Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Post news stories and home video release announcements here.
User avatar
buskeat
Posts: 187
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:30 pm

Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by buskeat » Mon 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- ... -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

User avatar
Danny Burk
Moderator
Posts: 1734
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:11 pm
Location: South Bend, IN
Contact:

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Danny Burk » Mon 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!

User avatar
Dean Thompson
Posts: 184
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:21 am
Location: Way Down South

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Dean Thompson » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:55 pm

Oh. My. Gosh. How lucky are we? And all those extras sound wonderful, especially the book of essays.

Online
User avatar
Mike Gebert
Site Admin
Posts: 6131
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Mon 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.
“I'm in favor of plagiarism. If we are to create a new Renaissance, the government should encourage plagiarism. When convinced that someone is a true plagiarist, we should immediately award them the Legion of Honor.” —Jean Renoir

User avatar
Changsham
Posts: 805
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:34 pm

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Changsham » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:51 am

Cool, this is great news. Have a few of these but all worth the upgrade.

User avatar
Jim Roots
Posts: 2910
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
Location: Ottawa, ON

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Jim Roots » Tue 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" target="_blank

Jim

Online
User avatar
Mike Gebert
Site Admin
Posts: 6131
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:26 am

Old transfer, no blu-ray. It could use a freshening up.
“I'm in favor of plagiarism. If we are to create a new Renaissance, the government should encourage plagiarism. When convinced that someone is a true plagiarist, we should immediately award them the Legion of Honor.” —Jean Renoir

User avatar
s.w.a.c.
Posts: 2081
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:27 pm
Location: The Land of Evangeline

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Tue 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.
Twinkletoes wrote:Oh, ya big blister!

User avatar
Javier
Posts: 190
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:06 pm

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Javier » Tue 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.
"it's a Kafka high, you feel like a bug"

User avatar
Dean Thompson
Posts: 184
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:21 am
Location: Way Down South

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Dean Thompson » Tue 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.

brendangcarroll
Posts: 342
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:15 am
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by brendangcarroll » Wed 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!
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)

User avatar
David Alp
Posts: 919
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:58 am

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by David Alp » Tue 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".

User avatar
Danny Burk
Moderator
Posts: 1734
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:11 pm
Location: South Bend, IN
Contact:

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Danny Burk » Tue 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.

User avatar
Keatonesque
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed May 02, 2018 2:46 pm
Location: Joshua Tree

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Keatonesque » Thu 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.

User avatar
Danny Burk
Moderator
Posts: 1734
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:11 pm
Location: South Bend, IN
Contact:

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Danny Burk » Fri 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.

User avatar
Keatonesque
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed May 02, 2018 2:46 pm
Location: Joshua Tree

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Keatonesque » Fri 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.

All Darc
Posts: 1227
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:13 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by All Darc » Sat 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" target="_blank

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.
Keep thinking...

Image

User avatar
David Alp
Posts: 919
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:58 am

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by David Alp » Mon 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.

User avatar
Danny Burk
Moderator
Posts: 1734
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:11 pm
Location: South Bend, IN
Contact:

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Danny Burk » Mon 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.

All Darc
Posts: 1227
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:13 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by All Darc » Mon 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...

Image

All Darc
Posts: 1227
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:13 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by All Darc » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:53 pm

Trailer of the Criterion set in 1080p :



In Home Theater Forum Robert Harris told that the sorce from the restoration was fine grain masters made from camera negatives by dry gate (better sharpness than wetgate from decades ago), despite there was also fine grain made by wetgate, being the dry gate fine grains reported as quite better than the wetgate. They also used some nitrate prints.

He told Paramount junked the original camera negatives after created the second set of fine grain masters, decades ago. But fine grain master can hold details better than prints, specially if shot dry gate. Even prints can look sharp, if made right.

So I presume there is now a good chance that Morroco was shot intentionaly in a very soft focus photography stile, since there was fine grains and original prints. But, like we can see in the set trailler, the densite looks poor, like they tried to raise the shadows too much, making the image even more foggy than before.
Maybe even the original camera negative, had survived, would look nearly the same way in terms of softness.
Last edited by silentfilm on Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Embedded Vimeo video
Keep thinking...

Image

All Darc
Posts: 1227
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:13 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by All Darc » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:47 pm

Is that true or just a legend, about Marlene Dietrich had removed many molars to change the chage of the side of face (jaw area near cheeks) ?
Maybe she get tin because cold not eat as easy as before, without the molars, if this story ist' true.

Image

Image
Keep thinking...

Image

Daniel Eagan
Posts: 797
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:14 am
Contact:

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Daniel Eagan » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:42 pm

In his bio Alexander Walker wrote that she had some plastic surgery done and underwent a drastic diet. Didn't have much evidence to back it up. The real difference between the two stills is a) makeup and b) north lighting to erase the planes on her face.

All Darc
Posts: 1227
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:13 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by All Darc » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:00 pm

What you said makes sense.
Lighting makes a huge difference.

I consider some dermatologists and plastic surgerons as masters in photography. They can take Before/After photos, to promote skin treatments, in such a way, photographing in different light ways the photo of Before compared to how they photograph the photo of After, that even if no treament at all was done the photo of After would look quite better, for skin, than the photo of Before.
That's why in my country photo examples of treatments, showing Before/After, was forbidden.

Daniel Eagan wrote:In his bio Alexander Walker wrote that she had some plastic surgery done and underwent a drastic diet. Didn't have much evidence to back it up. The real difference between the two stills is a) makeup and b) north lighting to erase the planes on her face.
Keep thinking...

Image

All Darc
Posts: 1227
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:13 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by All Darc » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:29 pm

Welles and his nose, almost the reverse of Nicole Kidman's desire.




If he had a big nose he wouldn't cut in different shapes for each role.
Last edited by silentfilm on Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Embedded Vimeo video
Keep thinking...

Image

User avatar
Red Bartlett
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:30 am

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Red Bartlett » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:20 pm

All Darc wrote:Is that true or just a legend, about Marlene Dietrich had removed many molars to change the chage of the side of face (jaw area near cheeks) ?
Maybe she get tin because cold not eat as easy as before, without the molars, if this story ist' true.

Image
Yikes. Removing one's teeth to change the cheek line? Pretty extreme -- but I doubt she did that, nor do I think that would work. I see just a leaner face, less baby fat so to speak. That and the eyebrows were changed from a pretty, natural arch to a more permanent "angry eyes" which help to accentuate the sharper more dramatic lines.

User avatar
Danny Burk
Moderator
Posts: 1734
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:11 pm
Location: South Bend, IN
Contact:

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Danny Burk » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:47 pm

Lighting also made a huge difference. Note the high key light placed above her, creating shadows under her nose and cheekbones; this is present since her arrival in Hollywood and thereafter.

User avatar
Rick Lanham
Posts: 2039
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:16 pm
Location: Gainesville, FL

Re: Dietrich-Von Sternberg in Hollywood Boxed Set Coming

Unread post by Rick Lanham » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:19 pm

The "after" picture seems to show the eye makeup trick I've read about.

She was said to use a white paint on the inner edge of her eyelid to
make the white part of the eye appear larger.

Rick
“The past is never dead. It's not even past” - Faulkner.

Post Reply