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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:47 pm 
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Otto Preminger (1906-1986)

Filmography

The Great Love (1931)
Under Your Spell (1936)
Danger - Love At Work (1937) BFI, UK R2
Kidnapped (1938)
Margin For Error (1943) Gaumount/Columbia, France R2
In the Meantime, Darling (1944)
Laura (1944) Fox Film Noir, R1
A Royal Scandal (1945; Ernest Lubitsch co-direction) Gaumount/Columbia, France R2
Fallen Angel (1945) - Fox Film Noir, R1
Centennial Summer (1946)
Forever Amber (1947)
Daisy Kenyon (1947)
That Lady In Ermine (1948; Ernest Lubitsch co-direction)
The Fan (1949)
Whirlpool (1949) Fox Film Noir, R1
Where The Sidewalk Ends (1950) Fox Film Noir, R1
The 13th Letter (1951) likely future Fox Film Noir?
Angel Face (1952) Warner, R1
The Moon Is Blue (1953) Aventi/Artedis, France R2
River of No Return (1954) Fox, R1
Carmen Jones (1954) Fox, R1
The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) public domain, best may be Sanctuary Digital, UK R2???
The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955) Republic, R1
Saint Joan (1957) Aventi/Artedis, France R2
Bonjour Tristesse (1958) Sony, R1
Porgy and Bess (1959)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959) Columbia, R1
Exodus (1960) MGM, R1
Advise & Consent (1962) Warner, R1
The Cardinal (1963) Warner, R1
In Harm's Way (1965) Paramount, R1
Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) Sony, R1
Hurry Sundown (1967)
Skidoo (1968)
Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970)
Such Good Friends (1971)
Rosebud (1975)
The Human Factor (1979) Aventi/Artedis, France R2

....
I am making an attempt to track down all the Otto Preminger available on DVD, which seems to be a surprisingly small portion of his filmography. So any help in filling in blanks would be much appreciated. In particular:

What is the best edition of The Man With the Golden Arm? It's in PD hell with numerous low-budget discs in every region. Searching reviews led me to the disc I cite below, but since I haven't seen any of them, maybe someone could give a better-informed choice?

Has anyone seen any of the French Preminger discs, which seem to be from Films Sans Frontieres? They have discs of Saint Joan, The Moon Is Blue, and The Human Factor, all of which I'd love to see. But how is the quality? And are the French subs removable?


Last edited by sevenarts on Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:59 pm 
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The 2-disc release from Hart Sharp of The Man with the Golden Arm is pretty good. DVD Beaverreviewed the disc and mentioned it was transferred progressively, but I thought it didn't look too bad when I viewed it recently. Plus I like the Saul Bass-inspired menus and the Elmer Bernstein interview on Disc 2 is pretty extensive. Columbia House carries it so it can certainly be had for a reasonable price, if that's a viable option.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:09 am 
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RE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM:

This is something I don't understand, re the PD'ing of this film. I grabbed the WARNER BROTHERS VHS of this at least ten years ago. Given the fame of the lead and the strength of his performance I dont understand why they'd let this slip out of their hands. It makes no sense.

It was a good VHS too.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:27 am 

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sevenarts wrote:
Has anyone seen any of the French Preminger discs, which seem to be from Films Sans Frontieres? They have discs of Saint Joan, The Moon Is Blue, and The Human Factor, all of which I'd love to see. But how is the quality? And are the French subs removable?

I have all these three discs, and I think they're from Aventi and not FSF. I cannot comment the quality from memory but if no one beats me to it I will report the quality/remov.subs etc. when I get home later today. Screencaps are also possible...


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:40 am 
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Hashi wrote:
sevenarts wrote:
Has anyone seen any of the French Preminger discs, which seem to be from Films Sans Frontieres? They have discs of Saint Joan, The Moon Is Blue, and The Human Factor, all of which I'd love to see. But how is the quality? And are the French subs removable?

I have all these three discs, and I think they're from Aventi and not FSF. I cannot comment the quality from memory but if no one beats me to it I will report the quality/remov.subs etc. when I get home later today. Screencaps are also possible...

That would be great! Thanks. Are they the ones with these covers then?

Image


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:27 am 
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
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Great thread and one I could certainly use as I'm still making my way through some unwatched Premingers.

But where's fucking Skidoo, Universal?! And Porgy and Bess?!?!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:34 am 
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Lino wrote:
Great thread and one I could certainly use as I'm still making my way through some unwatched Premingers.

But where's fucking Skidoo, Universal?! And Porgy and Bess?!?!

Skidoo is Paramount. Actually, Late Preminger would make a great Eclipse box.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:45 am 
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
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Thanks for the correction, juste.

BTW, info on those french discs is highly appreciated, hashi!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:17 pm 

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sevenarts wrote:
That would be great! Thanks. Are they the ones with these covers then?

Yup, they're the ones with those covers.

French subs are removable on all three discs. All of them are interlaced transfers. Images are unrestored, and even after all the cons I still think they're very watchable. I took some captures and will be posting them on the Screen Captures -thread quite soon. Moon is Blue is a mixed bag. First it suffers from what seems to be NTSC->PAL ghosting, but somewhere in the last ½ hour it stops. Those two others were free of any conversion ghosting as far as I could notice. Saint Joan didn't have noticeable, distracting combing until the last 15 or 20 minutes - really weird, eh. The Human Factor is constant all the way through.

By the way, I bought these brand new from eBay for something like 4-5 euros a piece back in 2005 so cannot really complain.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:55 pm 
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
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Thanks for the caps. They look acceptable but I'm willing to wait for eventual R1 releases as I still have too many Premingers to check out before those.

Who actually has the distribution rights in R1 for them, anyway?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:59 pm 

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Ok, the captures can now be found here.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:33 pm 
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Great, thanks so much for those. Certainly looks pretty good to me, I'll at least be picking up Saint Joan as I really want to see that one. Although I'll probably check out the others eventually anyway, since I don't know how forthcoming R1 releases are.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:47 pm 
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Hashi wrote:
French subs are removable on all three discs.

The subs are fixed on my French (Artedis) edition of Saint Joan. Removable only by ripping.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:53 pm 
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Oh crap. Well I just ordered it too. So who's right?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:05 am 

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sevenarts wrote:
Oh crap. Well I just ordered it too. So who's right?
My god, it's true. Yesterday when I took the captures I only used my pc for playing the discs. I can just turn off the subs when playing with PowerDVD.
But just now I tested with my standalone player and I couldn't remove the subs. (Though I could turn them off by setting the player settings as "subtitles off" after starting the disc.) This is weird, how come they can be removed with PowerDVD and not with a standalone player? My PowerDVD is not hacked in any way. I'm truly sorry for any inconvenience...


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:54 am 
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Hashi wrote:
This is weird, how come they can be removed with PowerDVD and not with a standalone player?

Most standalone players respect the UOPs (User Operation Prohibitions) on a disc. UOPs are the things that force you to sit through FBI messages and see subs which would otherwise be removable. Disabling UOPs can break the navigation on certain DVDs, which is why machines aimed at home users (i.e., non-techies) don't normally let you override them. Computer software for playing/ripping DVDs will usually give you more options for the treatment of UOPs.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:20 pm 
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Just got the French Saint Joan and tried it out quick, subtitles come off fine on my computer, which is where I watch everything anyway, so I have no complaints.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 5:37 pm 
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Preminger's, Saint Joan has a reputation for being a piece of shit - is it? I quite like the absurdly tamed-down, Bonjour Tristesse as I find its gorgeous daylight color / emotionless black and white CinemaScope aesthetic (by Georges Périnal) very effective - and Seberg's sexuality is untouchably Natural. Her's is the only celebrity suicide that make me sad. The rest - more or less - did the right thing.

Otto always worked with great DPs. I love how Denys Coop shot Bunny Lake Is Missing in bw scope. Never at home in color, Coop was nevertheless, a master of monochrome. Camera op on The Third Man and as DP, his bw work is among the very best.

Otto was even savvy enough to get Loyal Griggs - a vastly underappreciated cinematographer - to shoot, In Harm's Way. The special effects in that film are awful, but most scenes are gorgeous. Otto was one of the few filmmakers to try and keep monochrome alive and In Harm's Way and Bunny Lake are among the last great bw films.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 6:04 pm 
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And of course Preminger held the tight budget for Angel Face in check and got DP Harry Stradling (one of the fastest in the business and another Black and White master. The entire shoot was 18 days.)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 11:06 am 
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Gordon wrote:
Preminger's, Saint Joan has a reputation for being a piece of shit - is it?

I just watched this. I have to say, on the one hand, it's quite easy to see where it acquired this rep, and why mass audiences didn't exactly respond to it -- it's a strange, discordant film that never quites settles on a particular tone or mood, and which contains so many ideas that it never presents a single unified message, which seems to be what people expect from a tragic "life of a saint" picture. And the Joan story in particular is of such mythological dimensions, and has been treated so reverently in cinema, that it has to be unsettling to see a film which takes such an unusual approach to her story. In that way, I have to see the response to this film as similar to The Last Temptation of Christ, another very interesting film that takes an unusual and even somewhat humorous (but paradoxically no less serious) approach to a religious story.

But taken on its own terms, it's a very interesting, exciting, funny, and profound film. It's a bit jarring to see so much of the material being treated as broad comedy -- Richard Widmark gives a brilliant and hilarious performance as a king who's more of a court jester. And Joan herself provides quite a bit of humor, as her rejoinders to doubting bishops and generals take on the level of witty banter. But then, it's not all treated as farce, and Preminger is perceptive enough to pull out all the levels of meaning and ambiguity in the Joan story -- the power of faith, the earthly power of organized religions, the intersections of faith and politics, the pull of nationalism and its exploitation by the forces in power. The film sets up a battleground in which nationalistic politics and organized religion are fighting for the hearts of the common people. But both of these opposed forces, clearly, are mere farce when set against the quiet common-sense and genuine personal faith of Joan. It's a unique film that explores the intersection of politics, religion, and the individual with such scathing humor and satire. And Preminger doesn't flinch away from the ultimate shift into more serious territory -- the trial and execution are appropriately harrowing and horrifying. The film also deals with the feminist dimension of Joan -- particularly during the trial -- and the role of the Church in suppressing women. In many ways, the film is about suppression of all kinds. It raises the idea that bishops, kings, and nationalist politicians are in essence the same, all avatars of power who work together to suppress the individual while competing with each other for control.

Seberg's performance is also much under-rated. As in Bonjour Tristesse, she brings an earnest, naive urgency to her part that really energizes and captures the character. Preminger was much mocked for his choice of an untrained actress, but I think it's clear that he really understood what he was going for, and that Seberg would be able to create a Joan really infused with youth and determination and perverse charm.

It's not a perfect film, but an extremely interesting one, and I really enjoyed it and will doubtless be thinking about it for quite a while. It's a shame that its reputation (and of course, the resultant limited availability) prevents more people from taking a look at it.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 3:10 pm 
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sevenarts wrote:
But taken on its own terms, it's a very interesting, exciting, funny, and profound film. It's a bit jarring to see so much of the material being treated as broad comedy -- Richard Widmark gives a brilliant and hilarious performance as a king who's more of a court jester. And Joan herself provides quite a bit of humor, as her rejoinders to doubting bishops and generals take on the level of witty banter. But then, it's not all treated as farce, and Preminger is perceptive enough to pull out all the levels of meaning and ambiguity in the Joan story -- the power of faith, the earthly power of organized religions, the intersections of faith and politics, the pull of nationalism and its exploitation by the forces in power. The film sets up a battleground in which nationalistic politics and organized religion are fighting for the hearts of the common people. But both of these opposed forces, clearly, are mere farce when set against the quiet common-sense and genuine personal faith of Joan. It's a unique film that explores the intersection of politics, religion, and the individual with such scathing humor and satire. And Preminger doesn't flinch away from the ultimate shift into more serious territory -- the trial and execution are appropriately harrowing and horrifying. The film also deals with the feminist dimension of Joan -- particularly during the trial -- and the role of the Church in suppressing women. In many ways, the film is about suppression of all kinds. It raises the idea that bishops, kings, and nationalist politicians are in essence the same, all avatars of power who work together to suppress the individual while competing with each other for control.

All these comments on the film's shift from comedy and satire into serious discussions on nationalism and religion and no mentioning of the fact that the screenplay was adapted by Graham Greene from a George Bernard Shaw play -- as unlikely a literary marriage as one can imagine! It's been years since I read Shaw's original play, and I've never seen the film, but I've always heard that the film's shortcomings are primarily due to Greene taking Shaw's material in a direction that simply doesn't work. (And that's not hard to imagine, considering.)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:27 pm 
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From DVD Savant's latest posting:

Quote:
Savant received this warning from the online message board poster known as DrSavaard: "The packaging on the new DVD of Bunny Lake is Missing claims it's anamorphic 2:35 -- but in fact it's only letterboxed ... and at 1:85!!" Savant checked his older copy of the disc, which is properly enhanced and framed. Caveat emptor, which in this case means "How dare they do that!"

I'm a little confused by this. Is Savant saying the guy's a crackpot, or are some discs faulty and some aren't. Can anyone clarify for me?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:46 pm 
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NONONONO! I watched Bunny Lake again on Sunday Night and what fucking Sony have done is letterbox the OPENING CREDITS ONLY within a 4:3 frame for 2.35. But the rest of the movie is correct anamorphic Scope. Go figure! I also think the transfer is overcontrasted and pretty mediocre (Typical fucking Sony) - it used to look much more striking than this in 35. But it's still a masterpiece.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:51 pm 
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Much appreciated, David.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:10 pm 
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I actually just watched Bunny Lake for the first time a few days ago and during the opening credits I was so confused that I stopped the DVD and checked with the Beaver to make sure there wasn't some sort of massive error with the disc. Luckily I stuck with it past the titles.


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