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Senior Shackster
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After many months of work Fox has released their restored version of "The Robe" on blu ray
and it's a major improvement over earlier releases of the picture in the various home video
formats.

It was quite a job. The original movie was mass printed directly from the camera negative in
1953 and for a 1961 re-issue. That's hundreds of copies right off the original negative
which damaged it. No one was concerned with long term preservation in the fifites. Add
to that Eastmancolor fading and they had a real mess to work with. Damaged frames, scratches and faded colors. So they brought in all of the available materials at the Lowry digital company and pieced it together and the results are quite good in that it looks exactly as it did in it's premiere in 1953.

Now there are some provisos to this. The image is very colorful and there is no fading or
visual damage to any of the footage. It does have a 'Technicolor' look. But, there are
problems with the lenses and duplicating stock of the era. Some of you are probably
wondering if it was a Technicolor release, why didn't they make dye transfer prints. Well
they did for foreign release later but not initially. All of the original release copies were Eastmancolor prints right off the negative rather than dye transfer copies. The reason was that the Technicolor lab hadn't developed a method of making matrices off of a color negative. They were still using the three strip cameras that shot each color in black and white. So they had no choice but to make the prints in Eastmancolor. That aside, the early CinemaScope lenses distorted the image a great deal. It wasn't that objectionable at the time because it was something new and viewers were awed at the enormous ratio and wide screen image. But fifty six years later the anamorphic optics have improved dramatically with Panavision and many of you might find the movie a bit distracting to watch. In extreme wide shots the sides of the image bend and in close ups people's faces bulge which makes them look fat. So that will take some getting use to for modern audiences. And the duplicate negative stock used for fades and dissolves is much grainer than the camera negative footage.

The 5.1 sound is a good adaptation of the 4 channel mix which is included too. The music
score is very haunting and part of the appeal.

As for the story and performances it's a mixed bag. Some of the acting is fine. Burton,
Simmons and Michael Rennie are good. But Jay Robinson hams it up to the point of camp
as Caligula. He shouts every line and his acting seemed more appropriate for a Mel Brooks spoof like "History of the World". He's certainly funny but throws the movie off balance. Victor Mature is painfully miscast. He looks like he has an upset stomach most of the time and some of his close ups will generate chuckles. Casting a period film is a tricky business. Some actors can pull it off like Charleton Heston, Yul Brynner and Richard Burton. Others just don't work outside of modern era films. Tony Curtis is a good actor but was also very miscast in "Spartacus" like Mature was in this feature.

Most of this picture is entertaining if a bit pretentious and heavy handed in parts.
The wisely added a chase scene and sword fight to maintain interest among the
religious posturing.

The movie was simultaneously shot as a standard flat 1.33 movie for theaters that didn't
have CinemaScope and for later TV broadcast. Too bad they didn't include that as a suppliment because it's a different movie in many respects. I've seen a 16mm Technicolor print of it and noticed different compositions and more subtle performances in some scenes.
It's a good but not great Roman epic. Certainly not in the league of "Ben Hur" but better than the Italian sword and sandal pictures that followed like "Hercules".

The suppliments include a decent history of CinemaScope and an okay "Making Of"
documentary. Martin Scorsese introduces the film too. I didn't listen to the commentary
tracks yet.

So if you want take a nostalgic trip to the early fifties when the industry was trying to 'wow'
audiences away from their television sets, this film is worth watching providing you see
it on the biggest monitor available or project it on a DLP. The whole point is the size of
the image rather than the content. The artistic use of widescreen would come later with
David Lean and Sergio Leone among others. Here it's more of a gimmick and some compositions seem awkward with actors too far apart as they speak to each other. It's obviously they weren't sure how to frame in this format yet and some scenes are played in wide shot without close ups as if you're watching a stage show in the procenium arch. Still, it's a worthy effort by Fox to preserve it's history even if it's far from the best widescreen picture of that era.

Anamorphic projection was the only format that survived to the present, primarily because
it was the simplest to use. Cinerama and 3-D required interlocked projectors with multiple
prints that coud go out of synch. Todd-AO 70mm required a new projector. CinemaScope
only required a new lens and wider screen which was a minor expense to the theater showing it. From an exhibitor's standpoint it was idiot proof. The other formats required a highly skilled technician to show them. Other than the new projector lens, CinemaScope was no different than screening a conventional 35mm feature film. Ironically, after Panavision improved the optics of the anamorphic format, Fox was stubborn and continued
to use their inferior Cinema Scope lenses through 1967 when they finally abandoned them and switched to the other company. So in the sixties the other studios had much better widescreen films while Fox still had the optical distortion in their anamorphic releases.
 

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After many months of work Fox has released their restored version of "The Robe" on blu ray
and it's a major improvement over earlier releases of the picture in the various home video
formats.

It was quite a job. The original movie was mass printed directly from the camera negative in
1953 and for a 1961 re-issue. That's hundreds of copies right off the original negative
which damaged it. No one was concerned with long term preservation in the fifites. Add
to that Eastmancolor fading and they had a real mess to work with. Damaged frames, scratches and faded colors. So they brought in all of the available materials at the Lowry digital company and pieced it together and the results are quite good in that it looks exactly as it did in it's premiere in 1953.

Now there are some provisos to this. The image is very colorful and there is no fading or
visual damage to any of the footage. It does have a 'Technicolor' look. But, there are
problems with the lenses and duplicating stock of the era. Some of you are probably
wondering if it was a Technicolor release, why didn't they make dye transfer prints. Well
they did for foreign release later but not initially. All of the original release copies were Eastmancolor prints right off the negative rather than dye transfer copies. The reason was that the Technicolor lab hadn't developed a method of making matrices off of a color negative. They were still using the three strip cameras that shot each color in black and white. So they had no choice but to make the prints in Eastmancolor. That aside, the early CinemaScope lenses distorted the image a great deal. It wasn't that objectionable at the time because it was something new and viewers were awed at the enormous ratio and wide screen image. But fifty six years later the anamorphic optics have improved dramatically with Panavision and many of you might find the movie a bit distracting to watch. In extreme wide shots the sides of the image bend and in close ups people's faces bulge which makes them look fat. So that will take some getting use to for modern audiences. And the duplicate negative stock used for fades and dissolves is much grainer than the camera negative footage.

The 5.1 sound is a good adaptation of the 4 channel mix which is included too. The music
score is very haunting and part of the appeal.

As for the story and performances it's a mixed bag. Some of the acting is fine. Burton,
Simmons and Michael Rennie are good. But Jay Robinson hams it up to the point of camp
as Caligula. He shouts every line and his acting seemed more appropriate for a Mel Brooks spoof like "History of the World". He's certainly funny but throws the movie off balance. Victor Mature is painfully miscast. He looks like he has an upset stomach most of the time and some of his close ups will generate chuckles. Casting a period film is a tricky business. Some actors can pull it off like Charleton Heston, Yul Brynner and Richard Burton. Others just don't work outside of modern era films. Tony Curtis is a good actor but was also very miscast in "Spartacus" like Mature was in this feature.

Most of this picture is entertaining if a bit pretentious and heavy handed in parts.
The wisely added a chase scene and sword fight to maintain interest among the
religious posturing.

The movie was simultaneously shot as a standard flat 1.33 movie for theaters that didn't
have CinemaScope and for later TV broadcast. Too bad they didn't include that as a suppliment because it's a different movie in many respects. I've seen a 16mm Technicolor print of it and noticed different compositions and more subtle performances in some scenes.
It's a good but not great Roman epic. Certainly not in the league of "Ben Hur" but better than the Italian sword and sandal pictures that followed like "Hercules".

The suppliments include a decent history of CinemaScope and an okay "Making Of"
documentary. Martin Scorsese introduces the film too. I didn't listen to the commentary
tracks yet.

So if you want take a nostalgic trip to the early fifties when the industry was trying to 'wow'
audiences away from their television sets, this film is worth watching providing you see
it on the biggest monitor available or project it on a DLP. The whole point is the size of
the image rather than the content. The artistic use of widescreen would come later with
David Lean and Sergio Leone among others. Here it's more of a gimmick and some compositions seem awkward with actors too far apart as they speak to each other. It's obviously they weren't sure how to frame in this format yet and some scenes are played in wide shot without close ups as if you're watching a stage show in the procenium arch. Still, it's a worthy effort by Fox to preserve it's history even if it's far from the best widescreen picture of that era.

Anamorphic projection was the only format that survived to the present, primarily because
it was the simplest to use. Cinerama and 3-D required interlocked projectors with multiple
prints that coud go out of synch. Todd-AO 70mm required a new projector. CinemaScope
only required a new lens and wider screen which was a minor expense to the theater showing it. From an exhibitor's standpoint it was idiot proof. The other formats required a highly skilled technician to show them. Other than the new projector lens, CinemaScope was no different than screening a conventional 35mm feature film. Ironically, after Panavision improved the optics of the anamorphic format, Fox was stubborn and continued
to use their inferior Cinema Scope lenses through 1967 when they finally abandoned them and switched to the other company. So in the sixties the other studios had much better widescreen films while Fox still had the optical distortion in their anamorphic releases.
Hello Richard,
Have not heard from you in some time. This is excellent news. The Robe, the sequel - Demetruisand the Gladiators along with Spartacus, and The Ten Commandments, has always been one of my favorite movies. I definitely will have to pick up The Robe.

How have you been Richard? Still thinking about Chiller Theater, Hideous, It the Terror, etc. Would like to be able to purchase those films at some point as we discussed before. Just classic movies that bring back great memories of my youth on Saturday night. The Crawling Eye on Supernatural!!!

Those where the days.
 

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Senior Shackster
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Trying to survive what's going on right now.


I've never seen the sequel to The Robe in it's entirety just bits and pieces. Some day
I'll check it out. There's no question CinemaScope is really helped by the high definition
format. The more pixels, the less fuzzy those lenses look.
 

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Trying to survive what's going on right now.

I've never seen the sequel to The Robe in it's entirety just bits and pieces. Some day
I'll check it out. There's no question CinemaScope is really helped by the high definition
format. The more pixels, the less fuzzy those lenses look.
I hear you. I saw the sequel Demetruis and the Gladiators on AMC. It starts where the Robe ends. With Victor Mature and his lady being banished from the kingdom for their Christian beliefs.
Then it takes off from there. Can remember the name of the actor who played Caesar, but he was excellent.
He reminds me of Roddy McDowall for some reason. Check it though, I believe you will like it.
 

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Senior Shackster
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I thought Jay Robinson reprised his role as Caligula, the Emperor. Of course
this was historically inaccurate since the persecution of Christians came under
Nero, rather than Caligula who was too busy with his orgies to concern himself
with an emerging religious sect. Of course the leader's name wasn't "Jesus" which
was the Greek translation of his real name which was "Yoshua Ben Joseph". Virtually
eveyone has adopted the Greek translation in the interim including the English
translations of the New Testament and every Hollywood Biblical film. Ben means
'son of' as it did in "Ben Hur". Ben son of Hur of the house of Hur.

Caligula didn't last long since the Roman Senate had the tendency to assassinate any Emperor that got out of line and tried to impose a dictatorship on the Republic. Julius Caesar was assassinated for the same reason. Nero saved them the trouble by committing suicide after nearly destroying the country with ineptitude and corruption. I guess that was the Roman's answer to a balance of power. Balance of power is integral in maintaining
a Republic. Rome lost it which is why they eventually fell although they did last a
thousand years.
 

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I thought Jay Robinson reprised his role as Caligula, the Emperor. Of course
this was historically inaccurate since the persecution of Christians came under
Nero, rather than Caligula who was too busy with his orgies to concern himself
with an emerging religious sect. Caligula didn't last long since the Roman Senate
had the tendency to assassinate any Emperor that got out of line and tried to impose
a dictatorship on the Republic. Julius Caesar was assassinated for the same reason.
Nero saved them the trouble by committing suicide after nearly destroying the country
with ineptitude and corruption. I guess that was the Roman's answer to a balance of
power.


So his name is Robinson, okay, I guess there are some in accurate details. But, I love the movie. I`m looking to pick up Demetreuis & the Gladiators tonite. Have not found it.
 

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Senior Shackster
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Discussion Starter #7
Jay Robinson did a cameo in "Bewitched" playing Caesar overacting as
usual. But in that sitcom context it worked.

I don't necessarily object to extreme hammy overacting providing it's
appropriate to the subject matter. Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder are
way over the top in "The Producers" but it suits that movie. Even
some dramas aren't negatively affected by overacting. Edmond
O'Brien is outrageous in "The Wild Bunch" but he's supposed to be
a crazy, senile old bandit. So it works there too. But Robinson's
performance in "The Robe" simply doesn't make any sense within that
narrative structure. After seeing the dailies the director should've
toned him down because he looks right for the role.
 

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Jay Robinson did a cameo in "Bewitched" playing Caesar overacting as
usual. But in that sitcom context it worked.

I don't necessarily object to extreme hammy overacting providing it's
appropriate to the subject matter. Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder are
way over the top in "The Producers" but it suits that movie. Even
some dramas aren't negatively affected by overacting. Edmond
O'Brien is outrageous in "The Wild Bunch" but he's supposed to be
a crazy, senile old bandit. So it works there too. But Robinson's
performance in "The Robe" simply doesn't make any sense within that
narrative structure. After seeing the dailies the director should've
toned him down because he looks right for the role.
I hear you. Your the expert and professional, so I can not tell when an actor or actress is over doing it. But I thought he was good. His persona, attitude, quirkiness, etc. He brought something to the role.
 

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Senior Shackster
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792 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Well when it comes to movie reviews, they are merely my opinions not expertise
with the exception of the historical trivia I like to include as background which
is researched. Regarding Jay Robinson, if you look at the consumer reviews on
the internet movie data base there are many others who liked his performance
as you do and think he gave an interesting twist to the role. I guess when it
comes to portraying mad characters there are different approaches to it. I didn't
like Robinson's approach but he certainly works for other viewers which is fine
because it makes the movie more enjoyable for them.

Check out the Hammer film collection on another post that I mentioned to you
previously. You should get the DVD boxset which also has a nice cover design
since you grew up with these pictures like me. Watching them uncut and uncensored
will be an interesting experience I think.
 

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Well when it comes to movie reviews, they are merely my opinions not expertise
with the exception of the historical trivia I like to include as background which
is researched. Regarding Jay Robinson, if you look at the consumer reviews on
the internet movie data base there are many others who liked his performance
as you do and think he gave an interesting twist to the role. I guess when it
comes to portraying mad characters there are different approaches to it. I didn't
like Robinson's approach but he certainly works for other viewers which is fine
because it makes the movie more enjoyable for them.

Check out the Hammer film collection on another post that I mentioned to you
previously. You should get the DVD boxset which also has a nice cover design
since you grew up with these pictures like me. Watching them uncut and uncensored
will be an interesting experience I think.
The DVD boxed set, that sounds real good. I`ll check Amazon, unless you think another retailer would be better. Yes, watching them uncut, should be quite exciting. No cable, DirecTV back then!!
 

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Senior Shackster
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Discussion Starter #11
Back then you only had limited options. Catching a movie in a theater in 35mm or
watching it censored, re-cut and chopped up between commercials in 16mm on
television.

There were some repertory cinemas throughout the US with NYC having the most
through the eighties. There you could watch them uncut in 35mm again but the
quality of the print was variable since they were booking old, used release copies.
Sometimes they were mint, other times they were all scratched up.

The final option was becoming a film collector in 35mm or 16mm but that was
very expensive. Technicolor prints (which never faded and looked the best)
would cost thousands of dollars if you could fine one at all.

Then came VHS (with poor quality), Laserdisc (with better quality), early DVDs
(with poor quality) and finally modern DVD (good quality) and then HD DVD and
Blu Ray DVDs (with superior quality). Film collecting as a hobby died off or rather
collectors bought DLPs and switched to DVD projection which looks as good if not
better than screening prints on home theater screens.
 

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Back then you only had limited options. Catching a movie in a theater in 35mm or
watching it censored, re-cut and chopped up between commercials in 16mm on
television.

There were some repertory cinemas throughout the US with NYC having the most
through the eighties. There you could watch them uncut in 35mm again but the
quality of the print was variable since they were booking old, used release copies.
Sometimes they were mint, other times they were all scratched up.

The final option was becoming a film collector in 35mm or 16mm but that was
very expensive. Technicolor prints (which never faded and looked the best)
would cost thousands of dollars if you could fine one at all.

Then came VHS (with poor quality), Laserdisc (with better quality), early DVDs
(with poor quality) and finally modern DVD (good quality) and then HD DVD and
Blu Ray DVDs (with superior quality). Film collecting as a hobby died off or rather
collectors bought DLPs and switched to DVD projection which looks as good if not
better than screening prints on home theater screens.


Well, based on what you say here, we should be glad we are, where we are today. With Blu-Ray, 1080p, Plasma, LCDs, I-DLA, Stewart film screen, Runco, etc. We have turned a corner.

Quality has taken a major leap forward. Now, if we can stop making any further mistakes, like the format war, and gain peoples trust again, we could have something here.
 

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Senior Shackster
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
The late MPAA head, Jack Valenti, used to call film collecting the 'cancer in the
belly of the industry' and prosecuted people who owned copies of movies in the
seventies before the home video revolution. Roddy McDowall was busted for having
16mm prints of the movies he starred in among other celebrities. I wonder what he
would've said now with virtually everyone a film collector.


I never thought back in the sixties when I was making my amateur Super 8 films
that I would be able to own and project on a 10 foot screen all of my movies.
Everyone takes it for granted now that they can see whatever they want whenever
they want but that certainly wasn't the case through most of film history. Distributors
decided what and when you could see. What version, what aspect ratio and in some
cases movies just went out of release for decades. I'm certainly glad that access
to most films is no longer in their hands and their primary job now is marketing the
films directly to consumers rather than restricting access to them as it was before
the eighties outside of film collecting circles.
 

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The late MPAA head, Jack Valenti, used to call film collecting the 'cancer in the
belly of the industry' and prosecuted people who owned copies of movies in the
seventies before the home video revolution. Roddy McDowall was busted for having
16mm prints of the movies he starred in among other celebrities. I wonder what he
would've said now with virtually everyone a film collector.


I never thought back in the sixties when I was making my amateur Super 8 films
that I would be able to own and project on a 10 foot screen all of my movies.
Everyone takes it for granted now that they can see whatever they want whenever
they want but that certainly wasn't the case through most of film history. Distributors
decided what and when you could see. What version, what aspect ratio and in some
cases movies just went out of release for decades. I'm certainly glad that access
to most films is no longer in their hands and their primary job now is marketing the
films directly to consumers rather than restricting access to them as it was before
the eighties outside of film collecting circles.


Yes Richard, I agree. What I meant was, the AV industry made the mistake. At a time, finally, where the expertise and knowledge of the high end community would have been quite benefical and helpful, the format war came out, caused more pain and confusion, and now sources are wondering why the Blu-Ray sales, are not where they projected.
You have quite a few angry, hurt, and once again, hard to gain back trust customers, who all bought those low priced HD-DVD players, just to see Toshiba bail on them. I know people with HDTVs that still have not puled the trigger on a Blu-Ray player. Its a shame. And they are not audio/videophiles, like us. They just wanna go home, press power, put a movie in, not deal with firmware updates, and call it a day!!! I don`t think that is too much to ask.
And your right, its a good thing the goverment is not in control of what we do. It must have been very hard for you back in the day.
 

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Senior Shackster
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792 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
You're certainly right in that for blu ray to succeed as a major consumer item
it has to be simple to use. Firm ware updates are too confusing for most people
as are all of the sound formats and what kind of equipment to use with it.
On the other hand, if they are primarily targeting the youth market, most kids
are computer geeks on some level so they can figure it out. But if they are
targeting them, they still must lower prices more.

For me back in the day...well it depends on the era. The seventies was the era
of film collecting prosecution and persecution which made everyone very paranoid.
And it was so hypocritical of the industry. While Valenti was intimidating if not
terrorizing teenagers and college kids who had 16mm prints of classic movies to
show in their livingrooms, the same studios were releasing whole feature films
for sale directly to consumers in Super 8 sound. So it was considered illegal to
own a copy of "Gone with the Wind" in 16mm but okay to own it in Super 8?
Fortunately, the MPAA lost most of their cases against collectors because it
was difficult to impossible to prove 'unauthorized exhibition' when they were merely
showing it to friends and families in their home and the same film was available in
another format for the same purpose. It was one thing to copy and sell a movie
or charge admission but another to just show old films privately. Valenti made
no distinction between a real pirate (selling copyrighted material for profit) and
a film buff just watching old flicks in their private residence.

In terms of being a small businessman and making indie features, the hayday
was the Reagan era. That's when I did the best. Low taxes and a government
that was pro-business instead of anti-business as it is now.
 

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You're certainly right in that for blu ray to succeed as a major consumer item
it has to be simple to use. Firm ware updates are too confusing for most people
as are all of the sound formats and what kind of equipment to use with it.
On the other hand, if they are primarily targeting the youth market, most kids
are computer geeks on some level so they can figure it out. But if they are
targeting them, they still must lower prices more.

For me back in the day...well it depends on the era. The seventies was the era
of film collecting prosecution and persecution which made everyone very paranoid.
And it was so hypocritical of the industry. While Valenti was intimidating if not
terrorizing teenagers and college kids who had 16mm prints of classic movies to
show in their livingrooms, the same studios were releasing whole feature films
for sale directly to consumers in Super 8 sound. So it was considered illegal to
own a copy of "Gone with the Wind" in 16mm but okay to own it in Super 8?
Fortunately, the MPAA lost most of their cases against collectors because it
was difficult to impossible to prove 'unauthorized exhibition' when they were merely
showing it to friends and families in their home and the same film was available in
another format for the same purpose. It was one thing to copy and sell a movie
or charge admission but another to just show old films privately. Valenti made
no distinction between a real pirate (selling copyrighted material for profit) and
a film buff just watching old flicks in their private residence.

In terms of being a small businessman and making indie features, the hayday
was the Reagan era. That's when I did the best. Low taxes and a government
that was pro-business instead of anti-business as it is now.


That is excellent. I`m glad Valenti did not win. Cause your right. Well, obviously, though difficult for you and others, you did survive that period. Sorry to hear however that today you are a target. No one needs that.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
No one does. But I'm certainly not alone. There are so many targets now
the head spins. I wasn't prepared for this but I suppose few were. I feel
like I've gone back to the future and am in the Red Decade of the thirties.

Marx said the Capitalist will sell you the rope you hang him with. Well that's now
changed. The current agenda is to loan them the money to buy the rope (Stimulus).
Then hang them. Sure glad I'm not one of those subsidized businesses.
 

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No one does. But I'm certainly not alone. There are so many targets now
the head spins. I certainly wasn't prepared for this but I suppose few were.
I feel like I've gone back to the future and am in the Red Decade of the thirties.


Hopefully the future will be beter for you. So, anything really new and exciting in the land of video, that could improve our experiences at home with our theaters?
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I don't know what you have. I recommend the Optoma HD 70 along with a Samsung
blu ray player. It's the cheapest combo to get the HD experience at home. Under
$1300. Not the optimum equipment but certainly among the cheapest. I have a 10 foot glass beaded screen left over from my 35mm days but there are other screens out there that will work and even projecting it on a white wall will work. I also have the
high end Toshiba HD DVD player which upscales standard DVD very nicely and of course
plays the obsolete HD DVD movies. I use that for regular DVDs. And I have a number of
other machines left over (two Samsungs and an all regions player for PAL Region 2 discs). I haven't screened a 35mm print in some time so I should probably oil and watch
something on my DeVry just to make sure it still works. 35mm Technicolor is still slightly
better than an HD DVD or Blu Ray but more trouble to screen. I have to rewind the
reels, clean them and so forth as opposed to just ejected the DVD and putting it on the shelf of the vault.
 

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I don't know what you have. I recommend the Optoma HD 70 along with a Samsung
blu ray player. It's the cheapest combo to get the HD experience at home. Under
$1300. Not the optimum equipment but certainly among the cheapest. I have a 10 foot glass beaded screen left over from my 35mm days but there are other screens out there that will work and even projecting it on a white wall will work. I also have the
high end Toshiba HD DVD player which upscales standard DVD very nicely and of course
plays the obsolete HD DVD movies. I use that for regular DVDs. And I have a number of
other machines left over (two Samsungs and an all regions player for PAL Region 2 discs). I haven't screened a 35mm print in some time so I should probably oil and watch
something on my DeVry just to make sure it still works. 35mm Technicolor is still slightly
better than an HD DVD or Blu Ray but it more trouble to screen. I have to rewind the
reels, clean them and so forth as opposed to just ejected the DVD and putting it on the shelf of the vault.
I almost went the Toshiba route, but held off. However, I`m in (I think) the enviable position of building a new system from scratch. I have a pair of Grado SR60 headphones, a portable Panasonic cd player, a Sony DVPNS41P dvd player, very basic, and a Dell Computer. Went thru some tough times, now the smoke is beginning to clear.

I have decided, while I build slowly, (daughter one more year left at SUNY NEW PALTZ) stepson graduating from White Plains High School June 2010, to put together a high end headphone rig with high end phones (probably AKG 701s in white, and the Sennheiser HD600s, or Denon AH-D5000s with a Headroom Desktop Headphone amplifier, so I could have something really nice to listen to while building. I do need a new Universal player for my collection of sacds and dvd-as.

So, currently that is where I am at.. Looking forward to a new nice system. My first purchase, should be that universal. I would love to get that new Denon flagship that plays Blu-Ray, and sacds and dvd-as. That is a true universal!! But, too costly right now. So, a nice universal will do, then once I get a HDTV, I`ll get a Blu-Ray. Even though Toshiba bailed, I should have bought a HD DVD at the end when the prices were really low. But I just did not want to have 4 machines playing dvds!!

Again, how hurtful was that format war. its amazing the industry does not learn from prior mistakes.
 
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