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Discussion in 'DVD' started by Eric Huffstutler, Jun 12, 2006.
...as long as the picture isn't as squashy around the edges as in the old dvd...
The South Pacific has an unintentional extra for fans of the great Alfred Newman. In the foreign cut (short version) of Pacific, there is an extra background piece of music that is hear in the opening scene, where Cable is in the plane and sees the islands for the first time. This wonderful piece is not in the American prints. Surprise !!! it is only on the short version of the film on the french and spanish tracks. bTW - this is nor really the roadshow version. There are at least two things missing from the road show version- more of the boars tooth ceremony( while some of that section is in the roadshow, there is still more that has not been found - no loss) and the reprise of Cable singing Bali Hai on his way to Bali Hai for the first time. (in the standard versions this was replaced with only the chorus singing it on the way). the commentary on the roadshow mentions it was filmed but never put in the movie. Not true - I have seen the memos from Richard Rodgers sent to Fox after the film opened and telling them what changes he wants after the film has already opened. One of the changes he demands is sthe deletion of the cable Bali Hai reprise. Rodgers would hardly demand something be deleted that is not in the film. the cutting continuity shows that the reprise is there throughthe first temp cut, the second temp cut and the final roadshow cut. Further, there are several things put back in that were NOT part of the roadshow cut, mostly stuff in the first scenes with Bloody Mary and Joe Cable. Most of what you see there was ony in the rough cuts of the film, never in the final version. they slowed up the film and were cut for that reason.
So, regarding the new SP dvd, do I understand correctly that: 1) We do have a pretty-close-but-not-100% version of the original road show version. 2) We do have the shortened, non-roadshow version. 3) We do not have the broadway continuity in either. 4) The broadway continuity is available, but on the R2 product. Also, I'm surprised to learn that the longer version on the new dvd is pink. Isn't that something that could have been corrected by digital processing? (Just modifying the color balance?) Regards, DG
DG, the longer version is a compiled "roadshow" version, and it is NOT pink. It is mostly the same color as the shortened/familiar version. The extra shots (about 14 minutes worth) are the only shots with no yellow. I believe this is significantly different than the R2 version of the disks which came out last spring. The South Pacific DVD, in particular of these R&H musicals, seems to have been worked on since the R2 version.
I'm a bit confused here. I thought that the short version that is the most familiar to everybody actually was what most people saw during the roadshow engagements. The longer U.S. cut was the world premiere and the version that played only for a few weeks before being replaced by the shorter version. Very few people actualy saw the longer version because it was cut relatively quickly after opening and most roadshow engagements around the country started their runs with the shorter cuts. If this is true, then even the shorter version is a true "roadshow cut". Its just not the woeld premiere cut. THis happened quite a bit during the roadshow era. In other words, these cuts oftentimes were made during the roadshows, and not just between roadshow and general release 9although this would hapen often as well).
I mentioned upthread that I am confused about these versions too. Needless to say, the 2nd version on Disk 2 is neither the precise "roadshow" version, nor is it the International version, nor is it the version that was presented in R2. It is something new, the familiar US version of the movie with some cut scenes stuck back into it.
I just finished watching and listening to the audio commentary with film historian Richard Barrios on the Roadshow version. He says it's not quite clear when the cuts were made. He seems to imply that the cuts were made while the Roadshow was still running, but he doesn't know for sure. As for picture quality, he says that the new disc was made from positive prints of the Roadshow which had lost much of their color over the years. When the Roadshow was shortened for general release, the cuts were made to the actual negative and then discarded, so a true restoration is impossible. Little attempt was made to restore the colors to their original brilliancy, and there are many visually jarring edits between the "deleted" scenes and the usual scenes. He mentions nothing about more footage for the Boar's Tooth dance. He also says that the stuff with Bloody Mary was indeed in the Roadshow version, and was not from the cutting-room floor. He mentions the order of the scenes in the European versions being closer to the play. He says that scenes of the kids singing "Dites-Moi" and Nellie's complete version of "Wash That Man" were filmed but deleted before the Roadshow's premiere. I have to assume that the guy did his research before recording his commentary, but seeing some of the posts above, it seems there's still a little confusion. Barrios attests that the version on disc two is indeed the complete Roadshow version, as presented on its opening night. I guess he's saying that prints of the Roadshow have existed for some time, and that's what they used in the restoration. But that's just what he says-- If there's still doubt, I wish he'd consulted with someone like Joe Capps before doing the commentary!
It is always amazing to me how something of so great an interest, of such recent history, can be so forgotten. You'd think there would be records or something.
Hoping to cler up a few things - Fox spent a LOT of time and money (almost a year) to do the best they could with the missing sections from Pacific. They were lifted from a positive print. There have NOT been several prints of the roadshow version circulating for years because Fox has looked forever for such a print. It is a matter of record as to what was cut and when it was cut. I have the cutting continuities for the first preview print, the second preview print and the roadshow print. These I got from Fox back in 1990 - so fox certainly has this information available to them. What BArrios got and from where, I have no idea. BTW - there is a documentary about the Rand H musicals on film called Rodgers and hammerstein - the sound of movies. ; This was on dvd in two versions - a plain original version and a later collectors edition. The collectors edition includes trailers from all the films and the South Pacific trailer on that disc (NOT the trailer on the new dvd) includes the Cable Bali Hai reprise - the soundtrack part so you can at least hear what it sounds like. Barrios is correct that I=I'm Gonna Wash that Man was filmed uncut but never put in the film. Where the number is cut, they always cut to shots of Rossano Brazzi riding on his horse to cover the cuts. The long Dites Moi was recorded only for the soundtrack album and NOT filmed that way. None of the cutting continuities show it being in any temp print and none of the shooting scripts include it at all. You will notice in the opening scenes with the seabees, there is a LOT of Bloody Mary stuff put back in. I was shocked as most of this is from the first and second preview prints. ONly TWO things were in the roadshow print. the scenes with the arrival of billis and continuing up till the reprise of Bloody Mary. The other sscene is Billis reprise of Bali Hai.
But everyone hasn't answered the most important question regarding the new DVD release- Are those damned filters gone? If they're not, it's still an unwatchable film to me!
If they were gone, it wouldn't be the same film. It would be something else entirely. And, could they ever be removed? I thought they were created by putting color filters on the lenses themselves during shooting. Is this correct, or was it done in post? -Lyle J.P.
Of course it wouldn't be the same film- it would be better! With today's technology, the filters can be color-corrected so the scenes would look more normal.
It's been said, in many places, that the filters can't be removed. So we're stuck with the silly things. (However, they're not so bad --- many movies made today are filmed almost entirely through brown or orange filters, and most people seem not to care or even notice.)
Charles Ellis meet George Lucas! I dislike the filters too but they ARE part of the original 1958 film. Do we really need any more "let's improve" revisions on classic cinema?
But according to Joshua Logan, the director (although he could be something of a liar), he said he was told if he didn't like the results, the filters could be removed --- and he said (or claimed, many years later) that he didn't like the results and asked for the filters to be removed, whereupon he was told that they couldn't be. (The story doesn't make much sense, I know, but that's what he claimed.)
If you consider the fact that the filters were used on the set where they weren't able to screen the 70mm dailies, which were sent to Hollywood, where the executives kept telling Joshua Logan, "It looks good, keep going," or something to that effect... And if you consider the fact that when Logan saw the final product upon coming back to Hollywood, he HATED it... Then, yes, this could be considered a mistake worth improving. That's how Logan would have wanted it and, frankly, the rest of the world seems to agree. I imagine this would have been done a long time ago if the technology had been available.
re: "That's how Logan would have wanted it" And that's how Lucas wanted it for his "new and improved" Star Wars and how Spielberg wanted it for his "new and improved" E.T.. However, Lucas and Spielberg are still alive, Logan is not. "How" he wanted it is pure speculation at this point. The removal of the credits and Mancini's score from the opening of Touch Of Evil has not improved the film in any way despite Welles "wanting it that way". I'm all for an artist's right EVEN IF I DON'T AGREE WITH HIM to alter his work in his lifetime. For others to take over the task is playing God.
The filters are distracting, but I watched the song "Bali Ha'i" and tried to imagine it without the changing filters. Hmm, no, I think it would be quite boring. The filters are part of the film's history -- leave them in, I say.
If reimagining art is "playing God", then I'm all for it. In fact, I'm all for "playing God" in general. If we didn't, we would have no forward movement in the arts, the sciences, and in most aspects of life. I think it's important to support the preservation of the originals, but it's also very good for people to introduce new visions and revisions, and to use technology creatively to reimagine art and life.
To "remove" the filters at this point would mean to spend more than the movie originally cost to actually sit down and recolorize all those sequences. And it would be a pain in the ass, because of the differences in contrast between those scenes. And it probably still wouldn't match 100% with the unfiltered scenes. Yes, Logan hated them but they're his fault in the first place. He regretted that more than anything else he ever filmed, I think. But he often got gung-ho about his projects and made many unwise decisions. He certainly could have given us better movie musicals, but he liked to experiment too and sometimes his experiments didn't work out. I think "Camelot" is a far worse film, actually--there's some stupid casting and some uncomfortable dramatic moments--he should have stuck closer to the Broadway play. But there's nothing anyone can do about it--expect remake it at some point. I'm surprised they remade South Pacific before Camelot...