MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

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Marr&Colton

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MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostSun Oct 23, 2016 7:13 am

The big news in Hollywood is the newly released and restored MARX BROTHERS BLU-RAY SET OF THEIR PARAMOUNT PICTURES, 1929-33.

I just received here and did a quick preview.. Since so many of you are familiar with these gems, here is what the restored
versions look like:

COCOANUTS (1929) Vast improvement, but still too much replacement footage. Auction sequence still not original footage.Overall fair to gorgeous quality on the screen. Some sections suffer from early sound recording and microphone placement making dialogue hard to understand. This movie is very tough sledding at times due to static continuity and having to hear the main song reprised about 349 times throughout the movie.

ANIMAL CRACKERS (1930) This is the greatest improvement. Print transferred was an uncut British archival copy and sharpness, contrast and sound excellent!
Far improved from the soft 1973 reissue master that was used till now.

HORSEFEATHERS (1931) Excellent super sharp transfer with strong sound. Unfortunately the sequence in Thelma Todd's apartment is still a little choppy. Original uncut footage was not located for this scene, although it is obvious the splicy section was cleaned up and tightened up for dialogue flow.

MONKEY BUSINESS (1932) Excellent high definition transfer throughout.

DUCK SOUP (1933) Very nice high definition transfer throughout.

Overall, these movies look wonderful transferred to Blu-Ray High Def---much, much new detail to see!

EXTRAS--interesting new documentary, old TV interviews, but NO trailers did I see! (There are a few extant from other sources online)
Last edited by Marr&Colton on Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:01 am, edited 3 times in total.
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All Darc

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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostSun Oct 23, 2016 11:30 am

I know the restorers have not ideal film elements to work...

But accoding Blu-ray.com screen captures, none of the film transfers looks sharp.

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Cocoa ... 08/#Review
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Animal-Cr ... 05/#Review
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Monkey-Bu ... 25/#Review
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Horse-Fea ... ray/48826/
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Duck-Soup-Blu-ray/48827/

But a very valid effort.

Perhaps a heavy grain reduction is partially responsible for such fuzzyness.
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bigshot

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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostSun Oct 23, 2016 12:09 pm

I've only watched Animal Crackers so far, and it looked very good. The sound was a little disconcerting. I'm used to the old heavily compressed TV prints where all the dialogue was up front. It seems that originally, it was miked a little distant. I had to strain a little to hear the words, but luckily I have them all memorized. Great work by Universal.

By the way, blu-ray.com isn't a good source for screen caps. DVD Beaver's caps are all calibrated with the same settings. I saw Animal Crackers and blu-ray.com's caps on that don't represent how it looked at all.
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostSun Oct 23, 2016 12:24 pm

Blu-ray.com uses 720p screen capture, so youy are right in some way, it's not ideal to judge.

But... lower resolutions tends to hide a little the lack of sharpness and tthe DVD Beaver captures will show that the image it's even softer than what appears on captures of Blu-Ray.com

Maybe Paramount did not used the best grain reduction technology that allow reduce grain with very little lost of sharpness.

bigshot wrote:By the way, blu-ray.com isn't a good source for screen caps. DVD Beaver's caps are all calibrated with the same settings. I saw Animal Crackers and blu-ray.com's caps on that don't represent how it looked at all.
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostMon Oct 24, 2016 11:10 am

This set was produced by Universal, not Paramount. As I said, I've seen Animal Crackers projected on a screen and it looks as good as you could possibly hope for. The Marx Brothers' movies aren't Lawrence of Arabia. The original negatives no longer exist, and the elements that survive were used and abused for many years to produce TV prints. We aren't going to see them pull 70mm image quality out of these films. That said, Animal Crackers is better looking on blu-ray than it probably was in original release. There is nothing wrong with Universal's restoration of these titles.
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostMon Oct 24, 2016 5:54 pm

Better than a original nitrate print shot from camera negative I do not believe.

But the restoration effort is very welcome and must be well respected for bring these films in better conditions for new generations. It have stability, good dynamics range, good contrast, a lot of damaged was removed.
Grain reduction was probably applied during vídeo mastering.

bigshot wrote:This set was produced by Universal, not Paramount. As I said, I've seen Animal Crackers projected on a screen and it looks as good as you could possibly hope for. The Marx Brothers' movies aren't Lawrence of Arabia. The original negatives no longer exist, and the elements that survive were used and abused for many years to produce TV prints. We aren't going to see them pull 70mm image quality out of these films. That said, Animal Crackers is better looking on blu-ray than it probably was in original release. There is nothing wrong with Universal's restoration of these titles.
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Marr&Colton

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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostTue Oct 25, 2016 4:21 am

I'm VERY fussy about sharp focus and most of these new transfers range from super-sharp to acceptable, depending on many factors: how well in focus the original cameraman was, the difference between better footage used versus only available--as in the Cocoanuts "auction scene".

The Marx Brothers never looked this good since these films originally released.

BTW, I project on a large screen and it is amazing in virtually ALL old movie transfers the subtle difference in focus from scene to scene in the original material. Back then perfect focus was attempted using a tape measure to subject and adjusting the camera lens, since through the lens rangefinders weren't used until much later by cinematographers.
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostTue Oct 25, 2016 8:06 am

Ok, maybe I did not use the proper words, as some captures are fine despite of not 100%% sharp. This one it's very good for a film of this age:

http://images4.static-bluray.com/review ... _large.jpg

The restoration worked with dupes, and maybe some or mostly was shot in 70's with early wet gate and as result sofdtness are introduced in some degree.

But there are scenes with looks like much vídeo processing, agressive grain reduction and very soft detail. Do you think this image is sharp?

http://images3.static-bluray.com/review ... _large.jpg



Or this:
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostTue Oct 25, 2016 12:29 pm

All Darc wrote:Better than a original nitrate print shot from camera negative I do not believe.


The camera negatives don't exist on these films. They were destroyed many years ago. This set is made from the best surviving elements. Animal Crackers was made from an original nitrate European print I believe. That's why it has the scenes that have been cut from American copies since the film was released.

All Darc wrote:Do you think this image is sharp?


That scene appears to be front focused a bit. These films were shot very fast, and the camera work isn't perfect. They weren't elegant Lubitsch films by any means.

Animal Crackers looks remarkably good though. The grain is handled well. No intrusive digital restoration. It looks like film when I project it. But it came from a remarkably good film print. It might be different on scenes edited in from lesser sources in the other films. You really can't generalize about this set because they pulled together all the best surviving elements. Some were in better shape than others, and some were more dupey. But you can generalize enough to say that this is the best that these films have ever looked on video, and that they are unlikely to ever look any better than this.
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostWed Oct 26, 2016 12:13 pm

Yes, it's the best looking on vídeo and the best from many decades. That's why I said the restoration and effort is welcome must be respected.
I just said it wasn't top sharp.

The images running will look better than captures, as always does, making the exerience better.

What is the film where Groucho makes a joke about the color of somebody's clouthes, and we can't see the color as it's a B&W film?
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostWed Oct 26, 2016 5:17 pm

I stopped watching The Cocoanuts upon Zeppo's first appearance-
as perhaps thousands of others have been doing for decades-
but the reason I switched off was because of Anthony Slide's commentary narration,
right at the point where he tells us of the marriage of Zeppo's (first)
wife Marion to Frank Sinatra.

It's not that I'm totally opposed to alternative histories-
I simply loved Zeppo's duet with Nancy on Something Stupid-
I just don't think they should be presented on Commentary Tracks
as fact.
Certainly Mr Slide- and everyone but I- can err.
But doesn't anyone - in this case, anyone at Universal-
double check these things before they are put out?

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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostThu Oct 27, 2016 11:51 am

I'm not sure from the preceding posts but does The Cocoanuts still contain the two areas of dupe footage?
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Marr&Colton

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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostFri Oct 28, 2016 3:57 am

RE: COCOANUTS

As mentioned in the first post on this thread, there IS STILL A GOOD AMOUNT OF DUPE FOOTAGE.
Some of it was replaced with better and cleaner footage for this release, but there is still an annoyingly frequent
use of dupe footage as the movie goes on.....original negative or release footage not extant?
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostFri Oct 28, 2016 3:59 am

JFK wrote:I stopped watching The Cocoanuts upon Zeppo's first appearance-
as perhaps thousands of others have been doing for decades-
but the reason I switched off was because of Anthony Slide's commentary narration,
right at the point where he tells us of the marriage of Zeppo's (first)
wife Marion to Frank Sinatra.

It's not that I'm totally opposed to alternative histories-
I simply loved Zeppo's duet with Nancy on Something Stupid-
I just don't think they should be presented on Commentary Tracks
as fact.
Certainly Mr Slide- and everyone but I- can err.
But doesn't anyone - in this case, anyone at Universal-
double check these things before they are put out?



Frank Sinatra married Zeppo's ex-wife, BARBARA....Where did they get "Marion"?

Unless the narration is by an ORIGINAL PLAYER OR DIRECTOR, I often find them OBNOXIOUS so I never play those tracks.
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostFri Oct 28, 2016 2:04 pm

Marr&Colton wrote:Some of it was replaced with better and cleaner footage for this release, but there is still an annoyingly frequent use of dupe footage as the movie goes on.....original negative or release footage not extant?


The original negative had partly decomposed when MCA got its hands on it, meaning that it was forced to fill the gaps with whatever elements were available.

There appear to have been five sections of dupe material - two entire reels (3 and 5) and three shorter patches. The new restoration seems to have replaced three of these sections with better but still not perfect material. The remaining two sections (Reel 5 and a few shots at the wedding party) are pretty much as before.
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostSat Oct 29, 2016 10:05 am

KenGriffin wrote:
Marr&Colton wrote:Some of it was replaced with better and cleaner footage for this release, but there is still an annoyingly frequent use of dupe footage as the movie goes on.....original negative or release footage not extant?


The original negative had partly decomposed when MCA got its hands on it, meaning that it was forced to fill the gaps with whatever elements were available.

There appear to have been five sections of dupe material - two entire reels (3 and 5) and three shorter patches. The new restoration seems to have replaced three of these sections with better but still not perfect material. The remaining two sections (Reel 5 and a few shots at the wedding party) are pretty much as before.


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bigshot

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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostSun Nov 06, 2016 11:27 am

I watched The Cocoanuts last night. Some of the film was the same as ever, but a lot of it was absolutely perfect. The opening montage looked incredible! The sound was a lot better than it used to be too.
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostSun Jan 08, 2017 4:57 am

All Darc wrote:Yes, it's the best looking on vídeo and the best from many decades. That's why I said the restoration and effort is welcome must be respected.
I just said it wasn't top sharp.

The images running will look better than captures, as always does, making the exerience better.

What is the film where Groucho makes a joke about the color of somebody's clothes, and we can't see the color as it's a B&W film?



That would be "The Big Store" - This is a bright-red dress, but Technicolor is so expensive.
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Re: MARX BROS. RESTORED BLU-RAY SET--impressions

PostMon Jan 09, 2017 7:14 pm

bigshot wrote:I watched The Cocoanuts last night. Some of the film was the same as ever, but a lot of it was absolutely perfect. The opening montage looked incredible! The sound was a lot better than it used to be too.



I've only watched "The Cocoanuts" and "Animal Crackers" so far, and I must say I'm quite pleased. I agree - the opening montage of the former film is stunning, and for the first time I can actually see the faces of the chorus girls in the "Bell Hop" number (thus, I was able to discern that the first girl on the left, bottom row must have been related to, or sleeping with, some executive at Paramount). I think this the best version of the film we're likely to see.
"Animal Crackers" looks terrific, and it was worth the price just to hear Groucho's long lost 'no no' line in the "Captain Spaulding" number.
Now on to the rest.

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