WALLACE & GROMIT: no more "Happy Birthday"

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Douglas Bailey, Sep 5, 2001.

  1. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    The new Wallace & Gromit disc has a slight change made to The Wrong Trousers: when Gromit opens his birthday card just after the credits, the song that plays isn't "Happy Birthday" any more, but some generic -- and presumably non-copyrighted -- tune.
    I can only imagine that Aardman somehow lost (or refused to pony up for) the rights to use "Happy Birthday".
    It's a small change, but one that threw me off immediately: the scene isn't quite as funny without the original tune. For all that the supplements on the new disc are splendid, I may end up keeping my older (Fox) disc of the three films, just to have them the way I originally saw them.
    doug
    ------------------
    "How can it be the same movie if they've changed my character from a tightly-wound convenience-store clerk to a jittery Eskimo firefighter?... uh huh... uh huh... uh huh. Well, that's actually a pretty good explanation..."
    --James Woods, on THE SIMPSONS
    [Edited last by Douglas Bailey on September 05, 2001 at 09:41 AM]
     
  2. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    Aargh. Following-up to myself: the subject line was intended to be WALLACE & GROMIT: no more "Happy Birthday".
    Are quotation marks not allowed in subject lines?
    Admins, if there's any way to patch that subject line to make it more comprehensible, I'd appreciate it. TIA.
    doug
    ------------------
    "How can it be the same movie if they've changed my character from a tightly-wound convenience-store clerk to a jittery Eskimo firefighter?... uh huh... uh huh... uh huh. Well, that's actually a pretty good explanation..."
    --James Woods, on THE SIMPSONS
    [Edited last by Douglas Bailey on September 05, 2001 at 09:44 AM]
     
  3. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Douglas-
    I was curious, I didn't manage to pick up the previous DVD of the 3 films. Is this new Wallace and Gromit DVD vastly improved over the last disc, aside from the missing music? I mean is the big difference the addition of running commentary or extra suppliments?
    Thanks, and that's too bad they changed the music.
    Nelson
     
  4. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  5. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Doug, I've fixed the title of the thread for you.
    quote: Are quotation marks not allowed in subject lines?[/quote]
    Yes, but we too have to pay the copyright holders a huge fee when the 'Happy Birthday' song title appears in a subject header. [​IMG]
    This is an interesting alteration. One I am glad to be aware of as I still have not got the films in any incarnation on DVD (or LD). I'm probably still happy to get the latest Warner disc...
    Dan (UK)
    [Edited last by Dan Brecher on September 05, 2001 at 02:38 PM]
     
  6. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    Dan, thanks for the subject header fix.
    quote: ...we too have to pay the copyright holders a huge fee when the 'Happy Birthday' song title appears in a subject header.[/quote]
    [​IMG]
    quote: This is an interesting alteration... I'm probably still happy to get the latest Warner disc...[/quote]
    I'm not suggesting that the new Warner disc isn't worth having: the commentary tracks and documentaries alone make it worth picking up for me. I was just startled by the change.
    (As to why I noticed it: I used to work at a company that did digital encoding of audio/video. I brought in my laserdisc player and my Wallace & Gromit disc and encoded The Wrong Trousers -- all of it -- for use as the continuous in-house demo loop. So I'm very familiar with the film.)
    doug
    ------------------
    "How can it be the same movie if they've changed my character from a tightly-wound convenience-store clerk to a jittery Eskimo firefighter?... uh huh... uh huh... uh huh. Well, that's actually a pretty good explanation..."
    --James Woods, on THE SIMPSONS
    [Edited last by Douglas Bailey on September 05, 2001 at 02:54 PM]
     
  7. Phong

    Phong Agent

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  8. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Doh! I went to Best Buy today (to pick up Memento and The Princess Bride S.E.) and completely forgot to look for the new W&G disc. And I love W&G! Anyway, I'll pick it up next week - and hang on to my old one, too!
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    "Death's at the bottom of everything, Martins - leave death to the professionals!"
    "Mind if use that line in my next western?"
     
  9. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    quote: Interesting fact is that Paul McCartney is the person that owns the rights to Happy Birthday.[/quote]
    Except he doesn't, and never has. That's an urban myth. This is a 'history' of the song - Warner Communications currently own it.
    History of "Happy Birthday"
    [Edited last by BrianB on September 05, 2001 at 05:25 PM]
     
  10. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    I'm not sure about that McCartney thing Phong.
    quote: Written by the Hill sisters in 1893, the song wasn't copyrighted until 1935. In 1988, Warner Communications bought the rights to the song for $25 million _ and the song earns about $1 million a year in royalties. The song is expected to enter the public domain when the copyright expires in 2010.[/quote]
    taken from this fairly recent article:
    http://www.stater.kent.edu/kentertai...ticle.asp?ID=9
    also:
    http://www.thebirthdaycd.com/LearnHistory.htm
    So maybe the HD-DVD copy of The Wrong Trousers will be able to restore the tune in 2010, when it is public domain.
    EDIT: DOH! BrianB beat me to it while I composed that reply.
    [Edited last by Glenn Heberle on September 05, 2001 at 05:28 PM]
     
  11. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Producer
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    I have both the Fox pressing and the new WB pressing,
    and I am thrilled with the new DVD!
    It does contain more supplements than the Fox release.
    It has:
    1. A commentary track with Nick Park and his collaborators,
    2. A "welcome to this DVD.." intro with Nick
      the excepts from the making of The Wrong Trousers
    3. Storyboard to Film comparrisons from both
      The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave
    4. An additional animated short, in addtion to the
      two earlier Nick Park shorts, and his early tests
      of Wallace and Gromit.[/list=a]
      And the menus are fun, though I imagine they will
      get a bit old.
      Mark
      [Edited last by Mark Walker on September 05, 2001 at 05:39 PM]
     
  12. Bryant Frazer

    Bryant Frazer Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    Anyone else think the picture looks like crap on this DVD? I never saw the old one but I was expecting 'Chicken Run' quality. It must be transfered from video as my Panny H1000 goes into video mode plus a few ntsc artifacts are present (some moire in 'trousers').
    A little disappointed but still glad its available on DVD.
     
  14. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    Sadly, I have to agree with Mark that the picture on the new Warner W&G disc isn't up to snuff.
    So far, I've only had time to compare The Wrong Trousers with the previous (Fox) disc, but the differences are obvious.
    The new transfer has a rather greenish tint, where the older one leaned more towards the red end of the spectrum (and looked more natural to me).
    I could live with that, but the new transfer also looks positively blurry compared to the older one: there's a noticeable loss of detail.
    Here're some screen-captures (unretouched 720x540 JPEGs) to show what I'm talking about:
    Gromit at the kitchen table:
    Fox version
    Warner version
    Looking at shadows:
    Fox version
    Warner version
    (Notice particularly how the detail of the flagstones is lost in the Warner version.)
    Newspaper:
    Fox version
    Warner version
    Plans:
    Fox version
    Warner version
    Diamond:
    Fox version
    Warner version
    Guess I really am keeping my old disc. Pity.
    doug
    ------------------
    "How can it be the same movie if they've changed my character from a tightly-wound convenience-store clerk to a jittery Eskimo firefighter?... uh huh... uh huh... uh huh. Well, that's actually a pretty good explanation..."
    --James Woods, on The Simpsons
    [Edited last by Douglas Bailey on September 05, 2001 at 07:47 PM]
     
  15. Michael Warner

    Michael Warner Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the heads up. I was this close to selling my older copy while waiting for the new one to arrive. Looks like they'll be sitting side by side on the shelf -- one for the shorts and one for the extras.
     
  16. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    quote: I was playing with this over the weekend and couldn't find any extra footage....Maybe I'm just being stupid.[/quote]
    They're oddly placed, but the tests and early films are on the disc: look in "Special Features", under "Behind the Scenes", and you'll find a link called "Nick Park's Early Work". That's the ticket, lad. (clenches fingers, waggles hands back and forth)
    doug
    ------------------
    "How can it be the same movie if they've changed my character from a tightly-wound convenience-store clerk to a jittery Eskimo firefighter?... uh huh... uh huh... uh huh. Well, that's actually a pretty good explanation..."
    --James Woods, on The Simpsons
    [Edited last by Douglas Bailey on September 05, 2001 at 09:06 PM]
    [Edited last by Douglas Bailey on September 06, 2001 at 08:12 AM]
     
  17. Kyle Milligan

    Kyle Milligan Stunt Coordinator

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    The replacement song for "Happy Birthday" is "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" and I have to say, that while it is not the originally used song, the gag remains the same. It only accounts for 5 seconds of the 30 minute short.
    The new disc is heads and shoulders above the previous Fox version thanks to the added extras, which include a behind the scenes on "A Close Shave", the same old one from "The Wrong Trousers", plus "The Amazing World Of Wallace & Gromit" (which is really quite good), a bonus early work of Nick Park, audio commentaries, and storyboard stuff. There are added language options too.
    What you don't get are a few of the BBC Interstitials that were on the first edition. There are some here, just not all of them. The menus are improved too.
    I can't really say I noticed a difference on the video quality, and therefore must defer to those with a keener eye, but to pass on this new edition just for the song seems a bit unfair. For fans of bonus features, it's the way to go.
    Full review and details click here
    ------------------
    Kyle
    www.toldyouso.net
     
  18. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Producer
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    The commentary is really great,
    especially where Nick says,
    "We've just come from working
    on the script for the first Wallace and Gromit feature film."

    I am soo amped!
    (But I thought the next film was going to be
    a modern retelling of the Tortoise and Hare story?
    --not that I am complaining! Maybe that one in
    in production, and the W&G film is in pre-production???)
    [​IMG]
    Mark
     
  19. Bill Eberhardt

    Bill Eberhardt Stunt Coordinator

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    The trailer for "Robbie the Reindeer" looks interesting. Has the "Robbie" DVD been released yet?
     
  20. ChristopherM

    ChristopherM Stunt Coordinator

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    "Robbie the Reindeer" was scheduled to be released on R1 the same day as the new W&G DVD. It's already out in the UK, but I haven't seen it so cannot comment on the content. I thought it was a "Red Nose" charity disc though, so I'd be interested to know if the US proceeds are going to charity.
    By the way, didn't Paul McCartney write a different song called "Happy Birthday"? Is this the source of the urban myth that he has the rights to the original?
     

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