Borzage Volume 1 & 2: Seventh Heaven / Lucky Star

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by the BFI and the films on them.

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Finch
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#26 Post by Finch » Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:01 pm

#-o Is that what it was? D'oh. In my defense though, I had turned the volume down so when the overture started I didn't hear any sound hence I was thinking that something was wrong with the disc.

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colinr0380
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#27 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:52 pm

DVD Beaver on Volume 1 and Volume 2.

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Yojimbo
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#28 Post by Yojimbo » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:34 pm

I'm STILL waiting on my DVD from Play.Com! :x
(about a month after I received the other set from Amazon!!)

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GaryC
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#29 Post by GaryC » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:08 am

I ordered both from Sendit. Volume 2 arrived on the 11th. I'm still waiting for Volume 1.

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Erikht
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BFI and Borzage

#30 Post by Erikht » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:00 am

Am I wrong in assuming that these are the same transfers as the Fox boxed set?

If so, does this mean that BFI will release all ten Borzage films from that boxed set?

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MichaelB
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Re: BFI and Borzage

#31 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:18 am

They do indeed come from the same Fox HD masters, but my understanding is that the titles that have already been released are the only ones that the BFI has licenced.

So the answer to your question is "almost certainly not".

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Erikht
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Re: BFI and Borzage

#32 Post by Erikht » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:01 am

Thank you, Sir.

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MichaelB
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#33 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:47 am

DVD Times reviews volume 1 (Seventh Heaven/Street Angel)

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antnield
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#34 Post by antnield » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:37 am

DVD Times on Volume Two (Lucky Star/Liliom/The River)

Stefan Andersson
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#35 Post by Stefan Andersson » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:19 am

I wonder if BFI could release Borzage´s Bad Girl? The restoration was shown recently at MoMa.

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Murdoch
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#36 Post by Murdoch » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:02 am

Any chance of blu releases for these?

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tenia
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#37 Post by tenia » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:15 pm

Murdoch wrote:Any chance of blu releases for these?
In France. \:D/ And Region Free.

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Murdoch
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#38 Post by Murdoch » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:25 pm

Didn't know the Carlottas were region free, might import them after all. Thanks, tenia.

Nothing
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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#39 Post by Nothing » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:35 am

Michael, any chance of the BFI re-relasing this set on Blu/dual format? The Carlotta blus are a little expensive (eg. €50 incl. shipping for Seventh Heaven + Street Angel vs. less than €9 delivered for the current BFI)...

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Re: Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star

#40 Post by Nothing » Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:26 pm

Picked up Vol.2 - 4hrs on a single DVD-9! Wow... Since when did the BFI start acting like a public domain company? Would've made far more sense either to use two discs or to push Liliom into a third volume with another talkie. Or, of course, to have released these on blu ala the Carlotta editions.

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antnield
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Re: BFI and Borzage

#41 Post by antnield » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:03 pm

Graeme Hobbs' latest podcast for MovieMail takes a look the BFI Borzages.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Borzage Volume 1 & 2: Seventh Heaven / Lucky Star

#42 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:51 pm

As part of a retrospective on Fox Films ("William Fox Presents: Restorations and Rediscoveries from the Fox Film Corporation")), MoMA is screening "a new digital transfer" of Seventh Heaven.

The DCP looked pretty good. Definitely not bad, but it could be better. There were a few spots where the image was breaking up a tiny bit as if the scan had a tough time resolving some of the finer details, and maybe a shot or two where the grain management is noticeable, but otherwise the texture was left intact - this was a gauzy-looking film. Aspect ratio initially felt strange - it's closer to a square because of the Movietone soundtrack, correct? The soundtrack is mostly score, but there is some notable use of sound effects. Really clean, but for my tastes, the NR is a little heavy handed - towards the top end, the soundtrack gets a little dead.

The film itself was nearly great, because what works is wondrous. I'm reluctant to call it a masterpiece because quite a bit of it left me cold.

There's no faulting the production. Right from the opening shots in the sewer, the production design is spectacular. It looked all the more impressive after catching a brief glimpse of a popular sitcom this morning - the sets were very plain and too clean to be convincing as anything but a set. But take a look at everything in this film (and probably most films from the William Fox era) - every inch of every surface is loaded with texture. Broken down into individual details, it's almost as if the production aspired to be a documentary, as if the scenery had accumulated dirt and wear from many years of actual usage. But those details don't add up to anything that could be mistaken for real life - the sets as a whole look like a fairy tale, which fits perfectly with this unabashedly romantic material. Pretty astonishing work.

The film really takes off the moment they get to Chico's front door, i.e. the film's famous jaw-dropping vertical shot, followed by the marvelous view from Chico's home that's been used in so many promo materials. Visually it's quite stunning, but Janet Gaynor pretty much takes over the film from this point on with her marvelous performance. This section of the film taps into several themes that are pretty common in cinema (and I imagine theater), but they're identified so strongly with the nature of these art forms and the popular nature of moviegoing that they don't lose their power no matter how familiar they may be. Basically Gaynor gets to live (or act) out the life she really covets and believed to be impossible. Just seeing something you'd want has a strong pull, and this section of the film opens that way when Gaynor first steps into Chico's home, but now she has to take part in it. It's a scenario ripe with possibilities, and God knows how many great films have mined it to great effect - Vertigo is the first one that comes to mind. They beautifully exploit the tension that comes with a fantasy being tested by reality - an endpoint has been dictated for Chico and Diane's arrangement and as much as she enjoys it, there's a tender moment where she implicitly acknowledges that she's genuinely responding to something that's perhaps illusory, right after Chico brings her a gift.

It was a pretty great film for me, up until the war breaks out. At that point, the film makes it clear that the spiritual ideas introduced in the beginning are really what it's all about, and they're pretty simplistic ideas - to be brutally frank, maybe even dopey. But the film also becomes a bit slipshod in the way it handles its story elements from this point on. For example, there's nothing wrong with bringing back the sister, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Cross-cutting the outbreak of war with Chico's goodbyes to Diane also came off as pretty weak. You get the idea behind the cross-cutting, but the emotional impact is barely there. Up until the dramatic ending, the rest of the film is mostly spectacle, and this felt a little incongruous to what was a masterful second act. Long stretches of the technically accomplished third act actually felt empty, but there are moments where the re-enactment is quite impressive. (Realizing that the war was only 8 or 9 years removed from the film gave some of these scenes a bit more weight.)

So a little bit of a mixed bag, but much of what's good is extraordinary.

Also, the line "it's true - the government said so" got a hearty laugh.

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