112 Playtime

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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kieslowski
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#26 Post by kieslowski » Thu Dec 30, 2004 7:12 am

the film was shown without subtitles. I found this odd, since, though there is little dialogue, it's there and it contributes to the humor. Though I image it would be hard to subtitle some sequences in which French, German and English are being muddled together (most hilariously in the "Slam you Door in Golden Silence" sequence).
I've seen the film several times, on television and at the cinema and never with subtitles - I believe that Tati's intention was to create an 'International' version that wouldn't rely on everyone understanding every word. Having said that, the new bfi disc has subs.

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#27 Post by Jun-Dai » Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:51 pm

I noticed near the end of the film that a small portion of the image left and right did not make it onto the screen, but was blocked by the curtain. Is this normal? Did the projectioner know what s/he was doing?
It is normal, but it is also unfortunate, and never is information near the edge of the frame as important as it is with Playtime.

I believe the version you saw was dubbed in parts, and while I'm not sure why, I don't think it's all that important (I have seen the film with subtitles). While sound is very much a part of the tightly-controlled environment that Tati is creating, I think that the dialogue is used more for its sound than for its meaning.

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#28 Post by BWilson » Thu Dec 30, 2004 3:00 pm

projectioner
#-o
For the record, the 70mm print shown at the Cinematheque in Los Angeles earlier this year DID NOT have subtitles and was, I believe, either the international or English version. It contained considerably more english than the Criterion DVD.

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#29 Post by unclehulot » Thu Dec 30, 2004 9:16 pm

Anyone within a day's journey of NYC should try and catch the 70mm screenings at Walter Reade over the next 5 days. Didn't notice the curtain covering anything (as mentioned a page back), but did notice the "pillarboxing" after the opening restoration credits. They moved the curtains in, but not TOO far.

Only thing else I have to say is that the sound is amazing, the long restaurant scene absolutely HAS to be seen in this form to work at all; and go see it!!

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#30 Post by denti alligator » Thu Dec 30, 2004 11:16 pm

The night lights at the very end of the film were being projected onto the curtain. That's the only time I noticed it, but I figure it must have been that way throughout.

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#31 Post by Anonymous » Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:54 pm

Saw it, love it! Playtime is one of my all-time favorite films so it was a real treat for me to see in 70 mm.

I would echo some of the posted comments. The audio is so important to the film - whether it is the deliberately miss-timed dubs, the overloud folley effects etc. The restored version (and Walter Reade's presentation of the audio) was flat out terrific.

The image quality suffered in some parts, most noticeably the opening and ending (which makes sense) but other than that a visual and audio feast.

It will be interesting to see what the new Criterion release will be. I'm not sure what ratio was shown at the viewing I saw but it looked much closer to full screen than 1.85:1. After seeing Playtime in full-screen, I don't see how a widescreen format wouldn't miss the experience that Tati wanted to show the viewer.

My understanding is that the 5 channels were presented C/L/R/CL/CR. However for the DVD will Criterion move some of the audio to the rears? At the end of the film, a truck lumbers by and the speakers certainly showed some bass off ... will Criterion convert some of that to a sub-woofer?

In some ways, I think that a well done DVD audio presentation of Playtime may challenge the best of home theatre systems - for a 1967 film that is.

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#32 Post by unclehulot » Mon Jan 03, 2005 11:36 pm

My understanding is that the 5 channels were presented C/L/R/CL/CR. However for the DVD will Criterion move some of the audio to the rears? At the end of the film, a truck lumbers by and the speakers certainly showed some bass off ... will Criterion convert some of that to a sub-woofer?
Fascinating! I suspected something like that, with certain sounds off FAR to the right or left. It was either really good imaging or this rather unique setup. Did you talk to someone at the theater with that information?

I must say the sound ALONE (well, in combination with the image) had me in stitches the whole time! Wish I could go back once more...

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#33 Post by Anonymous » Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:29 am

unclehulot wrote: Fascinating! I suspected something like that, with certain sounds off FAR to the right or left. It was either really good imaging or this rather unique setup. Did you talk to someone at the theater with that information?

I must say the sound ALONE (well, in combination with the image) had me in stitches the whole time! Wish I could go back once more...
Agreed. :D I wish I could find the time to make one more trek into the city.

My info comes from this link:

http://www.in70mm.com/news/2003/playtim ... ration.htm

Specifically:

"Sound format: Special venue DTS, 5 screen channels, no surround and no sub. Tati did not use surround for "Play Time" in 6-track magnetic stereo. But the 5 screens channels were very important to guide the patron's attention on a particular part of the picture. The Gulliver team decided for this new mix to use the surround channels for RC/LC. The sound diagram is R/RC/C/LC/L, no surround and no sub."

I concur with your comments on the spaciousness of the presentation. I am quite sure that there were no rears used at the show I attended. I wish I could say that I noticed what was projected left versus left center or right versus right center but I could not. It will be interesting to find out (at some point) though.

Certainly nothing compares to a well presented theatre experience. The size of the room and the space between speakers alone provide an experience unrivaled. I noticed many people laughing or giggling at the ticket attendant using the microphone/speaker system at the airport. The theatre and speakers created a terrific and fun spacial moment.

Just such a moment would be a good example for the use of surrounds for home DVD. Other sounds, such as at the party, are going to be harder choices for a sound engineer to present well on DVD. Many sounds at the restaurant are clearly meant to come from your left and right (just like you would hear things at a real restaurant).

The question I wished I asked at the theatre was whether the rumbling truck sound I heard was merely the ability of the commercial qualiity speakers at the theatre or whether their electronic system kicks sounds to subwoofer (by default) when the bass might damage/overwork the speakers.

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#34 Post by BWilson » Tue Jan 04, 2005 3:35 pm

Most (but not all) old 70mm presentations used 5 speakers behind the screen. To be more specific: You've got 70mm with 6 discrete analogue tracks. L, LC, C, RC, R, and Surround (which, unlike today, was mono). Playtime evidently uses only 5 of the 6 tracks. Releases like Spartacus and My Fair Lady had mixes that utilized 5 speakers behind the screen. This effect can not be carried over to DVD. The L/LC and the R/RC tracks have to be combined. The fact of the matter is that there is little advantage to presenting five front channels in a home theater environment. The spacious arrangement requires that the speakers be placed quite far apart and that they be placed behind the screen, which in nearly all HT arrangements is impossible, and even more impossible with 5 speakers.

This is why any home presentation of Playtime is going to be a severe compromise. These films were meant to be seen on the big screen, in 70 mm, often with very specific patching of the sound equipment required. They often weren't even shown properly in their premiere engagements because the projectionist screwed something up.

BTW, Today Sony's SDDS 8 track digital uses 5 speakers behind the screen (and then adds stereo surrounds and a low end track)
Last edited by BWilson on Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#35 Post by Ted Todorov » Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:21 pm

ctyankee7 wrote:It will be interesting to see what the new Criterion release will be. I'm not sure what ratio was shown at the viewing I saw but it looked much closer to full screen than 1.85:1. After seeing Playtime in full-screen, I don't see how a widescreen format wouldn't miss the experience that Tati wanted to show the viewer.
I saw it last night and was completely floored. I totally loved it. The restaurant sequence is one for the ages.

I don't know where you get the idea that Playtime was "full-screen" whatever that means. It was definitely NOT in Academy ratio: definitely somewhere in the 1.85:1 to 1.66:1 range, my best guess would be 1.78:1

The sound was particularly spectacular. I was glad there were no subs - -they would have needlessly distracted from the visual impact.

Big, appreciative audience BTW.

I think that Tati owes a big debt to Chaplin's Modern Times -- I think that Playtime uses many elements of Chaplin's masterpiece. In turn Truffaut obviously borrowed heavily from Playtime in Domicile Conjugal to the extent of using Billy Kearns' character wholesale and even throwing in a M. Hulot cameo.

I think that today is the last day -- so run don't walk to the Walter Reade if you still haven't seen it.

Ted

P.S. When is the new Criterion DVD due?

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#36 Post by Jun-Dai » Wed Jan 05, 2005 2:03 pm

1.85:1

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#37 Post by denti alligator » Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:01 pm

from criterion.com:
Playtime 70mm to Screen in the Los Angeles Area

A newly restored 70mm print of Jacques Tati's classic Playtime will be showing at two American Cinematheque venues in and around Los Angeles in late January. The film will screen first as part of The Great Big 70mm Festival at the Egyptian Theatre on January 22 and then move on to the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica on January 29.

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#38 Post by bcsparker » Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:59 pm

Playtime in Los Angeles....

Playtime in New York....

It sucks being a cinema fan and living in Ohio!

Is this going to get a Criterion rerelease?

Oh, and to people who live in the aforementioned cities.....I hate you. With every fiber of my being.

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#39 Post by oldsheperd » Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:05 pm

I live in New Mexico which is even worse!

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#40 Post by bcsparker » Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:30 pm

Right on, oldsheperd. And enjoy Night Porter, by the way.

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#41 Post by Keaton » Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:52 pm

bcsparker wrote:It sucks being a cinema fan and living in Ohio!.
When you think it can't get worse, come to germany....you will be desperate to go back to Ohio, believe me.

Regards,

Dennis :)

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#42 Post by skuhn8 » Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:49 pm

Bah...I live in Hungary...a small town. I win...or lose, that is.

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#43 Post by bcsparker » Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:18 pm

Wow, you win, man. You need any good movies shipped your way?

(If you seriously do, PM me)

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#44 Post by Tribe » Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:28 pm

It played at DIA in Detroit...so if you're in that nether region between Ohio and Michigan it's not hard to get there.

Tribe

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#45 Post by bcsparker » Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:30 pm

Thanks for the info. Admittedly, I'm quite in the dark about movies playing near me. But I can still feel envious of the rest of you.

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#46 Post by Tribe » Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:39 pm

Venturing off topic, the DIA theatre always has a great line-up of classic, foreign and artsy-fartsy films. A Murnau series starts on February 27. See here.

Tribe

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#47 Post by bcsparker » Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:56 pm

Tribe, I see you live in Toledo as well. Thanks for the link.

And Matt, thank you. I just don't have enough gusto to drive the 100-some miles to Columbus.

I'm just happy with my DVDs, I guess.

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#48 Post by skuhn8 » Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:31 am

bcsparker wrote:Wow, you win, man. You need any good movies shipped your way?

(If you seriously do, PM me)
Very kind of you. Got my parents back in California if the need / funds arise. But I really don't trust the post here in any case. Nonetheless, My Fanny and Alexander box arrived a couple weeks ago.

RE: Playtime. So we can expect a double CC in the near future. Since Tativille set pretty much destroyed its creator are there any post Playtime interviews with Tati or any video interviews period! Or a doc? I'd love to see Tati behind someone else's camera.

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#49 Post by essrog » Sun Mar 13, 2005 10:18 pm

I've been kicking myself for not going to see this ever since it played for a week in Minneapolis in February. I've re-read this thread and noticed several people said this simply HAS to be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated. Without arguing that point, is there a good reason to buy this DVD when it's re-released by Criterion, especially when I only have a 27" TV (though I do have a surround sound system)?

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#50 Post by rossbrew » Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:34 pm

This flick is coming to Vancouver in a few weeks- I'll be there, y'all!

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