Three thumbs down for Republic's new release of "Pursued"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Harris, Feb 8, 2003.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

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    Here we go again.

    I just popped the new release of Raoul Walsh's Pursued into my player and fired up the system.

    Knowing that this film was recently preserved via a grant from The Film Foundation, with work being done by UCLA and YCM Labs, I knew I was in for a treat.

    But then the realization hit me.

    This is but another classic from Artisan / Republic.

    I was hit by a noir wave of Walshian dread.

    And the DVD:

    Either UCLA and YCM have wasted The Film Foundation's grant funds and done a horrific job in every area, or possibly, just possibly, this is another film to go through Republic's system which attempts to make every classic look as though it has just been shot on a low end DV-cam.

    I'll place my bet on UCLA, YCM and TFF,

    and make the rash assumption that Republic has destroyed yet another wonderful film.

    Contrast is totally out of whack. The image shimmers. There is no apparent grain structure, with facial features taking on the look of a charcoal drawing.

    Fortunately I only paid $11 for this one.

    Take this as fair warning.

    Artisan has struck again.

    Steer far away from this one.

    I have finally reached the point at which I don't believe that I can purchase another dvd from Artisan. Pity.

    RAH
     
  2. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    I've been very disappointed in Artisan DVDs for a long time now. I own very few as a result. They are the bottom of the barrel. Their best efforts aren't as good as a bad job by, say, Warner Brothers.

    I would shed no tears if they went belly up and a more deserving studio inherited their library. Soon.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Just checking on elements...

    This site makes it quite clear:

    http://www.film-foundation.org/prese...la/pursued.cfm

    There is no excuse for this sort of transfer. Its a simple matter of "less is more." Transfer and correct the element properly and release your dvd. Don't homogenize the film.

    As an aside to anyone who loves film.

    Contributions, no matter how small are always welcome to support film preservation. The Film Foundation is a good place to start.

    RAH
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I've been reading UCLA's online catalog (worth looking at) and they have a gold mine of films.

    They have a lot of Republic's prime elements such as camera negatives and soundtrack negatives. They have camera negatives from silent KoKo The Clown cartoons and most of the sucessive exposure negatives to the Max Fleischer Color Classics.

    According to UCLA's listing for this film...

    They have the original nitrate camera negative, nitrate dupe negative, an original nitrate print, and the soundtrack on new masters.

    The restoration duplicate negative is supposed to from the original negative, the nitrate composite duplicate negative, and with a re-recorded soundtrack.

    The Artisan/Republic DVDs seem to be very overprocessed. I watched my DVD of It's A Wonderful Life...and while it looks great (it does indeed have a beautiful picture quality to it), it's painfully obvious that it has been DVNR'd to the point of distorting the image. During the "lake rescue" scene, Young George Bailey literally breaks up into the picture.

    Recently, I've seen several of the restored Harold Lloyd films on TCM. Speedy was restored mainly from the original camera negative. The level of clarity and detail was wonderful, even on compressed MPEG-II satellite video.

    If you want to access the catalog of the Film & TV Archive, go to http://orion-1.library.ucla.edu/web2...nt_version=new

    It's heartwarming to see the words "nitrate" and "preserved" in the same listing. Plenty of heartbreakers, too...
    I'm willing to bet it's a case of our friends, DVNR and audio enhancing, that are at fault here...at least I hope so. I've seen more Republic DVDs look bad than UCLA restorations look that way.
     
  5. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    Didn't Paramount just acquire the Republic catalog? Like High Noon and particularly The Quiet Man, this seems like a rush effort to get this on the market before Artisan's rights expire.

    Artisan's catalog product, by and large, is the pits, though their new releases (think The Limey, Requiem For A Dream, Stir Of Echoes, etc.) are usually solid.
     
  6. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    "Artisan: bringing you public-domain quality at major-label prices!" [​IMG]

    The worst part is that they've proven (with releases like Twin Peaks Season One and GlenGarry Glen Ross) that they can do a good job on a DVD when they feel like it. They apparently just hardly ever feel like it.
     
  7. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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