101 / BD 8 City Girl

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: BD 8 City Girl

#126 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun May 16, 2010 2:36 pm

david hare wrote:I had always understood that when Fox started recutting the film, they left the reshoots to Alfred Werker (who also did the major reshoot for Stroheim's Walking Down Broadway/Hello Sister! which really IS a butchered movie.) There are undoubtedly other hands at work in the pie as well.

Werker's hand is very diificult for me to pick out from what Murnau left behnd at this point - I suspect a lot of the contretemps between the father and Mary is shot by him - Werker - the angles and cutting look too direct and uninvoled with a moving camera for anything other than blocking for decoupage. And possibly the end as well including the big climactic riding scene at night. If he Werker- has shot that, then what remains are Murnau's CUs or outtakes and some notion at least of Murnau's positioning of actors for staging, probably in rehearsal.

Certainly I dont doubt that it's a highly compromised film, and maybe half of it is really dircted by M. But so what? It still belongs to M. For US!

Isnt what's there, esepcially those first twenty minutes in the cafe really important to us?
This is completely accurate-- the differences go far beyond a dispute over the name of the film. I see Murnau's hand strongly in evidence running just up to the arrival at the farm. The blocking and the use of the camera just wilt after that point, and the mise en scene (and the tale itself) sort of deteriorates into the commonplace melodrama, and loses the sparkling insight of Murnau's deployment of Everything. For me the film gets hokey as soon as Kate gets slapped and Lem walks around looking like a wrung out wet blanket-- monotone straight into the end.

Ever see Guinn Big Boy in THE PHANTOM? A really bad, super obscure early talkie? He was a funny kid-- he probably shoulda stuck to football, but I always love seeing him nontheless.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: BD 8 City Girl

#127 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun May 16, 2010 10:42 pm

Pilgrimage is a sheer mindblower in all depts-- one of the primary pearls of discovery in the great FORD AT FOX box. It's really after his exposure to Murnau that Ford-- and so many American filmmakers-- learned thru the great German's stellar example the art of subtext, and how to depict it with art, nuance and sophistication.

The art of saying what is not spoken or depicted directly-- who was better at this than Herr Plumpe? Whether depicting the world of dreams, or his operatic deployment of actors requiring no subtitles to unfold a narrative... or illustrating with outright blatancy the speed and tenor and scale of the ratcheting urban world of dog eat dog overtaking the old doorman of Jannings (via the literal depiction of a leaning, almost attacking skyscraper looming and bending at the protagonist) in LAST LAUGH, or the subtle visual touchstones in CITY GIRL (the mechanical bird, the wheat in the bible, the Hopeful Geranium redux, etc) the man's craft never seemed to fail him.

Of course he owed a lot to Carl Mayer in the development of these conceits, but that's another conversation. The man remains my favorite director, unshakable despite his newfound popularity on DVD (which might cause a knucklehead to move on to something more Avant or Obscure). The finest director the medium has ever known... incredible all these wonderful films were produced in 10 measly years-- from neophyte to looming master.

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: BD 8 City Girl

#128 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:38 am

Having just watched this for the first time in any format- gosh. It's difficult to believe it's generally considered minor or even counterfeit Murnau- though the underlying story has some sort of humdrum melodrama elements, the overall effect is powerful enough that I kept watching the movie while there was a great deal of melodrama about whether my roommates and I would be kicked out going on in real life.

I'm going to admit something shameful: often, with silent movies, I watch them with the commentary on first and then go without training wheels. I was planning on doing that here- I really love Kalat- but the movie was so engrossing in the first ten minutes or so that I went back to the beginning and turned the commentary off. That didn't happen to me with Nosferatu, and I don't know if it is because it is played at camera speed, untinted, or just more American, but I found this to be far the more physically beautiful movie, at least when it was firing on all cylinders.

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Cash Flagg
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:15 pm

Re: BD 8 City Girl

#129 Post by Cash Flagg » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:07 pm

Last edited by Cash Flagg on Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: BD 8 City Girl

#130 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:26 pm

I loved this release so much that I watched it w/o commentary and then watched it immediately afterwards with commentary. As far as I can recall, this is the first and only time I have ever done this.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: BD 8 City Girl

#131 Post by zedz » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:40 pm

Cash Flagg wrote:Duplicate post, please delete.
If that duplicate post was about this going out of print, it's probably important that that information stays in this thread (if it's correct).

And if it's correct, snap this up as soon as you can: a revelatory transfer of a great film.

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Oedipax
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Re: BD 8 City Girl

#132 Post by Oedipax » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:45 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:I loved this release so much that I watched it w/o commentary and then watched it immediately afterwards with commentary. As far as I can recall, this is the first and only time I have ever done this.
Ha, I did the same thing. Didn't need much excuse to look at that glorious (and gloriously transferred) film again.

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Minkin
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: BD 8 City Girl

#133 Post by Minkin » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:20 pm

Did MoC change their mind about retroactive dual-format releases? This is scheduled for DVD for April, so I can't see any reason it would be pulled (although Ran/Contempt come to mind but so does the mis-label of the Lubitsch set).

peerpee
not perpee
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:41 pm

Re: BD 8 City Girl

#134 Post by peerpee » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:04 pm

The CITY GIRL BD is not going OOP. No idea why that site says it is. It's out on DVD in April though.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: BD 8 City Girl

#135 Post by knives » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:11 pm

Everyone should buy it as if it was going anyways. I was only introduced to the BD a few weeks ago and it's one of the best. That booklet put down all of my thoughts better than I ever could have.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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Re: BD 8 City Girl

#136 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:31 pm

I just want to stir away from the false news of the film going out of print to my praise of the film. I bought it along with There's Always Tomorrow when they were first released, but for whatever reason, I didn't view either one until this week. What a mistake I did with both! I should've seen hem long ago!

City Girl isn't, what I feel, minor Murnau as it's more subdued Murnau. The crazy false perspectives, fantastic title cards, double exposed images and is focusing on character and narrative more (let's admit that with all it's beauty, Sunrise isn't a very plot oriented film). I think with a film like Sunrise, he has to establish himself in Hollywood and intimate everyone with a film that extravagant. By the time he gets to City Girl and after the financial failures of both other Fox films, he maybe wanted to make something certainly more melodramatic and smaller as a team-player for Fox. Anyways, as history has it, the success of this didn't really happen either, but that might be in part due to the rise of sound cinema and not the quality of the film. It really doesn't seem like bastardized Murnau. Even the ending which apparently wasn't shot by him, still has some amazing expressionistic moments like when a single light from the sky shines on the returning carriage or the documentary like shots of the wheat being rounded up.

The print is fabulous too. I try to see 35mm prints of silent films weekly at a local cinematheque and a lot of DVDs misrepresent the way the films look like in transfers, but this is as close as an actual 35mm silent print looks like without being covered in mold or having pieces of the frame unfortunately stick to each other resulting in darkening of certain portions of the frame.

And I have to say that the David Kalat commentary is among the best commentaries I've heard in a while. He's among the most insightful and interesting film scholars to talk this side of Tad Gallagher. Plus he's the first scholarly commentator in a film to use the word "sucky" which deserves something special for that alone.

peerpee
not perpee
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Re: BD 8 City Girl

#137 Post by peerpee » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:23 pm

Tad Gallagher:
Image

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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Re: BD 8 City Girl

#138 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:08 pm

Sorry. I meant Tab:

Image

CorstenoftheFunk
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:14 pm

Re: BD 8 City Girl

#139 Post by CorstenoftheFunk » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:31 pm

I bought this on Blu-ray and I am very disappointed with the picture quality. The amount of lines running throughout the film is unacceptable and distracting. There doesn't seem to have been any digital remastering done on the picture. It is very dirty. I probably should have gone with the DVD and saved some money. I can't imagine it looking much worse than the Blu-ray.

Thanks for reading.

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Saturnome
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:22 pm

Re: BD 8 City Girl

#140 Post by Saturnome » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:34 pm

Try the upcoming digital copy perhaps?

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What A Disgrace
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Re: BD 8 City Girl

#141 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:39 pm

This movie is about farmers. I hate farmers! What a bad movie.

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: BD 8 City Girl

#142 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:41 pm

Horses for courses, of course, but have you seen what an ugly print from the 30s looks like? This, for instance, is the best release of Happiness available.

HD doesn't necessarily mean all the cel dirt and scratches are taken out- watch one of the Kino Keaton releases if you want to confirm that (Our Hospitality, in particular.) It does mean a larger amount of information in the image, and therefore sharper lines, greater depth, etc. City Girl is one of the best releases of a silent movie I've ever seen.

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MichaelB
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Re: BD 8 City Girl

#143 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:44 pm

CorstenoftheFunk wrote:I bought this on Blu-ray and I am very disappointed with the picture quality. The amount of lines running throughout the film is unacceptable and distracting. There doesn't seem to have been any digital remastering done on the picture. It is very dirty. I probably should have gone with the DVD and saved some money. I can't imagine it looking much worse than the Blu-ray.
What were you expecting from an 80-year-old film? I think it looks absolutely stunning - in fact, until the last fortnight's double-header of Coeur fidèle and The Great White Silence, it was my benchmark for silent-film presentation on Blu-ray.

Personally, I think MoC's policy of not aggressively "cleaning" (= artificially smoothing out) their masters of older films is the kind of thing that far more distributors should do as a matter of course: I'm a big fan of the BFI's Ozu discs for the same reason. To me, City Girl looks like projected film, and that's exactly what it should look like.

Mind you, I will concede one point - as with the Ozu discs, print damage is more noticeable on the Blu-ray because of the higher level of detail. But calling it "very dirty" is hyperbole, and the virtues of the Blu-ray comfortably outweigh the drawbacks. (For the record, I have copies of the film on both formats).

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: BD 8 City Girl

#144 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:03 am

Absolutely a benchmark. The first film I would show (an intelligent) someone to demonstrate the virtues of Blu-Ray discs.

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: 101 / BD 8 City Girl

#145 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:49 pm

Finally caught up with this - what a lovely film, and yes, MoC's transfer looks spectacular. All the more impressive considering all the praise Fox's DVD was getting - at the time, the PQ on that disc was considered a revelation, and this BD tops even that.

Sunrise is one of my favorite films, period. For me, this one isn't on par, but it very well could have been. It's frustrating that there isn't anymore forensic evidence detailing where this cut fits within Murnau's vision. For example, from what's there, I can see the harvest of the grain easily connecting to the bread in the city in a different edit using the same exact footage. So much of this is brilliant, but it does seem to come down a few notches soon after the waitress meets the father-in-law. Also, the film is far more verbose than Sunrise and of course The Last Laugh - I still wonder if the extra dialogue/title cards were imposed on Murnau? The flow of visuals probably would have gained some power if they were interrupted less frequently.

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domino harvey
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Re: 101 / BD 8 City Girl

#146 Post by domino harvey » Tue Nov 28, 2023 9:52 pm

This is long OOP (and Fox, so it won’t be coming back) but somehow Rarewaves has new copies for $21, if anyone needs a copy

pistolwink
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:07 am

Re: 101 / BD 8 City Girl

#147 Post by pistolwink » Mon Dec 11, 2023 2:20 pm

Remember when Fox released a whole box set of films by Murnau and Borzage? That was fun :sigh:

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