Does Kino understand stereo sound?

3 Stars

I am really getting tired for stereo films now becoming mono films on Blu Ray. Just received LINK, which I had previously on DVD, which was stereo, but this new release is mono. I think Kino Lorber needs to find out what format (sound) the film was made and make sure they have the correct elements before pressing the Blu Ray. For sound, at least for catalog titles, the trend has been going down hill for some time now. We used to get 5.1 sound even for 4 track films, with the mono surrounds, then it seems to be 2 track stereo, which could provide a matrixed 4 track sound if done correctly. Now, most sound is relegated to 2 track dual mono or if we are lucky, 2 track stereo… depending on the source. They need to research, if available, a previous release (DVD) of a film they are remastering to make sure the studio provides them with the proper track. From now on, I will not preorder a known stereo film until I read a review. Of course many films from the 50s are missing their original stereo, which I can understand, but Dolby surround is built into the soundtrack and really should not be this big of a problem.

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Kevin Collins

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87 Comments

  1. Kino, as with most boutique labels that license product from studios, is at the mercy of what is presented to them by the studios. While understandably, most labels are concerned about the quality of the film's visual transfer rather than the mono/stereo question, I don't think it's their responsibility to track down whether the product they're given was originally released in mono or stereo and then demand the studio remedy the situation if possible. If a film had a stereo track when originally released, of course, it would be ideal to have that replicated in its physical media presentation.

    But if the only way I'm going to get, say, The Best Things In Life Are Free (1956) on blu ray is with mono sound rather than its original 4 track stereo presentation (or even reduced to a 2 track stereo situation), I'm certainly not going to boycott it. I'll take the mono sound rather than boycotting it. But hey, that's just me, to each his own.

  2. Olive has done this several times also. I can spot the problem within the first few seconds, anyone who works in mastering these ought to also and not proceed until it’s corrected. We’re not talking old films with “lost” elements either, these are ones that have been in stereo since their first VHS releases! I’m still blown away that “Camp Nowhere” (1994) has been issued TWICE (once from Mill Creek and then from Kino) in mono when the laserdisc and VHS were always stereo!

  3. "Celtic Pride" had a 5.1 mix and was released as two track mono on blu-ray. I sent my copy back. I won't buy anything anymore that doesn't have the original sound layout. I even have questions about original 5.1 titles that now have Atmos mixes on UHD. In almost all cases I believe it's a software derived upmix. I don't mind that as much, but I can do that myself quite effectively from the 5.1 mix using DTS Neural upmix on my Prepro.

  4. Kino rep on the "other forum":

    "The film and audio were restored by Studio Canal (4K scan of the OCN) and we released the master we received from them."

    So, like was suspected, they were at the mercy of the company they licensed it from.

  5. Other small companies have gone out of their way to restore original stereo tracks even when the licencors didn't supply them. Specifically, Synapse Films tracked down the original Dolby Stereo soundtracks for both DEMONS and DEMONS 2 even though the Italian licensors didn't have the elements, and they did a full-on top-to-bottom restoration of the original 4.0 English stereo track for SUSPIRIA– again, on their own tracking down the original 35mm mag stems with no help from the licencors.

    Vincent

  6. I imagine there is probably some cost-benefit analysis on each title. The titles mentioned above like Demons and The Manitou are genre horror titles and likely sell more copies than a drama. If they think they can spend money to track down and restore soundtracks and such and still make a profit based on copies sold, they may do so. But if they're not expecting big sales, the cost effective choice would be just to go with what is provided.

  7. Malcolm R

    I imagine there is probably some cost-benefit analysis on each title.

    I agree. I think that sometimes gets lost in the discussion. I think what also can be difficult to understand at first is that many of these titles will not sell in any significant quantity; we're talking not even thousands of units but maybe only hundreds, or less. And a label like Kino might need to agree to release a set of 100 titles as part of a deal, rather than just being able to pick and choose individual titles. So when you're in their shoes and faced with being contractually obligated to release dozens and/or hundreds of titles that may not sell, there's probably just limits to how much work they can put into each title. Even the process of tracking down what was previously released and available can become too much to handle if there are large numbers of titles being released, but handled by a small group with limited resources.

    I totally get the frustration, but I think it sometimes get lost that the choice a label like Kino might face is not "put it out in mono or try to find the stereo" but "we're contractually obligated to release this and don't expect it to turn a profit and we can't throw more good money after bad" or "it's the choice between putting out this or nothing at all."

  8. Josh Steinberg

    I agree. I think that sometimes gets lost in the discussion. I think what also can be difficult to understand at first is that many of these titles will not sell in any significant quantity; we're talking not even thousands of units but maybe only hundreds, or less. And a label like Kino might need to agree to release a set of 100 titles as part of a deal, rather than just being able to pick and choose individual titles. So when you're in their shoes and faced with being contractually obligated to release dozens and/or hundreds of titles that may not sell, there's probably just limits to how much work they can put into each title. Even the process of tracking down what was previously released and available can become too much to handle if there are large numbers of titles being released, but handled by a small group with limited resources.

    I totally get the frustration, but I think it sometimes get lost that the choice a label like Kino might face is not "put it out in mono or try to find the stereo" but "we're contractually obligated to release this and don't expect it to turn a profit and we can't throw more good money after bad" or "it's the choice between putting out this or nothing at all."

    No one is expecting licensees such as Kino to do a massive amount of work or expenditure on ensuring that original stereo tracks are used. This is a matter for the studio. All Kino (for example) has to do is point out that there was a previous stereo release so why is this master in mono? Too often there seem to be mistakes or lack of knowledge or plain laziness within certain studios or rights owners who don't do sufficient research.

  9. Every previous release of this has had the Dolby Stereo soundtrack so I'm sorry but there's simply no excuse for this. It's ridiculous to keep giving labels passes for releasing defective product (and yes, having a mono soundtrack for a film that should be Dolby Stereo, especially when every previous home video release had the correct stereo soundtrack, is a defect). They spent money on extras, there's no reason they couldn't have made sure the sound was correct.

    Vincent

  10. They actually recorded a new commentary track for Camp Nowhere, but still couldn’t get the sound right after the Mill Creek disc was already messed up! I don’t even know what would have caused the sound to turn out that way in the first place, but SOMEBODY should have caught it. To go ahead and release it that way anyways without even an explanation gives the impression that someone doesn’t know what they’re doing. Kino has put out some great releases, but to make this mistake and make it that many times is still inexcusable.

  11. Yeah, Kino is notorious for botched soundtracks whether or not it is their fault. The Falcon and the Snowman is another Dolby Stereo movie that is mono on the Kino Blu-ray but stereo on digital platforms. I can’t even count how many times Kino has released Blu-rays with 2.0 mixdowns of movies that were 5.1 on the DVD. There is one boutique label that is fussy about soundtrack elements and will actually turn down transfers that don’t have the proper elements. They are also known for their isolated music tracks!

  12. I watched the Olive Films Blu-ray of the Charles Bronson film “Kinjite Forbidden Subjects” last night. The fidelity was decent for a movie from 1989 but it was definitely mono. Watching the end credits confirmed that the sound was Ultra-Stereo. My old MGM DVD is stereo so I assume the Ultra-Stereo mix carried over.

  13. There is simply no excuse for this.

    So let’s say you only expect 400 copies sold out of a pressing of 500 or 1000.

    The minimum respect your should have for the customer, and the original filmmakers, is not botch up the sound and picture.

    Any fan out there can remux DVD sounds, or LD sounds, to a HD master in 20mn, and companies with resources don’t bother doing the work? That is total disregard to what they are selling and to the customers.

    No wonder sales are going down. No one want to buy a defective product, and that is what it is.

  14. Mark-P

    There is one boutique label that is fussy about soundtrack elements and will actually turn down transfers that don't have the proper elements. They are also known for their isolated music tracks!

    That's the advantage of releasing four titles a month.

    Kino Lorber is releasing 25 titles this month.

  15. BLURAY REVIEWERS PLEASE TAKE NOTE:
    What I don’t get these days are all the bluray reviews on major sites where the reviewer does not seem to understand what stereo sound even is. They indicate ‘2.0’ without specifing mono or stereo, and ramble on about the fidelity of the sound, etc, but in no way indicate actual sound layout… ???
    With labels like Kino releasing stereo movies (and as members have mentionned above, stereo movies that had true 2.0 stereo, 4.0, 5.1, etc on celluloid, VHS, LaserDisc, and DVD), with mono sound on Bluray (that’s right folks, 5 steps forward in image quality, but 5 steps back for the sound; makes complete sense in this day and age, right?), these incomplete reviews are worthless for someone trying to determine if they should purchase a newly-release title or not.
    I too have skipped certain titles that had stereo sound in theatres 40+ years ago, and on various home video formats, but are released on bluray with a mono soundtrack. I just don’t buy the ”elements are no longer available” or ”that is what the studio provided” stories, when something was released on dvd 10 years ago in 5.1.

  16. revgen

    That's the advantage of releasing four titles a month.

    Kino Lorber is releasing 25 titles this month.

    You hit the nail on the head.

    The only excuse for not including stereo audio for a stereo film, is if the original audio no longer exists in any usable form.
    This is unfortunately frequent when it comes to films from the 50s.

    In those cases, one can overlook such situations, assuming that all nooks and crannies were explored to try and deliver the best and most authentic audio as originally intended.

  17. I don't have an absolute rule about refusing to buy something that isn't in stereo when it should be.

    In practice, however, it is often the decisive factor for me. I even buy things I barely want if the reviews are especially positive about the stereo sound.

  18. Elements do go missing, but in the case of a two-channel stereo film that’s been released that way on VHS, LD, and DVD, and then is suddenly mono on Blu-ray, I think there’s a much simpler explanation.

    I honestly think the stereo tracks were accidentally centered at some point during the import, export, or encode stage. It’s an easy mistake to make, but also ridiculously easy to catch.

  19. This is surprisingly becoming more of an issue. Usually it’s the other way round with countless films losing their original mono and stereo tracks to little or no outcry in favor of most often horrendous remixes.

    But now we have catalog titles losing their discrete sound with no one saying very much. Worst of all is the roadshow 70mm epics with only 2.0 tracks presumably being from the original Laserdisc releases where matrixed Dolby ProLogic was the only option before discrete was available on video.

    The one film I noticed most missing it’s 5.1 was the recent Kino release of The Crucible which got great reviews everywhere but only has 2.0 hdma. I thought to myself wait a minute wasn’t that a common Laserdisc with thx certification and ac3? Sure enough I picked up a copy for a dollar and it has ac3 and the same matrixed 2.0 as the Kino.

    It is partially studios providing wrong or lesser sources but also can be the label not doing proper research or not caring to. Fortunately most labels try to do the best they can with what they have access to.

  20. rsmithjr

    however, it is often the decisive factor for me. I even buy things I barely want if the reviews are especially positive about the stereo sound.

    Cinema has always been about the visuals more than what they sound like for me. As long as I can understand what's being said (I don't give a rat's arse about how explosions, car crashes, lousy film scores from supherhero movies etc. sound), I'm good. Of course, I love the 4.0 directional film sound from Fox's CinemaScope period (hate the 5.1 remixes) but if they're in mono, it's not a dealbreaker. A bad movie is a bad movie and a pristine sound design isn't going to make it a good movie. If I'm watching a great film like The Godfather, On The Waterfront or Bonnie And Clyde, I get so wrapped up in the story that I don't even think about the sound as long as it's clear and I can understand what's being said.

  21. I am surprised at a certain indifference to mono sound when stereo has existed in previous home video incarnations. Of course mono will have to do if nothing else is available but so will DVD when there is no Blu-ray.

    With that beng said it should be possible to work with what has been released previously in most cases.

    As for the case of Kino it is hard to believe that with their huge number of releases they would have a harder time getting studios to make a multichannel or stereo soundtrack available than a smaller label. It would be interesting to hear from them first hand what the issue was for certain movies or if for most titles they have a policy to just work with whatever they get, mono or not.

  22. OliverK

    I am surprised at a certain indifference to mono sound when stereo has existed in previous home video incarnations. Of course mono will have to do if nothing else is available but so will DVD when there is no Blu-ray.

    With that beng said it should be possible to work with what has been released previously in most cases.

    As for the case of Kino it is hard to believe that with their huge number of releases they would have a harder time getting studios to make a multichannel or stereo soundtrack available than a smaller label. It would be interesting to hear from them first hand what the issue was for certain movies or if for most titles they have a policy to just work with whatever they get, mono or not.

    I'm not, as most people are what Thomas T has described in this post. That doesn't mean some of us are happy about no stereo, but with the status of physical media market in a precarious situation , there isn't a whole lot we can do about it. Sure, the studios have failed us with some of these mono audio tracks, but except for a small segment of film buffs, not many of us are going to scream bloody murder about that failure.

  23. I don't buy the suggestion that we should just accept what's being released, warts and all, because of the "precarious market situation" or whatever. If Kino wasn't turning a profit, they wouldn't be releasing all these titles. Expecting these companies to do some actual QC and know that what they are releasing is correct is not too much to ask for.

    Vincent

  24. Vincent_P

    I don't buy the suggestion that we should just accept what's being released, warts and all, because of the "precarious market situation" or whatever. If Kino wasn't turning a profit, they wouldn't be releasing all these titles. Expecting these companies to do some actual QC and know that what they are releasing is correct is not too much to ask for.

    Vincent

    You don't have to accept what's being released so you are free to protest and correct the situation any way you prefer to do so. Just don't expect other people to feel that same commitment to rectify those audio mistakes. I'm just stating the reality as I see it.

  25. Vincent_P

    I don't buy the suggestion that we should just accept what's being released, warts and all, because of the "precarious market situation" or whatever. If Kino wasn't turning a profit, they wouldn't be releasing all these titles. Expecting these companies to do some actual QC and know that what they are releasing is correct is not too much to ask for.

    Vincent

    With the high volume of releases I believe Kino has far more failures than success with most titles.
    I'm sure overall they are making a profit, but the needle is slightly above breaking even if you ask me. The sales they have a few times a year is just more proof of this. If they were doing great business on the number of units pushed – BD titles, you would certainly see a lot more care being put into how the release is treated.

    I'm thankful they are around. I have always been in the "something is better than nothing" mindset. I will continue to support them until they stop releasing Blu-Ray titles.

  26. Custer of the West and Krakatoa East of Java were released in 70mm 6-track stereo sound for the Cinerama roadshow but only mono on the Blu-ray's. I mentioned that they would have sold a lot more copies if they had the stereo tracks and Kino just laughed.

  27. RolandL

    Custer of the West and Krakatoa East of Java were released in 70mm 6-track stereo sound for the Cinerama roadshow but only mono on the Blu-ray's. I mentioned that they would have sold a lot more copies if they had the stereo tracks and Kino just laughed.

    Which is why Kino missed the sale of both titles to me!

  28. RolandL

    Custer of the West and Krakatoa East of Java were released in 70mm 6-track stereo sound for the Cinerama roadshow but only mono on the Blu-ray's. I mentioned that they would have sold a lot more copies if they had the stereo tracks and Kino just laughed.

    YOU SHOULD BE THANKFUL THEY RELEASED THEM AT ALL, INGRATE!!!

    😉

    Vincent

  29. I’m not saying this in defense of releasing them without their original stereo tracks, but just curious: approximately how many copies of each of those two titles do you think Kino has sold to date, and how many more do you think they would have sold if they had included stereo audio instead of mono?

  30. Josh Steinberg

    I’m not saying this in defense of releasing them without their original stereo tracks, but just curious: approximately how many copies of each of those two titles do you think Kino has sold to date, and how many more do you think they would have sold if they had included stereo audio instead of mono?

    My guess, maybe 250/20.

  31. Why do I suspect that those who refuse to buy films not in stereo would be more than happy to buy mono films remastered in stereo sound? They've invested all that money into their home theater sound systems and they want their money's worth, dammit! 🙂 I mean films like My Dinner With Andre and Executive Suite would be so much more awesome in 5.1 sound, right?

  32. I am probably speaking heresy here, but I rarely notice the quality of the sound on a Blu ray at all, unless I can’t hear the dialogue. If l am listening to a CD, on earphones, stereo is certainly important, but even with my fairly decent sound system in my HT, unless the sound effect is in the back speakers or sweeps across loudly, I tend not to notice. It is galling however when the movie was originally in stereo, that is available, and not on the disc.

  33. Thomas T

    Why do I suspect that those who refuse to buy films not in stereo would be more than happy to buy mono films remastered in stereo sound? They've invested all that money into their home theater sound systems and they want their money's worth, dammit! 🙂 I mean films like My Dinner With Andre and Executive Suite would be so much more awesome in 5.1 sound, right?

    I think I speak for most posters here when I say that we'd like the best channel configuration that was available when the movie was released. Obviously this will have to be achieved within the limits of the sound formats available in a home theater so 5.1 will have to do for most movies released with 6-track magnetic sound.

    Not many people here always want all of their video and audio capabilities being used to the max and imo insisting on 5.1 sound instead of mono is not that much different than changing the aspect ratio of a movie to fit the screen. That being said with soundtracks we have the luxury to have one track on the disc that is as close as possible to the original and also another track with a modern reinterpretation in 5.1, 7.1, 5.1.4 or whatever. No problem to go crazy with the number of channels if we get the original mix, too.

  34. There's a reason that Kino rarely mentions the sound configuration on their disc packaging, and I suspect it's because they neither know nor care what it is. So what if earlier releases were 5.1? If you're now issuing a mono Blu-ray, why not just proudly say so on your package. Surely the consumer deserves that much information before buying. But Kino disagrees.

    As for waiting for reviews, some reviewers won't hazard a guess as to the sound configuration ("The sound is full and dialogue is easy to hear."). Or, two reviewers will differ in the sound they hear, with one hearing stereo, the other not. Or, you get the worthless information that the disc is "in 2.0 sound," with no clue as to whether that means dual-channel mono, front stereo only, or 2-channel matrixed surround sound.

  35. Malcolm R

    My guess, maybe 250/20.

    That not much help.
    One would think that any sensible business model would include presenting your product in its best light.
    Both these titles have not much to recommend them save their PQ and SQ as Cinerama roadshows.
    Not to exploit that is just plain silly .

  36. john a hunter

    That not much help.
    One would think that any sensible business model would include presenting your product in its best light.
    Both these titles have not much to recommend them save their PQ and SQ as Cinerama roadshows.
    Not to exploit that is just plain silly .

    I have a TV recording of Custer and it comes from a channel that airs stereo when available but unfortunately Custer was only aired in dual mono. I believe the DVD was mono too so it looks like Kino could only have worked from some 6 track original material to make this available with multichannel sound which they probably considered cost-prohbitive. As for exploiting the strengths of cinerama if you look at the picture quality of Custer I would not really call it a revelation so the picture and sound quality may both be considered to be rather disappointing.

  37. Kino are one of my favourite home video labels and despite living in the UK, I have well over 200 of their BDs and DVDs. However, though they usually put more effort and expense into their releases than the likes of barebones Olive, Kino are no Criterion and have nearly always released whatever masters are most readily and cheaply to hand. For instance, if there are only PAL masters of European restorations or extras, Kino use them directly, rather than shell out for new NTSC ones. Many, perhaps more than half, of all their silent film DVDs are particularly compromised by being mastered in this way. And now they plan to release unrestored versions of Hitchcock's British silent films, when the BFI's brilliant restorations are sitting idle in the vaults.

    Kino have a longstanding and clearly successful business model, based on quantity but not always absolute quality, and don't look like changing anytime soon. Though I find them occasionally frustrating, overall I love what they do, and long may they continue.

  38. rdimucci

    There's a reason that Kino rarely mentions the sound configuration on their disc packaging, and I suspect it's because they neither know nor care what it is. So what if earlier releases were 5.1? If you're now issuing a mono Blu-ray, why not just proudly say so on your package. Surely the consumer deserves that much information before buying. But Kino disagrees.

    Most of their packages have the old "DTS" logo on the back, even though the format on the disc is usually DTS-HD Master, which makes me wonder if they even know what the difference is there (or even how they can legally use the logo for a format that's technically not on the disc).

    Brent Reid

    Kino have a longstanding and clearly successful business model, based on quantity but not always absolute quality, and don't look like changing anytime soon. Though I find them occasionally frustrating, overall I love what they do, and long may they continue.

    To be honest, Kino's quality issues wouldn't bother me so much if they weren't so rude to their customers. They are often arrogant, condescending, and seemingly put out that anyone might point out some avoidable issues with their products.

    Of course, sometimes customers could be a little more polite, too, but Kino has just rubbed me the wrong way with how they've responded to certain things recently.

  39. Bryan Tuck

    Most of their packages have the old "DTS" logo on the back, even though the format on the disc is usually DTS-HD Master, which makes me wonder if they even know what the difference is there (or even how they can legally use the logo for a format that's technically not on the disc).

    Well, technically it's not "wrong", as a standard DTS track is embedded within a DTS-HD Master track.

  40. The previous KINO evangelist that posted here under the moniker of Mr. Lime said they have to pay a fee per layer for DTS royalties. I suspect they have an arrangement with DTS for their encoding and it makes it easier to manage.

    Of course if the sound is on oft used and not well kept wax cylinders it probably won't sound much better if it were to be a different encoding format…

  41. B-ROLL

    The previous KINO evangelist that posted here under the moniker of Mr. Lime said they have to pay a fee per layer for DTS royalties. I suspect they have an arrangement with DTS for their encoding and it makes it easier to manage.

    Of course if the sound is on oft used and not well kept wax cylinders it probably won't sound much better if it were to be a different encoding format…

    Interesting. So even though they encode in full DTS-HD Master Audio they don't have to pay the extra fee if they don't print it on the label. Kind of like when some movies back in the 1980s were actually encoded in Dolby Stereo on the film prints but not advertised as such to avoid the Dolby licensing fee.

  42. Douglas R

    Let's hope Kino manage to produce stereo tracks for THE LAST VALLEY. It was about a year ago that they said they had the rights but that the elements were in very poor shape.

    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a stereo version from Kino. But the Barry score is magnificent as is the film. One can only hope one day….

    Since this is a thread on Kino stereo tracks has anyone compared the TT version of Judgment at Nuremberg with the Kino version?

  43. Douglas R

    Let's hope Kino manage to produce stereo tracks for THE LAST VALLEY. It was about a year ago that they said they had the rights but that the elements were in very poor shape.

    It's unlikely as the elements (as Kino said) are in very poor shape. Who's going to restore it? Kino Lorber? Unlikely. But if they can get a good transfer, I'll take it in mono gladly!

  44. Thomas T

    It's unlikely as the elements (as Kino said) are in very poor shape. Who's going to restore it? Kino Lorber? Unlikely. But if they can get a good transfer, I'll take it in mono gladly!

    The Last Valley is a very underrated movie and in my opinion one of the few really good movies released in Cinerama, too bad that it tanked at the box office.

    A satisfactory Blu-ray could be produced by just working with remaining prints as the main source, that includes the production of a multichannel soundtrack.

    The same has been done with a 70mm print of Savage Pampas, stills taken from in70mm.com:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

  45. OliverK

    The Last Valley is a very underrated movie and in my opinion one of the few really good movies released in Cinerama, too bad that it tanked at the box office.

    The Last Valley was only promoted as "On our Giant Cinerama screen" by Cinerama theatres. Many other films were promoted like this including the Gone With the Wind re-release.

    I'm guessing Kino only gets titles from 35mm not 70mm.

  46. RolandL

    The Last Valley was only promoted as "On our Giant Cinerama screen" by Cinerama theatres. Many other films were promoted like this including the Gone With the Wind re-release.

    I'm guessing Kino only gets titles from 35mm not 70mm.[/QUO

    Correct. I believe the Last Velley was filmed in Todd AO 70 mm.

  47. It was Todd AO and in London did not open in Cinerama but at the Leicester Sq Theatre.
    It later moved to the Casino Cinerama which by then was showing anything it could in 70.
    Given that The Last Valley was produced by the Cinerama Releasing Co,they obviously decided in this release pattern and played down a Cinerama connection.
    I suppose you could argue that it was not a"Cinerama movie"but in essence it was and a victim of the times .

  48. Yup, I saw The Last Valley at the Leicester Square Theatre, & loved it, a stunning looking film, & what a great John Barry score! I'm pretty sure I saw it again on its short run at the Casino, as you say, they were showing a lot of stuff then, I also saw Ben-Hur there in the early seventies (& the battle at sea with those model ships just looked so fake on that giant screen). It sounds like someone needs really deep pockets to do a proper job on this film, & it's not going to happen, is it.

  49. RolandL

    The Last Valley was only promoted as "On our Giant Cinerama screen" by Cinerama theatres. Many other films were promoted like this including the Gone With the Wind re-release.

    I'm guessing Kino only gets titles from 35mm not 70mm.

    Obviously I know that it was not shot in three strip cinerama but it was released in cinerama – single strip cinerama like the bulk of most movies shown in their theaters. I should instead have written "shown in cinerama theaters" to avoid unnecessary confusion.

  50. I wonder which movie had the last rollercoaster style shots that were intended to give that cinerama feeling. I remember them being comically out of place in Song of Norway and Custer of the West.

  51. The last movie promoted (with movie programs, movie posters, ticket flyers, etc.) as being "In Cinerama" by Cinerama Inc. was Krakatoa East of Java released in 1969. It was also re-released in 1975 and re-titled as Volcano and again promoted as being "In Cinerama" and Feelarama at some Cinerama theatres.

    Song of Norway was promoted as a Cinerama movie by Cinerama Releasing (U.K.) for Cinerama theatres in the United Kingdom.

    The Great Waltz was promoted as a Cinerama film by MGM-EMI for Cinerama theatres in the United Kingdom.

    Cinerama theatres throughout the world that still had the deeply curved screen would advertise any film as "On the Giant Cinerama Screen". Some would actually advertise as "In Cinerama"

  52. john a hunter

    That's probably while Last Valley was not given a Cinerama release.
    Run Run Joe is still being advertised as fun for all the family etc.
    Last Valley was not a family friendly film I seem to recall.

    No, definitely not family friendly, but a really good movie.

  53. Douglas R

    There was the same issue with TARAS BULBA. Wonderful, original stereo soundtrack on the DVD but mono on the Blu-ray.

    A forthcoming blu ray release from Koch supposedly has a stereo track.

  54. For what it's worth, there's a Dolby Stereo credit during Link's end credit scroll. I'm not sure I would have noticed, but I took the stereo track from the DVD and married it to the blu-ray image.

  55. Song Of Norway will be released in 2020 by Kino. I hope but I doubt it will have stereo sound. Custer of the West and Krakatoa East of Java also from Disney had mono sound on the Blu-ray.

  56. RolandL

    Song Of Norway will be released in 2020 by Kino. I hope but I doubt it will have stereo sound. Custer of the West and Krakatoa East of Java also from Disney had mono sound on the Blu-ray.

    It's a shame that it's finally coming out after Florence Henderson passed. I've never seen it, but it's reputation is… something. I would have liked to have heard a commentary by her.

  57. Each title will have it's own unique challenges, but often in these cases there are things going on behind the scenes that are never known.

    For example, Kino's upcoming bluray of THUNDER BAY was Universal's very first multi-channel (L/C/R) theatrical release, just before "It Came From Outer Space" which was the studio's 2nd three channel stereophonic release.

    But.. the only audio element being offered was a mono track. Kino knew this was important, did inquiries, and in the end tracked down and ensured the original 1953 3 channel mix made it onto the upcoming bluray edition, along with the far more compromised monophonic mix.

    I've heard both mixes and the original 3 track is superior in every way. Directional sound throughout with increased fidelity and dynamic range. Highly recommended.

  58. Each title will have it's own unique challenges, but often in these cases there are things going on behind the scenes that are never known.

    For example, Kino's upcoming bluray of THUNDER BAY was Universal's very first multi-channel (L/C/R) theatrical release, just before "It Came From Outer Space" which was the studio's 2nd three channel stereophonic release.

    But.. the only audio element being offered was a mono track. Kino knew this was important, did inquiries, and in the end tracked down and ensured the original 1953 3 channel mix made it onto the upcoming bluray edition, along with the far more compromised monophonic mix.

    I've heard both mixes and the original 3 track is superior in every way. Directional sound throughout with increased fidelity and dynamic range. Highly recommended.

  59. GregK

    Each title will have it's own unique challenges, but often in these cases there are things going on behind the scenes that are never known.

    For example, Kino's upcoming bluray of THUNDER BAY was Universal's very first multi-channel (L/C/R) theatrical release, just before "It Came From Outer Space" which was the studio's 2nd three channel stereophonic release.

    But.. the only audio element being offered was a mono track. Kino knew this was important, did inquiries, and in the end tracked down and ensured the original 1953 3 channel mix made it onto the upcoming bluray edition, along with the far more compromised monophonic mix.

    I've heard both mixes and the original 3 track is superior in every way. Directional sound throughout with increased fidelity and dynamic range. Highly recommended.

    Great news! I'll be buying Thunder Bay because of that.

    Let's hope they can find the stereo tracks for Song of Norway.

    Also a big thank you to the hard work of the staff at The 3D Film Archive. They also are concerned about sound and are able to re-create the original stereo sound when only offered mono track on some titles.

    Edit: Checked the 3D Film Archive web site on Thunder Bay. They say "… so many 1.37 features were incorrectly shown wide throughout the rest of the year. They include Shane, Thunder Bay.…". I wonder if the Blu-ray will be 1.85 or 1.37?

  60. Brian Kidd

    It's a shame that it's finally coming out after Florence Henderson passed. I've never seen it, but it's reputation is… something. I would have liked to have heard a commentary by her.

    Yeah, amazing that it played at the LA Cinerama Dome for eighth months!

  61. RolandL

    Great news! I'll be buying Thunder Bay because of that.

    Let's hope they can find the stereo tracks for Song of Norway.

    Also a big thank you to the hard work of the staff at The 3D Film Archive. They also are concerned about sound and are able to re-create the original stereo sound when only offered mono track on some titles.

    Edit: Checked the 3D Film Archive web site on Thunder Bay. They say "… so many 1.37 features were incorrectly shown wide throughout the rest of the year. They include Shane, Thunder Bay.…". I wonder if the Blu-ray will be 1.85 or 1.37?

    I’m pretty sure I remember reading that they had 2 masters, 1:78 and 1:85

  62. RolandL

    Yeah, amazing that it played at the LA Cinerama Dome for eighth months!

    It's always written off as a great flop but managed a year at the Casino and did reasonably well in other 70mm showings around the UK.
    It was also probably very low budget for a roadshow attraction so it was more successful than most give it credit for.
    Given what happened to Cinerama after Norway's release, it was a good end for Cinerama (Run Run Joe-anybody).
    Looked and sounded fabulous at the Casino.
    I confess-saw it twice there!

  63. Saw this as a young kid. It did make money which is why they were given the go ahead to make THE GREAT WALTZ. It is not a good movie, (The animated troll sequence is mind boggling) and even as a kid I could tell it seemed like it was edited with a butcher knife, but the Norwegian scenery in Cinerama was breathtaking. Put Norway on my bucket list to visit and now, 49 years later, I am finally going next week.

  64. Thomas T

    Why do I suspect that those who refuse to buy films not in stereo would be more than happy to buy mono films remastered in stereo sound? They've invested all that money into their home theater sound systems and they want their money's worth, dammit! 🙂 I mean films like My Dinner With Andre and Executive Suite would be so much more awesome in 5.1 sound, right?

    MY DINNER WITH ANDRE should really be heard with the original directional sound, so that the back-and-forth repartee of the two chatters can be heard from separate front channels. And the restaurant ambiance should be audible from the rear. I won't buy this film until someone releases it with the intended soundtrack!

  65. john a hunter

    It's always written off as a great flop but managed a year at the Casino and did reasonably well in other 70mm showings around the UK.
    It was also probably very low budget for a roadshow attraction so it was more successful than most give it credit for.
    Given what happened to Cinerama after Norway's release, it was a good end for Cinerama (Run Run Joe-anybody).
    Looked and sounded fabulous at the Casino.
    I confess-saw it twice there!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

  66. GlennF

    Saw [SONG OF NORWAY] as a young kid. It did make money which is why they were given the go ahead to make THE GREAT WALTZ.

    Someone wrote in the IMDB that "ABC Pictures wrote off a total in excess of $1 million after the film's box office failure." Source: Unknown
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066393/trivia?ref_=tt_ql_trv_1
    The website Ultimate Movie Rankings reports that the film earned $13.5 million at the box office, making it the 28th most popular film of 1970. Source: Unknown
    https://www.ultimatemovierankings.com/1970-movies
    Wikipedia states that the film took in $7.9 million at the box office against a budget of $3.625 million. Source: Variety
    But Wikipedia also says that "It earned rentals of $4.4 million in North America and $3.5 million in other countries, recording an overall loss of $1,075,000." Source: Also Variety.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_of_Norway_(film)
    You can take all that for what it's worth.

  67. TARAS BULBA was recently on the MGM movie HD channel. And yes, it was true stereo. My cable company doesn't seem to present any films in 5.1 sound, but using the Dolby encoder it sounded excellent and certainly filled the room. So, I now believe they had the stereo tracks all along and they simply didn't get onto the HD Blue Ray master for reasons I don't know, but I know now that the stereo tracks has been attached to a HD master.
    Do you think Kino could be persuaded to upgrade to a stereo release? The stereo and Waxman's score certainly (in my opinion) is 50% of the film's pluses.
    Right now, with rumors of the upcoming KOCH release being in stereo, that may be our only hope. If so, it would be great if the blu ray would be region friendly to the USA, but would certainly sway me to take the plunge to an all region player if not. I think the street date is July 25, so I will be hunting down reviews if and when they appear.

  68. OliverK

    This sounds promising 😉
    Can you give examples of directional sound in specific scenes, perhaps even of directional dialogue?

    What I did is switch the 2 track stereo to ProLogic or matrixed sound. A double track mono film will come mostly from the center speaker. I can't pinpoint any scenes at the moment, but during a narrator speaking, he came out of only the center speaker and other sounds and music were heard plainly in the right and left speakers. Since I believe the film was only in stereo for the 70mm European release. I don't think there were any 4 track 35mm prints made for USA with 4 track mag stripped.
    When they folded all the tracks into the 2 tracks, I don't think they did it as it should have been. There is a lot surround for the music and sound effects, but it's mainly an overall effect rather I.D-ing specific placement. But boy, it adds a great dimension to the film. I think it is better than the old DVD. It really should have been 5.1 sound.

    ALERT: MGMHD channel is running it again this Saturday tomorrow, at 11:55 pm (just before midnight. (July 20th). I am with Spectrum cable system and in California. I don't if MGMHD has different feeds for west and east coast, so it may be different times with whatever delivery system you use.

  69. Short answer to "Does Kino understand stereo sound" is, they don't have an effing clue! My latest batch of titles from the last sale included a DVD of Neil Simon's Broadway Bound. Normally I don't purchase DVDs anymore, but as this was a TV movie I made an exception. The 1992 TV film was recorded and broadcast in stereo, as was the laserdisc I owned. For titles like this that have been stereo from day one, there is no reason for a mono master to even exist. This happens so often with Kino, with titles that are stereo everywhere in the world except for the Kino releases, I'm beginning to suspect that it is directly the fault of Kino's authoring process. I wonder if someone is assuming these movies are mono, and ticking off a box labelled "mono" in the encoder, resulting in the encoder downmixing to mono. It is frustrating to say the least!

  70. John Morgan

    What I did is switch the 2 track stereo to ProLogic or matrixed sound. A double track mono film will come mostly from the center speaker. I can't pinpoint any scenes at the moment, but during a narrator speaking, he came out of only the center speaker and other sounds and music were heard plainly in the right and left speakers. Since I believe the film was only in stereo for the 70mm European release. I don't think there were any 4 track 35mm prints made for USA with 4 track mag stripped.
    When they folded all the tracks into the 2 tracks, I don't think they did it as it should have been. There is a lot surround for the music and sound effects, but it's mainly an overall effect rather I.D-ing specific placement. But boy, it adds a great dimension to the film. I think it is better than the old DVD. It really should have been 5.1 sound.

    ALERT: MGMHD channel is running it again this Saturday tomorrow, at 11:55 pm (just before midnight. (July 20th). I am with Spectrum cable system and in California. I don't if MGMHD has different feeds for west and east coast, so it may be different times with whatever delivery system you use.

    A belated thanks, for some reason I missed your answer back then. It looks like the new Blu-ray from Germany is also in stereo so that's at least one we can cross off the only in mono list.

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