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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:10 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:48 am
The Warner Archive podcast discusses the film and the audio fix on the BD.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:31 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:48 am
Blu-Ray.com

I just got my disc in the mail today and of course jumped to the "Memo From Turner" sequence. I certainly appreciate the correction of the missing "Here's to old England" dialogue, but I was surprised at how poorly it was done. It's quite jarring as the audio fidelity changes character dramatically and you hear some of the instrumentation that's not quite audible in the "restored" audio mix.

The problem seems to be the "restored" audio for this sequence, which sounds brilliant with deep bass and nice range, but isn't really faithful to the original soundtrack's more limited range. I'm presuming they used the recording of the song, rather than the film soundtrack, to achieve this. If they could have isolated Mick's dialogue the replacement would have been less glaring. It's better than nothing, I guess. It's still frustrating that a straight restoration of the audio wouldn't have imposed this issue in the first place.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:06 am 
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The problem is, straight restorations cost money, and Warner Bros have always made their corporate dislike of the film all too clear.

It sounds to me that it's a bodge job along the lines of what Arrow did with Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the taxi scene with Don Siegel) - only in that case they were lucky that the missing dialogue only affected one audio stream out of six, and so it could be dropped in from the equivalent on the DVD with any change in sound quality masked by far higher-quality sound playing at the same time (the entire conversation takes place during a drive, with a great deal of vehicle noise on either side). If you isolated the centre speaker track, you could probably hear the drop in quality, but nobody's going to do that in a normal viewing situation.

But that's clearly not going to work every time - and it's clearly much, much harder to pull off with a mono soundtrack like Performance's.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:56 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:58 am
Location: Yorkshire, England
I may be sporadic in my input but I remain passionate about this film. I had no idea a Blue-Ray releases had taken place.

I don't know if the more knowledgeable folks here can answer these questions - they may need to be as obsessive as me about Performance in order to do so.

Firstly is the audio generator throb instantly audible when Turner plugs the SECOND plug into his audio equipment during Poor White Hound Dog (the music that takes place immediately before Memo From Turner)? If so that suggests they have done the audio properly. The explanation on the pod cast says nothing about this and refers only to the missing line 'Here's To Old England' which they say has been restored but that information is meaningless if the rest of the audio soundtrack is still missing.

Secondly there is a moment just after Mick Jagger picks up his flourescent light tube where a high-pitched synthesiser noise appears - a little like a high-pitched drill. This takes place at the 2.12 mark of Poor White Hound Dog (if you listen to the soundtrack). That too is missing from the Performance DVD.

I know my original point is correct regarding the DVD release. I have played the soundtrack so many times and I've watched the film on a truly ridiculous number of occasions. One half of the stereo mix is missing and instead the other half is spread across both speakers. If you try that with early stereo mixes of The Beatles loads of the music is absent, just as it is on the DVD of Performance.

If all they have done is add the 'Here's To Old England' line then they have done a poor patchwork job and missed the entire point. That sequence remains one of the finest in the history of British cinema - plus the music is absolutely incredible in that section of the film - some of my favourite ever music.

It'll take a real Performance hound to spot these, but I know there are a great many out there. If they have done the soundtrack restoration properly I will buy the Blu-Ray, but the DVD was by some distance the biggest let down of any exciting cinematic release onto DVD I can ever remember. I am guessing that all current DVD copies are still with only half the correct audio present...?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:18 pm
I posted this in the Warner Archive thread as well - unfortunately, the Warner Archive Blu Ray release is using the dubbed vocals for Johnny Shannon's character Harry Flowers, it is definitely not the same audio as the US DVD.

And as noted, the "Here's to Old England" line sounds terrible, all distorted and cranked up way too loud.

I expect others will notice this as well and come forward - as of now, Warner is saying its the same audio, but a listening comparison, especially at the 15:00 and 21:00 minute marks, make it obvious that it's not the same as the DVD release.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:52 pm 
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Warner Archive has posted an updated reply that they are investigating. Shame that it's so difficult to get a proper release of the film.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:27 pm 

Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 7:30 pm
Definitely not the same as the DVD release. Terrible. Johnny Shannon's voice is one of the most memorable things about the movie!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:07 am 
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Please do keep us posted on this. Given the complexity of the various edited versions, and the soundtrack issues, I was really hoping Criterion release of this. But at least hoping that WB addresses the Harry Flowers dubbing and other soundtrack issues in this release, even if they have to pull back their initial run.

Is this a pressed BluRay, or are they burning these on-demand?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:29 am 
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Warners? They're just boys...outadate boys


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:29 am 
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It's too late to cancel my order, but at least the saving grace is that it's very cheap.

But what a complete disaster all round - I was really looking forward to this, especially after spending a lot of time with Arrow's White of the Eye a few weeks ago.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:31 am 
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Damn it. My copy's sitting right here. I kind of wish I hadn't read about this, frankly, but hopefully Warners will address it.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:06 am 
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MichaelB wrote:
what a complete disaster all round


To be fair, at least, PQ looks good.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:56 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:48 am
Wow, I didn't think to check on the dubbing - that was the one high point of the audio on the previous release. How did they manage to have the dubbed voices and still have the bungled audio throughout the "Hound Dog/Memo" segment? Yes, the "Here's to old England" flub is definitely the most prominent but as runcible is pointing out the music through that entire section has been damaged.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:08 pm 
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NABOB OF NOWHERE wrote:
Warners? They're just boys...outadate boys
Chas to Warner Archive: "You know, I don't think I'm going to let you stay in the film business..."


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:12 pm 
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They fuck up the audio and who's left holding the sodding baby?

Man, this is disappointing to hear. If I was in the US I'd no doubt get it at some point anyway but the extra cost and hassle of importing is making me think twice. I wonder if we'll even see it over here at all - have any of the Warner Archive titles gone on to have European releases?

If Warners have such little regard for it I wish they'd just let MoC or the BFI give it the love it deserves.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:17 pm 
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Rsdio wrote:
If Warners have such little regard for it I wish they'd just let MoC or the BFI give it the love it deserves.

Or indeed Arrow, which unlike those labels has already put out a superlative edition of a Donald Cammell film.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:12 pm 
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Yeah, of course. I'm still not in the habit of thinking of Arrow alongside the other two but that's purely me being absent-minded, their recent work has been great as far as I've seen.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:17 pm 
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I don't think it has anything to do with "little regard" or any intentional "complete disaster". There's more than likely a mere handful of people who arranged for the release to come out, and expecting them to be fanatical experts on every film in Warner's library is unrealistic. They were familiar with the complaints of the DVD enough to arrange to return the missing line, so their intention was to please. An alternate dubbing of an English film is rare enough that it doesn't surprise me that it would go unnoticed. Some things are really only known by enthusiasts.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 6:19 pm 
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captveg wrote:
I don't think it has anything to do with "little regard" or any intentional "complete disaster".

I wasn't basing my own comment on the audio error in the slightest, I imagine it was an honest mistake. I can see how it reads that way but the comment afterwards was a bit of an afterthought - I was referring to the general lack of regard Warners have apparently had for the film right from the beginning which seemingly continues to the present day. A DVD release was conspicuous by its absence for years and now the Blu comes out to little fanfare under the Archive banner when it really deserves something much more meaty. If Warners aren't going to give us that themselves I wish they'd license it out as I can't imagine they'd be short of takers.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:24 pm 
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Better than the "no regard" a large part of their catalog holdings have. When a library reaches 6000+ titles, being one of the few hundred that make it to Blu-ray is far more regard than most.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:36 pm 
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Oedipax wrote:
Damn it. My copy's sitting right here. I kind of wish I hadn't read about this, frankly, but hopefully Warners will address it.

Ditto, my copy just arrived today and I don't know whether to open it or try and return it to Amazon. Is there any precedent for Warner offering a replacement for issues like this? There was barely a peep from them that I could discern about the DVD audio issues until it came time for the Blu-Ray, and if their best fix was still all fucked up I find it hard to believe they will ever be able to make it right. There must be some issues with the elements for this to keep on happening. Was the audio correct on any VHS or Laser editions that anyone is aware of?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:51 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:58 am
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Cronenfly wrote:
Was the audio correct on any VHS or Laser editions that anyone is aware of?

Simple answer is yes. There are a few different versions out there - at least 2 different VHS releases in the UK. What's more I have seen at least 2 different versions screened on TV too, some with some footage in Joey's death scene cut, some with that in. I don't know anything about Laser disc versions. Was it released on that format? I never had one of those players so have no idea.

Johnny Shannon's voice is dubbed on some versions, but I have never seen a version which has the 'here's to old England' line missing, and the music sequence is all intact audio-wise in every one I have watched. The absence of Turner's famous line and all the problems with the audio soundtrack began with the DVD release.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:07 am 
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Adding this to the debate in case it remotely interests someone but I saw this in a sleaze-pit in Germany many years ago and it was an edit (version?) where Jagger's bits are in plain view in the three in a bed scene. Does this exist outside of Rolling Stones' Samizdat completist collections?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:09 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:48 am
To circle back to the question regarding home video releases, it was released twice on laserdisc in the US. The second release was letterboxed, as visually complete as the DVD release and had digital audio. It had the dubbed voices for Johnny Shannon and the little girl, though, so not entirely definitive there.

Incidentally, after hearing the original track, I have zero understanding of the logic behind overdubbing the actors' voices. The reason given is that the original accents were difficult for US audiences to understand, which is fine, but they replaced them with EXACTLY THE SAME ACCENTS. (To the extent it seems like the same performers did the ADR. If not, they have very similar vocal qualities.)

I haven't seen it mentioned elsewhere, but the dubbing is not limited to those characters. The conversation in the car at the opening has been dubbed over to apparently correspond better to how Americans think British characters talk.

Moody - Original: "There's claret all over the screen, geezer's got half his ear hanging off..."
Moody - Dubbed: "There's ketchup all over the screen, the bloke's got half his ear hanging off..."

Chas - Original: "The mini-cab depot".
Chas - Dubbed: "That car-hire garage".

Incidentally, the lines above are pretty easy to use to show which version is on the BD, rather then debating over the more subjective quality of Johnny Shannon's voice.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:42 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:58 am
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_shadow_ wrote:
Incidentally, the lines above are pretty easy to use to show which version is on the BD, rather then debating over the more subjective quality of Johnny Shannon's voice.

So these laser disc versions capture the death of Joey Maddox or do they cut off just after the gun is fired? That would show how much the censor at the time would allow.

And is the 'here's to old England' line included too? That would define how they have worked the soundtrack.


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