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 Post subject: 647 On the Waterfront
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:01 pm 
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On the Waterfront

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Marlon Brando gives the performance of his career as the tough prizefighter-turned-longshoreman Terry Malloy in this masterpiece of urban poetry, a raggedly emotional tale of individual failure and institutional corruption. On the Waterfront charts Terry’s deepening moral crisis as he must choose whether to remain loyal to the mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) and Johnny’s right-hand man, Terry’s brother, Charley (Rod Steiger), as the authorities close in on them. Driven by the vivid, naturalistic direction of Elia Kazan and savory, streetwise dialogue by Budd Schulberg, On the Waterfront was an instant sensation, winning eight Oscars, including for best picture, director, actor, supporting actress (Eva Marie Saint), and screenplay.

• New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Alternate presentations of the restoration in two additional aspect ratios: 1.85:1 (widescreen) and 1.33:1 (full-screen)
• Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
• Commentary featuring authors Richard Schickel and Jeff Young
• Conversation between filmmaker Martin Scorsese and critic Kent Jones
Elia Kazan: Outsider (1982), an hour-long documentary
• New documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with scholar Leo Braudy, critic David Thomson, and others
• New interview with actress Eva Marie Saint
• Interview with director Elia Kazan from 2001
Contender, a 2001 documentary on the film’s most famous scene
• New interview with longshoreman Thomas Hanley, an actor in the film
• New interview with author James T. Fisher (On the Irish Waterfront) about the real-life people and places behind the film
• Visual essay on Leonard Bernstein’s score
• Visual essay on the aspect ratio
• Trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Almereyda and reprints of Kazan’s 1952 ad in the New York Times defending his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, one of the 1948 New York Sun articles by Malcolm Johnson on which the film was based, and a 1953 Commonweal piece by screenwriter Budd Schulberg


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:02 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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It'll still only get 4/5 on Extras from Blu-ray.com


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:28 pm 
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Can you imagine how good this release would have been if the old Criterion from a few years ago had released it?!

;)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:31 pm 
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a bit ridiculous to have three aspect ratios when the film was shot for one aspect ratio per studio policy at the time of production. This is a good way to perpetuate confusion and misinformation that obscures the very well documented and easy to research Hollywood transition to widescreen. The aspect ratio is an easy call and criterion just injected a bunch of pointless complexity that will further confuse the issue for years to come. Criterion is suggesting with three ratios that the proper aspect ratio is unknowable, a ridiculous proposition.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:35 pm 
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I'd prefer for them to 'perpetuate confusion' rather than make a hasty decision that causes squabbling over unsure things like could be done and have been done in the past with films like Touch of Evil.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:43 pm 
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So true. Wonderful to see be able to see the film in different ratios, and having the visual essay on the ratio to go with it


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:54 pm 
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movielocke wrote:
a bit ridiculous to have three aspect ratios when the film was shot for one aspect ratio per studio policy at the time of production. This is a good way to perpetuate confusion and misinformation that obscures the very well documented and easy to research Hollywood transition to widescreen. The aspect ratio is an easy call and criterion just injected a bunch of pointless complexity that will further confuse the issue for years to come. Criterion is suggesting with three ratios that the proper aspect ratio is unknowable, a ridiculous proposition.

They're clearly presenting 1.66:1 as the definitive ratio while making the other options available for the curious. How is this a thing that gets complained about?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:56 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:26 pm
I'm assuming Sony/Columbia required they keep the Schickel commentary, yeah? or are Jeff Young's contributions good enough? and correct me if i'm wrong, but this is also Schickel's first appearance on a Criterion disc?

regardless, great bunch of extras. can't wait to hear Scorcese and Jones!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:23 pm 
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There's no doubt that the intended theatrical ratio was 1.85. It was also sometimes (wrongly) projected at 1.37 since it was released at the height of the transition. I think there's always been some belief that it looked a little tight at 1.85, and it's certainly logical to assume that framing for the ratio in camera wasn't an exact science yet. For this reason, Grover Crisp recommended Criterion frame it at 1.66. Since they were going with a ratio other than theatrical without the director's consent, they elected to make a feature of it, give options, and discuss the transition. Seems reasonable to me.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:34 am 
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The Bernstein scores is one of my favorites and one of the best parts of this film. I'm glad they are doing a visual essay on it.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:09 am 
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ryannichols7 wrote:
I'm assuming Sony/Columbia required they keep the Schickel commentary, yeah? or are Jeff Young's contributions good enough? and correct me if i'm wrong, but this is also Schickel's first appearance on a Criterion disc?

regardless, great bunch of extras. can't wait to hear Scorcese and Jones!

I would like to think it was forced on them...though I can't imagine why Sony would care. It's sad that such an amazing package is tainted by Richard Schickel Schtickyness. I be he likes lots of stuff in the movie. Doesn't Cary Grant need an updated Bio or something he should be working on instead?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:22 am 

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And it's not just that Schickel is a burned-out hack; it's that he's hijacked Kazan's biography and work (and this film in particular) in the service his own irrelevant, ahistorical anti-communist posturing. His distortions of Kazan's character and politics are truly a blight on what otherwise sounds like a terrific set of extras for a great movie. I wouldn't go so far as to boycott it but, yeesh, it may be Criterion's most ill-considered compromise since the exclusion of the variant cuts in the Cassavetes box.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:02 am 
wax on; wax off
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Perkins Cobb wrote:
And it's not just that Schickel is a burned-out hack; it's that he's hijacked Kazan's biography and work (and this film in particular) in the service his own irrelevant, ahistorical anti-communist posturing. His distortions of Kazan's character and politics are truly a blight on what otherwise sounds like a terrific set of extras for a great movie. I wouldn't go so far as to boycott it but, yeesh, it may be Criterion's most ill-considered compromise since the exclusion of the variant cuts in the Cassavetes box.


I'm just hoping R. Schickel can call out whether the main actors had acted together before as well as some cinema highlights from these prolific actors pre- and post- Waterfront. I'm too goddamn stupid to go to imdb.com myself.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:07 am 
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Looks to be a great release. I thought they would've retained the James Lipton piece.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:32 am 

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Jeff wrote:
There's no doubt that the intended theatrical ratio was 1.85. It was also sometimes (wrongly) projected at 1.37 since it was released at the height of the transition. I think there's always been some belief that it looked a little tight at 1.85, and it's certainly logical to assume that framing for the ratio in camera wasn't an exact science yet. For this reason, Grover Crisp recommended Criterion frame it at 1.66. Since they were going with a ratio other than theatrical without the director's consent, they elected to make a feature of it, give options, and discuss the transition. Seems reasonable to me.


For whatever it's worth, the original Sony DVD lists the OAR at 1.33. So that's really indisputably wrong?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:29 am 
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Drucker wrote:
For whatever it's worth, the original Sony DVD lists the OAR at 1.33. So that's really indisputably wrong?

Yeah, you'd need Bob Furmanek to give you the particulars, but On the Waterfront started shooting after Sony switched to widescreen. I think Furmanek's got trade ads, instructions to the projectionist, etc. that show the 1.85 intention.

Studios claiming on the packaging that 1.33 was the original aspect ratio happened a lot in the early days of DVD, even when it was clearly not the case. If that was the ratio exposed on the negative, they called it that. This was especially true for films from the transitional period. Sony did the same on their original DVD of Anatomy of a Murder.

There have been masters of On the Waterfront circulating in both ratios. Sony put the widescreen version on iTunes, TCM's been showing it at 1.85 for a few years (even though their website still shows 1.37). I've seen it projected from 35mm in both ratios. The 1.37 is definitely too headroomy in places, and I always that the 1.85 looked fine. I'll probably give the 1.66 a shot since Crisp (who's spent way more time with the film elements than any of us) seems to think it's the best compromise, and it looks like Criterion has agreed.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:17 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:26 pm
Perkins Cobb wrote:
And it's not just that Schickel is a burned-out hack; it's that he's hijacked Kazan's biography and work (and this film in particular) in the service his own irrelevant, ahistorical anti-communist posturing. His distortions of Kazan's character and politics are truly a blight on what otherwise sounds like a terrific set of extras for a great movie. I wouldn't go so far as to boycott it but, yeesh, it may be Criterion's most ill-considered compromise since the exclusion of the variant cuts in the Cassavetes box.

Heaven's Gate.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:08 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:29 pm
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skuhn8 wrote:
Perkins Cobb wrote:
And it's not just that Schickel is a burned-out hack; it's that he's hijacked Kazan's biography and work (and this film in particular) in the service his own irrelevant, ahistorical anti-communist posturing. His distortions of Kazan's character and politics are truly a blight on what otherwise sounds like a terrific set of extras for a great movie. I wouldn't go so far as to boycott it but, yeesh, it may be Criterion's most ill-considered compromise since the exclusion of the variant cuts in the Cassavetes box.


I'm just hoping R. Schickel can call out whether the main actors had acted together before as well as some cinema highlights from these prolific actors pre- and post- Waterfront. I'm too goddamn stupid to go to imdb.com myself.


I agree, but all you have to do is not listen to it. Pretty easy.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:37 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm
True, but it's Criterion -- Schickel's presence in this package lends the illusion of credibility to someone who has none. Eh, whatever. He has self-immolated so publicly that there's no longer much need to protest, I guess.

And also true regarding Heaven's Gate. I heard a funny story about how Cimino played nice with the Criterion people at first, then finally unloaded on some underling there with a screaming hissy fit, thereby convincing Becker et. al. that he was basically a jerk.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:49 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:35 pm
Maybe Crit sees this release as a potential blockbuster (in relative terms), and if Schickel has mainstream name recognition, his presence could be a selling point?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:06 pm 
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FWIW, I tried to say "hello" to Schickel once, he was at a post-screening discussion somewhere in NY, and as I was leaving, I spotted him right next to me in the lobby. I shook his hand and said something like, "Hey, Mr. Schickel, looking forward to your next book," and the f***er blew me off. I was like, "asshole, I was on my way out, I'm not looking to strike up a conversation or get something signed, at least acknowledge the existence of a person attached to that hand and say 'thanks' as a token gesture."


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:27 am 
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As far as Schickel was concerned, you're just a 'customer' looking forward to reading his next book. He's a 'beautiful person' far, far above you, looking for someone to hook him up with a new book deal, or dinner with this year's Oscar winner. Or simply help him find the VIP room where the beautiful girls and boys are waiting to 'get known'.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:05 am 
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1.33; 1.66; 1.85. What, no 1.78 (which, these days, would make as much, if not more, sense, than any of the others)?

This must be one of the most ridiculous things Criterion's ever done. Open-matte films were made to be screened anywhere from 1.37:1 to 1.85:1. If one DVD aspect ratio looks too tight, and the other too loose, find a happy medium: 1.66 or 1.78, and be done with it.

Image

Keep thinking along these lines, and half the Criterion titles shot from 1953 onward will be getting this kind of treatment. What do you say they start with "Indiscretion of an American Wife", like it says on the chart. And what about the VistaVision and Technirama titles: should be able to get at least three distinct ar transfers out of each of those!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:22 am 
Dot Com Dom
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Why does it make some people so angry to be allowed the choice to view the film how they like? The "right" version according to whoever is making that distinction is available for you to enjoy, do you really have to whine and moan about every goddamn thing?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:33 am 
Not PETA approved
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domino harvey wrote:
Why does it make some people so angry to be allowed the choice to view the film how they like? The "right" version according to whoever is making that distinction is available for you to enjoy, do you really have to whine and moan about every goddamn thing?

Goddamn it, Domino, don't you know there are more important things than enjoying yourself? Like being right. On the internet.


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