The Awful Truth: missing shots

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Paul Penna, Apr 3, 2003.

  1. Paul Penna

    Paul Penna Supporting Actor

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    The DVD is missing a couple brief shots, a loss which compromises, if not actually outright destroys, a wonderful gag which has always had me laughing out loud. The scene in question occurs at a swanky nightclub; Cary Grant, estranged from wife Irene Dunne, brings his date, showgirl Joyce Compton, over to barge in on Dunne and her new beau Ralph Bellamy. After all of them sit down at the same table, there's a brief sequence of glances between them played in awkward silence. As seen on the Columbia laserdisc from the 1980s, it goes as follows:

    4-shot, Dunne, Grant, Bellamy and Compton, all having just sat down. Grant: "My, isn't this cozy?"
    2-shot, Dunne & Grant look at each other, Grant grinning, Dunne uncomfortable. In unison, they then turn to look at Compton.
    1-shot, Compton smiles and flutters (27:51 on the laserdisc)
    2-shot, Dunne & Grant looking at Compton, then, in unison, they look at each other a moment then, again in perfect synchronization, turn to look at Bellamy.
    1-shot, Bellamy openmouthed, speechless.
    2-shot, Dunne and Grant looking at Bellamy, then, in unison, back at each other.

    The hilarity of this sequence depends on the perfect synchronization of Dunne, distinctly uncomfortable and Grant, wearing a plastered-on grin, looking back and forth at each other and, in sequence, at the other two.

    On the DVD, however, the 1-shot of Compton and the following 2-shot of Dunne and Grant are both missing. When they turn to look at Compton, the next shot is of Bellamy instead (27:34 on the DVD).

    On the laserdisc, the 1-shot of Compton is from a damaged element, with numerous white dust speckles and an obvious repair job that also causes a pop on the soundtrack (the surrounding shots do not exhibit similar damage). Perhaps that's why it was cut, or perhaps it had subsequently deteriorated into unusability. With it gone, the following 2-shot of Dunne and Grant reacting to her obviously had to go to go as well.

    Time-wise, the loss is seemingly insignificant, but it destroys the construction and the timing of the gag.
     
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    UCLA created a restored version from the negative, so there is no reason why Columbia used a poor quality print.

    Add: I'm HOPING this isn't the restoration. According to UCLA's listing, they used a lot of prime elements (including the soundtrack negative!)
     
  3. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Well, the transfer on this DVD is quite obviously NOT a restoration. Like YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, it looks way too grainy the contrast levels look exaggerated. These being two of their finest classic comedies (the latter and Oscar winner) you would think Columbia would respect them more when it comes to DVD release. But I've been pretty disappointed with Columbia for well over a year now and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. My current least favorite studio for DVD's.
     
  4. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

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    Bumping ... to ask the following question:

    Can anybody verify whether any of the R2 releases of this
    film retain the missing shots Paul described?

    Thanks.
     

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