Madame de...

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MichaelB
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Madame de...

#1 Post by MichaelB » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:54 am

Max Ophuls’ Madame de… (1953) receives a welcome release on Blu-ray and DVD. This recently restored period classic from the director of La Ronde and Letter from an Unknown Woman is famed for its lightly nuanced performances, the marvellously detailed sets, and the elegant artifice of the plotting. Madame de… is released in the same month that its glamourous and iconic star Danielle Darrieux celebrates her 100th birthday.

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TMDaines
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Re: Madame de...

#2 Post by TMDaines » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:01 am

I look forward to seeing if this is finally the optimum presentation on disc!

Currently it goes Amazon WEB-DL > Gaumont Blu-ray > ARTE HDTV rip > Hulu WEB-DL > Criterion DVD > Criterion Blu-ray.

Edit: deleted phantom release!
Last edited by TMDaines on Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

isakorg2
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Re: Madame de...

#3 Post by isakorg2 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:26 am

All I know for sure is that the BFI will be issuing a blu-ray Madame De, as welcome a bit of news as I can imagine. (Well, it would be a toss-up were there to be an announcement that Les Enfants du Paradis had been revisited and rescued from its blu-ray mangling on both sides of the Atlantic.) Trying to decode TMDaines' comment - are you trying to ascertain whether the BFI will be the same as the Gaumont? Or do we have a chance for a blu-ray of Madame De that finally does justice to this very great film?

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Drucker
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Re: Madame de...

#4 Post by Drucker » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:32 am

isakorg2 wrote:All I know for sure is that the BFI will be issuing a blu-ray Madame De, as welcome a bit of news as I can imagine. (Well, it would be a toss-up were there to be an announcement that Les Enfants du Paradis had been revisited and rescued from its blu-ray mangling on both sides of the Atlantic.) Trying to decode TMDaines' comment - are you trying to ascertain whether the BFI will be the same as the Gaumont? Or do we have a chance for a blu-ray of Madame De that finally does justice to this very great film?
Of course, Second Sight already put out Children of Paradise in UK.

I would really, really hope that considering the amount of time that has lapsed between the first releases of this BD and the BFI edition, they were able to come up with a better presentation. Surely everyone working for the BFI on home video releases would know the poor reception of earlier releases and that it would be a commercial disaster to be the third label to release a sub-par master. Here's hoping for the best.

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TMDaines
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Re: Madame de...

#5 Post by TMDaines » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:34 am

Attempts at releasing this on Blu-ray so far have been a mess. Criterion's efforts were a disaster in terms of picture quality. Criterion's original DVD was better and so was the HD video on Hulu and the HDTV broadcast on the French/German ARTE channel. The Gaumont Blu-ray still has poor audio, which is bettered by an video taken from the Amazon streaming service, although I'm not sure from what country.

I'm hoping that the BFI are fully aware of these issues because a definitive Blu-ray release would be very welcome. I hope they use some nice original poster art for the cover too, as this is a film that has had a few beautiful ones.

The're definitely decent video available now.

Edit: reference to a phantom release!
Last edited by TMDaines on Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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andyli
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Re: Madame de...

#6 Post by andyli » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:46 am

Did Gaumont release two editions? The only one I knew of is the one favorably reviewed at DVDBeaver and Blu-ray.com. Is it the first or the second edition?

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Drucker
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Re: Madame de...

#7 Post by Drucker » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:52 am

There was a first edition that was the exact same PQ as Criterion. Then a re-release followed, which wasn't perfect, but a slight improvement.

Can't seem to find PQ analysis of both in the usual places.

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rapta
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Re: Madame de...

#8 Post by rapta » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:00 am

Well this is excellent news! Was anxious for some Ophüls, and was almost going to pick up La Ronde from Screenbound. Hopefully we'll get more Ophüls titles in the near future then.

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tenia
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Re: Madame de...

#9 Post by tenia » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:01 am

Gaumont released the movie only once.

They restored the movie a first time, sold the result to Criterion who did the BD we know.
It created a backlash which rippled back in France. It was so vocal Gaumont, who at the time hadn't yet released their French BD, scrapped the restoration and re-did it. They had to delay their French release to accomodate the rework. Once the "2nd" restoration was finished, they released it on BD.

Bottom line : there is no "original" and "re-released" Gaumont BD, only what has been released and which used the corrected restoration.

I cannot stress how this situation seems exceptional : for once, a studio screwed up so badly that it was caught externally (the Criterion BD) before they released their own version, and it was early enough they could go back and start all over again. They could have chosen not to, but they did it (and I can't imagine the financial nightmare it might have been).

However, I still wonder how Criterion reacted to have been sold a HD master which was deemed unusable 3 months later (and Criterion got the heat for this one as some kind of digital guinea pig).
Drucker wrote:Can't seem to find PQ analysis of both in the usual places.
That's why. The only comparison you'll find are between the following : an HDTV rip or a previous DVD, the Criterion BD (= 1st restoration), the Gaumont BD (= 2nd restoration).
Last edited by tenia on Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TMDaines
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Re: Madame de...

#10 Post by TMDaines » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:04 am

I could have sworn Gaumont released it once and then put out a second edition. At the very least did they not send out review copies?

There's been so many different HD versions that I have seen screencaps of that perhaps I created a further one in my mind!

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Re: Madame de...

#11 Post by swo17 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:14 am

TMDaines wrote:I'm hoping that the BFI are fully aware of these issues
They are surely aware of these issues, because they are alive. The bigger question is whether their hands are tied.

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rapta
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Re: Madame de...

#12 Post by rapta » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:33 am

I suspect they'll be using the re-restored Gaumont transfer, as they've licensed from them before (e.g. Bande à part, Eyes Without a Face). Hopefully they can correct the audio as well though, making this the best edition available...right?

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Re: Madame de...

#13 Post by antnield » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:55 pm

Image

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Finch
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Re: Madame de...

#14 Post by Finch » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:06 pm

I'll only buy this film for the fourth time if the BFI betters the Gaumont BD considerably. Pity that it's likely a port of the Gaumont with a booklet and an admittedly lovely cover thrown in.

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Re: Madame de...

#15 Post by domino harvey » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:09 pm

TMDaines wrote:I look forward to seeing if this is finally the optimum presentation on disc!

Currently it goes Amazon WEB-DL > Gaumont Blu-ray > ARTE HDTV rip > Hulu WEB-DL > Criterion DVD > Criterion Blu-ray.

Edit: deleted phantom release!
Speaking of Optimum, weren't they the ones that put this out on DVD with a Tag Gallagher extra? I never bothered to upgrade from the UK DVD

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tenia
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Re: Madame de...

#16 Post by tenia » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:22 pm

TMDaines wrote:I could have sworn Gaumont released it once and then put out a second edition. At the very least did they not send out review copies?
The backlash happened roughly a month and a half (July 31th vs a release date on Sept 18th before the French BD was supposed to be released. I don't remember having heard of any check disc sent with the first restoration but when the backlash happened, the French BDs were already being manufactured. However, IIRC, everything in France was based on how the Criterion BD and a 720p iTunes file looked.

On August 21st, Gaumont said they were delaying the BD release.
On August 28th, they explicitly said they screwed up.
On Sept 3rd, they said this 1st restoration was scrapped and they were commissionning a new one.
The BD ended up being released on Feb 19th 2014.

I'd guess the BFI is likely to get the 2nd restoration, but that that's all they will get, thus being technically a port. The only chance it would turn better is that Gaumont used to produce an unfiltered HD master and a filtered one (see Band of Outsiders) and maybe they used the filtered one in France while the BFI could get an unfiltered one. However, given what happened, I doubt they would redo a restoration totally and still produce a filtered master but who knows.

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Drucker
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Re: Madame de...

#17 Post by Drucker » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:53 pm

Isn't it conceivable that a blu-ray of the original Criterion HD Master, that was on the original Criterion DVD, could best all other versions?

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tenia
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Re: Madame de...

#18 Post by tenia » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:09 pm

It could be. I'm unsure, because it's still a recent 2K restoration vs a much older HD master, but they might be closer from each other than I think.

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Re: Madame de...

#19 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:09 pm

domino harvey wrote:
TMDaines wrote:I look forward to seeing if this is finally the optimum presentation on disc!

Currently it goes Amazon WEB-DL > Gaumont Blu-ray > ARTE HDTV rip > Hulu WEB-DL > Criterion DVD > Criterion Blu-ray.

Edit: deleted phantom release!
Speaking of Optimum, weren't they the ones that put this out on DVD with a Tag Gallagher extra? I never bothered to upgrade from the UK DVD
The UK DVD with Tag Gallagher extra was from Second Sight.

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Moshrom
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Re: Madame de...

#20 Post by Moshrom » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:11 pm

TMDaines wrote:I look forward to seeing if this is finally the optimum presentation on disc!

Currently it goes Amazon WEB-DL > Gaumont Blu-ray > ARTE HDTV rip > Hulu WEB-DL > Criterion DVD > Criterion Blu-ray.
TMDaines wrote:Attempts at releasing this on Blu-ray so far have been a mess. Criterion's efforts were a disaster in terms of picture quality. Criterion's original DVD was better and so was the HD video on Hulu and the HDTV broadcast on the French/German ARTE channel. The Gaumont Blu-ray still has poor audio, which is bettered by an video taken from the Amazon streaming service, although I'm not sure from what country.
Hmm, I disagree with this assessment. The old Criterion DVD master, which indeed appears in best form on Amazon, is extremely dated. The picture is unstable, its dynamic range is limited, and its effective resolution is actually around 720p.

The Gaumont blu-ray may have borked luminance levels, but it's far more detailed in most ways (disregarding the non-existant shadows), and it sounds excellent. The audio of the old master, on the other hand, is at least an analogue generation removed-- it's veiled and much less detailed. The Criterion blu-ray received additional downstream noise reduction, so it misrepresents L.E. Diapason's original restoration from the sound negative.

After closely comparing the Criterion and Gaumont blu-rays, I can also say that it's dead obvious that the DNRed master Gaumont sent to Criterion also had its luminance borked, but Criterion performed an extensive adjustment to the levels of the entire film. To do this properly, you must do it shot by shot, since the luminance "floor" (i.e. the lowest RGB values at which true blacks exist) changes all the time on the Gaumont disc, often even in the middle of a shot.

It's possible to correct the Gaumont disc this way using the Criterion as reference, although a reference isn't even truly necessary, since simply using a waveform monitor would yield a result superior to Criterion's correction -- I did this.

Basically, I'm sceptical that the BFI--who haven't, to my knowledge, ever applied any such extensive correction to a release--would go through all of this trouble. Some people have said that the Gaumont disc requires a TV to PC level conversion, but this is simply incorrect. Applying such an adjustment would massively crush the shadows and blow out the highlights.

I'd be delighted to be proven wrong, though!

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Re: Madame de...

#21 Post by tenia » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:19 pm

Some Gaumont releases have RGB range issues (Un carnet de bal is definitely stuck between 15 and 239 as the Gaumont logo opening card directly shows), and some of them simply have improper black levels / brightness (which indeed, IIRC, is the case with Madame de).

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Re: Madame de...

#22 Post by rapta » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:53 pm

Who knows, maybe Gaumont themselves will sort it out before licensing it to BFI. After all, they no doubt got an earful after the Criterion cock-up...though you do wonder why Criterion released it as-is, implying they were either a little impatient (not bothering to wait for a revision), or even worse - ignoring the problems with it and just making do.

As for Gaumont's encoding problems, will these not be rectified by (presumably) better encoding from UK labels? I'm wondering if Artificial Eye will sort out the problems with Lift to the Scaffold for their upcoming Malle box set, to give one example.

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Re: Madame de...

#23 Post by Moshrom » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:09 pm

rapta wrote:Who knows, maybe Gaumont themselves will sort it out before licensing it to BFI.
While unlikely, I suppose it's possible. I think it's also the BFI's responsibility to engage in a dialogue with Gaumont and demand a master with no DNR and correct levels. Resolving the issue upstream is always preferable.
rapta wrote:As for Gaumont's encoding problems, will these not be rectified by (presumably) better encoding from UK labels? I'm wondering if Artificial Eye will sort out the problems with Lift to the Scaffold for their upcoming Malle box set, to give one example.
Absolutely, although the superior compression now standard on BFI discs has to do with simply using x264 instead of the inferior closed-source commercial h.264 libraries used by Artificial Eye, Criterion, and Gaumont.

So even while I'm not terribly optimistic, I'm still looking forward to this release. If the levels are completely unadjusted (as on the Gaumont), I would never recommend it to anyone, but it wouldn't be unsalvageable. ...Whereas if a quick and lazy TV to PC conversion is applied, detail will be lost and the most technically inclined among us wouldn't be able to apply their own fix.

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Re: Madame de...

#24 Post by david hare » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:59 am

Would it be fair to say then that given Gaumont has done the original 2K scan, the only way a properly executed remaster could happen if this was outsourced to a post house other than Eclair where the imbalance and FUBAR generally seems to have happened? More money, which probably won't happen so the BFI simply represents the fourth effective Blu Ray edition which is still far from ideal.

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Re: Madame de...

#25 Post by MichaelB » Wed May 03, 2017 8:11 am

Full specs announced:
Madame de…
A film by Max Ophuls
Dual Format Edition – Blu-ray/DVD release on 22 May 2017


Featuring nuanced performances by all three lead actors; Charles Boyer, Danielle Darrieux and Vittorio De Sica, and directed by celebrated auteur Max Ophuls (Letter From an Unknown Woman, La Ronde) this intricately constructed and elegantly designed drama is a searing study of fateful passion wound up in deceits, deals and desires.

Newly restored by Gaumont, on 22 May 2017 it will be released on Blu-ray (for the first time in the UK) and DVD in a Dual Format Edition, with special features including an hour long documentary on the great Max Ophuls and the making of Madame de…

When, beset by debt, the titular Countess Louise (Danielle Darrieux) decides to sell a pair of earrings that were a wedding gift from her husband André (Charles Boyer), she unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will have serious consequences not only for the Parisian couple but for André’s mistress and for an Italian Baron (Vittorio De Sica) who purchases the, by then, much-travelled jewellery.

Madame de... is based on the novel by Louise de Vilmorin. It was Max Ophuls’ penultimate film before his untimely death in 1957, at just 55, and received an Oscar nomination for its costume design.

Special features
• Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
Max Ophuls, le peintre de l'amour fatal (Dominique Maillet, 2013, 61 mins): A documentary on Max Ophuls and the making of Madame de… featuring interviews with his collaborators
Working with Max Ophuls (Robert Fischer, 2005, 27 mins): interview with Alain Jessua about his training under Max Ophuls and his experiences of working on Madame de…
• Illustrated booklet with writing by Laura Mulvey, Adrian Danks, and Lindsay Anderson; tributes to the director and full film credits

Product details
RRP: £19.99/ Cat. no. BFIB1284 / Cert U
Fr, It /1953 / black and white / 100 mins / French with English subtitles / original aspect ratio 1.37:1 // BD50: 1080p, 24fps, PCM 2.0 mono audio (48kHz/24-bit) / DVD9: PAL, 25fps, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio (48kHz/16-bit)
See a clip here.

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