821 Dr. Strangelove

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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swo17
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Re: Dr. Strangelove on DVD and Blu-ray

#26 Post by swo17 » Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:22 am

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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Fiery Angel
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Re: Dr. Strangelove on DVD and Blu-ray

#27 Post by Fiery Angel » Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:30 am

Dave Kehr in the NY Times now finds Strangelove the work of a man with "no discernable sense of humor":
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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Donald Brown
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Re: Dr. Strangelove on DVD and Blu-ray

#28 Post by Donald Brown » Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:53 am

So says one of the most stick-in-the-mud, humorless reviewers of all time.

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rrot
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Re: Criterion Newsletter: Clues and More, Volume Four

#29 Post by rrot » Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:54 pm

Wonder what if any "new" feature there is for Criterion to add for Strangelove?

Brianruns10
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Re: Criterion Newsletter: Clues and More, Volume Four

#30 Post by Brianruns10 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:11 pm

rrot wrote:Wonder what if any "new" feature there is for Criterion to add for Strangelove?
Three words:

The.
Pie.
Fight.

Definitely the holy grail of deleted scenes, and if it survives, Criterion can find it.

Jameson281
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Re: Criterion Newsletter: Clues and More, Volume Four

#31 Post by Jameson281 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:20 pm

Brianruns10 wrote:
rrot wrote:Wonder what if any "new" feature there is for Criterion to add for Strangelove?
Three words:

The.
Pie.
Fight.

Definitely the holy grail of deleted scenes, and if it survives, Criterion can find it.
I think the Kubrick estate has made it clear that, honoring Kubrick's wishes, they do not want it released. It's not going to happen.

Given that, I don't see much point to this release. The existing Sony BD has a great transfer and some great extras. I'd rather see Criterion focus on films in the Sony/Columbia library that haven't been released yet.

greggster59
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#32 Post by greggster59 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:33 pm

My guess is that they will largely replicate the 1992 laserdisc but with a new 4k scan of Kubrick's own print of the film.

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Buttery Jeb
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#33 Post by Buttery Jeb » Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:43 pm

greggster59 wrote:My guess is that they will largely replicate the 1992 laserdisc but with a new 4k scan of Kubrick's own print of the film.
Which means we will be getting this in Glorious 4K as well!

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djproject
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Re: Criterion Newsletter: Clues and More, Volume Four

#34 Post by djproject » Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:18 pm

Jameson281 wrote:Given that, I don't see much point to this release. The existing Sony BD has a great transfer and some great extras. I'd rather see Criterion focus on films in the Sony/Columbia library that haven't been released yet.
The only plus so far I can see is it will bring this back in available release as the Sony Blu has been out-of-print, save for the limited Best Buy (and related stores in Canada and UK) steelbook case.

I guess another plus is that there could be a creative play on the original theatrical poster for the cover.

While I'm not the most excited about it in general, it does please me that a key film for me personally - it's how I first met Stanley - has a spine number on it =D

Jameson281
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#35 Post by Jameson281 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:25 pm

greggster59 wrote:a new 4k scan of Kubrick's own print of the film.
What would be the point? There's nothing magical about Kubrick's print. A 4K scan of it is not going to yield a better result than Sony's 4K work on the original elements.

mas114
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#36 Post by mas114 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:44 pm

Unfortunately the original negative of Dr. Strangelove no longer exists. Columbia cut bits of the orig. neg into dupes to save costs in generating new distribution prints throughout the 60s-80s. SK released a statement about this in 1990, in conjunction with the formation of Scorsese's Film Foundation, of which he was a member. Supposedly SK photographed his personal print frame by frame with a Nikon stills camera to create a new dupe negative.

greggster59
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#37 Post by greggster59 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:03 pm

mas114 wrote:Unfortunately the original negative of Dr. Strangelove no longer exists. Columbia cut bits of the orig. neg into dupes to save costs in generating new distribution prints throughout the 60s-80s. SK released a statement about this in 1990, in conjunction with the formation of Scorsese's Film Foundation, of which he was a member. Supposedly SK photographed his personal print frame by frame with a Nikon stills camera to create a new dupe negative.

And this is what Criterion used for their 1992 Laserdisc with Kubrick's permission.

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Max von Mayerling
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#38 Post by Max von Mayerling » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:29 pm

Also, I thought there was an issue with the aspect ratio - most of the dvd releases presented it in 1.66:1 and 1.33:1, but the Sony blu ray only includes the 1.66:1 version. (Of course, Criterion may do the same thing - but I would not be shocked to see an "On the Waterfront"-type approach that includes both.)

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Drucker
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#39 Post by Drucker » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:31 pm

Is there really a doubt about the ratio at this point? Couldn't that just be from Kubrick's early home video insistence that the image fill the screen?

Jameson281
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#40 Post by Jameson281 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:42 pm

mas114 wrote:Unfortunately the original negative of Dr. Strangelove no longer exists. Columbia cut bits of the orig. neg into dupes to save costs in generating new distribution prints throughout the 60s-80s. SK released a statement about this in 1990, in conjunction with the formation of Scorsese's Film Foundation, of which he was a member. Supposedly SK photographed his personal print frame by frame with a Nikon stills camera to create a new dupe negative.
I never mentioned the original neg; I said "original elements", which could include fine grains, dupe negs, etc.--whatever the best extant elements are. Sorry, but I think the Sony transfer is excellent and really don't believe a Criterion transfer will be a significant increase in quality to justify buying this title for the umpteenth time.

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Luke M
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#41 Post by Luke M » Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:25 pm

Has there been any discussion of Criterion releasing this in 4K?

criterion10
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#42 Post by criterion10 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:52 pm

Drucker wrote:Is there really a doubt about the ratio at this point? Couldn't that just be from Kubrick's early home video insistence that the image fill the screen?
That's absolutely what it is. As far as I'm concerned, the film should unequivocally be presented in 1.66:1 on home video releases.

Considering my love for Kubrick and Strangelove, I certainly won't complain about this release, but the Sony really was perfect as it was. I doubt there will be much improvement in terms of A/V, so Criterion will really have to hit the special features out of the park (a la The Graduate re-release -- although that was also in desperate need of a new transfer) for this to be worth the upgrade.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#43 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:02 pm

mas114 wrote:Supposedly SK photographed his personal print frame by frame with a Nikon stills camera to create a new dupe negative.
This is most likely fictitious. Also from the same article (dated 1995), the fine-grain interpositive was found and a new negative was created from it.

greggster59
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#44 Post by greggster59 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:07 pm

Drucker wrote:Is there really a doubt about the ratio at this point? Couldn't that just be from Kubrick's early home video insistence that the image fill the screen?

If I remember correctly, the Laserdisc/Kubrick's print used multiple aspect ratios.

greggster59
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#45 Post by greggster59 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:10 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
mas114 wrote:Supposedly SK photographed his personal print frame by frame with a Nikon stills camera to create a new dupe negative.
This is most likely fictitious. Also from the same article (dated 1995), the fine-grain interpositive was found and a new negative was created from it.

It is true. Kubrick realized he had the only thing close to a first generation print and decided to copy it frame by frame. The Criterion liner notes from the laserdisc (1992) revealed this.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#46 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:19 pm

Are you sure the Criterion notes weren't printing the same story that the NY Times and other NYC dailies would later repeat for the 1994 re-release (as mentioned in the link)? Read that article in the link again.

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movielocke
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#47 Post by movielocke » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:12 pm

greggster59 wrote:
Drucker wrote:Is there really a doubt about the ratio at this point? Couldn't that just be from Kubrick's early home video insistence that the image fill the screen?

If I remember correctly, the Laserdisc/Kubrick's print used multiple aspect ratios.
This is because some shots were matted for wide screen in camera or matted on the print as widescreen, while other shots were exposed full aperture and transferred to the print full aperture. It's not an artistic decision to change aspect ratios, it's a common production practice. Kubrick likely had the television/home video transfer made open matte in spite of the hard matting on the prints and or negative. He likely did this because the other option was a center cut/zoomed or a pan and scan transfer. Pesenting open matte was common for some films with minimal or no opticals, but generally wasnt done for films with them. Space balls is an example of a film with a lot of hard matting on the prints or on the negative (because of the optical effects being finished in widescreen) that had its television home video transfer presented as centercut/zoomed rather than open matte.

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djproject
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#48 Post by djproject » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:24 am

As far as legacy special features ... I should point out that the music for the 2002 DVD featurettes concerning both the film itself and its director was done by the same guy who would compose the music for this film

As far as potential Criterion produced features, I am sure James B. Harris was asked about his part in it at the same time he was being interviewed about both The Killing and Paths of Glory. This could also be a part of a larger sequence of interviews involving whoever has still survived currently. There has to be someone talking about more in depth about its inherent satire and how it is still eerily relevant today even though it is deeply rooted in its time (fear of total nuclear annihilation). After all, I would say the anti-vaccination is today's fluoridation concerns. And yes, artifacts of dated concerns (Duck and Cover anyone? ... another LD legacy carryover =] )

1.66:1 aspect ratio I'm sure will be maintained through the whole film.

Original mono would probably be the only option.

And I'm sure a creative play of the original theatrical poster will be a part of the cover.
Last edited by djproject on Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.


greggster59
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Re: Forthcoming: Dr. Strangelove

#50 Post by greggster59 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:58 am

hearthesilence wrote:Are you sure the Criterion notes weren't printing the same story that the NY Times and other NYC dailies would later repeat for the 1994 re-release (as mentioned in the link)? Read that article in the link again.
Now not so certain. And thank you for correcting me. I did some digging and found this Kubrick quote in a 1987 Rolling Stone interview for Full Metal Jacket:

"We discovered that the studio had lost the picture negative of Dr. Strangelove. And they also lost the magnetic master soundtrack. All the printing negatives were badly ripped dupes. The search went on for a year and a half. Finally, I had to try to reconstruct the picture from two not-too-good fine-grain positives, both of which were damaged already. If those fine-grains were ever torn, you could never make any more negatives."

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