Who gives good commentary?

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manicsounds
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#201 Post by manicsounds » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:04 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:What are the thoughts of James Ursini's commentary for Out of the Past, which is being carried over to the blu?
It's been 10 years or so since I've listened to it, but it was before Ursini met his BFF Alain Silver, I found a comment on the DVDVerdict review:
DVDVerdict wrote:The extra of note here is the aforementioned full-length commentary track from noir expert James Ursini, who possesses both a fan's love for the film and a scholar's expertise on the elements of noir. The track is breezy and likable, with Ursini contributing a lengthy discourse on noir itself, the film's production history, and its place within the body of noir.

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domino harvey
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#202 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:42 pm

I listened to it years ago and don't remember anything about it, which means it was good-- I only remember bad and great commentaries

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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#203 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:35 am

I listened to the Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh commentary for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf which for me was one of the better commentary tracks by a director. Steven Soderbergh clearly drew some excellent incite out of Nichols and he kept Nichols from straying which I find a common fault of director commentary tracks. A couple of fascinating highlights for me were, why George Segal was a better fit than Robert Redford for the role of Nick and the Jack Warner/studio interchange that Nichols had to deal with.

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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#204 Post by MichaelB » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:18 am

jheez wrote:Another issue, which I don't think has been mentioned yet, is that an audio only commentary is a whole lot easier to put together than a long visual essay, from a production standpoint.
I'm not sure I'd agree with that!

For starters, commentaries are generally more expensive in terms of talent fee, for the simple reason that the contributor is usually required to come up with much more material. And also, if scholarly commentaries are done properly, they can demand lots of preparation time - and they usually need a fair bit of editing afterwards, especially if the commentator isn't that experienced. Two of Arrow's 2016 commentaries needed a lot of work on my part in order to beat them into listenable shape. Granted, some very experienced individuals can just turn up and reel off a perfect commentary in a single virtuoso take, but they're few and far between (although you can probably guess who they are, as they get multiple gigs for a very good reason!).

I forget just how long it took me to create the full-length commentary for the Tavianis' The Night of the Shooting Stars (not least because I was working on it casually for ages before finally committing myself to doing it), but it was certainly considerably longer than the three days or so that I needed to create the 40-minute video essay of The Shop on the High Street from scratch. Granted, I could have sat down with the Taviani film and just improvised, but it's only when you start really exploring a film in depth before going in front of the microphone that you can adequately prepare. Especially given that your timing is ultimately dictated by the pace and rhythm of the film.

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TMDaines
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#205 Post by TMDaines » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:18 pm

What are the oldest films where the director is giving a commentary? Would also be interested in the oldest films with other key contributors providing a commentary.

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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#206 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:41 pm

George Sidney comes to mind for the Harvey Girls

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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#207 Post by solaris72 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:41 pm

TMDaines wrote:What are the oldest films where the director is giving a commentary? Would also be interested in the oldest films with other key contributors providing a commentary.
Might easily be wrong but:
For the latter, would the commentary on Snow White assembled from archival Walt Disney interviews count? (Also Greg Mank's commentaries for both Cat People movies feature archival audio of Simone Simon.) If archival doesn't count, maybe 1942's The Black Swan, which has Maureen O'Hara commentary.

For the former, Robert Wise did a commentary track for his 1945 film The Body Snatcher.

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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#208 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:43 pm

Dang, Wise beats Sidney by a year

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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#209 Post by MichaelB » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:10 pm

This isn't a conventional "audio commentary" as such, but The Great White Silence, whose footage was shot in 1910-11, exists in two versions, both with a "director's commentary" - the 1924 one has intertitles, the 1933 one has narration, and both are on the BFI Blu-ray.

But it's not a dramatic feature, so it's not quite the same thing.

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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#210 Post by TMDaines » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:19 pm

Re: commentaries spliced together from alternate sources. I wouldn't count them.

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solaris72
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#211 Post by solaris72 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:23 pm

Whoops, completely forgot Michael Powell on 1943's The Life & Death of Colonel Blimp, beating Wise by two years.

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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#212 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:18 pm

Okay, I think 1932's the Old Dark House with commentary from star Gloria Stewart is going to be hard to beat for participants

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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#213 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:19 pm

And Vincent Sherman beats Powell with 1939's the Return of Doctor X

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Professor Wagstaff
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#214 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:01 pm

domino harvey wrote:And Vincent Sherman beats Powell with 1939's the Return of Doctor X
Sherman also has a commentary track on 1943's Old Acquaintance with Bette Davis.

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Randall Maysin
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#215 Post by Randall Maysin » Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:20 pm

Hey Criterion, you know who I hear gives a mean commentary? Pedro Almodovar. And you know who else? Literally at least a dozen different Preston Sturges scholars. I mean what the fuck is the point of releasing a Preston Sturges film without the participation of at least three of them.

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dustybooks
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#216 Post by dustybooks » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:41 am

Doesn't the Criterion laserdisc commentary for Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929) feature at least one actor or participant from that film? I've never heard it but I remember reading about it and wanting to listen to it.

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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#217 Post by solaris72 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:29 pm

dustybooks wrote:Doesn't the Criterion laserdisc commentary for Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929) feature at least one actor or participant from that film? I've never heard it but I remember reading about it and wanting to listen to it.
Good catch!
Laser Rot wrote:Rounding out the disc is what can only be called a remarkable and absolutely invaluable audio commentary by the 91-year-old Charles Bennett, Blackmail's screenwriter (Bennett also wrote the original play upon which Blackmail is based), which in intermixed by commentary from producer/screenwriter Stuart Birnbaum. Bennett's commentary is invaluable, provided a fascinating insight into his work and his characters, as well as a generalized look at Hitchcock and the filmmaking process.

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Cash Flagg
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#218 Post by Cash Flagg » Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:47 pm

Here's the Blackmail commentary in MP3 form (clicking on the link will start an automatic rar download that will need to be expanded). Disclaimer: not my upload!

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dustybooks
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#219 Post by dustybooks » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:15 pm

Cash Flagg wrote:Here's the Blackmail commentary in MP3 form (clicking on the link will start an automatic rar download that will need to be expanded). Disclaimer: not my upload!
Wow, thank you for the link! I'd never even thought to search for the thing -- should never have underestimated the internet (or this forum).

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markhax
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#220 Post by markhax » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:56 pm

I love Casper Tybjerg's commentaries on Carl Theodor Dreyer's films, especially "The Passion of Joan of Arc" and "Michael."

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Who gives good commentary?

#221 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:32 am

Guillermo del Toro's are almost universally excellent: informative, entertaining, and often fun.

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domino harvey
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#222 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:05 pm

Adrian Martin has set up a Patreon with the promise of an exclusive commentary among other incentives

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#223 Post by matrixschmatrix » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:44 pm

Dang, I'd happily contribute, but the lowest tier appears to be $20 a month, which is too rich for my blood

jaffe1234
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Re: Who gives good commentary?

#224 Post by jaffe1234 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:40 am

Peter Bogdanovich definitely gives great commentaries. Especially for Ford and Welles pictures because his personal relationships with both of those mens, especially with Welles he was good friend.

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Re: Indicator

#225 Post by frankiecrisp » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:54 am

Watched Deadly Affair last night excellent package one minor irritant the very good commentary came out of my side speakers with silence in the middle speaker it sounded like the two contributors were miles a part . nice little film showing the locatians was excellent .

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