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March 07, 2012


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Mr. Milich

I would think that even a bad transfer of Manhattan would get an A+ on pure visual quality.

The only reason I'm not blown away by the Blu-ray is that I've seen the movie so many times, it feels like more of an upgrade than a rediscovery.

Annie Hall, on the other hand, is so far above any previous transfer that it feels like I'm watching it again brand new.

The Siren

Rebecca is a great movie, and anyone who thinks Selznick worked to its detriment needs to read the D.O.S./Hitch correspondence where the director suggests putting Rebecca on screen and making Fontaine's character more amusing and sophisticated. I'm glad it's looking good in this transfer. I can't wait to see my man George Sanders come in through the window again.

The Tetzlaff story is a new one on me, and hilarious.

Must see The Terrorizers, as I am a huge fan of Yi Yi. One man's "low-key Taiwanese domesticity" is another (wo)man's "shattering emotional roller coaster," I guess.

Pete Apruzzese

Excellent guide, as usual, Glenn. I've seen a number of these and can offer my technical comments, if you'll indulge me:

Anatomy of a Murder: Agreed, it's just about perfect and looks exactly like the 35mm print that I ran in 2010.

The Apartment: A solid upgrade over the DVD, greater stability and grey-scale. Wish they included the original mono audio, but the 5.1 isn't particularly offensive so it's a wash.

Casino Royale: Just saw an original Technicolor 35mm print a couple of weeks ago and the Blu-ray has better color and sound. Just beautiful to look at and listen (though I think the movie just about dies during that Deborah Kerr/McTarry castle scene and takes a long time to recover).

Notorious: There are so many opticals in this movie, some of which run for minutes at a time (the opening scene, nearly half a reel long, for example), that its occasional lack of definition is baked into the source and can't be fixed. The Blu looks as good as any print I've ever seen.

Rebecca: Perfect Blu-ray. Rich tonal range, virtually flawless print quality.

Spellbound: Falls right in-between Notorious and Rebecca in Blu quality. A great upgrade for fans of the movie.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Wait, wait, so your statement about a Criterion Woody Allen... I had always thought the lack of extras on Allen discs was at Allen's request, but is that not the case? Does that mean there's some faint possibility that we might someday get to see the original cut of Anhedonia?


As much as I love ANATOMY OF A MURDER - it's my favorite courtroom drama and my favorite Preminger film - the extras are what make the Criterion worth the purchase (which I will do when Barnes & Noble has its 50% off sale later in the year). There's an interview with Foster Hirsch, who wrote a biography of Preminger, and who talks about Preminger in general and the movie in particular (full disclosure; he's also a customer at our store, and he's a good guy as well as very knowledgeable about film), an interview with Gary Giddins about jazz scores in general at the time and Duke Ellington's in particular, an interview with Pat Kirkham, who wrote a biography of Saul Bass, about Bass' working relationship with Preminger and other directors, and much more. All of them are fascinating, but especially the interview with Giddins.


We do pretty much know what a Criterion Woody Allen platter would look like—Criterion released both Annie Hall and Crimes and Misdemeanors on laserdisc, sans extras.


Sigh. I need to rob a bank. THIS is the entry that should have "full suicidal depression" in the title.

Couple things:

Edyth Van Hopper is the character; the inimitable Florence Bates played her.

I wouldn't have thought STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER would land on my must-see list, but the words "Debra Paget" and "hoochie dance" suggest otherwise. But I have one quibble with you. I realize such things are entirely subjective, but Paget's dance in THE TIGER OF ESCHNAPUR merely induces involuntary seizures in me. Her cobra dance in THE INDIAN TOMB, however, brings on full cardiac arrest. The idea that someone might experience this the other way around does not compute. Forget Zoe Saldana -- a screensaver of Paget coaxing a cobra in her blindingly white glorified pasties would be a one-way ticket to divorce court.

warren oates

The VIVE L'AMOUR Blu looks great too, though I really wish they'd put out his best early film THE RIVER. So I couldn't make it through YI YI which at the time seemed like Ozu-lite to me. But those stills you posted previously from THE TERRORIZERS intrigue me because they look more like something from Antonioni.


Eh, "blindingly white" doesn't really describe those jewel-encrusted pastie things Paget almost wears -- but it's hard to think clearly on this subject. Not enough blood gets to the brain.

Michael Adams

"But (to paraphrase Robert Christgau) if you’re not at least a LITTLE big on Bruce Dern, why are you reading this blog."

On one of my first dates with the teeny-bopper who would become my life's companion, she revealed a passion for Dernsie, based primarily on his guest shots on series such as The Fugitive. She immediately replaced Debra Paget as my ideal woman.

Glenn Kenny

@j bryant: Hmm, coulda gotten the dances mixed up. Clearly, though, my essential point was understood.

Russ Queen

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a hoot. And I still can't quite forgive both the performance by and treatment of Laurie Bird in Two Lane Blacktop. It is still a masterpiece, though, of course.


So THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE, the Academy Award's preference over THE SORROW AND THE PITY is on blu-ray. Any chance Ophuls will be that lucky, or any of the videos in New Yorker limbo?


The Prince of Darkness, Gordon Willis couldn't have gone any darker than he did in Manhattan. Some beautifully dark shots inside the apartment with Isaac and Tracy.


Something to include in the next Consumer Guide - 20th Century Fox has quietly re-issued "The French Connection," using a new master that restores the original look: http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=8328

Not David Bordwell

You know, the Debra Paget cobra dance from INDIAN TOMB is on teh YouTubez:


I had never seen it before. It does, um, impress.

Jason LaRiviere

Glenn, for an excellent critical assessment of TERRORIZERS, see Jameson's chapter on it in THE GEOPOLITICAL AESTHETIC.


NDB: It may be the greatest single thing the cinema has ever produced. Therefore, here's a better quality version:


Peter T Chattaway

So does this version of Annie Hall correct that subtitling error that somehow got onto the DVD version of that film? (I refer to the scene where Alvy and Annie's thoughts are at odds with their words.)


@ Peter, they removed '[thinking]' but they appear a little too early, which has a slight impact on the joke. FWIW, they used a yellow digital overlay instead of white optical subtitling - personally, I wished they used the latter. You can see a little bit of it in one of the screenshots on DVDBeaver:


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