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Robert Harris on The Bits - 5/20/03 column - OFFICIAL THREAD (1 Viewer)

Bill Hunt

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Robert Harris' latest column is now available at The Digital Bits. In this piece, Robert looks at the work of classic cinematographers, the history of CinemaScope films and the movies of John Wayne and Bob Hope. As always, it's well worth a read.

Cinematographers, CinemaScope, John Wayne & Bob Hope

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. Enjoy!
 

Craig S

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Every time I read one of these columns, I come out with a list of discs to purchase. Mr. Harris, you're wreaking havoc on my wallet!! ;)

Seriously, another interesting column. That story about Bobby Driscoll was heartbreaking.
 

Bill Burns

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I'm thrilled to see coverage of the Bob Hope Tribute Series discs, which have received very little attention on-line (and many of which are difficult to find in brick and mortar stores, excepting the Road pictures, which seem to have better market penetration; I've run across a few of the other Universal Bob Hope releases, but only a few; ironically, the Brentwood stuff seems to crop up most often! Sheesh). I'd recommend looking into Universal's wonderful trio of Bing Crosby releases as well, Mr. Harris, and while I haven't seen it, their triple feature (!) disc of George Burns comedies also looks to be a winner. And so far I've only found Bing and George available on-line, despite much store hunting, so I'd recommend seeking these out via that avenue.

I already own Never Say Die / Louisiana Purchase, and found the transfers just as Mr. Harris describes them. I look forward to obtaining a few of the other releases.

The more attention these discs receive, the better the likelihood sales will encourage Universal to continue with double and triple feature releases (the latter only when film length allows, though they've, remarkably, chosen a DVD-14 for their Bing Crosby double A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court / The Emperor Waltz, the former of which recieves the dual layered side and looks marvelous, while the latter, The Emperor Waltz, is entirely acceptable but not so vibrant and defined as its companion feature ... so hope remains that we might still see triple feature releases of longer films at these fantastic price points). I've mentioned it (and some of the above) on another thread, but allow me to once again commend Universal Studios for this commitment to very reasonably priced, high quantity, solid quality classic film releases on disc. I couldn't be happier with the output thusfar.

But back on topic: the CinemaScope lists are of great value and interest, as well -- a fine article, Mr. Harris. :emoji_thumbsup:
 

Thomas T

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As usual, an excellent column Mr. Harris but two Cinemascope films that you have as not available on DVD are available. A Kiss Before Dying is available through MGM Home Video, it's an adequate transfer nothing more but in its 2.35 scope format.

Also, a handsome looking (in stereophonic sound and 2.35 Cinemascope) print of The Conqueror is (was?) available through Goodtimes video of all companies!!! It's apparently one of the titles they licensed from Universal (Airport, Gray Lady Down, The War Lord etc.) and I think you'd be surprised at how good the film looks and sounds.

As for the film itself, it remains as ludicrous as always but a must for John Wayne completists.
 

Grady Reid

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Does anyone know where I can find a copy (or link) to The Perfect Vision article about 20,000 Leagues that RAH wrote about? I've looked on their website with no luck.
 

Jo_C

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I do have a correction to make to Mr. Harris concerning the format "The Alamo" was filmed in. The article states it was in "Super Panavision 70". It was, in fact, made in Todd-AO 70MM.

Just a little matter.
 

oscar_merkx

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Thanks again for your article. As always I am purchasing more recommendations and great to read about Cinemascope films

:emoji_thumbsup:
 

Robert Harris

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Jo_C...

You're quite correct that The Alamo was shot with Todd optics.

I have a tendency to occasionally blur the a system as the resultant image, ie negative coverage, aspect ratio, etc. are the same.

In this same light, M-G-M's Camera 65, used on Raintree County and Ben-Hur is basically the same as Panavision's Ultra Panavision 70.

RAH
 

Gordon McMurphy

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Great to hear that Michael Wayne kept the elements for The High And The Mighty in good shape. Are the chances of a DVD edition good at this stage? Michael Wayne was fiercly protective of this film and in doing so, he denied many fans the privelage of seeing his father in one of best roles. The High And The Mighty is, for many, one the most sought after classics there is.

I'm sure that Warner would do a great job with this title.

Cheers, Mr H! :emoji_thumbsup:


Gordy
 

AlanP

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Mr. Harris,
You left off one of the most GORGEOUS CINEMASCOPE
films of the 50s and one of the MOST SUCCESSFUL-
"PEYTON PLACE" from FOX, it was the BIG RIVAL
for several ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS, BEST PICTURE,
ACTRESS, SUPPORTING ACTRESS, and SUPPORTING ACTOR.
Please add it into your list.
THANKS and A FAN,
Alan
 

Robert Harris

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To be fair to Bill Hunt and The Bits, we'll request updates to the CinemaScope list once a week for so until all of the missing titles in release are listed properly.

Please do keep your annotations coming and we'll get them all on in the near future.
 

rich_d

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Robert,

You brought into question three movies: Treasure Island, Objective Burma and In A Lonely Place.

I was licking my chops to learn more about In A Lonely Place, but while you went on to mention additional information on the first two films but not In a Lonely Place.

Was there more that you wanted to say?

Rich
 

Robert Harris

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rich_d...

Sometimes life and a work schedule interrupt the column and some thoughts never get fully set in stone.

In a Lonely Place is a beautiful transfer, with restoration work (on film) from Columbia's Grover Crisp. The film and the resultant transfer have a proper grain structure and contrast and black levels.

The DVD features a superb offering on the production and background of INLP as well as a discussion of the restoration process.

The DVD is highly recommended. Thanks for bringing this loss of words to my attention. I'll attempt to get it added to the current piece in its proper place.

If you find anything else that I've left out, or the missing footage from Magnificent Ambersons, please let me know.

RAH
 

John Hodson

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Robert, I really must stop reading your column while my credit card is within easy reach ;)

I'm all the poorer (or, richer, depending on how you look at it) again!

---
So many films, so little time...
 

Ken_McAlinden

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re: Universal release of Paramount Bob Hope Comedies

I was looking to pick up "The Paleface", and I noticed that there are actually two separate releases from Universal. One is coupled with "Sorrowful Jones" per Robert's article. The other has a bunch of other extra features (sing along, entertaining the troops featurette, etc.) but no "Sorrowful Jones". This seems like an odd choice by Universal, but you may want to be aware of it when shopping. Personally, I'm going with the double feature disc.



Regards,
 

Ken_McAlinden

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One early CinemaScope film on DVD that looks disappointing to me is "The Man from Laramie". The video presentation is highly variable throughout. I'm guessing that there were a number of high generation dupe sections interspersed in the element used for transfer. I saw some on-line reviews touting its brilliant colors, but I don't really know what they were talking about. The overall look of the film has a lot of dusty earthtones, but these seem to be faded beyond what is intentional. In addition, all of the optical fades look several generations worse than the segments preceding and following them, and I'm pretty sure that some segments intended as day for night process shots are rendered incorrectly.

The 3.0 sound is pretty good, although the dialog seemed fairly narrow by 50s standards, so I wonder if it was folded in a little.

I hope the element used for the transfer is not indicative of the condition of the film in Columbia's vaults. If it is, this would be a prime candidate for Grover Crisp & co. to do a downtown restoration project, as it is one of the best Westerns of the 50s, and arguably the best in Columbia's entire catalog (it's right up there with "The Professionals").

Regards,
 

Ken_McAlinden

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I wouldn't exactly go that far.
Seriously? What don't you like about it? It's my second favorite Mann-Stewart collaboration (next to the Naked Spur). I also think it is Arthur Kennedy's best film performance. It presages where westerns would be going 10 years later. The plot is almost like Yojimbo/The Man with No Name wandering into King Lear.

And also, I can't think of any Columbia westerns that are better than the two I mentioned. "3:10 to Yuma" and "The Tall T" are very good, but not quite in the same league.

Regards,
 

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