The Fred & Ginger Collection boxed set

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Gordon McMurphy, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...280800-1460664

    Does anyone here have this? Is the transfer for Top Hat of a high quality?

    It's staggering that Top Hat is not out on region 1. It's a cultural milestone, if you ask me. Beautiful film. The evergreen "Cheek To Cheek" sequence in untouchable - pure gold.
     
  2. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    I've held off buying this because it's a Laureate production in association with Universal and I've never been impressed by Laureate. And Paul Moran's post at thedvdforums.com was also a factor:

    "Watched the Fred & Ginger Collection (Top Hat; Follow the Fleet; Shall We Dance; Carefree) at the weekend. Wasn’t expecting great things, considering all four films were made in the 30s, and the box set is relatively cheap.

    Some faults were apparent:
    video (speckling; damaged frames; thin line down centre of frame) audio (occasional noises which sounded like a fault had been reduced but not completely eliminated) but there weren’t many, and it didn’t spoil enjoyment of the films.

    I thought the transfers were quite good, considering their age etc, although “Top Hat” seemed not up to the standard of the other three. Perhaps if I had watched “Top Hat” first, and if I hadn’t been trying to find fault, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But I actually watched “Top Hat” straight after “Follow the Fleet”, and by comparison, it seemed lacking in contrast and brightness. In fact, parts of it looked very dull. I made a note of one scene (Fred & Ginger on a balcony) at 68mins 28 secs; as the camera pans right to follow Ginger walking off, the contrast and brightness changed from good at frame 02 to poor at frames 03 and 04. It looks just like someone turned a spotlight off. Perhaps someone did! Also, “Top Hat” bit rate was lower than the other films, since it’s been crammed onto DVD5 disc. (“Follow the Fleet” is only 10 mins longer, but is on DVD9 disc.)

    Audio was in DD2.0, mono, and was OK (clear, no hiss) but loud. I usually keep my amp set at -25db, but I had to turn it down to -30db. (Come to think of it, I had to do the same for the “Road To” set.) English language only, and no subtitles.

    Running times for Top Hat; Shall We Dance; and Carefree were longer than I was expecting (e.g. from film guides & BBFC), and longer than shown on box. I’ll just give one example, for “Top Hat”: box - 95 m; BBFC (1935 film) - 99m 55s (so we’d expect 96 m for video); BBFC (1985 video) - 93m 29s; DVD - 99m 07s. Perhaps Laureate have been able to get hold of longer prints, or perhaps other sites’ run times are just plain wrong!

    Anyway, I think the set was worth the price, but it’s a pity that the best film (IMO) got the poorest transfer."


    Warners will do a far better job in R1.

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    So many films, so little time...
     
  3. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Big question is John : when ? They weren't even mentioned in the recent chat, not for want of trying to ask about them and I believe I wasn't the only one. Hope they are on the list of releases for this year or next Fred and Ginger in region 1 are long overdue. Sounds like some restoration is required though not sure if I can last till Warner get round to these.
     
  4. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    When indeed, but the R2 box does sound second rate, and I'm confident Warners will do the business (eventually!)

    The recent chat may not have mentioned Astaire, but it did list more than enough to keep my credit card and I busy over the coming year. I've been stung by Laureate discs before - and I'm sure Ken Barnes is good and enthusiastic supporter of classic films, but Laureate simply dooesn't have the budget or the technical know how to get the job done and get it done right. On their DVD of Meet John Doe I was appalled when they removed the original Warners logo at the start of the film and replaced it with their own.

    Normally I would have snatched up the Cary Grant, Fred and Ginger and Marx Brothers sets (and I still might get the latter), but when you know something infinitely better is coming along...

    BTW, more info on all the sets at www.laureatedvd.com .

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    So many films, so little time...
     
  5. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    It's just that I caught a repeat of "The 100 Greatest Movies" on UK's Channel 4 and Top Hat was in there and the clips used were of superb quality, so I just wondered if it had been restored/remastered for US DVD/TV broadcast. Then, by chance, I saw the Fred & Ginger boxed set in HMV on sale (£35 to £30) and I wondered what quality was like.

    Warner has been great at putting out quality vintage films from it's vaults over the last 3/4 years and I was astonished to see that this American Cultural Milestone (which it is!) is not on DVD in its Homeland. I would have thought it would have been on DVD for a long time, but no. So where is it? [​IMG]
     

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