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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For you Southern Californians and others who may not be aware, several films at Grauman's Egyptian/American Cinematique:

Playtime Jacques Tati's final film, filmed in 70mm and restored at the behest of his daughter from what I had heard was the single remaining 70mm copy. January 22, 23 @7:30PM; 24 @ 8:15PM

Hello Dolly Well, yeah, but it has Louis Armstrong in it, at least. New Todd-AO print. January 24 @ 5 PM

Sleeping Beauty Disney's. Beautiful but rather static. January 25 @1 PM

Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines I liked it as a teen and actually bought and played the soundtrack album (you will wish you could purge the theme song from your brain if you go to see this). Lots of neat old airplanes. New Todd-AO print. January 25 @4 PM

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Why people think this is still funny is a mystery to me. The 154 minute version, new print. January 25 @ 7:30 PM

Vertigo, in a 70mm print, with Kim Novak in attendance, shows tonight, January 17, at 5:30. Doubtlessly sold out, but I believe it was Hitchfan who said he got into sold-out 3-D movies by waiting in the "waiting" line.
 

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Thanks for the update.


I forgot about my flyer from them. I would like to see "TMMITFM" on the 25th, maybe I'll see you there. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'll be on my way to Cincinnati for training for work; Playtime is the only one I'll be able to see. Wouldn't have minded seeing Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Egyptian is a pain in the ass to get to.


Granted. I marvel at the difficulty of getting around in the LA area. The only time I've found it isn't is in the dead of night and in the middle of the day in the work week, when everybody is working.
 

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I was there for the Vertigo event. Gorgeous print, but I'm actually not a fan of the 'restored' soundtrack of this great film, which, I guess is supposed to be some form of heresy these days. So, here's the rant.


Among other things, there are now lots of extra noticeable twittering bird sounds (uh...'surround' sounds, that is) in nearly every daylight scene, an almost comically loud 'thump' of the body hitting the rooftop, at least one missing effect from the original that had added a clever dimension to Elster's ghost story pitch to Scottie and, most unfortunate of all, that horrible, 'new' instantaneous end credit crawl coming in right on top of the final shot of Scottie at the window ledge (and the Paramount mountain tag) with the inexplicable repeat of the opening credit music.


I realize it's only fair that the restorers make sure they and anyone else who contributed to the restoration get due credit, but wouldn't it have been much more fitting for THIS particular film and for the sake of Hitchcock's apparent original intention for the final visual and aural impression of Vertigo to give us perhaps a full count of 5 seconds of NO credits at that moment in order to allow what we have just seen to sink in and then let all the 'new' end credits in the world crawl along in silence without the happy exit music?


I've seen this 'restored' version of Vertigo a few times now and I also saw the cleaned up version that came out in the 80's (soon after Hitchcock died) several times as well. I distinctly remember that the distributors of those earlier releases prided themselves in not "Dolby-izing" the soundtrack or altering anything of Hitchcock's finished product.


But, as I understand it, the musical soundtrack of this latest restored version was even re-recorded to 'enhance' the musical experience. I wouldn't be surprised. What used to be a powerful underlying force in perfect accord with the dialog and performances of the actors now feels more like one of those John Williams tour de force "Hey look at me, Ma!" musical performances. I'm not certain that it's a better Vertigo when I'm aggressively made aware that the violin section is on the left and the oboes are on the right and the twittering birds are in some unseen tree behind us and so on.


The bottom line for me is that, sadly, and despite the beautiful VISUAL improvements in this restoration, the 'new and enhanced' soundtrack has lessened the emotional impact of Vertigo. I've felt it in myself. I've felt it in the audiences with whom I've shared the experience.


My hope is that there will some day be ANOTHER restored version of Vertigo in the future where all the original elements are 'restored' and not 'enhanced' and any and all new credits or musical riffs are placed far enough after the final moment of the movie that they don't introduce an all new mood that the original filmmakers had no intention of introducing at that exact moment.


Whew! That said, Kim Novak was in fine condition for a 70 year old lady. She stood with mike in hand and responded animatedly and enthusiastically to Q&A after the movie for a good half hour, mostly regarding her career and decision to leave 'show-biz' for life in the Great Northwest. Still a Star.


BTW, Tippi Hedren and Diane Baker, two more Hitchcock collaborators, were in attendance for the screening (didn't participate in the Q&A, this was Kim's weekend) and also attended the catered reception afterwards at the Hollywood Heritage Museum where Novak received an honor and plaque in recognition of her contributions to the movie industry and to the Heritage fund (I think). As many of you probably know, Hedren and Novak are both actively involved in animal rights and conservation efforts and have been friends for years.
 

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The soundtrack was no re-recorded. It was recorded to digital and the analog master were actually falling apart in the deck as it was playing. That is why one section sounds not too great.


You have to understand, the original elements you want are gone. They do not exist. The restoration team did the best they could with what they had.
 

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Yes, I know the story goes that the original elements are gone, but what were they using when they re-released Rope, Rear Window, Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Vertigo in theaters around the country back in the 80's without any "Dolby-izing" of the sound elements?


Those versions looked and sounded pretty good to me and the sound effect levels and music cues of Vertigo were not as souped up, distracting and seemed to support the emotional moments much better without drawing so much attention to the musicians and twittering birds.


In fact, I don't think any of those other films have gotten the 'new and enhanced' treatment that Vertigo has gotten since those 80's releases and whenever Rope or Rear Window are screened at revival theaters or universities, I believe it's those 80's 'restored' versions that are shown and it's those versions that are used for the DVD's.


Was there something magical about the original sound elements of just Vertigo that made them disappear since those 80's releases and that didn't effect all the other films? I don't know. Maybe.


Otherwise, it simply looks like a case of some truly well-meaning, infatuated lovers of a great film and filmmaker who couldn't resist choosing that one to add some input of their own to it's persona on the premise that it would improve it and not diminish it's soul, imperfections and orignal technical limitations included.


Which, if this is true and considering it's Vertigo that we're talking about, would have to be some ultimate circular level of life imitating art imitating life imitating art.

;)
 

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It seems you don't understand the volatility in the film preservation aspects of Hollywood. Many time a film will be perfectly fine, but 10 years later, it's destroyed or pieces are lost. THE ALAMO is a very sad case of this. The director's cut was found after decades, then not properly cared for. Now it is all bust lost forever, despite the fact that it was only a decade ago that it was found.


There was about a decade between the 80's re-release of VERTIGO and the restoration and in that time much had changed. By the way, I was not all that impressed with the 80's re-release. The prints had faded color and lacked detail, while the sound was full of hiss and distortion.


Look, I am a purist. I want to kill some people for what they are doing to Hong Kong films here and overseas. But in some cases I understand that we can't have everything we want. Sometimes it is just not possible.
 

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Mr. Food, how can you in good conscience post this kind of informations knowing the suicides and depression it will cause to so many who are so far away?;) Myself, I live just down the road from Pixley near Ox Ford. What chance does that give me to see a 70 mm print? Wait, I can't go on...I need a kleenex_______ _____________________________________ ...I'm back. This is how good intentions can lead to heartbreak and Psoriasis! o-oooh, uuuuh. See what you've done!:D :)
 

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Matt_Strevens, thanks for the info but I understand very well about film preservation and not getting everything we want and all. If all the original elements of Vertigo have disintegrated since those 80's releases but the elements on the negatives or prints for Rope, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Trouble With Harry look virtually the same in theaters and on DVD without the 'new and enhanced' treatment, I guess that does mean that there was something special and magical about the elements of Vertigo compared with those other films. OK.


So I'll still keep my Laserdisc of that 80's release version and watch it occasionally as a better reminder of how the original analog/mono soundtrack of Vertigo, now apparently lost forever, sounded. It's not letterboxed but at least it doesn't have that jarring end credit intrusion and I really don't recall being bothered by any faded colors or hissing sounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is how good intentions can lead to heartbreak and Psoriasis!


Well, you could console yourself that aside from Vertigo and Playtime, these aren't really very good films. I do feel for you, and possibly for myself, as I am up for a job in my beloved Atlanta, and if I get it, I will leave this wonderland of motion pictures behind.


I've gotten spoiled by being able to fairly easily see about any film released in the US. But on the other hand, real estate in most of California is in one of the most incredible bubbles this side of Tokyo, and navigating the highway systems is an exercise in hypertension or worse.


From someone who has seen most of the continental United States, believe me that there are much worse places to live than the South.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Shaded Dogfood
...and navigating the highway systems is an exercise in hypertension or worse.


From someone who has seen most of the continental United States, believe me that there are much worse places to live than the South.
You don't think there's hypertension on the hi-way in north Georgia, eh? Are you sure you've been/driven there? :D You see, here in the south, it's the law...it's the same all over, you can look it up, we're required to share the road with the folks practicing for Nascar. Atlant-er, that's a big track.;)


Actually, we usually do get 2-3 70mm films a year at the Tennessee Theater here. However, that's on hold since the thang is undergoing renovations presently. That Pharoah Theater sounds like it shows 2 or 3 a week...? Wha-aah!:)
 

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We're gonna miss ya Shaded Dogfood!


But, I have to tell ya that if you live in So.Cal., that getting to LA and driving around LA is really a piece of cake.


There's only so many freeways to get ya there and once there it's just like your city, but larger...remember the Thomas Guide(the drivers bible)!


I've worked for 27 yrs. in LA but live 30-35 miles from it and I always give myself enough time to get where I'm going and have never had a problem.


I'm spoiled that I get to see all of the best film revivals such as the 70mm series and the 3-D Film Fest last year. We're blessed here in LA to be so close to so many IMAX's, revival theatres and even the Cinerma Dome.


It's just finding the time to see them all is what's most frustrating!!! :D
 

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Don't forget that L.A. has been boldly entering the 19th Century recently by adding another leg to it's Metro-Link light rail system. There's a station virtually across the street and about a block away from The Egyptian Theater and if you happen to live in one of the communities near another station (Pasadena, for instance) a round trip pass for about $6 will get you to the events and back with no traffic or parking issues.


Of course, if there are two of you, that's $12 and it'll probably take you slightly more than an hour for the two of you to get back to Pasadena after the show is over at, say, 11PM.


But you can spend that quality time discussing the relative merits of Ben Stiller and Buddy Hackett!


(I've seen It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Along Came Polly with an audience in a theater recently...Hackett wins by a mile)

:D
 

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I saw the theatrical reissue of Vertigo during it's 80's reissue and it had serious color problems (the one that stands out most was the color of Jimmy Stewart's suit during the courtroom scene. It had become a strange phosphorescent blue...

I think the last DVD of Vertigo did a good job in cleaning up the film.

BUT


The foley work that they did on the restoration has always bothered me everytime I watch the DVD. It just sounds and feels so artificial that it takes me out of the movie...
 

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Harris and Katz, in The Making Of Vertigo portion of the DVD, clearly talk about this latest version of Vertigo as an 'enhancement'. They also seem to indicate that there exists (or could be arranged) a more standard 'restored', original looking and sounding version of it from their 65MM preservation negative and their 65MM duplicating positive.


The soundtrack music now heard on this enhanced version is NOT exactly as Herrmann and Hitchcock edited it in the original version. Universal had discovered the original 'stereo' recording in a vault (which they wanted to incorporate into this version) and some conductor named Joel McNeely was brought in and he "discovered that the tempi as indicated in the scores are sometimes different from those used in the film. Though it proved a huge challenge, McNeely opted to remain as faithful as possible to the composer's original markings."


"Opted"? I'm honestly not sure what input or variations in tempi McNeely contributed to the latest version of Vertigo, but I can tell you that I've seen this film in it's earlier 'un-enhanced' versions at least a dozen times and this version three times and this version is the only one where I DO NOT get a lump in my throat at the instant of the musical change at the emotional crest near the end when Scottie tells Judy/Madeleine that "You shouldn't keep a souvenir of a killing. You shouldn't have been so...sentimental. Oh, Madeleine, I loved you so...".


But, of course, the stereo recordings were necessary in order to soup up this version with DTS. And, with this new musical soundtrack recording, a whole NEW foley was required throughout the film. Hence, we get the goofy new distractions and a few omissions.


I must say that my admiration and love for this movie, as I'm sure Harris and Katz feel as well, was such that I was very excited to hear that a new, 'restored', big deal version of it was going to be hitting the screens and DVD players. I saw it on the first day it opened. And by now, I've seen it a couple more times in theaters and another time on DVD...but I couldn't shake the feeling that something important was missing from my overall experience of watching this version of it.


And then it dawned on me.


Vertigo was not a movie that, in 1958, would have been given the big deal 70MM, Stereo-phonic, 'VERY IMPORTANT FILM' treatment, not even by Hitchcock. Perhaps especially not by Hitchcock. That kind of treatment in those days was reserved for movies like Around The World In 80 Days or BEN-HUR and the scripts chosen for that kind of treatment and the production concepts for such films was very different from those of a quirky mix of detective noir, suspense thriller and character study such as Vertigo.


The book that Vertigo was based on, D'Entre les Morts, couldn't be trashier pulp fiction and, although Hitchcock elevates the proceedings to a more tasteful level, there's no evidence that this great craftsman-like artist who cranked out a movie per year saw anything especially 'important' about this year's film than the one he was already planning for next year.


For me, the emotional impact of Vertigo comes out of the fact that, within this detective story and noir suspense thriller genre, I DISCOVER, in those amazing final moments, that I should not have been so complacent about what I have been watching and the important implications of what I have been witnessing. But this 'discovery' is only a sneak attack that packs a wallop within the context of a production without the BIG DEAL treatment.


With the BIG DEAL treatment, the 'importance' of what I'm being graciously granted the rare privilege of watching is plastered all over the 70MM, DTS Stereo Enhancement. I damn well BETTER be impressed with what's unfolding before my eyes.


This may be the era of self-important BIG DEAL treatments of some pretty shallow crap, but in 1958, particularly with Hitchcock, the tendency was to allow the important implications of his carefully constructed and developed themes to come out of an art that was more hidden than proclaimed. This enhanced version of Vertigo moves unfortunately in the direction of standing that style on it's head.


Anyway, IF there is the ability to print a restored, un-enhanced version of Vertigo that looks and sounds closer to the way it did back in 1958, I do hope that version becomes available for purchase and viewing when Universal feels they've made enough money from this one. There really are rare pleasures and emotions to be had from a version that does not appear to be telegraphing it's 'importance' in it's themes and meanings too soon and too apparently in the minds of the producers before the audience has a chance to discover them on it's own.


Sorry about the length and I guess I hijacked this thread a bit off it's original intentions. I can see how tempting that is when a special passion takes over...!

:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We're gonna miss ya Shaded Dogfood!


Didn't get that job... so I'm here for the foreseeable future. Possibly all for the best. Problem with public transport is that it will probably have shut down before I could make my way back from the rail lines to my digs in South Orange County.


But I believe that Ozu festival I have heard about that has been playing in the East is due at the Egyptian later this year. So there are consolation prizes for not being able to go home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sorry about the length and I guess I hijacked this thread


No reason not to talk about Vertigo if that's what everybody wants to talk about. As far as the flm getting a royal release treatment out of the gate, as I understand it, it was not a big critical success when it was released, and its place as Hitchcodk's supreme masterpiece is a recent one. For a while that place was probably given to Psycho, which gets my vote, and Hitch himself said Shadow of a Doubt was his personal favorite.


Herrmann's tempi in recordings were usually different from those in the film.


For you youngsters who love to watch things a zillion times, be warned that at least for this viewer, you can "wear out" Hitchcock films. As they are essentially surface movies (but what a surface!), the more you see them, the more they tend to lose their magic, like watching a magiciian do a magic trick more than once. Much of Vertigo consists of long car rides and passive observation, which results in a slow movie after you have seen it a few times.


Still, the ending is one of the greatest in motion picture history. It's a pity to hear that the new assembly of the film compromises it. Hitchcock are careful clockwork things. I'n not surprized Universal was willing to futz with it, but it's a shame the restorer's did.
 
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