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August 31, 2011


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Mr. Peel

Non Blu-ray related Landis note: Earlier this year at the New Beverly-Edgar Wright festival Landis appeared at the AMERICAN GRAFFITI-ANIMAL HOUSE double bill. I wasn't there that night but apparently he turned up early to watch GRAFFITI which he hadn't seen for years. Afterwards, in addition to having to explain to the mostly twentysomething crowd the significance of Richard Dreyfuss living 'in Canada' said that he was so moved after revisiting the film for the first time in decades that he felt kind of bad for spoofing the 'where-they-are-now' ending in his own film.

Blu-ray related Landis note: The Trailers From Hell Blog recently had a posting where he talked about the releases of both films. He said that at first the transfer for ANIMAL HOUSE looked too nice, "like a Doris Day movie! I made them put the grain and darken all of the shots they had “restored” incorrectly. It now looks great, but the technician kept writing “Image Degraded per Director” in his shot log!" As for THE BLUES BROTHERS, "The BluRay does justice to the great photography of DP Steven Katz."

Suddenly I feel kind of embarrassed that I don't have anything to say about CUL-DE-SAC. I really need to finally see that film.

Kevyn Knox

I must agree with you (and I am sure you have been anxiously awaiting my approval) on Deep End. The film looks and sounds gorgeous.

I cannot wait to get and watch The Egyptian.

The Fanciful Norwegian

Mr. Peel: The thing is that Landis told that exact same anecdote (right down to the "Image Degraded per Director" bit) about the 2003 DVD reissue. My assumption is that Universal has reused that transfer for the new Blu-ray, and that while Landis may have supervised the transfer, he didn't necessarily supervise the Blu-ray encode -- in fact I'd say it's almost obvious he didn't, or at any rate missed the DNR and sharpening that Universal have applied, which weren't present at all on the HD DVD. But then this is Universal's MO (see Apollo 13, The Thing, or The Big Lebowski for other examples). Of course most folks either passed on HD DVD or haven't held onto their players, so if it's not an option then the BDs are still "better than the DVD" (sigh).

Stephen Bowie

Nice to know that John Landis feels bad about ... well, something, anyway.

David Ehrenstein

"L'Age d'O," "High and Low," "Deep End," and "The Killing" are musts. "Leon Morin" is interesting if you're into French Catholicism.

"The Egyptian" is fascinating for Zanuck's efforts at turning his mistress du jour, Bella Darvi, into a star.

Edmund Purdom is a lox.

Owain Wilson

Essential reading!

Stephen Winer

"the first and last time Stuart Whitman was asked to represent American self-interest." Believe it or not, no. Have you not seen the utter derangement that is the film version of Norman Mailer's "An American Dream"? I saw that for the first time this year and am still trying to kick it out of my head.

Tom Block

I thought "Kalahari" reeked my own self. If that's a brutal critique, no wonder American self-interest is doing so well.

Glenn, if you haven't seen Ray's "Days and Nights in the Forest", you've got a treat in store. It's easily available on disc and it's just a mother.

Hey...and VIGO.

Glenn Kenny

Waiting on Vigo. Very eager.

Stephen: Good catch! Despite the title, I always think of that character's attitude and predicament as endemically '60s New York, but you're absolutely right. Funny.


I've got AN AMERICAN DREAM sitting on the DVR, waiting for me to watch it. Does that mean I should?

Also, Glenn, jesus, man, nice work here.

Owain Wilson

Me and my chums are enjoying - maybe enjoying isn't the right word - an occasional season of films on blu-ray at my house which goes under the name 'Dodgy Sci-Fi And Fantasy Films Of The 70s And 80s'.

So far we've watched Krull, Flash Gordon (actually not dodgy in the slightest), and Battle Beyond The Stars. We had very fond memories of the latter film and were very much looking forward to seeing it again after many years. It has much going for it (James Horner's score, that Viking woman's eye-popping costume and the terrific 'ga-ga-goinnnggg!' laser sound effect to name a few) but we were sad to find that it was a really tough watch, man.

Stephen Winer

By all means watch "An American Dream". It is so outrageous that it puts "Valley of the Dolls" and perhaps even "The Oscar" to shame. I promise that whatever the film does to you (and I am not responsible for any film-related medical emergencies) you will not be bored! Bewitched, bothered and bewildered but definitely not bored.


Wasn't DEEP END from 1970?

Also nearly three years, my local public library system thought that it would be a great idea to get rid of all its VHS videos, which means I can no longer see CHARULATA. Madhabi Mukherjee: there is one actress badly served by DVD.

Glenn Kenny

Indeed, 1970. (These things hardly ever go up without at least one typo, alas.) Couldn't be '67, there was no Can then...


I like that Can is credited as "The Can" in the "Deep End" credits...

Mr. Milich

I don't know if it's a Universal thing. Fast Times at Ridgemont High is Uni, and they didn't do a damn thing to clean it up -- it's so grainy it's punk. Even the chrome title at the beginning is dirty instead of polished.

Transfers can even vary in a single collection. Why does Raising Arizona look astonishing in the new Coens collection while Miller's Crossing has DNR softness to it (made worse by the shallow-focus photography)?

Still nothing looks worse than Ran.

David Ehrenstein

It may have been made in 1970 but it was released in 1971


I can't believe how good L'age d'Or and Un Chien Andalou look - about a thousand times better than their North American standard def counterparts.

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