LovesClassics

Cinema Archaelogy is ruining movies

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I am currently trying to watch "Mabuse the Gambler" which is appearing on TCM for the first time.  This movie has been on my list of movies I've wanted to see for years. 

 

However, it has been made very difficult to watch.  It is a silent movie with subtitles.  However, the subtitles are superimposed over the ornate German title cards.  The English subtitles are therefore almost impossible to make out.  I have to pause the film and then try to separate one language from another.  There is no border or background to make them stand out.  I can't believe this is good for any watchers, including anyone who can read German.  Why has this not been taken into consideration?

 

  This is also similar to a showing of Hayao Miyazaki's "Howl's Moving Castle" which was in Japanese with English subtitles which were in white lettering, even when there was a white background. 

 

Another complaint involves the movies "Metropolis" and "Lost Horizon".  Both are constantly being altered with "found footage" and even "found audio".  In one case, "Lost Horizon" is shown with audio playing over STILL PHOTOS of the actor speaking.  Metropolis has been altered with new title cards from found notes so we can read what is not being shown.  In no case did I feel they made a significant difference.  They only ruined the viewing experience.

 

I'm sorry, but unless they are being shown to a college class or a special meeting of film buffs, they are ruined.  These are supposed to be films, not cobbled together bits and pieces. Try to imagine some commercial films with these alterations.  Why should movies on TCM be less entertaining than new mainstream films?

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Surprised nobody else has commented on this thread.

 

I agree that in many instances, while piecing together old movies-- the film historians get away from the entertainment value and why something was made in the first place. The term 'cinema archaeology' seems most apt.

 

Most of these pictures were not created to be over-analyzed or endlessly reconstructed years later. It's like a rewrite that is never quite finished. After a point, it should be said, enough is enough-- let it be, let it find an audience that can appreciate it for being imperfect.

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George Cukor's "A Star Is Born" with Judy Garland was re-constructed from cut footage.

 

In some instances, you'd get the audio and still photos.

 

But this re-construction did not bother me at all.

 

I do think, though, that TCM has a problem with subtitles.

 

I saw the original French film of "Gigi"

 

And the white subtitles on a faded print were almost impossible to read.

 

I also saw a French film with Brigitte Bardot and Stephen Boyd in which the subtitles were too far down and could not be read.

 

In both instances, I would have preferred not to have seen either film.

 

I would love to see re-constructed versions of "Giant", "The Member of the Wedding" and "Marathon Man".

 

Re-constructed versions do not bother me.

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Re-constructed versions do not bother me.

I can live with the ones that are reconstructed with input from the original director (either if he/she is still alive or if the editors are going by extensive notes a deceased director left behind), and most of the original audio and visual material is available. But many reconstructions seem grossly false to me.

 

Often we have new people trying to stake a claim on well-known films that they do not know enough about. If they were really interested in lost cinema they would also be reconstructing and restoring the poverty row productions too. But they don't do that, because there is no glory (or huge commercial value) in it. 

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On 4/25/2016 at 7:29 PM, TopBilled said:

Surprised nobody else has commented on this thread.

 

I agree that in many instances, while piecing together old movies-- the film historians get away from the entertainment value and why something was made in the first place. The term 'cinema archaeology' seems most apt.

 

Most of these pictures were not created to be over-analyzed or endlessly reconstructed years later. It's like a rewrite that is never quite finished. After a point, it should be said, enough is enough-- let it be, let it find an audience that can appreciate it for being imperfect.

I think it's good if they can reconstruct it correctly. They're just trying to give you the experience the director originally intended. That said they should make sure the subtitles are readable. :lol: 

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