Robert Harris on The Bits - 11/21/03 column - OFFICIAL THREAD

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bill Hunt, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Insider
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    Robert Harris' long-awaited new column is now available at The Digital Bits. Robert's doing some work in L.A. right now, but he's found the time to talk about a lot of the great recent releases to find their way to DVD, and also to provide you with some thoughts on the films of directors David Lean and Carol Reed. So here's...

    A Traveling 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. Thanks to Robert for his usual fine work, and best wishes to all of you!
     
  2. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I suspect that an asterisk was intended for "A Passage to India", but if it was not, I would be interested in hearing RAH's thoughts on that disc. It looks and sounds quite good to me.

    Regards,
     
  3. Reagan

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    Mr. Harris,

    Thank you.

    -Reagan
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    An interesting column as usual. I was not aware of the Lean/Reed rivalry and found that aspect quite fascinating. Also the personal aside about Heston gave me a view about him that I had not had before. It is always interesting to get a view of a famous person outside of the public eye. What a great story.
     
  5. JohnRice

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    Wonderful story about Charlton Heston. Also, probably the best assessment of Michael Moore I have ever read. I finally am accepting the fact that I need to start saving my pennies now for the Alien Quadrilogy.

    I was already impressed with the DVD of Once Upon a Time in the West, but now I am even more impressed. That was some very interesting information about what must have gone into the transfer.
     
  6. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    RAH tried to be a good sport in his description of one of my guilty pleasures, "The Agony and the Ecstacy". I would posit that Reed fully intended some of the humor of the film, and of course its central thesis that an artist may be better connected with the almighty than a worldly cleric such as the pope. Rex Harrison makes such a damned fine Julius II!

    And of course I found that RAH cut to the chase in his analysis of the merits of Michael Moore's films. Maybe I should send him my duplicate copy of Innocents Betrayed.

    Chuck Heston - and he prefers that name to his stage-name - has always been at the front of fighting for freedom. Here's a photo of Heston/Baldwin/Brando during the MLKing march on Washington in 1963:
    [​IMG]
    I think a lot of younger viewers only remember him for his epic acting.
     
  7. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    There's no doubt that Moore is not a statesman (he's even worse in interviews), however, it is the job of a spokesman of a national organization to deal with jerks like Moore. Heston shouldn't have walked out on the interview.
     
  8. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I seriously hope we're not going down that road again.
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The missing asterisk for Passage to India was an error on my part.

    The disc is superb, as is the film. James Fox is wonderful along with the enitre cast.

    RAH
     
  10. Anthony Neilson

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    Respect to Mr Harris for his undeniable dedication to the medium we all love so much.

    Two points though - it's just plain wrong to say that TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is one of the gorier films around.Disturbing, yes, but gory, no ; this is a common myth and I'm surprised to see it restated.

    Secondly, yes - I felt deeply uncomfortable about the Heston interview on many levels. It's not nice to see an old and infirm man being harrassed and especially not one that's appeared in so many of the great films that we grew up with.
    But Heston USED his celebrity (and our goodwill) to be a spokesman for the NRA, despite living in an environment where he is largely protected from the lethal consequences of a society where guns are freely available. He is not blameless ; at what age, precisely, should we stop calling people to account for their actions ?
     
  11. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I agree about the comment made about Raiders of the Lost Ark and it's lack of shadow detail. While it still looks very good, it's not quite as good as I hoped for (particularly compared to Temple of Doom). However, I imagine this is about as good as it can get. I would have to believe just as much, if not, more work went into Raiders to restore it.
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As I believe I mentioned, it was not, nor its it now, my intent to get into a discussion regarding the propriety of firearms in our society. This is the incorrect forum.

    However, I believe that it should be properly noted that Mr. Heston is an actor. That is his selected vocation, and he has represented himself superbly throughout the decades.

    He has also worked against bigotry in our society and for our rights as free Americans as is his right. I have no doubt that he would have done the same had he been a dentist or accountant. He owes us nothing, and is certainly not mis-using our goodwill. He has a right to support whatever causes he chooses without accountability to a public which happens to buy tickets to view a film in which he is a hired actor.

    The two are totally separate.
     
  13. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Excellent article, though. Interesting to see The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre being championed amongst films like Sunrise and Once Upon A Time In The West! I never thought of Mr Harris being a fan of 16mm horror films! [​IMG]

    Interesting comparison of Bowling For Columbine and Triumph Of The Will. Moore's film could indeed be seen as well-intended, manipulative semi-propaganda. I could say much, much more, but this isn't the place to get political. [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  14. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    That's true. And I love a lot of his films. But Moore wasn't interviewing Heston the actor, he was interviewing the President of the National Rifle Association, and any respect he may or may not deserve as an actor, is, completely separate from his role re: NRA. If Moore was interviewing him about Ben-Hur or The Soylent Green, that would be a different story.
     
  15. JohnRice

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    I don't want to see this thread deteriorate, but there is one thing I want to say from a politically detached perspective. To see an interview, watch Charlie Rose. What Moore does is not interviews.
     
  16. Adam_WM

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    For me, this has been Robert Harris' best column to date. Great read.
     
  17. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    Wow! Great column! And while "on location"!

    I only have two disagreements: I don't feel that the 1983 Scarface's soundtrack holds up all that well on the new DVD compared to other modern soundtracks, and TCM is actually not one of the goriest horror films around IMHO.

    Just two quibbles - fantastic update!
     
  18. Anthony Neilson

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    Robert - now that's just naughty. You can't say you're not going to talk about something and then talk about it. You just want to have the last word on the matter. [​IMG]

    Do you really think that Charlton Heston the dentist would have risen so high in the NRA and gained as much public exposure ? Doubtful.

    And no, he's not accountable to people who've paid for tickets to his films. He's accountable to people who oppose the NRA.

    I'm sorry for responding, but then again - this is the response thread for your column. You said something controversial in your column. Nothing wrong with that
    but it's bound to provoke debate. The alternative is bland columns. I know what I prefer.

    After all, free speech is what we're ALL fighting for, right ?

    Peace. [​IMG]
     
  19. Reagan

    Reagan Supporting Actor

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    About the Moore/Heston thing...

    When you are a professional (much less a human being), you should conduct yourself in a professional manner, including treating others with the same respect with which you want to be treated. But, when a professional fails to treat you in this manner, you are under no obligation to continue the relationship.

    And if you think I'm wrong, consider your experience in a retail sales setting (as a point of analogy). How many times has a P.O.'d customer metaphorically spit in your face simply because you didn't give them something for nothing. Do you have to just stand there and take everything they throw at you simply because you are a representative of the company? Of course not, you can sever the relationship.

    So at the end of the day, it doesn't matter that the president of the NRA happened to be Charlton Heston. If it was you who were the president of the NRA, you would be right to do the same thing he did in response to Mr. Moore's actions.

    -Reagan
     
  20. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Man, talk about biting my tongue. [​IMG] If I was president of the NRA...

    It's not worth violating HTF rules by completing that sentence, but man, would it be a doozy. [​IMG]
     

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