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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:17 am 

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david hare wrote:
Jeff wrote:
They'll both appear in the Eclipse set, Mylene's Basement: The Suppressed Films of Robert Bresson.

With unique to Eclipse booklet by Beatrice Welles: "The metapolitics of copyright disenfranchisement."

And all reformatted to 2:1 in new transfers supervised by Vittorio Storaro.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:21 am 
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(....heheheheheh...)

Anyone for Welles' "Othello: the minus two versions" edition?

With an essay from Godard about the glories of copyrght speculation, translated from the Navajo.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:57 am 
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knives wrote:
It's just one of those random things that gets a cult following just because. In this case with young women who want to seem really smart.
Criterion is one of those random things that gets a cult following just because. In this case with the internet-man-child who wants to seem really smart.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:32 am 
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I'm sure there are Internet-woman-child that are into Criterion too. That facebook is too filled up to only be dudes.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:28 am 
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Gregory wrote:
In my experience, at least, males and females appreciate it in roughly equal measures, and it's unfair to say it's popular among women "who want to seem really smart." Its cult following doesn't actually appreciate it or has ulterior motives for saying they like it?

...cinephilia is still a male-dominated thing,...

I don't really agree with the second statement, but statements like the original that I responded to are contributing factors to make women feel unwelcome on this forum or in the study of cinema in general (and this crosses over to a number of other disciplines). Men wouldn't have to deal with these accusations..


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:37 am 
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david hare wrote:
Anyone for Welles' "Othello: the minus two versions" edition?

As long as it has acceptable audio. The region 1 dvd has absolutely putrid audio. Granted, Welles skimped on sound here and there because of lack of funds but it's gotta at least be audible.

Now The Trial has decent audio if I recall and has been rumored in the past...


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:06 pm 
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ShellOilJunior wrote:
david hare wrote:
Anyone for Welles' "Othello: the minus two versions" edition?

As long as it has acceptable audio. The region 1 dvd has absolutely putrid audio. Granted, Welles skimped on sound here and there because of lack of funds but it's gotta at least be audible.

I heard recently (second-hand originating from the restoration producer) that the Region 1 DVD of OTHELLO used the wrong master (as in "not the fully restored one") and this was never corrected. If this is true, then that goes some way in explaining why the image and sound is in such bad shape (during Desdemona's death scene, there is even bleed-over audio from some TV commercial).

All the same, the problem would be instantly corrected by releasing Welles' superior "European" cut that featured a better performed and synchronized soundtrack in additional to extra footage that clarified the Venice sequence.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:22 pm 
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I should have been more detailed.

There are two versions of Othello. The only one legally in circulation now is Beatrice's "Approved" and supposedly "improved" version which is close to the so called European cut. It's a travesty. Of academic interest at very best but otherwise unsatisfactory despite all the fiddling with audio and re insertion or cutting of material from the original release print, and totally inferior to:
the original US release version dated 1952 which - very briefly - Criterion put out on a laserdisc in the early 90s until Beatrice jumped on it and her lawyers did their usual thing. This version is not legally available.

The 52 US release version has frequently different takes, the original audio track including far more wild track (which so many people like ShellOilJunior incorrectly complain about - it's in fact the best audio available and far more correct for the 1952 edit.) It's a totally different experience to the approved version, right down to dynamics and mise en scene and rhythm.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:50 pm 
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I'm afraid I misspoke earlier. I read the post too quickly and was somehow thinking Macbeth. I retract my earlier comment.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:36 pm 
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Speaking of Mylene, Belcourt Theatre in Nashville won't be showing Four Nights of a Dreamer or Une femme douce during their month-long leg of the Bresson retro. Mouchette and Joan won't be shown, either. Jonathan Rosenbaum will be there to discuss Balthazar.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:37 am 
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Yes, I wondered if you were thinking of Macbeth. There is of course the definitive 3 disc box set of every Macbeth Welles variant including a silent 16mm grab from a 1938 stage production of Voodoo Macbeth. Released by Wildside in France. It's way outside of Beatrice's reach and still in print. I recommend it unreservedly. Given rights on this as well (not least the Republic copyright on the Beatrice recut re audio with Scottish accents I doubt there will be any similar relase in the US.) Othello has audio synch "issues" as well. This is one of the reasons the 52 US release version is better, there is much more wildtrack. Although in some sequences even within a short decoupage (of two or three shots) the audio will continue apparently seamlessly over successive shots that were filmed six months apart and in totally different continents. It's incredible. The Euro version really lacks pacing. The US version has it all.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:45 am 
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David, I think your info might be a bit off here.

The "Beatrice" version of OTHELLO is the attempt to "fix" ropey elements of Welles' U.S. version originally released in '55 - reportedly, the restored version that played in cinemas in '92/'93 never made it to DVD as an "in progress" master was issued by mistake (again, this was learned second-hand through an interview with the restoration producer - take it as you will). Welles' initial cut, known as the "European" version, premiered in '52 and featured additional footage for the opening Venice sequence (plus Welles' spoken credits at the beginning), a slightly different edit of Desdemona's death scene (including a harrowing close-up of her dead face) and, most importantly, a different dub track. The audio to the Euro version is significantly superior to the Region 1 DVD release - better synchronization, better mix of effects, better performances. As far as pacing is concerned, I find the Euro version's Venice sequence to be less rushed than the U.S. version.

As to MACBETH, I don't believe Beatrice had anything to do with the two extant versions. Welles' initial cut was 20 minutes longer and featured the heavy Scottish accents. Republic demanded a re-edit and a new dub track with no accents. Although he was against it, Welles cut the twenty minutes himself and had his right-hand man Richard Wilson oversee the re-dubbing. The shorter re-dubbed version was the one that was available for viewing in the U.S. for decades until Robert Gitt uncovered a fine grain print of the original long cut and restored it in 1980. This initial long edit is the one released on VHS in the U.S. and is the one that has played on TCM and other channels during the past twenty years or so. The shorter re-dubbed version is the one that is scarce (at least in the U.S.). Obviously, neither version has been released on DVD in the states.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:00 pm 
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What of the R2 releases of Othello and Macbeth from Second Sight? Are either of those worth getting?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:34 pm 
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Can anyone shed some light on the situation with Tristana? I remember reading somewhere that the materials were in too poor of condition for Criterion to bother releasing it at this point (or for BFI to do a dual-format re-issue). If this is the case, is any sort of restoration foreseeable? It's not my favorite Buñuel, but one I'd like to revisit (and I've always been partial to his collaborations with Fernando Rey).


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:55 pm 
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bainbridgezu wrote:
Can anyone shed some light on the situation with Tristana? I remember reading somewhere that the materials were in too poor of condition for Criterion to bother releasing it at this point (or for BFI to do a dual-format re-issue). If this is the case, is any sort of restoration foreseeable? It's not my favorite Buñuel, but one I'd like to revisit (and I've always been partial to his collaborations with Fernando Rey).

I too have been eagerly anticipating this release for quite some time. About a month ago I attended some Buñuel screenings at the Aero in Santa Monica where I met a guy named Oscar, who heads the Luis Buñuel Film Institute in L.A. He was selling DVDs of EL, pressed by the institute themselves (for $10!). When I asked him about Tristana and Nazarin, he told me to contact him and he would make some DVDs of the films for me, indicating, to me, that there were no current plans for them to be released via a major label. But I haven't heard anything back from him since then, and it may be worth sending him an email asking about the film.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:35 pm 

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It baffles me how little love Tristana gets. It's such an interesting film, and right now it just looks HORRIBLE!! :o

In other news, this makes me wish Criterion would release more German films. Definitely something the higher ups should look into, there's more to Germany than Fassbinder and Wenders. [-(


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:37 pm 
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krnash wrote:

That operation looks a little fly-by-night. They misspell "Buñuel" a couple of times on their own website. I would offer that even though there are no in-print DVDs of several of Buñuel's films in the US, that doesn't mean that this institute owns the rights to distribute them. I don't want to make accusations, but this guy could just easily be making illegal copies of legitimate DVDs released in other countries.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:47 pm 
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Considering he works with Buñuel's family, some of whom attended the screenings at the Aero, and considering its the institute that has been touring films like The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de Cruz and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie around the country, I don't think you're correct on that one. Chalk it up to a poor web design. But you may be right about what the man said about Tristana having no bearing on Criterion's release of the film.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:09 pm 
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nolanoe wrote:
It's such an interesting film, and right now it just looks HORRIBLE!!

We might be in luck: I just saw in the Turner Classic Movies thread (thanks to Mooney) that TCM is running Tristana early in the morning this coming Tuesday (February 28th). Has anyone caught one of their previous broadcasts of the film? Hopefully they'll be showing something better than the Home Vision VHS, which made the film look as though it had been painted with mud.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:57 pm 
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I'm not sure if TCM has ever shown the film before. At least not within the last 10 years, or I probably would have caught it. I've been dying to see this for a long time, but based on negative reviews have avoided buying the R2 editions. It will be interesting to see how it looks (and if it has a Janus logo!).

Incidentally, I remember this movie airing on Bravo back when it was more of an art/independent film channel rather than a haven for trashy reality shows and Kathy Griffin specials. I was too young then to know who Bunuel was, but I remember seeing parts of it and thinking it was fascinating.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:14 pm 
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krnash wrote:
Considering he works with Buñuel's family, some of whom attended the screenings at the Aero, and considering its the institute that has been touring films like The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de Cruz and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie around the country, I don't think you're correct on that one. Chalk it up to a poor web design. But you may be right about what the man said about Tristana having no bearing on Criterion's release of the film.
Glad to hear it's legit. The only info on the website was the calendar for recent screenings in LA and a filmography.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:03 pm 
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Roger Ryan wrote:
David, I think your info might be a bit off here.

The "Beatrice" version of OTHELLO is the attempt to "fix" ropey elements of Welles' U.S. version originally released in '55 - reportedly, the restored version that played in cinemas in '92/'93 never made it to DVD as an "in progress" master was issued by mistake (again, this was learned second-hand through an interview with the restoration producer - take it as you will). Welles' initial cut, known as the "European" version, premiered in '52 and featured additional footage for the opening Venice sequence (plus Welles' spoken credits at the beginning), a slightly different edit of Desdemona's death scene (including a harrowing close-up of her dead face) and, most importantly, a different dub track. The audio to the Euro version is significantly superior to the Region 1 DVD release - better synchronization, better mix of effects, better performances. As far as pacing is concerned, I find the Euro version's Venice sequence to be less rushed than the U.S. version.

Roger my bad, and you're right. I reversed the two versions.

Here is a review of the Criterion laserdisc of the 52 cut, while it was still in circulation:
Quote:
Want to be daring? Try watching Othello without the sound. The assembly of magnificent compositions that Welles has put together for his Othello is nothing short of astounding. Welles finds angles where they never existed before and extracts from the text, so elegant in word, a visual power unmatched by other Shakespearean movies. The heritage from Citizen Kane to Touch of Evil is evident in this stylistic tour-de-force.

Welles is an imposing Othello. Painted with shadows and light, Welles moves regally through the castle sets and strides powerfully along the beach or atop the ramparts. As Iago, Michael Mac Liammoir, the Irish stage actor, is quite creepy. His vast stage experience perhaps affects his performance in front of the camera too much, but the result is highly effective under Welles' guiding camera and brilliant editing.

This Othello has been condensed down to little more than an hour and a half by Welles, but the effect is to concentrate the power and force of the text. Watching the director think on his feet to distill this wonderful Shakespeare adaptation is joy enough, but the play's the thing and indeed this film rendition of Othello reigns supreme.

There are substantial extras provided in this Criterion Collection edition. Foremost is a second audio commentary on analog track 2 in which Peter Bogdanovich, Myron Meisel, and Russ Lees provide sometimes insight into the filmmaking process and at other times simply describe what we can see on the screen. True, there are different prospectives from the three commentators, Bogdanovich the filmmaker, Meisel, a Welles scholar, and Lees a playwright, which is a definite plus. There is also a short directed by Mac Liammoir called Return to Glennascaul which stars Welles, excerpts from an Italian documentary Rosabella and some interesting comparisons of various filmings of Othello's classic murder scene.

Visually, this is a very handsome disc. The sound, on the other hand, is dismal. It's not the fault of the transfer. That's the surviving sound we have from this Welle's masterpiece. Shot on a minuscule budget scratched together from the salaries paid Welles from his lucrative acting gigs, the production stretched over several years and the result is lots of poor dubbing and difficulties on capturing the dialogue during the shoot. Welles even dubbed most of Robert Coote's Roderigo with his own voice. Still, the power of the visual images dominates the disc. All the subtleties of the shadowy photography are accurately transferred to disc. The entire laser disc production of Othello is commendable and continues the fine tradition of Voyager's dedication to film.

Welle's cut runs 91 minutes. The second 1955 issue runs 93 but is actually missing some material from the 52 release. But Welles' cut some comic material from that version because he thought it slowed the piece down. Re the audio I don't find the audio on the 52 version nearly as bothersome as the reviewer and I definitely prefer it to the hamfisted "improvements" on the 55 version.

I will have to go hunting for more info on Macbeth but the version that was released on the Republic Laserdisc and VHS in the 90s is the shorter 91 minute cut with the Scottish accents. The Second Sight disc is the longer cut running 114 minutes which includes Intro and entr'acte music, and a longer cut of the play itself with the rebudded audio in a mixture of Scottish, American and English accents. This version is the choix du jour, although I don't think Macbeth in either version is anywhere near as good as Othello (also in either version.) You're probably right about the recut and redub being Welles' work not la Beatrice. The problem however now resides in which version gets released where and when. Obviously the Wildside boxset is essential.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:53 am 
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ianungstad wrote:
Someone on the HTF awhile back mentioned Bonjour Tristesse and Sundays and Cybele as two titles that Criterion were in the process of licensing from Sony.

I've been campaigning for Bonjour Tristesse for some time. In addition to Grover Crisp at Sony, the credits for Anatomy of a Murder offer special thanks to the estates of Preminger and Bass, and Criterion licensed material from both. Wouldn't be surprised if Criterion collaborated with this bunch again, and Bonjour Tristesse seems like a very likely candidate. I've mentioned here before that I'd love the following supplements:

-Audio commentary by Chris Fujiwara, author of The World and Its Double: The Life and Work of Otto Preminger
-A 1996 episode of the French television series Un siècle d'écrivains (A Century of Writers) dedicated to author Françoise Sagan, narrated by Jeanne Moreau
-Bass on Titles (1977): A 32-minute documentary on title designer Saul Bass


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:43 am 
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If Bonjour comes to Crit via Sony I will have died and gone to heaven.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:21 am 
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david hare wrote:
...Re the audio I don't find the audio on the 52 version nearly as bothersome as the reviewer and I definitely prefer it to the hamfisted "improvements" on the 55 version.

Thank you for providing that review. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Criterion LD of OTHELLO was the 1955 Welles U.S. re-edit (which is still considered superior to the "restored" version of the same edit). I've not viewed the laser disc myself, but I was under the impression that the initial 1952 cut was never released in the states. Either way, I'm pleased we both agree that the Euro '52 cut is best!

david hare wrote:
I will have to go hunting for more info on Macbeth but the version that was released on the Republic Laserdisc and VHS in the 90s is the shorter 91 minute cut with the Scottish accents. The Second Sight disc is the longer cut running 114 minutes which includes Intro and entr'acte music, and a longer cut of the play itself with the rebudded audio in a mixture of Scottish, American and English accents. This version is the choix du jour, although I don't think Macbeth in either version is anywhere near as good as Othello (also in either version.) You're probably right about the recut and redub being Welles' work not la Beatrice. The problem however now resides in which version gets released where and when. Obviously the Wildside boxset is essential.

I only saw the shorter re-dubbed version of MACBETH once in the late 70s. Since the Robert Gitt 1980 restoration of the film, I've only seen the longer original cut and this is the one with the heavy Scottish brogue used throughout (Republic felt the dialogue was unintelligible and requested Welles re-dub the entire film in addition to cutting 20 minutes). I just checked the VHS box images on Amazon and it looked like the re-dubbed 89 min. version was issued by Republic in '85 and the original 112 min. version was issued in the 90s. All the same, I agree Welles topped this film with OTHELLO, but would still very much like to see all the versions of both films available on disc.


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