Ernst Lubitsch on DVD

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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david hare
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One Hour With You (Lubitsch) R2 France

#51 Post by david hare » Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:08 pm

justeleblanc wrote:I think I'll just wait for the Criterion/Eclipse box, which will be containing all four of Lubitsch's Paramount musicals
The Eclipse is a no-brainer really.

And while it is quite good the French transfer of One Hour with You utilizes only a meagre 3.1 gig bandwith. Despite which the picture if OK for most of the time although it becomes somewhat ghosty (or at least"ring-y") for a whole reel, around chapters 10-12. Eclipse's box will surely better this.

I also thnk the remaining Lubitsch Musical titles are simply better movies, even the earlier Love Parade. Watching One Hour again I was left somewhat exasperated by the cuteness of the material, and the relentless reliance on Chevalier addressing the camera. Lubitsch's taste and direction of actors isn't in question but I definitely prefer the other pictures, even Monte Carlo.

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Michael Kerpan
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One Hour With You (Lubitsch) R2 France

#52 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Oct 13, 2007 6:00 pm

Now -- if only someone would adopt "So This Is Paris" -- which I like even more than "Smiling Lieutenant" (my favorite of the musicals).

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Angel (Lubitsch) R2 Spain

#53 Post by Tim » Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:27 am

rollotomassi wrote:This Lubitsch classic has been released in Spain with removable Spanish subtitles.
I received this yesterday and have watched about half of it. It looks very good, perhaps a little high on the contrast compared to what I recall as the luminous greys of the print I saw at the NFT a year or two ago.

The initial copyright warnings require you to choose Spanish or Portuguese, but once those are over you are offered subtitles (in Spanish, Portuguese or English) or no subtitles.

One warning. I ordered from DVDGO without knowing any Spanish. The DVD cost 10 euros and the shipping 13 euros. It arrived by courier the next day. I suspect that with some knowledge of Spanish I might have managed to choose a cheaper shipping method.

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Michael Kerpan
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Angel (Lubitsch) R2 Spain

#54 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:04 am

Tim wrote:One warning. I ordered from DVDGO without knowing any Spanish. The DVD cost 10 euros and the shipping 13 euros. It arrived by courier the next day. I suspect that with some knowledge of Spanish I might have managed to choose a cheaper shipping method.
I have _yet_ to find any cheaper options from any Spanish online sellers Sadly, French ones are trending the same way. (Ditto for Amazon Japan).

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rohmerin
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Angel (Lubitsch) R2 Spain

#55 Post by rohmerin » Thu Dec 06, 2007 5:17 am

Broken Lullaby has been just released by Universal in Spain.

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Finch
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Lubitsch's "Angel" to be released in R2 (UK)

#56 Post by Finch » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:51 am

Browsed play.com and came across this.

Lubitsch's "Angel" to be released in R2 (UK)

Scheduled to come out 13th of October. Universal's track record in Region 2 isn't the best so I wouldn't expect more than an adequate transfer at best.

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#57 Post by david hare » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:28 pm

This will be identical to the DVD of Angel released around two years ago in a British 18 disc Marlene boxset. It's certainly welcome as a single.

You're quite wrong about the source print - it is very nice, albeit a single layer with a tiny amount of tramline damage (caps on the relevant thread.) I dont know what you mean when you say that Universal's 'Track record in R2" isn't the best. Are you talking about all of Europe and the UK, and /or their distribution through other labels like Optimum, Calotta, BaC etc? It's Universal's "track record" for releasing classic titles in R1 that I think is pathetic. Along with second rate shelf prints like Easy LIving and Midnight. Speaking of which the recent BaC France releases of the two McCarey's are from so-so prints - Make Way for Tomorrow and Ruggles of Red Gap - but they're better than serviceable.

And given the Universal Insurance .. I mean fire earlier this year you aint gonna see any newly struck vault prints this side of 2200.

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Finch
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#58 Post by Finch » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:23 pm

David, point taken about Angel having been part of the Dietrich set. Glad to hear that it looks good and I should have clarified my statement about their R2 track record: I was referring to their UK releases of older films that I wasn't always impressed by. Double Indemnity was serviceable until the R1 SE came along and I was disappointed that Universal didn't bother (as yet) to release it here (even if it didn't affect me personally as I have a multiregion player but they seem to be taking an awful long time to release special editions of classic titles over here or they don't at all unless it's Hitchcock: Vertigo is reiussed this autumn as a 50th anniversary edition which I assume will be the UK equivalent to the upcoming R1 Legacy Edition).

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#59 Post by justeleblanc » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:23 pm

Actually, I read that Universal's top priority was the Lubitsch and the Sturges films. So we are most likely going to see new DVDs of them within the next few years.

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#60 Post by david hare » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:05 am

Of course they have pretty regular bookings for the Sturges films so these are well worth their print costs.

Lubitsch is nice to hear, but which Lubitsches?

I think the fortunes of classic DVD from Universal have really ended up all over the place in recent years. Early days of R1 saw some absolutely superb transfers of things like Criss Cross, but those days seem over. And I agree a number of more recent R2 titles - Double Indemnity, and some other Noirs unreleased in R1 - would definitely have received better transfers from R1. But the release patterns are unpredictable - now you end up relying on France or Australia (for chrissake) for relatively solid Sirk sets in good editions. Carlotta's philosophy of classic releases seems to be to go for best available - hence the excellent Cobra Woman and Phantom Lady and Sirk Mag Obs - but where the only available is an inferior source like Ministry of Fear, they release it anyway in the absence of anything else. There are definitely people working within or to Carlotta in Europe who have their ears to the ground.

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#61 Post by Jonathan S » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:48 am

I think a lot of Universal's bad reputation in the UK comes from their releases of RKO films, at least a couple of which have been colorized! For example, the two UK sets of the Astaire-Rogers films were mostly terrible, though in different ways (one title - Carefree, I think - even had part of a scene repeated!) Of course, Warner controls the US rights to the RKOs so Universal UK can't just use masters from their American headquarters, as they presumably can with the Universal and Paramount titles.

Re. the 18-disc Dietrich set, which has been intermittently available, the last place to have it at a reasonable price (£49.99) appears to be play.com.

According to Find DVD the next cheapest price is nearly £100 more! I grabbed it for just over £40 a few months ago and can confirm each film is individually packaged, so you can sell off all the duds and duplicates, as I did!

By the way, when this set was re-released (with a sticker acknowledging the "Marlene Dietrich Collection Berlin/Munich"!) Moviemail told me they had been informed Universal had cut a song from one of the films due to copyright issues, but they did not know which song or which film. Has anybody else heard this?

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#62 Post by rohmerin » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:14 am

Merry Widow has been released in exclusive at Fnac Spain by a subsidary branch of WB. If you're interested search for "La viuda alegre"
Last edited by rohmerin on Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tommaso
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#63 Post by Tommaso » Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:46 am

Thanks, Rohmerin. I just couldn't resist ordering it :-) Hope the quality is acceptable. Too bad this is a fnac exclusive, though. They charged 18,60 Euros for shipping this and "Sol de Membrillo" (another fnac exclusive) to Germany....

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#64 Post by rohmerin » Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:11 pm

Tommaso, has you receipt your Merry widow DVD? is it good?

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#65 Post by Tommaso » Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:00 am

Yes, incidentally I just watched it last night! The print used has a few speckles (nothing to worry about), but the image looks fine, with good and natural contrast, no edge enhancement etc. It is not as sharp as it could be, though, probably due to the disc being single layered with a bitrate hovering somewhere between 4 and 5 mbps only. Sound is allright, though perhaps suffering a little in clarity from too much noise reduction; but I didn't have any real difficulty understanding the dialogue. Subs are removable, thankfully, but only via the remote control. No extras to speak of. All in all, a fine effort, though not quite as good as the discs in the Eclipse set.
The film itself is wonderful, as expected. It's not as frivolous as "Love Parade" or "Monte Carlo" and Jeanette MacDonald isn't quite as cute here as in those earlier films, but what it loses in daring it gains in pure style and elegance. Chevalier basically repeats his roles from "Love Parade" and "The smiling lieutenant", but that is just fine and constantly amusing. A very refined film, then, and a fitting end to Lubitsch's excursion into the musical genre.
I can't imagine WB will not release this any time soon in the US, too, but if you love those films in the Eclipse set, you'd hardly want to wait.

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#66 Post by rohmerin » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:10 am

Thank you, Tommaso. I'll buy if I travel to Madrid or Oviedo. There's no Fnac in my town and I deny paying post rates in my own country. It's my favourite Lubitch film, in despice of my hate to Maurice Chevalier (I can't stand him).

I've taken from public library La dama de armiño, and La zarina (A royal scandal), those 2 Lubitch's proyects finished by Preminger. Both DVDs are licenced by FOX to other Spanish companies.

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#67 Post by Tommaso » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:42 am

rohmerin wrote:It's my favourite Lubitch film, in despice of my hate to Maurice Chevalier (I can't stand him).
Well, when I first saw him in "One hour with you", he irritated me mightily, too. Too overtly mannerist, especially in comparison with Lubitsch's silent version of the same film, "The Marriage Circle". But after a while I quite liked his inimitable style, especially in "Love Parade", and now I find him constantly amusing, and "Merry Widow" is no exception.

Tell us what you think about "Lady in Ermine" and "Royal Scandal". I haven't seen them, and heard nothing good about them. General consensus seems to be that Preminger's directing murdered what might have been great Lubitsch films....

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#68 Post by rohmerin » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:56 am

Royal scandal is a poor comedy. It looks like a bad cliché of Lubitsch world with not good actors and, the most important, with bad timing that spoils all the dialogue gags. I mean, Preminger's rythm is faster. There's no Lubitch's touch, poetry and genious. Talullah may be she was great on stage or as socialite, but as movie star, she's like a copy of Dietrich but made by stone. Dietrich's performance in Von Sternberg's film is excellet. Did Talullah operate to be a xerox print of Marene in the 40's? Even in Lifeboat she looks Marlene at the sea.

About Lady in armine, not seen yet, but I'm scared.


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Ashirg
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Re: Ernst Lubitsch on DVD

#70 Post by Ashirg » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:51 am

A Royal Scandal is being released on DVD-R by Fox in April. At least they can't fuck-up aspect ratio....

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hearthesilence
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Re: Ernst Lubitsch on DVD

#71 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:23 am

Quick question - was the MoC box set of early Lubitsch films DVD only because they didn't think the PQ would be significantly improved by an HD presentation? (I believe that was the reason for Trouble in Paradise being DVD only.)

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Re: Ernst Lubitsch on DVD

#72 Post by swo17 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:45 am

I think that one came out just before boutique labels had to explain themselves over every DVD-only release.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Ernst Lubitsch on DVD

#73 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:16 pm

Finally saw Lady Windemere's Fan and what an incredible surprise. I knew Lubitsch mainly through his sound films, and the glorious dialogue (perhaps the best ever written in Hollywood) is so enjoyable, it may overshadow Lubitsch's mastery of the visual elements of filmmaking. That's why this film feels like an enormous revelation, one that is essential to anyone who wishes to understand Lubitsch's brilliance as a filmmaker. Just watch the long, wordless stretches in this film, there's so much that's revealed, so much with plot and character, and he makes it look easy - it's a wonder to behold. This is silent filmmaking of the highest order. Credit is due to the cast, the acting here is extraordinary.

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Re: Ernst Lubitsch on DVD

#74 Post by Drucker » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:25 pm

Looks like it's playing at Film Forum next week, thanks for the recommendation! I haven't been thrilled with the Lubitsch silents I've seen. I found some of the earliest ones to be very funny, but his costume pieces don't do much for me. The only American silent I've seen is Eternal Love which was fine, but I didn't find it spectacular.

There doesn't seem to be a Lubitsch filmmaker thread, so I'll that I did catch Cluny Brown which was quite good the other day. It's certainly a bit more...peaceful film than I'm used to, and certainly makes you think what else Lubitsch could've done. The film started pretty slowly and it wasn't as humorous as some of his other films. The primary plot between Cluny and her stuffy boyfriend also wasn't that funny. But there are some great moments that are truly laugh out loud, and the Cluny/boyfriend plot doesn't take up so much time as to ruin the movie.

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Re: Ernst Lubitsch on DVD

#75 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:33 am

You're welcome! I'm still fairly new to Lubitsch's silents, but Lady Windermere's Fan is certainly the best I've seen - it's one of the very few dramas I've seen by Lubitsch, so it was also a revelation in that regard. (It does have a good deal of comedy, but it never flies off into the lofty heights of ridiculousness of his funniest pictures because it's grounded by its source material.)

The Doll is probably my favorite of his silent comedies - a genuinely great film in my book. I really like his first feature (The Oyster Princess) too - the "Lubitsch touch" had already crystallized with that picture and would grow only more refined with time. Again, both are/were scheduled at Film Forum.

FWIW, 1932's The Man I Killed (later retitled as Broken Lullaby) is playing tomorrow, and that's worth checking out - it has its ardent supporters (and I believe Dave Kehr and Jonathan Rosenbaum are both big fans), but for a long time it was deemed a failure. It may have been a departure from the Lubitsch most people knew, as it's an antiwar melodrama, but if you want to see yet another side of him, definitely check it out.

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