CineSavant Column

Tuesday August 7, 2018


Not a lot of news or fabulous links today. For devotees of Region B releases, the good news from correspondent Louis Irwin today is that a new German Koch Media disc of Gillo Pontecorvo’s Burn! aka ¡Queimada!: Insel Des Shreckens sounds like a good buy. Louis gave me a mini-review:

“This version is 129 minutes and thus 17 minutes longer than the U.S. release (112 minutes), but 3 minutes shorter than the alleged complete version of 132 minutes. It is Region B only. Audio is in Italian (or German if you want), and English subtitles are available. Visually it is pretty good (bitrates over 30Mbps) and is miles ahead of the U.S. DVD. I had the feeling that colors could be improved if they were a bit more saturated.

The extra material I noticed were a series of incidents with José Dolores (Evaristo Márquez) that Sir William Walker (Marlon Brando) takes note of prior to Walker’s brutal incitement of José to provoke him to rebel. In the shorter version, Walker sees José pick up a rock as if he is going to use it to attack a soldier who just kicked him, then there is an immediate cut to Walker’s incitement. The shorter version eliminates all those prior scenes. The first time I saw the film was in Germany, and it was the longer cut, but the way I remembered it there were more scenes after José’s grabbing the rock and Walker’s incitement. I seem to recall that Walker approached José after the rock scene and offered him employment and developed an initial bond prior to his provocation. My memory may be incorrect, but it would perhaps account for those additional 3 minutse. In any case, the additional senes in the Koch version provide a certain buildup that is lacking in the shorter version. All the best to you — Louis Irwin”

I thought the domestic DVD of Burn! looked pretty drab, like a low-grade spaghetti western. As I know the picture has plenty of fans, I thought I’d pass this on. Also, from correspondent Edward Sullivan, this Adam Lippe article on the movie explains a lot of background I didn’t know.

The scary news is a report from correspondent Simon Wells, about the much- touted Christopher Nolan restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’d like to know if other readers have seen the show, and if their prints were different, or better. Here’s Simon’s note — actually, two notes I’ve shuffled together:

“Hi Glenn, Just wondering if you happened to see the recent Nolan de-restoration of 2001 in 70mm in recent months?

I did and was utterly horrified by the general murkiness, blown out white and general sludginess. The colour grade was horrible, the detail pitiful. The scenes inside the space wheel where Floyd talks to Rossiter and the Russians were blown out and looked abysmal. Worse still was the new teal and amber color grade which I am assuming is how the upcoming 4k release will be presented. I dont think I have ever seen it look so bad.

Getting films you never thought you’d see on Blu-ray is great but this kind of vandalism just depresses me no end. I’d be very curious to hear your thoughts. — Simon Wells”

Am I stirring up a non-issue, taking a reader’s evaluation on something I haven’t seen myself? The last time I saw 2001 on a big screen was at the 2012 TCMfest, and the 70mm print looked just fine to me; I’ve never seen a bad print, even in 35mm. I can say that the WB film management and restoration experts are some of the finest in the world, and that their 2003 remastering of Ryan’s Daughter was the most perfect film presentation I’ve ever seen. I’m all for celebrity filmmakers helping promote film restoration, but I’d hardly think that 2001 was being neglected.

I am curious to get more feedback on the 70mm reissue, which I am told is a different animal than the special IMAX reissue coming up shortly. So if you saw 2001 in ‘Nolanvision’ please let me know!

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson