BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

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swo17
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BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#1 Post by swo17 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:40 am

Five Graves to Cairo

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Only the second Hollywood film directed by Billy Wilder, the riveting World War II spy thriller Five Graves to Cairo is an underrated early gem from the filmmaker, who would ascend to the industry's highest ranks with his next project, Double Indemnity. Five Graves demonstrates that Wilder and screenwriter Charles Brackett—who would collaborate on thirteen films, winning screenplay Oscars for The Lost Weekend and Sunset Boulevard—were already working at the peak of their powers, delivering an espionage yarn that never lets up on the suspense.

The only survivor in his unit after a battle with Rommel's soldiers in North Africa, British Corporal Bramble (Franchot Tone) staggers through the desert until arriving at the largely deserted Empress of Britain hotel, staffed only by owner Farid (Akim Tamiroff) and his French employee Mouche (Anne Baxter). While Bramble hopes to hide there, the hotel doesn't remain deserted for long – Rommel (a scene-stealing Erich von Stroheim) and his men arrive and take over the building as new headquarters. Bramble assumes the identity of a recently killed waiter...only to soon discover that this waiter was also serving as a German spy, a role Bramble now has to adopt for his own survival. And while Mouche knows Bramble's true identity, she has her own reasons for not wanting to aid in his plot.

Named by Quentin Tarantino as one of his favourite films, Five Graves to Cairo is filled with duplicity and danger at every turn. Wilder ratchets up the tension surrounding a disparate group of characters trapped together in wartime, with each hiding their own secrets and their own schemes. The director would soon become one of Hollywood's most lauded talents, but his genius was clearly evident in this early work. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the film in its UK debut on Blu-ray.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• 1080p presentation on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK from a brand new 4K restoration
• Uncompressed LPCM audio (original mono presentation)
• Audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
• Billy Wilder on Five Graves to Cairo
• "Five Graves to Cairo" episode of Lux Radio Theatre, originally aired in 1943, starring Franchot Tone and Anne Baxter
• Theatrical trailer
• A collector's booklet featuring new writing by critic Richard Combs; and an archival article from 1944 about Wilder and Charles Brackett

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therewillbeblus
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#2 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:48 am

Adrian Martin commentary! Also, if you're going to brand Tarantino's All-Time tastes as a key selling point, just release They All Laughed on blu already

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swo17
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#3 Post by swo17 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:55 am

therewillbeblus wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:48 am
Also, if you're going to brand Tarantino's All-Time tastes as a key selling point, just release They All Laughed on blu already
I'm pretty sure it was also an influence on The Joker

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Rayon Vert
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#4 Post by Rayon Vert » Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:56 am

Maybe I should give this one another chance - the quality of the existing (U.S.) dvd may have contributed the first viewing to be a little underwhelming.

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Cash Flagg
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#5 Post by Cash Flagg » Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:04 am

The only advertising copy more meaningless than ‘cult classic’ is ‘Tarantino favorite’.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#6 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:02 pm

Rayon Vert wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:56 am
Maybe I should give this one another chance - the quality of the existing (U.S.) dvd may have contributed the first viewing to be a little underwhelming.
You definitely should. Yes it's an abominable presentation, and I honestly had to rent my lib's DVD several times before getting on board with the film's strengths, because the A/V presentation caused me to disengage so much. Once I got past that, I could see it was an unsung masterpiece, and thankfully never have to endure the caveats of that experience again!
Cash Flagg wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:04 am
The only advertising copy more meaningless than ‘cult classic’ is ‘Tarantino favorite’.
As much as I agree that branding 'Tarantino favorite' isn't consistent at all in relaying the quality of a film, I do think his pattern of making lists and throwing out accolades has done a lot of good. When I was much younger, long before I joined this forum, and was looking for rare or unseen films to go through, I stumbled upon the Tarantino Archives website and went through his lists. While there are some absolute dogs on there, he prompted me to see Bogdanovich's (who I was already a huge fan of off of a few early films) They All Laughed (initiating that love affair) - and even His Girl Friday! For people not immersed in certain bubbles, it was an invaluable resource that planted the seeds for me to move into that sphere.

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tenia
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#7 Post by tenia » Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:40 pm

In some ways, I don't think it matters as long as it can be an incentive for some people to discover new movies possibly outside their usual comfort area. Here it's Tarantino, other times it's Scorsese, at times it's Spielberg or Cameron. As long as someone looks at this and think "OK, then, I'll give it a try", I think it's a good thing, and I tend to think it's actually much more relatable than the very generic and impersonal "cult classic".

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therewillbeblus
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#8 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:47 pm

Definitely, we have all modeled our behavior or interests in development off of people we respected, real idols in our lives or characters on the silver screen, and seek out recommendations based on those as well. Any gateway through the social stratosphere is positive.

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tenia
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#9 Post by tenia » Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:13 am

Unfortunately, this isn't using a new 4K work at all but instead re-uses the older master used in France by Elephant in Nov 2019, which often barely looks HD. It's a shame Eureka didn't manage to obtain the new 4K master, but I'm also very surprised they didn't update the specs since this obviously doesn't look like a recent 4K scan, and I'm quite sure the Eureka team realised that.

Calvin
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#10 Post by Calvin » Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:30 am

tenia wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:13 am
Unfortunately, this isn't using a new 4K work at all but instead re-uses the older master used in France by Elephant in Nov 2019, which often barely looks HD. It's a shame Eureka didn't manage to obtain the new 4K master, but I'm also very surprised they didn't update the specs since this obviously doesn't look like a recent 4K scan, and I'm quite sure the Eureka team realised that.
If they've neglected to remove 'brand new 4K restoration' from the packaging then it will probably need a recall / replacement as the good wouldn't be as described under the Consumer Rights Act 2015

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Cash Flagg
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#11 Post by Cash Flagg » Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:33 am

The back cover says ‘from Universal’s 4K restoration’, no usage of the word ‘new’.

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EddieLarkin
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#12 Post by EddieLarkin » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:02 am

tenia wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:13 am
Unfortunately, this isn't using a new 4K work at all but instead re-uses the older master used in France by Elephant in Nov 2019, which often barely looks HD. It's a shame Eureka didn't manage to obtain the new 4K master, but I'm also very surprised they didn't update the specs since this obviously doesn't look like a recent 4K scan, and I'm quite sure the Eureka team realised that.
Our best hope is that it's an Indicator/Eye of the Tiger situation and Universal provided the wrong master.

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tenia
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#13 Post by tenia » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:18 am

Cash Flagg wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:33 am
The back cover says ‘from Universal’s 4K restoration’, no usage of the word ‘new’.
This clearly isn't a 4K restoration, new or not.
EddieLarkin wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:02 am
tenia wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:13 am
Unfortunately, this isn't using a new 4K work at all but instead re-uses the older master used in France by Elephant in Nov 2019, which often barely looks HD. It's a shame Eureka didn't manage to obtain the new 4K master, but I'm also very surprised they didn't update the specs since this obviously doesn't look like a recent 4K scan, and I'm quite sure the Eureka team realised that.
Our best hope is that it's an Indicator/Eye of the Tiger situation and Universal provided the wrong master.
Eureka responded on blu-ray.com :
Okay we are going to look into this right away.
I can say we specifically requested the new 4K restored master and what we were supplied with came with a scan history that was indeed from a new 4K.
If there was some sort of mix-up with the master we got then we should know for certain soon.
Sorry for any confusion everyone.

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Apperson
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#14 Post by Apperson » Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:27 am

Their follow-up:
Hi everyone,

I have heard back and our master IS from Universal's 4K, so our info was correct.

However Kino have gone ahead and done a new restoration, which we weren't aware they were working on.

They are entitled to a quite generous exclusivity period so we wouldn't have been able to access this master in time for our release.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I do hope those of you who have bought a copy still enjoy the release.

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willoneill
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#15 Post by willoneill » Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:36 am

Well that's a kick in the pants. I like to pre-order things because I feel it's a good way of supporting these labels and keeping physical media alive, but you really have to question the risk sometimes. My copy is already on its way from Eureka directly, and as good as I'm sure it is, Five Graves to Cairo will not be a title I double-dip on. Oh well.

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tenia
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#16 Post by tenia » Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:48 am

I seriously doubt this stems from anything "4K".

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Cash Flagg
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#17 Post by Cash Flagg » Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:21 am

I guess I’ll have to wait until the forthcoming KL hits $6.99 during one of their sales and enjoy what will doubtless be an excellent Martin commentary in the meantime.

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domino harvey
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#18 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:17 pm

First TT’s older Blu of Bernadette looks better, now this? I’ll reserve judgment til we see some caps, but for now I’m glad I put this off til my next UK order

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tenia
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#19 Post by tenia » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:59 pm

Bernadette's issues were because the new Fox restoration was a bit wonkier than it should. This doesn't look recent at all, and nobody in its right mind would think this is anything else than a multiple-decade old master than should never be the basis for a BD release.

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Apperson
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#20 Post by Apperson » Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:31 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:17 pm
I’ll reserve judgment til we see some caps, but for now I’m glad I put this off til my next UK order
There's already a Beaver review, and to try and play nice I'll say that unless someone else corrects me otherwise, there is not a lot of digital anomalies, at least I associate with older master and especially old Universal masters.

I'd almost put it all down to a poor print source although I am far from a expert on this.

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swo17
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#21 Post by swo17 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:09 pm

That doesn't look anything like Bernadette to me

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tenia
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#22 Post by tenia » Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:33 pm


Apperson wrote:
domino harvey wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:17 pm
I’ll reserve judgment til we see some caps, but for now I’m glad I put this off til my next UK order
There's already a Beaver review, and to try and play nice I'll say that unless someone else corrects me otherwise, there is not a lot of digital anomalies, at least I associate with older master and especially old Universal masters.

I'd almost put it all down to a poor print source although I am far from a expert on this.
It's sourced from the same master Elephant used in France, and it's often looking close to a SD upscale. It's extrememy thick, smooth, electronic looking and with poor details. It also shows visible sharpening though to be "fair", it's actually hidden by the overall poorly defined aspect of the picture.

I've seen BDs sourced from proper restorations done from battered prints (and have also recently seen showings from battered 35mm prints in theater), and this has nowhere the still filmic aspect these BDs ans showings had.

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Apperson
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#23 Post by Apperson » Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:07 pm

Seeing as how Arrow did a 4K scan and restoration of The Far Country from the OCN that ended up looking like a feature length dupe there must be reasons these things happen while acknowledging that it was in fact restored.

Now we can only wait and see what Kino do with there own restoration in six-weeks time.
Last edited by Apperson on Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#24 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:24 pm

Well, my preorder just arrived so I’ll be checking it out later (I also snagged the Eureka Song of Bernadette without doing my research, so I’m two for two it seems); but considering my only experience with this film is seeing it twice years apart from the same lib copy of one of the most painfully abysmal A/V transfers I’ve ever experienced, the bar isn’t too high to impress.

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senseabove
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Re: BD 237 Five Graves to Cairo

#25 Post by senseabove » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:32 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:24 pm
Well, my preorder just arrived so I’ll be checking it out later (I also snagged the Eureka Song of Bernadette without doing my research, so I’m two for two it seems); but considering my only experience with this film is seeing it twice years apart from the same lib copy of one of the most painfully abysmal A/V transfers I’ve ever experienced, the bar isn’t too high to impress.
And with Bernadette you also have the consolation of the TT being long OOP and insanely expensive second-hand.

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