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Big screw up by Arri Munich


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#1 Adam Thompson

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 02:33 AM

I just saw this on IMDB headlines!

Tom Cruise's latest movie Valkyrie has suffered a setback - after finally having a ban on filming inside an important German historical location overturned, the footage shot there has turned out to be unusable. Crucial scenes filmed at the Bendlerblock in Berlin, where a number of German officers were executed after an abortive attempt to assassinate Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in 1944, will now have to be reshot by director Bryan Singer. A spokeswoman for the production company tells German newspaper Bild, "A majority of the film material is unusable. We have to film it again." Colin Ullman, a representative for the firm that delivered the footage shot to a post-production studio in Munich, adds, "The production company told us that there were problems with the negative development in Arri Munich, one of the top post-production companies in Germany. The images were wiped away." Fortunately for Singer and Cruise, the German government has agreed to allow them further access to the Bendlerblock. They had previously been banned from filming at there because officials did not want the "dignity of the place" to be violated. In the movie, Cruise portrays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who was put to death after plotting to blow-up Hitler.
Kunis Fed
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#2 Jon Kukla

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 06:27 AM

I blame Xenu.
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#3 Bill Totolo

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 07:50 AM

Singer's has bad luck. I heard there were a lot of problems with the cameras used on Superman as well.
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 01:03 PM

I wouldn't be so quick as o jump on Arri Munich. The moment there is a technical problem the first move is usually to blame the lab, generally for insurance purposes. The real reason could be quite different.
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 01:08 PM

Singer's has bad luck. I heard there were a lot of problems with the cameras used on Superman as well.


Wasn't the most recent Superman shot on digital?
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 02:14 PM

This does highlight my greatest reservation with film.

Phil
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#7 Bill Totolo

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 02:24 PM

Wasn't the most recent Superman shot on digital?


Yes, Panavision Genesis I've been told.
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#8 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 03:19 PM

I just checked that story with Bild, and IMDB quotes them correctly.

Bild is a German tabloid, like the UK's Sun, and hence, some stories they run must be taken with a pinch of salt. However, this story seems to be possibly legitimate.

According to the story (also published online), several reels of the camera negatives were ill-processed and hence unusable, with the exception of the footage depicting the execution of Graf Stauffenberg played by Tom Cruise, who conspired to kill Hitler in 1944 but failed at that.
This is what a spokeswoman of the production company stated publicly. Colin Ullman, who is actually representing Fuji in Germany, says that he has been approached to assist in salvaging attempts of the footage. Bild claims that Angela Reedwisch of ARRI could not be approached for comments or did not want to comment (they say she went "into hiding", but that is a bit of a dramatic scribble, IMHO).

The blame game that develops when things go really that wrong is inevitable, with money and people politics not helping, as Joe Zizzo from this board had also recently freakish problems during a production which are apparently not resolved either. The thing here is that the parties involved openly talk about a sabotage at ARRI, which is quite an accusation.

The reason why German media is seriously entertaining the sabotage suspicion is twofold:

Firstly: the "Valkyrie" project really caused serious turmoil in Germany. You have Tom Cruise, a recently rather erratically-behaving person plus a member of a "faith organisation" that is not recognised in Germany and regarded as potenially involved in illegal and/or society-undermining activities by the German state playing a character that could be described as one of very few national symbols of resistance against the Nazis. Scientology likening their legal position in Germany with the prosection of faith groups like the Jewish community in Nazi-Germany isn't helping at defusing the tension, either.
And as if that weren't outrageous enough for many parts of German society already, there is also a recent debate about the Nazi past in Germany in general, with high profile people in the media being fired because of essentially making pro-Nazi remarks. Others start to question the Good-Nazi/Bad-Nazi narratives around Stauffenberg and whether his motives and ideas would have changed the holocaust at all, had he succeeded to kill Hitler. So there is quite a vulcanic atmosphere around that film. That people would go as far and sabotage the film if they could isn't really totally out of question.

Second: ARRI has a little bit of history in that respect with a not unsimilar alleged case. In the 1960s, the controversial Leni Riefenstahl, who was of course responsible for Hitler's cinematographic imagery, "exiled" her filmmaking to Sudan, where she ethnographically photographed and filmed the native Nuba tribes. That was widely interpreted as an attempt to redeem herself of her Nazi past and show her as a person "loving black native people", who were of course regarded as inferior beings under Nazi ideology. When Riefenstahl's footage came to ARRI in Munich for development, sizeable parts of the footage were inexplicably lost or damaged, and the cinematic part of this project had to be cancelled by her. There were claims of sabotage from ARRI's side then as well, and the roots of this incident have not been clarified until then. Expect German newscasters to bring this story up soon.

This might well develop into something quite controversial, if it's true. Let's see how the film fairs at the German box officve (if they can finish it ;) )
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#9 Lars Zemskih

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 03:59 PM

Yes, Panavision Genesis I've been told.


I heard it was also edited on Adobe Premiere. I mean, what? why?
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 05:01 PM

........... ARRI has a little bit of history in that respect with a not unsimilar alleged case. In the 1960s, the controversial Leni Riefenstahl, who was of course responsible for Hitler's cinematographic imagery, "exiled" her filmmaking to Sudan.......... Riefenstahl's footage came to ARRI in Munich for development, sizeable parts of the footage were inexplicably lost or damaged, and the cinematic part of this project had to be cancelled by her.

I say this as sincerely as I know how. My mother was Russian Jewish. If I had been born in Nazi Germany, there's a good chance I would have suffered the same fate as millions of others. But Leni Riefenstahl was a great artist who created much of the film vocabulary we use to this day. I would have been thrilled to sit down with her and talk about the films she made for the Nazis. I wish people would look at her artistry, understand that she was a member of the Zeitgeist she lived in, and simply appreciate her greatness as a film-maker.
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#11 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 12:44 AM

Big whoop, accidents happen at labs, this just happened to be a high profile client that suffered the consequences.

They have enough money so it's not a big deal :)
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#12 Jim Carlile

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 02:32 AM

Sabotage sounds extremely likely. Here's why:

The executions are not a flattering scene. The officers were individually hung on meat hooks, slowly, and were allowed to writhe for a long period of time. Anyone with any misgivings about the film, or the locale, or their depiction of this aspect of the German past, would have plenty of motive to interfere with the footage.

There's actually existing German footage of the real executions, quite well done and, rumor has it, shot in 35mm. Hitler obvious had some example-making in mind.

What's curious is the amount of footage lost. Dailies are done-- well-- daily, which would lead one to assume that the 'error' was discovered very early on. And it could have been done easily, too, not just at the lab, but at any time during the transfer/transportation process.

The odds that something like this would occur only at the most controversial point of the movie are, well, pretty extraordinary.

Edited by Jim Carlile, 12 October 2007 - 02:34 AM.

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#13 Logan Schneider

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 02:37 AM

Lab screw-ups happen more than you think. I don't think it's fair to start naming names and saying that a lab screwed up unless you are directly involved and they have not done anything to fix the problem, which I'm sure that Arri has if they are responsible. Don't flame someone just for the sake of gossip.
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#14 Stephen Williams

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 03:38 AM

Lab screw-ups happen more than you think. I don't think it's fair to start naming names and saying that a lab screwed up unless you are directly involved and they have not done anything to fix the problem, which I'm sure that Arri has if they are responsible. Don't flame someone just for the sake of gossip.


Hi,

As the production will have insurance, it's not really a big issue. It's quite possibly not the labs fault, just the lab will always get blamed first.

Stephen
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#15 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 04:39 AM

Hi,

As the production will have insurance, it's not really a big issue. It's quite possibly not the labs fault, just the lab will always get blamed first.

Stephen


I think the issue isn't money but access to the location which was a major issue between the production and the local and state governments. I agree, as I understand it, the lab is always the first blamed in order to secure the insurance when in fact it could something quite different. I wonder if the footage is 'lost' or damaged or what? Could a complicated photochemical process have been messed up? How could that much footage have been lost without someone spotting it in dailies? I really don't think sabotage is very likely at one of the largest European labs. I was surprised that Singers new film wasnt being shot digitally considering the amount of praise heaped on the genesis (even comparing it to 65mm tests they did) by him and the producers of Superman.
Is this a project of his own? Has he been hired to direct? How much influence would a director like Singer have on the shooting format? How much would Tom Cruise have?
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#16 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 04:59 AM

when a lab screw up they will give you free fresh stock as a compensation no more no less.
lucky them :(
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#17 Max Jacoby

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 05:41 AM

How much influence would a director like Singer have on the shooting format? How much would Tom Cruise have?

Tom Cruise has the final word, especially since he is also the producer. On this film Singer does not have much influence at all.
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#18 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 05:48 AM

It's "the images were wiped away" part that sounds strange to me. The German stance on WWII is very strange. Many memorials about victims but information about the perpetrators is very well swept under the carpet and reduced to abstraction. Banning "Mein Kampf" from bookstores just reduces everything into abstraction. IMHO it is important to understand the circumstances and the details. Making that difficult or impossible is wrong. People who were conscientious objectors at the time were considered to be crimminals and even after their deaths well after the war that status was upheld. It is also important to remember that Schindler not only "saved" people but made a fortune exploiting them in the process.
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#19 Bryant Jansen

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 12:29 PM

I heard it was also edited on Adobe Premiere. I mean, what? why?


It was cut on Final Cut, not Premiere.

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#20 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 01:16 PM

It was cut on Final Cut, not Premiere.

Bryant Jansen



Editorial is one thing dealing with the ridiculous amount of data and conforming it all is something else I had a conversation with one of the post supervisors on that show and I guess a few people had breakdowns because of the large amount of footage shot and the very difficult edit process because of the sheer voulume, imo this did not make it a good movie and I am not even talking about the look of the image....


Furthermore it is very easy to blame the lab for problems anybody who has worked at a lab kows this (" my film s out of focus your film processor was not properly bolted down" or "you messed up my film it's blank (underexposed) I want you to put the pictures back on" ) I would also say having known a few Germans that this production would run into more than a few issues due to the attitudes towards that era. I am sure that Arri has all of the latest, newest processing gear and the fastidious attitude to make sure problems are little to none. Billions and Billions of feet of film get processed around the world in the MP industry every year with very few problems overall....


-Rob- "blame the lab" Houllahan
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