david hare wrote:
But the dog, and Helen, and Dunk Island! The ocean literally IS that color. And global warming hadn't yet started to destory the Great Barrier Reef.
Looks like we're not so far apart in our opinions of the film after all! The dog, Helen, and the sights of Dunk Island are what really attracted me to this film, quite apart from Powell's stunning way of having them photographed and setting up some particular scenes. As a non-native speaker, I didn't bother too much about Mason's accent, of course, and was actually happy that I understood him much better than most of the Australian-born actors
I have a dvd of "Mob", though not that one you mention with the documentary. I definitely recommend the film, too, even though it's not as visually dazzling as "Age of Consent". But as you note, the script was basically written by Pressburger (called in by Powell after he found some original treatment lacking in quality), and yes, it shows! So much better than the entirely dull dialogue in "Age", though perhaps still not as perfectly crafted as some of the 'classical' P&P work.
Which brings me to the new AMOLAD, which I couldn't resist doing a very late night watching of yesterday. This is a tough and somewhat deplorable case. As seen in the various screen caps in this thread, there is a very great difference in the two editions. Watching the Sony, I was stunned how sharp and free of damage the image was, even if the grain seemed faux again. Not mentioned yet, I believe, is the dramatic improvement in the audio department. While I sometimes wished the Carlton had some optional subs for understanding the dialogue better, the Sony is crystal-clear with every single word understandable without problems, far less hiss and better frequency range. I actually found the Sony quite convincing in all respects...before I put on some key scenes again from the Carlton disc. I hate to say it: it's not a matter of life and death perhaps, but a difference of day and night as far as colours are concerned. You only hear Conductor 71 talking about being starved for Technicolor in the Sony, but in the Carlton you can experience it. What wonderful deep and technicoloresque blue in the night skies, what beautiful reds on the petals in the Carlton! Or Dr. Reeves' first motorbike ride: it's an explosion of warm, sunny colours on the Carlton, perfectly expressing the joys of living on earth as opposed to being in bureaucratic heaven (the whole point of the film of course). On the Sony, it's nothing more than a good outing, really. Many other examples can be found, of course.
I don't know; I've seen each and every one of Powell's colour films available on disc somewhere, and all these films have strong, vivid colours and a generally joyful 'look' at all things from nature. The "Age of Consent" transfer is a good example for that. The difference in skin and lips tones is not even important, but I just don't see these sunny colours, so important for the Powell magic, in the new Sony AMOLAD. It may be an entirely subjective thing, but despite its obvious deficiencies, the Carlton simply feels right
, in the same way that the Network "Black Narcissus" and the CC "Red Shoes" or the MoC "Kwaidan" feels right to me.
Man, what a shame. I guess, the only way at the moment is to have both editions. You need the Sony for the Christie commentary and of course "Age of Consent", but you also need the Carlton to really get the deep emotional experience that AMOLAD can offer when it looks right.
I guess the only thing we can hope for is that Carlton for some reason will get out of business so that the BFI or anyone else can pick up the British rights and do the darn thing right. Or we should all collectively petition Carlton to give us a re-mastered special edition of their disc to deal with the sharpness and edge enhancement issues. The rest of the world will probably hang on to Sony for a new disc in R2 or R4 territory; or perhaps (very little hope) the French Institut Lumière will surprise us....
P.S.: I had totally forgotten that the first spectators exposed to Dr. Reeves' new camera obscura thingy are two dogs....