457 Magnificent Obsession

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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Jean-Luc Garbo
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#26 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:32 pm

I never would have guessed that Kathryn Bigelow was a Sirk fan.

Perkins Cobb
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#27 Post by Perkins Cobb » Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:56 am

Not one of my favorite Sirk films (and I run hot & cold on Sirk anyway), but the inclusion of the Stahl (which I've never seen) wins me over in agreement that this is an essential release.

Kind of sad that both this release and Universal's SE of Imitation of Life bury the earlier Stahl versions of the film among the extras.

Narshty
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#28 Post by Narshty » Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:46 pm

Perkins Cobb wrote:Kind of sad that both this release and Universal's SE of Imitation of Life bury the earlier Stahl versions of the film among the extras.
This release does, but Universal's Imitation disc gives it equal billing (plus a full commentary).

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Jeff
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#29 Post by Jeff » Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:05 pm

All discussion of the proper aspect ratio of this film has been moved here. Everyone is free to have a civil discussion there.

Any further comments on the matter in this thread that do not come directly from Criterion will be deleted.

royalton
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#30 Post by royalton » Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:20 am

I'm delighted by the extras listing, but it kills me that this film gets all the goodies while IMO Written On The Wind and my favorite, Imitation Of Life got the shaft (I know the new DVD for the latter is nice but I still wish it could get the Criterion treatment). I saw Magnificent Obsession on TCM a couple years ago and while I enjoyed it (and still can't quite understand the hokey and fun philosophy involved), it's nowhere near Imitation... or Written... for me, or even The Tarnished Angels, which I adored and wish wasn't in B&W (though it looks beautiful anyway).

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Michael
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#31 Post by Michael » Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:44 am

royalton, have you seen All That Heaven Allows?

royalton
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#32 Post by royalton » Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:27 pm

I have, and I'm going to watch it again soon to re-appraise it, though I liked it very much; didn't it also have some decent extras? (If I was in a position to buy all the Sirk films on DVD now to have them at instant disposal I would, but alas...)

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Gregory
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#33 Post by Gregory » Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:53 am

All that Heaven Allows only exists because of the phenomenal success of Magnificent Obsession. This per se shouldn't be a reason to value Magnificent Obsession, but it is worth noting that All That Heaven Allows was conceived as a kind of follow-up.

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HerrSchreck
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#34 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:20 pm

Specs updated:
Film Info
1954
108 minutes
Color
2.00:1
Dolby Digital Mono 1.0
Not Anamorphic
English
If you want a brand new release in academy plus the Stahl, theres the R4 Madman

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Gregory
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#35 Post by Gregory » Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:42 pm

Just to have it cleared up in both threads, the Madman release is in fact widescreen. Understandably there was some confusion from the caps in academy on their site and at least one other.

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jsteffe
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#36 Post by jsteffe » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:39 pm

If you really want a full frame version of MO, you can get the 2-disc French edition, which also includes the Stahl.

Narshty
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#37 Post by Narshty » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:44 pm

Image is starting to put up trailers for Criterion releases on YouTube. Here's the trailer for Magnificent Obsession (the ratio is a nice taster of what's to come) and has unfortunately reminded me of my less-than-overwhelmed reaction upon seeing it (which was at the height of my Sirk fever).

It's not trash somehow transformed into greatness, like All That Heaven Allows (and if you ever have any doubts how silly the script for that film is, close your eyes while watching it); it's not even a ludicrous premise taken to operatic heights, like The Fury; it's just junk played out with minimum embarrassment for all concerned and a technical exercise for Sirk (warming up his palette, so to speak). Not that I regret seeing it, but I'm glad my birthday's around the time of the DVD release because I couldn't look bring myself to click the button for those extras otherwise.

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kaujot
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#38 Post by kaujot » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:22 pm


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HerrSchreck
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#39 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:31 pm

As far as widescreen editions of the film go, it looks-- colorwise-- decent enough. I'd have loved to see side by sides with the UK release.

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david hare
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#40 Post by david hare » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm

They've managed to "refine" the grain which is way too coarse on the UK disc (and Oz disc.) One of the reasons for coarse grain is because the 2.00 mask requires they blow up the open matte optical 1.37 image and then crop, resulting in much higher grain than, say, an anamorphic print. As far as color goes all the source prints seem to be Eastman - you can tell by the popping on opticals and the blueish tinge - this extends to the Carlotta. It would seem there's no IB answer print.

I have nothing else to say on this movie or this title or this edition.

Oggilby
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#41 Post by Oggilby » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:55 pm

david hare wrote:They've managed to "refine" the grain which is way too coarse on the UK disc (and Oz disc.) One of the reasons for coarse grain is because the 2.00 mask requires they blow up the open matte optical 1.37 image and then crop, resulting in much higher grain than, say, an anamorphic print. As far as color goes all the source prints seem to be Eastman - you can tell by the popping on opticals and the blueish tinge - this extends to the Carlotta. It would seem there's no IB answer print.

I have nothing else to say on this movie or this title or this edition.
The grain would be mostly the same between the two if they were to use the same source. So, an open matte transfer would sort of appear slightly less grainy, but only because it's being shrunk down more. Most of the time for matted widescreen films with dual formats available (like, let's say, The Producers '68), you can see very little difference. Usually the differences in grain structure have more to do with the quality of the transfers or sources.

Technicolor prints are suitable for 35mm projection only and usually for color reference. Generally dye-transfer is unsuitable for digital transfers, which is why 99% of the time studios either use new internegatives/interpositives or scan the color records separately.
I realize this is a generally accepted truism among tehnical people but there are - very few - direct transfers to telecine from IB prints. The Lang Indian duo on Fantoma for one, and odds and ends like the "Mr Monotony" outtakes on the Easter Parade Extras.
Deleted scenes would obviously be more likely to survive only as prints, but I really don't think "Indian Epic" was sourced from dye-transfer. Is that what the restoration notes say or just from observation? It looks like they transfered the negative or a new interpositive from looking at the contrast values and sharpness.
Last edited by Oggilby on Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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david hare
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#42 Post by david hare » Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:12 pm

I realize this is a generally accepted truism among tehnical people but there are - very few - direct transfers to telecine from IB prints. The Lang Indian duo on Fantoma for one, and odds and ends like the "Mr Monotony" outtakes on the Easter Parade Extras.

The problem with MO appears to be that there is NO Ib print or indeed separation negaties for doing a new interneg, given it's 1954 it's likely that MO was shot on single strip Eastman neg stock like Rear Window and no separations were ever even made. THe print used in both the Carlotta and Crit has entirely the same color values, but to my eyes anyway the 1.33 version looks "finer" (and not only for reasons of grain of course.) .

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Bob Furmanek
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#43 Post by Bob Furmanek » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:43 pm

david hare wrote:The problem with MO appears to be that there is NO Ib print or indeed separation negaties for doing a new interneg, given it's 1954 it's likely that MO was shot on single strip Eastman neg stock like Rear Window and no separations were ever even made.
As a matter of studio policy, Universal-International had Technicolor make YCM (yellow, cyan, magenta) separations on every single-strip Eastman color production during that period.

The seps on MO still exist and were utilized to create a new preservation 35mm interpositive in the mid-90's. That IP has been used for telecine, and an original release 35mm dye-transfer Technicolor positive print was utilized for color reference.

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david hare
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#44 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:25 pm

Thanks for the info Bob, certainly All That Heaven Allows and Written on the Wind look like they were reprinted using IB answer prints. And indeed the credits on both include "Print by Technicolor" to indicate the original screening provenance . But the MO has a much bluer look, and the grain looks somewhat coarser, although there's always the three strip shrinkage misalignement in the opening three shots of the second reel.

My great concern these days is if these elements still exist, given last year's fire.

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Bob Furmanek
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#45 Post by Bob Furmanek » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:49 am

Don't worry, no preservation film elements were lost in the recent studio fire. However, the original 35mm IB studio print may now be gone. Fortunately, 35mm prints do exist from other sources.

In fact, if you're not opposed to 16mm (aka "the children's format") an original full-frame 16mm dye-transfer print was recently offered on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/16mm-Film-54-MAGNIF ... dZViewItem" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Quite often, the seps were made at the time of production and never checked. Notice the blue blotch under Hudson's ear in this image:

Image

That indicates some damage to the yellow record.

When separation elements are utilized for preservation and restoration, many such problems are discovered for the first time. In addition, differential shrinkage creates registration issues which you have noticed at the start of reel two.

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david hare
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#46 Post by david hare » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:38 pm

It should be pointed out this and several other caps posted by an Australian viewer at HTF and Beaverlistserv are from last week's Oz TV broadcats of MO. And everyone must be intrigued by the provision by Universal of a specially masked 1.78 anamorphic source specifically for the TV broadcast.

This demonstrates, if nothing else the completely arbitrary way in which various masks and version of films can be supplied. Much like Universal's compeltely ludicrous 1.85 Howard Hughes' "remask" of Sternberg's Jet Pilot - made in 1950 but released 57. Uni's LD of this was full frame but they've gone with the historical Hughes revision for dvd which is plainly wrong. I think on the strength of the caps this TV mask for MO looks intriguing, and having neglected to record this broadcast Im trying to obtain a copy - so far unsuccessfully - to make some more comparisons. Obne could spend one's bloody life doing this stuff.

But It also demonstrates something more widely insidious which is infecting TV broadcasts of Scope movies which are being "reformatted" to the digital TV 16/9 ratio of 1.78 to fit the screen. This wasn't intially prevalent even on HD here in Oz but it's becoming increasingly so - presumably to satisfy the pig ignorance of audiences who dont want ANY BLACK SPACES on their fabby new flatscreens.

Props55
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#47 Post by Props55 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:57 pm

David, your post has put into words the great unspoken fear underlying all of the OAR controversies that have raged here (and elsewhere) of late, i.e. that corporate economic forces are conspiring to fill all these millions upon millions of 16x9 monitors by any means necessary. By enlarging 1.33 and shrinking 2.35 to create "one common unifying ratio to unite all mankind" they can sell a standardized product with no retrofitting or technical explanations (i.e. "product education") to the great unwashed that want their viddie screens filled just like their buffet plates. In the end it's all about volume sales to a dumbed down populace that has little or no real technology skills or knowledge of media history and even less inclination to acquire them. And art and history (and art history) be damned.

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zedz
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#48 Post by zedz » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:34 pm

I recently had a weird experience that illustrates this point.

We were watching a widescreen DVD at an older relative's place, and the image was all squished to fill the 4:3 screen. Assuming the non-AR savvy host didn't realise what the problem was, or didn't know how to fix it, we tactfully tried to draw his attention to it ("ooh, look, the people are all squished up") and wrest the remote from them to sort it out.

However, it turned out that they actually knew what the problem was but preferred to watch the image all distorted but screen-filling. "But everything's all squished up!" we cried. To which the reply was: "Oh, you get used to that."

The host then changed to the correct settings (to show us that he knew how to do it) and we had to meekly ask, "do you mind if we watch it like this?" The reply was a harrumphy "yes, but if it's important to you. . ."

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Antoine Doinel
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#49 Post by Antoine Doinel » Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:52 am

Remember in the early days of DVD when studios offered both ratios on one disc? Why can't they apply the same logic here. The actual ratio for people who know what they're doing and the "FILL UP THE WHOLE DERN SCREEN CUZ THAT WHAT IZE PAYED FOR" ratio for everyone else?

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CSM126
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Re: 457 Magnificent Obsession

#50 Post by CSM126 » Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:07 am

Antoine Doinel wrote:Remember in the early days of DVD when studios offered both ratios on one disc? Why can't they apply the same logic here. The actual ratio for people who know what they're doing and the "FILL UP THE WHOLE DERN SCREEN CUZ THAT WHAT IZE PAYED FOR" ratio for everyone else?
Because that would require a double-sided disc which would fuck with criterion's obsession with branding every possible surface of their packages (flippers can't have disc art, of course).

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