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The Chaplin Collection (Warner and M2K): reactions?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bill Burns, Jun 29, 2003.

  1. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Great if true but I too was concerned about this because the play website lists a lot of these as one disc rather than two leading me to believe we weren't getting the extras in R2. Maybe they've changed their listings since I last looked. This however is the most comprehensive information about the R2s I've seen so I think its likely to be true.

    This looks like a pretty official press release and these (on the basis of a quick scan)look great,its going to be an expensive 22nd September pity though that you have to buy one of the boxsets in order to own Richard Schickel's documentary. This is hardly very user friendly if you already have some of the titles in their Image incarnations and see no reason to upgrade. Actually I've got City Lights and Modern Times and these are (surprise,surprise!) in separate boxes.

    While A Woman of Paris and A King of New York aren't essential Chaplin I still thought these would be available
    separately rather than just as part of a boxset. Is this a disturbing trend we're seeing what with the packaging of the original Scarface and both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hydes on one disc ? Also no sign of Carl Davis' re-recorded soundtrack for City Lights or the First National shorts some of which have never been released even on VHS in the UK.

    Generally though if this is what we'll get on Sept 22nd I'm quite pleased. At last it looks like we're getting fully-featured DVDs before our friends across the pond. The extras for The Kid look particularly good.

    Not sure how I'll handle my purchases here, I suppose it depends how cheap you can get these for : the RRP of £22.99 each seems a bit steep. I think I saw the 10 disc set at play.com for £104.99 which isn't bad when five of the discs bought individually (the ones I was considering are The Kid, The Gold Rush, The Great Dictator, Monsieur Verdoux and Limelight) will likely cost about that or maybe even more on the high street.
     
  2. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    What could possibly be wrong with both the 1932 and 1941
    "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" versions being one disc?

    At a retail price of $19.98, commensurate with the price of other Warner single disc classic titles, where's the problem? The buyer gets two films for the (reasonable) price of one.

    If a viewer doesn't like one of the versions, they don't have to watch it. I personally am much more fond of the Frederic March version than the Tracy. But I see no harm in owning both for the same price.


    The titles are both being made available, and with the marketplace for classic films being somewhat limited (as much as those of us who love them hate to grapple with), I for one am very grateful that these films are being made available at all.
     
  3. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Yes the price is great and I'll likely buy it. I agree with you I'm glad its at least getting released. The 30s is probably the least represented decade in film history on DVD yet also one of the most important so another title however we receive it is great. Jekyll and Hyde might not be the best example of what I was saying as I was really concentrating on the Chaplin releases in R2.

    I was alluding to the fact that some lesser known titles (classic, old if you like) are getting relegated to supporting players. If you can't buy a classic 30s' film without also getting something else backing it up what precedent does this set for the release of these films ?

    You can only get A Woman of Paris, A King In New York and the original Scarface in expensive boxsets. That might not mean a lot to many people but it just reduces the choice for everyone. If the classic titles market is limited why reduce it even further with less choice because its likely less people are going to buy these titles than if they were available individually.
     
  4. Gary Tooze

    Gary Tooze Producer

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    I have finished a comparison of the Image Entertainment Limelight and the new Warner.

    More screen captures and details are HERE

    Image Entertainment
    [​IMG]

    Warner
    [​IMG]


    I am already un-sold on the new Warner discs and each comparison I make to the old Image Entertainment discs confirms that Warner have 'dropped the ball'. I can only conclude that laziness or lack of investment has prompted using the PAL transfers from Mk2. I suppose they didn't think they would get their money back and it is the oblivious purchaser is the one that suffers.

    Again, one of these DVDs is out of ratio. The Mk2 characters appear slimmer and taller. I don't know which is wrong, but my guess is the Mk2's. The PAL versions are probably the same.

    What a waste. Obviously the Warner image is sharper than the Image Entertainment image, but I am very disappointed in the blurring which is still prevalent here as in The Great Dictator DVD. The contrast levels in the new Warner discs are very dark. My bet would still be to buy the European versions. I am very disappointed in my purchase of this Region 1 DVD. It does have quite an array of Extra Features, but the "ghosting" is extremely visible as well as other associated artifacts that appear with PAL->NTSC.

    Instead of doing the transfer from the original source themselves, Warner let someone else do it (Mk2) then took THEIR PAL transfer. Now we get the worst of both worlds: 4% PAL speedup from original source and lower NTSC resolution (AND "ghosting"). It looks to me to have excessive digital processing. I'm glad I still have my Image discs, but will look into the PAL Mk2 versions as they are released.

    http://www.compare.dvdbeaver.com/
     
  5. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    Quote (originally posted by Bill Burns):

    “Later this month, along with The Chess Player from Milestone/Image (which I'm tempted to pre-order, but it would be a blind buy for me as well -- still, as a Brownlow restoration, quality promises to be top notch; I only hope they've used native NTSC, as Brownlow's restoration of The Iron Mask, as I've mentioned, is a by and large superlative transfer available from Kino, but remains marred by the motion blur I'd associate with PAL-NTSC), Kino has their "Classics from the Studio Vault" release -- It Happened Tomorrow (1944) I may have seen on cable, but aside from that these are new to me…”

    Bill, in the hope that it will aid you in making up your mind about whether or not to order the Milestone/Image DVD of THE CHESS PLAYER (1927), here’s a link to a very positive review of the said disc:

    http://www.dvdjournal.com/quickrevie...player.q.shtml

    It sure sounds like one terrific film to me! Besides, it would seem that your fears of the possibility of motion blur on this title are unwarranted; I’ve just checked at Blackstar.co.uk for the running time of the BFI's PAL VHS of THE CHESS PLAYER which is given as 135 minutes, and therefore, since the Milestone/Image runs for 140 minutes i.e. 4% more than the VHS, they must have made a new NTSC transfer for this R1 DVD edition.

    http://www.blackstar.co.uk/video/item/7000000048713

    Unfortunately, since THE CHESS PLAYER has been included in an order containing a couple of items which street on 08/26, it will be some time before I receive my copy (most likely in the first week of September) but I’ll write my thoughts on it as soon as I watch it. On a brighter note, my copies of Kino’s three Erich von Stroheim discs and IT HAPPENED TOMORROW (1944) have shipped on 07/21 and they should reach me soon!
     
  6. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I bought this box set when it came out, and it's now one of the few purchases I truly regret. The pal speedup is simply unacceptable, and if I'd realized that I never would have bought this set. Pathetic. Thank God I already have versions of these films (except for Limelight which I don't care about).
     
  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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  8. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    I watched THE GOLD RUSH(the original 1925 version) and MODERN TIMES over the weekend, and I thought both looked great; MODERN TIMES in particular looked pristine. I don't have the older releases to compare(the only Image Chaplin DVD I own is CITY LIGHTS), but I'm not disappointed in the Warners DVD's so far.
     
  9. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Woman and King only in boxset ?

    Yes it looks that way in Region 2. I have no idea what will happen in Region 1. Maybe you'll be able to get them separately.

    According to Warners' announcement for Region 2 made on 18th July for 22nd September release:

    Two separate boxsets :

    1.
    The Gold Rush, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, Limelight (as region 1) bonus disc for buyers of this box will contain new Schickel documentary.
    2.
    The Kid, The Circus, City Lights, Monsieur Verdoux : bonus material for buyers of this box will be two further features A Woman of Paris and A King of New York.

    Complete boxset will combine all the above material sadly without any reduction in price (strangely you won't save anything if you buy this). All the films will be two disc sets (hooray!) apart from Monsieur Verdoux.

    Only the eight main features will be available individually
    at least according to this announcement also play.com have updated their information and it seems to be correct apart
    from missing out The Gold Rush (!?) from the complete box.

    Play also only list The Kid, The Gold Rush, The Circus, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, Monsieur Verdoux and Limelight as separate items.

    All the info is here http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?page=News&id=4834

    Pity about the apparent no shows of the First National shorts. On my region 1 website I see the Image collection of six of the seven shorts appears to be still available. I might invest in that does anyone know anything about its general availablity ?
     
  10. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The First National Collection from Image (actually David Shepard's Film Preservation Associates) is quite good and worthwhile. Correct speeds, not PAL transfers, and classic material in good condition.

    Anyone interested in King in New York and Woman of Paris would be well-advised to see out the OOP Image disc, since both will have heavy cuts in the Warner version (though presumably the snipped material will show up in the supplements).
     
  11. rob kilbride

    rob kilbride Supporting Actor

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    I was hoping to buy this boxed set soon but PAL speedup is something that would annoy me just on principal. And the many other issues seem more reason to hold off. I have never watched a complete Charlie Chaplin film and was excited about getting into him so this is a big disappointment for me. What do you guys think are the chances that these may be done in proper NTSC transfers at some point? And are there any other major films that this PAL conversion has been done to? I hope it affects their sales and Warner gets proper NTSC transfers going. Are these issues clearly visible even on a regular TV set? I have a GE 36 inch.
     
  12. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Roderick -- I just noticed your post (my e-mail notification seems to have expired for this thread, but I caught it in perusing the main Software page): many thanks. [​IMG] I'm thrilled to see that Milestone has done right by the feature, but I expected they would -- they're an outstanding, dedicated company with many fine releases out there.

    Rob -- I find the problems readily visible on a 32" flat screen (component interlaced, Avia calibrated, completely dark viewing environment). Others with much bigger screens don't seem to notice it at all -- so mileage absolutely varies. Comparatively, I find the motion blur itself, and additional image flutter, absolutely horrendous on Artisan's Topper (Topper Returns looks fine), but others don't see it at all. None of the Chaplin clips I've seen (excepting City Lights -- see below) looks as bad as Topper. I remain curious if anything improves with these problems between interlace and progressive outputs, which I'm unable to compare, but with opinion so sharply divided, I think it continues to come down to personal reaction: the problems are there, but they just don't bother some in the least. If you can find one or two of the MK2 titles for rent, that might be a good solution: give them a try, see if these issues we've discussed here are a deal breaker in your viewing environment. For many, they aren't. For me, though, they are: I've only repurchased The Gold Rush (which I recommend for its many improvements in image quality, despite a bit of what I believe is over-sharpening -- I didn't mention this originally because I wasn't certain, and I'm still not quite sure -- it may be image grain and somewhat iffy compression, or it may be a combination of grain and digital sharpening of the image -- and, of course, image blur, and also for the inclusion of Brownlow's restoration of the silent version), and I may repurchase A King in New York when it's released, based on its clip (you can find clips for all the new releases on the second disc of The Gold Rush and, I presume, all of the sets in the series). I posted extensive comments earlier on why I think these may be worth a repurchase for those who own the Image editions, but I'd be especially wary of City Lights for reasons also detailed earlier: all evidence suggests the Image edition outshines MK2's in every important respect, based on MK2's clip, particularly in regard to MK2's especially excessive zooming and darkening on this title (Gary has detailed that with a few other titles, as well), in addition to the usual image blur complaints.

    Again, though, the complaints we've chronicled here are no issue at all for some viewers. I think they're most evident in A/B comparisons with the Image discs. Aside from City Lights (and A Woman of Paris if the frame damage I mentioned in an earlier post extends through very much of the film), I'd say the MK2s are a "different strokes for different folks" phenomenon, and if you're in a PAL territory, almost certainly the way to go.

    I'm still finding a few of the Image discs on store shelves, FYI (Borders, specifically), so obtaining at least a few of them, even brand new, might not cost an arm and a leg with a little hunting.
     
  13. rob kilbride

    rob kilbride Supporting Actor

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    If someone were to get a petition together I would sign it. I just can't swallow the fact that there is a 4% speedup when it absolutely isn't necessary and is a result of shortcuts. If they redo these and get it right I'll buy them in a heartbeat. Just seems like too many reasons to hold off for now. Plus I probably have 50-100 DVD's I haven't watched yet since there have been so many bargains available that I couldn't resist snatching up. Not to mention all the cd's I need to get around to listening to. At $69.99 it needs to be right to warrant a purchase.
     
  14. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    I have dutifully followed this thread and watched the molehills transformed into mountains, but with the above statement, I'm inclined to comment. So if you couldn't detect the PAL speedup with your naked eye, it would still annoy you on principle?

    For those of you who have the OOP Image versions of the Chaplin films: Rejoice! Be fruitful and multiply!

    To those of us who love these films, yet came too late to DVD to own the Image releases, we have several options:
    1. Pick up the OOP Images used (as "fools" upgrade to the Warner set)--or perhaps luck into a new copy
    2. Buy a PAL-compliant TV monitor and a PAL-compliant DVD player and the R2 PAL MK2 release
    3. Move to France, or elsewhere in the EU (and proceed with #2)
    4. Do without--on principle
    5. Buy the R1 Warner set (Sacre Bleu!!!)

    Does anyone really think that Warner will re-release this set using an NTSC master? I would wager that 90% of the potential customers of these films aren't aware that a PAL standard even exists. The Chaplin films--for all their greatness--have a very limited audience. This new set represents a tremendous financial investment by mk2, Warner, et al. A re-release to please perhaps 5% of an already small minority of DVD buyers makes no sense financially. Warner owns the Chaplin franchise in R1 for the forseeable future. Do you think that by not purchasing this set that you'll be hurting AOL Time-Warner's bottom line? Think again.

    I consider myself a reasonably well-informed and discerning consumer, and I've been quite pleased with the two releases I've seen (The Gold Rush and The Great Dictator), as I work my way through the box set. To my eyes, they look brilliant (except when I pause or slo-mo--then I see the double images and blurring).

    Don't get me wrong: I would've preferred that Warner had used an NTSC master for the R1 release (it seems likely that they didn't want to spend the additional money to do so). But it's a done deal (I further expect that the rest of this series will rely on NTSC conversions of PAL masters). While these releases may fall short of the definitive editions we were all hoping for, they are far from the travesty that some would have us believe. A little perpective is needed.

    I guess I don't always expect perfection in an imperfect world.
     
  15. rob kilbride

    rob kilbride Supporting Actor

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  16. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    What's wrong with principle? I have skipped lots of films on principle due to censorship (e.g., Eyes Wide Shut) or non-OAR (e.g., The Commitments) or colorization (e.g., The Absent-Minded Professor). And pal speedup is every bit as bad in my opinion. It's simply unacceptable. Had I known about it, I would not have bought this box set. And having forked out the money for the set, I will now never watch these dvds, on principle!
     
  17. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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  18. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Well the PAL speed-up and ghosting problems won't be issues for me as I live in the UK. It will be interesting to see how the PAL UK editions measure up to the region 1s in other ways too. The contrast boosting on the Warner discs when compared to the Image ones is strange.DVD Beaver have promised to compare the different editions once they become available.

    Its very rare in the DVD world that Region 1 gets the short end of the stick but this seems to be an instance here. In the UK we also seem to be getting the whole of the Chaplin collection in fully featured DVDs (not just the first wave) on September 22nd.

    As for a re-release I think its probably very unlikely as these were really touted as the definitive editions of these films and a lot of publicity and special screenings are accompanying their release on DVD at least in the UK. I'll likely be getting the complete boxset of ten Chaplin features and the documentary even though they duplicate the two Image discs I've got its better value this way. I suppose I'm also a bit of a completist concerning Chaplin.

    Once again the First Nationals apart from The Kid are nowhere to be seen at least in advance publicity concerning the collection to be released here in the UK. Does anyone know what has happened to them ? I thought they were meant to be included in this set ? Perhaps the PAL folk might miss out on something after all.
     
  19. Gary Tooze

    Gary Tooze Producer

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  20. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Thanks Gary for clarifying a few issues. I still think Region 1 gets a better deal not perhaps always in the quality of transfers but in terms of extras and variety of titles available. For instance you can get a lot more silent titles online from the US than are available in British stores. Also we haven't had British releases of the new extras-laden editions of the Fox Studio Classics when we get them they are without all the extras. So as I think someone said before if I were to choose one region it would have to be region 1 I'm lucky enough to have the choice of both 1 and 2.

    For once with the Chaplins putting aside the issues about the transfers we in the UK are getting some of the discs with all the extras a few months before our friends across the pond ; I think that's a pretty rare situation.
     

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