Where's the Criterion Spartacus thread?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by RobR, Jan 3, 2002.

  1. RobR

    RobR Second Unit

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    I seem to recall a rather long thread concerning Spartacus Criterion Collection and the controversy over the aspect ratio (???). I believe it's one of the threads in which Robert Harris placed posts. I can't seem to locate it using the search engine. Anybody?
     
  2. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Second Unit

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    I'm afraid I don't know which thread your talking about but, as far as I am aware, there is no controversy regarding the Criterion edition of Spartacus - not only is it presented in it correct aspec ration for the first time (it was shot in 8 perf 35mm Technirama otherwise known as Super Techinirama 70 - hence release prints were in 70mm and therefore in a pretty standard 65mm picture ratio of 2.21:1 ratio - exactly what was on the Criterion.

    Not only that but the transfer was approved by the restoration / preservation expert Mr Robert Harris - who approved the look and colour - additionally criterion did some dust busting and scratch removal to make it look pristine.

    All in all a fabuluous DVD of a masterpiece of cinema.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Rob,

    This dvd was released all the way back to April, 2001 which means since the forum is set up to automatically delete threads with no activity after a certain passage of time, I seriously doubt that this thread is available for viewing again. I believe that a thread will be deleted if it is inactive for a period of 3 months or so.

    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    The bulk of the Spartacus discussion had to do with different people's views on the secondary color correction that was performed by Criterion. Joe Caporiccio in particular thought it looked all wrong and did not match several IB tech prints he had seen. He apparently had a friend who let him see an S-VHS tape of the transfer as Universal provided it to Criterion and thought that it looked much more correct that way.
    Robert Harris explained that the additional color correction performed by Criterion had used frames from every reel of a 35mm IB tech print for which Stanley Kubrick had approved the timing as reference. This was also explained on the featurette on the disc. The point was also made that while IB tech prints do not fade, they do not necessarily all look alike, and at the end of the day, one was unlikely to find a more appropriate reference than a print timed with Kubrick's input.
    In his own inimitable way, Joe kept going anyway. [​IMG]
    There was some discussion of aspect ratio, and that may very well be how the thread started, but it was not the bulk of the discussion. There was also a little back and forth on the wide proscenium mix that was used for the stereo soundtrack and how that worked in a home theater environment.
    Regards,
     
  5. Matthew_S

    Matthew_S Second Unit

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  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Also, Crawdaddy: I thought I read somewhere that the forum automatically archives threads. Guess I got that wrong.

    Well, we can always start a new thread about the Criterion Spartacus!

    Here goes: The disc is just about the best ever done by The Criterion Collection. It's a masterpiece, and the film has never looked so gorgeous. This may be Mr. Kubrick's "most accessible" film, but the disc enhances one's appreciation of this underrated masterpiece. And anything Mr. Harris cares to add to a discussion is most welcome.
     
  7. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    My understanding is that threads get archived when either a moderator decides that it should be done or someone specifically requests that a moderator do it and they have no major disagreements. The particular thread we are discussing here veered into some needless acrimony and was almost shut down despite the interesting information it presented, so it was unlikely to be archived. I agree with Jack's suggestion for a new thread. I'll start with a recommendation I now recall making about watching it:

    If possible and your set-up is not already like this, move your front L & R speakers close to the sides of your screen to view this one. The wide stereo directional dialog works much more effectively this way.

    Regards,
     
  8. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  9. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Screenwriter

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    That was the greatest film restoration debate I've ever read. I'm glad to have gone through it at least once before it disappeared. It was simultaneously entertaining and highly informative. I learned a lot and also guffawed a "D'oh!" every time a particularly vitriolic verbal shot was fired.
     
  10. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

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    Another reason the thread may be MIA is that April 2001 was the month of the failed new/old/current software on the HTF.

    It was a lively debate though.

    Rob
     
  11. RobR

    RobR Second Unit

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    Ken and everyone,

    Thanks for all the responses. Too bad I only read the thread once as I would've liked to remember more from it. I am wondering if people gave Criterion more credit towards the restoration of the film than they should, as I believe Universal initiated the restoration with the help of Robert Harris (and poured nearly $1 million into it). Universal released the new transfer on DVD in March 1998. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. Did Criterion merely clean up and did additional work on the existing (new) transfer? Both Universal and Criterion are at 196 minutes long.

    What transfer was used for the Criterion laserdisc as I've never seen it?
     
  12. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Since Robert Harris was involved in both the restoration of the film and with the Criterion DVD, and since he feels the Criterion is more accurate, that's good enough for me.

    Sorry I can't offer more.
     
  13. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Spartacus was reconstructed and restored during the

    Tom Pollack regime at Universal. Tom is now fittingly

    in independent production and working with the AFI.

    Universal did the new transfer from our extant 65mm

    dupe interpositive and did quite a bit of cleanup before

    the transfer ever made it way to Criterion.

    Once at Criterion we made all of the appropriate color and density corrections to the digital transfer, after which

    Criterion did additional cleanup.

    Since the restoration was created using only what survived for the 8 perf (TLA) separation masters (yes, some were missing) and these had been produced via dry gate printing, dirt, scratches and other anomolies survived to the new film elements. This is why the multiple cleanups were necessary.

    Both Universal Home Video and Criterion did superlative work in bringing this new version to DVD.

    The final work was approved by both Stanley Kubrick and Kirk Douglas. As a note, Stanley directed Tony Hopkins revoicing of Laurence Olivier via fax.

    Hope this is helpful.

    RAH
     
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Of course it's helpful!

    Thank you for the insights.
     
  15. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Thanks for the info, Robert, but I think the original post was asking about the framing of the film on the respective DVDs as well.

    Since you didn't mention this, is it safe to assume that my comments on this are an accurate reflection of what you said in the previous thread?
     
  16. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I'm the one who started the original thread, and yes, I was asking about the framing. The Criterion framing is slightly different than the Universal edition. And Rain, I believe your comments are correct. Mr. Harris did comment on this, and I believe he stated what you did on the matter. This was one thread that I was actually proud of starting. I didn't realize it would turn into such a lively debate!
     
  17. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Regarding the framing, I would also like to comment that I did a direct comparison of a few scenes on the 2 DVDs before getting rid of my Universal copy.

    I actually think it looks better on the Criterion. Even though, it is a bit tighter, it is not tight in the sense that anything looks cut off. On the contrary, while the Universal disc does show more, it is nothing of significance, at least in the scenes I looked at.
     

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