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Person
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 3:00 pm

#151 Post by Person » Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:48 pm

Soviet Shakespeare

Includes, Hamlet (1963, Grigori Kozintsev), King Lear (1969, Grigori Kozintsev).

I held off ordering the R5 PAL editons from Ruscico, as I felt that they were overpriced, so this is perfect.

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Tommaso
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#152 Post by Tommaso » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:21 am

That's brilliant news, especially as one can now watch "Lear" without the silly break in the middle that Ruscico did in order to put the film onto two discs, which was my reason not to buy it (can't remember how it was with "Hamlet"). play.com already has the cover design up.

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Michael Kerpan
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#153 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:17 pm

Both Hamlet and Lear were made with intermission breaks about halfway through. There is nothing inappropriate about splitting the films at this point -- as they would have been split in precisely the same fashion when originally shown.

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MichaelB
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#154 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:19 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Both Hamlet and Lear were made with intermission breaks about halfway through. There is nothing inappropriate about splitting the films at this point -- as they would have been split in precisely the same fashion when originally shown.
True, but the original viewers wouldn't have had to sit through interminable copyright notices before getting at the second half!

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Tommaso
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#155 Post by Tommaso » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:57 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Michael Kerpan wrote:Both Hamlet and Lear were made with intermission breaks about halfway through. There is nothing inappropriate about splitting the films at this point -- as they would have been split in precisely the same fashion when originally shown.
True, but the original viewers wouldn't have had to sit through interminable copyright notices before getting at the second half!
I know we talked about this some while ago, and somebody argued that it was a normal thing to split the film up in two parts, but that this was basically only practice in Russia itself. Indeed I never saw "Stalker" (160 min.) in the cinema with any sort of intermission, and "King Lear" is only very little longer than two hours. And forcing the intermission on a home viewer is also a very different thing (not to speak of the special case of Ruscico's copyright notices and the whole procedure of setting up audio and subs again, as Michael points out). What really angers me is that many western companies not only licence the transfers from Ruscico, but also the whole disc set-up itself. The AE and MK2 "Dersu Uzala", "Solaris" and "Stalker" come to my mind immediately, all of which would have fitted nicely onto one disc with the extras being transferred completely to disc two. I'm happy to see that Tartan apparently have managed to do otherwise. I only hope they indeed do retain the Ruscico extras, or at least the more important of them. And hopefully not again a 5.1. up-mix.

It seems this is a particularly good year for Tartan (Jodorowsky, the Pasolini sets, the upcoming Bergmans), and so far their output seems to have been pretty flawless (and the Pasos are definitely superior to their French counterparts, for example, and could hardly be bettered). So I have high hopes for Kozintsev as well.

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zedz
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#156 Post by zedz » Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:43 am

Tommaso wrote:I know we talked about this some while ago, and somebody argued that it was a normal thing to split the film up in two parts, but that this was basically only practice in Russia itself.
My understanding, at least for Stalker, is that the two-part structure was all about the byzantine regulations around Soviet film funding and had nothing to do with the director's intention or actual presentation.

Apparently, there was a funding cap on any Soviet film production, so particularly ambitious / expensive projects had to be funded as two separate films (hence the polite fiction of "Part One" and "Part Two"). In the case of Stalker, it was intended as a 'single' film until the first version was lost, and the entire reshoot was funded as "Part Two". There was never any intention that the parts would be screened separately (the division in Stalker is almost comically arbitrary).

Getting back to Michael's point, the norm at the time (and through to the 80s, in my experience) was for almost every film to have an intermission, particularly if they were longish, but this was not a specifically Russian phenomenon: it was an opportunity to sell more popcorn and ice creams.

(Realising that there are probably many contributors to this forum who don't remember obligatory intermissions induces a weird temporal vertigo: my past and future rushing to meet one another in an existential track-zoom)

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Michael Kerpan
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#157 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:27 am

At least intermissions were better than the Japanese practice of splitting certain films expected to be hits into two parts -- with the second half opening a week or two after the first.

Example -- Tadashi Imai's "Aoi sanmyaku" (Blue Mountains) from 1949.

Most welcome built-in intermission ever --- the one in Rivette's "L'amour fou".

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Matt
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#158 Post by Matt » Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:36 am


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Rsdio
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#159 Post by Rsdio » Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:17 am

Hmm.. It looks as if the Eisenstein set has been delayed again. It was dues out today but Amazon's showing 'limited availability', HMV (where it's only £17.99) say it's due on the 13/8 and a couple of others say it's next week. Confusion reigns.

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ellipsis7
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#160 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:40 am

Tartan advert in August S&S says next week - 23rd July - also shows cover of #3, the Mexican set...

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MichaelB
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#161 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:41 am

In my experience, Amazon is the slowest to change a postponed release date, and so consequently the least reliable guide - I even had to post a comment there myself to confirm the new Svankmajer release date because they wouldn't change it on their system!

So I'd assume the other sites are correct unless any more info comes to light.

Rich Malloy
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#162 Post by Rich Malloy » Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:34 pm

Has anyone seen Tartan's release of Almodovar's "Labyrinth of Passion"? It's been out for a month now, and yet I haven't found a single review or comment or anything!

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Rsdio
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#163 Post by Rsdio » Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:41 am

OK, the long-delayed Eisenstein Volume 1 set turned up this morning and I thought people might be interested in a few first impressions. First off, the packaging is lovely. Three slim cases in a cardboard slipcase so it's not going to take up too much room but the great thing about it is the artwork, I'm really a sucker for black, red and white in combination (and constructivist stylings are also a weak point) so this is right up my street.

Image

No comments about the duvet cover please! ;)

Since Potemkin's the big draw here I thought I'd do some caps to compare with the ones on DVD Beaver, the frames aren't going to be exact and my setup is obviously different but they should be enough to get an idea. Sadly it doesn't look anything like the French release which I'd dared hope these might be taken from, it looks closest to the Eureka to my eyes. Even worse, it seems to have more cropping compared with the Image and Eureka versions which were already losing a lot from the French release, look at the badge on the soldier's cap in the first shot - it's not even visible in the Tartan but it's in the frame by a mile on the Films Sans Frontieres.

Image

Image

Image

I haven't looked at the other two yet but I would think it will be the same sort of story.. I'm debating looking into returning it, my head says yes but my heart sees the packaging and says no. I'm sure I'll come to my senses and get the Films Sans Frontieres release instead, it's going to work out cheaper than getting the three Tartan collections even at the knockdown £17.99 delivered HMV are selling them at.

If anyone would like specific caps from Potemkin or any of the others before I return it, just let me know and I'll see what I can do.

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vogler
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#164 Post by vogler » Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:13 am

Rsdio wrote:If anyone would like specific caps from Potemkin or any of the others before I return it, just let me know and I'll see what I can do.
I'd be very grateful if you could post some caps of Strike and October (both of which I prefer to Potemkin). The Image dvds of these films are not bad but I'd love to find better versions. It seems unlikely it'll be these though.
Last edited by vogler on Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Rsdio
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#165 Post by Rsdio » Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:42 am

No problem, here's a couple from October - the image is noticably smaller than Potemkin's on the screen:

Image

Image

And Strike, which looks to be in much better shape:

Image

Image

Hope that's alright for you :)

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meanwhile
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#166 Post by meanwhile » Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:28 pm

Potemkin looks very dark in places to me and there's ghosting too. Curiously, Edmund Meisel's score is paired with a crappy vhs quality print as an extra on the October disc.

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vogler
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#167 Post by vogler » Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:37 pm

Thanks for the screen caps Rsdio. I was thinking of buying this box set hoping that Strike and October would be better than the Image dvds but it doesn't look like there is any improvement. I'll stick with what I've got for now - you just saved me 20 quid.

The Films Sans Frontieres Potemkin/General Line is excellent, however the new restored Battleship Potemkin will be released soon (but I can't remember who's releasing it - BFI?). The Films Sans Frontieres dvd is well worth it for The General Line though. This film is also available from the excellent German label Absolut Medien but I doubt if it has English subs. I think it might be a longer cut of the film as well.

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Person
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#168 Post by Person » Tue Aug 14, 2007 4:10 pm

I wonder how good Volume 2 of Eisenstein will be? I hope that they use optimal elements and apply appropriate digital clean-up. How likely will it be that they tried to fix the sound on Nevsky.

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Rsdio
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#169 Post by Rsdio » Tue Aug 14, 2007 4:37 pm

I think I'll wait and see how the BFI Potemkin shapes up then, I've got high hopes given their recent form. The first I heard of it was today when I went looking for comparisons, I'd probably have held fire if I'd seen it earlier. I wonder if they've got plans for any of his other films?

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Person
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#170 Post by Person » Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:56 pm

DVD Times review of Bergman's frequently overlooked, The Devil's Eye.

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MichaelB
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#171 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:23 am

Person wrote:I wonder how good Volume 2 of Eisenstein will be? I hope that they use optimal elements and apply appropriate digital clean-up. How likely will it be that they tried to fix the sound on Nevsky.
Depends on what you mean by "fix the sound". My RCA VHS copy has the replacement digital recording of the performing score assembled by William D. Brohn, which I'd love to have on a DVD, but presumably RCA would need to license the rights.

As for cleaning up the original soundtrack, it's forever compromised by poor recording - apparently Prokofiev was experimenting with a microphone technique that just didn't work as expected, quite apart from the session musicians he used being sub-standard.

And as I've been distinctly unimpressed with Tartan's first Eisenstein volume (aside from the audio quality of Ed Hughes' new scores), my hopes aren't high.

(Tartan's Strike is significantly better than their Potemkin in terms of picture quality, but is also compromised by the weird decision to anglicise the intertitles throughout - despite the Cyrillic typography of the original being part of Eisenstein's overall visual conception)

zone_resident
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#172 Post by zone_resident » Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:49 am

DVD Times review of Ballad of Narayama (Kinoshita).

Overall, it looks fine.

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MichaelB
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#173 Post by MichaelB » Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:58 am

zone_resident wrote:DVD Times review of Ballad of Narayama (Kinoshita).

Overall, it looks fine.
It does - in fact, it's a really pleasant surprise for a Japanese colour Scope film of that vintage.

Tartan are still annoyingly variable (Pasolini great, Eisenstein mediocre to poor), but when they make an effort they're right up there with the best of them.

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Michael Kerpan
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#174 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:59 pm

Kinoshita's Narayama -- Alas, this is a film I found quite unappealing -- largely due to its visual (and performance) style. There are lots of films of that vintage that I'd rather see get loving (subbed) treatment.

stephan73
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#175 Post by stephan73 » Sun Oct 14, 2007 4:00 pm

Tartan posted 4 clips from the upcoming KTL edition of the Phantom Carriage on Youtube.

Here's one!

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