Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Miriam Hopkins, Frances Dee, Cedric Hardwicke, Billie Burke, Alison Skipworth
Directors: Lowell Sherman, Rouben Mamoulian
Genres: Drama, Military & War
No Description Available. Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: NR Release Date: 22-JUN-2004 Media Type: DVD
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Not Quite What We'd Hoped For
R. Gorey | New York | 09/23/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A clever, intelligent, funny, and entertaining movie, Becky Sharp is notable for being the first full Technicolor feature film. Sadly, this DVD release has not been minted from the restored print many of us would have wanted to see. Curious, since the recent version of Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" would make such a release fortuitous.
Miriam Hopkins hits just the right notes as Becky, capturing each smirk, twitch, and flourish of a complex and sometimes unlikable character. The screenplay is witty and moves briskly- though purists will, I'm sure, lament changes to the original novel. Supporting cast is perfect, as are the costumes and other technical appointments. This version, though quite short (about ninety minutes) holds up well next to the superlative BBC miniseries with Natasha Little as Becky, and is more entertaining and caustic than the unfortunate Reese Witherspoon film, which is handsome and opulent, but oddly uninvolving. No extras worth mentioning on this disc, and I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone who cherishes this unusual and cleverly nasty movie. Perhaps if there's enough outcry, someone will dig up that glorious Technicolor print and make Becky's fans happy. I'm in agreement with my fellow reviewer, who described accurately and humorously (as Becky might have) the quality of the picture in this sadly mishandled DVD. A missed opportunity, and fans should check Amazon for the newer release, which features a somewhat improved print."
Good News - Bad News
J. A. Retzer | Phoenix, AZ | 09/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This review concerns the Alpha Video DVD release ALP4438D.
The good news is: Becky Sharp is available on DVD!
The bad news is: It's a faded, unrestored, public domain print.
The colors look like really bad colorization, or a Metrocolor copy of an Eastman Color copy of a Technicolor film that was copied onto VHS in the slow speed from a 1980's TV broadcast. Get the picture?
The sound is somewhat distorted, but listenable.
My joy at having Becky Sharp on DVD is only tempered by the disappointment that the gloriously restored UCLA version still hasn't been released except to AMC TV.
Many of the UCLA Film and Television Archive restorations have been released by Turner Entertainment on DVD, so why not the original 1935 three-strip Technicolor debut picture? Hopefully with the recent release of Vanity Fair, some DVD producer will go back to Becky Sharp and present her as she was meant to be seen."
Dismal video transfer
S. R. Coulter | UK and Spain | 04/24/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Becky Sharp was the first three-strip Technicolor feature - state of the art in 1935. In the original it was exquisite and original Technicolor dye transfer prints will be pristine in colour quality whether scratched and worn from use or not.
The DVD I received is clearly a transfer from video - and an extremely poor video at that. The sound is poor and the image quite appalling - to the point where we gave up after about 5 minutes viewing.
The way that colour elements break down and separate is nothing to do with the DVD, the age of the film, or the Technicolor release print process - the colour layers cannot separate - it is however a classic indication of poor quality video as an intermediate in the transfer process.
This DVD is an insult to any purist interested in seeing a milestone in movie production."
UNACCEPTABLE DVD IMAGE, SOUND QUALITY AND NO COMMENTARY!!
Richard Davis McLeod | 08/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
I SAW THE ORIGINAL RESTORATION OF THIS FILM AT THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES IN BEVERLY HILLS BACK IN THE 1980'S WHEN IT WAS RESTORED TO ITS' ORIGINAL GLORY BY BOB GITT OF UCLA.
IN FACT THIS WAS THE KICK-OFF FILM FOR FILM PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION BY THE FILM DEPT. AT UCLA, HEADED BY MR. GITT. THE STAFF AT UCLA DID A MAGNIFICENT JOB IN THE RESTORATION OF BECKY SHARP FROM WHAT THEY ORIGINALLY HAD TO WORK WITH. IN FACT, ONLY CINE-COLOR PRINTS WERE THOUGHT TO EXIST, BUT THEN AN ORIGINAL TECHNICOLOR PRINT WAS FOUND SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE. ALL THE ORIGINAL TECHNICOLOR FILM WAS AVAILABLE, EXCEPT A FEW MINUTES AT THE MOVIES END, WHERE THE EXISTING CINE-COLOR FILM WAS USED IN THE RESTORATION.
THE EVENING OF THE PRESENTATION KICK-OFF AT THE ACADEMY'S SAMUEL GOLDWYN THEATRE IN BEVERLY HILLS, THE AUDITORIUM WAS FILLED TO CAPACITY, AND THE PRINT, EVEN ALONG WITH COMPARISON VIEWS OF BEFORE AND AFTER WERE SHOWN. ALSO, ORIGINAL SCREEN TESTS, INCLUDING MIRIAM HOPKINS AND EVEN MRS. LESLIE CARTER WERE SHOWN IN TECHNICOLOR. MRS. CARTER DID NOT GET THE PART IN THE FILM, AND THE ROLE SHE TRIED OUT FOR EVENTUALLY WENT TO THE GREAT ALISON SKIPWORTH.
A GREAT DEAL OF ADDITIONAL FILM FOOTAGE RELATING TO THIS FILM WAS SHOWN THAT EVENING, AND COMPARISONS SHOWING HOW MUCH WORK WENT INTO THE RESTORATION OF THIS FILM, FRAME BY FRAME, AND BEFORE AND AFTER SEGMENTS OF THE CINE-COLOR PRINTS AND THE TECHNICOLOR FILM. IT WAS FASCINATING TO SEE ALL THE WORK THAT UCLA DID IN THE RESTORATION OF THIS FILM! UCLA PRODUCED A NEW PRINT, WITH PERFECT CLARITY, RICH COLOR, AND VERY CLEAR SOUND, WHICH IS TOTALLY MISSING FROM THE AVAILABLE PRINTS ON THE MARKET TODAY.
SO MUCH COMMENTARY COULD BE ADDED TO THIS FILM, EVEN ALONG WITH THE ORIGINAL SCREEN TESTS, AND OTHER FOOTAGE THAT IS AVAILABLE. NONE OF THIS EXISTS IN WHAT IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE.
A SHAME WHAT IS ON THIS DVD BY SYNERGY, AND AN EVEN WORSE EFFORT PUT OUT EARLIER BY ALPHA. THIS IS BETTER THAN THE ALPHA ONE, BUT NOT MUCH! AFTER ALL THE RESTORATION WORK DONE ON THIS HISTORICAL FILM, BEING THE FIRST THREE-STRIP TECHNICOLOR FILM EVER FILMED USING THE NEW THREE-STRIP TECHNICOLOR PROCESS UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE NOTED NATALIE KALMUS.
THE FILM AT THE UCLA ARCHIVES IN LOS ANGELES IS AVAILABLE IN PERFECT COLOR AND TRANSFER ALMOST IDENTICAL TO THE ORIGINAL TECHNICOLOR ORIGINAL, WITH A GREAT DEAL OF ADDITIONAL FOOTAGE RELATING TO THE MAKING OF THE FILM. WHEN AND IF THIS WILL EVER COME OUT I DO NOT KNOW, BUT I DO KNOW A PERFECT PRINT RESTORATION AND ACCOMPANYING FOOTAGE IS AT UCLA.
DO NOT BOTHER WITH THIS DVD BY SYNERGY OR THE ONE BY ALPHA, AS THE QUALITY OF PRINT AND SOUND IS JUST UNACCEPTABLE! AFTER HAVING BEEN AT THE SAMUEL GOLDWYN THEATER AND HAVING SEEN WHAT A BEAUTY THIS FILM RESTORATION HAS BEEN, IT IS VERY SAD SEEING SUCH AN INFERIOR TRANSFER, AND WITH NO ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY, OR ANY EXTRAS AT ALL. OF THE TWO AVAILABLE, THE SYNERGY ONE IS SLIGHTLY BETTER, ESPECIALLY THE SOUND, AND THE COLOR, BUT ONLY MINIMALLY IMPROVED.
BECKY SHARP IS A VERY HISTORICAL FILM AND WELL DONE BY NOTED DIRECTOR ROUBEN MAMOULIAN AND STARRED MIRIAM HOPKINS, WHO WAS NOMINATED FOR AN ACADEMY AWARD FOR HER EFFORTS THAT YEAR OF 1935.
MIRIAM HOPKINS INDEED GIVES A STELLAR PERFORMANCE AS THE LEADING CHARACTER OF WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY'S NOVEL BECKY SHARP. CEDRIC HARDWICKE, FRANCIS DEE, ALISON SKIPWORTH, AND NIGEL BRUCE COMPLETE THE CAST THAT BRINGS OUT THE CHARACTER OF THACKERAY'S ORIGINAL NOVEL OF VANITY FAIR. I THINK THIS WAS ALSO FILMED IN THE 1920'S AND WAS A SILENT FILM. VANITY FAIR WAS RECENTLY AGAIN FILMED, AND AGAIN TITLED THE ACTUAL NAME OF THE NOVEL, VANITY FAIR AS WAS THE CASE WITH THE SILENT VERSION.
FOR INTERESTS SAKE, THE PURCHASE PRICE IS NOT BAD FOR THIS ONE BY SYNERGY, AND IT WILL GIVE YOU AN IDEA AS TO WHAT THE FILM WAS LIKE. EVEN THE OPENING TITLE SEQUENCE IN THE RESTORED VERSION AT UCLA WAS IN A RICH BLUE, AND IN BOTH THE SYNERGY AND ALPHA RELEASES, IT IS A MUTED GRAY.
THE STAFF AT UCLA UNDER THE DIRECTION OF BOB GITT, COMPLETELY RESTORED THIS FILM FRAME BY FRAME TO ITS' ORIGINAL GLORY. I JUST HOPE UCLA WILL UNDERTAKE TO SEE THAT THIS FILM IS GIVEN THE APPROPRIATE TRANSFER SHOWING THE BEAUTY, AND HOPEFULLY SOME TYPE OF COMMENTARY, OF THIS VERY HISTORICAL PHOTOPLAY IN THE ANNALS OF FILM HISTORY."