Gosford Park

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hearthesilence
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Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)

#1 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:04 pm

Just out of curiosity, did anyone else see this during its original theatrical run? I have a vague recollection that it looked kind of crummy - just mushy, soft and grainy, as if they didn't have enough light in most of the interior shots and tried to compensate accordingly. I still love the film, but I'm just remembering a degraded look to it. Anyone else remember this?

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Matt
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Re: Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)

#2 Post by Matt » Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:21 pm

Yeah, but that's pretty much Altman's look. Skimming the American Cinematographer article on the film from the January 2002 issue, it looks like Altman shot with two cameras running simultaneously, all the time, so it was very difficult to light the sets and actors as you would for multiple set-ups. On top of this, the cinematographer, Andrew Dunn, shot with a stocking and filters on the lenses for most of the shoot and used a fast film stock. All of that combines to give a pretty crummy, but totally intentional, look.

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feihong
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Re: Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)

#3 Post by feihong » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:43 am

I saw this in the theater in its initial run and I remember it looking very much like Cookie's Fortune, from the same era. Both films had a light soft-focus look to them. The color in Gosford Park was lovely. None of the shots were individually too exceptionally special, but it was lensed in a completely competent way and I wouldn't call what I saw crummy. I do remember some shots where the servants are shown listening to the music being played upstairs, and the light in those particular shots moved me. There are definitely more genuinely beautiful Altman movies in the 70s, and amongst those later movies I prefer Cookie's Fortune, but Gosford Park looked fine.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)

#4 Post by hearthesilence » Wed May 01, 2013 8:54 pm

Just checked out the Blu-Ray for this. Something really strange going on with the transfer. Pay close attention to the rain in the opening scene, it looks kind of f-ed up. I checked other scenes and compared them to the up-res of the regular DVD, and it looks like a real HD transfer (not an up-res), but one where they tried to do some half-assed grain "management." At least they didn't try to wipe it clean, but it's doing some bad stuff, it doesn't look like real film grain. This is very problematic because as mentioned before, this film is inherently grainy, really grainy, as if it were a 16mm print, and they should've just gone with it instead of trying to 'fix' it.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)

#5 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:04 am

So here we are, a year and a half later. Early this evening, MoMA screened a 35mm print from their own archives as part of their Robert Altman retrospective. (They have one more screening of this print scheduled for early January.)

The print was in excellent condition, and it made for an excellent comparison to the Blu-Ray disc, which I spot checked before and after attending this screening. There really are no sharp, crisp details in this film, everything's a touch soft and very grainy. Not a fine grain either. This is pretty much how it is for the entire film, especially the rain scenes. I don't have the technical details of the production, but as mentioned they did use a very fast film stock for the entire film, and everything was perhaps lit a bit dim (possibly requiring the lab to push things a half stop or more). So the actual look of the film does indeed have a lot to do with the widely criticized look of the Blu-Ray disc. It's "crummy." It's never going to look sparkling clean and razor sharp, it is what it is.

BUT, the way that grain is "managed" on the Blu-Ray disc could be improved. Occasionally, it seems to hang a bit longer in the air than each individual frame of the film. I've described this before with a few StudioCanal Blu-Rays, but it's like the grain is lagging behind the actual frame rate, but just a touch. This is only really noticeable in the brightest areas of the screen - in front of large windows (almost blown out by daylight) and electric lamps. This is very striking because I never noticed the grain over these bright areas when I watched the 35mm print - they may be there, but it wasn't distracting enough to draw my attention. On the Blu-Ray, it's impossible to miss.

AnamorphicWidescreen
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Re: Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)

#6 Post by AnamorphicWidescreen » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:52 am

hearthesilence wrote:Just out of curiosity, did anyone else see this during its original theatrical run? I have a vague recollection that it looked kind of crummy - just mushy, soft and grainy, as if they didn't have enough light in most of the interior shots and tried to compensate accordingly. I still love the film, but I'm just remembering a degraded look to it. Anyone else remember this?
Yes, I first saw Gosford Park in the theater around January 2002. At the time, I felt the film did have "soft" PQ - not bad, but far from crisp. I don't remember the color being that vivid. Subsequently, I ended up seeing a lot more Altman films, and many of his movies look that way. So, I have to think the look was intentional.

The only other time I've seen the film has been on the regular DVD - however, I would like to check out the Blu at some point.

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domino harvey
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Gosford Park

#7 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:53 am

Image

NEW UK/US/CA TITLE: Gosford Park (Blu-ray)

When Sir William is found murdered in the library, everyone – and their servants – becomes a suspect.

Release dates: 26 November

TEA AT FOUR. DINNER AT EIGHT. MURDER AT MIDNIGHT.

In 2001, Robert Altman (MASH, The Long Goodbye) took the unexpected step into Agatha Christie territory with Gosford Park, a murder-mystery whodunit set in an English country house starring a host of British acting greats and with an Oscar-winning screenplay by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. It would become a huge success with audiences and critics alike.

Set in 1932, the action unfolds during a weekend shooting party hosted by Sir William McArdle (Alan Bates), and his wife Lady Sylvia (Kristin Scott Thomas) at his estate, Gosford Park. Among the guests are friends, relatives, the actor and composer Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam), and an American film producer (Bob Balaban). When Sir William is found murdered in the library, everyone – and their servants – becomes a suspect.

Also starring Charles Dance, Michael Gambon, Richard E. Grant, Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Maggie Smith, Emily Watson and many more, Altman produced another masterpiece deserving to be ranked alongside Nashville and Short Cuts as one his finest forays into ensemble drama.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

• Brand new 2K restoration from a 4K scan, carried out by Arrow films exclusively for this release, supervised and approved by director of photography Andrew Dunn
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Audio commentary by director Robert Altman, production designer Stephen Altman and producer David Levy
• Audio commentary by writer-producer Julian Fellowes
• Brand-new audio commentary by critics Geoff Andrew and David Thompson (author of Altman on Altman)
• Introduction by critic Geoff Andrew
• Brand new cast and crew interviews recorded exclusively for this release
• The Making of Gosford Park archive featurette
• Keeping Gosford Park Authentic archive featurette
• Q&A Session with Altman and the cast
• Fifteen deleted scenes with optional Altman commentary
• Trailer
• Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Sheila O’Malley and an archive interview with Robert Altman

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domino harvey
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Re: Gosford Park

#8 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:49 am

Three commentaries, what is this, the Rules of Attraction? I'm increasingly cooling on Altman overall as a director I care much about apart from Nashville and California Split, but this is one of his better efforts. I still find it bizarre that the same year this was nommed for Best Pic / Best Director et al, the narrative was that Ron Howard was owed an Oscar!

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Adam Grikepelis
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Re: Gosford Park

#9 Post by Adam Grikepelis » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:57 am

Damnit! I literally just got the DVD in the mail today. I quite like this film too, though I would really like to see someone do a BD of Kansas City some day. After this, I'm not hunting down that DVD.

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Dr Amicus
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Re: Gosford Park

#10 Post by Dr Amicus » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:05 am

The original UK DVD for this was 1.77:1 - but bizarrely any clips for the extras / deleted scenes etc were in 2.35:1.

Add me to the admirers for this film, one of my favourite Altmans - and don't get me started on the Oscars that year (I hated Beautiful Mind and have seen no reason to return to it too see if I've missed anything).

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Re: Gosford Park

#11 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:08 am

A Beautiful Mind is a perfect film... to use as an example of what "Oscar Bait" is. The 2001 Oscars were a hot mess apart from Lynch's much deserved but unexpected nom for Mulholland Dr

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domino harvey
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Re: Gosford Park

#12 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:16 am

Adam Grikepelis wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:57 am
Damnit! I literally just got the DVD in the mail today. I quite like this film too, though I would really like to see someone do a BD of Kansas City some day. After this, I'm not hunting down that DVD.
I'm pretty sure that was New Line, so you'd have to wait for Warners to do it (unlikely) or for Criterion or Shout to license it (plausible, but unlikely to be a priority license for either label)

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Adam Grikepelis
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Re: Gosford Park

#13 Post by Adam Grikepelis » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:22 am

Yeah, you're right, but with Amazon out of reach (thanks to them no longer shipping to Australia), I feel like I might just wait 'n' see.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Gosford Park

#14 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:32 am

May pick this up for the new transfer, though I have my doubts that it'll look anything but muddy. I posted about this elsewhere, but the original Blu-Ray was often slagged for poor PQ. I had a chance to see a 35mm print at the Altman retrospective at MoMA in late 2014/early 2015, and confirming what I had seen elsewhere, it turns out the film itself really is that muddy, probably a necessary by-product of giving the actors (and therefore the cameras) enough freedom to move about without worrying about lighting. So the current BD does accurately reflect that BUT I can see room for improvement - for example, a better transfer will probably have finer grain texture.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Gosford Park

#15 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:34 am

Adam Grikepelis wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:57 am
I would really like to see someone do a BD of Kansas City some day.
Absolutely, but it has to be packaged with the quasi-concert film Altman pieced together of all the jazz performances in their entirety. They actually screened a 35mm print of that at his retrospective at MoMA. a pleasant surprise since it was originally released as a broadcast special on PBS. At minimum, true HD presentations of both should be part of the package.

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Randall Maysin
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Re: Gosford Park

#16 Post by Randall Maysin » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:36 am

I thought the narrative was that Altman was owed an Oscar and would have won it - after all, he won the Golden Globe for Best Director, didn't he, and a bunch of critics prizes also singled him out - but he blew it by making "blame America first"-interpreted comments about 9/11. Also I think and would hope that this doesn't look too muddy - at least, when I watched it online it looked quite different from the dvd.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Gosford Park

#17 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:39 am

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:08 am
A Beautiful Mind is a perfect film... to use as an example of what "Oscar Bait" is. The 2001 Oscars were a hot mess apart from Lynch's much deserved but unexpected nom for Mulholland Dr
My favorite moment came when Howard went up to accept his award - there was actually a brief shot of Lynch going over to Altman and shaking his hand, a meeting of two great filmmakers while the rest of the audience applauded that drippy movie winning one of the top prizes. Kudos to the broadcast director for cutting to that (maybe as a sly bit of criticism?).

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domino harvey
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Re: Gosford Park

#18 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:41 am

Randall Maysin wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:36 am
I thought the narrative was that Altman was owed an Oscar and would have won it - after all, he won the Golden Globe for Best Director, didn't he, and a bunch of critics prizes also singled him out - but he blew it by making "blame America first"-interpreted comments about 9/11.
I don't recall that. What I remember is everyone claiming he was robbed for not being nominated for Apollo 13 (which is not even a good movie), which was a surprising snub but 1995 was very similar to 2001's slate by virtue of lots of split nominees and no real frontrunner, and that Howard was widely expected to win as a result

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Randall Maysin
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Re: Gosford Park

#19 Post by Randall Maysin » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:47 am

Well, you may be right, I wasn't old enough at the time to pay attention to it as it happened. I got my version of it from, I think, the Altman oral biography, not an Oscar scholar or film historian, so who knows.

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Adam Grikepelis
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Re: Gosford Park

#20 Post by Adam Grikepelis » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:59 am

hearthesilence wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:34 am
Absolutely, but it has to be packaged with the quasi-concert film Altman pieced together of all the jazz performances in their entirety.
I'd have no problem with that.

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Stephen
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Re: Gosford Park

#21 Post by Stephen » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:37 pm

I take the points made by the earlier posters on this being a lesser Altman, but my problem at the time was that it was all upended by the performance of Stephen Fry’s bumbling inspector. I love the man, but in this he was an incredible drag.

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Roscoe
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Re: Gosford Park

#22 Post by Roscoe » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:49 pm

Stephen wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:37 pm
I take the points made by the earlier posters on this being a lesser Altman, but my problem at the time was that it was all upended by the performance of Stephen Fry’s bumbling inspector. I love the man, but in this he was an incredible drag.
Absolutely agreed about Stephen Fry and the inspector -- an easy by the numbers performance of a pretty cheesy character, a too on-the-nose parody of detective cliches. I just sat there so very annoyed with everyone because it was so perfectly obvious "who done it." But the whole movie was rather like that, I thought. Just rather easy points being scored off the selfishness and awfulness of Those Upper Classes, and those Tacky Americans, and those Long-Suffering Servants, and all that. And that Maggie Smith getting the first of dozens easy paychecks as a Fellowes Grand Dame -- please.

The best things I can say about the movie was that it gives me my favorite Helen Mirren movie performance (her little meltdown at the end is one of the glories of post-millennial movies), and that it gave me my first glimpse of that magnificent beast Clive Owen.

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Re: Gosford Park

#23 Post by david hare » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:27 pm

Just spotted this. great news, the Canadian disc is shit.

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Cremildo
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Re: Gosford Park

#24 Post by Cremildo » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:43 pm

Randall Maysin wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:36 am
I thought the narrative was that Altman was owed an Oscar and would have won it - after all, he won the Golden Globe for Best Director, didn't he, and a bunch of critics prizes also singled him out - but he blew it by making "blame America first"-interpreted comments about 9/11. Also I think and would hope that this doesn't look too muddy - at least, when I watched it online it looked quite different from the dvd.
It's true that Altman won the Golden Globe, but he wasn't even nominated for the DGA award (!), which Howard won.
Altman was well-positioned in that race, but Howard and A Beautiful Mind were the frontrunners. I'm sure the critics considered Altman to be the one who was "owed", but the industry was clearly inclined to finally give its kudos to another veteran - loyal journeyman Howard. I remember it well because back then not only was I an Oscar aficionado but also - may the Lord have mercy on my soul - was actually rooting for ABM. :-"

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tullera
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Re: Gosford Park

#25 Post by tullera » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:10 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:39 am
My favorite moment came when Howard went up to accept his award - there was actually a brief shot of Lynch going over to Altman and shaking his hand, a meeting of two great filmmakers while the rest of the audience applauded that drippy movie winning one of the top prizes. Kudos to the broadcast director for cutting to that (maybe as a sly bit of criticism?).
https://youtu.be/NpYJSLjNvR0

“It’s better this way.”

Think about this all the time too.

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