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

#51 Post by captveg » Sat May 15, 2010 2:25 am

Jeff wrote:These are new high-definition transfers, so that's not the issue. They licensed these from Paramount back in 2007, when Blu-ray wasn't really a consideration, and they currently have DVD rights only. They didn't get the Blu-ray rights for any of the 14 titles they licensed from Paramount. So far, the only title that Criterion has gone back to Paramount about and renegotiated for the Blu-ray rights was Days of Heaven, and I understand that took some convincing. Obviously the legendary cinematography on that particular film makes it a special case worth spending extra time and money on. I'd like to see a Blu-ray Sternberg set (as well as Ace in the Hole, The Naked Prey, and other Paramount titles), but right now it just ain't in the cards.


Makes sense.

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

#52 Post by Adam » Sat May 15, 2010 2:39 am

I've seen the Alloy Orchestra perform with The Last Command at Telluride, and it was a pretty fantastic score. I'm very pleased that they are including this one.

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

#53 Post by david hare » Sat May 15, 2010 2:40 am

So you're saying we dont bother to try changing their position on negotiating a BluRay edition when HD masters are available?

I don't know if you're familiar with these films but they represent the apex of visual Beauty in American silent cinema, and in the case of Docks of NY possibly all world cinema. As some of us who've even seen these in nitrate prints can testify. I've made the comment elsewhere that BluRay might well have been invented just to display Sternberg's films.

EDIT: Adam anything would be better than Sosin, and everything would be better than those hideous Gaylord Carter Wurlitzer dirges.

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

#54 Post by Hofmeister » Sat May 15, 2010 7:11 am

What I don't get is why a three-disc set is assigned four spine numbers: 529 is Underworld, 530 The Last Command, 531 Docks of New York, so 528 must be the box. Could someone shed light on this please?

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

#55 Post by Ashirg » Sat May 15, 2010 7:35 am

Hofmeister wrote:What I don't get is why a three-disc set is assigned four spine numbers: 529 is Underworld, 530 The Last Command, 531 Docks of New York, so 528 must be the box. Could someone shed light on this please?


They've been doing this since their first multi-film boxset, Carl Th Dryer.

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

#56 Post by Hofmeister » Sat May 15, 2010 8:19 am

Thanks for the swift reply Ashirg, it's quite true that this is being done; I just thought there was a rationale behind it.

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

#57 Post by Steven H » Sat May 15, 2010 8:40 am

Absolutely GREAT news! What a shock from Criterion! I just kind of assumed they held nightly drinking sessions where they did nothing but hoot and holler about how they'd never release another decent silent film ever again, casually throwing celluloid into a big bonfire and making prank phone calls to tell random Criterionforum people it'll be a cold day in hell before they put out another Sternberg. Good of them to prove me wrong.

I hope the scores are good. My sad-sack nerdy life tends to skip from one disappointment in silent film score to another.

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

#58 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat May 15, 2010 8:41 am

In all honesty I really don't feel very strongly about THUNDERBOLT, despite some interesting uses of early sound. The film for me was close to a complete flop-- is has its moments, especially early on... but the vast bulk of it is just clumsy and so silly (and monotonous in the jailhouse scenes) it borders on the more embarassing end of camp.

That said I always thought viewing it in a sparkling print might cause it to recover some qualities which are not apparent when viewing these back channel, ropey dupes full of video noise, dupe grain, and blown contrast. But still and all, one can watch dupey, ropey copies of UNDERWORD and DOCKS and immediately see that you are watching a masterpiece. Far from the case with THUNDERBOLT.

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

#59 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Sat May 15, 2010 9:55 am

david hare wrote:I don't know if you're familiar with these films but they represent the apex of visual Beauty in American silent cinema, and in the case of Docks of NY possibly all world cinema.

This just took me from "I'll buy this later" to "I'll buy this now!" Having only seen Sternberg's sound work, this box set should be a treat.

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

#60 Post by swo17 » Sat May 15, 2010 10:18 am

david hare wrote:The only obstacle I think I see here is Paramount wanting more dough.

I agree. "We don't have the rights for Blu" is a good line to get customers to back off from the issue, but there has to be a price at which Blu rights can be attained. Criterion may just need some convincing that that price is worth it (put my name on a petition!) though it may be a tough sell since we're talking about not one film here but three.

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

#61 Post by Florinaldo » Sat May 15, 2010 10:27 am

david hare wrote:So you're saying we dont bother to try changing their position on negotiating a BluRay edition when HD masters are available?

Isn't it Paramount's position that is posing a problem here, not Criterion's?

I am very happy to see these becoming available, even if "only" in SD.

I have only seen Docks of New York (and excerpts from Underworld) and I can only confirm it is indeed a masterpiece, which impressed me more than most of Sternberg's later efforts, including his collaborations with Dietrich; any classic film collection can only be enriched by including these.

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

#62 Post by Knappen » Sat May 15, 2010 5:07 pm

Schreck, Thunderbolt will be showing on French TV Cinéma de minuit on May 30th, so you got a rendez-vous in one of the back channels of the internet the 31st!

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

#63 Post by Tommaso » Sat May 15, 2010 5:59 pm

Great, Knappen. I hope it's okay if I join the party :wink:

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

#64 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat May 15, 2010 6:26 pm

Heh heh heh " " " " "......

Looking forward to a better look.

The scene where Bancroft wiggles his ass around the staircase w the dog. Christ I nearly herniated my tearducts laughing so hard.

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

#65 Post by htdm » Sun May 16, 2010 1:02 am

This is the release of the year!
Fantastic that Criterion released this rather than through Eclipse.
What a brilliant release!

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

#66 Post by david hare » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:03 pm

Has anyone here recieved this yet? Glenn Kenny has one lone screencap up, and I am frothing at the mouth.

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

#67 Post by cdnchris » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:15 pm

I think you'll be rather thrilled. I've only watch Underworld so far, but I'm surprised by the conditions of the materials. As expected there are scratches and flickering, and there can be a softness to the image from time to time, but as a whole it's very clean, and the digital transfer itself is rather sharp, handles the grain incredibly well (I don't think it ever looks like noise) and I was happy with the gray levels. It would have looked great on BD, I'm sure, but it looks incredible on DVD and I certainly wouldn't kick this set out of bed (again, only based on Underworld.)

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

#68 Post by Jonathan S » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:28 pm

On Nitrateville yesterday (it was a review copy):
Mike Gebert wrote:Got these today.
Each has its own number, and is in a cardboard jacket within the box.
Now that the most important question is out of the way...
One thing really mattered to me about this set-- that Docks of New York look fantastic.
It does. The gauzy foggy chiaroscuro gorgeousness of the film looks as breathtakingly beautiful and romantic as any silent on DVD. Three-dimensional detail.
Underworld and Last Command look good, but not this good. Less contrast, less roundness of detail. But certainly very good.

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

#69 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:33 pm

Is there any word on the quality of the extras? I'm curious about the visual essays, whether they're the ideal in-depth almost commentary level discussion of specific aspects of the movies like a lot of the ones we've been getting lately or just the seven minute borderline Powerpoint presentation kind of bullshit.

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

#70 Post by cdnchris » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:55 pm

Underworld

I usually wait until I've gone through all of the discs in a set but I won't be able to get to the others until next week so thought I'd at least get Underworld up since I've gone through it already.

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

#71 Post by david hare » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:29 am

Thanks Chris!

One day, for a laugh I'll put up caps from my old Jap Laerdisc/ex16mm dupe copy.

EDIT: DVDpacific order just shipped!

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

#72 Post by knives » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:37 am

That one middle cap with the man's face against the window is amazing. I really can't wait for this to arrive. I'll probably even break order and start watching them on day one.

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

#73 Post by Napier » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:19 pm


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

#74 Post by Killerinstinct » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:51 pm

HTF actually beat the beaver to it this time around.

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

#75 Post by Murdoch » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:04 pm

I need it now!

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