Sternberg Dietrichs in various regions

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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david hare
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#1 Post by david hare » Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:40 pm

Further to Gary's review of the Russian Shanghai Express, this seems a good time to remind posters of the forthcoming French Dietrich titles (including the six Sternbergs) in early December.

I am also reminded one of the UK posters (was it you Arn?) mentioned Blonde Venus has passed BBFC classification recently, but no release announcement.

Similarly Shanghai Express recently passed Australian OLFC classification recently, but a call to Universal Oz elicits a dumbfounded "never heard of it".

Also be mindful of the German Morocco which is very nice - I doubt very much whether even the French disc will be much of an improvement, if any.

Keep posted everyone.

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Arn777
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#2 Post by Arn777 » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:06 pm

Nope wasn't me who mentioned Blonde Venus. I'll be getting a couple of the Sternberg ones and keep an eye open for reports on the quality of these (DVD Classik is a good place for these).

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david hare
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#3 Post by david hare » Fri Nov 18, 2005 6:05 pm

Gary thanks for the eagle eye on amazon.fr. And they are two Eu a title cheaper than alapage!!

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ben d banana
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#4 Post by ben d banana » Sat Nov 19, 2005 5:24 am

Amazon.fr still doesn't have Shanghai Express listed though.

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david hare
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#5 Post by david hare » Sat Nov 19, 2005 11:25 pm

Let's hope they are just being tardy. They were certainly late getting the other titles up on the site.

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denti alligator
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#6 Post by denti alligator » Sat Nov 26, 2005 1:38 am

Can someone link us to the individual titles at amazon.fr. Gary's links are gone, for now, it seems. Is Shanghai Express up yet?

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david hare
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#7 Post by david hare » Sat Nov 26, 2005 2:16 am

Here they are individually (I'm not clever enough to do them in a block and the Dietrich or Sternberg search doesn't help you.)

Dishonored
http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BPYYDI
Scarlet Empress
http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BPYYCE
The Devil is a Woman
http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BPYYEC
Morocco
http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BTUMC6
The Devil is a Woman
http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BPYYDS

there is still no listing for Shanghai Express. I am increasingly thinking this may be delayed because the print source maintains the French censorship cut of Dietrich translating for Chautard to Warner Oland (which "disparaged" the French Military.) The cut is evident on both the US VHS and Laserdisc versions. The print is also, frankly a little dupey. The Russian DVD looks to me like an edge enhanced rip of the LD. )

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ben d banana
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#8 Post by ben d banana » Sat Nov 26, 2005 2:35 am

But Shanghai Express is up on fnac. Perhaps it's time for a certain, at least somewhat, French speaking individual to ask amazon.fr what's up (nudge nudge David).

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david hare
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#9 Post by david hare » Sat Nov 26, 2005 2:59 am

I thought about that, and will probably do something later but I suspect will only get a "form" reply like "a ce moment ce titre n'est pas disponsible. Nous raccomondons que vous continuez regarder les pages Amazon.fr, blah blah blah." If all else fails we can get the bloody thing from alapage.

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david hare
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#10 Post by david hare » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:59 am

I really meant disponible!!

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godardslave
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#11 Post by godardslave » Sat Nov 26, 2005 1:41 pm

wait... didnt they all just come out in Germany too?

which releases are preferable, french or german?

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david hare
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#12 Post by david hare » Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:20 pm

Only Morocco in Germany.

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der_Artur
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#13 Post by der_Artur » Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:28 pm

godardslave wrote:wait... didnt they all just come out in Germany too?


Up to now only "Morocco" did. And no German site has any announcement for a german release. But the DVD all are said to have german subs, so if these Films come out here, the DVDs will be identical.

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david hare
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#14 Post by david hare » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:38 pm

Golgothican I'm not sure about that. The Sternberg Dietrichs (and other Dietrich movies like Angel and Desire which are also French Universal) regularly screen at Paris cinemas so I think the prints will be local.

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thomega
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#15 Post by thomega » Sat Nov 26, 2005 10:24 pm

davidhare wrote:I think the prints will be local.
According to Universal's french website http://www.universalpictures.fr/recherc ... t=dietrich, all titles come with english HOH subtitles and subtitles for many central european and scandinavian languages. Therefore I'm hoping for british or german releases in order to get around amazon.fr's shipping rates.

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david hare
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#16 Post by david hare » Sat Nov 26, 2005 10:55 pm

Interestingly the previous French Universal link no longer mentions Shanghai Express.

I previously posted that Shanghai had sailed through the Oz OLFC in April but an earlier call to Universal video in Sydney was met with total ignorance of its existence. I'll try chasing them up again.

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reaky
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#17 Post by reaky » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:59 pm

The Dietrich discs were released in France today, and reports on the prints from the DVDClassik forum seem good - sharp, detailed picture, optional subtitles:

http://www.dvdclassik.com/%7Edvdclass/p ... c&start=45

No-one, though, is able to lay their hands on SHANGHAI EXPRESS. I've ordered it from Fnac (Amazon don't list it), but no word yet. Bah.

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david hare
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#18 Post by david hare » Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:23 pm

There is a little post there from someone called "Tom Peeping" (!!) who is very happy with the Scarlet Empress disc, as a big improvement over the Criterion!! (I love it when French folks use English names and expressions.) Another poster's review of Devil is a Woman is also encouraging (Fine contrast, stable image, etc etc.) But don't hang out for Shanghai (spelt "Shangai") Express for the moment. I assume Universal is seeking a complete print.

Has anyone's order posted yet?

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htdm
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#19 Post by htdm » Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:45 pm

The comparisons of L'imératrice rouge on page 5 are interesting -- is it just me or does the French version look darker and grainier? (as well as sharper and less cropped?)

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david hare
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#20 Post by david hare » Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:58 am

Fascinating! I far prefer the French Scarlet Empress - but it still looks slightly dupey. Glad I ordered it. Can't wait for the others.

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david hare
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#21 Post by david hare » Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:34 pm

Mine arrived today by express post. (Minus Morocco and of course Shanghai Express.) Will give a thumbnail impression tonight. My heart is skipping a few beats!

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david hare
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#22 Post by david hare » Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:34 am

"OK kiddies, pass the ammunition" as Charlotte Greenwood says in The Gang's All Here.

First off Scarlet Empress puts the Criterion to shame. Universal has used a lovely print with barely any "popping" on the multiple dissolves (so intrinsic to Sternberg in the 30s) and - like all the other prints in this series - it looks much closer to a first gen, fine grain positive. The details in multiple layers of gauze and silk are back - the major test in this movie is the wedding scene. Every detail of the hundreds of candles, the chiaroscuro of the iconic statuary, through to Dietrich's panting breath nearly expiring the candle when she takes her vows!!

Devil is a Woman is the best print I've seen since the MOMA nitrate screenings in Sydney 1968. And I had always thought of this as a "white" film (from too many bleached out prints.) Jesus!

Blonde Venus, as expected, is exemplary.

And Dishonored, while the grainiest of the series is razor sharp, and again doesn't suffer from excessive dupeiness on any of the opticals, and takes on a new life for me (prevouslymy least favorite of the cycle but now up for revaluation.)

For the technically minded every disc is between 4 and 4.5 gigs. And progressive.

I am keen to hear from anyone who has the French Morroco and their opinion of it against the German disc.

After Kong, and the Kino Langs (for all their shortcomings) now this! What next for this year.

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Arn777
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#23 Post by Arn777 » Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:19 am

Thanks for your comments. I ordered Blond Venus yesterday. I have never seen Dishonoured and Devil is a woman. How good are the films?

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Gregory
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#24 Post by Gregory » Mon Dec 12, 2005 3:03 pm

According to critical consensus, Dishonored and The Devil is a Woman* are usually not considered as good as Blue Angel, Shanghai Express, and Scarlet Empress. However, I think they're outstanding films that hold up well on their own as well as being integral parts of the Sternberg/Dietrich cycle. There is no way I could defend them adequately (and I would need to see them again before even attempting it) but I would urge people to see all of these films, especially now that they're going to be available affordably.

*I hate that title. I believe it undermines Sternberg's and Dos Passos's complex characterization and reinforces the oversimplified reading of the films to which many people gravitate. Also, if I recall correctly was forced by producers who wanted something juicier than Sternberg's preferred "Caprice Espagnol."

I've been wanting these on DVD for years but I'm still hesitating partly because I want to see what else will be released in the US, UK and elsewhere and partly because the captures of Scarlet Empress still don't look too good to me.
David, you clearly have the advantage of having seen the actual DVDs, but I really think that (as dmkb pointed out) the comparisons on the forum linked above show the French Scarlet Empress to be softer and cropped all around. The lack of sharpness is especially evident on the capture with the turnpike.
Can you please tell me whether you don't see this or whether the captures are not really failthful to the transfer itself?

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david hare
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#25 Post by david hare » Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:20 pm

Arn Devil is w Woman is Sternberg's most extreme foray into styalization (even more than Scarlet Empress) and the final chapter in his relationship with Dietrich. Like all their films together it was and is a thousand years ahead of its time. The taste and sensibility are frankly still too rich for contemporary audiences! It is one of the most sophisticated, avant garde, passionate dazzling semi-abstract heart stoppingly beautiful movies ever made. Your life has not begun without it.

Dishonored which I've only ever owned in crapoid copies in this print screams out for revaluation.

The caps of Scarlet Empress are totally misleading. The Universal disc is far less grainy, far closer to a first gen with clean opticals (The Criterion is plagued with both excess grain and noisy opticlas, and the contrast suffers totally as a result. In the Universal detail is back in spades.) I cannot recommend these highly enough. And at just over 10EU Amazon ditches the French 17% tax for foreign orders.

For coverart queens the covers and static menus are hideous (like I care!)

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