94-99 / BD 175-180 Lubitsch in Berlin

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Caligula
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94-99 / BD 175-180 Lubitsch in Berlin

#1 Post by Caligula » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:34 am

LUBITSCH IN BERLIN: FAIRY-TALES, MELODRAMAS, AND SEX COMEDIES: SIX FILMS BY ERNST LUBITSCH, 1918–1921

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Special Features
• Six ThinPaks enclosed in a hardbox
• Accompanied by Robert Fischer’s feature-length 2006 documentary Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin: From Schönhauser Allee to Hollywood
• Newly commissioned scores
• New, officially licenced transfers from restored materials
• New and improved optional English subtitles with original German-language intertitles


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Ich möchte kein Mann sein

One of the first collaborations between Lubitsch and the exuberant Ossi Oswalda, Ich möchte kein Mann sein [I Wouldn’t Like to Be a Man] is a concise sketch of society life in three acts. When Ossi’s uncle goes away on a business trip, a new guardian steps in to tame the distractable niece. But Ossi finds a way out of the house and into a grand ball… by way of a brazen cross-dressing scheme — and triggers what is perhaps Lubitsch’s most twisted finale.

Special Feature
• New short essay by Anna Thorngate

Die Puppe.

“Four amusing acts from a toy-chest” — so reads the opening title of the comic masterpiece Die Puppe. [The Doll.] adapted by Lubitsch and co-scenarist Hanns Kräly from a libretto by A. M. Wilner (based in turn on a tale from E. T. A. Hoffmann). Ossi Oswalda stars in a double-role as both the mischievous daughter, and automatonic creation, of a wildly coiffed "dollmaker". When a wealthy baron decides the time has come for his prudish nephew to take a wife, an uproariously ribald plot unwinds into what is perhaps the world’s first-ever sex-doll comedy.

Special Features
• New and exclusive concertina score composed, performed, and recorded by Bernard Wrigley
• New short essay by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky


Die Austernprinzessin.

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As Die Austernprinzessin. [The Oyster Princess.], Ossi Oswalda makes another turn as a plutocrat’s rambunctious daughter — now the heiress of a global oyster empire, devoting her wiles once again to the service of man-ipulation. A comic high-point in the master’s oeuvre, Die Austernprinzessin. showcases the trademarks of the "Lubitsch Touch" and its ten-fingered dexterity, resulting in a film that is simultaneously clever, concise, and risqué.

Special Feature
• New short essay by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky


Sumurun

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By turns melodramatic and grotesquely comic, Sumurun brings together performances by star-players Paul Wegener (Der Golem.), Pola Negri, Harry Liedtke, and Ernst Lubitsch himself (in the role of an ultra-pathetic hunchbacked minstrel) for this ensemble tale pulled from the milieu of The Arabian Nights. Featuring hundreds of extras milling through open-air set-pieces and dusky harem-chambers alike, Sumurun demonstrates Lubitsch’s ability to transfigure rote romance into vibrant pageant.

Special Feature
• New short essay by David Cairns


Anna Boleyn

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Emil Jannings plays King Henry VIII in the story of Anne Boleyn's movement from the outskirts of the court, to the royal boudoir, and off to the chopping-block. Suffused with an atmosphere of entrapment that would not be out of place in later films by Fritz Lang, and prefiguring the stately contretemps in John Ford's Mary of Scotland, Anna Boleyn proceeds with a deathward momentum unique in Lubitsch's oeuvre.

Special Feature
• New short essay by David Cairns


Die Bergkatze

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Set in one of Lubitsch's hallmark mythical kingdoms, Die Bergkatze [The Mountain-Lion / The Wildcat] finds Lubitsch in exuberantly expressionistic mode, employing a host of optical masks to create perhaps the most visually audacious comic spectacle of his career. Pola Negri plays the daughter of a band of thieves; seduction of army commander (and audience) ensues. Lubitsch's personal favourite work of all his German films, Die Bergkatze represents a peak in both Lubitsch's silent oeuvre and the silent cinema as a whole.

Special Feature
• New short essay by Anna Thorngate

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#2 Post by Erikht » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:33 pm

Caligula wrote:Available on Amazon.co.uk, release date set for 26 January 2010.
Well, this is wonderful. I will most def buy this one, and one for the library as well.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#3 Post by Saimo » Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:25 am

Caligula wrote:Available on Amazon.co.uk, release date set for 26 January 2010.
What are the differences between this and the already released Kino boxset?

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#4 Post by hangman » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:58 pm

Chances are it'll be the extras (I don't have the Kino so I wouldn't know what if they have extras for in that set). And perhaps the transfer quality as well, perhaps a slight or marked improvement? Well you can always wait for the reviews but I do think the extras in the MoC box would be the main deciding factor, considering how MoC's output has been.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#5 Post by Tommaso » Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:12 am

Extras, and original intertitles (absolutely essential for early Lubitsch, if you can read German).

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#6 Post by Saimo » Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:29 am

hangman wrote:Chances are it'll be the extras (I don't have the Kino so I wouldn't know what if they have extras for in that set).
According to the preview details they will include the 110 min. documentary Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin: From Schönhauser Allee to Hollywood, already in the Kino.
Tommaso wrote: and original intertitles (absolutely essential for early Lubitsch, if you can read German).
Ok. I will wait for reviews.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#7 Post by evillights » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:29 am

Saimo wrote:
Caligula wrote:Available on Amazon.co.uk, release date set for 26 January 2010.
What are the differences between this and the already released Kino boxset?
A few notes on our upcoming set, which we've titled:

LUBITSCH IN BERLIN: FAIRY-TALES, MELODRAMAS, AND SEX COMEDIES: SIX FILMS BY ERNST LUBITSCH, 1918-1921.

The differences between our release of the films and the Kino releases are, in places, significant.

Disc 1 = ICH MÖCHTE KEIN MANN SEIN (I Wouldn't Like to Be a Man) + DIE PUPPE. (The Doll.)
Disc 2 = DIE AUSTERNPRINZESSIN. (The Oyster Princess.)
Disc 3 = SUMURUN
Disc 4 = ANNA BOLEYN (i.e., "Anne Boleyn")
Disc 5 = DIE BERGKATZE (The Mountain-Lion / The Wildcat)
Disc 6 = ERNST LUBITSCH IN BERLIN: FROM SCHÖNHAUSER ALLEE TO HOLLYWOOD by Robert Fischer (feature-length video-documentary about Lubitsch's oeuvre in this pre-Hollywood period, in the same English-language version that appeared on the Kino)

-We've included the Fischer documentary on a separate disc, so as not to cram both it and a feature on a single DVD and affect, in turn, the respective encodes. Placing ICH MÖCHTE and PUPPE on a single disc works quite well, both chronologically speaking, and because the first clocks in at around 45 minutes, and the second at almost exactly an hour.

-While hailing from the same masters as the Transit and Kino releases, our films are clean PAL encodes — none of the PAL-to-NTSC ghosting that significantly marred the Kino releases. Much nicer resolution too, resultingly / to boot.

-None of our transfers feature the chroma-bursts that resulted (even on the tinted features) on the Kino releases.

-Each feature includes the original German-language intertitles reconstructed by FWMS at the time of the restorations/telecines. All include optional English-language subtitles put together by me, and mark a rather substantial improvement over the English-language intertitles on the Kino, especially with regard to getting closer in certain points to the tenor of, y'know, the Lubitschian comic gist of the films, in terms of restoring the comic thrust of certain jokes present in the German and lost on the Kinos. As/when necessary. (Note: The Fischer documentary contains burnt-in subtitles for the German-language parts; this was the only master available, but shouldn't prove a significant drawback.)

-While five of the features use the scores that were provided with the Transit masters/restorations, we had the opportunity on DIE PUPPE. (which required a new soundtrack — because none was present) to record a new score, and one in line with certain characteristics Nick and I have often desired to produce, given the chance. To that end, the film features a new and exclusive score composed, recorded, and performed on (a real) concertina by Bernard Wrigley, overseen (err, overheard? directed?) by Nick and me, which exhibits a lovely ambience and warmth, and avoids the razor-digital-sheen of many 'new' silent scores. It is not frantic or histrionic; it's just... 'right'. Not that what follows was a guiding principle, but: if you like Kôji Kondo's work on the LEGEND OF ZELDA series, then you'll love this; if you're not familiar with it, you'll probably still like it. We feel it fits the film splendidly.

-All discs come housed in thinpaks, inside of a hardbox similar to what you've seen on KEATON, NARUSE, SHOAH, MABUSE, or Eureka! titles like HANZO and LONE WOLF AND CUB.

-Each feature is accompanied by a short essay printed on the inside of the respective sleeves (visible through the transparent thinpaks when you crack them open; the Disc 1 sleeve features essays on ICH MÖCHTE and PUPPE for each of the two panels). These short essays (which are excellent) are written by some favorite film-writers of ours who also happen to be hardcore Lubitschians — David Cairns (SUMURUN, ANNA BOLEYN), Anna Thorngate (ICH MÖCHTE KEIN MANN SEIN, DIE BERGKATZE), and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (DIE PUPPE. and DIE AUSTERNPRINZESSIN.).

-Very nice quotes about Lubitsch by notable cinema figures come dispersed across the backs of each sleeve.

Not sure if I'm forgetting anything. The menu and sleeve designs/typography/color-palettes are pretty nice.

ck.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#8 Post by justeleblanc » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:12 am

Please provide us with an example of an inter title translation, which was botched by Kino, but which was preserved with the Lubitschian flavor in your box.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#9 Post by Gropius » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:29 pm

evillights wrote:To that end, the film features a new and exclusive score composed, recorded, and performed on (a real) concertina by Bernard Wrigley...
Interesting choice - I'm aware of Bernard as a musician from his work on the folk circuit, although most people would know him as a comic character actor on UK TV. Is he, perchance (given the fairly unusual surname in common), a relation of Nick W.?

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#10 Post by peerpee » Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:08 am

He's my old man.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#11 Post by Adam » Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:31 pm

I hope he's proud of you! =D>

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#12 Post by evillights » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:29 pm

justeleblanc wrote:Please provide us with an example of an inter title translation, which was botched by Kino, but which was preserved with the Lubitschian flavor in your box.
Sure. But first, for the record, I didn't write (earlier in this thread) that Kino "botched" their intertitle translations on the Lubitsches; I wrote that the comic tenor and gist in the German dialogue was, in places, lost in the Kinos. Translation is an intuitive balancing act: one tries to replicate the tone and the swing of the original, while also attempting to nail all the diction as exactly as possible. (One example: I don't think it's right to simply gloss over a "denn" in a German sentence. There are a hundred ways to convey a "denn-sentence" in English — all up to the context, but it's ultimately the responsibility of the translator to choose what is, in his or her estimation, the most skillful solution. That said, one can't just ignore a word because there's no 1:1 equivalent in English. A German term might 'pervade into' three or four words in the respective sentence's English equivalent, and vice-versa.) And then also, in the context of motion pictures, a translation has to take into account the body language of the actors and the tone of the scene.

What mostly occurs in the Kino intertitles on the Lubitsch films are translations that take a literal, very prosaic bent, and which don't necessarily capture the sparkle or relatively colloquial quality of the German originals, or the frisson of the scene that contains them. Whether or not the subtitles on the MoC editions come closer to the mark of what I feel is a translation that 'works,' the presence of the German intertitles provides the irrefutably fundamental, non-subjective, and totally unfiltered 'essence' of the film's dialogue and narration.

So going through the subtitles for a few differences —

(1)

Right off the bat, three-and-a-half minutes in on ICH MÖCHTE KEIN MANN SEIN:

A chastised Ossi Oswalda runs into her uncle's house, sits down at the table, and downs three or four consecutive shots from a bottle of spirits. Her uncle strides into frame scowling and barks:

"Was machst Du denn da?"

I've rendered this as: "Now what's all this?" The Kino presents it as: "What are you doing?"

Ossi whips her head around and snaps —

"Ich schlucke meinen Aerger herunter."

I've rendered this as: "I'm slugging back my troubles." The Kino: "I'm drinking my troubles away."

(2)

At the close of the same film, during the 'morning-after' the salacious goings-on at the ball, there's a line of dialogue which stands as the provocative punch-line of the whole show — classic Lubitsch note.

Ossi's guardian, in reference to their dalliance (with his ward sporting the guise of a rather 'delicate' boy), asks the girl:

"Und Sie haben sich von mir küssen lassen?" (MoC: "And you let yourself be kissed by me?" Kino: "And you allowed yourself to be kissed by me?")

— to which she petulantly replies:

"Na — hat's Ihnen nicht geschmeckt?" (MoC: "Well — didn't you like how it tasted?" Kino: "Well — didn't you like the taste?")

— and, approaching him while he's seated, with his head roughly at the level of her groin, Ossi bends over him, shakes a finger, and repeats a line used by the guardian earlier in the film when he first attempted to assert his own power:

"Ich werde Sie schon kleinkriegen!"

I've rendered this as: "I'll break you down yet!" The Kino: "I'll bring you into line yet!" — On the one hand, the latter loses the wordplay about size/height/stature (punned on-screen here with the guardian seated, and Ossi now towering over his figure, in a final reversal of power- and gender-roles); on the other hand, the latter doesn't quite convey the S&M undertones or sexual charge of the master/ward relationship that's there in the German.

(3)

In DIE AUSTERNPRINZESSIN. —

A governess teaches Ossi how to take care of a child by using a plastic baby-doll as a stand-in. Ossi matter-of-factly holds the doll by grasping one of its legs and allowing it to dangle upside-down.

The governess, alarmed:

"Aber so dürfen Sie doch kein Kind halten!"

I've rendered this as: "You shouldn't handle any child like that!" Kino have this as: "You must not hold a child like that!"

Ossi replies, again, perfectly matter-of-factly:

"Ach, man darf so'n Kind erst garnicht verwöhnen."

I've rendered this as: "Well, children really shouldn't be coddled." Kino: "Oh, but children mustn't be spoiled."

(4)

Last example for now — DIE PUPPE. —

The upper-crust guests of the wedding party depart. A tipsy pair of old women say goodbye to each other out in front of the manor.

"Auf Wiedersehen, Frau Bizeoberzollinspektorsekretär!" "Gute Nacht, Frau Unterkassenrevisionssupernumerar!"

I've rendered this as: "Goodbye, Mrs Executive Customs Inspector Secretary!" "Good night, Mrs Substratum Appellate Supernumerary!" Kino have rendered the exchange as: "See you later, Honorable Mrs. President-Governor-Interior Minister- Secretary of State..." "Good night, Honorable Mrs. President-Governor-Interior Minister-Secretary of State..."

===

Hope this helps to clarify the differences in our approach. Note that these particularly examples were literally plucked at random from skimming through my subtitle files. There are lots more differences, some minor, some significant, throughout all six features.

best,
craig.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#13 Post by skuhn8 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:06 am

evillights wrote:
(1)

Right off the bat, three-and-a-half minutes in on ICH MÖCHTE KEIN MANN SEIN:

A chastised Ossi Oswalda runs into her uncle's house, sits down at the table, and downs three or four consecutive shots from a bottle of spirits. Her uncle strides into frame scowling and barks:

"Was machst Du denn da?"

I've rendered this as: "Now what's all this?" The Kino presents it as: "What are you doing?"

Ossi whips her head around and snaps —

"Ich schlucke meinen Aerger herunter."

I've rendered this as: "I'm slugging back my troubles." The Kino: "I'm drinking my troubles away."
It is a tightrope walk. Growing up in a German household I've been exposed to a lot of colloquialisms from the 40's/50's which is when my parents experienced adolescence/adulthood in the fatherland before cutting out. I agree with your first translation, but believe you took a creative turn with the second example when it should most likely be rendered as the more standard expression as Kino did.

That being said, I never got around to picking up the Kino box, and so am looking forward to getting the MOC.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#14 Post by Tommaso » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:53 am

Fascinating comparison, and it's obvious how much consideration has gone into the new translations. However, as Skuhn says, it's a tightrope walk, and while the MoC translation indeed is perhaps a little closer to the original, it still has the problem every translation necessarily has: it cannot wholly convey all the subtleties and connotations the original has. But that's no criticism at all, I wouldn't be able to come up with any better solutions for these examples, and Lubitsch is indeed a tough nut.

What these examples made clear to me is how extremely fitting the German words are to Ossi's character. This has not so much to do with the words themselves, but with their sound and their rhythm in a sentence. I mean, reading the German titles you can almost hear her saying them; I have a very clear acoustic image in my mind of the tone and character these words have when spoken by Ossi, and I don't have the same feeling in the translations. There is a certain 'overdone' character, a certain hysteric playfulness in "Ich werde Sie schon kleinkriegen" that neither translation really manages to capture. But, to repeat myself: I have no alternative, and as MoC has the original titles as an option, it's an obvious choice above the Kino if you understand a little German. But neither MoC nor the Kino translators did a bad job, I must honestly say. Remember it's Lubitsch.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#15 Post by souvenir » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:13 pm

Is this still on track for January 25? There's nothing up yet at the MoC site.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#16 Post by peerpee » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:48 pm

Yes, still on track.

There's an abominable review of this set in the latest edition of Sight & Sound by a very petty writer called Jay Weissberg, whose nipple will get twisted if I ever meet him.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#17 Post by perkizitore » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:13 pm

And imagine that you are giving away boxsets for their contest! Ungrateful bunch of :-#

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#18 Post by Mozart » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:36 pm

Not everybody loves what your work.... 8-[

Where can you read the article in the net? And what were the crucial points?

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#19 Post by James » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:54 pm

Mozart wrote:Not everybody loves what your work.... 8-[

Where can you read the article in the net? And what were the crucial points?
The fact that anybody could give an MoC release a negative review—which in all fairness, should be reserved for companies who are releasing films solely for profit rather than releasing them as cinematic artifacts—is abominable; I'd pay no mind to the review.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#20 Post by tajmahal » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:02 pm

James wrote:
Mozart wrote:Not everybody loves what your work.... 8-[

Where can you read the article in the net? And what were the crucial points?
The fact that anybody could give an MoC release a negative review—which in all fairness, should be reserved for companies who are releasing films solely for profit rather than releasing them as cinematic artifacts—is abominable; I'd pay no mind to the review.
There will be several reviews to come, and, for many of us, the proof will be in the Dvdbeaver pudding. (Sure there have been issues in the past, but I'd reckon MOC doesn't have a greater supporter who drives sales than Gary Tooze. MOC were awarded best Dvd relese, best Blu-ray release, best audio commentary, best cover design, and best extra in the 2009 pole)

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#21 Post by James » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:27 pm

tajmahal wrote:
James wrote:
Mozart wrote:Not everybody loves what your work.... 8-[

Where can you read the article in the net? And what were the crucial points?
The fact that anybody could give an MoC release a negative review—which in all fairness, should be reserved for companies who are releasing films solely for profit rather than releasing them as cinematic artifacts—is abominable; I'd pay no mind to the review.
There will be several reviews to come, and, for many of us, the proof will be in the Dvdbeaver pudding. (Sure there have been issues in the past, but I'd reckon MOC doesn't have a greater supporter who drives sales than Gary Tooze. MOC were awarded best Dvd relese, best Blu-ray release, best audio commentary, best cover design, and best extra in the 2009 pole)
I guess all I'm saying is: do you really expect something that Masters of Cinema releases to be of poor quality? I mean, two of the people who work for them, including the producer of the company, post here. We're clearly dealing with people who are trying their hardest to support cinema and fans of it. These aren't some big budget companies out for a buck.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#22 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:21 am

James wrote:I guess all I'm saying is: do you really expect something that Masters of Cinema releases to be of poor quality? I mean, two of the people who work for them, including the producer of the company, post here. We're clearly dealing with people who are trying their hardest to support cinema and fans of it. These aren't some big budget companies out for a buck.
I can't comment on this particular review because I haven't read it and don't have the relevant issue to hand (I'm snowed in at home), but as a general principle I don't care two hoots about who the producer/distributor is - my only concern is whether the disc itself is any cop.

Granted, because I know a fair bit about materials availability thanks to my day job I'm probably more sympathetic regarding unavoidable quality issues than many critics, but I'm certainly not going to let fondness or antipathy towards a particular label colour my judgement. And I doubt very much that Nick would expect me to.

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#23 Post by perkizitore » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:08 am

If he commented negatively only on the films themselves i respect his opinion, but he can't justify any dismissive comments regarding the technical quality of the set!

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#24 Post by Caged Horse » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:38 am

Eh, I wish people had gotten this worked up at Sight and Sound for devoting pages of coverage to the likes of Death Proof, Johnny Mnemonic and Southland Tales..! :-k

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Re: Lubitsch in Berlin - 6 Films

#25 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:45 am

It was a glowing review of the films and set overall - I think the nipple tweaking is being mentioned because of a couple of nitpicks at the translations of the intertitles followed up by the extremely negative comments on all the scores for the films (except for the one by Neil Brand) and the especially scathing remarks made on the new score to Die Puppe that ends the review on a rather sour note.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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