To celebrate the pending special edition Blu-ray and DVD release of Radley Metzger’s classic Barbara Broadcast, we sat down with Distribpix’s Steven Morowitz to talk about what went into the release. Pre-orders will be coming on or before July 4th with details, discounts and incentives to follow – but until then, if you want more Barbara (and you know you do), read on!
R!S!P! - Give us a rundown of what fans can expect to see as far as the extras are concerned on the upcoming Barbara Broadcast special edition.
SM - This package is not as heavy on the extras as the Misty Beethoven package was, but it is pretty darn close. As you know, I like quality and I want to offer just that, and I think that when the fans, customers, etc., spend top dollar on a product like the Misty Package or the upcoming Barbara package, they need to get every cents’ worth and even more. So for this package, first and foremost, I focused on the film restoration. That includes 2k scans of both the hard and soft cuts - both versions UNCUT, and the hard version has been meticulously restored. Then we have the full length commentary with legendary director, Radley Metzger, moderated, by adult historian Benson Hurst, who once again is on point with the Barbara commentary. Several brand new features will also be included. A wonderful interview with actor Michael Datorre, and partial commentary. A short feature called A Tribute To the Players, which is all unique footage and narration. And of course, a brand new and short documentary on Barbara Broadcast that will certainly educate and entertain. Also included are all of the Henry Paris trailers, brand new radio spots for Barbara, a very cool slideshow and an ephemera gallery.
There’s also an amazing twenty-eight page liner notes book, an insert card, double-sided bookmarks, and maybe some of the coolest O card packaging- with embossing - that I have done in a long time. This is, again, another amazing collectible.
R!S!P! - What was involved in making the movie look as good as it can look for its Blu-ray debut?
SM - To make the film look as good as possible, it went through quite a bit this time around. Not that is was in poor condition, it was not. But rather it was a combination of me wanting to make it as clean as possible (by removing as much dirt, dust and scratches as possible with the restoration software) and the fact that the lab at Process Blue will literally go out of their way to do what they have to in order to make it look as good as it can while still keeping to the essence of the original film. As a matter of fact, we did different rounds of color grading, etc. And I personally did more than twenty hours of additional digital restoration at the lab, removing dirt, dust and scratches. It really does make a difference, and that is something that is important when going to Blu-ray. Not to forget, this was shot in Super 16mm, so the grain is heavy when it gets that HD treatment, which is wonderful, but everything also becomes magnified, if you will. We really cleaned it up.
R!S!P! - With the positive response to the Misty Beethoven Blu-ray and now the debut of Barbara in high definition, what other titles are you considering for Blu-ray in the Distribpix catalog?
SM - I am not sure about other titles on Blu-ray right now. Barbara for me was a no brainer, I am sure it will do alright. I can’t imagine that all the people who bought Misty are not going to want to also follow up with Barbara. I certainly have transferred dozens of films and some are very worthy of Blu-ray, but it is so expensive, the whole process, and if you can’t sell more than at least a few thousand units, at the least, it is not worth doing as far as money is concerned. But if I can put all these on Blu-ray, I would do it. Maybe Through The Looking Glass?
R!S!P! - What's it been like working with Radley Metzger on the Henry Paris releases?
SM - A dream come true and for sure a once in a lifetime experience. I have learned more in the past two years, as far as film history, film restoration, editing, scripting, producing, artwork. Not to mention some great life lessons and face time with Radley, that has proved and will prove to be invaluable in my life, business and otherwise.
R!S!P! - As a 'one man show' working in an industry that is no longer the cash cow it once was, what keeps you going on projects like this?
SM - To be blunt, what kept me going on Barbara was the fact that it had to be done. I am still burnt out from Misty. But seriously, Misty and the other Henry Paris films I have worked on have become collectibles. Our stats prove that the same customers are coming back and buying all of them, from us direct, from Amazon, etc. It shows that I did something right, and that was to re-create these as high end, classic packages, as they deserve to be. They will be collected that way. Of course the ‘economy versions’ will come out in the near future and that will be good for some easier sales on the lower end of the market. But what also keeps it going, is knowing that there are hundreds of people who are waiting for this to hit and I feel the pressure of getting it out there, so that pressure, helps as well, it helps to keep me moving.
R!S!P! - Finally, what do you think makes Barbara Broadcast stand out from the other Henry Paris pictures or other classic adult pictures in general?
SM - Well, without going into a whole big rant, and I am sure that we can, I will simply say that for those who don’t know anything about the film it is definitely a departure from his previous film Misty Beethoven, in so many ways. It is not based on literature and does not contain long and wordy dialog. With that said, it is an incredibly sophisticated adult feature for that time. A very simple plot and script, but full of Metzger's trademark borsch-belt humor, the best actors of the day, and some sex that is as good as it gets. The film is fun, and simple, but very entertaining. It also stands out in the sense that it is a series of sexually driven vignettes that revolve around a common theme, like a "loop carrier," the common theme is the restaurant. So in essence, this was not Radley's typical style.
Awesome, thanks Steven! And now, as an appetizer before you get to the main course, some screen caps from the Blu-ray transfer (click on the thumbnails for full-sized versions)!