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International To My Eyes...ARABESQUE (1966) on Blu from Italy

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Dick, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    [​IMG]

    This is a fun movie. In fact, it's one of a handful of films in which lead Gregory Peck actually seems to be having a great time, and who wouldn't be when the co-star is Sophia Loren? (And doesn't her pose on the cover above remind you of Raquel Welch's for ONE MILLION YEARS, B.C.?) Peck isn't terribly convincing as a character who throws out one-liners like a comedian. But, oh well, I liked him in it. Loren...well, she's a fine actress and does nothing here to disprove that. Look for Kieran Moore (DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE, DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS) as one of the heavies.

    The plot is far too convoluted to try to summarize in a short report, but it boasts a resemblance to CHARADE from 1963: twists and turns abound, there are several changing alliances; both films were directed by Stanley Donen, scored by Henry Mancini, and feature wonderful, kaleidoscopic main title sequences created by Maurice Binder.

    The film gets a little arty-farty with its cinematography, and has a plot that is possible to follow, but which nonetheless comes across as overly busy at times. In the end, though, I felt gratified, as the script veers back and forth between humor and danger, sometimes both at once, and the balance works pretty well. As I said, it's fun. You can't take a film like this seriously, nor, I think, were you intended to.

    The Blu-ray comes from Cult Media in Italy. It is presented correctly in the 2.35:1 ratio. Image quality is generally delightful, with strong color, sharpness, and black levels. Infrequently there is a bit of blocking in darker areas. As for film grain, it's there, but as with some other Universal Blu-rays, someone creating the master seemed to be cherry-picking which individual shots would have visible grain and which are smoothed out (but still quite watchable). I doubt the original projected prints were this inconsistent. The audio (both English and Italian) are Dolby 2.0 mono, but is quite excellent. Italian subtitles (only) are available.

    The film is all-region. The sale price on Amazon Italy is a bargain. It is also available for sale through Daaveedee, and can be rented from 3D Blu-ray.com

    I recommend this film with a few minor caveats. Looked and sounded good to my eyes.
     
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  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I've never thought the movie was as much fun or as satisfying as Charade though it's clearly its kissing cousin. The stars are certainly glamorous, though, and it's a fine popcorn picture.
     
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  3. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    Thanks for the review!
    This is a fun film. Love the stars in this one!!
     
  4. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    I agree completely that Charade is better and more satisfying. Arabesque is a real "popcorn" movie.
     
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  5. titch

    titch Supporting Actor

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    Henry Mancini made a cracking score to this one as well - I like it just as much as the one he did for Charade.
     
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  6. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    Arabesque was also released on Blu-ray in France last November as an FNAC exclusive. I imagine they're comparable quality, but does anyone know for certain?
     
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  7. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    The cover makes me think Peck has studied at The Ministry of Silly Walks.
     
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  8. Trancas

    Trancas Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmm. "Nouveau Master"[​IMG]

    And the Italian version was released 3 years ago. How new is "Nouveau"?
     
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  9. B-ROLL

    B-ROLL Cinematographer

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    It's Nouveau to U ;)
     
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  10. Message #10 of 13 Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
    Brent Reid

    Brent Reid Supporting Actor

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    The Italian BD is a bootleg. Why is it being promoted on this site? This has been going on for years, with no sign of it stopping anytime soon. What's the point of having site rules if they're regularly being flouted?

    Once again, this is how it works: order from bootleg specialists DaaVeeDee and post a pseudo review giving them a plug* on someone's else's site. Ensure you namecheck them with their stock phrase and they give you discount on your next order. The upshot is that HTF is used to subsidise someone's bootleg-buying addiction. Nice.

    For what it's worth, the Italian BD was released three years ago and the only official BDs to date, from France and Germany, were both released at the end of last year. The Italian BD is from some inferior SD or sub-SD source, as there were no better transfers around at the time for them to steal from. It's nothing but a coaster and ignorant buyers are being burned. Good: no sympathy here. The Spanish BD is a knock-off too.


    *50-odd times so far. Congratulations.
     
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  11. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    You would get oh-so-much further with me, sir, using a bit of common courtesy and a lot less self-righteousness.

    I believe you are a knowledgeable man when it comes to film -- I believe more so than I -- and very probably foreign video releases. Your web site is interesting. You are articulate. But you are also very accusatory, as though it is my conscious attempt to go against forum rules by wantonly promoting bootlegs.

    A few fun facts: 1) Although I have done so in the past, as you point out, the ARABESQUE review I posted did not derive from a copy bought from Daaveedee, and I received no compensation for it whatsoever (and haven't for a long while). I simply mentioned it as an option for purchasing. My copy came from a legitimate rental company that happens to carry a few region-free European titles, and I wanted to check its quality before purchasing (as I said, it looks pretty darn good).

    2) What evidence have you that this is release is a bootleg? I certainly saw none, and to make a blanket statement that all Italian Blu-rays are boots seems to me to be awfully presumptuous. If you can provide evidence that ARABESQUE is, in fact, a bootleg, this would be useful information to share here without insinuating that my review was knowingly promoting an illegitimate product. Universal has licensed scores of their films out to a number of countries without doing so in the States. Why not this one?

    3) I am attempting to help fill a review gap here by posting my observations about Blu-rays I have bought or rented that have not been given U.S. release. I think even you would agree that the vast bulk of them are legal. Daaveedee does not specialize in the selling of illegal product. Take the matter up with them, if this all pisses you off so much. They import an astonishing number of discs, and I can understand how some bootlegs get through, but to accuse them of being "bootleg specialists" is tantamount to libel. Are you prepared to prove your case in court? I challenge you to re-read my "50-odd" reviews you are confronting me with and tell me, with proof, exactly how many of them are for illegal discs.

    In retrospect, though, I have posted information about discs that in hindsight I agree were not legal (THE WIND, which you link to, being one of them). I will be more diligent in future. I import a lot of titles, mostly from the Amazons, as I am a true film aficionado and collector, and I am bound to make a few mistakes. But like a very few other members here (not many, thankfully), you come across as very adversarial and not a bit helpful, which is contrary to the spirit of this forum. If you think my choices of titles or my reviews are inappropriate, PM me and we'll discuss. Or, if you feel this is truly egregious, feel free to report me to the mods.

    I hold nothing against you but your tone, and I hope to read future posts from you that are more constructive. :)
     
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  12. Rodney

    Rodney Screenwriter
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    Dick:

    You can plainly tell it was a bootleg because the graphic is flipped. How could you be fooled so easily? :rolling-smiley:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    Too bad that this is not an official release.

    I would love to have an official release of the film on blu ray.
     

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