106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Eureka/Masters of Cinema and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here.
Forum rules
Please do not clutter up the threads for MoC titles with information on pre-orders. You can announce the availability of pre-orders in the MoC: Cheapest Prices / Best Places to Buy / Pre-Orders thread. Any posts on pre-orders in any other thread will be deleted.
Message
Author
User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur / Das indische Grabmal

#51 Post by swo17 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:43 pm

MoC mentioned today on Twitter that a 35 mm revival of these films will be screening in New York next month. I don't know if this relates in any way to the restoration that's been going on, which is supposed to lead to an eventual Blu-ray upgrade.

eerik
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:53 pm
Location: Estonia

Re: 106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

#52 Post by eerik » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:57 am

Guess what's coming to Blu-ray in October? Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

MoC upgrade in Q1/Q2? :P

User avatar
TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: 106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

#53 Post by TMDaines » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:50 pm

I asked about this 7-8 months ago on Twitter and they said, "Not ruled out, but not in the oven."

My DVD is still sealed and I'd love to see how this looks in HD.


User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: 106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

#55 Post by Drucker » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:56 pm

That seems pretty drastic

User avatar
The Elegant Dandy Fop
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:25 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: 106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

#56 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:48 am

I just saw a German archival print of these two a few months ago and can safely say the German Blu-ray represents colors closer to the print I saw, but that DNR makes it look grossly smoothed over. Look at that last screencap and look at the clear edges of the miniature scale on the bottom of the photo on the Masters of Cinema release and then the waxy, blurred palm trees on the Blu-ray.

User avatar
RossyG
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: 106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

#57 Post by RossyG » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:51 am

Based purely on those screenshots, I prefer the MoC DVD to the Blu-ray.

User avatar
manicsounds
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:58 pm
Location: Tokyo, Japan

Re: 106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

#58 Post by manicsounds » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:33 am

So now it's late 2013, and still no plans for blu-ray?

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: 106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

#59 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:03 pm

The Universum telecine completely sucks one end of the color palette right out of the film... sucks the detail right out of the elephants in the long shot. I VASTLY prefer the transfer resident in the MOC DVD which probably is the same as the old Fantoma that I have, which is truly one of the greatest SD transfers I've ever seen. It's like the operator on the HD pass decided to remove all trace of the color blue from this film, which relies hugely on the contrast between hot and cold temperatures, indoors and outdoors, lush gold and gilt, and ruinous dungeon and dirt.

I woulnd't go near that BD.

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

Re: 106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

#60 Post by david hare » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:33 pm

I think that's right:

Image

Image

Image

Blues have taken a powder and have been dialled right down, alas. Even Paul Hubschmidt's royal blue dinner pants in the banquet scene are a bit tame. I also noticed all through this encode things like strong evidence of optical and zoom grain in two or three shots for instance during Debra's hoochy cooch dance to the goddess have been quietened down but regrettably this could only have been done with overdosing on DVNR which seems prevalent throughout the rest of the film (and Indian Tomb). Although not off the wall waxy the image looks far too grainless and frankly soft. MoC are right to wait for something better, if that ever comes along. They obviously can't afford to do their own scans.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: 106-107 Der Tiger von Eschnapur & Das indische Grabmal

#61 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:05 am

Great examples. It's literally like--in certain shots more than others-- they gold tinted the entire emulsion a la the developing process in the silent era.

It's a shame, because this is a German fillm and there certainly should have been vintage reference images around in satisfactory enough condition to set alarm bells off somewhere, somehow.

Shame. Angst & Lang's palette and compositions are a delight in this film. I'll continue to luxuriate in the sublime Fantoma for the time being. Great set.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

The Tiger of Eschnapur/The Indian Tomb (Fritz Lang, 1959)

#62 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:38 am

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, September 28th AT 6:30 AM.

Members have a two week period in which to discuss the film before it's moved to its dedicated thread in The Criterion Collection subforum. Please read the Rules and Procedures.

This thread is not spoiler free. This is a discussion thread; you should expect plot points of the individual films under discussion to be discussed openly. See: spoiler rules.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

I encourage members to submit questions, either those designed to elicit discussion and point out interesting things to keep an eye on, or just something you want answered. This will be extremely helpful in getting discussion started. Starting is always the hardest part, all the more so if it's unguided. Questions can be submitted to me via PM.




***PM me if you have any suggestions for additions or just general concerns and questions.***

Izo
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:59 pm

Re: The Tiger of Eschnapur/The Indian Tomb (Fritz Lang, 1959

#63 Post by Izo » Mon Sep 14, 2015 12:04 pm

This is the first time I've felt brave enough to contribute to one of these discussions, so hopefully I have something worthwhile to say.


I find these films kind of wonderful despite their various inadequacies in special effects and performance, which in a work of naive exotica I find very easy to overlook. Lang's direction remains faultless throughout - if not among his flashiest work - with minimalist set design that nevertheless communicates this mythical, Temple of Doom-style vision of India. I find Debra Paget's dance with the cobra, for example, simultaneously spellbinding and ridiculous, and it's done with very little in the way of set dressing aside from the various extras and the statue backdrop. Smoke fills much of the screen, serving the dual purpose of adding to the atmosphere and covering up some of the seams. Not even the goofy cobra puppet derails the scene for me.

Lang's duo seem to me to lack the general nastiness of the Spielberg picture, though both films are clearly racially insensitive throughout. I often find it difficult to reconcile the racial overtones of these kinds of work (The Thief of Bagdad also immediately springs to mind) with the delight that some of these orientalist pictures bring me. Admittedly I don't have much to say on the topic, and I'm not even sure how much traction the discussion might have, but it must be acknowledged.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: The Tiger of Eschnapur/The Indian Tomb (Fritz Lang, 1959

#64 Post by swo17 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 12:21 pm

I hadn't considered it before, but Temple of Doom is an apt comparison. Both films have a kind of inherent silliness that would be much more of a liability if they weren't so consistently fun, and I think that helps them get away with some of their less successful elements.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Tiger of Eschnapur/The Indian Tomb (Fritz Lang, 1959

#65 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:49 pm

Yeah, to some degree I think the cartoonishness of these movies- which Spielberg definitely shares- is a positive quality, like if they were more grounded the Orientalism would sting a lot more. As it is, I think the only thing that really holds them back for me is the pace- adventure movies tend to draaaaaag when they slow down, and this duo isn't even fast paced for Lang. Sin against cinema though it is, this is a movie where I can see the appeal of the sliced to ribbons 90 minute American cut.

User avatar
Sloper
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 10:06 pm

Re: The Tiger of Eschnapur/The Indian Tomb (Fritz Lang, 1959

#66 Post by Sloper » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:07 am

Izo wrote:I find these films kind of wonderful despite their various inadequacies in special effects and performance, which in a work of naive exotica I find very easy to overlook. Lang's direction remains faultless throughout - if not among his flashiest work - with minimalist set design that nevertheless communicates this mythical, Temple of Doom-style vision of India. I find Debra Paget's dance with the cobra, for example, simultaneously spellbinding and ridiculous, and it's done with very little in the way of set dressing aside from the various extras and the statue backdrop. Smoke fills much of the screen, serving the dual purpose of adding to the atmosphere and covering up some of the seams. Not even the goofy cobra puppet derails the scene for me.
I'm not generally a fan of this sort of film, and on a first viewing I found Lang's Indian epic quite tedious, especially the first part - but after listening to David Kalat's commentary (one of his best, I think) and then watching the films again with the English-language dub, I feel pretty much the same way as you.

Even on a first viewing, and even after the gushing on this board about the beauty of the imagery (and the transfer), I was astonished by how good this film looks. If I hadn't already known this was directed by Lang, I might still have felt like comparing its visual grandeur to that of Die Nibelungen. The sets are amazingly detailed, although as you say they don't feel excessively cluttered or busy, and some of the lighting effects are just breathtaking. There are several moments when the lighting is actually quite inconsistent - Lang seems to like having an orange light glowing in from an adjacent location, even if that location was a cool blue colour - but this is all part of the deliberate, deft artifice that permeates the film. See also the moment when Berger's executioner comes for him in his cell: the orange light on the wall in front of Berger tells him there is someone with a torch by the door, then when the man enters at the top of the staircase, he's suddenly bathed in an inexplicable green light. This is not an authentic world, populated by real human beings, but a painstakingly intricate illusion constructed by a master-craftsman.

Such effects not only draw attention to the craft that has gone into the film, they also give a clue to why it is often hard to enjoy. There is very little in the way of authentic humanity on display here, and I can't help feeling that Lang's cold, detached attitude to people is unsuited to this kind of material, however brilliantly he conjures up the setting. This is, after all, not Die Nibelungen: the main characters are not super-human archetypes engaged in a mythical struggle, but relatively ordinary people we’re supposed to be able to identify with. Under Lang’s direction, they never look like anything but automata, and most of the time I found their struggles uninteresting at best, irritating at worst. Indeed, it’s telling that the only two characters who have any real life in them are Chandra and Ramigani (their relationship a sort of variation on the Gunther / Hagen dynamic). The former especially, played with real complexity and finesse by Walther Reyer, injects some human drama into the proceedings. It’s this sort of morally ambiguous figure that Lang is most comfortable with, part murderous tyrant, part tragic, lovelorn hero.

Anyway, when I watched this again with the English dub, not only could I enjoy the imagery in a more undiluted way, I could also appreciate the cleverness of the films’ construction now that I knew the whole plot (which I’m slightly embarrassed to say I found quite hard to follow on the first go...). These films are about the relationship between large, overwhelming forces and the puny humans who are subject to them – not really man vs. Fate, as the blurb on the MoC sleeve suggests, because the higher powers here are not that coherent. There’s a crucial exchange where Berger expresses an impatience to get started on the building work, and Chandra counters that impatience is a European illness; what is an hour, or a day, or a year, in the endless stream of eternity? Orientalism aside, this is fundamentally similar to the outlook on life found in many other Lang films, where people’s attempts to control their lives turn into a futile scrabble against the randomness of circumstance.

We see this again and again in these films. The first one begins by showing us labouring peasants, and we first see the hero sitting among some poor children in a courtyard: the kid with the dog looks up at him, he smiles, the kid smiles back. Then we see Berger coming to the aid of Bharani at the well. He is a friend to the poor and disenfranchised, and that’s pretty much the most interesting thing we ever learn about this character. Most obviously, this makes him a suitable antagonist to the other ‘tiger’, Chandra, who has an unhealthy sense of his own superiority to his subjects.

But the point turns out to be more complex than this. Lang shows us that moment of friendship between Berger and the dog-owning boy, not because the boy will be an ally to the hero later on, as we might expect in this kind of story, but only so that we will recognise this boy when he and his dog get eaten by the tiger. (It’s a measure of the film’s tin ear for human sentiment, and its stoic worldview, that the hero’s reaction to this event is sociopathically nonchalant.) Similarly, despite Berger’s rescue of Bharani, he is unable to save her when Ramigani contrives her death, specifically because of Chandra’s insistence on an inflexible hierarchy: his is the sovereign will, he does not like to see his brother disobeyed by a servant, therefore Bharani must get into the basket. (Again, Berger is comically brusque when consoling Seetha for the loss of her beloved servant.)

When they make their escape, Berger and Seetha ride their horses to death – Lang pauses to take in the futile sacrifice made by these animals – are looked after by villagers whose homes are then burnt...and then they are captured anyway. When Berger picks up the orange at Shiva’s shrine and then hears Seetha’s scream outside, this might seem to affirm the existence and omnipotence of the gods, a coherent and meaningful ‘higher power’ controlling events. But Seetha, who never learns of her lover’s act of sacrilege, is left feeling that there are no gods, and she would be killed by the cobra during the dance-trial later on, purely on account of a random un-fastening of her ankle-bracelet, if it were not for Chandra’s intervention. You might say that this trial was arranged, not by Shiva, but by a self-interested priest, but I think the point stands: on the whole, these films do not display any serious faith in a meaningful ‘order’ to events. Rather, the overall impression is of random chances afflicting people who are helpless to exercise any real control over their lives.

The sequence of events at the climax to the second film is indicative of this: we see Walther and Irene Rhode making extensive efforts to figure out where Berger is being held prisoner, but they don’t find him, he escapes; he escapes, not by carving his chain out of the prison-wall, which we see him trying to do three times, but by an extraordinary stroke of luck (and, yes, some quick thinking and dexterity on his part) when his executioner’s attempt to humiliate him backfires; as he’s making his escape, Irene catches sight of him, and calls his name; but they can’t find each other, and she falls through a hole in the ground, now calling the name of Asagara, who also can’t locate her at first; then he happens to figure out that she’s in the leper-cave (he has knack for this, having saved Irene’s brother earlier on in exactly the same way) and gets killed by falling rocks; and then Irene, Walther and Berger just happen to end up in the same spot at the same time; Berger then commits some acts of heroism which we don’t get to see, except for the aftermath of his slicing the one soldier’s head open, and his slaughter of the other soldier whom Seetha has just incapacitated for him; then we finally get a showdown between Berger and Chandra, but in a wonderful touch of realism, our hero is now too exhausted to hold the axe or even stand up, and the day is saved, not by the hero, but by the ambiguous villain and his last-second change of heart.

As good vs. evil adventure stories go, this one is incredibly messy, and it’s hard to feel all that great about the happy ending when so much of it depends on sheer dumb luck, and even bad luck that turns out to be good in the long run – Berger probably would have been killed if he had managed to free the chain from the wall. And by the way, note that despite Berger’s and Walther’s sympathy for the lepers, there is no clear indication that those lepers who survived the falling rocks, or anyone else in Eschnapur, will enjoy an improved quality of life after the Europeans bugger off home, leaving a power vacuum in their wake, and presumably without having built any hospitals...

The obsessive technical beauty and intricacy of the film seem to smother its human interest elements, seducing the viewer’s senses but (at least in my experience) making it hard to feel involved in what is happening. But the films are also about the way in which human agency is smothered by the vast forces surrounding it. Much of the time, the effect of those beautiful images is to give a sense, not of benevolent or malevolent forces consciously closing in on the protagonists, but rather of an incomprehensibly complex environment to which the protagonists are oblivious. The light coming in from the next room is the wrong colour; implacable and possibly meaningless statues stare ominously down at the heroes; and look at the shots of the sky when Berger goes to visit Seetha in her gilded cage, with the sun obscured by clouds reflected in a pond, and then a wonderful low-angle shot where, as the camera pans, we see a vast block of grey cloud stretching out into the distance, framed by patches of blue sky on either side (at either end of the panning movement). These clouds don’t just represent the threat of Chandra’s wrath hanging over the lovers, but also the ‘darkness over Eschnapur’ which the wise man refers to in his conversation with Chandra, when he blows out the candle and says that he cannot see the way forward. Chandra’s final repentance seems like a response to the randomness of everything that has happened, a realisation of how little his much-vaunted ‘will’ can actually accomplish, rather than a sentimental revelation that Berger and Seetha belong together.

I still think this is a deeply flawed, and at times simply boring film. I enjoyed the commentary quite a lot more than the film itself. But it’s still very clever and brilliant in all sorts of ways, and the second part especially is very exciting and suspenseful at times – in part because you feel that, on the way to the inevitable happy ending, almost anything could happen from one moment to the next.

Post Reply