"Porgy and Bess" restoration

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Greg_M, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    Mr Harris, have you ever been approached for the "Porgy and Bess" restoration. The rights are available, but the studios feel the restoration will cost more than the video sales.

    I was told the Samuel Goldwyn company restored/worked on the film in 1985 but then the rights were an issue. The Gershwins are now releasing the rights, and I know several people have been looking for a print to use for a video version (though they wouldn't use a print they would need the negative correct??)

    Ken Kramer owns the last print to be screened, Mile Krueger is also looking for useable elements and stated the elements are with Goldwyn and now it's just a matter of funding a restoration. Since the film wasn't screen much would it need that much work if the Goldwyn company owns has the elements?

    Wouldn't the 70 MM elements still be usuable - the film only played a limited number of theaters for less that 8 months in 70MM before it was released wide in 35MM and then never again
     
  2. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    Good questions, I've wanted to see this film for a long time. Preminger's other 70mm film Exodus is one of my favourite widescreen films.
     
  3. PaulTalbot

    PaulTalbot Auditioning

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    I've always wanted to see this film and hope for a DVD release.
     
  4. BCGHR2

    BCGHR2 Auditioning

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    Well - even though the film originally had a limited release and limited print runs and thus theoretically minimal handling of the 65mm negative, if the negative has not been stored properly it could be warped and faded. So it could in fact bee in dire condition. And the stereo mag masters could also be suffering from serious vinegar syndrome as well, again if not stored under optimum conditions.
     
  5. MLamarre

    MLamarre Second Unit

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    Any comment on this Mr. Harris? There are apparently several good 35mm prints of this film out there but the status of the 70mm version is unclear...it may need a timely restoration. There are also reports that the original 70mm version was a longer cut of the film, closer to 150 minutes in length. It would be a shame if the extra footage was lost. I know there is some questional legal issues surrounding this film but something needs to be done.
     
  6. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Along with just a couple of other quality musical films, I owe a lifelong love of music and musical theater and George Gershwin to having been taken to this particular film as a kid. Blew me away. I later acquired the score and studied and played it to death on piano, soon learning of course that it wasn't just a "musical" but a full fledged opera. Never saw the film again until a showing at UCLA in the early 1980s which once again blew me away. Third and most recent time was in 2007 at the Ziegfeld in NYC. That was a collector's print, and it was both fascinating to view the film with adult eyes, and shocking to see what a challenge that print apparently was for the projectionists.

    I understand the issues (or at least some of them) surrounding the film, but it's such a remarkable piece of filmed musical history that I hope these things will be resolved in our lifetime, and I second the motion for the right people to be permitted to step in and ensure that the elements are preserved for when a proper release can be undertaken.
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    All it takes if funding and interest.

    RAH
     
  8. Phoebus

    Phoebus Stunt Coordinator

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    I would love to have Porgy and Bess released as a bluray.

    Probably needs at least one commentary or a damn good documentary to explain how controversial the pre-production and the filming were for the times.
     
  9. kagemusha98

    kagemusha98 Second Unit

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    Now that the Library of Congress has placed PORGY AND BESS on it's preservation list, Is there any possibility of a restoration and release on DVD?
     
  10. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Auditioning

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    Porgy and Bess will be shown in 70mm at the AFI Silver in Washington DC on Sun, Sep 2, 1:00; Mon, Sep 3, 2:00.
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I can't imagine what they might be projecting.
     
  12. marlbrouk1966

    marlbrouk1966 Auditioning

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    I saw a very pink 70mm print at Bradford a few years ago. I enjoyed the music but found the pacing quite tough as Preminger shot every scene in medium longshot which even on the vast pictureville curve was quite distancing.
     
  13. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Auditioning

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    Here is the link to the festival.
    http://www.afi.com/silver/films/2012/v9i3/70mm.aspx
    I am new to the forum so I don't know the history of the physical problems of this movie in the vault. Mr. Harris, could you elaborate on your comments?
    BTW the AFI Silver is in Silver Spring, MD......which is about 20 minutes north of Washington DC......a very nice movie theater, BTW.
     
  14. Jim*Tod

    Jim*Tod Second Unit

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    Sadly I just received word that the AFI Silver screenings of PORGY AND BESS have been cancelled due to rights issues. I just admit this is a major disappointment.
     
  15. Ed Lachmann

    Ed Lachmann Supporting Actor

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    Wonder if this time the rights issue over the AFI screening is with Warners. Or, did the PORGY AND BESS rights not follow the rest of the Goldwyn library to that studio? The news that the Gershwin estate is no longer a problem has me hoping and praying. I just wonder how a BD release of this picture could not be a success. The screening is still advertised on the AFI Silver site as of this post. Hell, I'd consider flying to MD just to catch it.
     
  16. goalieboy82

    goalieboy82 Extra

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    who does own the rights to the film.
     
  17. moviepas

    moviepas Second Unit

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    Warner Music Sued for Millions by George Gershwin Heirs I wonder if this report in Jan 14/15 The Hollywood Reporter will effect the Goldwyn Library issue of Porgy & Bess thru Warner Bros?
     
  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Sorry to have not answered your original question.
    I have not been approached.
    RAH
     

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