Oskar Fischinger on DVD

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cinema16
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#1 Post by cinema16 » Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:08 pm

This was announced in the avant-garde thread but it belongs here too: The first Oskar Fischinger DVD is coming May 15 from Center for Visual Music - it has 10 of his classic animated films plus many extras

portnoy
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#2 Post by portnoy » Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:51 pm

No Composition in Blue? :(

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Gregory
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#3 Post by Gregory » Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:06 pm

No, but most of the most important surviving work is here, so no complaints from me. Still, it would have been even better to have a bit more of his work filling out the disc, or some of his commercial work as extra material (such as the cigarette commercial with the marching cigarettes if that's still around).
Two complimentary tragedies about his career were (1) that so much of his earlier work was on nitrate stock that was lost or intentionally destroyed and (2) that his later years weren't more productive. His career was stunted during World War II for political reasons, including nationalist prejudice. And after the war he remained in the U.S. but never really fit into the film industry. It's too bad that nothing came of some of his abortive projects, such as the well-known collaborations with Disney on what would eventually become Fantasia as well as various films with Orson Welles such abstract images for his Latin American film (see the documentary It's All True).
I'm sure the DVD extras will do a more complete job of presenting these details than I can.

cinema16
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#4 Post by cinema16 » Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:59 pm

Can't have all of his work on the first disc. Fischinger never actually made anything for Orson Welles, he remained on payroll waiting for direction but did not officially produce anything, and the project he was hired on was canceled - all according to biographer William Moritz's book, Optical Poetry.

I'll look for that documentary mentioned, does it say Fischinger actually produced film footage for Welles? This is contrary to all previous documents and writings.

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Faux Hulot
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#5 Post by Faux Hulot » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:13 am

I was so happy to read that, I actually let out a little gasp when I saw the headline. I've heard so much about the Fischinger estate not allowing a DVD release, for all sorts of strange reasons, that I never thought I'd see the day. I still regret selling my Pioneer laserdisc, but this sure takes the sting off.

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Gregory
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#6 Post by Gregory » Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:16 pm

cinema16 wrote:Fischinger never actually made anything for Orson Welles, he remained on payroll waiting for direction but did not officially produce anything, and the project he was hired on was cancelled - all according to biographer William Moritz's book, Optical Poetry.
I didn't actually say that Fischinger produced anything for Welles; I refered to abortive projects, i.e. arrangements were made that were ultimately fruitless. Still, I think it's clear that Fischinger did work on projects for Welles that were not used. I'm not sure in what sense you mean "officially." Welles didn't list him in the payroll books -- it was under-the-table because of Fischinger's status as an "enemy alien" -- but he kept Fischinger at the Mercury unit for a year working on the Louis Armstrong project and It's All True. I think this was just preliminary work, though, because those projects didn't fully materialize. That's exactly what I was lamenting in the first place. Fischinger was working on Radio Dynamics during this time, in effect paid for by Welles, as I believe Moritz points out. Whether or not the preliminary work for Welles that didn't reach completion counts as "actually making anything" for Welles is a question of semantics.
I'll look for that documentary mentioned, does it say Fischinger actually produced film footage for Welles? This is contrary to all previous documents and writings.
Again, I didn't say anything about whether film footage was produced. I referred to the documentary It's All True as an explanation of what the whole Welles project was about and what became of it, for those who might be unfamiliar.
Last edited by Gregory on Sun Apr 09, 2006 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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zedz
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#7 Post by zedz » Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:59 pm

I'm delighted they've found room for Walking from Munich to Berlin - a stunning masterpiece completely outside the (pretty damn broad) bounds of Fisch's primary genius, but will miss my second favourite Study, No 8 (The Sorcerer's Apprentice), which, given the later debacle, is a very satisfying anticipatory trumping of Disney. (Roll on Volume 2, I guess).

There are some superb materials out there (Gasparcolor seems to have been a far more robust invention than most other contemporary processes), so as long as the transfer is good, this should be a stunning set.

cinema16
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#8 Post by cinema16 » Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:51 am

On Wed. June 28, Leonard Maltin reviews the new Oskar Fischinger DVD, on his 'Video View' syndicated radio show. Scheduled to run between 3-3:30 pm PST, in Los Angeles it can be heard on KNX 1070 AM.

After tomorrow there will be a transcript on Maltin's Movie Crazy website.

The Fischinger DVD was produced by Center for Visual Music.

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denti alligator
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#9 Post by denti alligator » Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:21 am

I just got this in the mail and am floored!

Despite being only 50 minutes, this is well worth $35. In fact, the $35 is justified for the absolutely brilliant and breathtaking Walking from Munich to Berlin. Man, zedz, you're right on with that film. Let's re-do the Silent Era lists and this would be in my top 5. O! My! God!

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Cash Flagg
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#10 Post by Cash Flagg » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:43 pm

A second volume is possibly on the (distant) horizon. I received this email today in response to a query about more Fischinger:

"Yes, we're working on preservation of some of the films, but also fundraising for the second DVD. That's the hardest part! When more funds are raised we'll be able to go into production; that's really the only delay."

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Faux Hulot
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#11 Post by Faux Hulot » Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:46 pm

denti alligator wrote:...the $35 is justified for the absolutely brilliant and breathtaking Walking from Munich to Berlin.
Incidentally, does anyone know if Kate Dollenmayer (star of Andrew Bujalski's Funny Ha Ha) ever finished the remake of this that she announced a few years back?

CVM

Walking from Munich to Berlin

#12 Post by CVM » Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:27 pm

Faux Hulot wrote:Incidentally, does anyone know if Kate Dollenmayer (star of Andrew Bujalski's Funny Ha Ha) ever finished the remake of this that she announced a few years back?
No, she hasn't finished. She hasn't walked the first half but hopes to, depending upon time and money. Also she's very clear that it's not a "remake" but rather her own personal film. She has shots taken from a moving train, for example, they are not all 'walking'. Also some interior shots.

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swo17
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Re: Oskar Fischinger on DVD

#13 Post by swo17 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:09 pm

I contacted CVM the other day about Raumlichtkunst and future DVD releases, and thought I'd share some of what they told me here:

1. A second Fischinger DVD should be coming either this year or next! They've restored all but two films that they plan to include: Muratti Greift Ein and Komposition in Blau. Restoration of the latter "is quite expensive and will take a while; we may have to use an older version for the DVD unless a lot is raised quickly and we push back to 2014 release." (You can donate here. They say what they need most at this point is general support for production of the DVD.) The DVD will also contain "some never seen experiments and even some home movies in the early 1960s of Fischinger in Los Angeles."

2. They say that Raumlichtkunst "can't be released on DVD or any form of home distribution." However, it will tour at various museums over the next few years, including ones in Europe and New Zealand. The Whitney Museum in New York bought its own copy and will show it again, though it will likely be a few years. They said it's up to individual museums to contact them and book it, so you might try contacting a local museum to see if they'd consider showing it. Also, if you are in the Los Angeles area, you can drop by CVM's offices and they'll show you a research copy.

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