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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 9:51 am 
not perpee
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The authoring house we used for MICHAEL (back in 2004) could not guarantee that the subtitles would be removeable. I have no idea why, but it was the authoring software they were using.

This was the first DVD I worked on, and needless to say, we never used them again.

The subtitles are player-generated, so if you have a computer it's possible to rip the disc and trash the subtitles, and burn a disc that does not have subtitles. If you can't do this, I'd be happy to send you a DVD-R.

Sales for this set have been dire, unfortunately, so we won't be reauthoring as it's rather costly to do that.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 10:56 am 

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peerpee wrote:
The authoring house we used for MICHAEL (back in 2004) could not guarantee that the subtitles would be removeable. I have no idea why, but it was the authoring software they were using.

This was the first DVD I worked on, and needless to say, we never used them again.

Some of the authoring houses you used in the early days seemed to be pretty poor and from what you've told us fairly clueless! You had one case where they didn't know the difference between Interlaced and Progressive and then there's this. Thank God you've found some reliable companies at last that know what it means to create quality discs.

peerpee wrote:
The subtitles are player-generated, so if you have a computer it's possible to rip the disc and trash the subtitles, and burn a disc that does not have subtitles.

There's something to add to the "to do" list this weekend.

peerpee wrote:
Sales for this set have been dire, unfortunately, so we won't be reauthoring as it's rather costly to do that.

That really is a shame as I personally felt this was one of the best films in the series. I know I'll definitely be recommending it to people to try and get the word out there.

Let's hope that once MoC have picked up some more loyal followers they'll want to go back and revisit some of the earlier films in the series.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:00 pm 
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peerpee wrote:
The subtitles are player-generated, so if you have a computer it's possible to rip the disc and trash the subtitles, and burn a disc that does not have subtitles. If you can't do this, I'd be happy to send you a DVD-R.

This is great to know and really solves the problem. Since the film will easily fit on one DVD-R without compression, and since DVD-Rs are dirt cheap these days it almost makes the authoring flaw moot.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:20 pm 
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peerpee wrote:
Sales for this set have been dire, unfortunately, so we won't be reauthoring as it's rather costly to do that.

How sad! Well, I can promise you that I'll be buying a copy very soon. I've been putting this one off in lieu of BFI's Dreyer releases, but now that I've got a bunch of vouchers for CD-Wow, I can splurge a bit.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:48 pm 
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Jack Rabbit Slim wrote:
peerpee wrote:
Sales for this set have been dire, unfortunately, so we won't be reauthoring as it's rather costly to do that.

That really is a shame as I personally felt this was one of the best films in the series. I know I'll definitely be recommending it to people to try and get the word out there.

Let's hope that once MoC have picked up some more loyal followers they'll want to go back and revisit some of the earlier films in the series.

That is a pity - I know of at least one satisfied customer(!), it is an excellent package even with forced subtitles. So far there isn't a film in the collection that I haven't already got or have on my wish list - the one exception is Sunrise and that is only because I got that Fox Studio Classics box with Sunrise as the bonus disc. I'm especially looking forward to seeing another film with Peter in, since I'm only familiar with his appearance in Ran, and am excited about the Robert Flaherty box set as the Home Vision releases had been getting near the top of my to buy list before I found out about the MoC boxset.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 9:40 am 
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Sorry for reviving such an old, dead thread, but I just blind-bought this after much wavering, and wanted to say thank you to Nick and everyone at MoC for putting together such a fantastic package. Considering its relative obscurity, its unprepossessing title, the handsome but unedifying photo on the cover, and the fact that this was one of MoC's earliest releases, I guess its 'dire' sales aren't too much of a mystery. But anyone remotely interested in silent cinema should snap this up: it ranks among the best of Murnau, Lang, Eisenstein, Dreyer himself, etc. And MoC's presentation of it couldn't be bettered.

I feel like I could spend the rest of my life watching this film. In a way I can understand some people thinking it doesn't have the depth of Dreyer's later work, purely because I found it a lot more accessible than, for instance, Joan of Arc, Vampyr or Day of Wrath, all of which it's taken me a long time to 'get into' - and perhaps that's because Michael does have a more immediately engaging story, and a much less austere mise en scene. But I've watched it four times now, and every time it seems more complex and more profound. It's the kind of film where crucial plot developments are communicated through the smallest facial gestures or juxtapositions of shots; you could watch it frame by frame and still be absolutely riveted.

This is the great thing about Tybjerg's commentary: like a really good academic lecture, it sends you away with a hundred more questions than you had before, and with a desire to watch the film again, to read the novel, to find out more. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a readily available English translation of Herman Bang's novel - anyone want to correct me on this? I didn't feel Tybjerg was simply describing what happened on screen; in fact, in contrast to many such commentaries, his was for the most part not directly related to the scene on hand, though he has a wonderful way, a bit like Ginette Vincendeau, of arranging his topics so as to discuss them at a point in the film when they are particularly suggestive. Like a good score, it fits each scene in subtle and thought-provoking ways.

Oser's score was so perfect for the film that I wasn't expecting much from Neal Kurz, but in fact the two scores are equally impressive, definitely some of the best silent film music I've ever heard. Kurz is more 'conventional', more self-effacing, but his music has a classical sophistication rarely heard in any film scores, let alone ones composed for silent films. I don't know Tchaikovsky beyond Swan Lake, but even if Kurz's whole score is, so to speak, 'adapted' from already existing music, the pieces are beautifully chosen, and complement the film just as well as Oser's jarring, dissonant score. Kurz's has a kind of smooth, flowing quality, giving the film a more polished, lyrical and decadent feel, and in not drawing attention to itself it leaves the viewer free to concentrate on the images themselves. So, although my eyes aren't good enough to distinguish much between the two prints (I think I prefer the European one), I'll definitely be revisiting both versions of the film, and am very glad MoC decided to include both in this package.

Walter Slezak's performance has been rather under-appreciated. Contrary to what Tybjerg says in his commentary, to me this film is as much about Michael as it is about Zoret, and Christensen's performance depends a great deal on that of Slezak. Pick any shot of Michael in the film, pause it and look closely at his face: one of my favourites is the profile shot of him peering at Zoret's final masterpiece, while Zoret looks anxiously at him. There are so many layers of feeling in Slezak's face: the frustrated, jealous artist to whose talent Zoret is ironically blind, the hypersensitive child in need of a love which his adopted father is incapable of providing, the sadistic lover punishing Zoret via his art - the only medium through which this self-absorbed 'Master' can feel or express human emotions. There is a great deal more to this relationship than just the 'kindly older man betrayed by spoilt brat'; indeed it is on the complexity of this relationship that the whole story depends, and Slezak's wonderfully expressive performance is an essential counterpoint to Christensen's monumental portrait of a man being torn apart from inside.

And has there ever been a film with such a tantalisingly ambiguous ending? What is Nora Gregor looking at in the final shot? What does it have to do with what Christensen 'saw' in the previous scene ('true love', whatever that is)?


Last edited by Sloper on Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:43 am 
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Sloper wrote:
Sorry for reviving such an old, dead thread, but I just blind-bought this after much wavering, and wanted to say thank you to Nick and everyone at MoC for putting together such a fantastic package. . . . anyone remotely interested in silent cinema should snap this up – it ranks among the best of Murnau, Lang, Eisenstein, Dreyer himself, etc…

I quite agree about the film. I read that Dreyer considered it second only to 'The Passion of Joan of Arc' among his silent films. It is especially rich and subtle in the way that objects figure in the transactions between the characters--the painting Zoret did of Michael and gives to him, the English glasses, the crucifix in the studio and on the wall in the final death scene, etc.

I read that a newly restored version was presented at the Berlin film festival about two years ago. I wonder if it will be released by anyone on DVD?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:19 pm 
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Michael is a sublime masterpiece and it's Dreyer at the peak of his form. Thematically Dreyer only meets it again with Gertrud.

I still swoon at the sheer matter of factness in the treatment of homosexuality - the manner in which Dreyer and his screenwriter have transformed what was obviously a highly effete piece of gay literature from a deracinated Weimar period "pre-gay" sensibility and invested the gay elements of the drama with outstanding and deeply felt dignity.

I also agree with the previous poster who praised Slezak's performance - he plays an enormous gamut of emotions, from petulant to deeply hurt, to transcendentally in love, and most difficult of all a male beauty metamorphosing from sexual ambivalence.

I love this movie, and it's probably my favorite MoC title, despite the subtitle problem. (Minor to me in this case.) Am very curious about any newer restoration - this version still suffers from several shot insertions which appear to be out of sequence (early scenes in Zoret's studio when he shows Nora Gregor the nude portrait of Michael) - the problems are minor but they deserve correcting.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:12 pm 
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davidhare wrote:
I still swoon at the sheer matter of factness in the treatment of homosexuality - the manner in which Dreyer and his screenwriter have transformed what was obviously a highly effete piece of gay literature from a deracinated Weimar period "pre-gay" sensibility and invested the gay elements of the drama with outstanding and deeply felt dignity.

I also agree with the previous poster who praised Slezak's performance - he plays an enormous gamut of emotions, from petulant to deeply hurt, to transcendentally in love, and most difficult of all a male beauty metamorphosing from sexual ambivalence.

I very much agree. How vile, though typically American in its morbid and puerile obsession with sexuality, that US distributors at the time re-named the film 'The Invert' for release in the states. Eighty years later, Americans today casually refer to Brokeback Mountain as 'the gay cowboy movie'. Michael is realized by a perfectly mature understanding of sexuality, for today's world mind you, let alone the twenties.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:24 am 
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As for the restoration I mentioned earlier, here's something from the archives of the Berlinale:

"Jan 19, 06: Special Events of the Retrospective
In September 1924, a first showing of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Michael elicited thunderous applause from the audience in Berlin. 82 years later, on 11 February 2006, the Retrospective will premiere a newly restored version of the film at the Volksbühne am Rosa Luxemburg Platz on occasion of the 56th Berlinale."

I can't find anything about whether a DVD is planned.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:56 am 

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Here is a German article by Wim Wenders at the time of the restoration screening. The restored version is 90 minutes long. Here's the Berlinale press release .

Someone who speaks Danish might be able to find out more on the Danish Film Institute website as they were in charge of the restoration.

xx


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:31 am 
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Not to be picky, but the article isn't by Wenders, but by his cameraman Robby Müller.
If the DFI was responsible for the new version, I guess we might have reason to look forward to a dvd release from them. Question in any case would be how much superior it is to the print released on disc 2 of the MoC.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:48 am 

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Sorry yeah, I'm at work, didn't have time to read it properly! I think this is the old DFI page though it may no-longer work. From their magazine FILM48, page 30.

Quote:
DFI presents ‘Michael’ by Carl Theodor Dreyer

The Retrospective Programme of the 56th Berlin International Film Festival will screen a newly restored version of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Michael. The screening will be accompanied by music performed by the “ensembleKONTRASTE” under the direction of Pierre Oser.

by Thomas Christensen / DFI curator

The restoration of “Michael ”
The Danish Film Institute (DFI) has had particular interest in assuring optimal restoration of Michael. All the surviving elements of the film at the DFI, however, were of poor quality, including a 35mm duplicate negative deriving from the print received from Staatsliches Filmarchiv in 1958.

In the summer of 2004 the DFI received word that a negative at the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv was the camera negative. In August 2005 this negative was inspected by the DFI and found to be an original nitrate negative. The negative was re-edited by the Staatsliches Filmarchiv in the 1950s, at which point German intertitles, based on the censorship list, were inserted. The title-inserts are on safety stock, and unfortunately in Academy sound aperture, and not silent full frame.

It was decided to do a digital intermediate restoration with Digital Filmlab in Copenhagen in order to minimise generational loss. The negative was scanned at 2K (1920x1440) resolution on a Spirit datacine, centering the titles in the grading process. The film was subsequently ingested in an Inferno workstation, where it was first dust-busted using Resolve, and then large damages were painted out manually. The result is a new b/w negative, which closely resembles the original starting point, however, both original grading deficiencies, and subsequent damage, especially deriving from the previous restoration, have been eliminated.

The restoration was supervised by the DFI at Digital Filmlab in Copenhagen, and was a joint venture between the DFI, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung and Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:44 pm 
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accordingly to the "Danish film institute", Dreyers first german movie Die Gezeichneten has been restored and will be showed at the Berlin film festival.
Dont know if someone has mentioned that around here....


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:03 pm 
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The DVD cover looks nicer if you reverse the sleeve. This just made my day (one of the many joys of not getting out much) so I thought I'd share.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 12:41 pm 
What a great film-- it's unfortunate that it's often pejoratively labeled an early work of Dreyer's, unlike The Passion of Joan of Arc. Sometimes the 'early' works are the most fascinating, they soar even higher than those that have been burdened with the baggage and schema that the artist later develops and is known for.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:52 pm 
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Simply loved it!
It has some superficial similarities to Ophuls Madame de...(probably mentioned in the extras that I haven't dug into yet).
The score for the European version reminded me of Morton Feldman's later piano works, around the time of Palais de Mari.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:26 pm 
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Alphonso wrote:
What a great film-- it's unfortunate that it's often pejoratively labeled an early work of Dreyer's, unlike The Passion of Joan of Arc. Sometimes the 'early' works are the most fascinating, they soar even higher than those that have been burdened with the baggage and schema that the artist later develops and is known for.

I've rarely heard his early works "perjoratively" labeled. Many of these are quite fascinating exhibit an incisive mise en scene and a pictorial sensibility second to none-- to appreciate this one should strain to see the DFI's restored Leaves From Satans Book. Not to mention the wonderful casting of old bearded men for old bearded characters... no yak hair in Dreyer.

Of course when measured against works like Joan & Day of, and Ordet, anything seems secondary. But definitely not perjorative!


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Michael
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:02 pm 
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My copy of Michael arrived today and I'm pleased to let people know that VLC can handle the subtitling authoring error on the 2nd European Disk, so you can choose whether to display the subtitles or not. No need for me to burn a disk now!


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Michael
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:09 pm 
not perpee
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A sealed OOP MICHAEL being given away by me in an hour on Twitter @shittydeath


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Michael
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Damn! Of all the times to be stuck at work....


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Michael
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:32 pm 
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Haha, awesome- I just gave away my copy as a birthday present last week.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Michael
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:56 pm 

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Back in print for a limited run.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Michael
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:04 am 
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The new pressing has a 2012 copyright, so 'collectors' will still want the original.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Michael
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:38 am 
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MoC is constantly making subtle changes to things like spine color or title presentation from one pressing of a particular title to the next, usually without calling any attention to it. Are there people that collect all of these different variations?


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