this column, Robert discusses musicals, provides a couple more SMPTE charts for your enlightenment and talks about some of the discs that have been spinning in his DVD player lately.
    Musicals and More Musings
    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.
     
  2. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    Glad to see musicals get showcased this time. Mr. Harris's list is quite good--I appreciate the early talkie musicals being well represented on his list; anyone who can get ahold of a VHS copy of KING OF JAZZ (1930) is in for an interesting experience. The film cost nearly $2 million in 1930 dollars, and is truly spectacular in many scenes (via early Technicolor). I'm not terribly hopeful Universal will ever visit this title on DVD (hahahahaha, what a thought), but at least they issued it on tape way back when. Now, if only Fox can do something about those glorious Technicolor Alice Faye musicals.... [​IMG]
     
  3. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    As usual, another great column, Robert.

    Please continue to hammer home the point about film grain being necessary to preserve the unique look of a film. When I read reviews that claim a transfer is virtually grain-free (especially if it's an older title) I wince because that usually means the film has been given one too many digital "smoothings" and will no longer look like a film. To alter a famous film quote slightly: "Grain is good."
     
  4. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    From Part 2:
     
  5. Kajs

    Kajs Second Unit

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    Royal Wedding appears to be on DVD in 9 different forms, I doubt any of them are very good.
     
  6. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    thanks again for a great article about Musicals, a great read.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Another wonderful article Mr. Harris, although I don't have much to say on it. I just want to take the oppurtuntiy to thank you again for the stunning restoration work done on Lawrence of Arabia, I took a girl (who had never seen it, but, thanks to me is becoming more an more interested in classic cinema) to see it at the cinerama dome/arclight theater today, and it is solidfying in my life as possibly the most incredible theatrical experience I've ever had. This was the fourth time I'd seen Lawrence of Arabia, but my own first time with 70mm, and it's a terrible thing in my opinion that they EVER stopped making movies in 65mm. The picture was absolutely glorious, and I suddenly understood the incredible power of the 'riding across the desert' scenes that had seemed so gratuitous on a 27 inch tv (in widescreen of course). Thank you once again. One quick question on the restoration, was the tail end of the scene with Feisal and the reporter, at the beginning of the second half, part of the additional footage that had dialogue rerecorded and dubbed? because it seemed that just for this moment that the dialogue was just a little off, other than that it was basically flawless as a presentation, and I would find it impossible to discern any other material that was added back in.


    sorry to momentarily hijack the thread. About your article, do all theaters use the patterns you showed to adjust their projectors? Do any theaters manage a 0 percent loss you mentioned as ideal, or is that a total impossibility on the big screen?

    Adam
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    We'll add the newly mentioned musicals to the list with the exception of Chitty Bang, which I deny exists.

    Re: Lawrence...

    We did re-record some lines of dialogue for the Feisal / Bentley scene, a few words of which had to be cut into or squeezed to fit the lip movements.

    Sir Alec was recorded in London, directed by Sir David, while Arthur Kennedy was recorded at a TV studio in Savannah with the help of Jim Painten.

    RAH
     
  9. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    We appreciate your perception of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

    Some musicals which I own on DVD:

    Carmen Jones (1954)
    Gypsy (1962) (with some cut material)
     
  10. Peter Rohlfs

    Peter Rohlfs Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert,
    Great article.

    Missing Musicals:
    Mikado (1939) *
    Pirates of Penzance (1983)
    Xanadu (1980) *
    Earth Girls Are Easy (1989)*
    Evita (1996)*
    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band (1978)

    Elvis musicals *?

    If Buddy Holly Story is a musical, include:
    Great Balls of Fire (1989)*
    La Bamba (1987)*

    Are Hard Days Night* and Help* musicals?
    Head *(P&S)

    What is the guidline for what is a musical vs. a movie that just has alot of music? I didn't think Saturady Night Fever was a musical. If it is, isn't Showgirls a musical?

    I haven't seen the Rocky Horror sequel, but I believe that is a musical also.


    Peter
     
  11. Peter Rohlfs

    Peter Rohlfs Stunt Coordinator

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    As a side note, Hook, Return of the Jedi, Monty Pyhton and the Holy Grail, and History of the World have musical numbers. [​IMG]
    Peter
     
  12. Paul W

    Paul W Second Unit

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    What about South Park BLU? Isn't that considered a musical?
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Rob Ray

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    In addition to others already noted, Young at Heart and The Seven Little Foys are both available in very nice non-studio transfers.

    Please add Follow Thru (1931) to your list of 2-strip Technicolor musicals which deserve a release on DVD.
     
  14. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Cool. That list is going to come in handy. [​IMG]
    A couple of omissions from recent years:
    2000: Dancer in the Dark
    2001: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
     
  15. Craig_Ehr

    Craig_Ehr Second Unit

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    Ahem....I believe the Walt Disney Company has released one or two or, ummmm...maybe THIRTY beloved (for the most part) animated musicals over the past sixty-five years which I don't think should be overlooked, including the wonderful 'Beauty & the Beast', nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, which is to be released on DVD this coming Tuesday. Just my $.02.
     
  16. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I was waiting for someone to bring up the "what defines a musical?" question.

    I've added some going in both directions to the list, yet have left many others off.

    Is Footloose really a musical? Probably not, but to some it might be.

    I generally try to relate musicals as having numbers which are more than "background" or songs, but this line has become quite cloudy in the past two decades.

    Are Help! and A Hard Day's Night musicals?

    RAH
     
  18. Patrick McCart

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    Great article.

    I'm still amazed that MGM would put out a SUPER PANAVISION film on DVD at 1.33:1...They should have retitled it Chitty Bang.

    I noticed Singin' In The Rain didn't have an asterix next to it...is it too video-ized or you just haven't gotten to see the new DVD yet?

    Also, if you have had the chance to see the discs, what are your opinions on the DVDs for A Hard Day's Night (MPI and/or Miramax) and Help! (MPI)?
     
  19. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Not only is A Hard Day's Night a musical, it's the best out there (IMO). I think the primary requirement is that the characters be singing the songs, which is definitely the case in the Beatle films.
    I remember an episode of Love, American Style where this guy was a musicals freak and would break out in song whenever he was attracted to a girl, leading to lots of problems until he met a girl with the same fetish. [​IMG]
     
  20. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    A few others missing from the list. Bold titles are available on DVD:
    The Fantasticks
    Evita
    Little Shop of Horrors
    A Chorus Line
    The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Street Date January 7, 2003)
    Grease 2
    Victor/Victoria
    Tommy
    The Slipper and the Rose
    Godspell
    Darling Lili
    Song of Norway (coming from Anchor Bay)
    Scrooge
    Goodbye Mr. Chips (Peter O'Toole/Petula Clark)
    Oh! What a Lovely War
    Yellow Submarine
    Half a Sixpence
    The Happiest Millionaire
    Stop the World I Want to Get Off
    State Fair (Pat Boone/Ann-Margret)
    Li'l Abner
    "Come on babe, we're gonna paint the town...and all that jazz" - "Chicago" opens 12/27/02[
     

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