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Upon hearing of M-G-M's Feb. Cyrano de Bergerac, feedback for M-G-M (and all studios)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bill Burns, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    There are a few existing M-G-M threads, some of which mention a bit of what I say below, but I could not locate one that specified this sort of content in the title, where I hope it might best attract studio eyes. My apologies if I missed such a thread, and please feel free to move this post and/or close this thread accordingly. I've just posted the content found below in the software forum, where it might hopefully generate some technical (and film) discussion studios might also find useful. I'd very much like to see this film serve as a watershed of change ... I'm sure that's unrealistic, but nevertheless:

    DVDFile has just announced one of the truly great works of modern film for release in February as part of M-G-M's World Films line:

    http://www.dvdfile.com/software/dvd...2003/10_23.html

    The good news? A magnificent picture will soon have its day on disc. The bad news? A number of previous entries in the World Films line have shown up as 4x3 formatted widescreen. Two of the most egregious errors are Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, which are 2.35:1 4x3 formatted widescreen (Technovision), and have never been corrected. As a result, I have yet to buy either, though they are both films I'd like to own.

    I hope and trust M-G-M understands the importance of offering Depardieu as his quintessential Cyrano in 16x9 formatted ("anamorphic") OAR. I'm of the personal opinion that this is the finest title yet offered in their World Films line. But ... there's a caveat. The IMDB lists its OAR as 1.66:1, and M-G-M notoriously refuses support for 16x9 formatting on 1.66:1 titles. This is a grave mistake. In addition to the resolution gains (it's a matter of pixels, and they don't lie), 16x9 formatting better ensures the buying public that they are investing in a product derived from a new master. They can enjoy greater confidence (there are exceptions, even from major studios -- for instance, The Big Country reportedly has a better laser transfer, though I haven't seen it; the DVD is nevertheless 16x9 -- so this is by no means fool-proof, but rather "a good indicator") that it's not money wasted when they already have the old laserdisc of the title at home. Six years and counting -- DVD has matured beyond the days in which product placed on disc from old composite D2 video masters could be forgiven; from anyone hoping to appeal to the community that gave DVD its first sea legs in the home video waters (those who value image and sound quality), a D2 will not do. Component D1 masters, 16x9 formatted when wide, or bust. Hi-Def masters downconverted to standard definition transfers are the ideal, but anything less than a component master, properly formatted, will rarely earn my purchasing dollar. [​IMG] Frankly, this film is so good ... so long as it's wide, and reviews suggest it's of a quality indicating the use of a new master, I'll probably buy it. It's just so very good. But if it's any wider than 1.66:1 (if the IMDB is mistaken) and it is not 16x9 formatted, I won't buy it. It's just that simple. And I strongly, strongly, passionately urge M-G-M to look at the lovely 16x9 1.66:1 product of competing studios (Anchor Bay, Disney, etc.) and reconsider their unfortunate policy.

    Perhaps M-G-M will revisit earlier titles in this series, as well. For now, I strongly urge them to do right by our tragic hero Cyrano -- the poor fellow has suffered enough as it is. [​IMG] I've admired much of the studio's DVD work (persistent and annoying and needless artifical edge enhancement notwithstanding; please do away with this, M-G-M -- your product is just too good to continue carrying this burden), and sincerely congratulate them on a number of outstanding discs and the exceptional value of their pricing structure, and will be first in line for this title if transferred correctly. I'm thrilled to hear it's forthcoming, and I trust M-G-M knows both the anticipation for this title and the emphasis film lovers continue to place on the complete use of the DVD spec in bringing the best pictures in the best possible quality to their homes. I hope they also understand that I (and many film lovers) greatly appreciate their dedication to the format. [​IMG]
     
  2. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Suddenly, I find myself the bearer of very good news. I don't know if this has been mentioned on the Software Forum yet (I'll check over there in a while), but upon visiting Best Buy earlier today to note their prices for new Tuesday releases, I found a copy of Mamet's Oleanna on the shelf. I casually checked the back, and lo and behold, not only is it an M-G-M release, and not only is it credited as 1.66:1 widescreen, but ... yes, it says "enhanced for widescreen TVs"!

    Here's a back cover scan at DVDEmpire:

    Oleanna

    Can anyone confirm both the AR and the fact that it is 16x9 formatted? If the AR has been overmatted to 1.78:1, we still have cause for worry, but if it's truly 1.66:1 or in that vicinity (say < 1.77:1), then M-G-M may have come around with 1.66:1 16x9 transfers, and that deserves very high praise indeed. [​IMG] If Oleanna is the beginning of a new policy for the studio, this bodes very well for Cyrano de Bergerac, and leaves, I believe, Warner Bros. as the only major studio to staunchly refuse 16x9 formatting for 1.66:1 material; polite nudges that they join the fray will, of course, accompany any further 4x3 formatted 1.66:1 product they offer (as it has all along), from yours truly and, I'm sure, many others. It's one of the few areas (3-D support and visible edge enhancement elimination are the only other two that come to mind) in which one or more major studios should still find any significant room for improvement on this format, so far as I see at the moment (I'm always happy to find myself surprised by unforseen improvements in other areas, of course [​IMG], but for the time being, these three areas -- 1.66:1 16x9 formatting, 3-D support, and the ommission of any visible EE -- seem the only noteworthy sticking points for major studios, and we may be able to cross one off for M-G-M, bringing them still higher on the ladder of excellence they've already scaled so adeptly with outstanding records in pricing, packaging, and wide-ranging content on disc, including classic film support [​IMG] ).

    Once again, Oleanna's cue provides great hope for Cyrano; we'll see if this disc is, indeed, 1.66:1 and 16x9 formatted, and if it is, I trust it will not prove a lone runner on this front (16x9 formatted 1.66:1) for M-G-M in the ongoing race to digital excellence.
     
  3. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    According to feedback here ...

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=165981

    ... it's looking bad for Oleanna; I've checked a few DVD review sites as well, and it seems everyone agrees that it is not 16x9 formatted, despite claims to the contrary on the box. [​IMG] One member has also raised issue with the AR listing.
     

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