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Saw WEST SIDE STORY in 70mm tonight in Columbus, OH!

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Chuck Pennington, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Well-Known Member

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    Hey all!
    I couldn't wait to get home to post about seeing a new 70mm print of WEST SIDE STORY tonight at the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio! They are showing it again tomorrow night. I want to tell how the opening graphic transition was handled (not like either Blu discs), as well as the intermission (they chose to show it with it - and they messed up the entr'acte) and thoughts on the sound and picture. I have a few calls to make, but I'll be posting back a full report later tonight.
    Anyone else go?
    I posted on the Wexner Center's Facebook page how they need to present the entr'acte properly for tomorrow night, but who knows if they will believe me. They turned out all of the house lights, turned on the projector lamp, and we all sat in silence listening to the entr'acte with the black leader being projected. Calling Robert Harris!!!!! :) I KNOW that wasn't the way it was supposed to be done.
     
  2. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    I saw a well-traveled 70mm print of West Side Story many years ago, and the print broke four times! But the picture was so colorful and beautiful that I stayed for the whole movie, even though we were all offered free admission to something else.
    I don't recall the opening or the entr'acte, but since we had four involuntary intermissions, I was not looking for Act II.
     
  3. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Well, damn.

    Of course we want to hear every detail!

    But based on what you've said so far about the absolute ineptitude in the handling of the Entr'acte...I already have The Fear.
     
  4. John Stockton

    John Stockton Well-Known Member

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    I saw a brand new 70 MM print at the Castro theatre in San Francisco in 2008, and it was a sight to behold. And There was not intermission.
     
  5. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Well-Known Member

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    I don't know why they did it with an intermission, especially since Robert Wise had gone on record as preferring the film without one. And if they were so insistent upon doing it with an intermission, then do the entr'acte correctly! We all felt stupid there in the pitch black watching scratchy black leader go through the projector!
    Anyway...
    The opening montage - it doesn't look like either of the Blu releases. It goes from red to a deep green and rather quickly to blue. It didn't fade to black and fade in to blue, nor did it get to be a dark green and then transition. Again, I don't know if it is correct or not, but it didn't look like either of the Blu-ray masters.
    The many dupe shots during the first half of the film - especially during the introduction of the Jets and Sharks and during the dance at the gym - stick out terribly. They seemed more jarring at the theater than on the Blu-ray, but I guess that is to be expected when such sharp and saturated images bookend the bad dupe shots. I wonder if separation masters were made that could be recombined for those shots rather than use bad dupe footage.
    What stuck me most about seeing WEST SIDE STORY in 70mm were the details. I noticed that I could made out the candy boxes for M & M's, Snickers and Hershey bars in the window of Doc's store, and I could read the titles of the magazines he was selling also (earlier in the film one of them is "Boat" and in the scene where Anita arrives there is a teen magazine and "Screen Life" if memory serves - I wish I was taking notes!) . Perhaps these can be seen on the Blu-ray if one looks, but there was no need to squint and look tonight. It was the fine details and bits of color here and there that I'd never seen that drew me in, though I've probably seen the movie in whole or part perhaps 30 times over the years.
    The swashes of bold colors in the backgrounds, in addition to the colored gels used in the lighting, were replicated beautifully, and the contrast of this 70mm print was almost perfect all the way through. Sometimes the image would appear to brighten or darken at reel changes, but the blacks were always solid and didn't dissolve into being bluish or reddish like I often see. Chino's jet black hair has a slight bluish sheen it has always had, but Bernardo and Anita's hair is black - no hints of blue like I've seen on prior video transfers. The inky blacks anchored the image and brought out the color in a sometimes subtle - sometimes bold - way.
    Richard Beymer appears to have had some acne issues during production, as several closeups show up the tell-tale bumps that are caked over my makeup. During "Something's Coming," it looks like some of his body makeup was rubbing off on the inside collar of the light blue shirt he was wearing. I never noticed that before, nor did I ever see the blood on the knife and hand of Bernardo after stabbing Riff.
    The sound was full and wide across the front, though it would not always be in perfect sync with the film. The theater said that it was in DTS, but someone needs to adjust something somewhere so that the picture and sound stay in sync all the way through. The sound would often fall behind anywhere from 3 to 6 frames to my eye, though the first reel was probably more like 10 frames - it was VERY bad. Then the next reel would start and the sync would be greatly improved, though still perhaps not perfect. I only noticed rear activity during the whistles at the beginning and when some sounds of traffic could be heard before and after the rumble. The front speakers were so loud that any other real surround activity was dwarfed to my ears. The sound was very wide stereo though, and it sounded quite bright and detailed.
     
  6. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    There was never any green. This is clearly a problem that has been introduced to whatever source they're using and they need to go back to the original negative and fix it once and for all. It should dissolve from red to blue - it's that simple. Anything other than that is a mistake and clearly when they made whatever 70mm internegative they're using for prints and obviously for the transfers to video, something got screwed up and they've been trying to ignore it, bandage it, or cover it up rather than pulling the IB Tech reference print at the Academy, going back to the negative and fixing the damn thing.
     
  7. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Well-Known Member

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    It may be wrong, but it is far less jarring than what we have on the Blu-ray versions. :-( The way the transition is handled on either of those discs would look strange to anyone.
    I can live with a green dissolve in between if they would just do some work on those dupe sections. They REALLY stick out like a sore thumb whenever they appear. I wonder if much can be done to make them more presentable.
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Running a film for an "event" screening, is quite like (or should be quite like) an attorney in court.

    You prep, and you know how your questions will be answered before you ask them.

    For film, you run the print --with someone in the house -- and you check for problems in advance.

    Presentations demand dress rehearsals, with someone knowledgable in attendance.

    Simple.

    RAH
     
  9. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. And if they were trying to recreate what that event would have been like back in the day, then the included intermission is absolutely correct. What Mr. Wise said forty years later is not of interest, historically, because the fact is is that for the close to two years that this film played roadshow at the Chinese in Hollywood, it had an intermission.
     
  10. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Agree, because even though I didn't see it in roadshow myself, the theaters I went to immediately afterward were still including the intermission. So, for me it's ingrained, integral to the movie.
     
  11. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Well-Known Member

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    It's crazy to think there are some theatres running revivals that DON'T rehearse a show. Even though some of my classic shows don't qualify as Roadshows or even "Events", I always pre-run them if at all possible. I've spent many a late night or early morning prepping prints and then running the reels so that I can make sure the changeover cues are timed properly, that the sound - focus - and framing is balanced from reel to reel, and that I can time the opening and closing of the curtain and house lights correctly. I've got a pad of paper from shows with notes scribbled on them like "Reel 6 is is louder, turn down after c/o" or "M/S cue is dark on Reel 4" or "Close curtain when Bogart's name scrolls off the top of the screen". It's the only way to do it properly.
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    And your point is?
     
  13. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Well-Known Member

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    That the Wexner Center didn't do their homework. :)
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Possibly next time.


    If there is a next time.

    RAH
     
  15. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Well-Known Member

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    They projected a 70mm print of VERTIGO a little over four years ago, and it was great. Oh well - is there a way to correct for sound sync issues "on the fly" with the way that DTS works?
     
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I don't believe so, but it's rather easy in set up -- simple advance / retard.

    RAH
     
  17. Stan

    Stan Premium
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    Would love to see this in 70MM. I worked for a small twin theatre that showed 70MM films one one side, standard 35mm on the other.
    The Sound of Music, Sleeping Beauty ( of which I still have some frames salvaged from a film breakage), another animation (The Secret of NIMH? maybe, I really don't remember) and 2001. There were others but this was 25 years ago, and those stood as some of my favorites.
    Loved the presentation. We pieced together the different reels so ran things on platters. It was really a lot of fun. We also had the clout at the time to ask for and receive brand new prints, so the pictures were beautiful, no scratches or other flaws.
    I'm not familiar with 70MM sound, except it was magnetic not optical, but the films had what looked like 8-track tape along one edge, so at that time sounded pretty nice.
    Sadly the owner was in way over his head, expenses were outrageous and the big chains forced him out. Everything was torn down to build the parking lot for a new shopping mall.
    Have never bought West Side Story on disc, waiting until I can afford the proper equipment. Our PBS station ran it a few weeks ago and showed previews in their OAR so even though it wouldn't be great, was looking forward to it. But as usual they cropped it and ran it 1.85:1, so I deleted it. Surprigingly that was a step forward for them, they showed South Pacific a few months ago and ran it to fit a 4:3 television, that was awful
    Maybe the 70MM version might make it over to Seattle, which means time for a road trip.
     
  18. Guest

    Stan, have you seen/heard the Sound of Music blu-ray? If so, what did you think of it?
     
  19. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Had to come back to this post, having just been treated to the first two Saturday mornings of this spring's Big Screen Classics series at the Lafayette, in which Peter has amply demonstrated what this is all about with exquisite presentations of Pride of the Yankees and What's New, Pussycat? (complete with vintage cartoons, trailers, use of curtain, etc.). If anything has ever gone amiss there, it sure as hell has been transparent to me. Beautiful work in a beautiful theater. Looking forward to Moulin Rouge with Zsa Zsa next week.
     
  20. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Charles. Glad you enjoyed the shows.
     

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