528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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HerrSchreck
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#126 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:08 pm

Those were some very nicely presented swoonings by movielocke--hear hear.

The only thing I take exception to is the tagging of Sternberg in the following set of comments to 'locke with the label of "camp." Less of it, more of it--I simply don't see any of it in Sternberg. Not the slightest shred of it-- I see the very wry, sly, sneaky and brilliant humor of a rare blistering pedigree. But I don't see camp.

Camp isn't always easy to define, but I always know it when I see it. The dudes dancing around Petula Clark (when they're not with the female partners) when she sang "Downtown" on the Dean Martin show in '67-- that's the very incarnation of ex post facto camp. I see nothing even vaguely resembling camp in Sternberg. The level of sophistication in the humor found in his work is far too high, and the insights into the behavior of humankind are far too scathing.

It's a tagging of his work that I see from time to time, and I find it hugely off the mark.

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Drucker
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#127 Post by Drucker » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:14 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Those were some very nicely presented swoonings by movielocke--hear hear.

The only thing I take exception to is the tagging of Sternberg in the following set of comments to 'locke with the label of "camp." Less of it, more of it--I simply don't see any of it in Sternberg. Not the slightest shred of it-- I see the very wry, sly, sneaky and brilliant humor of a rare blistering pedigree. But I don't see camp.

Camp isn't always easy to define, but I always know it when I see it. The dudes dancing around Petula Clark (when they're not with the female partners) when she sang "Downtown" on the Dean Martin show in '67-- that's the very incarnation of ex post facto camp. I see nothing even vaguely resembling camp in Sternberg. The level of sophistication in the humor found in his work is far too high, and the insights into the behavior of humankind are far too scathing.

It's a tagging of his work that I see from time to time, and I find it hugely off the mark.
Scathing is an excellent word to use Von Sternberg. Yet in this set, I feel like it only really applies to The Last Command. I've only gone through the set once, but the endings of Underworld and Docks of New York seem almost romantic and selfless in a way that none of the Dietrich films I've seen are. I just got finished watching the Glamor Collection, though, and its certainly an apt way to describe those films.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#128 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:17 pm

THE DEVIL IS A WOMAN scathes to the degree that I take bath in nourishing, vitamin-E rich lotions, liniments and essential oils after your average viewing. Scathed to the bone, me.

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Werewolf by Night
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#129 Post by Werewolf by Night » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:29 pm

I dunno. When I look at Sontag's "Notes on Camp" with Sternberg in mind, the designation fits like a glove (and it's important to emphasize that the designation is not derogatory nor does "camp" = "kitsch"):
"1. To start very generally: Camp is a certain mode of aestheticism. It is one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon. That way, the way of Camp, is not in terms of beauty, but in terms of the degree of artifice, of stylization."

"8. Camp is a vision of the world in terms of style -- but a particular kind of style. It is the love of the exaggerated, the "off," of things-being-what-they-are-not."

"10. Camp sees everything in quotation marks. It's not a lamp, but a "lamp"; not a woman, but a "woman." To perceive Camp in objects and persons is to understand Being-as-Playing-a-Role. It is the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater."

"11. Camp is the triumph of the epicene style. (The convertibility of "man" and "woman," "person" and "thing.") But all style, that is, artifice, is, ultimately, epicene. Life is not stylish. Neither is nature."

"16. ...the Camp sensibility is one that is alive to a double sense in which some things can be taken. But this is not the familiar split-level construction of a literal meaning, on the one hand, and a symbolic meaning, on the other. It is the difference, rather, between the thing as meaning something, anything, and the thing as pure artifice."

"25. The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance. Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers. Camp is the paintings of Carlo Crivelli, with their real jewels and trompe-l'oeil insects and cracks in the masonry. Camp is the outrageous aestheticism of Sternberg's six American movies with Dietrich, all six, but especially the last, The Devil Is a Woman. . . . "

"28. ...Camp is the attempt to do something extraordinary. But extraordinary in the sense, often, of being special, glamorous."
Then again…
"23. In naïve, or pure, Camp, the essential element is seriousness, a seriousness that fails. Of course, not all seriousness that fails can be redeemed as Camp. Only that which has the proper mixture of the exaggerated, the fantastic, the passionate, and the naïve."

"26. Camp is art that proposes itself seriously, but cannot be taken altogether seriously because it is "too much." Titus Andronicus and Strange Interlude are almost Camp, or could be played as Camp. The public manner and rhetoric of de Gaulle, often, are pure Camp."
Sternberg is far too self-aware to be too self-serious. But camp is typically, mostly, in the eye of the beholder. And there's more to "camp" than Sontag's definition (which repeatedly contradicts itself).

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#130 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:25 pm

Yes I've read and heard this sentiment before and of course disagree with it entirely. The explanation-definition is itself almost camp.

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R0lf
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#131 Post by R0lf » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:43 am

Sontag also later recanted classifying Sternberg as camp (I think that is detailed in the WHAT IS CAMP? thread on this board?).

And on a different subject: can anyone tell me if there are any fully formed Sternberg movies post Crime and Punishment other than Shanghai Gesture and Anatahan? I tried Macao but I didn't discern any Sternberg in that and near as I can tell from IMDb the other movies fall into the same boat. It would be wonderful if I was missing something!

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knives
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#132 Post by knives » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:49 pm

I think there's a fair amount of von Sternberg in Macao, but besides that Jet Pilot is pretty clearly von Sternberg in experimental mode and Sergeant Madden reveals him well.


Jakamarak
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#134 Post by Jakamarak » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:03 pm

What's do folks think about this title going OOP? My dream is that this indicates an upcoming BD release. (Didn't the L'ECLISSE DVD go OOP just before the BD announcement was made?) Does Criterion generally make an announcement when a title is about to become permanently unavailable?

If it's OOP for good, I want to grab the DVD on Amazon while they still have them.

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Gregory
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#135 Post by Gregory » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:08 pm

But why would the DVD set go out of print before a BD announcement, considering that it would almost surely be a BD version of the existing set, not a dual-format version to replace the DVD set?

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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#136 Post by Jakamarak » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:02 pm

Good point. With L'ECLISSE they were phasing out the DVD-only edition for the dual-format version. So this set is most likely out of stock or perhaps their licenses for the films have expired?

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Gregory
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#137 Post by Gregory » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:24 pm

Hard to say what's going on, but it might be worth asking Criterion if it's really OOP. It could be that it's temporarily OOP while they produce a new run (though in that case would they list it as OOP or just
"temporarily out of stock"?), or maybe they couldn't renew the rights for some reason.
Anyone who wants to be sure they can get this set at a reasonable price should probably act quickly, though. I see it's already out of stock or not even listed at all the regular retailers I checked, though there is one Like New for ~$70 from an Amazon seller, and one New one from another seller for the same price.

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sir_luke
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#138 Post by sir_luke » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:43 pm

I emailed Mulvaney at the beginning of the week, but I still haven't received a response (not expecting one today, of course).

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Drucker
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#139 Post by Drucker » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:11 pm

While other Paramount films have gotten the upgrade, I'd be shocked if this is getting a blu-ray upgrade. As amazing as I think the set would be, they've upgraded one box set, the certainly more commercially viable Cassavetes box. I assume it's a packaging change, but I guess we'll see.

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Der Spieler
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#140 Post by Der Spieler » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:57 am

If it indeed is OOP, I urge anyone who hasn't bought it yet to purchase a copy. It truly is a gorgeous set of must-see movies.

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movielocke
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#141 Post by movielocke » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:18 pm

I think it's one of the best box sets criterion's ever produced. Up there with the three colors trilogy.

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Emak-Bakia
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#142 Post by Emak-Bakia » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:44 pm

Nobody panic!

The out-of-print news finally spurred me to attempt to purchase a replacement slipbox for this set, since mine's a little dinged up and is mildly bothersome to me. I got a refund from the criterion.com store along with an email stating that the set is indeed OOP. A follow-up email asking if there would be a re-release or blu-ray yielded this response:

"The title itself will not remain out-of-print, but we are working on a new packaging configuration; I'm not yet sure where we're going to land!"

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zedz
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#143 Post by zedz » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:32 pm

It sounds like we might be waiting some time for the eventual repackage! (And there's no way it will look this good.)

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Tommaso
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#144 Post by Tommaso » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:33 pm

Good to know. Though I wonder how this "new packaging configuration" would be able to somehow retain the beautiful individual covers for the three films. Anyhow, panicking already, I finally purchased "Pandora's Box" on ebay. Strange how these OOP notices sometimes make you buy things that you should have bought years ago (having had the Second Sight disc almost since its release doesn't seem a valid excuse in this case).

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EddieLarkin
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#145 Post by EddieLarkin » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:37 pm

Remember when they said the same thing about the BRD Trilogy? It's been 3 years now...

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Charles
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#146 Post by Charles » Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:20 pm

Tommaso wrote: Strange how these OOP notices sometimes make you buy things that you should have bought years ago
Seriously. And I just went through this with the Robeson box.

I generally don't buy DVDs on eBay. Maybe I should. Anyway, sucked it up and ordered one of the copies still being sold by Amazon, so we'll see what happens. (They're saying "usually ships in 7-12 days", but I know from experience how that can go...)

Jakamarak
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#147 Post by Jakamarak » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:35 pm

Anyway, sucked it up and ordered one of the copies still being sold by Amazon, so we'll see what happens. (They're saying "usually ships in 7-12 days", but I know from experience how that can go...)
I did the same thing. Does Amazon have a history of canceling orders in this kind of situation (recently OOP and listed as "ships in 7-12 days")? That would be disappointing.

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domino harvey
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#148 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:37 pm

They'll keep your order open indefinitely if you want, so if they do get some more at their warehouse (which has been known to happen) you'll get it eventually. You may never get it if they don't receive more stock, though

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Tommaso
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#149 Post by Tommaso » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:24 pm

Charles wrote:I generally don't buy DVDs on eBay. Maybe I should. Anyway, sucked it up and ordered one of the copies still being sold by Amazon, so we'll see what happens.
I had no other option with "Pandora". I wanted to buy it from amazon, but they only had copies from a third party seller whose business was "fulfilled by amazon". But it wasn't possible for me to order it. Now, if they take the shipping for that third party seller in their own hands anyway, why can't they ship to Europe as they do with their 'own' stuff?

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JAP
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Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#150 Post by JAP » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:02 pm

zedz wrote:It sounds like we might be waiting some time for the eventual repackage! (And there's no way it will look this good.)
Yes, but... it'll probably be in nice, shiny, dent-free, standard height plastic! :-"

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