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July 19, 2019:

THE RETURN OF THE CREATURE WASN’T NICE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it is late and therefore I must write these here notes in a hurry for once again I have been distracted by the discovery that there is what looks to be a new high definition transfer of Flower Drum Song on Hudu, whatever the HELL Hudu is.  Oh, wait – not Hudu, Lulu.  Oh, wait, is it Vulu?  Ah, Vudu. Well, do do that Hudu that you do so well.  You can watch this HD transfer for free, interrupted by ads, or you can own. Interestingly, I’d just watched a bit of the old DVD transfer on Amazon Prime and it looked pretty awful.  This new thing begins not with the Universal logo, but with a Samuel Goldwyn logo – perhaps they have streaming rights?  Can a Blu-ray be far behind?  Hard to know.  What I can tell you is that it is gloriously sharp, gorgeous color, amazing sound – in fact, it looks rather stupendous to these here eyeballs.  Just search it on Muvu or HideeHo or what is it again?  Oh, yes, Vudu.  I think I can get Vudu on my TV but I won’t be able to log in without changing my password to something manageable (I accepted the “strong” suggested password because the computer remembers such things).  Anyway, check it out if you happen to enjoy such a thing as Flower Drum Song.

Yesterday was a fascinatingly fascinating day filled with fascinatingly fascinating things.  I got up after eight hours of sleep, answered e-mails, and then got ready to mosey on over to the home environment of Marshall Harvey to see what he’d done to The Creature Wasn’t Nice.  We began at the beginning and right off the bat he’d added a music cue to a shot and it made the shot work so much better.  He also added a theremin to the top of the main title, something I’d asked the composer to do and who never did it.  And that happened time and again.  We watched, and I was so happy with what I was seeing that I made more suggestions for some additional music stuff, a few prudent excisions, including one bit I never should have put in.  He found a great piece of library music for one scene and he used it in one other scene and so we’ll try that in one more scene.  But my favorite was using the Blue Danube Waltz for one of my little solo bits and I have to say the way he timed its use was so perfect with what I’m physically doing in the scene – it becomes what I actually called it in the script – a mopping ballet.  I couldn’t believe it, really.  Everything played better and it moves along and will move along even quicker when we take out the other minute or two.  So, he’ll make those little changes and I do believe we’ll finally have us a release of something that’s close to what I would have liked the film to be – my original director’s cut with finessing.  I’m going to start planning the extras, which I know will include a commentary, and if I can get Cindy to come in from Las Vegas, I’d love her to do it with me, but if not, I’ll soldier through it myself.  I’m going to hunt and see if a trailer was ever done, but I’m thinking that it wasn’t.  I’ve already written a long treatise on the film for the CD booklet.  We’ll probably put a music-only track.  But one HUGE upgrade will be that most of the music and all of the songs are now in stereo for the first time.  While one wishes that the video quality could be stellar, that is, I’m afraid, not possible and we have what we have in that regard.  But we’ll include the nice overseas DVD transfer that was made off my print, of the producer’s cut.  I’m very excited about all this.

Then I picked up the audio files for GEE, and they’re being proofed by someone other than me, just to make sure all the edits were done properly. After that, I stopped at the mail place, where there was another small royalty check, this one for Kindle sales.  That was a nice surprise and it will pay for another couple of meals.  I came home, caught up on e-mails, ate the two-and-a-half slices of leftover pizza – the equivalent of about one slice of normal pizza, then had a couple of telephonic conversations.

Then I went to Gelson’s and got some bagels and a thing of cream cheese and a thing of egg rolls from their sushi bar, came home and had one bagel and the egg rolls for my evening snack.  Then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I finally, two years later, finished watching the Criterion Blu and Ray of One-Eyed Jacks.  I tried to be positive about the transfer two years ago, here and elsewhere, but I’m afraid my reservations about it were absolutely correct. The color is nowhere near what it should be – the flesh tones are pasty and brown, the skies, which should be Technicolor BLUE – I had a dye transfer print of the film and the blue was very specific to IB Tech prints and this is not it.  The booklet does say that the cyan layer had faded, but I cannot believe this is the best they could do, I just don’t.  But all the colors lean brown and this was one of the most stunning Technicolor prints I’ve ever seen.  At the time I first mentioned this, I was told that two IB prints were used to time this Blu-ray.  Well, pish-tosh on that.  First of all, IB prints were not consistent.  An IB answer print would have been fine.  But what no one is going to “tell” me is that they viewed these print with a carbon arc light source, and that is the light source these prints were timed for – not today’s bulbs, which don’t yield proper color for IB prints.  The film itself is really fascinating.  It’s really well done, but it meanders, scenes go on and on, and a good ten minutes could easily come out of it.  The Hugo Friedhofer score is a major plus and I just wish it looked better.  It was done off the large format VistaVision negative, and while certain shots have that extreme clarity and light grain, most of it isn’t nearly as sharp as it should be, especially if you compare it to the best of the VistaVision transfers, like White Christmas, which blows this away.

After that, I started to write these here notes, but found out about the Vudu Flower Drum Song, and ended up fast-forwarding through that.

Today will be a song choosing day and I’ll eat, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and then I’ll relax.

Tomorrow, I have a short work session at noon o’clock (or somewhere thereabouts), and then I’ll do whatever needs doing and relax.  Not sure about Sunday – I keep thinking I’m supposed to see something or someone do something, but I cannot remember what and so far no one has reminded me.  Then next week is very busy.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, choose songs, eat, hopefully pick up packages, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player and your DVD/Blu and Ray player?  I’ll start – I have no idea.  Your turn. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have seen and been pleased with The Return of The Creature Wasn’t Nice.

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