Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

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buskeat

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Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostMon Apr 16, 2018 3:32 pm

Criterion Collection just announced this staggeringly amazing boxed set on DVD and Blu-Ray coming in July.

https://www.criterion.com/boxsets/1329-dietrich-von-sternberg-in-hollywood

Tasked by studio executives with finding the next great screen siren, visionary Hollywood director Josef von Sternberg joined forces with rising German actor Marlene Dietrich, kicking off what would become one of the most legendary partnerships in cinema history. Over the course of six films produced by Paramount in the 1930s, the pair refined their shared fantasy of pleasure, beauty, and excess. Dietrich’s coolly transgressive mystique was a perfect match for the provocative roles von Sternberg cast her in—including a sultry chanteuse, a cunning spy, and the hedonistic Catherine the Great—and the filmmaker captured her allure with chiaroscuro lighting and opulent design, conjuring fever-dream visions of exotic settings from Morocco to Shanghai. Suffused with frank sexuality and worldly irony, these deliriously entertaining masterpieces are landmarks of cinematic artifice.

Featuring Morocco, Dishonored, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress and The Devil is a Woman.

New 2K or 4K digital restorations of all six films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
New interviews with film scholars Janet Bergstrom and Homay King; director Josef von Sternberg’s son, Nicholas; Deutsche Kinemathek curator Silke Ronneburg; and costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis
New documentary about actor Marlene Dietrich’s German origins, featuring film scholars Gerd Gemünden and Noah Isenberg
New documentary on Dietrich’s status as a feminist icon, featuring film scholars Mary Desjardins, Amy Lawrence, and Patricia White
The Legionnaire and the Lady, a 1936 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Morocco, featuring Dietrich and actor Clark Gable
New video essay by critics Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López
The Fashion Side of Hollywood, a 1935 publicity short featuring Dietrich and costume designer Travis Banton
Television interview with Dietrich from 1971
PLUS: A book featuring essays by critics Imogen Sara Smith, Gary Giddins, and Farran Smith Nehme
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostMon Apr 16, 2018 3:37 pm

A lifetime dream! This is exactly the set I've called my #1 want for years. This makes my day...week...year!
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostMon Apr 16, 2018 5:55 pm

Oh. My. Gosh. How lucky are we? And all those extras sound wonderful, especially the book of essays.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostMon Apr 16, 2018 7:07 pm

Also long-awaited: A Matter of Life and Death. So I guess Roger Livesey will make the masthead yet, even if we're still waiting on I Know Where I'm Going.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 4:51 am

Cool, this is great news. Have a few of these but all worth the upgrade.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 6:03 am

Mike Gebert wrote:Also long-awaited: A Matter of Life and Death. So I guess Roger Livesey will make the masthead yet, even if we're still waiting on I Know Where I'm Going.


Huh? They've already done I Know Where I'm Going.
https://www.criterion.com/films/633-i-k ... tocomplete

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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 7:26 am

Old transfer, no blu-ray. It could use a freshening up.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 8:56 am

Great news, I'll be curious to see how they spiff up The Scarlet Empress. From what I've seen, the old Criterion DVD was a little too dark, while a UK or European DVD may have had better source material to work with, but transferred it a shade too light.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 5:06 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:Great news, I'll be curious to see how they spiff up The Scarlet Empress. From what I've seen, the old Criterion DVD was a little too dark, while a UK or European DVD may have had better source material to work with, but transferred it a shade too light.


That's the first thing I thought about. The Universal region 2 DVD seems a better transfer than the Criterion one.
Let's hope Criterion did an upgrade on this one. I am sure most of the Nitrateville members have all or most of them, but I will upgrade to Blu-ray. It would be nice if the same is done to the Von Sternberg Silents, I would certainly buy the box set again.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 6:21 pm

Javier wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:It would be nice if the same is done to the Von Sternberg Silents, I would certainly buy the box set again.


Same here. The Von Sternberg silents collection was about as beautiful and satisfying a box set as I've ever purchased.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostWed Apr 18, 2018 3:04 pm

Yes, a welcome release. However as some here have commented already, I just hope that a proper restoration of The Scarlet Empress has finally been done.

Criterion's last DVD edition in 2001, which stated : "Luminous new digital transfer with restored image and sound" was absolutely dire.

The Universal Region 2 used a fine nitrate print held in the National Film Archive in London and it was FAR superior, though the image was cropped and the sound was often indestinct.

Of all von Sternberg's films, SCARLET EMPRESS is the one title that deserves the finest possible visual representation and restoration in order that we can all appreciate and enjoy the extraordinary visuals, lighting and photography.

I, for one, will not invest in this pricey set until I read the reviews and see some image comparisons at DVD Beaver

If anyone has seen an advance copy, please post a review! Thanks!
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostTue Apr 24, 2018 2:52 pm

Wow -- A dream come true! I love each and every one of these Dietrich/Von Sternberg titles. Each one is a masterpiece, and their collaboration together truly brought out both of their entire careers best work in each other. Dietrich never again achieved such fine acting, and such fine vehicles until maybe "Witness For The Prosecution" and "Judgement At Nuremberg".
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostTue Apr 24, 2018 5:07 pm

Looking ahead at TCM's May schedule, I see that 4 of these are running the evening of 10 May, with another a week later. In the event that these are the new transfers, I'll set up the dvr and take a look.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostThu May 10, 2018 10:08 pm

Danny Burk wrote:Looking ahead at TCM's May schedule, I see that 4 of these are running the evening of 10 May, with another a week later. In the event that these are the new transfers, I'll set up the dvr and take a look.


Tonight's the night and I regret to report that TCM is using the same old prints for these films, which is odd considering the timing of the box-set announcement, the restorations, and month-long dedication to the films of Dietrich. In any case, the anticipation builds for the restorations that Criterion will soon be unveiling. It's a shame TCM could not have offered a taste of at least one. On a side note, Sam Jaffe's Peter III is literally a sociopathic Harpo Marx on an acid trip in The Scarlet Empress. Quite a spectacle. Anna May Wong's expressionism in Shanghai Express is mesmerizing. She deserved so much better in Hollywood.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostFri May 11, 2018 7:48 am

I looked at EMPRESS last night - not yet the others - and it is indeed the new restoration. It's spectacular compared to the lacklustre, grain-filled prints we've been seeing forever. Are you watching the non-HD version of TCM? That may have been the reason that you didn't notice the difference.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostFri May 11, 2018 2:08 pm

Danny Burk wrote:I looked at EMPRESS last night - not yet the others - and it is indeed the new restoration. It's spectacular compared to the lacklustre, grain-filled prints we've been seeing forever. Are you watching the non-HD version of TCM? That may have been the reason that you didn't notice the difference.


I only caught the last hour of it, so you may very well be correct, though the sound was quite poor. I have TCM in HD, but more often than not, the prints look lackluster, whether due to age or TCM not showing restored versions of films. Did Empress have the Janus logo before the film began? None of the others did.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostSat Jun 02, 2018 7:17 am

Was Morocco ever suposed to be so soft/blurry look in the original premiere prints ???

Screen captures : http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReview ... lu-ray.htm

I can't imagine how a film duplication mistake could lead to a so blurry image, unlles it was made in a optical printer by use of lenses wrong adjusted, intead in a film contact printer.
Even Sunrise 1928 (a fifth generation print) wasn't so poor in sharpness.

They managed to make it look even worse than the DVD, getting it quite washed off in contrast.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostMon Jun 04, 2018 1:36 pm

Sternberg did often shoot in softish focus (through gauze etc.) but it may also be due to the relatively poor state of the Universal-owned Paramount library. I recall reading they copied all their Paramount titles in the 1950s and junked the original negatives/prints. That's why Arrow didn't release them on Blu-ray; reportedly, they didn't think the available digital transfers were good enough.

I have always thought that "Morocco" looked very soft, in every incarnation I have had it in. On TV, VHS, and DVD.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostMon Jun 04, 2018 2:18 pm

Yes, MOROCCO has been soft and low-contrast in every version I've had, including a 16mm print and various video incarnations since then. It's the lowest-quality film of the group, especially since SCARLET EMPRESS has been restored to its radiant beauty.
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Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

PostMon Jun 04, 2018 4:23 pm

Thank you guys.

I supose soft focus plus overduplication (dupe from dupes...) made it to the image. Many soft focus have a soft look but with some almost fine details underneath, like if a fraction of the image was soft and another fraction have details. But such soft focus details in negatives and prints have a tendency to easily be reduced, since the contrast between the details use to be low in soft focus.

I supose all versions came from the same poor master.
I presume even Lowry DIgital technology could not do much for this film, depite maybe get some little more detail.

Danny Burk wrote:Yes, MOROCCO has been soft and low-contrast in every version I've had, including a 16mm print and various video incarnations since then. It's the lowest-quality film of the group, especially since SCARLET EMPRESS has been restored to its radiant beauty.


David Alp wrote:Sternberg did often shoot in softish focus (through gauze etc.) but it may also be due to the relatively poor state of the Universal-owned Paramount library. I recall reading they copied all their Paramount titles in the 1950s and junked the original negatives/prints. That's why Arrow didn't release them on Blu-ray; reportedly, they didn't think the available digital transfers were good enough.

I have always thought that "Morocco" looked very soft, in every incarnation I have had it in. On TV, VHS, and DVD.
Keep thinking...

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