"Star!" on DVD: Review some HTF members not happy!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Erik_H, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. Erik_H

    Erik_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I picked up a copy of the "Star!" DVD in NYC last week at one of those stores that tends to have amnesia when it comes to street dates (the street date is April 20).

    Fox has done a commendable job in including nearly all of the extensive supplements from the laser disc set, including the audio commentary by Robert Wise, Julie Andrews and many others. Although the text and photos can be a chore to page through (there is a lot of text, but not much text is presented on each page), much of the material is worthwhile, such as bios of Gertrude Lawrence and the film's principals, an overview of the roadshow era, extensive discussions of the production process, the film's disappointing box office reception, the cuts that were made (with Wise's reluctant approval) during the roadshow run and the disastrous re-release a year later under a different title with an hour of footage removed. The DVD also includes screen tests for Andrews and Daniel Massey, which were not in the laser release.

    The roadshow version is included on the DVD. Video and audio (Dolby Digital 5.0) are fine, but hardly reference quality; the source material shows its age in spots. The overture is included but the intermission and exit music have been omitted (they were included on the laser release). The layer change occurs at the intermission break. Apart from the omission of the intermission and exit music, my only other complaint would be the packaging; a not-very-flattering shot of Andrews on the cover with the bizarre tag line "A dazzling, decadent [?!] musical!"

    Some consider "Star!" to be a lost classic. I don't share that opinion, but it remains a great showcase for Andrews, who does some of her best musical work here. If you're a fan, this is a must-have. And the story behind the making and reception of "Star!" is a fascinating one, whether you're a fan of Andrews or not.

    Kudos to Fox, which could have taken the easy route and released a movie-only edition. Retail price is a bargain $14.98.
     
  2. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Cinematographer

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    dear Fox - what are you doig - why no intermission and exit music - it aint as though you don't have it. Come on!!
     
  3. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    When "Star!" was first announced as a barebones DVD last summer with none of the Laser Disc supplements ported over, I made a post here that simply said "No Sale!".

    Then came word that Fox was going to delay the release to do some of the LD supplements. I complimented them for doing this and said I'd get the DVD even if all of the supplements weren't ported over.

    Now though, comes this word. No Intermission, no Ent'racte, no Exit Music on the DVD.

    So once again, NO SALE!

    Honestly, are there terminal idiots at Fox these days putting these films together for DVD? First their faux paus on "One Million Years B.C." giving us the shorter cut of the film and now they can't even get this one right after taking a whole extra year to do it!
     
  4. Al (alweho)

    Al (alweho) Second Unit

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    I wonder if this is an issue with music rights.

    In the case of "Star" with its catalog of standards, I wonder if Fox didn't drop the Intermission, Ent'racte and Exit Music because of the publishing. The original deal for the movie predated the new home video release formats, but those publishers may have been smart enough to put in a clause limiting useage to theatrical and TV broadcasts. Unlike the premium priced LD release, the current DVD's budget price point may simply not have allowed the additional expense this may have required.

    My own guess is that this one title, due to its limited sales base, probably would sold the same amount of units at a higher price point to the fans of the picture. Pricing it for a broader audience Wal-Mart SKU doesn't make much sense. Fox has been much better in the recent past about including the correct features and materials with their titles, so I don't think these three items were left off by mistake.

    We may have to chalk this one up to an inexperienced home video catalog product manager.
     
  5. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Cinematographer

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    I think most of the missing music is the song star, which is still in the film, therefore paid for, and was not a standard but was writtne for the movie, which means the studio owns it outright.
     
  6. Al (alweho)

    Al (alweho) Second Unit

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    Joe, you may want to take a listen again to the CD. "Someone to Watch Over Me" (Gershwin) is a key component of the Overture - and it can be heard on the Amazon.com audio excerpt of it.

    Some of the other copyrights in the movie (and which may, or may not, be in the missing Intermission, Ent'racte and Exit music - I don't have the CD handy) include "My Ship," Porter's "The Physican" and the Weill-Gershwin "Saga Of Jenny." There's also Coward's "Parisian Perrot."

    Seeing the quality and heft of the publishing involved here - and remembering how well they like to be paid - I think the rights issue may be a valid one. That still doesn't mean they did right by this particular title though. [​IMG]

    BTW Joe (excuse me for changing the subject here) - any chance we'll ever see that wonderful LD stereo remix you did for the Burton/Taylor "Taming of the Shrew" on a DVD? I was heartbroken Columbia issued the disc in mono when they had your stereo master on hand.
     
  7. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Cinematographer

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    I doubt that Columbia will use my mix of Taming of the Shrew. the official attitude is that if the original film wasn't in stereo, they don't want it on the dvd. then they use that awful fake stereo of Bridge on the River Kwai, when real stereo prints of the film are still around. I don't get it.
    Another, Columbia stereo question. They have a dvd release of Lost Command (1966) that says stereo on the back. I don't remember that film being stereo. Does anyone have it. I am interested because that is composer Franz Waxmans last film.
     
  8. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Cinematographer

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    Al. forgot to mention that since all the songs you mention as being in the Overture, etc. fox certaily has rights to them. I think they just goofed on the extra music in star as they did in Cleopatra and the short running time in one million B.C.
     
  9. John Morgan

    John Morgan Supporting Actor

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    Yes, THE LAST COMMAND is full stereo....the music is glorious.
    Sounds like an original stereo film to me, with stereo music as well as big stereo soundeffects.
     
  10. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    This DVD is pretty good, especially for the low price, there are many, many extras. Why the Intermission and Exit music weren't included is a mystery. Fox did the same thing with their widescreen release of "Can-Can" on laserdisc, the Pan and Scan version had the intermission and exit music but the widescreen version did not.

    All in all a lot of extras at a low price, thanks FOX!
     
  11. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    Well, now that I know the intermission, entr'acte and exit music are not included there is no reason to upgrade from my laser disc which is just fine.
     
  12. Drew Salzan

    Drew Salzan Second Unit

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    I think it's unfortunate that the intermission and exit music were not included as on my laserdisc, but for the only $10 investment it was worth it for the 5.0 mix and anamorphic widescreen. The DVD looks good, but has anyone noticed the audio flaw at the end of the Jenny number? 'Sounds like a dropout from the original 6 track mags. I don't recall the stereo mix on my laserdisc having it.
     
  13. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    It's strange that there has never been a Superbit edition of The Bridge on the River Kwai. It would be great if the genuine stereo could be used for such an edition.
     
  14. Paul Linfesty

    Paul Linfesty Stunt Coordinator

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    If the Overture is included, as the first poster stated, then the only missing music is the theme song, as Joe Capps states.

    I just played my LD, and the entracte consists of a music only version of "Star" while the theme with Julie Andrews singing is heard during the end cast credit addendum. This plays out after the credit roll, rather than being a seperate piece of exit music (the LD freezes the curtain for the remainder of the curtain).
     
  15. Drew Salzan

    Drew Salzan Second Unit

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    I think the Star! vocal you refer to that plays at the end of the LD was not used in the original release. It was recorded as a single (this version not included on the original soundtrack album) and used for the restoration credits at the end of the LD (no exit music). If you are lucky enough to own the CD (out of print), this version of Star! is there as well as the original soundtrack version.
     

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