Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

Discuss DVDs released in the Eclipse and Essential Art House lines and the films on them.
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justeleblanc
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Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

#1 Post by justeleblanc » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:08 pm

ECLIPSE SERIES 8: LUBITSCH MUSICALS

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Not only the man who refined Hollywood comedy with such masterpieces as Trouble in Paradise, The Shop Around the Corner, and To Be or Not to Be, Ernst Lubitsch also helped invent the modern movie musical. With the advent of sound and audiences clamoring for "talkies," Lubitsch combined his love of European operettas and his mastery of film to create this entirely new genre. These elegant, bawdy films, made before strict enforcement of the Hays morality code, feature some of the greatest stars of early Hollywood (Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins), as well as that elusive style of comedy that would thereafter be known as "the Lubitsch touch."

The Love Parade

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Ernst Lubitsch's first "talking picture" was also Hollywood's first movie musical to integrate songs with narrative. Additionally, The Love Parade made stars out of toast-of-Paris Maurice Chevalier and girl-from-Philly Jeanette MacDonald, cast as a womanizing military attaché and the man-hungry queen of "Sylvania." With its naughty innuendo and satiric romance, The Love Parade opened the door for a decade of witty screen battles of the sexes.

Monte Carlo

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Jeanette MacDonald's independent-minded countess leaves her foppish prince fiancé at the altar, and whisks herself away to the Riviera. There, she strikes the fancy of the sly Count Rudolph (Broadway crossover Jack Buchanan), who poses as a hairdresser to get into her boudoir. Lubitsch's follow-up to The Love Parade shows even more musical invention, and presents MacDonald at her sexily haughty best.

One Hour With You

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Lubitsch reunites Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, this time as a seemingly blissful couple whose marriage hits the skids when her flirtatious school chum comes on to her husband a bit too strong. Necking in the park at nighttime, husbands and wives having casual dalliances, and a butler telling his master, "I did so want to see you in tights!": it's one of Lubitsch's sauciest escapades and his final pre-Code musical.

The Smiling Lieutenant

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Maurice Chevalier's randy Viennese lieutenant is enamored of Claudette Colbert's freethinking, all-girl-orchestra-leading cutie. Yet complications ensue when the sexually repressed princess of the fictional kingdom of Flausenthurm, played by newcomer Miriam Hopkins, sets her sights on him. The Smiling Lieutenant is a delightful showcase for its rising female stars, who are never more charming than when Colbert tunefully instructs Hopkins, "Jazz Up Your Lingerie."



....
Lubitsch Musicals box confirmed via email.

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domino harvey
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#2 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:15 pm

so Lubitsch musicals is gonna be an Eclipse set and not a Criterion release? Bummer.

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#3 Post by rwaits » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:45 pm

I'll take 'em any way I can get 'em! Great news!

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denti alligator
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#4 Post by denti alligator » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:55 pm

justeleblanc wrote:Lubitsch Musicals box confirmed via email.
Personal email?

What titles?

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justeleblanc
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#5 Post by justeleblanc » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:03 pm

domino harvey wrote:so Lubitsch musicals is gonna be an Eclipse set and not a Criterion release? Bummer.
Bummer? How so? Eclipse is cheaper and probably more likely to include MONTE CARLO.

And it was just an email from Tamara.

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domino harvey
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#6 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:47 pm

I'm overjoyed to see more Lubitsch getting released, I guess I just never turn my nose up at potential Lubitsch-related extras, which will obviously be absent from an Eclipse set.

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Jeff
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#7 Post by Jeff » Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:18 am

domino harvey wrote:I'm overjoyed to see more Lubitsch getting released, I guess I just never turn my nose up at potential Lubitsch-related extras, which will obviously be absent from an Eclipse set.
Especially since there are so many potentially great supplements that could go on this set. I'm surprised that Criterion would spend money licensing titles from a major studio, only to put them on a budget set.
Last edited by Jeff on Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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justeleblanc
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#8 Post by justeleblanc » Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:29 am

Jeff, I was just now thinking the same thing. I originally thought Eclipse was a way to dump their Janus titles more rapidly.

I wonder if this means a "Late Preminger" box set featuring SKIDOO could actually happen. It's only Paramount.

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#9 Post by ianungstad » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:01 am

Jeff wrote:
domino harvey wrote:I'm overjoyed to see more Lubitsch getting released, I guess I just never turn my nose up at potential Lubitsch-related extras, which will obviously be absent from an Eclipse set.
Especially since there are so many potentially great supplements that could go on this set. I'm surprised that Criterion would spend money licensing titles from a major studio, only to put them on a budget set.
I also find it surprising that criterion would license these films from Universal and dump them as an Eclipse box. Maybe the films were unrestorable or the cost of restoration was more than Criterion was willing to spend?

I'm just reminded of The Scarlet Empress which they also licensed from Universal, which looked pretty awful. I wonder if it's a similar situation?

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#10 Post by Cinephrenic » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:03 am

They probably wasn't of interest for Universal to release on DVD and were offered at low costs to Criterion.

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#11 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:31 pm

Its purple Lubitsch box. I so called that.

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domino harvey
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#12 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:25 pm

What A Disgrace wrote:Its purple Lubitsch box. I so called that.
I knew I must have picked it up somewhere!

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Max von Mayerling
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#13 Post by Max von Mayerling » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:47 pm

God bless them for releasing this, but I don't think I can buy a box set in which 3 of the 4 films star Maurice Chevalier. The man strikes me as ham personified, at least on film. But perhaps I just need a proper education.

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#14 Post by zedz » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:53 pm

Max von Mayerling wrote:God bless them for releasing this, but I don't think I can buy a box set in which 3 of the 4 films star Maurice Chevalier. The man strikes me as ham personified, at least on film. But perhaps I just need a proper education.
Your homework

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#15 Post by denti alligator » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:01 pm

These films are such a joy. This will be strong contender for Eclipse of the Year, even if that Ozu Silents set finally appears (please let it be pink).

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Tribe
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#16 Post by Tribe » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:03 pm

ianungstad wrote:I also find it surprising that criterion would license these films from Universal and dump them as an Eclipse box.
Where did the idea that a release under the Eclipse label is dumped start? I've found the Eclipse series anything but dumped afterthoughts. I'll bet this box will be just as presentable as the previous sets.

Tribe

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#17 Post by ianungstad » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:14 pm

Tribe wrote:
ianungstad wrote:I also find it surprising that criterion would license these films from Universal and dump them as an Eclipse box.
Where did the idea that a release under the Eclipse label is dumped start? I've found the Eclipse series anything but dumped afterthoughts. I'll bet this box will be just as presentable as the previous sets.
I think people may have recieved that impression from Criterion's original press releases about Eclipse being a bit more of a "no frills" line, with the films not undergoing restoration and the lack of bonus features.

When the actual product started coming out, people began to see that the films were in more than presentable shape, though with minor technical faults. I think that to some degree the idea that "Criterion didn't want to spend the money to do a deluxe edition of this film" has stuck as a though in consumer's minds.

I think my comments in regards to the Lubitsch box was a healthy curiosity as to why Criterion specifically went after these films from Universal for Eclipse material when most of their hollywood studio offerings seem targed towards deluxe editions and upper tier criterions.

I am eagerly looking forward to this box, so paying a lower price point is just fine for me! Who knows, maybe the silent Sternburg's from Paramount will be another Eclipse series.

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#18 Post by Tribe » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:44 pm

ianungstad wrote:I think my comments in regards to the Lubitsch box was a healthy curiosity as to why Criterion specifically went after these films from Universal for Eclipse material when most of their hollywood studio offerings seem targed towards deluxe editions and upper tier criterions.

I am eagerly looking forward to this box, so paying a lower price point is just fine for me! Who knows, maybe the silent Sternburg's from Paramount will be another Eclipse series.
Pure speculation on my part, but I'd think Criterion didn't pay huge dollars to license these and perhaps the previous Lubitsch releases weren't huge sellers. I'm looking forward to these...and a von Sternberg silent set would certainly be something.

Tribe

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Matt
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#19 Post by Matt » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:06 am

Tribe wrote:and a von Sternberg silent set would certainly be something.
A von Sternberg anything would be something at this point. But I'm so pleased with the announcement of this Lubitsch set, I want to buy dozens and give them to strangers on the street. Between the Varda set and this set, it's clear that Criterion are determined to make 2008 the year I finally stop complaining.

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#20 Post by david hare » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:25 am

I also find it surprising that criterion would license these films from Universal and dump them as an Eclipse box. Maybe the films were unrestorable or the cost of restoration was more than Criterion was willing to spend?
All these titles (and more) were released by Universal in a Laserdisc box in the mid/late 90s and were in excellent shape - Monte Carlo is probably the least pristine. One area of difference will be the UCLA tinted print of One Hour with You used on the Uni LD box, and the untinted (and far preferable) restored print released in R2 this year.

As for extras, surely the movies speak for themselves and perhaps a part of Eclipse's mission statement might be a boxset of things for whicb people already have the resources if not the immediate knowledge to supplement the movies themselves.

As for the comment about Chevalier - he is really only TOTAL ham in three movies to my recollection. The completely mawkish Gigi (the single worst Minelli?), One Hour with you which I now find the least interesting of this cycle of Lubitsch/Mamoulian froufrous and - oddly - his bits only as the singer in Siodmak's great final prewar French movie Pieges (a precursor to Sirk's Lured) in which, and to great effect he plays the killer. Bizarrely - probably given the production requirements rather than Siodmak's own impeccable taste and fascination with musical rhythm, his singing numbers in this are both dull and self congratulatory.

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#21 Post by denti alligator » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:29 am

Ok, so four films, four discs = $59.95

Kurosawa set: 5 films, five discs = $54.95

:?

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#22 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:34 am

I'd bet the house (wait, I'm replying to Denti here... I take that back!!) that these newly acquired home vid rights from Uni were more expensive than their long running, bulk arrangement w Toho (which includes exhibition on the Janus end). Kuro is one of their House Brands which they also probably project selling way more sets of than the Lubitsch.

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Jeff
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#23 Post by Jeff » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:48 am

I'm almost certain that Schreck is right. This is only the second time that the Eclipse line has ever presented films that weren't already Janus properties (and Kit Parker is VCI cheap). Uni will get a percentage of each box sold.

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#24 Post by Shrew » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:28 am

Errr... I'm reading the SRP for Lubitsch as 59.95, and the SRP for Kurosawa as 69.95.

Lubitsch is cheaper. It just hasn't been put into the Criterion store yet and thus is not offered at their sale price (which should be 48.95ish).

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Jeff
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#25 Post by Jeff » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:32 am

Shrew wrote:Errr... I'm reading the SRP for Lubitsch as 59.95, and the SRP for Kurosawa as 69.95.

Lubitsch is cheaper. It just hasn't been put into the Criterion store yet and thus is not offered at their sale price (which should be 48.95ish).
Well, there you go. I still say Criterion won't make as much on the Lubitsch, but I'm glad to see they're keeping their Eclipse pricing structure consistent.

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