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Discussion in 'Classic' started by Hellbilly, Jul 1, 2004.
Cover art looks groovy:
That's great (it's the original theatrical art). Gotta have this!
And GOSH - it's not a crapper snapper!
So....... How is this flick?
It's great. A vampire tale played for laughs. I really enjoyed it, but have not seen it in quite some time. Probably not for everyone, but if you like horror/comedies, you'll probably like it.
I've been wanting to see this one forever! I can't wait to get my hands on it.
Great movie and great cover art. This to me is Polanski's most underrated movie. Sure it's not as serious as his other movies, but that's the fun part about it. He is great in it as his the older man who plays the Van Helsing type character. Sharon Tate doesn't say much but she looks good anyway. This title is so much better than the other one "Pardon me, your teeth are in my neck." Maybe it was funny in 1967 but it really doesn't seem to work today.
About time this got a release in the Northern Hemisphere, but it seems to be a mixed blessing.
I bought a copy of the Brazilian release on ebay which has a non-anamorphic widescreen presentation but did have extras (including the cartoon beginning which got Roman so upset) and a 5.1 English mix (shame that the US disc just has mono). I only hope that the picture is sparkling on the new disc.
I would definitely recommend it to those who like Hammer and Polanski - it is one of my all-time favourite films. He pokes loving fun at his favourite Hammer films but this does also have a genuinely eerie feel to it, and the score is one of the best from any horror film.
Finally got the chance to watch this.First viewing for me.I loved it.The look of the movie is wonderful. It had a hammer feel to it.And the transpher is great.
hey, jimbo..does it have the animated credits sequence mentioned above?
At the opening when the MGM lion is roaring it turnes in to an animated vampire,And there is animated blood dripping during the opening credits.I assume this is what you are asking,But as it is my first viewing i dont know for sure.
I've only seen the cut American version way back in the seventies at Bleecker Street Cinema. So so. I'm curious to see the longer version.
Curiously, the movie was not shot in widescreen. It was shot flat (standard square 1.33) but Polanski wanted it wider so he had the tops and bottoms of the negative cropped and blown up to standard anamorphic CinemaScope/Panavision dimensions. There was a loss of resolution as a result although it might not be as noticeable on video as it was when shown theatrically.
How does that relate to the info on IMDB, which claims "The original format of the film was to be spherical widescreen. However, at the early stages of production the format was changed to wider, anamorphic Panavision. This results in some of the spherical shots having to be reframed and cropped in order to be as wide as Panavision." ?
The term 'spherical' means the movie was shot with standard lenses, not ones that had the anamorphic (CinemaScope/Panavision) squeeze.
Spherical widescreen is not really widescreen. When you look through the viewfinder you'll see the complete 1.33 (square) image which is what the
negative is. Full frame square. Later, the release prints are masked off
on the top and bottom to give the 1.85 ratio of all movies today that are
not shot with anamorphic lenses. The camera negative is not cropped however. The cinematographer usually composes for the 1.85 theatrical masking but makes sure the top and bottom of the frame is 'clean' (no mike booms or light stands) so that when it's broadcast on television full frame, it looks okay.
Apparently, Polanski wanted to shoot the film in Panavision but his producers didn't want to spend the extra money. So, in the post production stage he made a widescreen anamorphic negative by cropping the top and bottom of the full frame image. Unfortunately, by blowing up a portion of the frame it makes the image grainy and there is a loss of resolution. As to whether Polanski intended to do this all along and compensated for it in the framing of his subjects when he was filming, I don't know.
This method of shooting full frame then cropping it for later anamorph widescreen release was not new. It was done in the fifties and called "SuperScope" ("Invasion of the Body Snatchers"). Today it's called "Super 35". "Titanic" was photographed in this method. It's not an ideal method for getting a widescreen image.
Here's another way of looking at the quality difference between 1.85,
Panavision and SuperScope/Super 35...
The more of the frame that is projected onto the screen, the sharper and finer grain the image will appear.
Each 35mm frame is 4 sprockets high and square. In Panavision film, the entire 4 sprocket image is projected. The image itself has a 50% anamorphic squeeze which makes everyone look skinny. A projection lens unsqueezes it into a wide 2.35 x 1 ratio. Because the entire frame is being shown, they tend to look quite good (depending on the photography) even though it's spread out.
In 1.85, the tops and bottoms of the 4 sprocket image are cropped to give a rectangular ratio. Basically, you're losing the equivalent of one sprocket of image and magnifying part of the frame rather than the whole frame. You lose some sharpness and resolution as a result.
SuperScope/Super 35 is even worse. Although the image was photographed 4 sprocket square, the lab crops off the equivelent of 2 sprockets worth of image. You're only seeing a wide two sprocket image that is then blown up with an anamorphic squeeze to standard scope ratio unsqueezed at 2.35 x 1 but with none of the quality of a film shot in Panavision.
The reason Cameron used this format for "Titanic" was due to the extensive digital effects. He didn't want to deal with (or the equipment was not modified for) superimpositions with an anamorphic squeeze. The widescreen prints of "Titanic" were pretty grainy compared to a Panavision film. The fullframe version on video actually had better resolution than the artificial widescreen cropped version. This is not a reflection of the movie itself
which was very entertaining, just a criticism of it's imagery. For two hundred million, I wish he had shot it in 70mm or VistaVision and adapted his digital scanner to do effects in one of those superior formats.
There is one other format worth mentioning in this venue which is Techniscope which Lucas used for "THX 1138". The quality is identical to SuperScope/Super 35. A two sprocket wide image is blown up to anamorphic Panavision. The difference is, rather than shoot a four sprocket square image and waste the extra negative space, the camera is modified to film the wide image two sprockets at a time. Thus, you need less film.
None of these cropped image formats is optimum quality in my opinion. Considering the budgets of some of these pictures, they should be filming in 65mm or 35mm Panavision. I suspect a lot of directors are more concerned with the home video version (where the resolution problemsa are less noticeable) than theatrical exhibition (where the quality difference is obvious).
Back to the original question, according to the source I read, the entire film was shot spherical and adapted to anamorphic in the post-production. I think the imdb.com is inaccurate.
Yep, most of the time.
Here is a good article on the topic of the evolution of widescreen:
The Widescreen Revolution. Expanding Horizons--The Spherical Campaign
Okay a couple more very interesting articles:
Ignore the "soon to come DVD" opening, it's the lens stuff that is interesting
This is cool as it's written with less jargon
What was your source Rich?
My source was a decades old article about Polanski that stated the producers wouldn't allow him to shoot in Panavision so he shot it flat
and adapted it to anamorphic after the fact. It's in my archive but
finding it would take quite some time since I have so many files of
documentation. Of course the article could be wrong too. I'd have
to examine the original negative to determine which claim is right.
I tend to doubt that the film started flat and then switched to
Panavision. There would be no way of matching the blow up flat
footage with the Panavision footage. The grain difference would be quite obvious.
I do recall seeing the film at Bleecker Street decades ago and noted
that it looked a bit grainy like a Superscope or Techniscope movie.
Not as sharp as a Panavision film.
A final note to the earlier discussion about aspect ratios. I believe
the best quality for widescreen presentations is to shoot in 65mm.
Providing the 70mm release prints are struck directly off the camera
negative, the sharpness and resolution is almost three dimensional.
As an added bonus, the 35mm anamorphic reduction prints derived
from the 65mm also look great since the grain is shrunken down.
I'm amazed at how bad most contemporary films look even though
the budgets are in the hundreds of millions. It seems to me they
can afford to use the best technology available including 70mm.
I'm sure some facility could adapt their digital scanner to the format
so that CGE could be made in that system. The other alternative
would be to shoot in VistaVision which generated an ultra-sharp
1.85 reduction print. Either way, the quality could clearly be improved.
It's a sad fact that release print technology has not improved over the decades but declined. Films today look terrible compared to how they
looked on the large screens prior to the seventies.
Of course the best color was in the abandoned dye transfer Technicolor process. Most people don't know that it was briefly re-introduced from 1997 to 2001. It worked great for the classic re-issues of "Apocalype Redux",
"Rear Window" and "The Wizard of Oz". The problem was, the style of contemporary films didn't lend itself to the system. They made dye transfer prints of "Godzilla" but no one noticed the difference since it was too dark
and murky. If you want to utilize dye transfer printing, you have to color coordinate the cinematography (i.e. "Vertigo", "Goldfinger", "Horror of Dracula" etc.) so it shows off the vibrant hues effectively. If the camerawork is de-saturated and murky, dye transfer is no better than Eastmancolor. The equipment was put into storage in 2001 due to lack of interest. Very sad.
I've always found Technicolor to be a bit........ cartoonish to be honest. Kind of like how people overcrank the color settings on their TV's so nothing looks natural anymore. If you read the links I posted they have some bits of information on why Director's like Cameron prefer Super35.