The Russ Meyer DVDs -- Worth the Cost?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Claude North, Aug 4, 2005.

  1. Claude North

    Claude North Second Unit

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    I noticed that there are several Russ Meyer films (including Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) now being offered on DVD. Has anyone seen them or heard anything about them? They're not cheap ($39.99!) so I'd really like to get the scoop on them before making an investment.
     
  2. obscurelabel

    obscurelabel Stunt Coordinator

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    Larry
  3. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    These are 4:3 transfers. Is that OAR?
    Thanks.
     
  4. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I have no idea what the OAR for these should be (I would think they are 1.85 at least). and don't have the DVDs. The R2 (PAL) versions are superior in that they have extras, including the commentaries found on the Image laserdiscs, which are priceless. The tradeoff is some bad jitter on some players. DVD Drive In reviewed them all, so you might want to look there first.

    It's too bad the RMFilms doesn't really give a crap about these films, and are recycling decades old masters for the DVDs, while charging exhorbitant prices fo them.
     
  5. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    I've been reviewing virtually all of the films in their R2 incarnation. The prints are passable (some neg and pos damage) but considering they've spent most of the last thirty or so years in Russ Meyer's garage in Palm Springs rather than in a temperature controlled vault I'd say they've done pretty well. Transfers are all (with the exception of Black Snake which is 2.35:1 non-anamorphic LBX) in 4:3 OAR. Meyer always did his own photography with his bog-standard Arriflex. He almost certainly shot open-matte, so 4:3 is more likely the OAR. This is backed up by the fact Arrow, the UK distributors who take things like OAR seriously, have presented the films like that. They'd have either letterboxed or done the movies 1.85 anamorphic if they were supposed to be shown that way. Mind you, most theatres at the time would have shown them 1.85 from force of habit.
     
  6. Geremia P.

    Geremia P. Stunt Coordinator

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    It's hard to imagine 4:3 being the intended aspect ratio for most of Meyer's films. At the time of their release he certainly had little hope of them ever being shown on TV.
     
  7. Anthony*B

    Anthony*B Stunt Coordinator

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    he may have been shooting open matte as mentioned above, with the intention of matting them to 1:85 or so for theatrical release...if this is the case, 4:3 would be revealing more than if they were letterboxed, tho the composition may be a bit off (i.e. too much headroom/legroom etc.
     
  8. Mattias_ka

    Mattias_ka Supporting Actor

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    The laserdisc's, that from my understanding Russ Meyer was involved with, are many 4:3 (open matt?). Only the scope movies are in letterbox.
    The LD's are fine to me anyway.
     
  9. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure that this is the case. I think RMfilms was just Russ Meyer, not some big company. These films were his bread and butter, so he most likely did "give a crap" about them, but he didn't have the money or resources to stay on the cutting edge of the technology (see post #5 about storing the film elements in his garage). As for the pricing, these discs seemed to have limited distribution (again, no big studio behind him). If he was paying for everything out of his pocket, I would expect prices to be higher. Those are the breaks for being an independent.

    The one exception to this should be Fox's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which is supposed to be released by Criterion at some point. That will probably look fantastic, and carry a moderate price.
     
  10. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    I'll say it again. I've been watching all of the films. The 4:3 ones look composed for 4:3.
     
  11. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Supporting Actor

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    Beyond the Valley of the Dolls won't be coming from Criterion. The deal went phfft from what I heard...
     
  12. Cary

    Cary Stunt Coordinator

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    I've seen Russ Meyer flicks many times over the last 20 years - in arthouses, at the porn theater, and at a particularly cool drive-in. With a few exceptions, they're all 4:3. Mr. Meyer wasn't worried about aspect ratios or compositing for TV or anything else - he shot with what he had - quick, dirty & tight! Get over it, video geeks.
     
  13. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
     
  14. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    Just the way he liked his women.
     
  15. ScottLloyd

    ScottLloyd Stunt Coordinator

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    I picked up the first round of the region 2 discs from CDWow for a good price-about $10 each shipped. I think they've gone up a bit but they're still worth it.

    They include the RM commentaries he did for the laserdiscs and some featurettes with the girls that were filmed recently.
     
  16. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    I saw Faster Pussycat Kill Kill theatrically and I'm pretty sure it was projected 4:3.
     
  17. ScottLloyd

    ScottLloyd Stunt Coordinator

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    I also remember seeing it theatrically at 4:3.
     
  18. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    The only one of his films I saw at a theater was Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. It was definitely not intended for 4:3 based on my recollection. Fox Movie Channel has shown it, letterbox and 4:3 if I recall correctly. Since the shock value of his films no longer amounts to much with all of the shockfests that followed his films, nostalgia is about all that makes any of his films interesting to me now. Pretty poor acting, direction and production values mean I don't plan on buying any of them on DVD unless there is some great narration or stories behind the movies included on the discs.

    Chris
     

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