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Stereo "The Band Wagon"

Discussion in 'DVD' started by John Skoda, May 10, 2006.

  1. John Skoda

    John Skoda Stunt Coordinator

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    I’ve been listening to the new Rhino THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT! CD boxed set and have found a really strange thing.

    There’s a full stereo “Dancing In the Dark” from one of my favorite films, THE BAND WAGON, on CD1. When they did the full CD of the score from that movie, the notes said that even though evidence showed that the movie was probably recorded in full stereo, they didn’t have those sessions anymore. So, OK, they found some of them. That’s great.

    But the strange thing is, if you listen carefully to the beginning, you can hear footsteps during the track. As if this isn’t from stereo session recordings, but from a stereo print of the film with sound effects and everything.

    Have they uncovered a complete stereo print of this film? That would be an amazing thing! When do we get to hear it all?
     
  2. Drew Salzan

    Drew Salzan Second Unit

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    The 5.1 soundtrack for the DVD was created by combining the mixed down mono session music with the separate foley, dialogue and effects tracks. It sounds like the CD is from a 2 channel mix of this. If you listen carefully, you will probably notice that the music component is a mono spread and not true stereo..

    It's funny that you should bring this up, because I've been contemplating buying this set. The dilemma is that I already have the box set from the 1990's and wonder whether the "upgraded" sound and additional material is worth a double dip.
     
  3. John Skoda

    John Skoda Stunt Coordinator

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    No, it's true stereo. Trust me, I have a good ear for that.

    Besides, they didn't bother making rechanneled stereo tracks for this CD set (unless you want to call the multi-angle tracks rechanneled). The stereo ones are marked with an asterisk, and the monos are left mono. This one has an asterisk. And it's marvelous, full stereo.
     
  4. Drew Salzan

    Drew Salzan Second Unit

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    It's very strange that there are footsteps. The CD doesn't have this. The footsteps would have been recorded live and not during the prerecording. Also, I am relatively sure that The Bandwagon never had a stereo release in 1953.
     
  5. Edward Weinman

    Edward Weinman Stunt Coordinator

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    There is an absolutely remarkable story behind "The Band Wagon" sound track. If you go to www.digitallyobsessed.com and retrieve the DVD review, you'll find that:
    1) the sound track was recorded in 3-track stereo but was then discarded!
    2) George Feltenstein, Warner Home Video Senior Vice President, produced
    the 1996 CD soundtrack using "folded down" mono tracks.
    3) While listening to "Dancing in the Dark" on his car stereo, he noticed certain instruments sounded more previlent on the CD than in the film itself.
    4) Feltenstein used his home computer to try and mix the two tracks together resulting in a redimentary stereo track.
    5) After getting financing from Warner Bros. to proceed with a 5.1 track, Feltenstein sent his homemade sample to Chase Audio and the rest, as they say, is history!

    A remarkable story and one that should earn George Feltenstein the gratitude of all movie lovers.
     
  6. John Skoda

    John Skoda Stunt Coordinator

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    Well now I'll have to go back and compare this new CD to the DVD track. However it was done, the result on the CD is amazingly convincing. It sounds just like they found a full magnetic stereo track.
     
  7. JohnPM

    JohnPM Second Unit

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  8. Drew Salzan

    Drew Salzan Second Unit

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    Thank you, Mr. Weinman. I was relatively certain that true stereo masters no longer existed. It really is such a shame. I revisited that article, and it is fascinating how that 5.1 mix was created.

    Interesting to note that sometimes new elements are discovered after the fact. The Easter Parade soundtrack from Rhino was mastered from playback discs, which resulted in an inferior sound compared to all of those other great releases. New elements were later discovered for Steppin' Out With My Baby that were remixed for the Irving Berlin in Hollywood Rhino release. Maybe one day something will turn up for The Band Wagon. Wishful thinking...
     
  9. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    I'm delighted that Mr. Weinman provided the aegis of the "Dancing in the Dark" track on the new multi-CD THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT soundtrack box.

    I too, remembered reading something about how the Warner people had created the great 5.1 track on THE BAND WAGON DVD, knowing the stereo session masters were lost. It's a fascinating story, and I couldn't remember where I read it.

    I echo Mr. Skoda's comments about the sound quality of the track on the new CD compilation. If I had not been told, there's no way I would have thought this wasn't directly from a 3-channel stereo master. It sounds that great. You "hear" the timbre and breadth of the MGM recording stage. It's marvelous.

    Aside from the many previously unreleased tracks, there are many on the new set that Rhino has given subtle upgrades to. One example would be what Mr. Salzan refers to above rearding "STEPPIN' OUT WITH MY BABY" from Easter Parade. The old boxed set had the playback disc version, while this new boxed set starts out wiith Astaire & chorus' vocals in impressive stereo.
    There are all sorts of little improvements and surprises throughout the whole set.

    The only time that set leaves my player is when it's time to watch a new DVD...!
     
  10. Edward Weinman

    Edward Weinman Stunt Coordinator

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    "The Band Wagon" has special meaning for me ever since my dad took me one sunny afternoon to a matinee showing at the Radio City Music Hall. It had a traumatic impact on an eleven year old boy and has remained with me all through the years.

    Yes, an HD version would be absolutely wonderful. It always seems to me that when a studio such as WB revamps a film for DVD in the best possible way, the result only shows the limitations of the DVD technology. But, with an HD version, the film's full potential would finally be realized.
     
  11. Edward Weinman

    Edward Weinman Stunt Coordinator

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    ...sorry...duplicate!
     
  12. octobercountry

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    Though the post to which I'm replying is quite old, I do have a question... I read the short article about The Band Wagon soundtrack, and while it was interesting it didn't answer one very basic question. That is... Why was the original mono music track used on the CD (which was created from the initial 3-track stereo recordings) different from what ended up in the original mono mix of the film? This would imply that there were two mono mixes created back in the 1950s. One which was later used as the basis for the soundtrack that was put out on CD, and another which was combined with the dialogue and effects tracks to form the soundtrack for the film itself. Apparently the vintage mono mix which was used for the CD was NOT used for the film, but they remixed it in mono again (back in the fifties) for the film?
     

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