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November 13, 2009

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Fuzzy Bastarrd

While I believe that even Richard Schickel should be allowed to live in peace, and that swipes at other critics are mostly a bad habit in your otherwise good writing... I make an exception for Armond White. His relentless nastiness (I still haven't forgiven him for ruining Slate Movie Club) makes him total and absolute fair game, always.

Tom Russell

Great discussion-starter; I think I'm going to spend my lunch talking about scope, 3-D, and mo-cap with my wife. Thanks, Glenn!

We saw DIAL M FOR MURDER last night on TCM, and I remember that the film was shot/exhibited in 3-D. I've never seen it in that format; anyone have an opinion as to how Hitch fared with it?

Sean

I'm disappointed that you're column didn't bring up Jeffrey Wells dream of a Weekend remake by Wes Anderson :(

Brian

One of my favorite Preminger films. Thanks for the screencap-- it really made my day.

Randy Byers

Wait, is that Ed McMahon dancing with the blonde in the background?

Jaime

My favorite Preminger is IN HARM'S WAY, although DAISY KENYON may take the top spot on nights & weekends.

Kehr made me look at Zemeckis differently with BEOWULF, which is one of the best American films of recent years. I've had an off-and-on relationship with his work since I joined the cinephile club in the early '90s. FORREST GUMP was such an overwhelming experience for me that I avoided revisiting the film in the intervening years, during which the peer pressure against it did some serious damage to my original memory. In the meantime, I've been a big admirer of CONTACT and CAST AWAY. Was lukewarm on POLAR EXPRESS, but Kehr is a very persuasive guy, so the fact that I didn't see it on IMAX/3-D stung a little after seeing BEOWULF in that format.

In passing, VistaVision deserves more credit than to stand in CinemaScope's shadow, especially its capacity as a high-density film format. THE SEARCHERS is undoubtedly that format's finest hour, and I can't imagine that masterpiece in 'Scope, Academy, 3-D, or anything else but VV.

Brian

Oh, and I want to add to my earlier comment that the Auteurs piece is fantastic, Glenn-- smart, concise and informative, while sending off all kinds of sparks and cool connections (Godard and Zemeckis and others) for further research.

I should have mentioned all that earlier, but the Preminger screencap was just so seductive that my mind cleared of everything else...

Pete Apruzzese

I ran Dial M for Murder in dual-projector polarized 3-D back in 2004 at my 3-D festival at the Lafayette (and have seen it in 3-D several times prior). For all his bluster about not wanting to use 3-D, Hitchcock used it in a most effective manner. He knew the rules of the stereo window and exploited it brilliantly with the scissors scene. The effect in that scene is startling because he hadn't been constantly thrusting things off the screen beforehand. And he uses the negative space of the window to really isolate Grace Kelly during the trial montage. Incidentally, Dial M should also be shown in widescreen.

david hare

Pete, oddly enough the PAL R4 (and probably R2) DVD's of Dial M mask it to 1.85. I was somewhat taken aback as I've only seen in in Academy, The masking struck me as arbitrary if not hedge betting as so many titles from 53 to 56 are. I certainly don't like the 1.85 masking of Wrong Man for instance which cuts out valuable visual information in the footroom of the frame during the three way sequence between Quayle, Vera Miles and Finda in Quayles office. DiD the film cans you had hired contain projection masking instructions for widescreen? I know Warner did recommend 1.75 for Torch Song (also 53) which again one had onyl ever seen open matte.

Glenn, on this subject the AR of the new Bunuel DVD of la Mort en ce Jardin is possibly insoluble. I can only recollect screenings of it (including TV) in 1.33 or open matte but the composition does leave ample headroom for masking to 1.66 - you can play around with this on your display and try zooming it up. It plays perfectly well either way, and I assume it was filmed with more than "comfortable" headspace to accomodate both open matte and masked 1.66 projection, as were so many titles in Europe in the late 50s. Sp I suspect both ARs are "correct".

Pete Apruzzese

David - the masking on Dial M should probably be 1.75 as I'm fairly certain that was Warner's standard at the time of its production (August-September 1953). Warner, like most majors, shifted production to widescreen (either spherical or 'scope) in the spring of 1953. The DVDs you mention could certainly be too tight as they may be transferred from an element that has already had a bit of zoom applied (unfortunately, all too common). The cans for Dial M were not marked, the leaders had widescreen frame markings inscribed on them. Regarding Torch Song, I don't remember off hand what MGM's policy was at the time, either 1.66 or 1.75 might be correct.

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