Robert Harris on The Bits - 7/23/03 column - OFFICIAL THREAD

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bill Hunt, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Insider
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    Robert Harris' latest column is FINALLY available at The Digital Bits. Our sincere thanks to Robert and all of you for your patience while we were occupied working on our new DVD book. In this new column, Robert takes a look at the three-strip Technicolor process and films that used it, the films of actor Paul Newman, notes on the quality of some recent DVD releases and more.

    Three-strip Technicolor, Paul Newman films & More

    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 again, everyone!
     
  2. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    once again well done Robert for a fantastic article about the history behind Technicolor and its Three Strip.

    Once again after reading your dvd listing of Paul Newman's films, my credit card is taking apounding again.

    Great job

    [​IMG]
     
  3. John Alderson

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    Of all the titles mentioned in the article, I think I saw just two that I own: Hitchcock's Rope and Torn Curtain.

    I was surprised to see that Torn Curtain had a "recommended" asterisk next to it. It's one of very few Hitchcock films in my collection that I have not yet watched a second time (it just didn't do much for me)... I think I'll have to change that soon [​IMG]

    Also about Hitchcock, I was planning on picking up Under Capricorn, because I'm a completist, but I may hold off. Does anyone know if another edition is coming out by anybody else anytime soon? (Criterion, hint, hint.)

    Thanks for another great article!
     
  4. Mike_Pal

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    I was so happy to read the article about the Technicolor movies made, see them put in a complete list, and that are also available on DVD. Have always LOVED Technicolor!!!!The thing that really caught my attention though in this article was the mention of Robert Aldrich (Flight of the Phoenix)and the possibility of some of his movies being released on DVD. Any other films of his in the works for release on DVD? Mr Harris always has interesting articles, and I love to read his columns in The Digital Bits. Always look forward to the next column....Any info on Robert Aldrich films coming to DVD would really be cool......
     
  5. Bill Burns

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    I noticed a few omissions in the yellow listings of available DVDs -- things aren't quite so bleak, but then some of the transfers are nothing to write home about. Most of these I haven't seen (links are to DVDEmpire order pages, where front and back cover scans should be available for most of the titles), and I'll only name and link those available from companies which I believe properly license their product. If any of these are not properly licensed, please let me know and I'll gladly remove mention of them:

    1934

    La Cucaracha is available as a bonus short on the Roan Group's release of Dixiana (1930)

    1937

    A Star is Born is available from Image Entertainment: A Star is Born

    Wings of the Morning is available in a double feature with St. Martin's Lane, from Kino; this disc was just released on the 22nd of this month, I believe, but I can't seem to find this one on DVDEmpire, so I'll link its Amazon page: St. Martin's Lane / Wings of the Morning

    1942

    To the Shores of Tripoli is available from Fox. Note that their first pressing reportedly contained only a B&W version of the film, but Fox said they'd fix this error in subsequent pressings. I haven't seen either the problem disc or its correction personally, but anyone looking to purchase the disc should search the internet for the methodology of determining the problem pressing from its correction: To the Shores of Tripoli

    1943

    Phantom of the Opera was made available by Universal as part of their Classic Monsters series. It's now OOP in Region 1, but you may be able to find copies used, and rumors abound that some or all of the monster discs, and possibly a few new ones, may be re-released in 2004 to coincide with the theatrical release of Steven Sommers' Van Helsing. To my knowledge Universal has made no official comment. Here's a link to DVDEmpire's page for purposes of cover art: Phantom of the Opera

    1945

    Anchors Aweigh is available from Warner Bros: Anchors Aweigh

    The Three Caballeros is available from Disney: The Three Caballeros

    1947

    Fun and Fancy Free is available from Disney: Fun and Fancy Free

    The Perils of Pauline is available from the Roan Group: The Perils of Pauline

    1948

    The Loves of Carmen is available from Columbia: The Loves of Carmen. Pardon me a moment: Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeta! Okay, I'm fine now. [​IMG] I haven't seen this disc though, unfortunately.

    1949

    Take Me Out to the Ball Game is available from Warner Bros. in a good, pleasing transfer: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

    1950

    Kim is arriving on DVD from Warner Bros. August 26th: Kim

    1951

    Happy Go Lovely is available from the Roan Group: Happy Go Lovely

    Vengeance Valley is also available from the Roan Group: Vengeance Valley

    1952

    The Big Trees is available from the Roan Group: The Big Trees

    (The Quiet Man is out, of course, but given your review, I can't blame you for not highlighting it. [​IMG] I can't imagine the truly terrible quality of Show Boat is much better, though; I've seen the SB disc, but not Artisan's TQM).

    Scaramouche is available from Warner Bros. (and in a truly beautiful transfer at that): Scaramouche

    I may have missed a few, but these jumped out at me. I hope these links are helpful. A fine article as always, Mr. Harris (and that's fascinating info on The Ten Commandments).
     
  6. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    P.S. No sooner do I post the above than DVDEmpire's website stops responding, probably for daily updates/maintenance. The links should all work once they're back up and running, but if any are permanently broken, lemme know and I'll see if I can't fix them.
     
  7. Ken_McAlinden

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  8. Robert Harris

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    The publilc domain releases have been purposefully left off the list.
     
  9. Ken_McAlinden

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    Robert,
    I understand why you stopped in the early 50s, but were Technirama films from the late 50s and early 60s always 3-strip Technicolor as well? They could almost constitute a whole other article, I suppose, although you did touch on the process in one or more earlier articles. I was really impressed by recent video transfers on the budget MGM releases of "The Vikings" and "Zulu".

    Regards,
     
  10. Reagan

    Reagan Supporting Actor

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    Mr. Harris,

    Thanks for all of the fantastic information, both in the columns and in the forum. Your column is the journalistic high point of the month for me.

    About the list, the list of Disney titles is a bit puzzling. Fun and Fancy free is there, but there's no mention of Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, etc. Weren't these all shot in three frame sequential Technicolor?

    Thanks again,

    Reagan
     
  11. Robert Harris

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    Most of the three-strip SE features have been omitted from the list.

    Technirama productions were all photograhed on color negative stock.
    None were three strip.
     
  12. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  13. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Robert Harris wrote:
     
  14. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  15. Bill Burns

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    Have you seen the Dick Tracy set, Ken? If original negative materials are available in the public domain, the public domain is looking like my kinda place! I believe Roan also stated that they used a Producer's negative for their edition of D.O.A. (which I haven't seen). Rain also gets good press. Their laser edition of The Trial is superlative for the format, and while the transfer left a bit to be desired, their laser of The Most Dangerous Game included a beautiful vintage poster recreation. Their in-house restoration of White Zombie (which looks like it was taken from a PAL master on DVD) won much high praise on laser and DVD (where I believe it was their first offering). The company has also put out transfers that can only be described as crap, but how much of this is due to the only surviving unrestored film elements, and how much the fault of public domain carelessness, I can't say. Roan is a well respected name, however, and whether of good quality or poor, they insist in their company logo (in front of every film) that the transfer has been taken from original film elements. Maybe these have been obtained for free in the public domain, but I doubt it. While the fourth Dick Tracy film won't play on my copy due to disc damage (scuffing), the other three are among the best B&W transfers on disc. I don't know of any other "public domain" company who can lay claim to even a single "definitive" transfer. My inclination is to say that Roan licenses at least some of their product. When they issue a film that's outside of copyright, they clearly go to the effort of finding original film elements (otherwise they've been lying to consumers for years), however badly scratched and faded they may be, or however necessary it may prove to settle for 16mm or other reduction/multi-generation materials.

    Generally, my inclination (knowing very little about Cary Roan, but having found many fine discs from them in laser and DVD to off-set the many poor discs I've also encountered from the company) is to assume they go back and forth between licensed and public domain properties, depending on the title.

    But ignoring the Roans, then (and there may be one or more fine color transfers among them; I don't know, as I haven't seen any of the discs linked in my first post), the studio omissions are the feedback I'd offer. They're all listed along with the Roans in that post, with links to DVDEmpire. Does Image license all of its materials, or does it issue public domain material? Kino always licenses, so far as I can discern, so if Image does as well, those omissions (Wings of the Morning from Kino and A Star is Born from Image) should also be considered for revision in Mr. Harris' list (he mentions Under Capricorn as available, an Image title which is apparently of poor fidelity, so it seems the same should be said for A Star is Born, which is also of rather poor fidelity).

    Again, all the studio discs (discs issued by studios) on the market but erroneously listed in white (that I noticed) are in my first post; several of them are very good discs, and I'd love to see them sought out by folks who reference the list. Just trying to be of use here, guys. I hope this feedback has been that (to other readers here as well).

    At any rate, once again, a fine article and very good list.

    UPDATE: Oh, and on another topic, I should mention that I'm thrilled to see coverage of the Bing Crosby discs, which are really stellar values and a perfect accompaniment, as Mr. Harris' article suggests, to the Bob Hope releases he reviewed in an earlier article; there was also some discussion of the Bings here and here. While I haven't seen it myself, word is quite good for the George Burns Triple Feature Universal has out, as well. These classic values, which seem to have emerged from the studio without much fanfare, are worthy of very high praise (and much success).
     
  16. Robert Crawford

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    RAH,
    I always thought John Ford's "The Searchers" was filmed in the three-strip Technicolor process? Also, "The Master of Ballantrae" is out of dvd since 7-1-03.





    Crawdaddy
     
  17. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Robert C. -- Robert H.'s article was delayed at the Bits due to book work by the editor, I believe, which is probably why that particular listing isn't up to date. The Crimson Pirate and Scaramouche (which isn't listed as upcoming) were released on the same day. I've only seen the last, but it's excellent in both film and transfer quality. [​IMG]
     
  18. Robert Harris

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    Crimson Pirate is a beautiful transfer.

    The Searchers was a VistaVision production photographed on Eastman
    color negative 5248, with prints produced in imbibition by Technicolor to 35/4.
     
  19. Ira Hozinsky

    Ira Hozinsky Auditioning

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    Reading Mr. Harris' list of Paul Newman titles, I was struck by his comment on the EXODUS transfer. Several years ago, a local revival theater presenting a Preminger retrospective was forced to show a pan-and-scan 16mm print of EXODUS because, I was told, the current copyright holder could not come up with a projectible 35mm print. One wonders about the state of the film's extant elements.
     
  20. Gordon McMurphy

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