I believe so. And there is a difference - definitely.Also, all of the clips in the documentary are consistent with my arguments, the film IS warm and saturated, not cold and sickly like the blu-ray. It makes logical sense, it's meant to be Egypt and Rome, not Valhalla or some north pole, which is the type of color temperature the blu-ray has, but nothing makes much sense in the hardware salesman dogma that has taken over Hollywood, so.
But it's not as drastic as some people are making it out to be. There is wide variation in display setups. Some people posted camera photos on some forums, and it looks entirely different than another user, and so forth .
eg. some guy on the blu-ray forum posted what his looks like from an iphone, and it looks entirely different. His display is definitely not calibrated, way too saturated, high contrast, sky way too blue. But if you were watching that display there would no be indication of "cold and sickly" . Exactly 0% of people would identify that entrance scene as cloudy or "Scotland" or the "North Pole". People would wonder what you were smoking. On the other hand, you could have it calibrated completely differently, possibly the complete opposite.
Looks completely different than some of the screenshots on review sites, and those posted on various sites might not be taken properly, some displays not calibrated ideally etc... The old DVD screenshots might not have been taken properly etc...
If you want objective, undeniable , factual analysis which does not rely on calibration or equipment - you can look those scenes in the BD and , say, the old DVD, with a vectorscope. ie. Examine the actual video streams, not some possibly botched screenshots. I'm guessing you will find a difference , but it won't be night and day difference
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Anyways, the point is there is a lot of variation on how something is displayed, and many factors contributing to differences
Many factors into how a screenshot is taken, rendered to RGB. Many factors on what that screenshot "looks" like on a computer sRGB monitor
Also, a lot of variation on the human perception of the exact same display image .
I still think the "gist" of what you are saying is correct, that the older version is more warm, more saturated. But I think you are overstating how "bad" or how cold the BD version is
Here are the original John De Cuir concept arts for Cleopatra, some featured in the documentary 'Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood', they are extremely beautiful and painfully researched in terms of motifs, etc, I think it is his best work. They are sexier and more seductive than the film itself but I think what we see in the film is a good rendition, if you see the documentary you can see this was a passion project for everyone involved, they wanted to do the greatest film ever made, and I think they succeeded, it was Darryl F. Zanuck, who nobody remembers by name nor do they care about him, whatever films he did that are remembered are not remembered for him, and that shows you what his worth actually was, zero) who ruined everything coming in with his deadlines and budgets, etc. quite tragic.
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The art does look good. But to my untrained eye, I wouldn't be able to tell it was the same artist .
It's an interest of mine, the process - from look development , storyboards and concept design . Invariably things gets watered down , filtered out due to constraints, or cut out because of time/budget etc...How did they get from A to B ? or Why did they decide on this or that ? Not may people watch the "extras" on BD /DVD releases , where they often document some of that, but I enjoy those scenes
Simply pus: Darryl_F._Zanuck was probably one of the most important figures in the history of Hollywood:
If you don't like his work, that's fine, but disliking his work is quite different from saying that he had no influence on all the movies he made.
As for the color and look of the production drawings, that has absolutely nothing to do with anything. It is like looking at the sketch a building architect makes on the back of a napkin: it suggests what the final building will look like, but is so far removed from the technical drawings, then the actual building material, then the construction itself, that by the time the building is finally standing, those drawings are nothing more than an interesting reminder of how the project started. There are thousands and thousand of decisions and details, each of which will alter what is actually built.
Same thing with these movie design sketches.
"in terms of color temperature, brightness and contrast, looks EXACTLY like the original release for dvd of the film, and what I remember from tv showings as a child in the 90's. Further proof that this is what was recorded and the bluray is a butchery."
Further, his "knowledge" of the film itself and the film industry at the time is based on what others have written, selectively picking and choosing points that he believes supports his claims.
Last edited by lingyi; 15th Sep 2019 at 23:50. Reason: Fix quote
I really had no idea who that was, and honestly still do not, even after reading the Wiki entry.
But I also don't live in a "cult of personality" where people throw around names, as if it means anything to me.
That happens to me a lot.
Somebody says NAME, I question who that is, and am met with "How do you not know?"
My answer are generally
- "because I've slept since then"
- "because I don't care" (about the name, not necessarily what the person did; though sometimes both)
- "because it's never been important to know"
Also realize I'm fan of the silent and B&W eras.
I generally remember movies, not cast members, directors, producers, writers, etc. For example, "12 Angry Men" is a favorite, but I couldn't even name one actor that was in it right now. I just appreciated the movie as a movie.
Without reading the Wiki article, I couldn't name any of the movies he produced, but do remember that a production with his name meant a spectacle at the theater or on TV. Same with Quinn Martin, whose name is emblazoned in my mind because of the voiceover of his name "A Quinn Martin Production" after some of the biggest TV shows of the 60's and 70's.
And surely as a cartoon buff Hannah-Barbera has to have a significant meaning for you!
Edit: I knew it's William and Joseph, but had to double check to figure out William Hannah and Joseph Barbera. Thought it was the other way around!
For HB (and MGM), I know artists, directors, writers, etc.
Not all, just most prolific.
And much of that knowledge is from Cartoon Network bumpers during marathons.
I also went to the WB store many, many, many times in the 90s. And places like the Chuck Jones Gallery in NM.
Searching on ebay you can find many italian PAL vhs from different labels with your desired Cleopatra's tree hours theatrical cut in gorgeous original colours
https://www.ebay.it/itm/CLEOPATRA-JOSEPH-L-MANKIEWICZ-VHS-1963-PAL-BUONE-CONDIZIONI-V3...MAAOSwlY1ZLT3h FOX CLASSIC
https://www.ebay.it/itm/CLEOPATRA-KOLOSSAL-VHS-FABBRI-VIDEO/153466486164?hash=item23bb...QAAOSwLSZb7qiV FABBRI VIDEO NEW! SEALED! ONE EURO ONLY!
https://www.ebay.it/itm/VHS-Film-Ita-Avventura-CLEOPATRA-elisabeth-taylor-ex-nolo-no-d...wAAOSwuxRdTbUy DOMOVIDEO EX RENTAL
All dubbed in italian, but it seems to me that you are particularly interested in the editing of the theatrical release version, so, who cares of that lousy aussie betamax?
Last edited by robertoferrari; 16th Sep 2019 at 03:34.
^^ Italian or German. They are still PAL and the OP has no way to see them or get them digitized locally.
Interesting though that these shorter versions are available which suggests that an English-speaking one could turn up one day. Even a NTSC one.
The OP just needs to keep looking which given his obsession with this shorter cut I am sure he will.
You do miss something.
There are multi-system vcrs out there. They are not as cheap as you think. But even if the OP got one he still has the issue of viewing PAL on a NTSC tv. Some vcrs convert and these are even more expensive.
And I also believe he actually wants to hear the dialog. Neither German, which before his later rants I even offered to digitize for him, or Italian would fit the bill.
But if you feel generous why not acquire one of those Italian VHS and digitize it for him ?
I've checked, you're right. I didn't know that the prices of multi vcr were so high today.
I don't need to buy Cleopatra vhs. I have the Fabbri one (somewhere in the deep of the cellar, with tons of other vhs) that I could digitize for him.
But some of his posts lead one to suspect that he is a sort of troll. How can he say that these horrible hitch****'s scan reflects the original look of the film? I saw Vertigo with other four hitch classics in movie theaters in the eighties, in a pristine 35mm restored from the original negative, and can assure that the bluray of Vertigo is comparable to the look and the colour tone of the film, even with the flatness of digital image in front of the crispy grain of the film, more and more than an old vhs from a faded to red positive print.
Some of the things he says would also be right, about the arbitrariness of many digital restorations and transfers. An interesting discussion, off-topic maybe, has sparkled (I very much agree with orsetto posts, and I wanted to add my opinion, but, I regret, I write fairly bad english).
Do not worry about your bad English my friend. Any valid contribution to this thread is more than welcome.
Of course he can not claim with any degree of certainty that any scan/caps reflect the original look of a film. More so a grainy, low definition, VHS. He already admits that he has not seen these films in any cinema/theatre so is influenced by what he saw on a 90's tv or dvd. Even dvds have been restored and early ones were little better than VHS.
But we repeat ourselves. He is not open to discussion since he only sees what he wants to see - even that little word game I set a day or so ago proves that - and everyone else is in the wrong.
I think it's the contrary actually, these are all foreign vhs tapes, just like the one I have which was produced locally in Australia. My guess is that, before the days of the mega corporations, these countries put on tape whatever print of Cleopatra they had,......[/QUOTE]
I am sure glad you used the word 'guess' since that is far removed from reality.
One of the Italian tapes referred to actually had a CBS/Fox label and we also know the story about Magnetic Home Video.
The truth is that VHS of the 80's/90's etc. were produced from whatever print the studio provided to the releasing company. So case in point the early tapes of Ken Russell's 'The Devils' in the UK were manufactured from the butchered, in the sense of cut, US version rather than the slightly more , but still cut, tolerant UK version.
And do you honestly think that Fox would not have re-released Cleo between 1978 and when the two-tape 4+ hour version became the standard ?
The real truth like what is reported to have happened to the missing footage of the film that people simply binned their one tape 3 hour for the more complete 4+ hour one just as I did when longer releases of other titles became available.
[QUOTE=DB83;2560375]Originally Posted by LetThemEatCake;2560363
I think it's the contrary actually, these are all foreign vhs tapes, just like the one I have which was produced locally in Australia. My guess is that, before the days of the mega corporations, these countries put on tape whatever print of Cleopatra they had,......[/QUOTE
As someone who got to see Vertigo in the theaters in the 80s and has it on vhs & dvd & bd, and as someone who has seen Blade Runner multiple, multiple times in the theaters as well as on dvd & bluray (because it is one of my alltime favorites), i can, with my own eyes' experience to back me up, and my decades of being both a rabid consumer & a producer of media, easily and honestly say you are so full of $h!t, which would be funny except you go on insulting people who know and CARE 100 times more about this business and these technologies than you ever will.
There is a seriously dangerous ongoing trend of dismissing experts. You seem to want to lead this bandwagon of clowns.
Kept my mouth shut so far through this whole tortuous thread, but it had to be said. Done.
Well said, Scott
I will never class myself as an expert. But certainly as an enthusiast. And one who was actively buying Betamax and VHS throughout the 70's/80's.
As I stated above, I could not envisage Fox or CBS/Fox not ever re-releasing Cleopatra on home video in the US between 1978 and 1992 even if it was just a re-badged Magnetic Home Video release (which is the date quoted on the net for the longer release)
Sometimes one has to take a step back and use common sense. And not rely on everything one reads on the net.
+1 Scott. Without exception, everything this person says is wrong. In most cases it is not even a matter of taste or opinion. He's doing it all over the Internet. He is someone who clearly is "out there," and has not once done anything that show he is actually serious about his quest.
He is a troll.
Let's all ignore him and this thing will burn itself out.
Those first few years, Magnetic Video used a distinctive box art layout of random still from the movie at the top, with a cutout window showing the tape inside below. Many buyers & sellers were confused because they often used a black and white still for a color movie and vice-versa. The transitional MV boxes en route to becoming CBS/Fox featured full-sleeve artwork of the movie poster with no cutout window. Cleopatra was among the first Magnetic Video titles released, and did not gain full-sleeve box art until it was absorbed back into CBS Fox and re-issued (a few years later) under the studio label at the longer running time. The studios lost their minds between 1981-1986 because they couldn't completely control the video market, resulting in a series of counterproductive moves that frustrated distributors, retailers and renters/buyers. Among those moves was withdrawing certain films that hadn't been selling well, including "Cleopatra", which in 1985 still had plenty of brand new unsold Magnetic Video copies sitting in warehouses. Along with several other Magnetic Video pioneers, it wasn't added to the revamped CBS/Fox slate until the excess backlog of Magnetic Video copies had been sold off (which took years).
The Magnetic Video "shorter" Cleopatra release is hard to find now for the same reasons many of its companion releases are hard to find: age related failure, and collector hoarding. These tapes were never that great quality to begin with, and as sales took off like a rocket they got worse. For a couple years there MV used some really lousy blank tape suppliers like Ampex, which self destructed within a dozen plays and were the bane of video rental shops. The second T60 or L250 tape from the set was especially failure-prone, and extended-play Beta L750 rental cassettes had the life expectancy of a snowball in July. Over the years, most survivors were sold off at flea markets and garage sales. By the time eBay appeared, Magnetic Video cassettes in good condition had become vintage collectibles. Any title that was campy or notorious like "Cleopatra" , "Valley Of The Dolls", "Sound Of Music", "Poseidon Adventure" and "Towering Inferno" largely disappeared from circulation. "Doctor Doolittle" and "The Longest Day" and "Tora Tora Tora" MV tapes pop up on eBay, MV "Cleopatra" does not.
No nefarious conspiracy to suppress the 192 min cut, no big difference between the NTSC and PAL version. Simply age-related decay and loss, and supply/demand of the surviving copies. Thousands of "Cleopatra" tapes were sold by Magnetic Video, but at $69.00 ($150 adjusted for inflation) most ended up as rental store fodder destroyed by indifferent renters and their garbage tape-eating Fisher By Sanyo or Sanyo BetaMax budget VCRs bought from Sears. Few commercial studio tapes from 30-40 years ago survive today: many that I bought new myself in 1984 and only played a couple times are now junk that instantly clogs video heads. The worst offenders? CBS Fox!
Last edited by orsetto; 17th Sep 2019 at 17:02.
"Other companies like Magnetic Home Video, licensed films from 20th Century Fox. In some cases, like "Cleopatra" (1963), Magnetic used subpar prints which may have been sourced from 16mm copies. Viewers may complain about film grain on Blu-ray disc or an occasional scratch today, but they would be appalled by the condition of some of these Magnetic Home Video releases" (Bill Kallay, www.fromscripttodvd.com).
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Definitely he's a troll. And, as every skilled trolls, he mixes up truth and lies, like the devil in the Exorcist, to confuse. He doesn't know that the negatives of five Hitch**** films (Vertigo, Rear Window etc) have been restored by Universal in 1983. And he pretends not to know that the colours of Vertigo (and the aspect ratio, the sharpness, etc.) are terrific in bd release when compared to his dreadful vhs. Obviously i refer to the second edition of the Hitch**** boxset, much more accurate and similar to original 35mm (the first edition was a disaster: the colour schemes in Vertigo was suspect but in the new release colour fixes are applied accurately).
Some things he says are true: digital restorers have an immense power, like plastic surgeons, and they can decide the new look of a classic movie (in fact also in film era someone had this power, look at the so-called restoration of Welles' Othello, or the massacres that distributors and projectionists did in movie theaters with faded-out copies, wrong lenses and masks). As johnmeyer said, photographic emulsion and pixel produce different colors. The first is a pigment, the other like a paint. But the photochemical world has been experiencing final death.
Digital now loves blue and green, and this is the reason why computer screens emphasize these two colors. Until 1980, restoring a film meant producing a perfect copy. Now, as orsetto said, the audiences born with the hd and the PlayStation generation does not want grain or shade, but smoother, gauzier, shinier, more clean frames, so colors are graded according to modern tastes and television sets. Look at the colours of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: in 35mm were pastel, the color palette of the bluray is much more saturated. Digital restorers also remake older special effects created by optical printing methods because they are considered too clumsy, use excessively full sharpness control, add pure motion type frame interpolation to mimic high frame rates, replace original mono tracks with new 5.1 and so on. Today almost all films are shoot in digital, producing a digital intermediate master as a lynchpin source - the so called digital negative - of all end-user formats, so in future the restorers approach will be totally different.
But the serious damage of digital plastic surgery to film mainly are image stabilization and wipe of the grain. 35mm had an imperceptible breath given by the flicker of the film that runs through the projector. The digital tools treat this flicker as a defect to erase with an algorithm. 35mm film has also depth, because each frame contains a slightly different grain that the digital tools wipe out. A fixed shot of a clear blue sky in moving film looks alive and real, in digital appears static, as accidentally paused. But the film grain is considered as an undesiderable detritus of an outdated technology. And the cancellation of the emulsion grain, combined with stabilization, makes a flat image. Few years ago digitally scrubbed-smooth hd masters began appearing on BD. The grain caused a major problem for TV broadcast or internet downloads because, encoded at high bitrate, is a weight for channel bandwith: smaller bitrate, tighter bandwith, more channels in the spectrum.
Sometimes the opposite occours, ironically, with very old films and nitrate negatives or silent tinted films, where the digital tools can recover true b/w tones through the color tints. And can happen that restorers repent their sins: Warner re-release Casablanca without the grain wiped out because the first edition looks awful.
But we can't spare digital because, like orsetto said, it allows to release films in more complete versions, more similar to the original print or to versions wanted by authors, like the recent bd of Metropolis, or Dreyer's Joan of Arc, or just Cleopatra. Thanks to digital, we have a version that begins to be comparable to what Mankiewicz wanted (5 hours and a half!), with an enormous improvement under every aspect in front of a crappy betamax (probably from a 16mm old print).
Last edited by robertoferrari; 17th Sep 2019 at 20:47.
My point is that digital movies could just as easily be graded to look warm.
I think the one place where this discussion would really reveal what is going on is the restoration of three-strip Technicolor. That amazing technology can be graded any way you want and, I assume, could be graded exactly as was done for the original print, if the original filmmakers left behind any notes about what they did.
As for the image stabilization, speaking for myself, I do not miss gate weave, at all. I still remember sitting in the theater in 1976 watching the opening of "Rocky" and seeing that massive title at the beginning, bobbing up and down, like Stallone in the ring during the movie. The artifact was even worse fifteen years earlier when I'd go to the double features which usually used worn prints and, perhaps, smaller gauge film (for the features that were in second run). The image jumped all over the place.
So, no argument about the grain (other than the fact that its elimination is sometimes a technical necessity), but gate weave: R.I.P.
On the other hand, the flicker caused by the multi-bladed projector shutter is an artifact of film projection. The people who do digital transfer and restoration never have to remove it for the simple fact that it doesn't exist. So if you are talking about flicker in post-war films, I'm not sure there is much that the restorer could remove, even if they wanted to.
So, like gate weave, shutter flicker R.I.P.