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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:19 pm 
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Apparently, there are screenings this weekend of the restored Paramount Marx Brother films in Los Angeles. Last evening Duck Soup and Cocoanuts screened and the following, thanks to HTF, are some comments about the screening.
Quote:
A report from someone who saw the premieres of the restored "Cocoanuts" and "Duck Soup" last night...

"...I'd say 75-80% of Cocoanuts is restored. For the rest of it, it seemed they had to rely on the same old dupey prints with bad sound that we're used to seeing for all these years. It was scene-by-scene -- as though they had negative available for most, but not all, of the film. The scenes that were restored definitely looked (and sounded) much better than they ever have. But dear god, I had forgotten how insufferable those musical numbers are. Duck Soup (it was a double bill) looked great throughout...."


Hopefully, we'll be hearing more about these restorations.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:12 pm 
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Gary Teetzel (DVDTalk) attended the Universal Marx Brother restoration screenings in L.A. Here are his thoughts....
Quote:
June 18:

Went to the first night of the new Universal 4K restorations of the Marx Brothers Paramount films being shown at the Aero Theater. First up was Duck Soup. The film looked basically decent on DVD, so the improvement here was, as expected, mostly in eliminating dirt, scratches, flicker, etc. Seen projected on a big screen, the film is slightly soft and a bit grainy, but not enough to impair one's enjoyment. Audio was a little disappointing; there seemed to be a little distortion in spots, especially in the first reel.

Next up was The Cocoanuts, the film that has always looked worst on home video, having been cobbled together from a mix of 35mm and 16mm materials. The good news is that the 35mm materials look great, a dramatic improvement over the DVD, which has constant flicker and scratches. All of that has been eliminated, yielding an image that, at its best, looks better than Duck Soup. This material does not looked overly processed; it still looks natural and film-like.

The bad sections of the film, alas, still look awful, and now stick out even more against the restored 35mm. They worked to reduce scratches and dirt, and tried to pull out a little more detail, but it's still pretty ugly.

Second night:

Tonight the Marx Brothers restorations were Animal Crackers and Monkey Business. They were introduced by Universal's Peter Schade, who reported discovering the additional footage in Animal Crackers in a British dupe neg. When the film started and we got to "Hooray for Captain Spaulding," the audience burst into applause when Groucho's long-censored line ("I think I'll try to make her,") following Margaret Dumont's "He is the only white man / To cover every acre") was heard for the first time in decades. Other restored bits:

When Lillian Roth comes up to Chico saying she's been looking for him, Chico has a restored line about how she should have come looking for him last night.

During the letter-dictating scene, there's a bit where Groucho is dictating and says "Elise--no, scratch that" and Zeppo replies "You want me to scratch Elise?" Groucho has a reply, but I've already forgotten it. Later in the scene, Zeppo is reading back the letter and reads out "Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga and McCormack. Scratch Elise." Groucho snaps, "Now you've got McCormack scratching Elise!" and there's a little more back and forth.

In the scene where Margaret Irving tries to get the painting back from Harpo and he keeps handing her newspapers, there's a restored bit where she says to him "You know what I want!" and Harpo gives a naughty smile. When they start chasing each other around shortly thereafter, he smacks her on the behind with one of the papers.

Image quality is once again a massive improvement over what was released on DVD, with the almost non-stop scratches and dirt gone. It looks great.

The improvement with the next film Monkey Business was not as dramatic, but it also looks very handsome, definitely superior to what we've seen before.

Third night:

Not much to say about the last of the 4K Marx Brothers restorations, Horse Feathers. Sadly, the scene where the boys visit Thelma Todd is still peppered with censor cuts. It's another good-looking job overall. There are a handful of scenes where there is some bad jitter in the source element that has not been quite eliminated. Barring a better source element turning up, it's hard to imagine the film looking much better than this. -- Gary


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:58 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:41 am
The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection (The Cocoanuts / Animal Crackers / Monkey Business / Horse Feathers / Duck Soup) coming on October 18.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:27 am 
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John Doe wrote:
The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection (The Cocoanuts / Animal Crackers / Monkey Business / Horse Feathers / Duck Soup) coming on October 18.
As per bluray.com.....
Animal Crackers:

Special Features
Feature Commentary with Film Historian Jeffrey Vance
Technical Information
Run Time: 1 Hour(s) 39 Minutes
MPAA Rating: G
Language & Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English SDH / French
Picture: Widescreen / Black & White

Horse Feathers:

Special Features
Feature Commentary with Film Critic F.X. Feeney
Technical Information
Run Time: 1 Hour(s) 8 Minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language & Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English SDH / French
Picture: Widescreen / Black & White

Duck Soup:

Special Features
Commentary with Film Critic/Historian Leonard Maltin and Marx Bros. Historian/Author Robert S. Bader
Inside the NBC Vault - Today Show Interviews
Technical Information
Run Time: 1 Hour(s) 9 Minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language & Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English SDH / French
Picture: Widescreen / Black & White

The Cocoanuts:

Special Features
Feature Commentary with Film Historian Anthony Slide
Technical Information
Run Time: 1 Hour(s) 34 Minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language & Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English SDH / French
Picture: Widescreen / Black & White

Monkey Business:

Special Features
Commentary with Marx Bros. Historian/Author Robert S. Bader and Bill Marx
Technical Information
Run Time: 1 Hour(s) 18 Minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language & Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English SDH / French
Picture: Widescreen / Black & White
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Number of Discs: 3


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:25 am 
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Additional info. It seems that it will be released in a digibook with an outer box. Duck Soup will have it's own disc, while the other 4 films will split 2 discs.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:16 pm 
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"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:09 pm 
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Excellent!


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:51 pm 
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This is exciting news but I would love if Criterion put out an ultimate Duck Soup edition. (I know this will never happen).


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:18 pm 
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Maybe Criterion can get A Night at the Opera from WB instead.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:15 pm 
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Image

And according to the back cover, it is confirmed that Animal Crackers features newly discovered footage not seen since film was re-edited in 1936.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:18 pm 
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It looks like an awesome set! \:D/


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:46 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:45 am
Classicflix has the Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection BD pre-order for $39.98 until 8/19.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:30 pm 
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Getting a 404 error now. The MSRP is $60, so $40 isn't really that discounted.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:28 pm 
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The correct link is this one.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:45 am
I linked to the announcement on their site since it included the expiration date. Guess they took it down.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:21 pm 
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Blu-ray.com on the BD set


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:44 pm 
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I am looking forward to receiving my order. After finishing the most recent Turner Classic sponsored course Slapstick Fall, I was able to discover the Marx brothers and appreciated their brand of comedy. I wish the set included Night at The Opera which was a Criterion Laserdisc release in need of a Blugrade!


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 5:51 pm 
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Does anybody know why Universal have opted to present THE COCOANUTS (1929), ANIMAL CRACKERS (1930), and MONKEY BUSINESS (1931) in 1.33:1 instead of their OAR of 1.20:1? The opening credits are windowboxed 1.20:1 but afterwards, it pops to 1.33:1 and everything looks tight/cropped at the bottom of the frame. It's a bit of a shame – and if it were done solely as a misguided attempt to fit them into 1.33:1, it's a tragic decision.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:41 am 
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It's possible that the only surviving copies were later reissue prints that did the cropping. I believe the original negatives are long lost.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:36 am 
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ANIMAL CRACKERS was scanned in 4K from a dupe neg held by the BFI.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:02 pm 
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Just saw Monkey Business @ The Stanford Theatre. The print was in poor condition, but projected @ 1.33 with rounded corners on the top. I didn't notice much cropping, but I hadn't seen it before.


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 Post subject: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:00 am 
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The last time I watched the Marx brothers films they were all still only on VHS, I remember liking Horse Feathers best of the paramount films (never saw Cococanuts back then) and being totally perplexed about Duck Soup getting so much more praise than the other films.

In retrospect, I either wasn't paying good attention during Duck Soup or fell asleep, probably both, alternately, as I missed two key pieces of information, I think I fell asleep and missed the scene before the famous "mirror" scene and had no idea that chico and harpo were deliberately dressing up as groucho (and why), because I've spent years thinking the scene was an interesting Parent Trap type of effect, oops. Then I think my attention flagged at the end of the film, because I have no memory of the awesome montage of b-roll cutaways in the final minutes. Having rewatched the entire film through, and in fact the entire set through, and I realize the real issue was that I wasn't a very good viewer of this film fifteen-ish years ago.

Rewatching them now, years later, I don't think any of these five are quite as great as A Night at the Opera, but they're all better than I remember, particularly Animal Crackers and Duck Soup. The Cocoanuts stands out as fairly mediocre in comparison, but the commentary actually made me appreciate the film quite a bit more.

Having gone through all the commentaries as well, Four of them are excellent, much better than the accompanying documentary which mostly just reiterates the same info as the commentary with additional bizarre rambling comments by Drew Casper like, "The stock market crash meant people thought the world made no sense, and the marx brothers made comedy that made no sense, so you put them together and you had great success." But the documentary isn't bad, there's just a much fuller amount of information in the four good commentaries. Duck Soup is a pretty bad commentary, it's full of long pauses as Maltin and his companion get distracted by the film, and they often narrate what's going on, blurb common knowledge about the brothers or comment, "oh the bit coming up is wonderful). the one useful thing in the Duck Soup commentary is that they explain the "that's how darkies were born" line.

The films, suffice to say, look stunning in their new restorations, particularly compared to my hazy memory of how they looked on our public library VHS tapes.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:58 am 
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I was really happy to hear the explanation of "That's how the darkies were born" too (for those curious, it's a reference to a popular song, which per the commentary was in context mocking racism) since those kind of things always really eat at me, and it would have been hard to get a good sense of it via googling.

This set is really excellent- as you say, it looks great, and at roughly $5 a movie it's already a solid deal, but the commentaries are unexpectedly really excellent. The Cocoa-nuts one in particular stands out- it's on par with a Criterion commentary, simultaneously very informative but also impassioned in defense of a movie that's really easy to dismiss, explaining what it was in context and why various elements of it are as they are. I honestly can't remember the last time I heard a commentary as good as this on regular studio output- maybe Greg Mank on that Warner Horror set?- and new ones being recorded for blu upgrades of catalog stuff is an encouraging sign, as a fan of the form.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:03 am 
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Just out of curiosity-how is the audio? Fear of scrubbed/noiseless audio and the wrong aspect ratio for the films that should be 1.19 are why I haven't picked these up yet, but it sounds like the set is otherwise great.


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 Post subject: Re: The Marx Brothers
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:28 am 
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It's not something I'm especially sensitive to, but I didn't notice the sort of unpleasant inhuman voice quality you get from overly worked audio sometimes.


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