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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:03 pm 
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Annie Mall wrote:
cafeman wrote:
Take Ghost Ship, which was essentially never shown for years, and look how great that transfer is


The whole reason for that is its very unavailability. It just never got shown until very recently and that's why it looks so good - the original materials were still in good shape.

:D Yeah, I know, that`s why I cite it as an example, in order to contrast it with other flicks whose sources were much worse. Maybe my wording was a little weird.

Well, as far as being spoiled, I`ve seen so many public domain flicks such as Big Combo, Little Shop of Horrors or VCI`s Mann noirs, that when it comes to these classic films, having OAR, sharp picture and deep contrast is almost more than I can ask for in regard to these types of films.

I actually felt that some of the WB noirs had more problems than the Lewton box. But it also might be that the first one I popped in from the set was Ghost Ship, and when I laid my eyes on what appeared to be the crispest of all crisp images ever on DVD, it immediately had a ripple effect on the rest of the box.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 5:15 am 
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Narshty wrote:
Annie Mall wrote:
What about the transfers, people?! Are they any good? Stop whining about the boxes.

Ha! If it was a coffin box, you'd be at the front of the picket line.


Laughing my mutherfucking ass off. Serious candidate for Thread Rejoinder of the Year.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 7:58 am 
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I've got to say that Warner really ought to have applied a scratch/tear removal software system on I Walked With a Zombie has some seriously bad damage. Is it asking too much at these low prices to insist on digitally rectified (I just invented that term!) transfer for such landmark horror film? Sharpness is good throught this set, as is contrast and brightness levels, but the damage is very bad in places. The first Film Noir and Gangster box transfers all have less damage in comparison to I Walked With a Zombie.

On a more positive note, I was pleasantly surprised with William Friedkin's commentary on The Leopard Man, a film that I has always found disjointed, but Friedkin's insights are quite interesting and he obviously has a genuine love for this film that terrified him as a youngster in an early 60s re-run. It makes we wonder how these commentaries from Friedkin on Warner DVDs of films he did not participate in the making of. I wish that he would put a bit of pressure on Universal to do a SE of Sorcerer and on Paramount for a [i]The Boys in the Band[/i[ DVD.

Dspite its flawed transfers, this was probably the DVD bargain of the year and I am looking forward to other such boxes from Warner in 2006, commencing with the Peckinpah set.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:34 am 
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Gordon McMurphy wrote:
I've got to say that Warner really ought to have applied a scratch/tear removal software system on I Walked With a Zombie has some seriously bad damage. Is it asking too much at these low prices to insist on digitally rectified (I just invented that term!) transfer for such landmark horror film? Sharpness is good throught this set, as is contrast and brightness levels, but the damage is very bad in places. The first Film Noir and Gangster box transfers all have less damage in comparison to I Walked With a Zombie.


There is a bizarre visual phenomonon going on in that film transfer which I've never encountered before and cannot establish as organic damage to the print. In a couple of scenes, sections of outlines start (I remember distinctly in one case it was Ellison's jacket lapel-edge in a convo w Dee) jumping around & shifting position. Shrinkage maybe? Why then the stability in the rest of the image?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 1:43 pm 
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HerrSchreck wrote:
There is a bizarre visual phenomonon going on in that film transfer which I've never encountered before and cannot establish as organic damage to the print. In a couple of scenes, sections of outlines start (I remember distinctly in one case it was Ellison's jacket lapel-edge in a convo w Dee) jumping around & shifting position. Shrinkage maybe? Why then the stability in the rest of the image?


That's right; I forgot to mention that. There appears to be a weird kind of picture break up in certain moments. DVD Beaver lists the average bitrate as 5.73 mbps, which isn't optimal, but isn't that bad, so I am not sure what the problem is, precisely. What is "shrinkage" in regard to digital transfers, Herr S?

The commentary on Zombie by Kim Newman and Steve Jones is hoot, isn't it?! Great stuff.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:08 pm 
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HerrSchreck wrote:
There is a bizarre visual phenomonon going on in that film transfer which I've never encountered before and cannot establish as organic damage to the print. In a couple of scenes, sections of outlines start (I remember distinctly in one case it was Ellison's jacket lapel-edge in a convo w Dee) jumping around & shifting position. Shrinkage maybe? Why then the stability in the rest of the image?


You mean that parts of the image seem to move about independently of the rest of the image? I believe that this is due to the overuse of noise reduction filtering. I've seen this on VHS and cable TV as well as on DVD.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 3:16 am 
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Gordon McMurphy wrote:
What is "shrinkage" in regard to digital transfers, Herr S?

The commentary on Zombie by Kim Newman and Steve Jones is hoot, isn't it?! Great stuff.


Organic shrinkage of the celluloid, the print itself due to slight decomposition/moisture-level changes in the neg slightly changing the size. But this doesn't look like that's what it is.

I'm watching the HONEYMOONERS marathon and am in paradise.

Mr. Faversham, if you've come to ask me....


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 6:39 am 
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Rufus T. Firefly wrote:
You mean that parts of the image seem to move about independently of the rest of the image? I believe that this is due to the overuse of noise reduction filtering. I've seen this on VHS and cable TV as well as on DVD.


You could be right, but if they went to the trouble of using video-noise reduction, why didn't they use scratch/tear removal software?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 9:08 am 
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Gordon McMurphy wrote:
Rufus T. Firefly wrote:
You mean that parts of the image seem to move about independently of the rest of the image? I believe that this is due to the overuse of noise reduction filtering. I've seen this on VHS and cable TV as well as on DVD.


You could be right, but if they went to the trouble of using video-noise reduction, why didn't they use scratch/tear removal software?


Gordy in both of my posts on this I said I DID NOT think shrinkage was the issue because the rest of the image remained inaffected. I cannot identify the root of the phenomena.

Rufus if you catch the disc you'll see this is not the line/noise wavering to which we're accustomed due to digital treatment. This is a freaky looking artifact....


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 11:01 am 
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Sorry, Herr S; I mis-read your words.

It's a kind of scrunching effect, isn't it?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:54 am 
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Gordon McMurphy wrote:
Sorry, Herr S; I mis-read your words.

It's a kind of scrunching effect, isn't it?


Hey Gordie did you ever grab one of the greatest budget discs of all time-- VCI's definitive CITY OF THE DEAD (Horror Hotel)? 7 bucks nowadays for a gorgeous, 16x9 enhanced progressive transfer of a pristine original theatrical release print of the original UK cut w the footage cut from the US release, w director commentary, and Christopher Lee commentary on another track, plus director/Lee/St. John contemporary interviews? It looks like a frigging Warners or CC transfer.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:29 pm 
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I'm currently making my way through this set and wanted to remark what a truly wonderful film Curse of the Cat People is. It's long been a favourite - one of the most unexpected of all sequels and one of the most original films of the forties - but seeing it again after more than ten years it just seems even more extraordinary. Superb writing for and acting by Ann Carter - surely one of the definitive child performances - and a brilliant exploration of adult themes. The cinematography is stunning (barring a couple of sloppy focus-pulls) and this is one of the best examples of the use of lighting as a primary expressive element. All of the Lewton films are exemplary in this respect, but in this film so much is conveyed by the lighting and the changes in the lighting (as with the appearance of Simone Simon in the garden).

The relationship to Cat People is unusual and affecting. There's surprisingly little back-story provided - the film simply assumes we're all familiar with the parent film and sets out to surprise us by the approach it takes - but there's something extremely moving about Irena's (completely plausible) resurrection as a fairy-tale princess. She can finally find her peace, and work her way back into her husband's life, through this child's fantasy.

Note on Cat People - don't you completely identify with Irena's hurt feelings after her shabby treatment by Oliver and Alice? I think a lot of this film's residual power comes from our identification with the supposed 'monster,' surrounded as she is by sleazy and cruel types that pretend to be her friends.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 5:23 pm 

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I finished this boxset a bit over a month ago, but still - remarkable.

Some thoughts - The Ghost Ship was fab. Russell Wade shouldn't be an interesting presence as an actor, but his own gentle inexpressiveness has a creepiness all of its own - he seems vaguely hypnotised and can't help but be clumsily out of place in any given scene. It's oddly endearing. The knife fight was astonishing - I thought the on-screen hand shattering in Thieves' Highway was vicious enough.

The Curse of the Cat People - I know what I'll be rewatching this Christmas Eve. Ann Carter's performance is extraordinary - I can't think of any other child actor giving such a strangely mannered performance, successfully or otherwise. She takes such immense care over the pronunciation of each word and each expression yet there's nothing awkward or hesitant about it. It's like she was directed by Dreyer - a little miss Gertrud.

The low point of the boxset was Bedlam - it was just rather blah. The Body Snatcher wasn't far behind either. There's something inherently less creepy about the period dramas - even when the plot and characters are treading water, as in The Leopard Man, there's still that Lewton vibe the whole time. Isle of the Dead is the perfect example - chill for chill, it has the two scariest moments in the whole Lewton oeuvre, despite being something of a mess overall.

A wonderful rollercoaster of a boxset - I just hope Warner put out Lewton's other two RKO pictures on another double bill disc at some point.

EDIT: I'm at post count 666 to boot. Surely the most evil comments I will ever write.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:13 am 
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Narshty wrote:
A wonderful rollercoaster of a boxset - I just hope Warner put out Lewton's other two RKO pictures on another double bill disc at some point.


That would be nice. Plus, they could combine them with the other two pictures he made for MGM. We then could have double-bills of Youth Runs Wild with Please Believe Me and Mademoiselle Fifi with Apache Drums.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:27 pm 
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I thought I'd put up the link to the I Walked With A Zombie script that Kim Newman and Steve Jones talk about in the commentary.

Some of the things they specifically mention in the commentary is the way the script talks about the type of map that's required:

Quote:
There is a trestle table with a straight chair behind it, typewriter on a stand, and a small wooden filing cabinet with an old-fashioned letter-press on top of it. There is a surveyor's map of the plantation on one wall, and on the other a Geodetic Survey chart of the island of St. Sebastian. (For 75c, we can purchase the U.S. Geodetic chart of Anacapa Island, engraved by Whistler, possibly the most beautiful map ever drawn. We can use this for the map of our fictitious island.) Holland is seated at the table with a ledger open before him. He has obviously been working. Betsy sits in a chair drawn up to one corner of the table. She is in her nurse's uniform.


or the size of the harp!:

Quote:
There is one picture in the room. It is Boecklin's "The Isle of the Dead," framed in a narrow frame of dark wood. Near the open window stands a beautiful gilt parlour harp. (Size 22) Behind it, arranged conveniently for playing, is a small Empire chair. There is no other furniture near this arrangement, and the harp, the empty chair and wind-stirred glass curtains give a dual effect of elegance and loneliness.


or the scene of Jessica playing the piano:

Quote:
INT. BETSY'S ROOM -- NIGHT

Betsy turns back into the room. She has crossed over to the bed and is removing her negligee when the sound of hesitant notes on the piano attract her attention. In her nightgown she goes back to the window and peers through the cracks between the laths.

INT. A CORNER OF THE LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

From where she stands, Betsy can see the big, square, rosewood piano. A lamp had been lit beside it and the light from this lamp falls on the blonde hair and gleaming shoulders of the woman who had walked in the garden. Her face cannot be seen. Her fingers move strangely over the keyboard, now and again striking a hesitant note, but making no music, only an occasional dissonance.

INT. BETSY'S ROOM -- NIGHT

Betsy, still watching through the slit in the jalousie, endeavors to get a better view of the living room. She changes her position and looks out again through the blinds.

INT. ANOTHER CORNER OF THE LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

As seen from Betsy's NEW ANGLE. Paul Holland is seated in a low armchair. His eyes are fixed on the woman at the piano. She continues to strike odd notes on the piano.

INT. BETSY'S ROOM -- NIGHT

Betsy leaves the window, crosses to the bed and lies down. Then, sighing, she makes herself comfortable on the pillow, settling herself for sleep. Outside the nightjars whistle softly, the cicadas twitter and the Hammer tree frogs make drowsy, somnolent little croaks: it is a tropic lullaby of bird, batrachian and insect sound. The faint, groping notes on the piano continue.

DISSOLVE


Should make good bedtime reading!

The Val Lewton Screenplay Collection site has a lot of interesting stuff, including the short story The Bagheeta, the typed script of Apache Drums and the script for The Fact of Murder!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:42 pm 
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Thanks for posting that! That's really great stuff.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:09 pm 
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Can't wait for this!

From the Mobius message boards:

Quote:
VAL LEWTON'S AMERICAN HORROR —(Fall 2007)
Martin Scorsese directs this 90-minute documentary on Val Lewton, the versatile and prolific writer of novels, nonfiction and poetry who entered the film business as a protégé of David O. Selznick in the early 1930s. Lewton went on to produce a number of stylish, low- budget horror films for RKO, notably the atmospheric Cat People (1942), the engagingly macabre I Walked With A Zombie (1943) and the chilling Bedlam (1946). Documentary written by Kent Jones and produced by Margaret Bodde.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 5:46 pm 
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Damn. Stones concert film, and now a Val Lewton doc! Scorsese's everywhere these days, but hey, I'm not complaining.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:27 am 
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Martin Scorsese presents Val Lewton 1/8/2008


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:34 am 
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Val Lewton Collection. Must be the previous release + new documentary.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:12 am 

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Kent Jones talked about that on Speakeasy with Dorian.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:14 am 

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Don't know if Jones mentions it, but it appears that he directed the film, and Scorsese merely narrates. At least that is the case with his new Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows. Surely it's the same film?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 4:54 pm 
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Ashirg wrote:
Val Lewton Collection. Must be the previous release + new documentary.

It is. I wonder if this time around they will come in slim packs since they will not again be available individually. That alone will make me sell my set and spring for the new one. I know, I need therapy. But think of the space I'll be saving!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:24 pm 
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Lino, have you thought of just printing your own covers? A decent printer, and that glossy 'photo' paper that you can buy in any supermarket; indistinguishable from a professionally produced cover.

I've been meaning to do that myself with a few film series that don't quite match up visually (my Carpenter 'Apocalypse Trilogy,' for example, in a deluxe cardboard case (The Thing,) a keep case (Prince of Darkness) and a damaged-in-the-mail snapper (In The Mouth of Madness,) would probably look great in a three-disk keep-case. Ditto, my Exorcist movies (by which I mean, also, The Ninth Configuration) and my Mad Max and Donner Supermans (1 in a DVD case, 2 is in HD... would look better together in a 2-disk cases)

Actually, it might be worth starting a proper thread here on the subject (I know there are a few websites out there already, with downloadable custom-covers)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:34 pm 

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Looks like the Scorsese doc will be available separately at the same time the box set is rereleased (the Amazon price on the new set is actually cheaper than the older version):

Image


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