Coppola/Zoetrope version of Napoleon?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Keith Paynter, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. Stan

    Stan Producer
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    Remember being a projectionist and showing this close to 30 years ago. It was an odd set up, but so long ago I don't remember exactly why.. We were a small independent theater, so I'm positive we used a standard widescreen Cinamascope lens, so it must have been letterboxed, but for some reason took a lot more work than just projecting a standard widescreen film.
    The quality at that time was dreadful, so hopefully some pretty major restoration has been done. I do recall it being quite popular though.
     
  2. owen35

    owen35 Stunt Coordinator

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    From the SilentFilm.org website:
    To present Polyvision at the Oakland Paramount, three projection booths equipped with three perfectly-synchronized projectors must be specially installed, along with a purpose-built three-panel screen, which will fill the width of the auditorium. These technical requirements can only be handled by top technicians and a 3-person team from Boston Light & Sound is being specially brought in for the Paramount’s installation.
    The Photoplay/BFI restoration — a unique 35mm print — also uses authentic dye-bath techniques to re-create the color tinting and toning that enhanced the film on its original release, giving a vividness to the image as never before experienced in this country.
    So, aside from being as full or a representation of the original version of Napoleon, it appears to be an updated print in excellent condition.
    Should be exciting!
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Kevin Brownlow gave a great lecture on Napoleon at Emory back in December. Fantastic speaker - a lot of it is made of excerpts from his book, peppered with gorgeous clips from the film. One curiosity is the inclusion of multiple versions. He screened clips from his 9.5mm reels, the 17.5mm print, part of the 1935 dubbed version, and an MGM film that used part of the tryptich as stock footage. He also showed some outtakes from The Charm of Dynamite. Of course, there were enticing bits from the complete Napoleon, including tinting examples, the original intertitles, and footage deleted from the Coppola cut.
     
  4. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Wow I am jealous that you got to attend the lecture.
     
  5. Jim*Tod

    Jim*Tod Second Unit

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    Sad that the Oakland showings are the only ones in the U.S. Seeing it with a full orchestra at the Kennedy Center was a peak experience I'll never forget.
     
  6. owen35

    owen35 Stunt Coordinator

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    What's even sadder is that NONE of the shows are sold out--in fact, most of the performances only have a half house. It's like having a chance to see the Great Wall of China and no one is there; this will never happen again and so few people are going to experience it.
     
  7. owen35

    owen35 Stunt Coordinator

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    I also did read a recent article in the NY Times about this screening and found this interesting nugget from Robert Harris. Does this mean this poor showing spells doom for a potential Blu-Ray or DVD release?
    "For American cinephiles there’s an indisputable reason to see “Napoleon” now: film. “This print will probably never be seen again in the United States,” Mr. [Robert] Harris said, given that a digital restoration is under way. (Version 21?) “Projectors are going away,” he said and, alas, so too is film. Mr. Harris agreed with the characterization of the festival screenings as a kind of a test run for the digital restoration, which suggests that he and Zoetrope have plans for future exploitation, including, maybe, a DVD and Blu-ray. Over its history “Napoleon” has been taken apart and pieced back together by so many hands, and it’s somehow survived distributor assaults, Gance’s tinkering, legal suits, rights claims and dueling restorations. In the end all that should matter is that this elusive, seemingly indestructible film — which, as Mr. Brownlow said, has “found its place again in world cinema” — be seen."
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Neither gloom nor doom. Things will only get better. The print being run over the next two weekends is not only extremely expensive, but unique
    Any problems or loss in shipping or damage during projection would cause a cancellation of an extremely expensive project. We have the ability to make data look like film and future shows will occur without those possibilities
    RAH
     
  9. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

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    I was able to see the showing in Oakland on 3/24 and expect to go again next weekend, taking more people with me. It is wonderful to see something exhibited with this kind of quality. The Paramount is its own kind of masterpiece, and having a live orchestra is a real treat. The film is magnificent. I wish I could see every film like this, and would pay $55 per ticket to do so on a regular basis.
    This is not going to happen however.
    To preserve Napoleon and have it actually viewable, a digital restoration is going to be needed. It would see that a 4K restoration should handle all of the resolution and allow the 3 panel scenes to hold up. The music should also be recorded with as many alternatives as may be desired.
    I also believe that home viewing can go a considerable distance toward excellent exhibition. The HTWWW and Ben-hur Blu-rays capture a lot of the effect of the original exhibition of these films, for example. While I still certainly go to see these exhibited in a real theatre when possible (I expect to see HTWWW next month at the Cinerama Dome), I still think that films like these--including Napoleon--can benefit from Blu-ray viewing.
    It concerns me that some people seem to have the attitude that only film/live orchestra/big theatre are acceptable ways to watch a film like Napoleon. This is simply a prescription for the film being seen very little by very few people since this kind of exhibition is no longer feasible for the most part.
    So, will we have generally-available digital versions of Napoleon with Blu-rays for home use?
     
  10. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Screenwriter

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    Hmm. I have a 10foot screen with 1080P projection, and How The West Was Won, Ben-hur, and numerous other titles look very impressive on such a system. As impressive as in a great theatre? Of course not. But it comes close to what many theatres provide, I hate to say.
    I have seen the triptych from Napoleon on my system using the LD published nearly 30 years ago. It certainly gives the effect. A Blu-ray would be even better.
     
  11. owen35

    owen35 Stunt Coordinator

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    There doesn't seem to be any information on a DVD/Blu-Ray release. From what I've read in the various articles is that "there are no plans" due to the cost of recording the score, etc. But there does seem to be a digital version being prepared, either for theater screenings or for the possibility of other live performances in the future. Hopefully, this work will result in a release, but, as of right now, no one is saying that it will.
    I agree, this film doesn't need to be presented in such a grand fashion. Many people don't recall, but Coppola's Napoleon was released to theaters without a live orchestra and was just as enjoyable, but not nearly as special.
     
  12. goalieboy82

    goalieboy82 Extra

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    lets hope there will be a dvd sometime.
     
  13. goalieboy82

    goalieboy82 Extra

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    this look interesting:
    http://www.fiafnet.org/uk/publications/jfp/86.html
     
  14. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

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  15. Jim*Tod

    Jim*Tod Second Unit

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    I am not sure I understand the argument about the cost of recording the score preventing a blu ray/dvd release. Back when it was shown in 70mm in the 80's there was a stereo track with Coppola's score. I realize the newer longer version has a different score, but couldn't we get the Coppola cut with this already recorded score? Too bad all these complicated issues are keeping one of the greatest films ever made from a wider audience.
     
  16. goalieboy82

    goalieboy82 Extra

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    anything new on napoleon?
     
  17. goalieboy82

    goalieboy82 Extra

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    anykind of news on if napoleon will be shown in 2013.
     
  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    We're looking into our direction.

    RAH
     
  19. goalieboy82

    goalieboy82 Extra

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    thanks
     
  20. Ken Volok

    Ken Volok Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a battered and mounted poster from this RCMH screening I got a thrift shop!
     

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