900 100 Years of Olympic Films

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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cdnchris
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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#126 Post by cdnchris » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:58 am

Minkin wrote: Looks like there is indeed a Criterion spine on it (if you look carefully enough - opposite side from the gold "100 Years").
Yes, it's there. There is a peel-off with the description and details:
Image


And then under that is the spine:
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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#127 Post by djproject » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:08 pm

Never thought I would see explicitly stated on the packaging the instrument of our collective financial ruin/oblivion ;) =D

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#128 Post by Gregory » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:46 pm

Summer Olympics 1912 through Summer Olympics 2012 is 101 Years of Olympic Films, not 100.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#129 Post by phred2321 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:02 pm

Gregory wrote:Summer Olympics 1912 through Summer Olympics 2012 is 101 Years of Olympic Films, not 100.
1912 is year 0

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#130 Post by swo17 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:20 pm

1/1/1912-12/31/2012 is 101 years but 5/5/1912-8/12/2012 is 100 and change.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#131 Post by Gregory » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:30 pm

Since the title is about years I was counting years as the units. If both years bookending the range had Olympic films representing them, then both count. When will Criterion reprint this set to correct this embarrassing gaffe?

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#132 Post by Drucker » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:39 pm

The millennium actually starts in 2001.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#133 Post by zedz » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:57 pm

Drucker wrote:The millennium actually starts in 2001.
Oh I do hope we get some obtuse obsessive insisting that the 1990s ran from 1991 to 2000. It's happened before; it can happen again!

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#134 Post by domino harvey » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:27 pm

This is why I only follow the Willennium

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#135 Post by djproject » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:18 am

#ZeroMatters

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#136 Post by Ribs » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:00 am

I chose to start semi-arbitrarily with Snows of Grenoble, which while initially a bit pedestrian turns very interesting once they begin showing the same sport/event repeatedly. There’s a particularly exciting part where someone with a helmet-mounted camera is following someone on the slalom his entire run. And there’s a very interesting segment where a filming helicopter crashes and the narrator begins to get all reflexive and question how we can reconcile that image with the wider event.

This set is clearly something special and I’m so excited to spend the next (let’s be honest) several years diving into its plentiful content.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#137 Post by djbarry » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:36 am

To anyone who already has the set, are all of the films in mono or are there any with stereo or surround tracks?

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#138 Post by Ribs » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:06 am

Went on to The Melbourne Rendez-vouz, which was substantially less exciting. It’s basically just an extended newsreel, with that same type of corny non-humor in its overpresent narration. It spends way too much time interested in everything but the Olympic sports - there’s ten minutes before they even get to the opening ceremony about how cool Melbourne is, and there’s constant diversions to the home lives of the athletes and things like that. Almost the only thing thar really stood out to me was a sequence dedicated to what it is, exactly, the Officials do at the events. Looks fantastic, though.

The films are all Monaural, until the 1984 film when they switch to stereo. Four films are included in 5.1:
Games of the XXI Olympiad, Olympic Glory, The Everlasting Flame, and First.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#139 Post by tenia » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:37 am

In the end, do we know which / how many movies exactly have been restored in 4K (in opposition to only 2K) ?

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#140 Post by djbarry » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:46 am

Ribs wrote:Went on to The Melbourne Rendez-vouz, which was substantially less exciting. It’s basically just an extended newsreel, with that same type of corny non-humor in its overpresent narration. It spends way too much time interested in everything but the Olympic sports - there’s ten minutes before they even get to the opening ceremony about how cool Melbourne is, and there’s constant diversions to the home lives of the athletes and things like that. Almost the only thing thar really stood out to me was a sequence dedicated to what it is, exactly, the Officials do at the events. Looks fantastic, though.

The films are all Monaural, until the 1984 film when they switch to stereo. Four films are included in 5.1:
Games of the XXI Olympiad, Olympic Glory, The Everlasting Flame, and First.
I'm surprised that Criterion missed that one. I know that White Rock was released with a four-track stereo soundtrack.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#141 Post by Ribs » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:55 am

The included book doesn’t explain each film’s restoration in detail, so presumably it would require going through the restoration Credits at the end of each film. Adrian Wood’s piece is very detailed and explains that the Mexico City 1968 and Seoul 1988 were the only two film-based titles that were only done in high-definition rsther than 2K or 4K though.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#142 Post by djproject » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:03 am

tenia wrote:In the end, do we know which / how many movies exactly have been restored in 4K (in opposition to only 2K) ?
Ribs wrote:The included book doesn’t explain each film’s restoration in detail, so presumably it would require going through the restoration Credits at the end of each film. Adrian Wood’s piece is very detailed and explains that the Mexico City 1968 and Seoul 1988 were the only two film-based titles that were only done in high-definition rsther than 2K or 4K though.
As I had pointed out, based on the site, Olympic Gold was scanned at 8k as it was shot on IMAX, also making this the first time Criterion has released something scanned at that resolution (currently the highest commercially possible ... I'm sure the concept of anything greater than 8k has been done in some prototype form.)

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#143 Post by Ribs » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:16 am

There's more details about specific films and the restoration project as a whole in the Adrian Wood essay, but it doesn't go through and list each film beat by beat explaining the restoration process. The 1992 Albertville film (I believe) has a mix of video footage and restored filmed footage due to different versions being combined, as well.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#144 Post by cdnchris » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:43 am

I've been going through the set chronologically and just got through the third disc, but the credits don't seem to explain what resolution they've been done in unless I wasn't paying attention, though whether 2K or 4K they're all so far looking really good. I'm also very surprised by the restoration work. I was expecting some to be pretty rough, maybe only the bigger films (Tokyo Olympiad, Olympia, etc.) getting the full treatment but they're all in incredible shape, and most of the time it's usually just minor scratches or faint tram lines. The lengthier Jean de Rovera one on the second disc (for the 1924 Paris games) is the only one (so far) that seems to have a few severe moments, like chemical stains or mold residue that almost wipe out the image during the rugby portion, but otherwise the materials look good (again, so far).

I've been reading the book as I go through them and Cowie seems a bit dismissive of the filmmaking behind the films before Olympia but I thought the de Rovera ones were pretty good. The lengthier one for the Paris games is really, in the end, just a catalogue of each competition sharing highlights and could probably be broken up into news reels, but I liked his use of slow-motion, and there's a few times where the film will be at a "normal" frame rate (whatever it was) and then suddenly go into slow motion and back again. He also does a cool bit of editing when he edits together a sort of montage of ski jumps for the winter games. The short 8-minute one about how the Greeks performed in the Olympics is a bit goofy but it looks good.
Ribs wrote:Went on to The Melbourne Rendez-vouz, which was substantially less exciting. It’s basically just an extended newsreel, with that same type of corny non-humor in its overpresent narration. It spends way too much time interested in everything but the Olympic sports - there’s ten minutes before they even get to the opening ceremony
Wait until you get around to The White Stadium. It's a good half hour of setting up "the scene" in St. Moritz before we get to anything, by which time it's better. But the opening shows the town and its people and then endless shots of the winter landscape, I guess so that we know there is snow there in case we hadn't figured it out yet. Thankfully it was shorter but for some reason I felt the length of this one more than the near-three-hour ones that came before.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#145 Post by Ribs » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:49 am

I went through the first two of those Rovera films tonight (The Olympic Games Held at Chamonix in 1924 and The Olympic Games as They Were Practiced in Ancient Greece) and had a real good time with both. It's a bit just point-and-shoot for some events but as you say the occasional usage of slow-motion can impress regardless. I had a great time with the second short, though, for all its ridiculousness - it's always just entertaining to watch two people beat each other up in slow motion. I also appreciated how the film was like, "also, they used to kill people, anyway, goodbye!"

I also watched The Horse in Focus, which was totally functional and I have basically no memory of very shortly after watching it.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#146 Post by MSTie2016 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:18 am

djproject wrote:
tenia wrote:In the end, do we know which / how many movies exactly have been restored in 4K (in opposition to only 2K) ?
Ribs wrote:The included book doesn’t explain each film’s restoration in detail, so presumably it would require going through the restoration Credits at the end of each film. Adrian Wood’s piece is very detailed and explains that the Mexico City 1968 and Seoul 1988 were the only two film-based titles that were only done in high-definition rsther than 2K or 4K though.
As I had pointed out, based on the site, Olympic Gold was scanned at 8k as it was shot on IMAX, also making this the first time Criterion has released something scanned at that resolution (currently the highest commercially possible ... I'm sure the concept of anything greater than 8k has been done in some prototype form.)

I am very interested to know if Olympic Gold's IMAX full square aspect ratio is preserved here, as opposed to cropping that to a 16:9 that's used for most movies filmed in IMAX.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#147 Post by Ribs » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:14 am

Went on to XIVth Olympiad: The Glory of Sport yesterday, which according to the book is among the most commonly requested of the films from broadcasters. It's not reinventing the wheel but it's utterly engrossing (particularly once they move to London) - it's basically just a standard filmed record without much flair, but it moves at such a pace from event to event to event and the narration (which hops around from commentator to commentator) is done without any useless japes, just treating the facts as-is with a modicum of extra detail. The highlight of what I've watched so far.
MSTie2016 wrote:I am very interested to know if Olympic Gold's IMAX full square aspect ratio is preserved here, as opposed to cropping that to a 16:9 that's used for most movies filmed in IMAX.
It's in 1.33:1.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#148 Post by peoriashows » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:15 pm

Ribs, I'm really enjoying your thoughts on the films. Keep them coming as you view the films. I am very excited about this set. Mine should be arriving today and I can't wait to dig in.

I've always enjoyed The Olympics because it's not just high energy entertainment with overpaid, testosterone fueled jocks trying to kill each other for the enjoyment of the crowd. They are a unique mixture of culture, arts and sports. This was Baron Pierre de Coubretan's original vision for the games. The artistry and diversity of each Olympic film displays this often forgotten virtue of the Olympic Games. I'm so very glad these films are receiving their proper treatment finally. Only a handful of these have ever been readily available on video prior to this. Several from the 80s and 90s received some cable broadcasts, but no video release, so I haven't seen them since I was a kid. There are others I've gotten to see inferior prints of on Youtube in recent years but many of them I've never seen or heard of.

If you're going through them randomly and want some suggestions: There are the obvious masterpieces Olympia and Tokyo Olympiad, of course, but some other amazing ones to dig into include Visions of Eight, White Rock (arguably the most unusual of all the Olympic films,) Marathon and Bud Greenspan's original untouchable classic 16 Days of Glory, which set a gold standard for sports film and broadcasting for years to come and I don't feel he's ever received the proper credit from the producers and directors he inspired with that film.

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#149 Post by Ribs » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:11 pm

I'm deliberately trying to save the "better" films for towards the end, other than that I want to watch the first Greenspan film before the others so it'll probably be the first of the "major" works I get into.

Yesterday I watched The Everlasting Flame, which I found interesting as one of the few Olympics I actually really remember (I was super into the 2006 Torino games and haven't really paid attention since). It's actually somewhat interesting, because while it's mostly just HD digital footage I'm fairly sure there are a handful of inserts that are actually from film stock for certain events. But these are an Olympics it was impossible not to pay attention to - it will always and forever be the biggest Olympics ever, because of the absolutely ludicrous expense, and the downright bonkers scale of the opening ceremony. It's changed the Olympics that now the Opening Ceremonies are *the* thing and they are supposed to find visionaries to guide them as the biggest live performances in the world. This does the same trick structurally as I expect many of these films will do, which is following a handful of athletes before the Olympics before getting into the actual ceremony maybe 15 minutes in; in this case it feels utterly necessary, as just starting with that production would be just visual overload. I don't really have too many thoughts about everything after that, other than the amusing "oh, by the way, Michael Phelps beat 7 world records, anyway, back to other sports" swipe away of literally the only thing people seemed to talk about here in the US during the games. Diving, boats, and horses are all inexplicably saved for literally two shots each of the ending montage.

I'm *adoring* this set, incidentally. I didn't mean to just go through one a day but I honestly can't bring myself to try and watch something else when there's so much more of this left. And I'm already hoping there's plans in place for a good release, probably not by Criterion, of the 2014 and 2016 films (both are available for streaming online, which'll suffice in the interim).

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Re: 900 100 Years of Olympic Films

#150 Post by peoriashows » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:31 pm

Ribs wrote:I'm deliberately trying to save the "better" films for towards the end, other than that I want to watch the first Greenspan film before the others so it'll probably be the first of the "major" works I get into.
You definitely should! When I saw 16 Days of Glory on VHS for the first time as a kid in the late 80s, it changed my entire perception of sports coverage. It's a stunning work of art and you can see how live event directors use its film and editing techniques to this very day. I was excited to see this set includes both parts of the original 16 Days of Glory for a total running time of around four and a half hours. Part II was released separately on VHS in the 80s, but was not as well received by video stores at the time and it has since become a rarity. I have not see Part II since renting it at a kid and I'm very excited to see it again on this set. Greenspan's Olympic films since then maintained a high standard of quality, but still went slightly downhill after the popularization of digital video, so starting from his Salt Lake films on, they're a little more jarring to the eye than his previous features.
Ribs wrote:Yesterday I watched The Everlasting Flame, which I found interesting as one of the few Olympics I actually really remember (I was super into the 2006 Torino games and haven't really paid attention since). It's actually somewhat interesting, because while it's mostly just HD digital footage I'm fairly sure there are a handful of inserts that are actually from film stock for certain events. But these are an Olympics it was impossible not to pay attention to - it will always and forever be the biggest Olympics ever, because of the absolutely ludicrous expense, and the downright bonkers scale of the opening ceremony. It's changed the Olympics that now the Opening Ceremonies are *the* thing and they are supposed to find visionaries to guide them as the biggest live performances in the world. This does the same trick structurally as I expect many of these films will do, which is following a handful of athletes before the Olympics before getting into the actual ceremony maybe 15 minutes in; in this case it feels utterly necessary, as just starting with that production would be just visual overload. I don't really have too many thoughts about everything after that, other than the amusing "oh, by the way, Michael Phelps beat 7 world records, anyway, back to other sports" swipe away of literally the only thing people seemed to talk about here in the US during the games. Diving, boats, and horses are all inexplicably saved for literally two shots each of the ending montage.

I'm *adoring* this set, incidentally. I didn't mean to just go through one a day but I honestly can't bring myself to try and watch something else when there's so much more of this left. And I'm already hoping there's plans in place for a good release, probably not by Criterion, of the 2014 and 2016 films (both are available for streaming online, which'll suffice in the interim).
I remember those games well, but even as magnificent as those opening ceremonies were, nothing tops the torch lighting in Barcelona in 1992. It's the most memorable ever in my opinion. Does the book mention anything about why some Olympic Games have multiple films in the set and others do not? While Marathon, about the 1992 Barcelona Games, is a magnificent film, Bud Greenspan also made a 16 Days of Glory entry about the Barcelona games which was excellent and captured the lighting of the flame better than Marathon did. I am confused and a bit disappointed that it was left off this set. Similarly, he made a Seoul '88 16 Days of Glory which is not included, but I am excited to see there are not one, but three films covering the '88 Seoul Games. I'm really looking forward to those because that was the first year I started watching every second of coverage I could see. Greenspan also made a documentary in the early 80s about the 1932 L.A. games which have no film included on this set. While it's not an official Olympic film, it would have made a nice place holder in lieu of not having one for the '32 games. But, I hesitate to criticize this set at all, seeing how much they did include

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