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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:57 pm 
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manicsounds wrote:
Something I couldn't find, does the MoC disc have the Welles 56 page memo included on the Universal DVD?

No, but MoC has kindly uploaded it online and they list the link in the booklet.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:21 pm 
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Also on their website.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:10 am 
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The Fopp store in Covent Garden had a stack of the 'Touch Of Evil' steelbook for sale when I went in this weekend. So much for it being exclusive to HMV.

(Yes, I know HMV own Fopp, but still...)


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:27 pm 
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peerpee wrote:
What's not really that apparent from stills - but became really apparent to me on the fifth or so viewing of each ratio, is that the movement of characters within the frame, and the camera's movement to capture the characters' movements, is all heavily weighted towards keeping everything in the 1.85:1 area.

I have a slightly different reaction. Some things definitely look better in one ratio or the other which itself is fascinating. Some of these:
THe openjing sequence with the collonades and the full height of the Venice Cal night shooting really cry out for open matte if only for the architectural details of the building and collonades, and the fabulous lighting.

Curiously the sequences for which Welles has used tight multi CUs and rapid montage from face to face to face actually work dynamically better in 1.85 mask, in spite of the obvious cutting up of tops of faces etc. ThE greater enclosure really works well in WS. But the very long takes, especially the four minute take in the motel room with Quinlan interrogating the Mexican boy plays better with the low angle ceiling remaining in shot throughout the take. Thus better in Academy. You can pick and choose your way through these, (as this set monumentally allows you to do) but ultimately I end up on the side of the Academy. Not only because it "works" at least as well as 1.85, but because it has the effetc of aesthetically positioning the film somewhere outside the standard product for Universal 1958. And quite simply it looks like Metty simply cant help himself going to great trouble to light the headroom even "protected" areas" and Welles seems to have given him his head.

The 58 Studio cut is still my favorite - I love the slight air of chaos that imbues the whole enterprise like the chaotically studio recut Lady from Shanghai. And because the 58 is so much a studio picture I find this makes the Wellesian signatures even more remakable in this context, like the superb refelective/miror transition shots before and after the motel sequence, and the alternation of rapid montage with long takes, the seemingly unique use of ultra wide angle lenses for the whole picture, etc.

But I still love the preview version if only for the inclusion of the one tight low angle CU of Menzies in despair during the library scene which - I agree here with Naremore in the commentary - gives the actor his one star shot and of course deepens his dilemma in having to "betray" Quinlan. I just don't take the point made by Murch and JR that the shot somehow short circuits Menzies. To me it's one of those five second inspirations right out of left field.

Anyway it's the BD of the year. The transfers are totally exemplary, the whole pacakage is a major contribution to cinema history, in compnay with the Criterion Arkadin box and the Wildside Macbeth box.

If only somone could extract the terrific US release cut of Othello from you know who and do a two disc plus extras (from JR and MCBride) of this.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:03 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:35 pm
tenia wrote:
I just received my Touch Of Evil Steelbook, and like other people, unfortunately, one clip maintaining the booklet is broken.

I'm thinking about ordering this from HMV but am nervous about what shape the case will be in by the time it reaches the states. How does HMV handle international returns/replacements?


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:38 pm 
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I cannot speak for HMV shipping abroad but their packaging is a very sturdy cardboard. The only issue with that I can suggest is a steelbook could rattle about within it and become damaged.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:25 pm 
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I ordered my Touch of EVil steelbook from HMV, and it got to Canada in flawless condition. Reasonably thick cardboard packaging.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:24 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:53 pm
Location: Estonia
Picked up my steelbook from the post office yesterday. One of the booklet clips was broken (had the same problem with Metropolis, ordered from Eureka) but otherwise it was in a perfect condition.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:25 am 
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Gotta admit that before I got this I was firmly in the 1.85 camp, and continue to consider it the 'correct' ratio (I think it is indisputable that the film was primarily composed and intended for it), but I'm really digging the look of this in Academy. Pretty sure I'll watch this one in Academy from now on.

Really hope MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION is on the horizon. Not only is it one of my absolute favourite melodramas, but the thought of rediscovering another masterpiece in a new ratio is an exciting prospect to me now.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:51 am 
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Like most everyone else, I'd always seen both "Touch of Evil" and "Magnificent Obsession" in 1.37 or 1.33:1 ("TofE" in revival theaters, "MO" on TV), and still prefer them that way. It isn't that cropping to a 1.85 or 1.75 aspect ratio looks so wrong to me, it's that in doing so the telecine operator seems to have zoomed in too tightly on the frame, lopping off picture info that should still be viewable even at those wider aspect ratios. That missing image is often what helps let the frame 'breathe' -- and gives the film an intended rhythm and balance that's often lost by cropping too tightly for home viewing.

When it comes to a film as meticulously shot as "Touch of Evil" it doesn't take an MFA in design to notice something's wrong. I sometimes wonder if the people doing these DVD transfers actually sit down and watch the film from beginning to end after their work is done. Of course, time and money are always a priority, and even when problems are noticed, it's usually in everyone's best interest to keep the project moving forward, till we buy the disc, see what's wrong, and start pulling our hair out. Thank God for Masters of Cinema and a few other companies that actually know what they're doing. I certainly wish there were more of them.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:34 am 
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HJackson wrote:
Really hope MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION is on the horizon. Not only is it one of my absolute favourite melodramas, but the thought of rediscovering another masterpiece in a new ratio is an exciting prospect to me now.

Buy the Carlotta version - that's the only one in Academy.
Look, I've been one of the loudest noisemakers about getting the Academy versions of ToE back, and thanks only to MoC and the diligence of Nick and Craig Keller we have them now. But there is no doubt whatsoever that the official AR for Universal projection ratios by 1958 was 1.85 (for non Scope movies obviously.) Even 16mm prints of some titles like Imitation of Lie came out hard matted.

But DP Metty's passion for intricate lighting arrangements and careful detailing of headroom always plagued the imposition of 1.85 masking on a lot of ToE, just as it does on Mag Obs.
Again it's only thanks to MoC's dedication to cinephilia that we have a response to several decades of dispute and discussion about the real needs to get both versions out as a historical record. I think it was a real shame Criterion dodged the issue with Magnificent Obsession and just took the line of least resistance with Universal and the supply of a master. But they don't have the same relationship with a cinephile community online that I believe Nick and Craig do. I don't consider Criterion's own site much mroe than floss.

So in my eyes MoC, and a couple of other labels like BfI and Carlotta are far more "connected" and responsive than Criterion and that makes them and MoC especially in my eyes the best disc label in the world, over and above Criterion.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:12 am
This is screening in Picturehouse cinemas on the 17th


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:12 pm 
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Calvin wrote:
This is screening in Picturehouse cinemas on the 17th

But what's the aspect ratio? Or will they poll the audience five minutes before the screening starts and relay the verdict to the projectionist?


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:24 pm 
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david hare wrote:
The 58 Studio cut is still my favorite - I love the slight air of chaos that imbues the whole enterprise like the chaotically studio recut Lady from Shanghai. And because the 58 is so much a studio picture I find this makes the Wellesian signatures even more remakable in this context, like the superb refelective/miror transition shots before and after the motel sequence, and the alternation of rapid montage with long takes, the seemingly unique use of ultra wide angle lenses for the whole picture, etc.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. The Studio cut has a frenzied momentum that gets lost in the longer Preview and Restoration cuts. After (repeatedly) reading of the 'butchered' Theatrical version, I was initially reluctant to watch anything but the restoration. The MOC blu-ray was an excuse to finally explore the other cuts, and viewing the Studio cut for the first time was something of a revelation. While some great scenes hit the cutting room floor (Quinlan's berating Vargas after the acid-throwing incident is a favorite), the narrative drive of the Theatrical cut is searing in it's intensity. It's so tightly constructed that it leaves the viewer little room to breathe, while simultaneously managing to (largely) preserve Welles intricate themes--more a credit to directorial acumen than studio cutting. In fact, Quinlan's superhuman intuition seems comparatively belabored in the Restoration.

While the idea of the Restoration certainly has it's merits, I think the hype surrounding it is a little crazy. Many have bought into the notion that it's "closer to the director's vision" than the other cuts, but is this really the case? It follows the instructions of the legendary memo, but it's important to remember that these requests were made without the benefit of being able to watch, reflect on and revise them. Welles didn't spend 9 months editing Citizen Kane because he never second guessed himself! Had he been given free reign to edit Touch of Evil, he would most likely have produced a superior film that was vastly different from any of the three available versions. The director even acknowledged that the requests contained in the memo represented a minimum of changes necessary to produce a film even close to what he wanted. With this in mind, it's hard for me to see the Restoration as anything more than an academic curio--certainly not the definitive experience of the film (That, unfortunately, will never exist).

Thankfully, we now have all three cuts in beautiful HD, so we obsessives seeking Welles' vision can watch all three and read between the lines. It may be fragmentary, it may lack the full gritty, grandeur of what might have ultimately been, but it's as close as we'll ever come.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:22 pm 
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kingofthejungle wrote:
While the idea of the Restoration certainly has it's merits, I think the hype surrounding it is a little crazy. Many have bought into the notion that it's "closer to the director's vision" than the other cuts, but is this really the case? It follows the instructions of the legendary memo, but it's important to remember that these requests were made without the benefit of being able to watch, reflect on and revise them. Welles didn't spend 9 months editing Citizen Kane because he never second guessed himself! Had he been given free reign to edit Touch of Evil, he would most likely have produced a superior film that was vastly different from any of the three available versions. The director even acknowledged that the requests contained in the memo represented a minimum of changes necessary to produce a film even close to what he wanted. With this in mind, it's hard for me to see the Restoration as anything more than an academic curio--certainly not the definitive experience of the film (That, unfortunately, will never exist).

Thankfully, we now have all three cuts in beautiful HD, so we obsessives seeking Welles' vision can watch all three and read between the lines. It may be fragmentary, it may lack the full gritty, grandeur of what might have ultimately been, but it's as close as we'll ever come.

The studio cut seems to have become a defacto favorite for older American auteruist cinephiles if my polling is anything to go by. Welles went into this, (and was only taken on at Heston's insistence) and was fully aware he had to deliver a studio picture under studio conditions, and with respect to Uni's relatively low budgets on time. That he did so is a great credit to him. The next chapters in the cut and recut sagas are all too typical of Welles' inability to then leave anything alone. I have no idea what is missing from his first cut of Lady From Shanghai or how much it addded or subtracted from Harry Cohn's release version. BUt again this is a typical case in which one can easily guess the studio cutting has been a response to something they thought had lost momentum and dramatic arc, tension, energy. I am afraid I'm not one of the chorus who beomaon how much Hollywood ruined Welles. Welles' himself ruined many of his own pictures - the European career and especially the unreleased work is a litany of chaos, inability to meet a deadline, pathological inability to complete anytrhing, even looping and in some cases, like Othello sheer mendacity in his dealings with the principle cast and crew.

Where MOC Touch of Eveil excels is in completely containing the historical cinephile, and Welles Scholarhip communities history with the film, from 58 to the - in my opinion - totally misguided but fascinating "this is how it might have been done" restoration. The other great achievement of the MoC is to effectively displace the 1999 version from the canon as "official" by reinstating the 58 Studio cut as at least a notional equal. And then the 70s preview which used to be my favorite. I expressed to Nick privately how regrettable it was they couldnd't obtain a suitable encode for the Preview in Academy ratio, as this was really the only version which ever showed or was projected virtually always in Academy. But you can't have everything.

History is littered with great, very great Movie directors who coudln't control the final cuts of their films or who, like Renoir never put up a fight. Renoir himself caved into both producer demands (two murder ednings for LA BEte Humaine and manyu other examples) and self doubt many times, most notably Le Regle, and Woman on the Beach for which he had only himself to blame. But the movies still work. One more so than the other of course. Who would know how much even more untethered and unfocussed Woman would have been if Renoir and RKO hadn't cut it after a disastrous preview. THere's a copy of the original shooting script online for those who want to look. Even with French Can Can Renoir simply gave into prdoucer imposed cuts. THey are so disruptive, albeit on a micro scale during the final Cancan ballet (With hard audio edits and missed music cues to image) yet still the movie seems to function sublimely well despite them (and also apparently substantially more backstory on Maria Felix' character.)


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:33 pm 
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david hare wrote:
...I have no idea what is missing from his first cut of Lady From Shanghai or how much it added or subtracted from Harry Cohn's release version. BUt again this is a typical case in which one can easily guess the studio cutting has been a response to something they thought had lost momentum and dramatic arc, tension, energy...

While it's true that Welles liked exploring digressions in his work that studios/preview audiences simply found superfluous, the cutting continuity for the initial edit of THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI reveals that this early version was probably a lot more comprehensible to what ended up being released. Numerous short transitional scenes that moved the action from one locale to the next were inexplicably excised as were dramatic moments that clarified character motivation. Not everything in the initial cut appears to be of equal value, but a good 15 minutes of some of this footage would have gone a long way to improving the final result. Keep in mind that I am only speaking about the story structure here. Welles' films often find their value in things other than story. In SHANGHAI, Welles' filmmaking aesthetic is largely trashed by truncating and disrupting elaborate on-location tracking shots with poorly done studio rear-projection process shots. For example, the scene in Acapulco where O'Hara and Grisby climb the hill and reach the cliff edge (where Grisby makes his deranged proposal to pay O'Hara to kill him) was originally shot as a series of long tracking takes showing the leads weaving through groups of tourists who all seem to be discussing wealth or the lack thereof. The released version of this scene removes most of the on-location tracking shots and attempts to cover the deletions with hackneyed studio inserts.

Fortunately, TOUCH OF EVIL is a film that was treated much better by Universal than Columbia treated SHANGHAI. The original theatrical release is simply a faster-paced version of what Welles had concocted, but it retains much of Welles' filmmaking aesthetics. The flaws in the theatrical release are the studio-imposed re-shoots that put too fine a point on story points implied elsewhere. I prefer the 1998 reconstructed version for removing most of this extraneous footage while re-introducing digressions that enrich the film (this material all comes from the preview version) and for the simple act of removing the superimposed credits from that spectacular opening shot.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:11 pm 
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In the interview with Bogdonovich, Welles said that the only changes made to Shanghai were a changed music track and the removal of one sequence (in the funhouse.) Are you arguing the internal structure of the movie was changed more than that?


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:03 pm 
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matrixschmatrix wrote:
In the interview with Bogdonovich, Welles said that the only changes made to Shanghai were a changed music track and the removal of one sequence (in the funhouse.) Are you arguing the internal structure of the movie was changed more than that?

Oh yes! I know that Welles was most upset about the music score (which is a disaster) so that is what he tended to harp on, but he did acknowledge further deletions and changes in other interviews. The original cut Welles was assembling was over two hours in length and did not feature voice-over narration. It's safe to say that Welles would not have wanted the film to be released at over two hours (and Columbia wouldn't have allowed it either), but a significant amount of material was scrapped to get it down to 87 minutes...too much in my opinion. Welles the writer/director was put in the awkward position of having to re-shoot inserts at the studio request and write a last-minute first-person narration to cover all the gaping holes left by the ruthless editing (which he had little-to-no control over after the studio rejected his original assembly). Next time you watch the film, take note of all the awkward studio rear-projection shots showing characters walking out of frame or crossing the frame - virtually all of them were included to cover deletions made to lengthier sequences shot on location. Likewise, almost every instance of narration is there to replace cut dialogue or a scene that presented that information dramatically. All in all, SHANGHAI ranks along with AMBERSONS as the two most mangled Welles films...even as Welles himself was obligated to manage the mangling.

As I mentioned earlier, TOUCH OF EVIL suffered less meddling apart from the small handful of re-shoots (half of which were then cut out anyway for the theatrical release). For me, I doubt that an official Welles edit would have looked much different from the reconstructed edit.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 25 Touch of Evil
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:40 pm 
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MoC wrote:
We only have 25 copies remaining of our Touch of Evil SteelBook left in stock, this gorgeous SteelBook won't be around for much longer, so make sure you grab a copy today; you'll find it on our exclusives page.


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