Early last May I ran a complaint piece about Paramount Home Video’s failure to punch out a Shane Bluray. It’s my responsibility, I feel, to bitch about this until they finally give in and agree to fund the proper restoring and remastering of George Stevens‘ 1953 classic. An off-the-lot source says it’ll be a moderately expensive project, which is mainly why Paramount has been stalling for so long. Except Shane is one of the respected jewels in the studio crown, and what monarch would allow one of its legacy symbols to lose its shine?
Shane is one of the most beautiful color films shot during the big-studio era, but if you pop the current DVD version into a Bluray player and watch it on a 50″ plasma, it just looks okay…and it should make your eyes pop out of their sockets.
The Shane elements need to be upgraded, but Paramount doesn’t want to spring for this. The applicable term is “bad parenting.” A father doesn’t refuse to send a talented child with great potential to college because tuition is too costly, or because there’s not enough of a back-end profit motive. A person who’s doing well in life doesn’t allow a member of his/her family to live in declining circumstances if he/she is able to help. A son or daughter doesn’t keep an aging parent in a musty, second-rate assisted living facility when a first-rate one is affordable.
Other DVD/Bluray sites should make an annual rite of shaming Paramount into doing the right thing, but most of them won’t, I’m guessing, because they don’t want to risk alienating a big advertiser.
Last year’s posting: It feels mildly irksome that Paramount Home Video has never to my knowledge stated an intention to issue a Bluray of George Stevens‘ Shane. Wouldn’t this fit almost anyone’s definition of a no-brainer? It’s all but de rigueur for major studios to give their classic titles Bluray upgrades, so it seems odd that one as beautiful-looking as Shane would be sitting on the sidelines.
It’s been almost seven years since Paramount Home Video’s Shane DVD, which was fine for what it was. But it’s time to step up and do this film proud and give a nice angel erection to George Stevens, who no doubt has been wondering from whatever realm or region why Paramount hasn’t yet bit the bullet on this thing.
The Bluray format (coupled with an exacting, first-rate remastering, of course) would dramatically enhance if not do wonders for Loyal Griggs‘ legendary capturings of this iconic 1953 western. To my eyes Griggs’ richly-hued color lensings — he shot The Buccaneer, The Ten Commandments, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, White Christmas — were on the level of Jack Cardiff‘s.
This morning I asked Paramount restoration/remastering guy Ron Smith (who supervised the superb work on Paramount’s recently-released African Queen Bluray) if a Shane Bluray was at least in the planning stages. Guys like Smith are told to never say “boo” to guys like me without corporate publicity’s approval, but I wanted to at least put this on the table.