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Conan the Blu-Ray


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 10:15 AM

I've watched about half the of the new blu-ray of the old Conan movie -- it looks better than ever. The photography has always been problematic with a number of underexposed shots and low-light anamorphic shots. But they've cleaned a lot of that up without overly doing the DNR so there is still some grain.

But now I'm noticing things I've never noticed before. For example, in the last three-shot of James Earl Jones and his two henchmen, right after he chops Conan's mother's head off, the sky has the weird moire pattern... I realized that the DP used a large scrim behind the three actors for that shot. And when Conan climbs up out of the cave where he finds the sword and the ancient skeleton of a king, some prop guy's had sticks up out of the hole a moment after Conan stands up.

Also, the scene right before that had, where Conan was being chased by wolves after being freed, was always a so-so day-for-night sequence with too much bright sky in the frame, but now it's been timed for daytime.
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#2 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:44 AM

I first saw Conan The Barbarian at the drive-in years and years ago. Then later came repeated viewings on television broadcasts and video. It's certainly one of my most watched movies - I could recite every bit of dialogue before a character utters it. The battle scenes in this film were amazing. Very atmospheric film too - helped partly by the powerful music throughout. I consider Conan The Barbarian to be one of the very few films of this genre to actually be any good. After it was released, there was a whole succession of imitation films featuring sword wielding warriors and mythological beasts which paled in comparison.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 10:25 AM

I first saw Conan The Barbarian at the drive-in years and years ago. Then later came repeated viewings on television broadcasts and video. It's certainly one of my most watched movies - I could recite every bit of dialogue before a character utters it. The battle scenes in this film were amazing. Very atmospheric film too - helped partly by the powerful music throughout. I consider Conan The Barbarian to be one of the very few films of this genre to actually be any good. After it was released, there was a whole succession of imitation films featuring sword wielding warriors and mythological beasts which paled in comparison.


What elevates Conan are the movies it is paying homage to, at least in design, camera placement, editing: Seven Samurai and Alexander Nevsky in particular. After the village is destroyed in the opening, the warriors slowly take off their helmets in front of Conan's mother in a direct homage to Nevsky when the Teutonic Knights take off their helmets.
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#4 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:21 PM

What elevates Conan are the movies it is paying homage to, at least in design, camera placement, editing: Seven Samurai and Alexander Nevsky in particular. After the village is destroyed in the opening, the warriors slowly take off their helmets in front of Conan's mother in a direct homage to Nevsky when the Teutonic Knights take off their helmets.


Agree

Compositions are very strong in this movie.

Score is one of the greatest of all time.

Story is great.

It's a little cheesy but I love that about it too.

It's probably the best "bad" movie of all time.

R.
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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:35 AM

My favorite shot in the movie - maybe in all films ever - is when his mothers head gets cut off (morbid, eh?) and passes through frame as her body falls and her hand slips out of young Conans. And he keeps staring at this empty hand. Wonderfully poetic and an great shot.
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#6 Markshaw

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:28 AM

I haven't watched any of the Conan movies since I was a kid. Maybe it's time to give them a whirl.
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#7 Adrian Samuals

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 06:04 AM

I've watched about half the of the new blu-ray of the old Conan movie -- it looks better than ever. The photography has always been problematic with a number of underexposed shots and low-light anamorphic shots. But they've cleaned a lot of that up without overly doing the DNR so there is still some grain.

But now I'm noticing things I've never noticed before. For example, in the last three-shot of James Earl Jones and his two henchmen, right after he chops Conan's mother's head off, the sky has the weird moire pattern... I realized that the DP used a large scrim behind the three actors for that shot. And when Conan climbs up out of the cave where he finds the sword and the ancient skeleton of a king, some prop guy's had sticks up out of the hole a moment after Conan stands up.

Also, the scene right before that had, where Conan was being chased by wolves after being freed, was always a so-so day-for-night sequence with too much bright sky in the frame, but now it's been timed for daytime.



I hear there is an issue with the audio on the Blu-ray. Can you confirm whether there were any issues whilst you were watching?
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#8 Michel Hafner

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 06:23 AM

I hear there is an issue with the audio on the Blu-ray. Can you confirm whether there were any issues whilst you were watching?

The issue can not be heard unless one knows the film well. Some music is missing in the 5.1 mix and the original mono mix is not on the disc.
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#9 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 09:40 PM

Also, the scene right before that had, where Conan was being chased by wolves after being freed, was always a so-so day-for-night sequence with too much bright sky in the frame, but now it's been timed for daytime.


I believe that was one of the early scenes of the shooting schedule, before Gilbert "Star Wars" Taylor was replaced by Duke Callaghan. But now, after having seen the new transfer, I doubt that it was really intended to look like a (day-for) night scene. Is it possible that it had always been timed that way as an after thought?
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 03:54 PM

I believe that was one of the early scenes of the shooting schedule, before Gilbert "Star Wars" Taylor was replaced by Duke Callaghan. But now, after having seen the new transfer, I doubt that it was really intended to look like a (day-for) night scene. Is it possible that it had always been timed that way as an after thought?


Conan gets freed in a night-for-night scene, so it make sense that the following scene is night or dusk. It's always looked a bit underexposed too, milky blacks and grain.

Just watched the blu-ray of "Conan the Destroyer" and that also has the occasionally grainy, underexposed looking shots -- I wonder if DeLaurentis was using a crappy lab or short-ends to save money? I can't imagine Jack Cardiff would mis-expose like that.
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#11 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 05:53 PM

Thank you David,

I've never seen the sequel, but there are lots of grainy daytime shots on the first picture as well, for no apparent reason (at first, I was looking for optical effects on these shots, as they looked duped or something like that). Today I've rewatched "Jeremiah Johnson", the only other major picture ever shot by Conan's cinematographer, also anamorphic and 100 ASA stock (5254) and it looks very well exposed, other than some poor day-for-night scenes, which aren't grainy anyway. My theory is that "Conan" was push developed in purpose to shoot in lower light levels, and then something went wrong at the lab during developing and/or processing. The old 5247 shouldn't look that grainy in anamorphic not even pushed two stops. The Todd-AO 35 anamorphics -probably owned by De Laurentiis, since most of his productions from this period used them- weren't up to other anamorphics of the period either; very low-con and they produce some light veil during some daytime scenes, when the skylight was bright enough to cause a reflection on the lens.
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#12 John Holland

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 02:08 AM

I havent seen the film , it was made in 1984 so maybe the problem was the stock .It was shot when Kodak introduced their higher speed stock '93 which was a very grainy nasty neg and the '94 that replaced it wasnt much better .
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#13 Brian Hulnick

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 03:42 AM

I think it may be time to revisit these old Schwarzenegger titles. They used to be my favorite good, bad movie. My girlfriend thinks that honor should go to Sinbad Of The Seven Seas starring Lou Ferrigno.
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#14 Adrian Samuals

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 12:40 AM

The issue can not be heard unless one knows the film well. Some music is missing in the 5.1 mix and the original mono mix is not on the disc.



Would you say it is missing or maybe they no longer had the rights to use it. What ever the reason it's a pity they released it such as it is. They should always try to keep the original mix on classic titles, out of respect for purists.
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#15 Michel Hafner

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:25 PM

Would you say it is missing or maybe they no longer had the rights to use it. What ever the reason it's a pity they released it such as it is. They should always try to keep the original mix on classic titles, out of respect for purists.

It's score by Poledouris so it's not a rights issue. It's a 5.1 mixing issue.
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#16 Adrian Samuals

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 12:34 AM

In that case it would be wise for me to hold off until the audio is rectified. Has a recall been announced yet?
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