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The Golden Age of Television (The Criterion Collection)
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
- Marty Patterns
- No Time for Sergeants
- A Wind from the South
- Requiem for a Heavyweight
- Bang the Drum Slowly
- The Comedian
- Days of Wine and Roses
- The live kinescope broadcasts of Marty (1953), Patterns (1955), No Time for Sergeants (1955), A Wind from the South (1955), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956), Bang the Drum Slowly (1956), The Comedian (1957), and Days of Wine and Roses (1958)
- Commentaries by directors John Frankenheimer, Delbert Mann, Ralph Nelson, and Daniel Petrie Interviews with key cast and crew, including Frankenheimer, Andy Griffith, Julie Harris, Kim Hunter, Richard Kiley, Piper Laurie, Nancy Marchand, Jack Palance, Cliff Robertson, Mickey Rooney, Carol Serling, Rod Steiger, and Mel Torme
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by curator Ron Simon and his extensive liner notes on each program
If you could somehow imagine an episode of The Office in which all edits and camera moves were done on the fly, the actors romping from set to set completely in character (and never flubbing a line), that s what you get with these minimovies. The appeal was closest to theater, a lineage that television has since traded in for an aesthetic of its own. But these oldies remain superb examples of craft and precision; they are part of the reason for the medium s ascendancy to cultural dominance. Criterion's box of eight of the most successful examples is eye-opening. The image quality is poor (these were shot on early kinescope technology), but amazingly, you won't care. The thrill of pulling off these plays before a rapt, nationwide audience is catching.
There are stars here, actors like Paul Newman and Julie Harris, at the dawn of their careers. But the dominant figure of live television, to judge from this collection, was Rod Serling, a writer who would go on to make a profound, spooky impact on imaginations during the next decade. Patterns, Serling's 1955 corporate indictment, is a still-fresh piece of proto Mad Men tension, with a conclusion that s almost shocking in its cynicism. (An Emmy winner for Serling, Patterns was the first TV program to inspire an encore, performed live a month later.) The following year brought Serling's Requiem for a Heavyweight, a boxing drama that includes some of the dramatist's toughest dialogue. The Comedian (1957), starring a sour, egomaniacal Mickey Rooney, is Serling at his most daring. You can see the future work of Scorsese in these plays. --Time Out New York
Top Customer Reviews
Marty (1953) - The motion picture was a Best Picture Oscar winner in 1955. This version has the role of Marty played by Rod Steiger and the role of the girl with which he connects played by Nancy Marchand. Written by Paddy Chayefsky.
Patterns (1955) - Written by Rod Serling. Show starred Richard Kiley as young executive Fred Staples. However, Staples can see his possible distant future in an aging executive (Ed Begley) who is constantly berated and belittled by the boss (Everett Sloane).
No Time for Sergeants (1955) - Andy Griffith is cast as Will Stockdale, a backwoods fellow who is drafted into the army.Read more ›
One of the problems with digital technology is that some people can't resist trying to "fix" older film and television resources. The overuse of clean-up software is a good example: When applied injudiciously, characters waving their arms or walking quickly will have their hands or feet virtually disappear. Over-correction can be worse than none at all, since new errors are introduced and the material is compromised.
Criterion apparently thought that the soundtrack on "Requiem" was too noisy, so they applied a noise-gate. The result is that when a character stops talking, low-level sounds like background conversations or the music score are abruptly cut off or, worse, sputter in and out, sounding like someone jiggling a loose speaker wire. Sometimes even the dialogue is affected. This is too bad, especially since it was unnecessary.
Criterion's source for the kinescopes was the early-'eighties program "The Golden Age of Television". Rhino Records released some of these same episodes ("Requiem", "Patterns", and "The Comedian") on VHS in 1993. I did a direct comparison between Rhino's VHS and Criterion's DVD, and saw that they appeared to derive from the same source: Both pictures are slightly dark on the left-hand side and lack contrast on the right-hand side, for example. But Criterion apparently tried to boost the contrast, which aggravated the left-to-right disparity. So, although Rhino's version has the inherent characteristics of VHS, their picture is more consistent.Read more ›
"Requiem For a Heavyweight", for instance, has had minimal corrections made (a slight tint to the original transfer was removed, and the sound was re-synched, that sort of thing.) No serious effort was made to stabilize the image, or to remove considerable dirt and moire artifacts in the old transfer.
Not only would the above-mentioned corrections be fairly trivial to accomplish, there is now a process that has been developed called LiveFeed Video Imaging that restores the "live broadcast" look to programs that were preserved as kinescope films. And since these programs were originally aired as live performances, they're **exactly** the sort of material that the process was invented for! Why on earth would Criterion think people would rather have these shows look like jittery old movies?
When one considers the source of this release, the only words that come to mind are "travesty" and "lost opportunity". While a release of this quality might have been passable in say, 1985, this is the year 2009-- it's inexcusable for a company that heavily trades on its customer's passion for quality presentation to essentially ignore 25 years of advances in restoration technology. (And this from a set that lists 8 different restoration technicians **and** a QC Manager!)
For those who have the original laserdisc sets.. take heart-- there's no need to buy this. For everyone else, please keep in mind that (just as with "The Fugitive" and "My Three Sons"), there's nothing to be gained by encouraging companies to release substandard product, when they're fully capable of providing something vastly superior.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you appreciate classic T.V. You will be mesmerized by the performances of budding acting giants of the future. An engrossing trip down memory lane.Published 20 months ago by Sanford Lord
It is wonderful to see the stage presentation of 12 Angry Men. The movie is great, but seeing a movie and seeing it live is different. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Vanissa Thurman
Great TV from the early days. Good to watch at night with the silver glow of the screen and live television drama. Break out the popcorn.Published on March 12, 2013 by Wesley Bassett
I enjoy these DVDs very much. It was when TV was in its infancy, and still pure. If you want to relive, or see for the first time, TV at its finest, buy this collection .Published on February 9, 2013 by jhnesunshine
In the 1950's, Television was LIVE. In the beginning of television were part motion picture and part theater. Read morePublished on November 18, 2012 by Bennet Pomerantz
Criterion used "kinescopes of the live broadcasts" and "originally curated for PBS in the early 1980s" in the description on the box, implying that this set contains complete... Read morePublished on March 11, 2012 by N. McCall
Okay, there are enough reviews which tell you in detail what each of these shows was about. Suffice it to say, there's hardly a title that doesn't surpass anything on the tube... Read morePublished on January 26, 2011 by D Barrett
This is an example of Television at it's best. I remember watching these with my parents and my grandmother or just being told about them. Read morePublished on February 1, 2010 by Julie N.
The Golden Age of Television (The Criterion Collection) I recently got this set as an update on the original Laserdisc set I got in the 1990s. Read morePublished on February 1, 2010 by Kenneth M. Henderson
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