231 The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

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Jonathan S
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Re: 231 The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

#126 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:15 am

In the UK at least, I suspect screenings of older films were always a big gamble. I recall a school outing in the mid-1970s to see Olivier's Richard III - a special one day showing at the local Odeon. The 35mm print was - to use a now apt metaphor - little more than a skeleton of the original film, with missing lines and jump-cuts galore (is this sort of experience what inspired deliberate jump-cuts?) But I don't recall anyone complained much as it was expected then of "an old film". With anything that wasn't first-run, I felt a sense of trepidation every time the first end-of-reel cue mark appeared and a mild elation if we started the next reel without an obviously missing chunk of the movie. I do miss cue marks on most digital transfers.

Of course, many famous films were not available at all, even when they weren't so old. By 1982, when I came to programme Ryan's Daughter for a Lean season, we were informed all the UK 35mm prints had been junked - though the older and much more popular Doctor Zhivago had recently been revived in mainstream cinemas. At university a few years earlier it was such a treat when we got to see a 35mm print (e.g. The Savage Innocents) that nobody minded how beat-up it was. Most films had to be studied in 16mm - Written on the Wind was analysed for weeks using a 4:3 black & white copy!

As for The Testament of Dr Mabuse, in 1978 I hired a nice - for its time - 16mm copy for the school film society. But it proved to be caviar to the general; within twenty minutes, the audience of teenagers was restless and by the hour-mark - rather than just leave - they were shooting paper planes at each other (made from my carefully written programme note!)

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MichaelB
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Re: 231 The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

#127 Post by MichaelB » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:14 am

There's very little question that repertory cinemas could get away with a lot more in the 1980s and 90s, because their audiences tacitly (or explicitly) understood that that was the best they were likely to get without a proper revival. There's no way a current cinema could get away with showing, say, the 16mm print of Wild Strawberries that was all we had access to in the early 90s (not too bad visually, but the subtitles were sometimes very hard to read).

It's obviously a good thing that the average viewer has become much fussier over the last decade or so, not least because it forces distributors to up their game - but the downside is that prints that were considered showable before then may well not pass muster now. And if they're the only bookable 35mm (or 16mm) copies, then effectively they end up being taken out of big-screen circulation - either that or the cinema has to make the unappetising choice between a duff print and a projected DVD or Blu-ray (I'm assuming a DCP wouldn't be available in such circumstances).

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Mr Sausage
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The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang, 1933)

#128 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:19 am

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Mr Sausage
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Re: The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang, 1933)

#129 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:22 am

As the winner of the Fritz Lang Auteur List, M, has already been discussed here, the runner up is our topic for discussion. Have at it!

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang, 1933)

#130 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:56 pm

So, this is silly, but I've always wondered- does the presence here of inspector Lohmann mean that M exists in a world where hypnotism, super science, and literal ghosts all exist? It's a strange linkage, particularly given that Lohmann is a far more heroic character here than he is in his origin, where he borders on fascistic in his methods- do y'all feel like the movie benefits from his presence?

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knives
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Re: The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang, 1933)

#131 Post by knives » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:10 pm

I mostly take it as an excuse to work with the actor again. A bit like a reverse of the Leone trilogy.

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