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Old 11-25-2020, 01:06 PM   #141
jayembee jayembee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
A question for everyone here. I now own all of Wilder's features on BD (or DVD, since Mauvaise Graine, The Spirit of St Louis and Buddy Buddy are only on DVD)

However I still need to track down a copy of Death Mills, his Holocaust doc.

I see it's included on the Kino BD of The Stranger as a bonus feature, but apparently it's SD. I already own the superior Olive release of The Stranger, and the Kino appears to be OOP.
(1) Yes, it's in SD. Presumably, no HD master of it exists (so far).

(2) I haven't seen Olive's edition, so I can't say which is the better.

(3) The Kino edition is not OOP, though it's "temporarily out of stock" (Kino doesn't equivocate; if it was OOP, they wouldn't have a product page for it). You can get it direct from them for $12.

https://www.kinolorber.com/product/the-stranger-blu-ray

Quote:
[I]I also see a DVD-R on demand available from Amazon, licensed by the National Archives :


Presumably this will be equal in quality to the SD version on the Kino BD, right?

Does anyone know of a full HD version of this doc, or is this DVD-R the best way to go?[I]
I would assume it's roughly equal to the version on Kino's The Stranger, but without seeing it first, I couldn't be sure.
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Old 11-25-2020, 04:27 PM   #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
A question for everyone here. I now own all of Wilder's features on BD (or DVD, since Mauvaise Graine, The Spirit of St Louis and Buddy Buddy are only on DVD)

However I still need to track down a copy of Death Mills, his Holocaust doc.

I see it's included on the Kino BD of The Stranger as a bonus feature, but apparently it's SD. I already own the superior Olive release of The Stranger, and the Kino appears to be OOP.

I also see a DVD-R on demand available from Amazon, licensed by the National Archives :


https://www.amazon.com/Death-Mills-1946/dp/B0012JG11K/

Presumably this will be equal in quality to the SD version on the Kino BD, right?

Does anyone know of a full HD version of this doc, or is this DVD-R the best way to go?
Donít know about HD, but itís on the UK DVD of Night Will Fall.
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Old 11-25-2020, 10:38 PM   #143
James Luckard James Luckard is offline
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Originally Posted by jayembee View Post
(1) Yes, it's in SD. Presumably, no HD master of it exists (so far).

(2) I haven't seen Olive's edition, so I can't say which is the better.

(3) The Kino edition is not OOP, though it's "temporarily out of stock" (Kino doesn't equivocate; if it was OOP, they wouldn't have a product page for it). You can get it direct from them for $12.

https://www.kinolorber.com/product/the-stranger-blu-ray



I would assume it's roughly equal to the version on Kino's The Stranger, but without seeing it first, I couldn't be sure.
The Olive and Kino discs of The Stranger both have drawbacks, but to me the Kino looks artificially sharpened and overly bright. The Olive is also licensed from MGM, while the Kino is a Library of Congress public domain restoration:

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film3/blu-r...er_blu-ray.htm

Look in particular at the final comparison, of Loretta Young in the church tower. The Olive looks markedly superior.

That said, an SD source rendered in HD would look better than a DVD of the same file, and if the Kino disc is about the same price as the standalone DVD of Death Mills, it might make sense to buy their BD. Unless the actual video file of the doc on the Kino disc is in SD.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:41 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by jayembee View Post
(3) The Kino edition is not OOP, though it's "temporarily out of stock" (Kino doesn't equivocate; if it was OOP, they wouldn't have a product page for it). You can get it direct from them for $12.
I bet that it's part of their "Noirvember Sale". I didn't really notice (I have the disc and wasn't looking too close at the sale anyway), but that would explain why it's sold out, and why it's so cheap. So the clock might be ticking, James!

I'm kind of surprised that they didn't include "Death Mills" on either "Five Graves" or "Foreign Affair", it would seem to fit the WWII stuff. Maybe they can get the rights to "Emperor's Waltz", and include "Death Mills" as a hilariously inappropriate bonus feature.
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:09 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by thatguamguy View Post
I bet that it's part of their "Noirvember Sale". I didn't really notice (I have the disc and wasn't looking too close at the sale anyway), but that would explain why it's sold out, and why it's so cheap. So the clock might be ticking, James!

I'm kind of surprised that they didn't include "Death Mills" on either "Five Graves" or "Foreign Affair", it would seem to fit the WWII stuff. Maybe they can get the rights to "Emperor's Waltz", and include "Death Mills" as a hilariously inappropriate bonus feature.
Oddly enough, Death Mills would be a good scholarly addition to The Emperor Waltz, which I just finally saw for the first time (the last Wilder film I needed to see). Wilder said he did The Emperor Waltz because he needed to make something light after the ordeal of being in post-war Germany and making Death Mills, so the two are inextricably bound, in a strange way.
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Old 11-26-2020, 01:37 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
Oddly enough, Death Mills would be a good scholarly addition to The Emperor Waltz, which I just finally saw for the first time (the last Wilder film I needed to see). Wilder said he did The Emperor Waltz because he needed to make something light after the ordeal of being in post-war Germany and making Death Mills, so the two are inextricably bound, in a strange way.
I heard it more as "Foreign Affair" than "Death Mills" as far as what he needed to get his head away from, but certainly the shadow of WWII was there. It would just be a funny pairing any way you slice it. They should do it, I can't be the only one who is annoyed to have a Billy Wilder bonus feature on an Orson Welles movie, that is just not how I like my collection to be!
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Old 11-26-2020, 01:59 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by thatguamguy View Post
I heard it more as "Foreign Affair" than "Death Mills" as far as what he needed to get his head away from, but certainly the shadow of WWII was there. It would just be a funny pairing any way you slice it. They should do it, I can't be the only one who is annoyed to have a Billy Wilder bonus feature on an Orson Welles movie, that is just not how I like my collection to be!
In the Crowe/Wilder book, he talks about choosing to make The Emperor Waltz because he had just made "two grim pictures, Double Indemnity and Lost Weekend," and then gone to Germany, and then supervised the editing of Death Mills.

"I was kind of eager to do something on the more frivolous side." He dismisses the film completely as an utter failure, but says: "I just had come back from Germany, from the war, from the job I was doing over there. And I was in the mood kind of to do something gay, and when they brought up Crosby, I jumped in with this idea."

Emperor Waltz is definitely a reaction to having made Death Mills, and it's interesting that he's recreating the elegant, urbane Austro-Hungarian empire and the Vienna of his youth, before that exact place would be corrupted by Nazism. There are definite parallels.

Last edited by James Luckard; 11-26-2020 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 11-26-2020, 02:32 AM   #148
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By the way, I just finally bought the French BD of The Emperor Waltz, which was on sale, so I'll give a little capsule review for anyone who's interested:



The Disc:
Region A-friendly. The transfer is pleasant, but clearly dated. The 3-strip Technicolor isn't totally aligned, so there are various-colored halos throughout. If KL manages to do a 4K restoration through Universal, it could look STUNNING.

The disc doesn't have forced French subtitles for the dialogue, but it does have forced French subtitles for the opening text crawl, and then for the lyrics of every song, which cannot be removed. It's distracting, but not a deal breaker, since this was the only legit BD in the world when I ordered it. That said, it looks like there's a brand new legit BD from Spain, released by Universal this month. Hopefully this augurs a KL release.

The Film:
I went into it with some hope, because I absolutely LOVED The Major and the Minor, and had my fingers crossed that this would be another undiscovered Wilder gem. Sadly, I didn't find it to be that.

It's a strange film, it's usually described as a musical, but the first song doesn't occur until about half an hour in, and it's just Crosby singing while walking. The first actual musical number isn't for another 15 minutes or so, and there are only one or two other musical numbers in the film. It's primarily a romantic comedy, but to be honest, it's not terribly funny. There's also a sequence at the finale revolving around the
[Show spoiler]threatened drowning of a litter of puppies
that I found really distasteful, and which ruined the mood at the end.

I've never been a huge Bing Crosby fan, and this reinforced my feelings. He comes across as charmless and slightly creepy, so I had zero desire for him to end up with Joan Fontaine. Meanwhile, I love her as an actress, but she's directed to play such an icy, pretentious, unpleasant character for so much of the film that it was really tough to root for either of them.

I actually thought the highlights were Richard Haydn (who would later co-star in The Sound of Music) as Emperor Franz Joseph, and especially the inimitable Sig Ruman as the vet/dog psychiatrist, which is absolutely the best sequence in the film, as Wilder and Crowe agreed in their book. The fact that Wilder actually met Freud, in a story he often told, makes the sequence even more delightful.
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Old 11-26-2020, 02:49 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
There's also a sequence at the finale revolving around the
[Show spoiler]threatened drowning of a litter of puppies
that I found really distasteful, and which ruined the mood at the end.
For me, the scheme is so absurdly cartoonishly evil that it fits the childish fantasy of it all. And, as you say, Sig Ruman is such a highlight. I think it's a solid knock-off of the Chevalier/Lubitsch stuff, for me it works better than Wilder's later Lubitsch knock-offs, though I always enjoy a Lubitsch knock-off. But I think I did warn you that even as a fan I know it's very YMMV (and I certainly agree it's no "The Major and the Minor").
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Old 11-26-2020, 03:25 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
In the Crowe/Wilder book, he talks about choosing to make The Emperor Waltz because he had just made "two grim pictures, Double Indemnity and Lost Weekend," and then gone to Germany, and then supervised the editing of Death Mills.
I was just clicking through Wikipedia, that might've been where I saw the thing I was thinking of, but the timing on there seems a bit fuzzy. On the "Emperor Waltz" page, they say that Wilder went to Germany partially to do research for "Foreign Affair" (they don't mention it by name, but "Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett began to collaborate on a film about the problems faced by American military personnel stationed in Europe following World War II" kinda narrows it down pretty specifically), but on the "Foreign Affair" page, it says that he was in Germany already when he was told that he could get government assistance to help fund a movie about US soldiers in post WWII Europe, and that that was when he started developing "Foreign Affair". I'm guessing the latter is more accurate, but either way, it was definitely part of the emotional goulash.
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:10 PM   #151
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
The Olive and Kino discs of The Stranger both have drawbacks, but to me the Kino looks artificially sharpened and overly bright. The Olive is also licensed from MGM, while the Kino is a Library of Congress public domain restoration:

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film3/blu-r...er_blu-ray.htm

Look in particular at the final comparison, of Loretta Young in the church tower. The Olive looks markedly superior.
I dunno. In the various comparisons, the Kino seems to have much better grain structure. The Olive seems relatively scrubbed of grain. I do take your point about the Kino looking a bit too bright, though, in comparison.

Interesting to note that the runtime of the Olive release is about 50 seconds longer than the Kino. Probably a difference in all of the various corporate cards at the beginning and/or end.
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:13 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by thatguamguy View Post
I bet that it's part of their "Noirvember Sale". I didn't really notice (I have the disc and wasn't looking too close at the sale anyway), but that would explain why it's sold out, and why it's so cheap. So the clock might be ticking, James!
That's probably true. The Noirvember sale is over, and The Stranger is now listed at Kino's site for $14.99 (still a bargain).
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:19 PM   #153
jayembee jayembee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
By the way, I just finally bought the French BD of The Emperor Waltz, which was on sale, so I'll give a little capsule review for anyone who's interested:

The Disc:
Region A-friendly. The transfer is pleasant, but clearly dated. The 3-strip Technicolor isn't totally aligned, so there are various-colored halos throughout. If KL manages to do a 4K restoration through Universal, it could look STUNNING.

The disc doesn't have forced French subtitles for the dialogue, but it does have forced French subtitles for the opening text crawl, and then for the lyrics of every song, which cannot be removed. It's distracting, but not a deal breaker, since this was the only legit BD in the world when I ordered it. That said, it looks like there's a brand new legit BD from Spain, released by Universal this month. Hopefully this augurs a KL release.
Thanks for this. I think I'll stick with my Universal DVD until Universal and/or Kino does a new restoration/remaster.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:21 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by jayembee View Post
I dunno. In the various comparisons, the Kino seems to have much better grain structure. The Olive seems relatively scrubbed of grain. I do take your point about the Kino looking a bit too bright, though, in comparison.

Interesting to note that the runtime of the Olive release is about 50 seconds longer than the Kino. Probably a difference in all of the various corporate cards at the beginning and/or end.
I think a lot of what looks like grain structure on the Kino may be due to artificial sharpening, but I agree, the Olive does look like it has had some DNR applied.

Neither is perfect, but the Olive was directly licensed from MGM, so I have to assume it was mastered from slightly better materials.

That said, I can see the merits of each.

If I remember right, I read that the Kino is shorter because it is missing a scene, but the Olive cuts off a title card at the end that plays over a shot of Edward G. Robinson, so neither is 100% complete.

Last edited by James Luckard; 11-27-2020 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:25 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by jayembee View Post
Thanks for this. I think I'll stick with my Universal DVD until Universal and/or Kino does a new restoration/remaster.
KL has done about half the Wilder titles out there, from first MGM and now Universal, and they've done 4K restorations of the most recent Universal titles, a nice benefit of them being the last ones to roll out.

I have to think they'll make every effort to release The Emperor Waltz.

I wish they had done Buddy Buddy while they had their MGM deal. It has never had a legit BD or DVD, only a Spanish bootleg DVD. As bad as the film is, it's still the work of a genius, so it deserves to be viewable, and I would buy it in a second to replace my boot. I can only assume that MGM may have lost the US rights.

Last edited by James Luckard; 11-26-2020 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:53 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by jayembee View Post
Interesting to note that the runtime of the Olive release is about 50 seconds longer than the Kino. Probably a difference in all of the various corporate cards at the beginning and/or end.
dvdcompare says that Olive has an extra scene, but doesn't explain further:

http://www.dvdcompare.net/comparison....php?fid=24917
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:55 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by James Luckard View Post
I wish they had done Buddy Buddy while they had their MGM deal. It has never had a legit BD or DVD, only a Spanish bootleg DVD. As bad as the film is, it's still the work of a genius, so it deserves to be viewable, and I would buy it in a second to replace my boot. I can only assume that MGM may have lost the US rights.
As far as I can tell the issue is that everybody agrees that Warner has the rights to "Buddy Buddy" except for Warner.
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:38 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by thatguamguy View Post
dvdcompare says that Olive has an extra scene, but doesn't explain further:

http://www.dvdcompare.net/comparison....php?fid=24917
https://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.p...8&postcount=96

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieray1 View Post
The Kino version is incomplete. It's missing a scene -- Robinson's escape from the ladder trap. On the other hand, it does have the original ending credits with Robinson smoking.
I don't own the Kino, so I can't vouch for this, just reposting it.
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:42 AM   #159
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As far as I can tell the issue is that everybody agrees that Warner has the rights to "Buddy Buddy" except for Warner.
Would it have gone to Warners with the other pre-1986 MGM titles?
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Old 11-27-2020, 01:00 AM   #160
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I believe that is the logic that people have applied, but Warner Archive has been repeatedly asked over the years and they always say they don't have it. Not "we have no plans" or "inferior elements". I think they said they don't know who does, but that might be my memory embellishing. (Not sure when the last time anybody tried was.) I think sometimes there are movies that fall into a limbo where nobody wants to bother to spend the money it would take to hire a few lawyers to track it all down and figure it all out, especially if they might wind up spending money just to prove they *don't* own something.
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