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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:14 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:27 pm
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A mere 17 months after my last post, and I've got hold of this. This is the most radically improved new transfer I think I've ever seen - I liked Dr. Strangelove only to an extent before and got this version mainly because it was a cheap secondhand copy.

First off, Kubrick was a utter moron in insisting on the previous 1.33:1 home video presentations because he managed to single-handedly destroy the entire visual design of his own film. The 1.66:1 framing has, at a stroke, restored the focus and symmetry of shot after shot after shot. New details are again correctly emphasised within the frame - the top of a file that George C. Scott is holding in his initial meeting with the President in the War Room entitled "WORLD TARGETS ON MEGADEATHS" for example.

The fact that the contrast is no longer wildly out of control reveals new subtleties and details in the photography. The use of light throughout the film is remarkable; earlier transfers made it look as if the interiors were all lit with 100W bulbs hanging from the ceiling.

The precise design of Strangelove's visuals, easily as meticulous and painstaking as anything else in the Kubrick canon, has at last been restored and renders the film as a whole greatly more compelling. It's a revelation.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:53 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 12:24 pm
I have always been totally confused about the intended aspect for this film. So are you saying that, back in 1961, Kubrick's intention was for it to be shown in 1:66? Why the discrepancies throughout the years?

It interests me that you say Kubrick wanted the home version to be fullscreen--I had never heard that before. Do you have any idea why that was his wish??


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:29 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:42 pm
I'm not sure about the details of Kubrick's decision (or lack thereof), but yes, I too was not a huge fan of Strangelove but have rediscovered the film through the newer edition which I bought immediately after watching it reluctantly once again. It seems so much more crisp and....."open" or expanded visually somehow - but I haven't seen it again since I bought it so I can get into specifics.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 3:38 am 
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As a preliminary, whatever I say on this topic, I don't take it to be of enormous significance in the grand scheme of things. The films looks acceptable either with the variable ratios or with the constant 1.66:1. It happens that the DVD employing the latter has a little bit better transfer. There may also be some compositions that improve, such as the example Narshty mentioned. I see it as a kind of trade off, in some ways.

Kubrick composed the film for either 1.66:1 or 1.33:1, depending on the scene. As it turned out, it was matted theatrically to either a consistent 1.66:1 or even 1.85:1. According to Criterion, Kubrick was rather disappointed by both of these. When they worked with him on the laserdisc he was adamant that it had to be as close to perfect in every way, including variable aspect ratios, and they respected what he said had been his vision from the start with respect to this point. It's possible Columbia Tri-Star was feeling some pressure to release an anamorphically enhanced special edition and thus did so with their 40th Anniversary release. This covered up some details Kubrick went to great pains to capture, such as many of the features designed for the war room set.
Some fans of the film protested, but most reviews of the DVD I read accepted this deviation from Kubrick's wishes. The only real reason I recall being offered by reviewers in support of this decision was that it represented the original theatrical ratio, as if preserving the "theatrical experience" was the ultimate good, even when it violated the director's wishes. Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant) even went so far as to attribute Criterion's agreement with Kubrick to confusion and saying that the company's statement of Kubrick's desire for changing ratios was "convenient baloney." Convenient to what end, messing with viewers' heads? Many reviews cast obscure doubts on Criterion's justification for the changing ratios, but until anyone can produce actual evidence that this did not represent Kubrick's wishes I'm inclined to believe what they say. Why would they attribute an invented preference to Kubrick (that probably meant more work for them) in order to violate his actual preference? I suspect that in some cases people have rationalized something that would look better on their widescreen systems.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:18 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:27 pm
Location: London, UK
The improvements as I see them can best be seen in this comparison. Scroll down to the second set of (correctly resized) captures and note the third one with Peter Sellers on the sofa. On the old transfer, you've got this ugly, harsh contrast and you're as focused on the light coming from the door on the right as Sellers himself. On the new 1.66:1 transfer, the distracting door glare is no longer an issue with the controlled contrast, and the emphasis is properly on Sellers once more.

I realise that's only one example, but the effect the masking and new contrast has on the transfer is still remarkable. It makes the film all the more engaging, now one isn't distracted with fuzzy black lines at the top and bottom of the picture that keep disappearing and reappearing and miles of useless headroom in shot after shot.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:52 pm 
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I see what you mean. Personally, the high contrast on the old release didn't bother me because it was pretty much evened out by my old LCD projector.

By the way, I hadn't noticed that the recent question about the aspect ratios could be considered answered by the information already in the thread. I had posted some of it myself back when the 40th Anniversary DVD came out, and didn't reread the thread just now. I'm sorry to have repeated myself like that.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:24 pm 
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Location: Puerto Rico
From dvdtimes.co.uk:

Quote:
Dr. Strangelove (US BD) in June
25-01-2009 20:41 | 190 views | Dave Foster
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have announced the US Blu-ray Disc release of Dr. Strangelove (45th Anniversary Edition) on 16th June 2009. Stanley Kubrick directs this classic dark comedy which features Peter Sellers (in three roles) in the midst of impending nuclear war.

Features include:

* 1080P 1.66:1 Widescreen
* English and French 5.1
* English Mono
* English and French subtitles
* The Cold Facts Graphics-in-Picture/Picture-in-Picture Track (BD Exclusive)
* An Interview with Robert McNamara
* Best Sellers: Peter Sellers Remembered
* Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove
* Inside: Dr. Strangelove
* No Fighting in the War Room or: Dr. Strangelove and the Nuclear Threat
* The Art of Stanley Kubrick: From Short Films to Strangelove


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:29 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Nice to hear of a Blu-ray that keeps the 1.66


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:17 am 
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domino harvey wrote:
Nice to hear of a Blu-ray that keeps the 1.66


Word. It's also good to know that Sony are savvy enough to roll out vintage B&W films on Blu. Lawrence of Arabia and an SE of Polanski's The Tragedy of Macbeth top my list for Sony Blu-Ray releases.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:31 am 
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no alternative ending? or does that not exist anywhere?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:11 am 
Coppola Killer (give us Napoleon!)
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domino harvey wrote:
Nice to hear of a Blu-ray that keeps the 1.66

It's not that rare: even United's Bond titles are 1.66.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:50 pm 
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Peacock wrote:
no alternative ending? or does that not exist anywhere?

It exists, but it probably won't be released.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:11 pm 
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I thought they didn't film the pie fight.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:19 pm 
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They definitely shot it:

Image

Image

Image


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:06 pm 
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Most excellent. Very glad I was wrong! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:35 am 

Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 1:53 am
Magic Hate Ball wrote:
Peacock wrote:
no alternative ending? or does that not exist anywhere?

It exists, but it probably won't be released.

Didn't Kubrick's family have all trims and outs destroyed shortly after his death, in accordance with his wishes? I thought I read that somewhere.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:07 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:53 pm
The custard pie footage is held either by the BFI or the National Film and Television Archive; the National Film Theatre screened it after the showings of Doctor Strangelove during the big Kubrick retrospective in 1999. Or so I'm told. Didn't go myself.


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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 9:11 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:37 pm
Blu-ray review at Digital Bits. Scroll down past Ghostbusters review.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:22 am 
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Quote:
Editor's Note: The film is presented here in a steady 1.66:1 aspect ratio. (So yes, those slight black bars are supposed to be there.) The original theatrical presentation varied between 1.33 and 1.66. In recent years however, we're told that Kubrick's associates (who manage his estate) have become more comfortable with the 16x9/1.78:1 aspect ratio of HD displays, and they believe that Kubrick himself - if he'd really had the chance to look into it - would have preferred his full frame films to be presented on home video (in HD) at a steady 1.66 to take better advantage of the 1.78:1 frame. So that's the reasoning for the decision.

:-k


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:30 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:59 pm
Dave Kehr in the NY Times now finds Strangelove the work of a man with "no discernable sense of humor":

Quote:
Speaking of Kubrick, his 1964 cold war satire “Dr. Strangelove: or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” has been given an excellent high-definition video restoration by Sony Pictures and is now available on Blu-ray in its proper 1.66 aspect ratio. Because the original negative was lost or destroyed some years ago, it’s been difficult to see “Strangelove” as the maniacally meticulous Kubrick intended, but this new version, based on the best surviving theatrical prints, restores the tonal range of Gilbert Taylor’s black-and-white cinematography and reveals new details in Ken Adam’s brilliant production design.

For all of his technical brilliance, Kubrick had no discernable sense of humor and many of the gags in “Strangelove” — from the broad puns of the character names to the overdrawn figures of Peter Sellers’s Strangelove and Sterling Hayden’s Gen. Jack D. Ripper — seem less funny as their audacity has drained away. Lines like “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” now seem more labored than deliciously droll.

Steeped in the improvisational ethic of the early ’60s (Nichols and May, the Second City) the film may be at its best in those low-key moments when Sellers, playing the American president Merkin Muffley, chats nervously on the hot line with the unseen Soviet premier — moments that owe everything to Bob Newhart’s classic telephone routines. “Strangelove” is a rare case of a film that has become a classic more for marking the end of an era (of high cold war paranoia) than initiating a new one.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:53 am 
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So says one of the most stick-in-the-mud, humorless reviewers of all time.


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