409 Days of Heaven

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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John Cope
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#151 Post by John Cope » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:53 pm


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Luke M
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#152 Post by Luke M » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:20 pm

I watched this disc last night, now, I hadn't seen the movie before. So, I can't compare the colors but regardless I can't imagine the Paramount disc looking better than this. The transfer was very clean.

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justeleblanc
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#153 Post by justeleblanc » Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:17 pm

Luke M wrote:I watched this disc last night, now, I hadn't seen the movie before. So, I can't compare the colors but regardless I can't imagine the Paramount disc looking better than this. The transfer was very clean.
The Paramount and Criterion discs are very similar, not enough to warrant any major improvements (unless you just couldn't stand the cheap-looking cover), and the color correction would be lost on most television sets anyway.

filmnoir1
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#154 Post by filmnoir1 » Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:00 am

As someone who has seen this film at least twenty times or more in the last few years, but who lacks the knowledge of its presentation on the big screen in the 70s, I have to say this is the best this film has ever looked on a home video format. The pink and purlpe hues seem more mystical almost like a mist that shrouds the images of the wheat and the workers as they thresh in the fields. Furthermore, I would argue that what Malick captures is the contrdictions between capitalism and nature allowing this to play out within the lyrical images of the land and natural creatures versus the complex and manipulative love and desire the two men exhibit for Abby.
This is by far one of the greatest American films ever made and Criterion has done an excellent job i bringing this film to dvd with the love, compassion and patience that Malick displays towards his craft and viewers.

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kaujot
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#155 Post by kaujot » Sat Oct 27, 2007 1:43 pm

I don't know if this has anything to do with the transfer or so, but when I saw the first Paramount version, I couldn't get into the movie at all.

But I watched the Criterion yesterday, and it was like seeing a different film. I loved every minute of it.

It was less than a year between my viewings of the two, so I dunno.

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Darth Lavender
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#156 Post by Darth Lavender » Sat Oct 27, 2007 2:26 pm

Generally speaking, I've found that my enjoyment of a movie usually has more to do with how I see it, then what point in my life I see it. Especially for a longer movie, a comfortable chair, a lot of a coffee, and an excellent mood makes so much difference to my impressions.

However, a lot of films, like The Matrix, for instance, which I find underwhelming on first viewing (first reaction; loved it up until he enters the Matrix, wonderful scifi-horror-noir, then it was too much of an 'action movie,' just trying to fill out the remaining 90 minutes with cliche kidnapping, rescue, etc.) I've grown to appreciate much more, once I got a better idea of what the film-makers were trying accomplish (in the case of 'The Matrix,' the film-makers trying to (a) primarily make an action movie/anime-homage and (b) hit all those mythic notes (rebirth, etc.) setting up the themes of the sequels)

As for Days Of Heaven, I must confess I still haven't watched this one. Bought the Paramount 'double feature' (with American Gigolo, which I also haven't watched) but my 'unwatched' pile is so very big at the moment, and it's size is considerably eclipsed by my 'unfinished university assignments' pile. So, it will be a while before I can watch and comment on this one.

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TheRanchHand
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#157 Post by TheRanchHand » Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm

I watched it for the first time really last night (I saw it once as an 10 year old but hardly remember it or I am sure found it interesting). I have a fondness for filmakers who try and tell a story sans a lot of dialogue. This is the opposite of Tarantino in that regard. I really enjoyed the flow of the movie and it's simple story.

I was wondering what everyone's take on the final moment was? I found it a strange (but interesting) way to end the movie but am not sure of its point. I don't like to over analyze a film and this is certainly one not to, but did not really get that moment.

Great film though.

jaredsap
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#158 Post by jaredsap » Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:28 pm

Jeff Wells wrote:I saw Days of Heaven in 70 mm on the day it opened -- 9.13.78 -- at the Cinema 1 on Third Avenue, and the Criterion DVD took me right back to that transporting experience. This is how it looked back then, and should have always looked.

[...]

[Lee] Kline, no offense, is an idiot for thinking that fans of the film would be "surprised" by this transfer -- it's a God-send -- and a serious boob for having written all that hooey on the Criterion blog, which he knew damn well would stir things up. Kline was trying to sell DVDs in the manner of a flim-flam man hawking stuff from the back of a horse-drawn wagon. I will never take anything he writes about a Criterion DVD seriously again.

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John Cope
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#159 Post by John Cope » Sun Oct 28, 2007 2:32 am

TheRanchHand wrote:I was wondering what everyone's take on the final moment was? I found it a strange (but interesting) way to end the movie but am not sure of its point. I don't like to over analyze a film and this is certainly one not to, but did not really get that moment.
I think chaddoli's take on page 1 of this thread pretty well sums it up perfectly. His reading is the one I'd get behind.

TedW
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#160 Post by TedW » Sun Oct 28, 2007 3:09 pm

Firsat time I felt a little underwhelmed by a Criterion. The supplements are a little threadbare and the transfer is no improvement, as was my fear. The existing Paramount DVD is, for me, a better visual experience (though admittedly only by a little). I do like the new 5.1 mix on the Criterion, and it's good just to have a Malick in the Collection, but with the availability of the Paramount I see the whole enterprise as a little unnecessary.

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miless
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#161 Post by miless » Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:43 pm

TedW wrote:Firsat time I felt a little underwhelmed by a Criterion. The supplements are a little threadbare and the transfer is no improvement, as was my fear. The existing Paramount DVD is, for me, a better visual experience (though admittedly only by a little). I do like the new 5.1 mix on the Criterion, and it's good just to have a Malick in the Collection, but with the availability of the Paramount I see the whole enterprise as a little unnecessary.
I found the whole package worthwhile because of one thing in particular. It is a moment in the commentary when Billy Weber describes Malick's current working style (shooting each scene with and without dialogue and editing them together to give more emotional depth). I had always wondered how Malick was able to get such exquisite performances from okay actors.

plus, I like the look of the film much better than the Paramount DVD.

TedW
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#162 Post by TedW » Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:04 pm

Do you recall roughly when he discusses this?

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Cronenfly
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#163 Post by Cronenfly » Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:33 pm

While I can certainly understand the complaints about this edition, I still believe that it's a worthy disc. The supplements, while minimal, are a godsend to have on a movie whose production, similarly to all of Malick's films (to my knowledge) has heretofore been relatively unknown in any great detail. The interviews are all good, the commentary (so far) okay, and the transfer beautiful. And if this movie doesn't deserve an improved transfer (significantly enough to matter, IMO-I couldn't really get into the movie with the previous transfer, but could with this new one), than what does? If you don't think it's worth it than don't buy it, but this is almost certainly the definitive treatment this film will receive (beyond hi-def, and who knows what that will look like and when it'll ever get released), which should be more than enough for fans of the film to buy/upgrade.

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miless
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#164 Post by miless » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:59 am

TedW wrote:Do you recall roughly when he discusses this?
roughly, about 3/4 of the way through the commentary... that's about as precise as I can get without listening to it again, however.

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#165 Post by peerpee » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:27 am

The transfer on this is incredible. I wanted to eat it.

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TheRanchHand
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#166 Post by TheRanchHand » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:50 pm

Do you recall roughly when he discusses this?
You know, I only skimmed through the commentary, literally about 2 to 3 minutes worth and heard the same thing somewhere on the disc. Are you sure it wasn't mentioned in the interviews (as I watched all of those)? Either that or I happened to just play that part. I want to say the clip that was shown during that moment was Gere and Sam sitting on the porch with each other if memory serves....

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dave41n
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#167 Post by dave41n » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:14 pm

TheRanchHand wrote:I want to say the clip that was shown during that moment was Gere and Sam sitting on the porch with each other
It's around the 37 minute mark on the commentary.

On the release: I very much prefer this transfer. Colors are more natural and details more discernible, especially in shots with little light. The commentary is informative -- I particularly like their discussion on Malick's understanding of the film stock and the general apprehensiveness of the crew regarding those low-light scenes. Basically it's nice to get a better understanding of such an enigmatic figure like Malick. Not especially important, but nice. I'm very happy with this release.

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Cronenfly
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#168 Post by Cronenfly » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:17 pm

TedW wrote:Do you recall roughly when he discusses this?
Chapter 10 of the commentary.

Beyond Rosy Fingered Dawn, The New World making-of, and the supplements on this disc, does anyone know of any other A/V material on Malick and co.? I know that nothing features him directly, but, if this disc is any indication, his collaboraters can speak about him quite capably. I though that the crew commentary would be bust, but, like Night on Earth's, it's quite enjoyable to hear from the often overlooked, more "minor" contributors, and a nice change of pace from the usual (i.e. less theorizing and more practical, nitty-gritty details).

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Oedipax
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#169 Post by Oedipax » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:56 pm

I actually really enjoyed the supplements on this disc and in the package, especially the sections with Haskell Wexler and John Bailey, and particularly the reprinting in the booklet from Nestor Almendros's book. I realize some of the camera stuff is more technical than the average viewer might be interested in, but it's great if you've done some of it yourself. Adrian Martin's piece was enjoyable as well.

One thing that struck me repeatedly while watching the film with commentary and listening/reading the other extras is how often the silent film is alluded to. I must confess this is something that never really occurred to me about Malick's films until Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote about it in relation to The New World. That it comes up so often here, especially from Malick's close collaborators, really confirms the connection.

Also, one thing that was brought up only in one place on the DVD, and seems not to be corroborated from what others have said: Richard Gere mentions that there were re-shoots for Days of Heaven about a year into the editing process, going as far as saying "a lot of" the movie comes from that period. Does anyone know if this is true or not? Everyone else really gave the impression that the film was shot in one go, without any reshoots, but more a process of Malick and his editor honing the material, cutting away lots of dialogue, and basically finding the film in the editing room. It changes things a lot if this extensive editing process was aided by certain reshoots which could've helped to tie the whole thing together.

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Antoine Doinel
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#170 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:23 pm

Got this today and though I haven't popped in the disc yet, I must say that the DVD art on the physical disc is gorgeous. Probably the best since the implementation of the new logo.

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kaujot
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#171 Post by kaujot » Wed Oct 31, 2007 12:00 am

Antoine Doinel wrote:Got this today and though I haven't popped in the disc yet, I must say that the DVD art on the physical disc is gorgeous. Probably the best since the implementation of the new logo.
Agreed.

Jack Phillips
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#172 Post by Jack Phillips » Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:04 am

Oedipax wrote:Also, one thing that was brought up only in one place on the DVD, and seems not to be corroborated from what others have said: Richard Gere mentions that there were re-shoots for Days of Heaven about a year into the editing process, going as far as saying "a lot of" the movie comes from that period. Does anyone know if this is true or not?
Might these be where Wexler's contribution occurred?

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Oedipax
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#173 Post by Oedipax » Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:26 pm

Jack Phillips wrote:
Oedipax wrote:Also, one thing that was brought up only in one place on the DVD, and seems not to be corroborated from what others have said: Richard Gere mentions that there were re-shoots for Days of Heaven about a year into the editing process, going as far as saying "a lot of" the movie comes from that period. Does anyone know if this is true or not?
Might these be where Wexler's contribution occurred?
Not from what I understand. Going into the shoot, Almendros had already committed to doing a Truffaut film, so he was always only going to be there for something like 8 to 10 weeks. I think it was possible he could have shot the whole thing, but pre-production stretched on as Malick remained indecisive about certain things. They talk about originally wanting to shoot in Texas, but having to continually keep moving further north as the harvest season proceeded, until they were up in Canada, with nowhere further north to go and still have the tall wheat fields he wanted. When Almendros was about to leave, Haskell Wexler came down a few days before his departure to see how he was shooting the film, the idea being that Haskell would work to keep a consistent look and abandon a few of his own usual stylistic traits. But as far as I know, it was all one unbroken shooting period.

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Forrest Taft
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#174 Post by Forrest Taft » Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:00 pm

I received the disc yesterday, but have only had time to watch the special features. Very happy with them. I think this is the only "Director approved" Criterion disc without the a signature on the "Director approved" sticker. Terrence Malick is one shy guy.

John Bored
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#175 Post by John Bored » Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:37 pm

He probably doesn't want internet film geeks fawning over something like his signature.

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