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State Fair


RazorX
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This film is airing as I write this. It appears that TCM HD is broadcasting a zoomed image to fill out an entire 16x9 TV screen. I was a little surprised to see a film from 1933 in "widescreen", so I switched over to the standard definition channel where it is airing in the Academy ratio. The print is not in great condition and actually looks worse on the hi-def channel. Has anyone else noticed this? And yes, my television settings are correct. :)

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It's got Janet Gaynor and Sally Eilers in it...two of my favorite movie ladies who we see way too little of on TCM...so when they're on screen the movie looks absolutely beautiful to me!

 

But I agree the picture quality may not be perfect, it has some splices, and has at least one scene edited out for its 1935 reissue, but whenever I get to see any Fox Picture from 1933 I am thankful it exists at all.

 

And in addition to Gaynor and Eilers I'm always glad to see Will Rogers in anything. It's important that such a legendary preformer not be forgotten by his films not being shown enough.

 

So, thank you TCM for bringing this one to us tonight!

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Yes, the 16:9 zooming was HORRIBLE! I was SO looking forward to this, but now it's over, and I didn't DVR the standard def channel. It's certainly not an early Fox widescreen title like "The Big Trail" or "Billy the Kid"...everyone's head was chopped off!!

 

I hope this isn't a trend....I remember the silent version of the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" also was aired on TCM HD in this awful zoom-o vision!

 

Whoever was responsible for this should be fired.

 

 

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Yes, I noticed and put up a post in a thread on the film in the Hot Topics folder a few minutes after it started. This also happened with a couple of Abbott and Costello monster films a few Sundays ago and the Sunday before that it happened with JOAN OF ARC.

 

But the films were fine on the SD version of TCM.

 

The online monthly schedule does have STATE FAIR indicated as being letterboxed. Maybe someone saw that and pushed the wrong button.

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I posted on the other thread too. I really enjoyed the film, even if the print wasnt the greatest. I like it better than the 45 version w/out the songs. It was certainly franker! I couldnt believe how out there they were about the son sleeping with the Sally Eilers character. Did anyone get a chuckle over the mom's joke about the son fooling around with his male friend all night?? LOL. Times were different then. I liked Henry King's direction. He added some nice touches......

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When I received the "Murnau, Borzage and Fox" boxed set of discs each disk had a few sentences at the start explaining that these films were taken from the best prints available. Fox had a terrible fire in their vaults in 1937 which destroyed most of their nitrate prints. This is the main reason why Theda Bara (a Fox silent film star) only has about 2-3 silent Fox films still in existence.

Most of the Fox films (pre 20th Century Fox) were obtained from private collectors and wherever they could find an available print.

I agree with a previous poster who stated that they are happy simply to be able to see some of these rare gems from Fox films. So for those people complaining about the quality of this film-hey be happy we still have it available to watch. I'm sure it isn't easy for TCM to obtain these films for us.

I hope TCM can obtain more Fox films for us to enjoy.

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I have one of those rear-projecting wide screen TV's, and it's supposed to be HDTV as well. I don't know how WELL the HD on it is because I'm too cheap as of yet to dole out for the HD service my cable provider has. But I CAN choose from four different aspect ratios if I desire. So, if I feel the broadcast is zoomed in, there's a couple or more things I can do to change how it looks on my set. Don't shoot tech terms to me unless they're in Urdu, because I can understand either equally well.

 

But , as I also understand, it was discovered(too late, sadly) that nitrate film stock doesn't hold up well over time, I too, appreciate any older prints of film anyone was able to retrieve and/or restore. So bellyaching about how they might look is like complaing that the million dollar coin someone gave me isn't shiny.

Sepiatone

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I thought that the print of STATE FAIR was quite good. I give it a solid B-.. It would get a B if not for some ugly looking and sounding jump cuts here and there. Some scratches, but good contrast and clarity. Audio could stand some work. It was fun seeing slightly grizzled Silent film vet Louise Dresser in a talkie. I always think of her having a high highfalutin voice, rather than sounding like a hick.

 

Nitrate is actually more durable than acetate safety when stored under the proper conditions And no Safety stock from the 50's can reproduce the richer nuances and vibrancy of original nitrate. In many cases, we are now learning that the safety has withered and is even unusable, while the nitrate is in much better condition.

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> I have one of those rear-projecting wide screen TV's, and it's supposed to be HDTV as well. I don't know how WELL the HD on it is because I'm too cheap as of yet to dole out for the HD service my cable provider has.

 

Can you receive over-the-air channels? If you, you could test the quality of HD images on it by watching an over-the-air channel. Of course:

 

> So, if I feel the broadcast is zoomed in, there's a couple or more things I can do to change how it looks on my set. Don't shoot tech terms to me unless they're in Urdu, because I can understand either equally well.

 

The ways different TVs allow you to select between cable/broadcast/DVD/etc. input can be quite different, and on some TVs trying to do so is like trying to read Urdu. One of my TVs has several buttons at the bottom of the remote marked TV, Cable, PC, and so on, and to switch you just press one of those buttons. (Assuming, of course, you've wired everything to the proper input on the back of the TV!) Another has the buttons marked Input 1, Input 2, and so on, while the other TV makes you go through the menu. Pain in the you know what.

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You're missing the point. The complaint is not about the condition of the print; it is that TCM's HD broadcast zoomed in on the picture to make it look like it is widescreen when it isn't and in doing so magnified the flaws in the film's condition.

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>So for those people complaining about the quality of this film-hey be happy we still have it available to watch.

 

Sorry, that doesn't work for me. It's like saying to people be glad that you can get a hand with four fingers instead of no hand at all. Some people will continue to insist on a hand with five fingers. Imagine that!

 

 

Edited by: TopBilled on Feb 9, 2012 8:46 PM

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>I hope TCM can obtain more Fox films for us to enjoy.

 

I think most people hope for that. However, I do not think that is the point. The point is that people want a slightly better presentation of the Fox film collection from the 30s. I do not think it is a criticism of TCM in this case, but in the way the film has been preserved or restored.

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You missed my point. Yes, people have a right to complain within reason but sometimes their complaining is just plain bellyaching.

Fox films are very hard to come by and when you do get to see them they aren't all in the best condition. In December 2006 I went to Film Forum in NYC as they were having a special film presentation of pre code Fox films. This was a rare opportunity to see some of the old Fox pre codes not available commercially or anywhere else. Some of the films were almost pristine condition and some of them were really worn looking. But these were the best available and sometimes the only prints in existence. I didn't complain to Film Forum for paying admission to watch films in worn condition. I was happy to see them. And I'm sure that Film Forum searched for the best prints they could obtain.

I thought the print of State Fair was rather good. Some people may be complaining simply because they preferred the 1945 or 1962 versions. I actually preferred this version. I enjoyed the homespun humor and the glimpse into rural life during the depression years. It wasn't filmed on a backlot or Hollywood soundstage so it was very realistic. It was also a hit with the film goers at the time as it made a substantial profit for the struggling studio.

If you don't like something on TCM then don't watch it. TCM has plenty for everyone. Not every movie they obtain will be in pristine condition especially if the movie is almost 80 years old.

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> Fox films are very hard to come by and when you do get to see them they aren't all in the best condition.

 

Midnight,

 

Especially when it comes to their silents and their early 1930s. Fox had a devastating vault fire in 1937 that consumed not only the film negatives but also the fine-grain masters of many of their films from that era.

 

Prints that survive from that time period aren't always in the best of shape but due to the lack of film elements, they may be the best that Fox has.

 

TB,

 

Perhaps you could be a bit more specific when you respond. Without being able to see your facial expressions or hear your voice, it isn't surprising that some thought you were complaining about TCM and not Fox.

 

Just a thought.

 

Edited by: lzcutter for clarification

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I am not complaining about TCM or about Fox. I am addressing the circumstance(s) that the film fell into the condition it did, either because of a series of unfortunate incidents or because of someone's careless handling of it years ago.

 

My philosophy is that we should all be able to offer feedback (within reason) and that tolerance needs to be exercised by those that disagree or have a different point of view.

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I understand where you are coming from, and I am glad you provided such a good example of your experience with rare Fox films. However, I do not think everyone is going to share your point of view about it.

 

Why? Well, not every Fox precode is a classic and worth all the fuss. And second, some people would prefer to see precodes from another studio, like Paramount.

 

I appreciate the chance of being able to see STATE FAIR (1933) as I had long been curious about it. But I felt it was inferior to the 1945 version, and this is one of those instances where I feel a remake was well beyond justified. This said, I do not think the 1962 version, which I find okay, needed to be made. I do not see where there was any new technology or technical improvement made like we see in '45 with the story getting the chance to be told in rich Technicolor and with such great music.

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