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Lola Montes Redux

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  • jess_l_amortell
    _Lola Montes_ can be shockingly inert -- a stale sachertorte that might have worked as a silent film or an awkward early talkie. No, that s not Manny Farber
    Message 1 of 17 , Oct 9, 2008
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      "_Lola Montes_ can be shockingly inert -- a stale sachertorte that
      might have worked as a silent film or an awkward early talkie."

      No, that's not Manny Farber (arguably the dean of pastry reviewers,
      who called Martine Carol "an hourglass made out of stale golden
      cupcakes"). That is (or, at least, appears under the usually
      delectable byline of) J. Hoberman, reviewing the film's latest
      restoration in this week's Voice.

      http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-10-08/film/mike-leigh-s-optimistic-
      heroine-in-happy-go-lucky-might-just-convince-you-to-cheer-up-lola-
      mont-egrave-s-still-won-t/

      At least there's nothing here about spaghetti. But really, a sacher
      torte?

      True, in noting that "The opening sequence is filled with
      promise...But the movie grinds to a halt 10 minutes into the
      delirium," Hoberman is graciously giving the film five minutes more
      than did Farber, who notoriously wrote that "after the first five
      minutes of circus, it is like hauling an old corpse around and around
      in sawdust." At the same time, the reference to silent films
      and "awkward early talkie[s]" does echo Farber's grumble about
      the "fake elements" of "1920's melodrama" (both critics apparently
      betraying a surprisingly automatic disparagement of the elements of
      early cinema here?).

      It's also surprising to find Hoberman implicitly discrediting his
      illustrious Voice predecessor's championing of "Lola M." forty years
      ago, which he sees an an example of the film's "power to cloud men's
      minds." I think Sarris was quite lucid then, and it's not as if he
      has exactly renounced the film in the years since, even as he now
      compares Lola M. to Sarah Palin (!)

      http://www.observer.com/2008/arts-culture/oph-ls-proves-prophet-
      prodigious-lola-mont-s

      In any case, I would have thought a reviewer's first job -- and
      there's not a word about this in either piece -- would be to compare
      the new release (which I haven't seen yet) with the (undistributed)
      German restoration that screened here (with accompanying lecture and
      slideshow) just several years ago. (If nothing else, some of us might
      like to learn, in advance, something about why Film Forum showed that
      version just once but is giving this a three-week run.)
    • Jonathan Rosenbaum
      ... For whatever it s worth, I find the German restoration far superior, at least for the colors (which seem relatively garish in the French restoration). The
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 9, 2008
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        > In any case, I would have thought a reviewer's first job -- and
        > there's not a word about this in either piece -- would be to compare
        > the new release (which I haven't seen yet) with the (undistributed)
        > German restoration that screened here (with accompanying lecture and
        > slideshow) just several years ago. (If nothing else, some of us might
        > like to learn, in advance, something about why Film Forum showed that
        > version just once but is giving this a three-week run.)


        For whatever it's worth, I find the German restoration far superior,
        at least for the colors (which seem relatively garish in the French
        restoration). The reason why it can't be shown is Marcel Ophuls, who
        objects to it not as a restoration but because it's German (I kid you
        not--he claims his father would never have countenanced a German
        version of any kind).

        I found much of Hoberman's piece this week pretty strange. His
        description of Happy-Go-Lucky as a film that cheered him up was the
        weirdest part of all; I found it in some ways Leigh's most disturbing
        movie. (Apart from the heroine and one or two other characters, it's
        virtually crawling with psychos and manic-depressive types.)
      • Michael E. Grost
        I can t imagine anyone not loving Lola Montes . J.G. Ballard s science fiction story The Waiting Grounds describes the Supreme Moment of the Cosmos . Well,
        Message 3 of 17 , Oct 10, 2008
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          I can't imagine anyone not loving "Lola Montes".
          J.G. Ballard's science fiction story "The Waiting Grounds" describes
          the "Supreme Moment of the Cosmos". Well, Lola always seems like the
          "supreme moment of camera movement".

          Mike Grost
        • Dan Sallitt
          ... But isn t the German version a restoration of a German release, which Ophuls pere presumably knew about? I haven t seen the current version yet, but I too
          Message 4 of 17 , Oct 10, 2008
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            --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jonathan Rosenbaum"
            <jrosenbaum2002@...> wrote:

            > For whatever it's worth, I find the German restoration far superior, at
            > least for the colors (which seem relatively garish in the French
            > restoration). The reason why it can't be shown is Marcel Ophuls, who
            > objects to it not as a restoration but because it's German (I kid you
            > not--he claims his father would never have countenanced a German version
            > of any kind).

            But isn't the German version a restoration of a German release, which
            Ophuls pere presumably knew about?

            I haven't seen the current version yet, but I too really liked the German
            version. In addition to the appealing muting of some of the colors, I
            also recall some more naturalistic uses of sound than in the old version.
            - Dan
          • Richard Modiano
            ... ...The reason why it can t be shown is Marcel Ophuls, who objects to it not as a restoration but because it s German (I kid you not--he claims his father
            Message 5 of 17 , Oct 10, 2008
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              --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jonathan Rosenbaum"
              <jrosenbaum2002@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              "...The reason why it can't be shown is Marcel Ophuls, who
              objects to it not as a restoration but because it's German (I kid you
              not--he claims his father would never have countenanced a German
              version of any kind)..."


              The German version can't be shown anywhere?
            • Jonathan Rosenbaum
              ... Apparently not legally--and not for logical or coherent reasons.
              Message 6 of 17 , Oct 10, 2008
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                >
                > The German version can't be shown anywhere?

                Apparently not legally--and not for logical or coherent reasons.
              • thebradstevens
                ... superior, at ... who ... kid you ... version ... which ... My recollection is that the German version consists entirely of alternate takes in which many
                Message 7 of 17 , Oct 10, 2008
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                  --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt <sallitt@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jonathan Rosenbaum"
                  > <jrosenbaum2002@> wrote:
                  >
                  > > For whatever it's worth, I find the German restoration far
                  superior, at
                  > > least for the colors (which seem relatively garish in the French
                  > > restoration). The reason why it can't be shown is Marcel Ophuls,
                  who
                  > > objects to it not as a restoration but because it's German (I
                  kid you
                  > > not--he claims his father would never have countenanced a German
                  version
                  > > of any kind).
                  >
                  > But isn't the German version a restoration of a German release,
                  which
                  > Ophuls pere presumably knew about?
                  >

                  My recollection is that the German version consists entirely of
                  alternate takes in which many (perhaps all) of the actors are
                  actually speaking German. Not sure how the fact that Max actually
                  shot a German version can be reconciled with Marcel's claim that his
                  father would never have even countenanced such a thing - perhaps Max
                  was obliged to shoot this version by the financiers.

                  Marcel is also apparently insisting that the longer (and, to me,
                  vastly superior) 109 minute version of LA RONDE be suppressed.
                • thebradstevens
                  I ve only seen two versions of LOLA MONTES. The French version shown by the BBC (108m at 25 fps) and the German version entitled LOLA MONTEZ screened on German
                  Message 8 of 17 , Oct 10, 2008
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                    I've only seen two versions of LOLA MONTES. The French version shown
                    by the BBC (108m at 25 fps) and the German version entitled LOLA
                    MONTEZ screened on German television (105m 48s at 25 fps). I just
                    found the notes I made while comparing the two versions. The most
                    significant differences are as follows:

                    1- After Lola leaves the ship's dining room, the German version has
                    one extra shot showing Lola walking outside the room and looking in
                    through the windows.

                    2- As Lola tries to leave her first marriage, the French version
                    cuts into close-up for the line "Anything but this", whereas the
                    German version stays in long shot.

                    3- The doctor's visit to the manager/clown runs the same length in
                    both versions, but the editing is different, with the German version
                    including several additional shots (for example, the shot of the
                    clown putting on his jacket is interrupted by a shot taken from a
                    different angle).

                    4- When we return to the circus after the Bavarian section, the
                    scene with the doctor in the clown's office has two extra shots at
                    the start: these show the clown pouring money out of a Lola mug, and
                    one additional line from the doctor.

                    5- In the German version, the dissolve from the penultimate shot to
                    the final shot has been replaced with a cut.
                  • jess_l_amortell
                    ... The German (Droessler) restoration has a longer, uninterrupted track back from Lola, with (as I recall) no cut or dissolve, and the voices of the crowd
                    Message 9 of 17 , Oct 11, 2008
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                      --- <bradstevens22@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > 5- In the German version, the dissolve from the penultimate shot to
                      > the final shot has been replaced with a cut.
                      >

                      The German (Droessler) restoration has a longer, uninterrupted track
                      back from Lola, with (as I recall) no cut or dissolve, and the voices
                      of the crowd brought up over the music. Dan Sallitt described it in
                      post #7988 here. Even though I need to see the film again (and again)
                      in any viable form (though I would prefer not at Film Forum -- can
                      they do 2:55?), I'd rather not return to the usual truncated ending --
                      in a case like this, I hope it's not asking too much of a review to
                      let me know, before plunking down my cash, which version I'll
                      encounter at the end of the journey. I did find, in a Criterion forum
                      thread earlier this year: "Droessler said that Marcel's restoration
                      follows the very same constructional scheme that their version laid
                      out, but Marcel simply used other takes and kept it all French."
                      However, there then appears to be disagreement on which version of the
                      final shot is used.
                      http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?
                      t=7464&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

                      No doubt somewhere in Film Forum's wealth of links (including a French
                      Cinematheque site) the information can eventually be found.
                    • david hare
                      ... shown ... version ... and ... Brad, in addition to these the Droessler version also contains a longer version of the first flashback sequence with Liszt -
                      Message 10 of 17 , Oct 16, 2008
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                        --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
                        <bradstevens22@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > I've only seen two versions of LOLA MONTES. The French version
                        shown
                        > by the BBC (108m at 25 fps) and the German version entitled LOLA
                        > MONTEZ screened on German television (105m 48s at 25 fps). I just
                        > found the notes I made while comparing the two versions. The most
                        > significant differences are as follows:
                        >
                        > 1- After Lola leaves the ship's dining room, the German version has
                        > one extra shot showing Lola walking outside the room and looking in
                        > through the windows.
                        >
                        > 2- As Lola tries to leave her first marriage, the French version
                        > cuts into close-up for the line "Anything but this", whereas the
                        > German version stays in long shot.
                        >
                        > 3- The doctor's visit to the manager/clown runs the same length in
                        > both versions, but the editing is different, with the German
                        version
                        > including several additional shots (for example, the shot of the
                        > clown putting on his jacket is interrupted by a shot taken from a
                        > different angle).
                        >
                        > 4- When we return to the circus after the Bavarian section, the
                        > scene with the doctor in the clown's office has two extra shots at
                        > the start: these show the clown pouring money out of a Lola mug,
                        and
                        > one additional line from the doctor.
                        >
                        > 5- In the German version, the dissolve from the penultimate shot to
                        > the final shot has been replaced with a cut.

                        Brad, in addition to these the Droessler version also contains a
                        longer version of the first flashback sequence with Liszt - about two
                        minutes longer I believe. OF course, more generally the takes are all
                        different. Even the opening circus tracks in the Droessler with the
                        costumed girls tossing the pins is different (from memory they dont
                        toss the pins at all) and the chandeliers dont rise and fall in the
                        same places! Also the soundtrack for opening and closing credits
                        sounds rough and not cleaned up, although the rest of the movie's
                        track is fine (but two track stereo not four track.)

                        The 109 version of La Ronde is indeed a revelation.
                      • Richard Modiano
                        Brad wrote: 4- When we return to the circus after the Bavarian section, the scene with the doctor in the clown s office has two extra shots at the start:
                        Message 11 of 17 , Oct 16, 2008
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                          Brad wrote:

                          "4- When we return to the circus after the Bavarian section, the
                          scene with the doctor in the clown's office has two extra shots at
                          the start: these show the clown pouring money out of a Lola mug,
                          and one additional line from the doctor..."

                          Having just seen the French version last night, this sequence begins
                          with the clown just having finished pouring coins out of the Loa mug.

                          Apparently, most of us will not be able to see the German restoration,
                          so thanks for sharing this list of differences between the two versions.

                          Richard
                        • david hare
                          ... begins ... mug. ... restoration, ... versions.
                          Message 12 of 17 , Oct 17, 2008
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                            --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Modiano" <tharpa2002@...>
                            wrote:
                            >
                            > Brad wrote:
                            >
                            > "4- When we return to the circus after the Bavarian section, the
                            > scene with the doctor in the clown's office has two extra shots at
                            > the start: these show the clown pouring money out of a Lola mug,
                            > and one additional line from the doctor..."
                            >
                            > Having just seen the French version last night, this sequence
                            begins
                            > with the clown just having finished pouring coins out of the Loa
                            mug.
                            >
                            > Apparently, most of us will not be able to see the German
                            restoration,
                            > so thanks for sharing this list of differences between the two
                            versions.
                            >
                            > Richard
                            >
                          • david hare
                            C est idiot! Pressed the wrong button. Richard the legal quarantine on the Droessler does not extentd at least to Germany where, for instance it s screened on
                            Message 13 of 17 , Oct 17, 2008
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                              C'est idiot! Pressed the wrong button.

                              Richard the legal quarantine on the Droessler does not extentd at
                              least to Germany where, for instance it's screened on TV. And from
                              which boots are readily available for download from the usual "Closed
                              Community" sites. I cant name them here for obvious reasons. The
                              quality is AVI/Divx 1 gig but quite acceptable. No subs of course.

                              As for La Ronde, as Brad knows the complete version of this slipped
                              out from the closet some time in the late 80s and played on
                              Australian TV (and possibly) French TV. I cant verify the latter but
                              am in Paris now and will be talking to some people about it next
                              week. Marcel quickly stepped on it locking it back in the cage (with
                              Lola) a couple of years into the 90s, but not before I for one had -
                              quite unwittingly - taped it from SBS TV. Brad I understand is
                              writing something about the differences in the two versions,
                              Marcel's position on the embargo was that the shorter 93 minute cut
                              was Ophuls pere's preferred version. But the additional scenes in the
                              109 minute version, and there are many, are all quite wonderful.
                              Once again I believe it will be up on one of the aforehinted p2p
                              sites before the end of the year.





                              --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Modiano" <tharpa2002@...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              > Brad wrote:
                              >
                              > "4- When we return to the circus after the Bavarian section, the
                              > scene with the doctor in the clown's office has two extra shots at
                              > the start: these show the clown pouring money out of a Lola mug,
                              > and one additional line from the doctor..."
                              >
                              > Having just seen the French version last night, this sequence
                              begins
                              > with the clown just having finished pouring coins out of the Loa
                              mug.
                              >
                              > Apparently, most of us will not be able to see the German
                              restoration,
                              > so thanks for sharing this list of differences between the two
                              versions.
                              >
                              > Richard
                              >
                            • jess_l_amortell
                              ... Just for the record, did Brad s points of comparison between the French & German versions of Lola as seen on TV, refer to earlier release versions, or to
                              Message 14 of 17 , Oct 17, 2008
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                                > the legal quarantine on the Droessler does not extentd at
                                > least to Germany where, for instance it's screened on TV.

                                Just for the record, did Brad's points of comparison between the
                                French & German versions of "Lola" as seen on TV, refer to earlier
                                release versions, or to the restorations? I assumed the former but
                                see i may have been confused.
                                Thanks
                              • thebradstevens
                                ... My comments refer to an unrestored French version of LOLA shown by the BBC, and an old print screened many years ago on German television (I used to have a
                                Message 15 of 17 , Oct 17, 2008
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                                  --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jess_l_amortell" <monterone1@...>
                                  wrote:
                                  >
                                  > > the legal quarantine on the Droessler does not extentd at
                                  > > least to Germany where, for instance it's screened on TV.
                                  >
                                  > Just for the record, did Brad's points of comparison between the
                                  > French & German versions of "Lola" as seen on TV, refer to earlier
                                  > release versions, or to the restorations? I assumed the former but
                                  > see i may have been confused.
                                  > Thanks
                                  >


                                  My comments refer to an unrestored French version of LOLA shown by the
                                  BBC, and an old print screened many years ago on German television (I
                                  used to have a satellite dish that could pick up several German
                                  channels). I haven't yet seen the restorations.
                                • thebradstevens
                                  Just returned from a screening of the restored French version of LOLA MONTES at BFI Southbank. There were three moments here that I haven t seen before: 1-
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Nov 9, 2008
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                                    Just returned from a screening of the restored French version of LOLA
                                    MONTES at BFI Southbank. There were three moments here that I haven't
                                    seen before:

                                    1- More dialogue near the beginning of the first scene with Liszt, who
                                    now remarks that "Dancers usually dance to my tune, rather than I to
                                    theirs".

                                    2- After Lola leaves the ship's dining room, we now see here return to
                                    the dormitory, where a young girl says to her "Going to bed already?
                                    Were you naughty?".

                                    3- The final scene with Lola in the cage is now a single uninterrupted
                                    shot.
                                  • Richard Modiano
                                    ... Just returned from a screening of the restored French version of LOLA MONTES at BFI Southbank. There were three moments here that I haven t seen
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Nov 9, 2008
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                                      --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens" <bradstevens22@...>
                                      wrote:
                                      >
                                      "Just returned from a screening of the restored French version of LOLA>
                                      MONTES at BFI Southbank. There were three moments here that I haven't
                                      seen before..."

                                      In addition to the three shots described by Brad, I can add that both
                                      color and sound were sharper then the 1968-69 restoration.

                                      Richard
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