Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

Discuss DVDs released in the Eclipse and Essential Art House lines and the films on them.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
david hare
Posts: 6933
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

#151 Post by david hare » Thu Feb 28, 2008 4:44 pm

The tinted Laser version of One Hour carried an opening "restored by UCLA" credit. I personally thought the tinting was totally anachronistic and incorrect given the movie was made in 1932, and in Academy ratio.

The Frenchj BAC disc last year reverted to untinted as does this, and the relief was palpable.

User avatar
Captain Bill
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:45 pm

FILM TINTING IN THE SOUND ERA

#152 Post by Captain Bill » Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:14 pm

Actually, film tinting did not die out with silent movies. See the thorough Wikipedia article under Film tinting, which says, in part, "In 1929, Kodak added to their tinted stocks a brand known as Sonochrome — pre-tinted stocks for sound films that did not interfere with the soundtrack....Tinting was utilized for years up until the early 1950s in select sequences, full monochromatic pictures and short trailers and snipes." The splice bumps where tints changed can be readily seen in the laserdisc of "One Hour With You" and fortunately have been smoothed out in the Eclipse release. I suppose tinting is something of a personal taste today, and I tend to prefer inclusion.
And I would still appreciate knowing why the exit music is gone, although I am more ambivalent about the UCLA restoration credit.

User avatar
zedz
Posts: 10355
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: FILM TINTING IN THE SOUND ERA

#153 Post by zedz » Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:21 pm

Captain Bill wrote:Actually, film tinting did not die out with silent movies.

And there's the very recent tinted / untinted release of Wee Willie Winkie in Ford at Fox to support this.

User avatar
Danny Burk
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:38 am
Location: South Bend, IN
Contact:

#154 Post by Danny Burk » Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:34 pm

There are a few other 30s films released with full tinting, in addition to ONE HOUR WITH YOU....THIS IS THE NIGHT, also Paramount, and ZOO IN BUDAPEST at Fox. Supposedly some prints of FRANKENSTEIN were released with a green tint, but I haven't seen this actually confirmed.

I'd always thought that WEE WILLIE WINKIE was merely an overall sepia, as were a few other contemporary films such as THE GOOD EARTH and opening/closing parts of WIZARD OF OZ, and was surprised to see that it included several blue-tinted night scenes.

User avatar
GringoTex
Posts: 1231
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am

#155 Post by GringoTex » Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:01 am

The Smiling Leutineant

What Lubitsch does in the last 8 minutes of this film--transforming Hopkins into Colbert's superior without any dialogue (after using 80 minutes of dialogue to make Hopkins Colbert's inferior)--is a master act and should be taught in every film school in the world. It's breathtaking.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Posts: 6324
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#156 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:00 am

Incidentally Gringo I don't see the trait of "in and out of doors" entering/exiting running as a thru-line in Lubitsch, at least as far as his mise en scene. These may be "madcap" traits specific to the scripts (narrative pacing) in these early musicals (and hence not a directorial characteristic), but looking at his really accomplished works like Oyster Princes, Boleyn, thru Trouble In & SHop Around (or even Heaven Can) I don't see this at all. And certainly in these works we see characters very much reflecting upon themselves and their positions in the world: Trouble running a slightly melancholic undertone about identity (false and real), conscience and consequence and lost love; Shop Around being love, social position, loneliness, the desire for love and Something Better... Heaven Can is pure self reflection and introspection. Soul searching indeed.

User avatar
GringoTex
Posts: 1231
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am

#157 Post by GringoTex » Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:46 am

HerrSchreck wrote:Incidentally Gringo I don't see the trait of "in and out of doors" entering/exiting running as a thru-line in Lubitsch, at least as far as his mise en scene. These may be "madcap" traits specific to the scripts (narrative pacing) in these early musicals (and hence not a directorial characteristic), but looking at his really accomplished works like Oyster Princes, Boleyn, thru Trouble In & SHop Around (or even Heaven Can) I don't see this at all. And certainly in these works we see characters very much reflecting upon themselves and their positions in the world: Trouble running a slightly melancholic undertone about identity (false and real), conscience and consequence and lost love; Shop Around being love, social position, loneliness, the desire for love and Something Better... Heaven Can is pure self reflection and introspection. Soul searching indeed.
Since I introduced the Lubitsch doors thang, I'll tabulate the portal instances in Trouble and Shop, but I already sold my copy of Heaven because I think it's as big a piece of shit as you do.

I agree that Shop is Lubitsch's most introspective film, but I think it's an anomaly is his career (still a great film).

I think you're wrong in attributing the doors obsession to "madcap traits" rather than a Lubitsch style. He was the one inventing these traits. It's his mise-en-scene that so many others copied. There's a reason he was hero-worshipped by so many of his contemporaries. If you can point me out a film before Lubitsch's that has a portal opening and closing every 80 seconds, I'll concede the point.

I agree with you completely about the power of melancholia in Trouble, but I think it's power is a result of Lubitsch's aversion to self-reflection. It's his great dialectical excercise and one of my absolute favorite movies of all time.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Posts: 6324
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#158 Post by HerrSchreck » Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:27 am

GringoTex wrote:[I think you're wrong in attributing the doors obsession to "madcap traits" rather than a Lubitsch style. He was the one inventing these traits.
That's pure, straight visual comedy straight out of the silent era, reaching back to to the teens & Mack Sennett, the Kops, Chaplin shorts, Keaton, in a thousand and one chase scenes with some sadsack buttlump being followed thru department store escalator, skating rink, battlefield, automobile, across streets, over roofs, stomping thru weddings (sometimes all in one one minute sweep), etc, where the in/out ratio (where not talking porn here, calm down everyone) speed of light narratives (that everyone's seen, and seen imitated a thousand times in cartoons) far exceed that of Lubitsch comedies.

Not to say that Lube didnt have moments where he did his own thing with it of course. But this particular device, to keep the audience amped up and involved in physical expectance, was old hat by the time of these musicals.

User avatar
Jean-Luc Garbo
Posts: 2637
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:55 am
Contact:

#159 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:04 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:where the in/out ratio (where not talking porn here, calm down everyone)
Sorry, but speaking of comedy, this line really made me laugh. Can we start a HerrSchreck's greatest hits thread? :)

User avatar
colinr0380
Posts: 8504
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

#160 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:51 pm


User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7381
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

#161 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:00 pm

Finally saw Monte Carlo for the first time. I actually found Jack Buchanan a welcome break from Chevalier (who gets on my nerves after a while). And Jeanette McDonald is pretty delightful in this. Most of the music was trivial, alas.

User avatar
Tommaso
Posts: 4035
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

#162 Post by Tommaso » Fri Jul 11, 2008 5:30 am

Actually I made the mistake of starting the set with "One hour with you" where I found Chevalier completely annoying; in retrospect, after seeing the other films I guess it was more the film itself that annoyed me (I find it completely unnecessary if one compares it to its original, "The Marriage Circle") and I began to like Chevalier very much in "The Love Parade" and "Lieutenant", although his style is not much different there; it just fits those films much better.
I have no problem with Buchanan, though. His 'quieter' style helps a lot to give Jeanette McDonald her due, and "Monte Carlo" is a wonderful film in my view: it's frank, cynical in a good-natured way (which is not a contradiction in this case) and very,very stylish. I agree that the music is 'trivial', but I think it's intentionally so; making fun of all those 'high society' characters and reducing them to their petty bourgeois 'real selves'. And some of the tunes just stick in your head ("Trimmin' Women" for instance; a song that would probably have been impossible to put into a film a few years later, under the 'code').

User avatar
Svevan
Posts: 758
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:49 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re:

#163 Post by Svevan » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:47 pm

GringoTex wrote:The Smiling Leutineant

What Lubitsch does in the last 8 minutes of this film--transforming Hopkins into Colbert's superior without any dialogue (after using 80 minutes of dialogue to make Hopkins Colbert's inferior)--is a master act and should be taught in every film school in the world. It's breathtaking.
I know I'm totally late-to-the-party with this one, but I just do not see this transformation. All Hopkins does is put on a superficial gloss: fancy clothes, jazz, slinky nightgowns, cigarettes, and a hard-to-get playfulness. Her character definitely had my sympathy more than Colbert, but for much longer than 8 minutes. Chevalier and Colbert's two-timing was hard to endorse when Hopkins was just as fooled into the arrangement as Chevalier. I was hoping for a resolution that set up Hopkins as an independent person, while Chevalier and Colbert reunite. The way the film plays out, Chevalier is a cad who likes women who wear certain things and act a certain way; he has no care for her at all, because she has in no way demonstrated herself as "Colbert's superior" other than her proximity to Chevalier (door-down-the-hall rather than country-next-door).

User avatar
movielocke
Posts: 2364
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

#164 Post by movielocke » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:15 pm

I thought I had seen Monte Carlo years ago, but I wasn't sure and it wasn't in my list of films seen when I watched the others in this set. I popped it in and quickly realized I hadn't seen it. Just now, I quickly popped in here and realized I hadn't posted a thought months ago when I watched it. The music is terrible, and this might be the worst of the musicals aspects of the films in the set, the film, however, is better than one hour with you. The lead males were insipid and irritating, and the overall story was forgettable and drawn out. There was some okay humor and amusing scenarios, but nothing to recommend it, imo.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Posts: 4247
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

#165 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:53 pm

Looks like that Lubitsch retrospective at Film Forum has now moved to the Harvard Film Archive, with The Love Parade screening this weekend (a 35mm preservation print from UCLA). I just revisited it myself and it's all the more impressive when you notice the release date is in 1929 - when I think of all the clumsy sound films from that year, it makes this one seem like a shock. Has any great silent filmmaker handled the transition to sound better than Lubitsch? It doesn't even feel like a transition. There's no awkwardness or clumsiness to it, quite the opposite - right out of the gate he has mastered the use of sound. What's ridiculous is the lengths he had to go to do what in a short while would be the simplest of tasks. From TCM's website:
Cutting sound recordings in those early days was just this side of impossible. Typically, when a song would be sung onscreen in 1929, the camera stayed focused on the singer, without cutting away, while the performer sang along live to a real orchestra, playing off-screen. In one show-stopping sequence of outrageous ambition, Lubitsch not only cuts during a song, he cuts back and forth between two different couples singing the same song in two different locations. To even do this at all, he had to have the two sets built side-by-side, alongside a single off-camera orchestra, and two separate sound-proofed camera baffles aimed at the two sets. Ernst sat on a stool between the two sets and directed both scenes simultaneously. The soundtrack was recorded intact in a single pass--no cutting of it was required, and the synchronized images could be cut back and forth with technical impunity.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7381
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

#166 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:04 pm

Well, Gosho's Madamu to nyobo (The Neighbor's Wife and Mine -- an idiotic English name ), the first real talkie by a major Japanese studio, is remarkably sophisticated, sound-wise.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Posts: 4247
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

#167 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:53 am

It's a good film, and often cited as the first truly successful talkie in Japanese cinema, but it also came two years later than The Love Parade - quite a few advances were made in the interim. (Fritz Lang's M had premiered months before Gosho's film.)

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7381
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

#168 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:57 am

Yes -- but Japan was starting "from scratch" -- with no internal industry expertise as how to do things -- and yet Gosho's sound use was WAY more sophisticated than the contemporaneous Little Caesar from Hollywood.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Posts: 4247
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

#169 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:52 am

I won't argue with that - I'm not much of a fan of Little Caesar. I don't want to turn this into an argument over which important innovator was greater though, the bigger point I wanted to make was that Lubitsch's film coming in 1929 seemed like he was writing a wonderful new guide book for filmmakers under the new rule of sound. If Gosho could independently do the same, that wouldn't be surprising. (Gosho was a huge Lubitsch fan though - I'd have to revisit his work, but it would be interesting if he caught Lubitsch's early talkies and actually reverse-engineered what he saw in his films without the aid of any technical counsel from Hollywood.)

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Posts: 7381
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals

#170 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:39 pm

Having musicians hiding behind trees (and moving as needed) as they play the score -- while a character moves from his own house to the house next door -- was a pretty good trick by Gosho and his team. Not sure that Lubitsch had to do anything quite that demanding. ;-)

But I agree that the whole early 30s Shochiku directorial brain trust seemed quite taken by the work of Lubitsch.

Post Reply