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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:53 pm 
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The Conversation on Blu! (10-25-11)

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BLU-RAY DISC SPECIAL FEATURES

· Interviews with director Francis Ford Coppola and composer David Shire – NEW
· “Harry Caul’s San Francisco” featurette – NEW
· Archival screen tests with Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams – NEVER-BEFORE SEEN
· Archival audio of Francis Ford Coppola dictating (writing) the original script – NEVER-BEFORE HEARD
· Archival on-set interview with Gene Hackman – FIRST TIME IN ENTIRETY
· “Close up on The Conversation” featurette
· “No Cigar” archival short film by Francis Ford Coppola
· Audio commentary with director Francis Ford Coppola
· Audio commentary with editor Walter Murch
· Marketing gallery
· Theatrical trailer


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 Post subject: Re: Lionsgate
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:58 pm 
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Oh, nice, I'm always happy to see new features when a movie comes to blu (even if they seem mostly like puffery.) Hopefully this will be at the $19.99 price point Lionsgate's been using for their Mirimax releases.


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 Post subject: Re: Lionsgate
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:22 pm 
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I'm curious about that No Cigar short. Doesn't seem to be listed on IMDB.


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 Post subject: Re: Lionsgate
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:22 pm 
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Puffery?! This looks to be one of the best Blus yet, and cheap to boot. Wow x 100


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 Post subject: Re: Lionsgate
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:22 pm 
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knives wrote:
I'm curious about that No Cigar short.

Me too. There are supposedly clips in Eleanor Coppola's Coda: 30 Years Later doc. No Cigar was shot in 1956, when Coppola was 17.


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 Post subject: Re: Lionsgate
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:31 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
Puffery?! This looks to be one of the best Blus yet, and cheap to boot. Wow x 100

I hope you're right, but it seems like a no-brainer regardless. This and Mimic both seem like Criterion-worthy releases at much cheaper prices, it's pretty exciting.


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 Post subject: Re: Lionsgate
PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:13 am 
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This is great news. I never did get around to picking up the DVD so this will be top priority for me.
Quote:
Archival audio of Francis Ford Coppola dictating (writing) the original script

This sounds like the most interesting thing listed. I wonder what it will be like? If it's a stream-of-consciousness thing as he works through the script, it could be fascinating.


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 Post subject: Re: Lionsgate
PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:23 am 
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Brian C wrote:
Quote:
Archival audio of Francis Ford Coppola dictating (writing) the original script
This sounds like the most interesting thing listed. I wonder what it will be like? If it's a stream-of-consciousness thing as he works through the script, it could be fascinating.

Storytelling for film, or screenwriting, came to me not because I was a genius with magical narrative gifts, but because I was willing to try things out, rewrite continually, steal ideas, veer in strange directions, and make use of accidents and my own intuition. I would try any means of working: pencil, typewriter, dictation machine. In fact, in the case of the script for The Conversation, I dictated the entire script to an airline hostess I didn’t know who did clerical work (transcription) on the side. She looked like Dominique Sanda, so mysterious and enchanting. I really worked on the script in such a diligent manner because I didn’t want her to think I was a slouch. When I named the main character, I meant “Harry Call,” but she transcribed him as “Harry Caul,” and I left it that way. It sort of made sense because he was an extremely secretive man who always wore a see-through plastic raincoat. The mistranscription was an accident and a discovery that gave me insight into my new character.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:15 am 
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According to blu-ray.com, this film's BD is now up for pre-order.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:32 am 
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Is it too much to hope that a hi-fi purist will write an angry rant about how they had to switch it off after five minutes because the sound kept distorting?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:56 pm 
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This is the UK cover-art:

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Apparently the booklet is dedicated to 'A Conversation on The Conversation', reviews of the film on its initial release.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:39 pm 
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Blu-ray.com review is very positive and gives some more details on those supplements. Screenshots look great too. This may give some of the amazing Criterion, MoC, and BFI discs released this year a run for their money.

Beaver's got a review too. Someone on their listserv deal says that it should have a more "saturated" color palette. I wasn't around in 1974, but I've seen it projected from 35mm twice and have owned just about every home video incarnation, and that's not my memory at all. Zoetrope did the transfer themselves, so I'm sure it's the look Coppola wants. Looks perfect to me.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:19 pm 

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Will this be the best Lionsgate release so far? The only good one so far?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:35 pm 
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onedimension wrote:
Will this be the best Lionsgate release so far? The only good one so far?

That's just ... uninformed. Among other fine Lionsgate releases was Coppola's own Apocalypse Now.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:50 pm 

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That's why...I asked a question.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:05 am 
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knives wrote:
All the President's Men (Pakula)
This is far better than any film about journalist directed by Robert Mulligan's producer should be.

I know you liked the film, but Pakula deserves better than this backhanded compliment. He's one of the most undervalued American directors of the 70s. If you haven't seen Klute and (especially) The Parallax View, don't delay. Those Zodiac comparisons apply nearly as much to those films as they do to All the President's Men.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:08 am 
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The only other film I've seen by him as director is the surprisingly great Starting Over so I know him exclusively for his works as a producer. What I mean to say is that I plead ignorance on this account.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:23 am 

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zedz wrote:
knives wrote:
All the President's Men (Pakula)
This is far better than any film about journalist directed by Robert Mulligan's producer should be.

I know you liked the film, but Pakula deserves better than this backhanded compliment. He's one of the most undervalued American directors of the 70s. If you haven't seen Klute and (especially) The Parallax View, don't delay. Those Zodiac comparisons apply nearly as much to those films as they do to All the President's Men.

I've long loved Parallax, but I re-watched Klute recently and was astonished. If nothing else (and there is quite a lot else) Gordon Willis' cinematography might be his best ever, which is saying quite a bit. I'd also argue that Sutherland's performance is just as impressive as Fonda's in its own beguiling way, a remarkable piece of minimalist acting. There's a kind of matter-of-fact starkness to not only Sutherland but also Pakula's entire "paranoia trilogy" that I find sublime.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:49 am 
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All the President's Men is magnificent on its own terms, but does get even better when watched in conjunction with The Parallax View. The climactic 'test' Beatty has to sit through in the latter film is a breathtaking, daring and quite experimental marriage of horror, political comment and black comedy; I never watch it without wondering whether I'm having a nightmare. It's a lot like the kind of thing Adam Curtis tries to do in his films, but I think it's much more successful than any of his work.

What I love about All the President's Men is that what it focuses on is the struggle: that overwhelming sense of battling against an insoluble conspiracy, toiling endlessly like rats in a maze with no real hope of getting anywhere, and (as in Parallax) little sense of ideological investment in the task - just this dogged, almost mindless chipping away at the story. And in the end there's no real sense of triumph, or even of relief. You can read the last shot of Woodward and Bernstein as a quiet tribute to the journalists' achievements, a spur to other journalists to be equally devout seekers after truth, and a warning to the powerful that there are little people out there (with typewriters) who can investigate and deconstruct their lies. But there's also something chilling about its refusal to give us any sense of catharsis at the end, and what we're left with (or at least what I'm left with) is a persistent sense of how distant and alien are the forces Woodward and Bernstein have been fighting against. As at the end of Parallax, it's as if those forces don't really have anything to do with individual human beings (Nixon or whoever) - they're more abstract than that.

These films deserve to be compared with Antonioni far more than, say, The Conversation does - I love Coppola's film, but it seems less and less profound every time I watch it, whereas the opposite is true of Pakula's films.

I saw Presumed Innocent a while ago, and it was kind of sad - much of the film-making talent evident in the '70s films is still intact, but the material is such hackneyed TV-drama rubbish that it never really amounts to much.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:45 pm 
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Sloper wrote:
These films deserve to be compared with Antonioni far more than, say, The Conversation does - I love Coppola's film, but it seems less and less profound every time I watch it, whereas the opposite is true of Pakula's films.

That's too bad, because I think it's more truly about paranoia than those films where shadowy threats turn out to be real, meaning the protagonist's paranoia isn't that at all, it's genuine danger. The Conversation is about the psychological condition of paranoia, where everything can mean something or nothing, where everything can be a vast, organized, sinister structure or just unconnected phenomena, and you don't know if you're discovering or creating. You're being drawn slowly into the prison of your own mind. And the film brilliantly captures the despair, fear, and alienation that comes from living in a universe where you're forever chasing meaning to the point where meaning becomes impossible simply because everything seems to mean something and the key to it all is always just over the next ridge, which you'll never reach. It's a brilliant, sad character study that allows you to inhabit that mind-set by not allowing you any objective view on the events in question.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:06 pm 
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I don't disagree with any of that (though I can't unreservedly love The Conversation as a film because of its egregious, fundamental plot cheating), but I'm with Sloper in that Pakula's films are quite specifically more Antonioniesque, with their threatening treatment of architecture and spatial relationships and their sinister modernist gloss.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:10 pm 
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I agree on The Parallax View as well, which is a great example of that 'modernist gloss and threatening architecture'! (Though Parallax feels to me equal parts Antonioni 'exploding, nebulous mystery', Hitchcock 'suspense set piece' and Manchurian Candidate/Ipcress File-esque brainwashing!)


Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:36 pm 
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zedz wrote:
I don't disagree with any of that (though I can't unreservedly love The Conversation as a film because of its egregious, fundamental plot cheating), but I'm with Sloper in that Pakula's films are quite specifically more Antonioniesque, with their threatening treatment of architecture and spatial relationships and their sinister modernist gloss.

Oh, yeah, I wasn't disagreeing with the Antonioni comment (The Conversation only draws that comparison because its plot is so similar to Blow-Up), just the one about it not being as profound.

By the way, what plot cheating are you talking about?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:14 pm 
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[Reveal] Spoiler:
It's always bugged that the big reveal of the difference between the two versions of the overheard conversation hinges on differences of timing, tone and emphasis, since these are exactly the things that are far more likely to be easiest to recover by Caul's surveillance techniques, way before the actual words that are spoken. Basically, I find it completely implausible that what was actually said could be transformed through Caul's processing into what he heard. It seems far more likely to me that he'd misinterpret or unconsciously tweak the meaning of a word or two than he would manage to get every single word as clear as a bell but completely transform the intonation of the phrase from one plausible reading to another plausible reading with the opposite meaning.

This always struck me as a screenwriting gimmick that Coppola was too besotted with to actually think through logically, or, if he did, he decided to privilege the gotcha gimmick rather than work a little harder to find an alternative. And the thing is, there must be any number of possible alternatives that could have worked along the lines of "scuse me while I kiss this guy" or "give me my porpoise when you get home"


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:22 pm 
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[Reveal] Spoiler:
I believe in the commentary that Copplola says the cheat in changing the actual recording is meant to be expressionistic, a situation where in Harry's head a flat statement has two different apparent emphases depending on his (Harry's) emotional state. The first couple of times I watched the movie, I wasn't sure it was a cheat- I thought the context just made the line sound different- so it seems fair enough to me.


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