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: Vertigo (1958)  ( 62038 )
drinkanddestroy
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« #45 : September 24, 2012, 11:20:29 PM »

The restored version of Vertigo on R1 DVD was first issued in a letterboxed transfer. Later they put out an anamorphic version, I believe. (I remember at the time I couldn't wait and got an anamorphic version from Hong Kong). At this point, it's best to wait for the Blu-ray which, although it was supposed to be out this week, has now been delayed.

I rented this disc off Netflix; and when the blu ray is released, I'll rent that too  ;)

« : December 23, 2012, 06:14:30 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #46 : September 25, 2012, 12:00:04 AM »

Okay, so I just watched the Vertigo dvd twice: once the regular movie, and once with the commentary  :) (I can't say for certain whether or not it's my favorite Hitch; anyway, I've only seen about 10 of Hitch's movies). But otherwise, my opinion is pretty much the same: it's not on my top 10 list, but it's great fun. And I do not think that Judy having the flashback was a good way for us to be informed what really happened.  But this post will be about the dvd:

Firstly, there were frequent times when the movie would skipped/jump/moved faster, I'm not sure exactly how to describe it, it's like someone if walking, and for a second it looks like he is walking much faster, and then it's normal again. Initially, I thought that the dvd was scratched, but then I noticed that (I think  :-\) most of these "jumps" happen at the beginning of scenes. Is this coincidence, or was there some problem with eg. a new reel at the beginning of a scene? Did anyone else have this problem while watching the dvd? Or is my disc just scratched (which happens WAY too often with netflix discs).

In addition to the commentary, there is a 29-minute bonus feature documentary about movie and the restoration with restorers Robert Harris & James Katz, as well as Hitch's daughter Patricia, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Associate Producer Herbert Coleman, and Art Director Henry Bumstead. Sadly, the latter 3 have since died  :'( :'( :'(

 Anyone who is a big fan of this movie should definitely see that bonus feature, and the dvd commentary as well. I'll just make a few comments on 'em.

Firstly, while the restoration by Harris and Katz was amazing, it's pretty clear that the movie we are seeing is NOT the same movie you would have seen when you went to the theater in 1958.  Colors had to be reconstructed as the print's yellow layer was gone, most of the sound effects (eg. car engines starting) were re-done in 1996,etc.  In fact, one of the restorers said: "Now, what we're doing is releasing an enhanced version of Vertigo, and maintaining, I think, the spirit of the picture. And audiences who have seen Vertigo before will be thrilled with, we think, and accept; and yet, we're putting up something that Alfred Hitchcock never saw, and never was able to see when he made the film in 1958."[/i] There was one amusing moment where a restorer said that the color in particular moment was screwed up badly, and while they could have restored it digitally, they decided not too; besides the incredible cost that would have entailed, it wouldn't be a bad thing for the viewer to realize what the movie would have looked like had this extensive restoration not been undertaken. I got a kick out of that  ;D

dj recently posted an article which complained about the color on the blu ray disc, and mentioned in particular the color of the suits in the inquest scene. Well, the restorers actually address this issue directly during that scene on the dvd commentary. (I wrote down some of what they said for purposes of this post, though I can't say I understand all this restoration jargon  ;)) They said that, as mentioned before, the film's yellow layer was gone, so for this scene, they used "adapted interpositives from the original camera negative"; and that the alternative was to go with "black and white separations" which "didn't fit together" here and were "dirty" and "grainy." Basically, the restorers had to make a separate decision for each scene , of whether to go for color or for sharpness; in this inquest scene, they felt it was appropriate to go for sharpness; hence there is a problem with the color of the suits. The suits were actually "navy blue, grey, or black"; but when watching the movie, they appear to be "various shades of blue." Some of them are "marine blue with clown blue highlights."


The associate producer Herbert Coleman seemed to absolutely love the restoration. So I just decided to take a very un-purist point of view and not worry about what the movie looked like in 1958, or what it would have/could have/should have looked like if Hitch hadn't moratorium-ed it. I don't worry about any of that, I just look at it and I enjoy it. And there is so much to enjoy! This movie has such a brilliant use of light and color

One particular shot I love: when Scottie and Madeliene first visit the Mission, and they are sitting inside the dark stable as, we then see a shot facing out of the stable: the street and fields outside in brilliant sunshine, contrasted against the darkness inside the stable  :)
---------------------------

RE: the commentary, I just want to say that they use a bunch of different clips similar to what paramount did with the OUATITW commentary, and it is disastrous. The main portion of the commentary  -- with Katz, Harris, and associate Producer Herbert Coleman -- is wonderful. Having the 3 of them together, the discussion obviously was a combination of some talk about the restoration, and some about the making of the movie. And the 3 of them did the commentary on about the first 2/3 or so of the movie. But for the final third, they used a bunch of different interview bits with various people -- some more interesting than others, but none of which belong here! (Eg. during the scene where Stewart makes Novak into Judy, and she emerges from the bathroom and Stewart approached her  -- a scene which some have called the greatest in Hitch's cinema, and one of the greatest in movie history -- the commentary is some interview bit where Pat Hitchcock is discussing her parents' creative relationship  ::) COME ON. And they waste several minutes with unrelated interviews with one of Hitch;'s collaborators discussing Rear Window. There's also one bit toward the beginning of the movie where  -- I hope you are ready for this  -- the friend of one of the co-authors of the French novel that Vertigo was based on, speaks for two minutes and basically announces who he is, and says that his friend wrote X number of novels and that several of them were made into movies. And that's it. It was as comical as John Milius's two minute bit of commentary on the OUATITW dvd, where he says one "story": that Leone wanted him to write the screenplay for OUATIA, but.... he didn't have the time to do so. Thanks a lot for that!)Thankfully, they have Harris/Katz/Coleman return for the last scene, when Stewart takes Novak back to the Mission.
They should have just used Harris/Katz/Coleman for the entire commentary; and put all those interview bits in the bonus features, rather than playing them during the movie and calling them "commentary."  
Still, as annoying as the ensemble crap is, I still recommend that big fans of the movie listen to the commentary, cuz there's some good fun in the approx. 2/3 of it that is done by Harris/Katz/Coleman
ENSEMBLE COMMENTARIES ARE RIDICULOUS  ::)

-------------------------

Finally, RE: the issue of what Hitch felt about Vertigo: for whatever it's worth, here is a statement by Kim Novak, from that documentary:
"I think Alfred Hitchcock adored this movie; I think he was obsessed with this movie. I don't know, perhaps he was with many of his others as well because that's the kind of director he was. But Hitch loved this movie more than any; I do believe so."

« : December 27, 2012, 11:39:29 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #47 : September 25, 2012, 07:54:39 AM »

Quote
dj recently posted an article which complained about the color on the blu ray disc
No, he was complaining about the colors on the DCP release; he hadn't seen the blu-ray yet. However, it's very likely that the blu-ray will greatly resemble what the DCP looks like.



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« #48 : September 25, 2012, 01:07:04 PM »

Quote
most of the sound effects (eg. car engines starting) were re-done in 1996
The original audio track still exists, though, and fans have been calling for Universal to include it on future home video releases. There's a rumor that it will be available as an option on the blu-ray, and I hope it's true. Viewers should be given a choice between the "new and improved" audio and the audio track Hitchcock signed off on.

One of the things that annoyed everyone in 96 (and 97 when the LD came out) was that modern Foley had been applied to the film, noticiably so, and the anachronistic sounds were, to say the least, distracting. An egregious example was the gunshots used in the rooftop sequence that opens the film, which were amped up and sounded nothing like they ever had before. The Foley guys couldn't leave well enough alone, either, adding sounds where none had been previously (for example, they added bird noises to the Muir Woods sequence, even though it's supposed to be a dead forest). Of course, Bernard Herrmann's score came off sounding great, so all the news wasn't bad. Anyway, an early report has it that the Foley has now been "corrected" so that the "new and improved" audio option will now be the "newer and even more improved" one. We shall see.



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« #49 : September 25, 2012, 02:27:08 PM »

The original audio track still exists, though, and fans have been calling for Universal to include it on future home video releases. There's a rumor that it will be available as an option on the blu-ray, and I hope it's true. Viewers should be given a choice between the "new and improved" audio and the audio track Hitchcock signed off on.

One of the things that annoyed everyone in 96 (and 97 when the LD came out) was that modern Foley had been applied to the film, noticiably so, and the anachronistic sounds were, to say the least, distracting. An egregious example was the gunshots used in the rooftop sequence that opens the film, which were amped up and sounded nothing like they ever had before. The Foley guys couldn't leave well enough alone, either, adding sounds where none had been previously (for example, they added bird noises to the Muir Woods sequence, even though it's supposed to be a dead forest). Of course, Bernard Herrmann's score came off sounding great, so all the news wasn't bad. Anyway, an early report has it that the Foley has now been "corrected" so that the "new and improved" audio option will now be the "newer and even more improved" one. We shall see.

Yeah, the restorers discussed a lot of this in the documentary and the commentary.

Apparently (I hope I'm repeating this accurately, cuz I can't say I understand much of it  ;)) they found a copy of the original recording of the score in great condition, and decided they just HAD to use that great version of the score, rather than using the one on the original audio track. Then they were able to separate the dialogue on the original audio track, but with all tinkering, it would impossible to get the sound effects off that original track. The restorers addressed this issue on the commentary, saying that while purists complain, they say the only alternative is to basically have no sound effects. (Please correct what I'm saying if it's not accurate). With that said, if they really added in new effects that never existed before (eg. birds chirping in what should have been a quiet forest), that is as inexcusable as John Jerk including the Tuco in the Cave scene in GBU even though Leone removed it.

I see it says on wikipedia that "the 2005 Hitchcock masterpiece Collection DVD contains the original mono track as an option." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertigo_%28film%29#Restoration

Do you know if Harris/Katz are overseeing the blu ray?

« : September 26, 2012, 05:24:22 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #50 : September 26, 2012, 10:28:21 AM »



Do you know if Harris/Katz are overseeing the blu ray?

They are not. There is a thread over at Home Theater Forum where Harris chimes in from time to time. He has no involvement with the present proceedings.



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« #51 : September 26, 2012, 05:25:24 PM »

They are not. There is a thread over at Home Theater Forum where Harris chimes in from time to time. He has no involvement with the present proceedings.

isn't it strange that they are not using him and Katz? has he had anything to say about it?


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« #52 : October 02, 2012, 11:11:40 PM »

Just looking again at Edward Hopper's most famous painting Nighthawks (1942) http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/111628
 and I noticed how the exterior of the diner is bathed in green light, which I guess is coming from some sign not visible in the picture (one of the important elements that can be found throughout Hopper's paintings is sources of light -- which nearly always reside outside the frame; we only see the light itself). Wondering if Hitch got his idea for the lighting (coming from  the sign outside Judy's hotel room) in the most important scene Vertigo from Nighthawks?

 Hitch designed the Bates home in Psycho based on another of Hopper's most famous paintings, House by the Railroad (1925) http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=78330   Knowing that Hopper was an influence on Hitch makes me wonder if there is a real possibility that my hunch is correct (Of course, green is the color most associated with Madeliene/Judy throughout the movie, but I still wonder if there's some inspiration for that scene....)

« : October 02, 2012, 11:21:12 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #53 : October 19, 2012, 10:32:34 AM »

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare/vertigo.htm



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« #54 : October 20, 2012, 05:18:06 PM »


wow, I think it's ridiculous that they dropped the Harris/Katz commentary (which btw also included Associate Producer Herbert Coleman). Much of the second half of that commentary is just a compilation of bits of interviews with various Hitch collaborators, and that is ridiculously annoying, as I discussed a few posts back, (similar to the "compilation" commentary of OUATITW). But  still, the first half or 2/3 of the movie is mostly the Harris/Katz/Coleman commentary, which features interesting bits of info RE: the making of the movie by Coleman, and RE: the restoration by Harris/Katz. It definitely should have been included on the new blu ray (better yet, they should have had Harris/Katz or someone else interesting do a proper commentary for the latter part of the film replacing those random interview tidbits from the Hitch collaborators). There is enough very interesting info in the Harris/Katz/Coleman discussions, it's really a crime that they removed it.


As for the color, IMO, the most interesting element of the movie is COLOR and LIGHT, I've pretty much given up hope of ever having a perfect-looking Vertigo, so I'll accept a decent-enough one; then again, I have no idea what the original movie looked like so I have nothing to compare it with. I'll just say I liked the movie on dvd, so I'll accept that as the version of Vertigo that I know and love, and not worry myself to death over what the movie looked like in 1958. That's all.



I am interested to know about the sound though. I wonder: Did they include the original audio track which Harris/Katz say was basically unusable for the final dvd once they used the original tapes of Herrmann's score? Did they keep the Foley sound effects as is? What about the claim that they raised the volume on the score and overshadowed the other sound? Will the audio be pretty much the same as the dvd?



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« #55 : October 25, 2012, 12:08:24 PM »

Robert Harris: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/324701/a-few-words-about-vertigo-in-blu-ray



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« #56 : October 25, 2012, 02:47:23 PM »

Robert Harris: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/324701/a-few-words-about-vertigo-in-blu-ray

Thanks for sharing; that is a very interesting post.

1)  it was interesting to see Harris say, RE: discussion of the sound restoration (and in any instances, re-creation), that studio politics interfered and that "we were not  happy with the final results." ("We" presumably refers to him and Katz).

2) I was surprised at his discussion of the financial limitations. Of course, everything has some sort of budget limitation. But when you consider how many film restoration institutions are out there (eg. The Film Foundation) and how much interest there is in restoring Vertigo, which supposedly is the greatest movie of all-time, you would think that if ever there was a movie that would have a blank check written for its restoration, Vertigo would be the one.

3) Harris actually says that with the advancement of technology, "anything can be done, with the requisite elements, to bring a film back to the way it appeared on day one." is he really saying that if they had enough money, it is actually theoretically possible to make Vertigo look just like it did if you were watching it in theaters in 1958? if so, it is a motherfucking crime that it hasn't been done. Again, for the greatest movie of all-time, you'd think that institutions and individuals dedicated to film restoration would be emptying their bank accounts, going into debt, and friggin' hocking their wives wedding rings, to do so.

4)  Harris's basic point is that while the blu ray is not perfect, they still did a very good job. Overall, he seems to feel that while no perfect restoration has yet been undertaken, due at least in part to lack of funds, the fact is that with the resources available, the blu ray was done very well. That's all well and good, but what I, (and I presume all other serious fans) I really want to know is, "is the blu ray a significant upgrade over the dvd?" After all, that's the question for every blu ray release, not just Vertigo: is it is a (significant) upgrade over the dvd? He hasn't answered that question, and I wish he would.

dj, if you are a user on that forum, perhaps you want to ask that question and see if he responds?

5) Finally, I hope the blu ray is not windowboxed as the movie is. At a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the movie should basicaly take up the entire hd screen (possibly with tiny black bars on top and bottom). But the dvd has black lines all around, it only uses the center of the screen. (The only other dvd I can recall seeing that on is Madigan, which is also a Universal release). I hope the blu ray doesn't have that problem

« : December 23, 2012, 06:29:25 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #57 : October 25, 2012, 03:12:06 PM »

firstly, I should mention that I don't accept Beaver's screencaps like they are the Bible. I presume that not all were taken at the same time on the same device (and some are much larger than others), and I am sure that color can be affected by the system that a disc is viewed on.

With that said, I looked through the screencap comparisons for Vertigo http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare/vertigo.htm  and I'll discuss them here:

For each shot, there are 4 sets of screencaps (for 3 dvd versions plus the blu ray), it's not easy to compare the first cap in each set to the latter 3, as the first one is much smaller than the latter 3. But from what I can tell, overall, based on these screencaps, it doesn't look like the blu ray image is significantly different than the dvd's.


In 2 instances, the blu ray looks brighter than some of the dvd's  (the shot of Stewart in Bel Geddes's apartment, balancing his cane, and the shot of Novak in the flower shop).

In 3 instances, the blu ray looks less bright than some of the dvd's (the shot of Bel Geddes; the shot of Stewart in the green sweater; the shot of Stewart in the blue suit).

In the shot of Novak in the white coat, it looks like the dvd shots are a bit lighter than the blu ray shot: in the dvd's, the wall and Novak's coat are pure WHITE; in the blu ray, they both have a darker tinge of white. The black of Novak's gloves and scarf contrasts more sharply with her white coat in those dvd shots than it does in the blu ray shot. And the curtain on the left of the picture is much more faded green in the dvd shots; in the blu ray shot, the curtain is a darker green, and Novak's skin tone is very slightly less pale than it is in the dvd.

The most glaring difference is in the final shot, of Novak's face at the salon; while the flesh tone in the dvd shots vary, they are all MUCH closer to realistic than the flesh tone in the blu ray shot, which is waaaay to red. (then again, color was so important for this movie, I am sure Hitch fucked around with different shades of coloring, so just because Novak's face is an unrealistic shade of red does NOT necessarily mean that the blu ray is showing the incorrect color on that shot; it's certainly possible that Hitch intended it to be red (Novak is most associated with green, but of course she is "secondarily" associated with red). So I can't know which one of these tones are most accurate, all I can say is that this is the one shot where the blu ray color is glaringly different than the dvd colors.

based on these captures, for whatever they are worth, it doesn't appear to me that the blu ray image is a significant upgrade over all the dvd's.

I do wish that Beaver would have provided more screencaps, particularly less closeups and more wide shots, and some exteriors,  where color is so important. And also in the most important scene, in Novak's hotel room awashed in green light.


Finally, I have a peripheral question: of the 3 dvd's does anyone have a clear preference for which image is best? i am asking if you know based on either your own knowledge or if there is a clear winner among people you've spoken to and read about, but not based on Beaver's screencap comparisons; I can form my own opinion from that. I may wanna buy one of the dvd's sometime, so if anyone here can recommend which is best from a source other than Beaver's screencaps, I'd be mighty appreciative.
Also, I only watched one dvd, and it was windowboxed; are all the dvd's windowboxed?


« : December 23, 2012, 06:30:34 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #58 : October 25, 2012, 06:39:29 PM »

 ::)


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« #59 : October 26, 2012, 05:07:07 AM »

Also, I only watched one dvd, and it was windowboxed; are all the dvd's windowboxed?
No, at least one is anamorphic. I don't know which one though (in the US market, that is. I bought the anamorphic one from Hong Kong).



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