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New 1941 Blu Ray to contain new assembly of Williams' score - edited and remixed by Mike Matessino!

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"1941" - Extended Edition Soundtrack Upgrade

Next Tuesday, October 14, 2014, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is releasing “The Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection” on Blu-Ray and DVD. For the first time, the director’s 1979 comedy “1941” will be available in Hi-Definition in both its original theatrical version and the “extended edition” which was previously released on Laserdisc and DVD. Both have been remastered from original film elements and look better than ever… but fans of the movie may notice that the soundtrack for the “extended edition” has been subtly improved.

After completing work on La-La Land Records’ 2-CD limited edition soundtrack of John Williams’s score for “1941,” I proposed that the hi-definition release afforded an opportunity to restore the music for some of the extended sequences to how it was originally intended by the composer. I further suggested that the music in a few other sections (for which no score had been composed) might be adjusted to better suit the action and could also make use of material not otherwise heard in the picture.

Happily, the proposal was accepted and I provided the edited six-track music and supervised the remixing of six scenes, which were then approved by both Steven Spielberg and John Williams. I would like to thank everyone at Universal and at Amblin, and, especially co-story & co-screenwriter Bob Gale, for making this happen. I hope viewers will enjoy this newly polished extended edition of “1941” as much as I enjoyed working on it.

The Steven Spielberg Director's Collection is, of course, available at Blu-Ray & DVD retailers.

http://www.mikematessino.com/

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Can anyone please explain what exactly happened here, because I'm not sure?

1) deleted music from the extended edition was put back in ("restore the music for some of the extended sequences to how it was originally intended by the composer")

and

2) unused music from other scenes, were put in scenes that noone intended originally to include music there? ("the music in a few other sections (for which no score had been composed) might be adjusted to better suit the action and could also make use of material not otherwise heard in the picture.")

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There were two kinds of scenes added back into the film for the Extended Cut: Scenes Williams had recorded score for, and scenes he hadn't.

For the ones he recorded score for, his original intended music will now be restored to picture for the first time (wherever possible)

For the ones he never recorded any score for, some of the music used in the Blu Ray version will be different than what was used on the old laserdisc/DVD version; MM will now put in music that not only better matches the onscreen action, but will also get to showcase some unused music that otherwise wouldn't appear in the picture anywhere.

It is my understanding that all audio in the Theatrical Cut remains untouched.

Hope that all makes sense.

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hmmm.. not quite.

The scenes you refer to that he hadn't recorded a score for, it means that he had actually composed a score but they didn't record it?

Or that he didn't intend to score those scenes?

And in those scenes the old DVD had tracked music from other parts of the film?

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No, I did not mean to imply that he wrote music that wasn't recorded, just that no music was recorded. Because it was never written.

Maybe the scenes were cut before Williams began scoring the film, maybe the scenes where assembled after Williams had finished recording the scores. I don't know. Yet :)

Yes, of course the old DVD had music tracked in from other scenes for the Extended Cut scenes that Williams never wrote music before. The new version will too. It will just be better (more appropriate) music this time :)

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So Spielberg breaks his promise to never alter his movies again!

The theatrical cut on the BD remains untouched. The Extended Cut is a bonus feature.

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I don't know, but what I want more than anything is the original USA television cut :( The scenes added to bring the film to theatrical length are pointless!

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This is really excellent news; and hopefully it sets a precedent, because obviously there are a great, great many films that would benefit from getting their original score restored.

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And that's better than what George Lucas did to his original trilogy because, why, Neil was involved?

Because the original unaltered version is still available - on the same disc - in perfect HD quality.

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Just came across this poster for 1941 I'd never seen before!

42386_front.jpg


I'm used to this version, which - look! - features some differences in the artwork!

136k84.jpg

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I wonder if the liner notes will include a story I read once about how Spielberg was seriously disappointed with the music to 1941. (His oft-told story of playing clarinet on the recording to make it more "ragged" seems to be putting a happy face on it.)

I swear I read an account in a book at my high school library but that's as much info as I can remember.

TJH

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I wonder if the liner notes will include a story I read once about how Spielberg was seriously disappointed with the music to 1941. (His oft-told story of playing clarinet on the recording to make it more "ragged" seems to be putting a happy face on it.)

I swear I read an account in a book at my high school library but that's as much info as I can remember.

TJH

You're expecting this Blu Ray box set to have liner notes?

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I kinda wish they'd done something like this for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which had a significant amount of its music rejected. I mean, they did it for 1941 and that movie sucks. So why not?

They didn't do it on the theatrical cut, and Lost World has only a theatrical cut.

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I agree with the sentiment though, I wish more films, especially films with scores I like, had cool bonus features surrounding score to picture stuff, especially when a film had a lot of score shuffled around.

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I kinda wish they'd done something like this for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which had a significant amount of its music rejected. I mean, they did it for 1941 and that movie sucks. So why not?

They didn't do it on the theatrical cut, and Lost World has only a theatrical cut.

Actually, there was an extended TV version with the two major deleted scenes at the beginning.

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I agree with the sentiment though, I wish more films, especially films with scores I like, had cool bonus features surrounding score to picture stuff, especially when a film had a lot of score shuffled around.

I'd love to have a version of Alien that has Jerry's original score reincorporated into the film and not just an isolated score.

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That's really hard though because the picture was edited heavily through after his cues where recorded. But I know what you mean. That would be really cool.

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Read the liner notes of the Intrada 2CD set... Very revealing.

Basically, the reason the iso score tracks on the BD match so well is because Matessino worked hard to make them fit :)

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I feel this set is pretty disappointing. Spielberg's DVD/Blu-ray releases have been pretty mediocre as far as I'm concerned, with a few exceptions. You typically don't get anything on the level of his LaserDisc extra features. His modern films' features are a lot of talking heads. The appeal of these Blu-ray versions is obviously the HD transfers. But if you're a Spielberg fan, you probably already have E.T., Jaws and the Jurassics. Naturally, Spielberg has nothing to say about Always, just like Hook. Two of my favorite Spielberg films and the old codger can't acknowledge them with even an introduction.

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Well here we go. Andy Dursin from FSM interviews Mike Matessino about the new music

Aisle Seat Q&A with Mike Matessino
Our friend Mike Matessino was kind enough to provide specifics on the newly remixed “1941″ cues. Thanks as always to Mike for taking the time to provide some “tech talk”!

Andy: Mike, how did this Blu-Ray project come about?
Mike Matessino: While working on the expanded “1941” soundtrack album for La-La Land Records and learning how the picture was originally scored, I mentioned to co-screenwriter Bob Gale, who was a great supporter of the soundtrack project, that if the extended cut ever got done in hi-definition that it would be a great opportunity to fix up the music in a few places.
When the album came out, I was actually asked by Jeff Cava – who’s now at Paramount but was at Universal in the mid-1990s when the “extended edition” came out on LaserDisc – if I would be interested in assembling a new music stem for the extended edition. There was some indication at that time that all the extended sequences would have to be fully remixed. So I mentioned to Jeff as well that there were a few sections of music that I thought we could improve. I need to point out that without Jeff we never would have had that groundbreaking LaserDisc release. He’s the one who did the lion’s share of the work to find all of the footage and to supervise the assembly and the great sound mix that was done in 1995. He had all the music transferred and catalogued as part of the project, and so he was very helpful on the soundtrack album release as well.
When it came to the music, what happened in 1995 is that the 1983 network broadcast was used as a template, so the music was all matched to what was done for that. There were a lot of repeated sections and, in my opinion, some unnecessary tracking and looping. Things like using a quote of the Austrian anthem “Deutschland uber alles” over the scene where the Japanese are disguised as Christmas trees seemed inappropriate to me, plus there were other sections where clearly the extended version lined up with cues as John Williams originally scored them. So the basic idea was to address a few sections that could be improved to a point where it no longer felt like a TV edit but like a seamless, finished director’s cut. I was serendipitously working on “Empire of the Sun” for La-La Land when this came up, so I was able to present the idea, with Bob Gale’s support, to Steven Spielberg’s people. I provided before-and-after clips that sold them all on the idea. Universal approved spending the time and money to do the work, so off we went.

AD: What challenges were involved with the restoration of the 146 min. version for Blu-Ray? Along similar lines, was this different than the laser/DVD restoration of this particular cut or did it require any changes in approach?
MM: The picture was already done before I got involved and is the same as before. It is the cut Steven Spielberg has approved. I’m sure it was a challenge to match all the trims and lifts from the television broadcast to the final theatrical version. There are quality differences but I think they did a terrific job.
I had a great time working with the music once again, but the challenge for me came when I was asked to supervise the remixing of the scenes in question. I had to make sure that we left and returned to the existing 5.1 track seamlessly. I was thrilled when I found out that John Blum was going to be the mixer. He’s at Blu-Wave Audio on the Universal lot, but I worked with him many years ago at Chace Productions. One challenge we faced was not going too far with the sound effects. We couldn’t suddenly have a modern mix for the scenes we were adjusting. It all had to blend and tie in to the existing mix perfectly. Then there were some unexpected challenges, like helping the music department create the first-ever cue sheet for the extended edition. Later I was also asked to come in during the authoring stage because the two versions of the picture were going to be presented via seamless branching. There were some things to fix at that stage, moving branching points and so forth, things that might otherwise have been missed, so I was happy to see the project all the way through to the end.
One other thing I did, which had nothing to do with the music, is catch that there is a subtitle that is different in the extended edition than in the theatrical version. When Toshiro Mifune, as the Japanese submarine commander, decides to send a landing party ashore, his last line in the theatrical version is “They will find Hollywood…!” That sets up the joke cut to the side of Slim Pickens’ truck that says “Hollis ‘Holly’ Wood” on it. The subtitle on the extended version has always been “They will not be seen,” which sets up the cut to the Christmas trees. So we had to make sure that the right subtitle appeared depending on which version was being viewed.

AD: What particular scenes were musically re-edited in this particular release?
MM: First there is the department store scene early in the picture. The TV broadcast and, consequently, the LaserDisc and DVD versions, tracked this scene with a cue called “Various Service Tunes,” which was written for the rioting in the streets much later in the movie. It combines existing tunes like “The Rakes of Mallow,” “Anchors Aweigh” and “When the Caissons Go Rolling Along.” I felt very strongly that this cue needed to be held back until the riot took place. And specifically I felt that we should not hear “The Rakes of Mallow” until it is introduced in “Riot at the U.S.O.” It seemed to me that using that cue just a few minutes into the movie gave away what the whole thing was building toward. So I tried it with the unused opening of “You, You, You” and then with “The Escape of Hollis.” It seemed to work much better without all those recognizable melodies, and that made the introduction of Wild Bill Kelso much more powerful.
The scene where Dan Aykroyd brings the anti-aircraft gun to Ned Beatty’s house was also adjusted. I eliminated some of the repeated sections of “You Have Been Chosen” by inserting the unused ending section of “Birkhead’s Pitch,” which uses the same theme but in a different key. I found a way to go from this to “The Sentries” that worked musically, and then that cue covered the introduction of Lionel Stander and Murray Hamilton. That scene was already cut out of the picture before it was scored. Then, returning to Ned Beatty (and material Williams DID score), I was able to restore part of the cue as intended for the moment where Treat Williams walks over to the clothesline and finds Dianne Kay and Wendie Jo Sperber. The very end of that cue is the only section where we now have music in the extended edition but not in the theatrical version.
Next we have the scene where Murray Hamilton and Eddie Deezen are put onto the Ferris wheel. Williams’ original cue fit the extended edition perfectly, so we were able to eliminate the looping of “The Sentries” that was there before.
The scene with Hollis Wood and the Christmas trees was the one I most wanted to improve. I kept a lot of what had been done previously, as some of that was already as intended, but I was able to eliminate a lot of micro-edits but tapping the unused cue “The Cracker-Jack Box,” which worked amazingly well with a few adjustments to fit the action. Since we don’t hear that cue anywhere else, the scene feels more integrated into the picture. A lot of it is a psychological effect. Bob Gale always disliked the scene because it was not in the original script, but once he saw it with the new music score he felt, for the first time, that it worked. I found that to be a tremendous compliment and that really shows how even a slight musical change can affect a scene and a movie overall. Ending that scene by using the lead-in to “Kelso Lost” helped tie the whole thing together, leading right into the flight over the Grand Canyon as intended.
Lastly we have two scenes where Williams’ music was restored as intended. One is where Bobby DiCicco blows up Dick Miller’s police car and the other is the quote of the Marine’s hymn at the start of the cue called “More Kelso.” That one occurs as John Belushi goes through the paint factory.
Some of these are really subtle and may not be readily noticed, but the goal was to make the whole thing more seamless and to maintain the architecture of John Williams’s score throughout the picture.

AD: Were there any challenges involved with getting the approval of Spielberg and Williams?
MM: The approvals were straightforward. Clips were generated with music-only and then with the finished mixes along with explanations of cue use on paper. I personally didn’t hear anything other than that the work was “approved.” That’s good enough for me! It was wonderful to be able to work on this project and I’m grateful for the help and support of everyone who was involved with it.


http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/daily/article.cfm/articleID/7142/The-Restoration-of-1941-Plus--A-Talk-with-Mike-Matessino/

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It must have been a fantastic opporturnity and challenge to go back and rework and improve the soundtrack of the film so that it is now more faithful to Williams's original intentions and adds additional music to the picture so that it makes it work even better. Thanks for the link and quote of the interview Jay! :)

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I am glad they agreed to finance this type of restoration and re-working of the soundtrack though. Doesn't happen with every film maker or film for that matter. For being a box office flop 1941 has been lavished a whole lot of attention and care. Of course I am not complaining. The score on the LLL is a near revelation. :)

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