The War of the Worlds (1953) possible Blu-ray release?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Lromero1396, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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    I recall an HTF owner stating in a forum post a while back that he had taken a look at some restored elements for the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds while on a visit to Paramount studios in Q4 of last year. This leaves me to wonder if we'll see a BD release in Q3 or Q4. Of course, there are some variables that I'm concerned about:1. Source elements:This film was originally released in Technicolor dye-imbition prints in 1953. The 1967 reissue and all subsequent rereleases and home video editions have come from Eastmancolor elements. The original technicolor negatives could have been lost or destroyed, so color timing must be done perfectly if there are no original elements to work with. TWotW originally played in 1.37:1 Academy ratio, but was also released inlimited venues in 1953 in 1.66:1. These venues also ran a 3-track magnetic stereo sound mix on interlock. Further reissues were 'whatever' aspect ratio (probably cropped to 1.85 in some venues) and mono only. Warner has opted to issue Shane; another Academy ratio Technicolor film from the same year and with the same original exhibition specifications as TWotW, in 1.66. I'm worried they might do the same with TWotW, despite the fact that TWotW was originally composed for 1.37. Audio-wise, the 3-track mag original has been lost and the curren mix on the DVD is derived from stereo music tracks as well as some stereo effects and from the mono track. The mono track on TWotW has sounded abysmal for a very long time. Numerous crackles, pops, hisses, and hum plague the track. I hope that a faithul reconstruction of the original mix will be on the BD with all age-related damage removed.2. Potential wire removal:The now famous wires suspending the alien craft were not present in the original release since the soft look of dye-transfered Technicolor masked them. Later, sharper Eastmancolor reissue prints exposed them. Since Warner exercised digital wire removal on The Wizard of Oz, I'm concerned it will happen again. Wire removal has also been done on the recent restorations of Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Robe, even though those were both handled by Fox and not Warner. Since fans of the film have gotten to know the wires as a part of the film, it would outrage the fanbase to delete them. So, the sequences with said wiring should be presented via seamless branching with the option to view them with wiring or without wiring. However, I doubt that will happen.Any info from anybody (or even simple comments) would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    I also recall seeing digital copies of WAR OF THE WORLDS pulled out for some use during the HTF trip to Paramount. Don't know if they were pulled for a full "restoration" or simply for use in another distribtion venue .. like Amazon, PS3 .. etc

    Speaking of- This *is* now available for streaming from Amazon .. reportidly in HD. I for one would love to hear some feedback on this given version.
     
  3. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    btw: This really should be in the bluray software section
     
  4. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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    How do I move the thread (or do I just create a new one)?
     
  5. Reed Grele

    Reed Grele Screenwriter

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    Watching it on Amazon Prime in HD now. Looks like the same source as the previous DVD. Lots of white speckles. Can't tell if it's an upconversion, or a new HD scan, but whichever, it's pretty detailed and colorful. if this was on Blu-ray, I'd buy it. At least it wouldn't have the low bit rate, compression artifacts, and banding associated with streaming.
     
  6. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    WOTW was originally scheduled for a May 1953 release.

    It premiered in London in mid-April in 1.37 and the U.S. premiere was on July 29 at the Warner Theatre in Atlantic City. However, the nationwide U.S. release was delayed until October so it could open in major theaters in 1.66 widescreen. It certainly was composed for 1.37 but it was shown in most cities in widescreen.

    I've seen the film in 35mm dye-transfer Technicolor and the wires are certainly visible. However, the timing is much darker than later printings and that helped to disguise them.

    When they created new printing elements for the 1977 re-issue (with WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE) the timing was lighter than 1953 prints. Unfortunately, home video releases have replicated the lighter timing.

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  7. ScottHM

    ScottHM Second Unit

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    Please, don't try to speak for the "fanbase". I'm a fan of WotW and wouldn't mind at all not seeing the wires.
     
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  8. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I've only ever seen the movie 4:3, so I can't imagine what it would look like in 1.66:1. Would certainly be interesting to see, but like SABRINA which also keeps getting released in 4:3, I suspect when we see WAR OF THE WORLDS on Blu-ray, it'll be 4:3.
     
  9. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    I too, would welcome a "wireless" version. :lol:
     
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  10. ABaglivi

    ABaglivi Stunt Coordinator

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    The movie is a great one with or without wires.
     
  11. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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    Some may disagree. Since many fans of this film are into early special effects with warts, wires and all the imperfections involved; they would probably like to see what was originally visible upon the 1953 theatrical release. This is similar to the "Lucasification" debate that started back in the '90s.
    Alright. Bring on the debate of original look vs revisionism. Te best option for Paramount/ Warner IMO would be to time the color of the BD release according to the 1953 dye-transfer printing. That way the wires would be as visible (or not visible) as George Pal and his effects department wanted. I seriously hope that you are NOT advocating the digital removal of the wires, but are simply stating that you don't care what they do.
     
  12. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    To tell you the truth, I just want to see it on bluray, wires or not. But, at the same time, I'm guessing that Pal and his crew DID NOT WANT the wires to be visible, and if they had the technology at the time to "remove" them, I bet they would have.
     
  13. ScottHM

    ScottHM Second Unit

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    If any effort was made by the effects department to hide the wiring then I will assume their desire was that the wires not be visible and I'm OK with digital cleanup of the film. However, I'm not opposed to the notion of using seamless branching so as to not outrage the fanbase.

     
  14. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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    I had an unopened copy of the original DVD that I bought for around $8 or $9. Immediately afterward, the new version was announced. I bought it and the wires don't bother me, although at higher resolution they might.

    Anyway, I was shocked to be able to sell the original DVD for $50 on Amazon! Some people really don't want to see the wires!
     
  15. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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    Because of the significant cult following this film has, a lot of fans would get angry if the wires were completely removed and the release wouldn't have as big of a market. If any digital work is done on them, it should only be to lessen the prescence of the wires (this can be done without any alteration to the wires) Like I said, the release should be color-timed accurately with correct brightness and contrast in any case. End of story. Why not reach a happy medium and just color it correctly?
     
  16. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    I think a branching verision with before and after of wire removeal would be a fantastic idea, but given the choice of wires or no wires, I'll take no wires everytime.

    The wires were NOT intended to be seen, and while the probably could be seen if you looked closely, most audience members were probably not sophisticated enough about how the effects were done, to know what to look for. After all these were the days when the "magic" was still kept a secret.

    Doug
     
  17. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    Agree with the above. The ideal solution is branching to preserve the original version on Blu for those who want to see it that way. I can only speak for myself in saying that the wires are almost comically absurd as to how pronounced they are on DVD, and seeing them always takes me completely out of the movie in what are meant to be serious scenes. The added resolution of Blu-ray is only going to make them more obvious. In this instance, we have created the problem ourselves through new high-resolution digital formats that provide previously unobtainable clarity, so some compensating factor needs to be used.

    In general, I have no problem with fixing obvious/unintended mistakes in old movies as long as (a) the original is always preserved; and (b) it is only something minor that was never intended to be seen, such as wires, boom mikes, non-contemporary objects (e.g. jet planes seen in the sky during a 19th century western), etc. For example, removing the snake reflection in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
     
  18. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    You say they weren't visible in the original release.
    Then you say fans want to see what was originally visible, which is no wires.
    Now you say it's ok to only lessen their appearance.

    I like this solution, have both versions of the film: wires and no wires (as in they are completely gone). However, if I could only have one option, I would choose no wires.
     
  19. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    35mm Technicolor prints were not THAT soft.
    Yes, the wires are visible.

    And, yes, 1953 audiences could certainly see them and understood what they were. The notion that moviegoers were less sophisticated in 1953 is ridiculous.

    wowPSpg1.jpg
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  20. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I think it's comparable to today's CGI (the poor examples anyway). Most everyone in the audience knows that it's CG but they just accept it as being part of how movies are made.
     
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