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Matt Hough

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There is more to Billy Wilder’s The Emperor Waltz than meets the eye: a frothy comedy of manners on the surface which hides some more deeply felt and blunt observations on the venality of social class consciousness.



The Emperor Waltz (1948)



Released: 02 Jul 1948
Rated: Approved
Runtime: 106 min




Director: Billy Wilder
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Romance



Cast: Bing Crosby, Joan Fontaine, Roland Culver
Writer(s): Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder



Plot: A brash American gramophone salesman tries to get Emperor Franz Joseph's endorsement in turn-of-the-century Austria.



IMDB rating: 6.1
MetaScore: N/A





Disc Information



Studio: Universal
Distributed By: Kino Lorber
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC...

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roxy1927

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This doesn't seem to be a particularly popular musical even among the most avid of old movie musical fans or barely mentioned as a Billy Wilder film during a golden period for him. Maybe it's the lack of interest in the Crosby Fontaine pairing. It didn't help that it opened the same summer of one of the crown jewels in movie musical history Easter Parade which is the musical everyone had to see that summer of '48.
 
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Matt Hough

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This doesn't seem to be a particularly popular musical even among the most avid of old movie musical fans or barely mentioned as a Billy Wilder film during a golden period for him. Maybe it's the lack of interest in the Crosby Fontaine pairing. It didn't help that it opened the same summer of one of the crown jewels in movie musical history Easter Parade which is the musical everyone had to see that summer of '48.
Yes, and of course Roger Edens and Johnny Green won the Oscar for their musical adaptation for Easter Parade that year over Victor Young's work on The Emperor Waltz.
 

RobertMG

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Have the double dvd with this title the eye candy Technicolor work and Crosby's warbling made it a fun watch I had never seen this before -- will pick up the blu
 

Chris55

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Really don't know why they decided to release that particular Paramount Technicolor movie on Blu Ray, as it was a flop at the time and still isn't a great movie. What about releasing Paramount's brilliant "Blue Skies" (46) or "Lady in the Dark" (44) on Blu Ray ?. That would be more to the point and wonder who decides these things.
 

dukiejosh54

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Really don't know why they decided to release that particular Paramount Technicolor movie on Blu Ray, as it was a flop at the time and still isn't a great movie. What about releasing Paramount's brilliant "Blue Skies" (46) or "Lady in the Dark" (44) on Blu Ray ?. That would be more to the point and wonder who decides these things.
Kino Is releasing Blue Skies but they have yet to announce a release date for it.
 

Matt Hough

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Has Lady in the Dark ever been released on a home video format? I only have it on a VHS tape I recorded from AMC back when they actually showed American movie classics. In fact, I watched it not too long ago. The color was nice, but I prefer the Ann Sothern/Carleton Carpenter TV version if I want to see something that even approaches the stage version. The movie certainly doesn't.
 

TravisR

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Really don't know why they decided to release that particular Paramount Technicolor movie on Blu Ray, as it was a flop at the time and still isn't a great movie. What about releasing Paramount's brilliant "Blue Skies" (46) or "Lady in the Dark" (44) on Blu Ray ?. That would be more to the point and wonder who decides these things.
Assuming that Kino doesn't have plans to eventually release those movies, I'd guess that they feel that this being a Billy Wilder movie will make it a better seller.
 

Astairefan

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Assuming that Kino doesn't have plans to eventually release those movies, I'd guess that they feel that this being a Billy Wilder movie will make it a better seller.
Again, Blue Skies IS coming from Kino, we just don't have a release date yet because they are doing a new 2K master (which means it takes them a bit longer, depending on where it is in the queue). Lady In The Dark, if Matt is right about its lack of release on home video, is going to be a much harder sell. I mean, I've never seen it at all (so I have no idea what shape the film elements are in), but if it has *some* demand and it hasn't come out, something is causing it to be held back.
 

Chris55

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Assuming that Kino doesn't have plans to eventually release those movies, I'd guess that they feel that this being a Billy Wilder movie will make it a better seller.
Interesting as Billy Wilder considered it his worst film of all time.
 

James Luckard

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I'm surprised this got a 5/5 for audio.

KL clearly tried to clean up the audio. The dialogue sounds clearer than my French BD, with less background noise.

However, their audio work seems to have introduced some strange artifacts that are not present on my French disc.

The biggest issue is that every 5-10 minutes there is a strange deep bass "thump" sound, almost like a finger hitting a microphone. This audio issue is not present on the French disc. It's not super loud, but you can hear it even over speakers.

Also, there are frequent soft pops, every minute or two, which are not on the French disc. They're clearly not age-related crackle. They sound like some sort of faint digital pop. These are relatively minor, however. I only heard them when I listened on headphones. When I tried unplugging them, they blended into the other audio. They are definitely not a reason to pass up this disc.

I will say, however, that the French disc is not a viable option, as it has forced French subtitles for all onscreen text and all song lyrics.

There's also a recent Spanish disc direct from Universal. I don't own it, so I can't comment on the audio.

The video transfer appears to be from the DVD era. It's decent, but there are issues with the layers of the three-strip color not always aligning perfectly. A 4K remaster could have made this really shine, like some of the recent WAC titles. That said, since KL just gave 4K remasters to two other Paramount/Universal/Wilder titles - Five Graves to Cairo and The Lost Weekend - I know they don't have limitless resources, and those are MUCH better, more important films, so I'm glad they chose those instead. This movie really is only a curio for Wilder completists.
 

James Luckard

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Interesting as Billy Wilder considered it his worst film of all time.
I think he says in the Cameron Crowe book that he felt Buddy Buddy was his worst (and I'd agree) but I think he placed this a close second (and I'd agree about that too).

I agree, I suspect KL gave this film priority because it's a Wilder title. Flawed films by a genius are always worth watching, and there are some fascinating elements in this film. :)

I would even buy a BD of the dreadful Buddy Buddy, though I believe the rights situation for that one is tangled.
 

roxy1927

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What's going on with sound at Kino? You're complaining about the sound of Emperor Waltz, they left the entr'acte off of Sweet Charity and now with Thoroughly Modern Millie it is being said that the overture, entr'acte and exit music are in mono. Considering all the roadshow prints of Millie would have been in stereo to put this music out in mono would have taken a real effort.
 

Chris55

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I think he says in the Cameron Crowe book that he felt Buddy Buddy was his worst (and I'd agree) but I think he placed this a close second (and I'd agree about that too).

I agree, I suspect KL gave this film priority because it's a Wilder title. Flawed films by a genius are always worth watching, and there are some fascinating elements in this film. :)

I would even buy a BD of the dreadful Buddy Buddy, though I believe the rights situation for that one is tangled.
I do have the Universal DVD of it, which is excellent picture quality anyway. Can't really see the BD being much better.
 

dukiejosh54

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From my understanding I don't think all of the issues are Kino's fault. They are just working with what Universal gives them (maybe I'm wrong). I didn't notice any sound issues with Waltz but I just skimmed through it. I'll have to check it out again.
 
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roxy1927

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But then isn't it responsibility of Kino to let the consumer know?
Because the consumer is left wondering what is going on. They should say we have this in mono because this is what Universal provided us with.
But then it begs the question why is this in stereo on the DVD?
Something very sloppy seems to be going on.
 

James Luckard

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From my understanding I don't think all of the issues are Kino's fault. They are just working with what Universal gives them (maybe I'm wrong). I didn't notice any sound issues with Waltz but I just skimmed through it. I'll have to check it out again.
I don't know what Universal gave them, but the French BD of The Emperor Waltz from 2019 seems to be the exact same master, and doesn't have these minor audio flaws. Again, I want to stress, they really are minor, they don't ruin the movie. Most people will never even notice them. But they're definitely there. I can describe a few spots, if anyone would like.
 

Chris55

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Instead of concentrating on a rather nondescript Technicolor movie such as "The Emperor Waltz", what about the complete two-strip Technicolor versions of the 1930 "The Vagabond King", "Mamba" and the 1929 "Mysterious Island". all of which are extant in Technicolor now and very much need releasing on either DVD or better still BD. What is the point of having these movies when the general public never get to see them, hopefully restored. They've done such a good job with "Dr. X" and "The Mystery of the Wax Museum" on BD, isn't it about time we saw these classics as they were originally meant to be seen ?.
 

James Luckard

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Instead of concentrating on a rather nondescript Technicolor movie such as "The Emperor Waltz", what about the complete two-strip Technicolor versions of the 1930 "The Vagabond King", "Mamba" and the 1929 "Mysterious Island". all of which are extant in Technicolor now and very much need releasing on either DVD or better still BD. What is the point of having these movies when the general public never get to see them, hopefully restored. They've done such a good job with "Dr. X" and "The Mystery of the Wax Museum" on BD, isn't it about time we saw these classics as they were originally meant to be seen ?.
Those are both Warner Archive titles.

I'm sure the sole reason that The Emperor Waltz was released by KL is that it's one of the last remaining titles not to reach US BD from one of the most important directors ever. I doubt that it being in B&W or color, or the format of color, played any part in their decision. KL is single-handedly responsible for the release of half of Wilder's films on US BD, and I think they deserve great praise for that.

I certainly only bought the film because it was a Wilder film. :)
 

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