57 Larks on a String

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Second Run and the films on them.
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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 57 Larks on a String

#26 Post by knives » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:32 pm

I don't expect it to be much more than Menzel talking to a wall for ten minutes, but that's still more than I ever could expect. In the case of second run anything beyond one of your exquisite booklets is a lovely shock and at least in description this one couldn't be lovelier.

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MichaelB
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#27 Post by MichaelB » Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:06 am

"Idiosyncratic and succinct" is a perfect summation of Menzel's entire career. Can you imagine a three-hour Menzel epic?

In fact, he's only once hit two hours, and I Served the King of England is his longest by some distance - with under 90 minutes being the norm.

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Bikey
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am

Re: 57 Larks on a String

#28 Post by Bikey » Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:07 pm

Full details of the release now up at our site here

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MichaelB
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#29 Post by MichaelB » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:22 am

The Menzel extra is an utter delight, not least because it's so obviously entirely self-produced - complete with wobbly numerical "chapters" printed on A4 sheets of paper held up to the camera. And I love the hand-held beeping device that he uses to indicate a cut, especially when it comes after a brief pause for reflection - it's almost as though he's giving a presentation and requesting a slide change.

Also, full marks to Second Run for sensitive subtitle positioning during the more eccentrically-framed bits (such as the shots where his head is popping up in the bottom right-hand corner, almost off the screen altogether) to avoid obscuring his mouth.

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MichaelB
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#30 Post by MichaelB » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:13 am

Oh, and as with Daisies I suspect the virtues of the second cover design will become more obvious once you see it at greater magnification - click on it on this page and hopefully you'll see what I mean.

The first cover is little more than a production still that tells you nothing especially useful about the film (in fact, it misleadingly hints that it's in black and white), whereas the second is crammed with symbolic detail - though admittedly you have to be familiar with the film already to pick up on some of the subtler touches.

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antnield
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#31 Post by antnield » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:03 am


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MichaelB
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#32 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:26 am


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Bikey
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#33 Post by Bikey » Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:14 am


admira
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#34 Post by admira » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:10 am

What a disappointment this DVD is! Mr. Menzel shot this film on negativ 1,66:1. The same ratio is claimed by the SecondRun, but it is false; they rather use 1,78:1.
They use the same source like this czech DVD (czech release DVD is at 1,51:1).
So not only you are missing picture on the side, SecondRun also cut some picture at the top and at the bottom.

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MichaelB
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#35 Post by MichaelB » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:33 am

admira wrote:What a disappointment this DVD is! Mr. Menzel shot this film on negativ 1,66:1. The same ratio is claimed by the SecondRun, but it is false; they rather use 1,78:1.
They use the same source like this czech DVD (czech release DVD is at 1,51:1).
So not only you are missing picture on the side, SecondRun also cut some picture at the top and at the bottom.
Well, you'd better take this up with Jiří Menzel and cinematographer Jaromír Šofr, who both approved Second Run's transfer. In fact, I understand that they watched it together.

The fact that more picture information may be visible on the negative doesn't necessarily mean that it was intended to be seen.

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Bikey
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#36 Post by Bikey » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:01 pm

"Highly recommended" - in an excellent review by L K Weston at DVD Outsider

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MichaelB
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#37 Post by MichaelB » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:32 am


charal
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#38 Post by charal » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:27 pm

I don't blame amira for feeling miffed. Michael Brooke's reply is reasonable and it reminds me of the dual presentation of HEROSTRATUS. BFI take both roads: a [late] director's wish [16:9] and a fuller information version [4:3]: you can make your own choice.

I have a copy of the original 4:3 [approx. 1.66:1] version LARKS taped off of Australian TV and shown soon after the Berlin festival. Most of the cropping to my eye is off the bottom, quite a lot in fact. What I can't understand is why SR list the film on the back cover as 1.66:1 when - as admira observed - it is more like 1.75:1. Also, the 4:3 version looks better on my screen whereas the 16:9 version loses clarity. [A zoomed THIRD PART OF THE NIGHT looks better than this.] Also check out the Menzel interview. Is it my imagination or is the video of the film playing behind him exactly 1.66:1?

Despite all of this babble, it is a welcome and essential addition to the Czech canon. Thanks again SR.

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Bikey
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#39 Post by Bikey » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:23 am


admira
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#40 Post by admira » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:17 am


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Bikey
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#41 Post by Bikey » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:59 am


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Derek Estes
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#42 Post by Derek Estes » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:16 pm

I'd love to see Criterion release this. Closely Watched Trains is one of my favorite films.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 57 Larks on a String

#43 Post by knives » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:28 pm

You realize that this disc can play on most American players right?

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Derek Estes
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:00 pm
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#44 Post by Derek Estes » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:55 pm

Yeah, but it still looks like shit.

I'll rent things that look like shit, but I've stopped buying it.

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knives
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#45 Post by knives » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:08 pm

This was supervised by the director. There won't be a better looking version out there and I personally think it looks great in motion.

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domino harvey
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#46 Post by domino harvey » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:41 pm

I thought Friedkin taught us all to stop using "Director Approved" to end an argument

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jbeall
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#47 Post by jbeall » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:38 pm

I've only perused a little of the film, but it most assuredly does not look like shit. Indeed, I'd say it looks better than Criterion's Czech/Slovak releases. This ain't Facets ($30 a pop last time I checked) we're dealing with here. The subs are clear, idiomatic, removable, and properly timed, and the image is as good as it'll get without somebody paying for a full restoration.

Just on principle, it's worth supporting SR because they're gambling with their money every single time they release a dvd from Central/Eastern Europe while Criterion releases bankable films from their IFC deal or films by "money" directors such as Bergman, Malle, Kurosawa, etc. This is not to critique Criterion's model--they're a business, after all, and I'm grateful for what they do--but SR is taking a much bigger risk with each release than Criterion usually takes in two years.

Derek, if supporting literally the only company that's made a commitment to making these incredible films from an underrepresented region available in the English-speaking market doesn't justify buying this disc at ~$15 (US), I don't know what'll convince you. But I will say that if you think the wacky C logo is a requirement for a dvd/blu release to be worthy of joining your personal library, you're a) excluding a lot of great cinema, b) unrealistic about what Criterion is willing and/or able to release, c) ignoring the fact that Criterion's release of Closely Watched Trains doesn't look all that great, either, and d) refusing to support a dvd label that can do a lot more good with what they'd make off your purchase than a more established label with money to burn. Lemme know how your rental of Larks on a String goes.

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Derek Estes
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#48 Post by Derek Estes » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:20 pm

I don't know why you feel personally insulted that someone you don't know has choosen not to buy something.

I've purchased Second Run films in the past and haven't been pleased with the presentation. I've come to the point where I won't purchase DVDs that I feel look lousy. That's my choice. At this point MOC and Criterion are releasing some of the highest quality products on DVD. I currently have over 2000 dvds and blu-rays in my collection. Over the years of purchasing and in many cases for films I really love upgrading to better editions, I've decided that if I'm going to permanently add something to my home collection I want it to be of a high standard of quality, on that note I've stopped purchasing standard DVD Criterion releases as well.
Fortunately in Portland, we have some great video stores and renting is always an option for me.

So though I am flattered that you feel my collection is not as diverse and democratic as you would like, let me just comfort you that it's really none of your concern.
Thank you.

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tojoed
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:47 am
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#49 Post by tojoed » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:35 am

Thanks jbeall, you've summed up my approach perfectly.
I doubt whether a company like Second Run could survive if they had to rely on peolple renting their discs.

A few years ago I knew practically nothing about east European cinema: a bit of Forman, "Intimate Lighting", "Closely Watched Trains", that's about it. It's been wonderful discovering more by buying their discs and reading stuff on the forum.
Long may they continue.

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jbeall
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:22 am
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Re: 57 Larks on a String

#50 Post by jbeall » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:18 am

Derek Estes wrote:I don't know why you feel personally insulted that someone you don't know has choosen not to buy something.
[...]
So though I am flattered that you feel my collection is not as diverse and democratic as you would like, let me just comfort you that it's really none of your concern.
Thank you.
:roll:

I'm not personally insulted; I'm simply someone who believes in what SR's doing, and I think that popping over to Second Run's thread, openly wishing Criterion had released Larks... instead, and then saying that SR's release of the title "looks like shit" is trolling. You're entitled to your opinion, but the way you expressed it smacks of poor etiquette.

On the other hand, the logical flaw with your expressed wish is the simple fact that Criterion's Czech releases aren't of pristine quality either. If you're a regular reader of this forum, you'll know from MichaelB--and others who are in a position to know--that in terms of Central and Eastern European cinema, the original film elements are often unavailable and/or in poor condition to begin with, and Criterion shies away from the region's films precisely because they don't have the money to pay for a restoration, either.

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