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What were early commentaries like?

 
 
Metlhd3138
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      12-20-2003
I know the first ever commentary was on the King Kong dvd. My question is, what
were commentaries like before they became commonplace? Were they more
informative,,was there lots of dead space between stories, etc
 
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Rich Clark
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      12-20-2003

"Metlhd3138" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> I know the first ever commentary was on the King Kong dvd. My question is,

what
> were commentaries like before they became commonplace? Were they more
> informative,,was there lots of dead space between stories, etc


From http://www.powell-pressburger.org/Re...riterion.html:

'The first two director commentary tracks ever produced (by any company)
were Michael Powell's tracks for the Criterion laserdiscs of Black Narcissus
and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - released in 1988! Joined by Martin
Scorsese, Powell reminisced about his long career in the British film
industry. Those of us who have been at Criterion since the beginning have
always cherished his opening thought on Black Narcissus: "This is Michael
Powell, dreaming and remembering about Black Narcissus."'

In general, the commentary tracks introduced by Criterion were considerably
more well thought-out than a lot of the casual stuff you hear today. More
scholarly, more planned -- even scripted -- and much more of a Big Deal,
such as the MIchael Haver commentary you refer to, originally recorded for
the Crition Laserdisc in the mid-80's. It was a continuous, a scene-by-scene
analysis by a film historian who knew exactly what he wanted to say and how
long it would take to say it.

These days, when half the time the commentaries seem like they're done
either by someone who never saw (or is trying to forget) the movie, or by
people who sound like they're just talking about their boring old day jobs,
the passion for and deep knowledge of film exhibited on the Criterion
commentaries is evem more worth the effort to seek out.

RichC





RichC


 
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Scot Gardner
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      12-20-2003
"Rich Clark" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> These days, when half the time the commentaries seem like they're
> done either by someone who never saw (or is trying to forget) the
> movie, or by people who sound like they're just talking about their
> boring old day jobs, the passion for and deep knowledge of film
> exhibited on the Criterion commentaries is even more worth the
> effort to seek out.



I waited around until _Bride of Frankenstein_ went out of print before
making the decision to buy it. Fortunately, a local store still had a
new, sealed copy in stock.

On _Bride of Frankenstein_, film historian Scott MacQueen does one of
the best feature commentaries that I have ever heard.


 
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Richard C.
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      12-20-2003
"Metlhd3138" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
: I know the first ever commentary was on the King Kong dvd. My question is, what
: were commentaries like before they became commonplace? Were they more
: informative,,was there lots of dead space between stories, etc

======================
The first ever commentaries were on LDs....not on DVD.


 
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jayembee
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      12-22-2003
"Rich Clark" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>In general, the commentary tracks introduced by Criterion were considerably
>more well thought-out than a lot of the casual stuff you hear today. More
>scholarly, more planned -- even scripted -- and much more of a Big Deal,
>such as the MIchael Haver commentary you refer to, originally recorded for
>the Crition Laserdisc in the mid-80's. It was a continuous, a scene-by-scene
>analysis by a film historian who knew exactly what he wanted to say and how
>long it would take to say it.


Though in some cases -- Peter Cowie's commentary for THE SEVENTH SEAL,
for example -- they sound like every dull, dry lecture you've ever
heard from a boring college professor. Fortunately, those are in the
minority.

-- jayembee
 
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Derek Janssen
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      12-22-2003
jayembee wrote:

>>In general, the commentary tracks introduced by Criterion were considerably
>>more well thought-out than a lot of the casual stuff you hear today. More
>>scholarly, more planned -- even scripted -- and much more of a Big Deal,
>>such as the MIchael Haver commentary you refer to, originally recorded for
>>the Crition Laserdisc in the mid-80's. It was a continuous, a scene-by-scene
>>analysis by a film historian who knew exactly what he wanted to say and how
>>long it would take to say it.

>
>
> Though in some cases -- Peter Cowie's commentary for THE SEVENTH SEAL,
> for example -- they sound like every dull, dry lecture you've ever
> heard from a boring college professor. Fortunately, those are in the
> minority.


Yep, those would be the Criterions--
Which, back in the LD days, were interesting on a geek-scholarly level,
but once you got out past the rich Criterion neighborhoods, the very
idea of a living title-connected actor or director doing one?...Huh??

(No wonder most short-memoried DVD fans think "Contact" invented it...)

Derek Janssen
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)

 
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Eric R.
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      12-22-2003
I personally never cared for the Criterion edited commentaries. While
they do reflect more thought and effort, they also lack the
spontaneity of "live" commentary tracks. A lot of genuine surprises
and candid revelations can come out of a live commentary. They also
give you a great feel for the personalities of the commentators and
their style of interaction (on tracks involving multiple cast and
crewmembers). You can't get this from an edited track.

-Eric

"Rich Clark" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message

> These days, when half the time the commentaries seem like they're done
> either by someone who never saw (or is trying to forget) the movie, or by
> people who sound like they're just talking about their boring old day jobs,
> the passion for and deep knowledge of film exhibited on the Criterion
> commentaries is evem more worth the effort to seek out.
>
> RichC
>
>
>
>
>
> RichC

 
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Stan Brown
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      12-22-2003
In article <3fe6751f$0$4736$(E-Mail Removed)> in alt.video.dvd,
Derek Janssen wrote:
>Which, back in the LD days, were interesting on a geek-scholarly level,
>but once you got out past the rich Criterion neighborhoods, the very
>idea of a living title-connected actor or director doing one?...Huh??


Of course, someone _not_ associated with the film could do a good
commentary. Ebert does well with /Dark City/, for instance. And he's
obviously prepared, not just talking off the cuff as so many
"commentaries" seem to be today.

The off-the-cuff ones _can_ be interesting, but they would be a lot
more interesting if the participants put a little planning into
them.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
DVD FAQ: http://dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html
other FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/tech/faqget.htm
 
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Justin
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      12-22-2003
Stan Brown wrote on [Mon, 22 Dec 2003 12:04:26 -0500]:
> In article <3fe6751f$0$4736$(E-Mail Removed)> in alt.video.dvd,
> Derek Janssen wrote:
>>Which, back in the LD days, were interesting on a geek-scholarly level,
>>but once you got out past the rich Criterion neighborhoods, the very
>>idea of a living title-connected actor or director doing one?...Huh??

>
> Of course, someone _not_ associated with the film could do a good
> commentary. Ebert does well with /Dark City/, for instance. And he's
> obviously prepared, not just talking off the cuff as so many
> "commentaries" seem to be today.
>
> The off-the-cuff ones _can_ be interesting, but they would be a lot
> more interesting if the participants put a little planning into
> them.


You mean like when Capenter and Russel get together and talk about their
kids and call it a commentary?
 
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Ronald Cole
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      12-23-2003
Stan Brown <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> Of course, someone _not_ associated with the film could do a good
> commentary. Ebert does well with /Dark City/, for instance. And he's
> obviously prepared, not just talking off the cuff as so many
> "commentaries" seem to be today.


I found Ebert's commentary for Citizen Kane to be extremely
repetitious...

--
Forte International, P.O. Box 1412, Ridgecrest, CA 93556-1412
Ronald Cole <(E-Mail Removed)> Phone: (760) 499-9142
President, CEO Fax: (760) 499-9152
My GPG fingerprint: C3AF 4BE9 BEA6 F1C2 B084 4A88 8851 E6C8 69E3 B00B
 
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