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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 10:19 pm 
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mfunk9786 wrote:
What else is new?

This is as far as I can recall one of his worst mistakes, though, because it would literally stop many potential purchasers who require subtitles, thus actively damaging sales. That's a much bigger deal than soft pic caps or color timing, and one of the most stupefying to get wrong as it must take three seconds to check


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 3:59 am 
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Only the first reel of Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight still exists on celluloid. The rest survives only on a video copy -- probably a '70s-vintage one, which is certainly what I'm seeing from the DVD Beaver images. It would be useful to confirm if those caps are a fair representation of the whole, or if the beginning looks better the rest. But then Downey recut the film before the Anthology Film Archives revived it in 2008, so if he was working entirely from the video copy, there wouldn't really be any other option.

All things considered, it could've been worse -- The Sweet Smell of Sex (1965) is still completely missing.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 10:41 am 
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Tao is completely sourced video as far as I can tell and those caps are a good representation of what it looks like. I have yet to read the little essays so maybe it will be mentioned in there.

Also, everything on here has subtitles.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 2:27 pm 

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Professor Wagstaff wrote:
Only looked at the first disc so far but all the movies on it have subtitles.

cdnchris wrote:
Also, everything on here has subtitles.

Thank you!

domino harvey wrote:
it would literally stop many potential purchasers who require subtitles, thus actively damaging sales

Absolutely! This is why, speaking of English-language film' DVD-BR-releases, I can't find kind words for labels like Olive, Optimum, AE, etc.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 6:24 pm 
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Downey talks about where some of these sources came from here - http://projection-booth.blogspot.com/20 ... swope.html


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 1:04 am 
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Tribe wrote:
Keep in mind that the Putney Swope release was just nominally an HVE edition. It was released only after Image acquired HVE. Perhaps Image still retains some rights to the commentary and interview and Criterion was unwilling to pay that extra premium.

Yep, everything on the set is referenced as licensed directly from Downey with the exception of Putney Swope which is from Image. They also hint in the linear notes that the lack of Pound may be a rights issue. As to the films themselves the transfers aren't great, but they're better than expected roughly equivalent on average to their Shadows release. What I'm real surprised about is the quality of the audio which is really great though I suspect in most cases it's a post dub situation. Very clear and wonderfu;


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 12:09 pm 
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In the interest of having all the links in one place, here are all the Downey/PTA chats that Criterion could only find room for on the internet:

Babo 73
No More Excuses
Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight
Putney Swope


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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 7:44 am 
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domino harvey wrote:
mfunk9786 wrote:
What else is new?

This is as far as I can recall one of his worst mistakes, though, because it would literally stop many potential purchasers who require subtitles, thus actively damaging sales. That's a much bigger deal than soft pic caps or color timing, and one of the most stupefying to get wrong as it must take three seconds to check

Did you or anyone else actually tell him directly? In my experience he usually corrects mistakes pretty quickly once they've been pointed out via private email.

Anyway, I've emailed him myself.

(UPDATE: He replied within minutes, and is going to check the actual discs and make any necessary corrections - so I'm guessing the answer to my question is "no". Clearly the mistake was quite literally stupefying, in the sense of being so shockingly disorienting and discombobulating that it left people unable to take the obvious next step.)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:20 am 
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Sorry to bump this thread with a slightly off-topic question, but this particular release made me wonder: do Criterion actually have a policy to NOT include any extras on any Eclipse set? (All it says on the boxes is "simple, affordable editions".) I understand that licensing the Putney Swope commentary might've proved too expensive, but as they went through the trouble of producing 25 minutes of new video introductions - and there would surely have been that much space on the discs - why on Earth leave them out?

Don't get me wrong, I'm as excited as the next guy to see these films come out on DVD, but it's just a really baffling decision - but if they only left the intros out to keep in line with the Eclipse "concept", then someone's got to sit down for a little thinking.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:07 am 
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Yeah as a general rule Eclipse means no extras beyond pathetic linear notes. They've had the rights to extras before for Eclipse releases and haven't added them. This is just the most prominent example because no licensing would have been involved. The closest to an exception we've gotten is the music videos on the Leningrad Cowboys set and those can count as extra films.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:33 am 
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The liner notes might be a skimpy extra, but it's a little extreme to say they're pathetic. I've always found them to be succint, pithy, and very helpful in contextualizing the films.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:07 am 
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No, on the contrary - on the few sets I own, the liner notes are very good for what they are.

I guess they might be reluctant to include extras on Eclipse sets for fear that people will then start complaining about every subsequent set that doesn't have any. I don't think anyone in their right mind would let lack of extras keep them from getting great sets like this Downey one - it's just a shame that Criterion have chosen to take such an extreme approach in the first place. It's suitable for the Essential Art House series, but Eclipse would occasionally call for an exception to the rule...


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:09 pm 
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I think it's more likely that they started off planning Putney Swope being a mainline release and began work on a feature set, but when they QCed all the best materials, the financials of the release changed for the worse (one or more of the other films would be too expensive to deal with and/or the cost of getting a new, good harvest and clean up of Putney Swope). My guess is that meant they couldn't realistically put together the release on that year's production budget, but they could still make it work by using existing masters (which is what eclipse is for, using existing masters rather than producing new ones), so they cut their losses and put it on eclipse and released the introductions they'd shot onto the web.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:56 pm 
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Movielocke's account is a likely one, but it still boils down to Criterion keeping the available extras off the set only because of Eclipse's no-frills branding. It's an unfortunate decision, but I think it's correct that the can of worms it would open (with every subsequent Eclipse set decried in some quarter or other for not having any extras like the Downey set did) would far outweigh the enhancement of a single release.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:38 pm 
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They did essentially put extras on to the Leningrad Cowboys set, though- it's hard to justify music videos as being anything else, and they were extras on the set Criterion was adapting. I wish they'd come up with some kind of solution that let them not waste content.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:31 pm 
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The Leningrad Cowboys set is essentially a clone of the Artificial Eye set - I imagine the contents were purchased in a single package from Kaurismäki's own company. So it might have seemed perverse to leave the videos out, especially since the third feature (Total Balalaika Show) is so short, so there was plenty of space.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:38 pm 
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matrixschmatrix wrote:
They did essentially put extras on to the Leningrad Cowboys set, though- it's hard to justify music videos as being anything else, and they were extras on the set Criterion was adapting. I wish they'd come up with some kind of solution that let them not waste content.

Lists project rules (i.e. the highest code of order presently followed on Earth) say that a music video = a short film. (In fact, the cover for the Eclipse release originally advertised them as short films.) If you think of them this way, the LC isn't really an exception.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:48 pm 
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We've also had 'extras' (in the form of shorts) on the Akerman and Malle Eclipse sets (and Flunky, Work Hard! is technically a short as well), but 'more films by the same director' is a much easier thing to encompass under the Eclipse umbrella than the Downey material.

In the case of the Akerman set, there's also a forgone extra (presuming Criterion had access to all of the extras issued on the original Belgian set, since every other one made it to their Jeanne Dielman release): the Aurore Clement interview about her work on Les Rendez-vous d'Anna.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:53 am 

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I don't really think of the shorts as "extras" because of the titles of the boxes. They didn't call it 3 Leningrad Cowboys films, it would be disappointing if they put out
the Leningrad Cowboys set without everything. The Downey interviews are proper "extras" and Criterion has done nothing to prevent anyone from downloading them and making their own disc of extras so I don't see what the complaint is.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:24 am 
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duck duck wrote:
The Downey interviews are proper "extras" and Criterion has done nothing to prevent anyone from downloading them and making their own disc of extras so I don't see what the complaint is.

Not really complaining - I was only wondering aloud about the feasibility of a concept that categorically rules out the inclusion of relevant additional materials.

(Didn't mean to clutter this thread with an off-topic discussion btw - maybe the moderator would like to move the last dozen of posts to a more suitable location)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:31 pm 
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I popped in Babo 73 because it was so late I didn't want to watch a film that was even an hour and a half long, I realized the next morning, to my amusement, that this made the title of the set, "Up All Night" quite true to my experience.

Unfortunately I found the film to be terrible, an extended version of a wry and unfunny student film. The sort of thing that young people in their twenties who make it think is the most hilariously funny thing ever but that few other people ever do (imo). The film takes a dadaist tack in its approach, but doesn't bother to be remotely competent in its filming technique--which is one of the big things that separates it from an effective version of a work in this vein (such as Daisies). The film is bad throughout, bouncing from one absurdity to another, for the most part it follows three schizophrenic homeless guys, one of whom deems himself to be president of the United Status of America (omg, puns! sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo funny! PunS!!), and others who deem themselves to be his right wing and left wing extremist advisors. They bounce about in scenes that are probably supposed to be critiquing shit, but they mostly come across as unfocused and ineffective. Basically, nothing works in the film, though the performances are committed they feel more like an SNL sketch than anything effective. That's not a bad analogy, the whole thing plays like an hour long SNL video short, but not one of the good ones, like one of the irritatingly bad ones that you're relieved when it's over.


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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 8:20 pm 
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Chafed Elbows is sort of a completely unhinged, unchanneled id of an underground variant of a Mad Magazine.

While not a good film it is also not a bad film, and it is much better than Babo 73. The filmmaker apparently would often run out of stock, and thus there is a "Pre viz" aesthetic to much of it, as though he had slotted in stills of a scene yet to be shot and then at some point in the making of the film decided he liked it as a mixture of stills and film. It's no La Jetee, by any means, the stills are as visually uninteresting as the rest of the film.

The film's strengths are in it's vivid spirit and sarcastic sense of humor, with the narrator running around NYC having "an annual (insert X month here) breakdown." it opens with an amusing incest gag that's not terribly well executed, but it definitely sets the tone for the anarchic spirit of the comedy which flails and strikes towards absolutely any target.

All that being said, Elsie Downey is pretty excellent, playing all the female roles in the films.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:54 pm 
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I am very conflicted about Putney Swope in many ways, but I was especially uncomfortable with the fact that Downey dubbed his own voice over Arnold Johnson, which to me is bordering on (if it is not entirely) minstrelsy. It made me wince through the whole film. Does anyone have any thoughts or opinions on that?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:10 am 
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Well, what were the reasons for the dubbing? There was nothing minstrelsy in the performance style and there may have been a very practical reason for the dubbing.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:34 am 
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My personal feelings were that having a white man emulate in an exaggerated manner the speech of a black man was inappropriate, and also that if Arnold Johnson had to be dubbed because he couldn't remember his lines in time, he could have dubbed himself or at least had another black actor dub him. It is a theatrical white presentation of blackness, in a similar manner to blackface. The whole film, as a white man's fantasy of black idealism, is similarly problematic but perhaps more excusable, especially when played out as a satire. But resorting to a form of minstrelsy adds a dimensional weight to those problems which makes the film difficult to digest.


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