Today a guy on Twitter called me “insufferable” for asserting that my Cape Fear Bluray on my 65-inch Sony will look better than the 35mm print that the New Beverly will be playing this evening, or roughly 55 minutes from now. The Bluray will be sharper, crisper, cleaner, better sounding and will offer a much richer, more glistening monochrome palette. Just a perfect experience as opposed to sitting in the tunnel-like New Beverly and watching a decent but probably far from perfect print on a smallish screen with a bunch of film bums.
These are the two best portions of Louis Heaton‘s Guns For Hire: The Making of ‘The Magnificent Seven’, a 16 year-old documentary and a very flavorful and knowledgable inside-Hollywood saga. A pretty good thing to watch on this, a day of mourning with Antoine Fuqua‘s bullshit remake playing in theatres nationwide. The only thing I genuinely liked about Fuqua’s film is the decision to play Elmer Bernstein’s 1960 score during the closing credits. Charles Lang‘s widescreen cinematography is so handsomely framed and balanced, each and every shot.
A little over four years ago I bought Olive Films’ 60th anniversary High Noon Bluray, and I was immensely pleased with the image quality. It makes Fred Zinneman’s 1952 classic look like one of the most beautiful monochrome films ever shot. Naturally, schmuck that I am, I’ve just bought the new Olive Signature Bluray version of the same guldarned film because it’s a remaster from an all-new 4K harvest. How much better can it look? Will I notice tiny little improvements? I have doubts, but I can’t tolerate the notion of a slightly better looking version being out there and my not owning it.
This at least affords an opportunity to re-post Matthew Morettini’s improved version of the famous ticking clock sequence, which is apt with the new Bluray containing an essay called “A Ticking Clock — Mark Goldblatt on the editing of High Noon.”
Matthew Morettini 2015 version:
Posted on 12.2.15: “Yesterday I posted a short piece about how Elmo Williams‘ cutting of the famous High Noon tick-tock sequence has always bothered me slightly. It was edited to match Dimitri Tiomkin‘s music, and so every cut was supposed to happen at the precise instant of the final beat…but it doesn’t quite do that. Today editor Matthew Morettini wrote to say the reason for my slight irritation is that the picture is four frames ahead of the music.
Respect and condolences for the friends, fans and colleagues of Bill Nunn, who’s passed after only 62 years of life. I knew him best as “Radio Raheem” in Spike Lee‘s Do The Right Thing (’89), which was shot when the Pittsburgh-born Nunn was 34. Sidenote: Raheem’s ghetto blaster ignites a fierce battle (racist Italian pizza guys vs. African American Fort Greene natives) in this scene from Lee’s film. In the view of Raheem and friends, assaulting passersby with ear-splitting music was a celebration of their culture, but to most New Yorkers back then (and I’m speaking as an ex-resident) ghetto blasters were a scourge. They made life hell for thousands of Central Park visitors on weekends. A friend told me about a kid on a bike who was blasting sounds somewhere near an open pasture in southern Central Park, and suddenly the kid lost his balance and the blaster fell and shattered and was silent. A few people leapt to their feet and started cheering.
Posted four days ago (9.19) by Kirk Douglas (edited): “I am in my 100th year. When I was born in 1916 in Amsterdam, New York, Woodrow Wilson was our president. The longer I’ve lived, the less I’ve been surprised by the inevitability of change, and how I’ve rejoiced that so many of the changes I’ve seen have been good.
“Yet, I’ve also lived through the horrors of a Great Depression and two World Wars, the second of which was started by a man who promised that he would restore his country it to its former greatness.
“I was 16 when that man came to power in 1933. For almost a decade before his rise he was laughed at — not taken seriously. He was seen as a buffoon who couldn’t possibly deceive an educated, civilized population with his nationalistic, hateful rhetoric. The ‘experts’ dismissed him as a joke. They were wrong.
“A few weeks ago we heard words spoken in Arizona that my wife, Anne, who grew up in Germany, said chilled her to the bone. They could also have been spoken in 1933:
“’We also have to be honest about the fact that not everyone who seeks to join our country will be able to successfully assimilate. It is our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish here…[including] new screening tests for all applicants that include an ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values.’
“These are not the American values that we fought in World War II to protect.
On 10.25 Olive Signature will issue a 4K-scanned Bluray of John Ford‘s The Quiet Man. Olive put out a 2K Bluray in January 2103. The newbie will offer a denser, more finely rendered harvest of an original-negative restoration from the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
Ford biographer, SFSU professor and author Joe McBride, who recorded a commentary track on the forthcoming version, says “this is the best-looking home video release of The Quiet Man I’ve ever seen. Other editions didn’t capture the lush, delicate beauty of the Oscar-winning cinematography by Winton C. Hoch and Archie J. Stout — this one does.”
I bought the 2013 Bluray, watched it for 45 minutes and gave up. I simply don’t like this film because it overloads on the Irish blarney. Sentimentality never ages well, and that quality has always been the anvil tied to the ankle of Ford’s reputation. I’m sorry but Ford’s susceptibility to the Irishness of The Quiet Man (particularly his affection for drinkers and fondness for what David Thomson once called the “tedious eccentricity” in his supporting players) just wears you down. The John Wayne-Maureen O’Hara connection is the only thing that saves it.
The info is two days old, but after 48 years N.Y. Post critic Lou Lumenick is packing it in. I didn’t post anything yesterday because I couldn’t think of anything…well, affectionate to say about him. I’ve always respected Lumenick’s diligence and critical judgment (for the most part), but from my perspective he’s mostly been this scowly, morose dude I’ve run into at film festivals. I’ve been reasonably polite with Lou for years, and most of the time he’s acted as if he’s barely been able to contain his loathing. Life is short. I wish that Lou had found a way to be a nicer, gentler person, but he didn’t have the stones.
Lumenick gave me props when Hollywood Elsewhere’s Shane aspect-ratio battle ended in triumph, at least as far as the Bluray was concerned. (Woody Allen‘s sentiments tipped the scale in favor of the 1.37 crowd.) But it should be noted that all N.Y. Post links to Lumenick’s reports about the Shane a.r. brouhaha and particularly Warner Home Video’s capitulation have been wiped. That’s spite, pure and simple.
I should also note that the piece Lou wrote about Gone With The Wind‘s stock dropping due to racist content prompted one of the best critical rebuttals I’ve ever posted, so I’m glad that Lou trashed GWTW because it allowed me to deliver a more profound observation, which is that GWTW is not a film about the South or slavery or the Civil War as much as a parable about the deprivations of Great Depression.