The Long Goodbye

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released from Arrow and the films on them.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Long Goodbye

#26 Post by MichaelB » Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:42 am

The Big Trouble in Little China menus are even better - being able to nest the Special Features menus means that it's much, much easier to present complex packages in a user-friendly way. And BTILC has thirty separate video elements, including two multi-angle segments (and the main feature including its four soundtracks counts as just one!), so in many ways it was the ideal test subject.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#27 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:06 pm

As long as Big Trouble In Little China includes the utterly cheesy music video somewhere in those menus, I'll be happy! (No trying to hide it away now! [-X )

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#28 Post by MichaelB » Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:12 pm

colinr0380 wrote:As long as Big Trouble In Little China includes the utterly cheesy music video somewhere in those menus, I'll be happy! (No trying to hide it away now! [-X )
Oh, it most certainly does. And I'd just about scrubbed the whole horrific experience from my mind, so thanks for plonking it straight back in there.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#29 Post by RobertAltman » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:24 pm

I'll pretend I didn't read that. The idea that someone can dislike Coup de Villes is unfathomable to me.

But: In anticipation for the arrival of The Long Goodbye I decided to read the novel. I know the movie inside out (I even wrote my Bachelor's Thesis on it!), but somehow I never got around to the book before. I've finished the first 2/3rds of it, and this is very good. Less of a page turner than the other Chandlers I've read, but the Los Angeles he describes seems richer than ever. What a great little universe he created.

What also struck me is how good Leigh Brackett's adaptation is. This must be as good an example as any of how to adapt a novel. The script stays very close to the plot while successfully eliminating many of Chandler's little detours. A few characters are entirely gone, and others combined, but the richness of the people Chandler populates his LA with is still present.

Of course Altman would put his touch on it with the improv (Walter Wade's fondness for aquavit is, not surprisingly, not mentioned in the novel, but Marlowe's "It's OK with me" quip actually makes an appearance!), and having seen the movie over and over, I can't help but imagining the novel taking place in the seventies, which makes for a rather strange, but incredibly enjoyable, reading experience.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#30 Post by MichaelB » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:03 pm

RobertAltman wrote:What also struck me is how good Leigh Brackett's adaptation is. This must be as good an example as any of how to adapt a novel. The script stays very close to the plot while successfully eliminating many of Chandler's little detours. A few characters are entirely gone, and others combined, but the richness of the people Chandler populates his LA with is still present.
There's an interview with her in Arrow's booklet in which she describes the adaptation process, and she comes across as very practical and level-headed about it. She realised that right from the start she had to make a decision about whether to set it in period or update it to the 1970s - both had problems: the period version would have pushed the budget up substantially, but updating it to the 1970s would have necessitated major changes because the novel's WWII flashbacks wouldn't work any more (apparently she experimented with Korean War ones but they didn't work either), but in the end she plumped for the 1970s and dropping the dual-time narrative altogether.

The other issue was that she knew that Elliott Gould would play Philip Marlowe, as he was already locked into the project - and as she sagely observed: "I like Elliott Gould. I think Elliott Gould is one hell of an actor. But he is not Humphrey Bogart, and nothing under the sun you are going to do with him is going to make him look like Humphrey Bogart or act like him. And so you had to do a whole new character."

And although she originally wrote the script under the impression that Brian G. Hutton would direct it, she hit it off with Altman from the very start of his involvement, and seems to have been very happy indeed with how the film turned out, despite all the changes. (Although Altman would later insist that he'd remained scrupulously faithful to the spirit and structure, if not the exact letter, of of what Brackett wrote.)
Of course Altman would put his touch on it with the improv (Walter Wade's fondness for aquavit is, not surprisingly, not mentioned in the novel, but Marlowe's "It's OK with me" quip actually makes an appearance!), and having seen the movie over and over, I can't help but imagining the novel taking place in the seventies, which makes for a rather strange, but incredibly enjoyable, reading experience.
Brackett reckoned that two-thirds of the dialogue that ended up in the film was hers. The bits she definitely did not write were the entire opening with the cat, the Coke bottle moment (which shocked her rigid when she saw the film for the first time), and what sounds like most if not all of Sterling Hayden's dialogue - she'd originally written the lines with the late Dan Blocker in mind (he was originally cast as Roger Wade, but died just before shooting commenced), and Hayden's persona turned out to be so radically different that Altman essentially threw out the script and encouraged Hayden and Elliott Gould to improvise - and that certainly included the whole aquavit scene on the beach.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#31 Post by rwaits » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:07 pm

When might we see some screen caps for this release?

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#32 Post by MichaelB » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:26 pm

rwaits wrote:When might we see some screen caps for this release?
When someone with the technical wherewithal* gets round to reviewing one of the checkdiscs that will probably start being sent out in a couple of days or so - I imagine the first reviews will start appearing at some point next week.

(*i.e. not me - I'm happy to provide iPhone-snapped pictures of my monitor to settle things like the aspect ratio of MoC's Tabu, but I doubt they'd be very useful here!)

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#33 Post by david hare » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:41 pm

Michael just download the latest version of VLC and a free version of DVDHD Fab and Bob's yer uncle (or whatever.) It's time you entered the last decade.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#34 Post by tenia » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:45 pm

MichaelB wrote:but I doubt they'd be very useful here!)
Actually, I'm quite eager to see how the new menus look like ! :wink:

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#35 Post by MichaelB » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:50 pm

david hare wrote:Michael just download the latest version of VLC and a free version of DVDHD Fab and Bob's yer uncle (or whatever.) It's time you entered the last decade.
I don't think DVDHD Fab works on a PS3 or a Toshiba BDX-1200!

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#36 Post by rwaits » Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:15 pm

I've been looking at all the usual sites every day for weeks. The suspense is killing me. Can't wait to see this one.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#37 Post by MichaelB » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:43 pm

Screengrabs, courtesy of Blushots.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#38 Post by feihong » Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:45 am

Looks good to me.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#39 Post by mistakaninja » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:08 am

Postie dropped this on the mat this morning, so if you ordered from Arrow it's en route.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#40 Post by John Hodson » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:33 pm

So; The Long Goodbye.

I've had this on my BD wishlist, well, for as long as I've had a BD wishlist. Gutted by the French release, elated by Arrow's announcement which came with the caveat that they would be transferring an older MGM master of a film which has quite soft cinematography, and many challenging low-light scenes.

So; the message was 'don't expect miracles'.

I rarely do, but in this, I'd been prepared for a 'best effort', which, given Arrow's recent form, I was sure would be good enough. I took a peek this afternoon.

I'm still smiling; can you see me beaming, like I've had a surfeit of the girls' hash brownies?

Arrow's James White and David Mackenzie have crafted what is currently the best iteration of Altman's post noir noir - with it's sweaty, claustrophobic, Californian nights and dazzling, sun-blanched oneiric days - on home video anywhere in the world. Sound wise, the LPCM mono is a little corker, John Williams score given it's head, the sometimes mumbled dialogue coming through loud and true.

Crammed with excellent supplements - Mackenzie's hand on the encoding tiller here proved vital - Arrow's whole package (and a nod to Michael Brooke as producer here :) ) is a winner; the booklet is a thoroughly interesting read (particularly the Leigh Brackett interview), the photos and art providing an excellent balance. It's rare that I'm a fan of new art, but the reversible front cover of the disc will remain the front cover despite the iconic poster art on the back. It's Criterion standard stuff, though I'm forced to say that if Arrow keep up this pace, we may soon be talking of Criterion releases achieving 'Arrow standard'.

By the way, if it's not already clear, I adore this film; it's that rare thing in the world of movies, an original idea that remains quite unique. And while Altman never misses an opportunity to gently take the piss out of the genre and it's tropes, it's achieved so beautifully, so artfully, that the story and the characters are never subsumed. Even if you are aware that the Austrian Oak's attempt to upstage Gould by the simple expedient of standing still and flexing his pecs is *incredibly* funny.

On the flipside of that acting car crash is Sterling Hayden, whose outré performance is quite breathtaking, his exit from proceedings leading to real-life drama and a heart rending shot Gould hailed as one of those gorgeous accidents. Enough; I just love it. That okay by you?

Arrow's The Long Goodbye exceeds my expectations in almost every way. And whilst I began this post telling you how those expectations were tempered, let me whisper to you that I still secretly hoped for something *really* special.

I'm *still* smiling. Can you see me smiling..?

Hurray for Hollywood. Hurray for Arrow.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#41 Post by tenia » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:36 pm

So, you're saying that the PQ is a clear improvement over the French release ?

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#42 Post by John Hodson » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:51 pm

I'm saying that the non-removable subs made the French release, for me, a non-starter. I'd prefer to compare transfers 'in the flesh' before making a definitive comment, but yes, from the screencaps I've seen and the comments I've read, this release appears to be superior.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#43 Post by MichaelB » Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:02 pm

I think it's very very likely that both discs came from the same MGM HD master (I'm not aware of another one out there), but the French disc presumably didn't have a James White-supervised clean-up job or a David Mackenzie encode - the latter at an amazingly high bitrate considering the wealth of extras.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#44 Post by MichaelB » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:22 am


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Re: The Long Goodbye

#45 Post by tojoed » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:45 pm

I like the guy who refers to "..a revisionist look at the hard-boiled genre." He's one of the few who doesn't use the word "noir" in any way, and he's right.
I'm really looking forward to getting this great film in a great package, and everything so far suggests it is.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#46 Post by MichaelB » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:37 pm

Since (at least) three people have raised this issue (I'm quoting the House of Mortal Cinema review here), I thought I'd better address it in detail:
Arrow's widescreen 2.35:1 presentation is very nice, with the only blemish being some kind of hole in the top right of the print that occurs at 1:14 and is present as a distracting white dot for about a minute. Otherwise it looks great.
This refers to a small white dot that appears towards the top of the screen, about two-thirds across, spanning two shots, beginning at the start of one and ending at the end of the other (to the frame) - the exact time references are 1:14:46 to 1:15:21.

The start and end points flag up that it must be inherent in the 35mm source (since a digital glitch wouldn't respect cuts like that), and it's also definitely present in the French BD (2012) and the old US DVD (2003). Also, helpfully, one of my correspondents said that he recalled seeing it in a 35mm screening and wondered how it got there, since physical damage to an individual print would never produce an effect like that.

I don't know for certain, but my educated guess is that it's a by-product of creating the dissolve between the two shots during the film's original post-production - a small bit of dirt ended up in the optical printer, and because they were working from the negative at the time it's registered as a white dot.

With a situation like this, you basically have three options:

1) Ask to access the original 35mm materials before the dissolve was created, and try to carry it out again;
2) Attempt to fix it digitally;
3) Accept that it's what Robert Altman signed off on in 1973, and leave it alone.

(1) would obviously be ideal, but it's both expensive and logistically complicated - and might not be feasible at all, because the materials might not exist or the rightsholder might not be persuaded of the need to access them. (2) is clearly possible, but given that the glitch happens over a very busy, very grainy picture with constant camera movement it would be very difficult to eliminate it, and there's every chance that it might end up looking worse (bearing in mind that we're talking 35 seconds of film, or approx. 840 frames, each of which would need their own individual treatment to match the movement/grain of the surrounding image - in other words, a much tougher job than getting rid of, say, reel change markers).

Which means that there's a strong case for (3), if you're certain that the dot has always been there from the very first test screenings onwards - and in this case it's looking very likely.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#47 Post by David M. » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:51 pm

Yes, trying to fix this would have made a bigger mess.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#48 Post by jindianajonz » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:20 pm

MichaelB wrote:I don't know for certain, but my educated guess is that it's a by-product of creating the dissolve between the two shots during the film's original post-production - a small bit of dirt ended up in the optical printer, and because they were working from the negative at the time it's registered as a white dot.
I always thought explanations like this were interesting; is there anywhere that you know of that goes into detail on the causes of different types of film damage? I always wondered about the unmoving lines that occasionally occur- how did the same damage end up in the same location on multiple frames?

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#49 Post by knives » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:23 pm

Probably depends if it is a negative damage or print damage. With film prints (like those shown in theaters) just getting caught in some part of the projection mechanism can cause a scratch possibly lasting the rest of the reel. I imagine for negative damage the same thing would probably be in effect where it accidentally gets scratched on some mechanism.

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Re: The Long Goodbye

#50 Post by jindianajonz » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:34 pm

I don't have any theaters nearby that show old films, so these all come from DVDs. I know I saw an example of it in the last week or two, but I can't remember which film it was (Monsieur Verdoux? Hands Over the City? Mafioso?)

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