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Author Topic: The Sting
Paul Adsett
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From: USA
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 - posted August 11, 2008 03:29 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Sting
2 x 400 ft double album
1 x 400ft digest
Universal 8

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Possibly the best super 8 digest film ever released, and my personal all time favourite digest , ‘The Sting’ is a film masterpiece which translates beautifully to the super 8 digest form.
Starring Paul Newman , Robert Redford, and Robert Shaw, and directed by George Roy Hill, the film won 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Newman and Redford star as two con artists in 1930’s Chicago, out to avenge the killing of a friend by the mob, led by Shaw , by setting up an elaborate horse racing ‘sting’ operation to bilk Shaw out of half a million dollars. Filmed with meticulous love and care and great acting all around, with stunning sets of Chicago streets in the 1930’s, great Edith Head costumes, and wonderful accompanying Scott Joplin ragtime piano music, ‘The Sting’ is a cinematic joy from the first frame to the last. A masterpiece indeed and Hollywood at its very best.

So how well does this wonderful film work as a super 8 digest. The answer for both the 1 x 400 and 2 x 400 versions is very well indeed. The beautiful framing cards used in the feature film are all present in the digests to separate the scenes perfectly, and both versions seem to capture the story extremely well . Naturally the 2 x 400 version has more time for development, but either version flows very naturally and you really feel that you are not missing much at all. This is no hack job - Universal 8 did wonderful editing work on both these digests. The original film format was 4:3 so we get the full picture frame intended by the Director. The digests open and close very nicely with abbreviated credits and ragtime music – there is no abrupt ‘The End’ card which ruins a lot of digests . So I give U8 an 8mm Academy Award for the digest editing of this film.

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The S8 print quality is superb, just about the best I have ever seen. Color is beautifully rendered, without excessive contrast or saturation, and definition is pin sharp throughout. The atmosphere of 1930’s Chicago is completely captured. My particular print has now faded slightly, but still retains most of its original glory. Sound quality is excellent. Packaging is also superb, with a hard clamshell case and beautifully printed slip cover. Up to the highest Peckham packaging standards and definitely one to put on display!

Last night I watched ‘The Sting’ on projected DVD. As good as it was, I had the feeling throughout the film that Universal’s super 8 print was superior- it just looks more beautiful for whatever reason.
I suspect that most collectors on the forum already have this one, but if you don’t, seek it out. If you can find a print with only low fading you are in for a ‘reel’ treat. A very repeatable film and an audience winner for inclusion in any film show.
Content A+
Print A+
Sound A
Packaging 10 on the Peckham scale.

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Douglas Meltzer
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 - posted August 11, 2008 07:06 PM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Paul,

Thanks for a great review. While I wouldn't call "The Sting" (2x400') the best super 8 digest film ever released, it certainly is way up there, just remarkably well edited all the way to those last credits. What's missing for me in the digest is the motivation that drives Gondorff & Hooker to run the sting on Lonnegan (he had Luther Coleman killed). I know you can only put in so much, but.....

Doug

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Osi Osgood
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 - posted August 11, 2008 07:47 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"Peckham Scale", that still gets me!

Hey Paul, you mentioned that there was a 2X400ft version, and a 1X400 version. Was there any footage that you could add from the 1x400ft version that's not in the 2X400ft version?

Great review, Sir Paul of the house of Adsett!

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James N. Savage 3
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 - posted August 12, 2008 03:04 PM      Profile for James N. Savage 3   Email James N. Savage 3   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for that great review Paul.

Universal 8 did such amazing editing in those first 2 x 400 foot digests. I often wonder what kind of resume these editors had. Were they real editors for Hollywood movies? And, could they, or would they, include copies of their work at Universal 8 later in life. I'm sure it would impress any potential employer that was looking for a good film editor.

James.

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Gary Crawford
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 - posted August 14, 2008 11:05 AM      Profile for Gary Crawford   Email Gary Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
James...I, too, have wondered who the Castle and U-8 editors were. I was hoping that Scott MacGillivray in researching his Castle Films book would be able to find out who did some of the editing and that at some point I could interview them about how they approached the job of editing certain films. I'd like to actually meet with them...jog their memory by running the film and then have them comment. Some of the editors seemed to do a real hack job...others seemed to have an extreme love/understanding for the original feature and did just an exceptional job. I'd love to meet the person who did the little one reel Castle version of Frankenstein.....just a very creative nice job. Anyone who's seen this one knows what I'm talking about. Jaws..the 800 foot version...another nice job..Smokey and the Bandit..same thing. ( both were easier to digest than some due to not a ton of plot strings to have to tie up)

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Tony Stucchio
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 - posted August 14, 2008 08:43 PM      Profile for Tony Stucchio   Email Tony Stucchio   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
THE STING was my first 800 foot digest, and it took my collecting in a whole new direction starting in the late 70's. (I think I got this one in '79.) For the first time, I felt like I had something approaching a full-length feature of a fairly recent movie. At the dawn of the VCR era (most people, including myself, did not yet have VCRs), people I showed this to were IMPRESSED. My friends would say things like, "Watch movies again? I'm sick of Laurel and Hardy." Then they were speechless after THE STING.

The full-length movie was one of the last "light" films to win Best Picture. No messages, no artsiness, no brilliant camera angles, no legendary actors mumbling dialogue with cotton stuffed in their mouths. (Though Redford and Newman are now legendary.)Just great entertainment. I'm surprised that this won even in 1973. (Not sure what the competition was, but I'm sure that's just a google away.)
I never saw THE STING 2, but I heard it was horrible.

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Osi Osgood
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 - posted August 15, 2008 08:57 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"The Sting 2", while not horrible, wasn't the film that "The Sting" was. I used to have a feature copy of "Sting 2" on optical sound Super 8, and while Jackie Gleason tried awful hard
(along with a game Teri Garr), it just wasn't what the first one was. It was worth seeing at least once, and actually, I thought, worth repeats.

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Andrew Wilson
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 - posted August 16, 2008 12:28 PM      Profile for Andrew Wilson   Author's Homepage   Email Andrew Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The original Sting kicked the ass of The Exorcist come oscar night.
Great review there Paul;of one of the best super8 cut downs ever.I
know because i too had it back in the late 70's.Andy.

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Osi Osgood
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 - posted August 19, 2008 10:59 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That would be an interesting cutdown to see, as this was over two hours in running time. Usually, the longer the film, the harder to cutdown, (unless it's a film like "Bladerunner" where the story unfolds slowly, or films that have nearly no plot to begin with anyhow.)

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Gerald Santana
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 - posted February 24, 2012 01:17 PM      Profile for Gerald Santana   Author's Homepage   Email Gerald Santana   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks to Forum member Chris Fries, I was able to look at this double digest and in many respects, it is one of the best edited cut downs from U8 that I've seen. Here are screen-shots from the first reel.

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It's always great to see Ray Walston in any movie, I kept thinking how great a double digest of Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) would have been...

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Janice Glesser
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 - posted February 24, 2012 08:52 PM      Profile for Janice Glesser   Email Janice Glesser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is one of my all-time favorites too Gerald. Great story...great cast...great music...a real classic!

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Janice

"I'm having a very good day!"
Richard Dreyfuss - Let It Ride (1989).

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Paul Adsett
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 - posted March 29, 2015 12:56 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Watched this digest again last night and was struck once more by the superb editing of this 2 x 400. Was a better digest ever put out by anyone ?

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Mark Mander
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 - posted March 29, 2015 01:03 PM      Profile for Mark Mander   Email Mark Mander   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Paul,
I too have this and the colour is still great,very good cutdown.I think you have to go a long way to beat the 2x400 Jaws universal 8 cutdown too,Mark.

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Paul Adsett
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 - posted March 29, 2015 01:38 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'll have to look out for that one Mark. I only have the 200ft version of Jaws, which considering its 10 minute running time, gives a very good accounting of the film.

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John Hourigan
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 - posted March 29, 2015 04:32 PM      Profile for John Hourigan   Email John Hourigan       Edit/Delete Post 
I would also vote for the 400-foot CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON as one of the best edited digests -- just wish it was available in a non-3D version.

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Paul Adsett
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 - posted March 29, 2015 09:58 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I totally agree with you there John, Creature is a great digest, but the anaglyphic 3D is pretty poor on super 8mm, in fact a distraction. Besides I would like to see Julia Adams in that swimsuit without double imageing! [Big Grin]
As you say a 'flat' black and white print would be wonderful. CHC maybe?

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John Capazzo
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 - posted March 31, 2015 12:39 AM      Profile for John Capazzo   Email John Capazzo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As far as U8 400' digests go, IMO either Invisible Man or Frankenstein are the two best. I haven't seen the Sting.

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Mark Silvester
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 - posted April 01, 2015 02:17 PM      Profile for Mark Silvester   Email Mark Silvester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In my opinion the "Sting" 2 x 400 was the best digest - edited wise...of the lot! [Smile]

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Mark Silvester

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Andrew Woodcock
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 - posted April 01, 2015 02:51 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
I never had this but if Paul and Mark say it, I reckon it must have been very well edited indeed.

I thought the Jerk, Slapshot and one or two others were fairly well edited also.

Obviously, in 35 minutes, you have to leave plenty out, but as a measure, if you get the story and it's not too choppy, then I was always pleased with the 2x 400ft format.

I never had Jaws, but I believe that was very well edited also.

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David Ollerearnshaw
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When you think back about the editing the same company could have both fantastic done edits and the worst. Airport I think was also a good edit from Universal. As least no narrator on them.

The Sting was also one I hired from Rank Film Libaray they had quite a few in super 8.

I keep looking for secondhand of this.

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Paul Adsett
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 - posted April 02, 2015 09:16 AM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Andrew, one of the thing that makes The Sting such a superb digest is the inclusion of the original painted title cards, and the accompanying rag time music, which separate the various chapters of the film. This makes a perfect framework upon which to build the digest, which is exactly what U8 did.

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Andrew Woodcock
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 - posted April 02, 2015 11:54 AM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for that Paul....
My favourite of all the 2 x 400 footers that I ever owned was Carrie. It was a United Artists selected scenes Derann release that was initially...well...just 2x 400 ft of just that,.....scenes.

Get your washing line and clothes pegs assembled in the bedroom, spend a day or two chopping every scene with a number tag, hang it all up in order of the story before splicing the entire thing back together and what have you got? ... An almost perfect 35minute condensed version of this classic feature!

It had to be put out as "Selected Scenes" to appease United Artists and allow Derek the opportunity to release this but at least whoever sanctioned the scenes, it all came together perfectly when the jigsaw was assembled correctly.

[ April 02, 2015, 03:11 PM: Message edited by: Andrew Woodcock ]

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Mark Silvester
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 - posted April 03, 2015 02:46 AM      Profile for Mark Silvester   Email Mark Silvester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi, Paul

the captions certainly helped with continuity - but it was a great digest. In fact, I loved 2x400 and 600" edits. I think it was ideal for 8mm and with a good editor worked well.

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David Skillern
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 - posted April 04, 2015 11:48 AM      Profile for David Skillern   Email David Skillern   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi all,

I follow your sentiments exactly - I have several of the Universal 2x400ft cut downs and "The Sting" is excellent - mine has held up well with the colour and sound - they also did an excellent job with "Jaws" and "High Plains Drifter" both of which I have good prints of.

David

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Joseph Randall
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Add my vote for THE STING, though I of course have not seen every digest ever made.

I also like the 800 foot editions of DRACULA ('79) and SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT.

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