Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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The deep breath before the plunge....

I'm taking it easy this weekend because the next two will be rather eventful, what with the wedding and Tim moving and everything. I've also found myself tweaking The Adventures of Indiana Jones a bit, which I know is ludicrous and all George Lucas-like, but the fact of the matter is that nobody else has heard it yet, so it hasn't been "released" in my mind. I've started a little work on Funk 'n' Thrills, too.

Last night, I watched MCA's beautiful new "Legacy Collection" DVD of The Sting. The film is presented in a very colorful 16:9 (at last!!!) transfer, and they don't embarrass themselves with the 5.1 remix, which I listened to in DTS. The original monaural track has also been included, so if I got annoyed with the sound, I could always have switched it back. I found that this was a very subtle remix, mostly spreading sound effects and music across the front, so while I question the expense paid on creating it, it is a decent enough presentation of the sound from the film.

What a movie. The new color transfer does a fantastic job of conveying all of the period detail. One of the main advantages is that now the contrast between the seedy world that Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) comes from versus the posh surroundings inhabited by Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). This is the Great Depression all right. While I am no historian, this is a film that successfully sells its era through the detail of the sets and the performances of its cast, so it may not be perfectly accurate, but it feels right. The little touches that make a stylistic parallel to the films of the era were also greatly appreciated this time around.

The use of Scott Joplin's piano rags, and Marvin Hamlisch's orchestral adaptations thereof, is one of those strange filmmaking decisions that don't make any sense - they don't fit the period - but somehow it works. Most of it is punctuation, appearing in transitions and introductions, but at times the music seems to be emitted from a character (I'm thinking in particular of the use of "Solace" in a scene towards the end of the film), and one really can't beat "The Entertainer" as the theme for this film.

I think that Newman and Redford should get together to do a film one more time. Sure, they won't have George Roy Hill calling the shots anymore, but they always had such excellent chemistry together. The documentary on disc two confirms what the general impression of the film is; that the cast and crew had a fantastic time working on it and are very proud of what they accomplished. The bulk of the cast members appear in the piece, and all clearly have fond memories not just of working on the film, but of the watching the film. It is a warm tribute to the movie, one that pretty much hits on what made it work.

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Meanwhile, here's a moment of Zen...

Tags: cinema, reviews
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