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IT's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World Restoration


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#21 of 566 Joel Vardy

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Posted January 05 2003 - 11:24 AM

Patrick, thanks for the update on the relative condition of my partial list. From what you say, it sounds like Exodus is already 'lost', Double Indemnity is in need of help but noone knows if it's imminent (or is this one lost as well?)

Ron, I'm not citing MGM as a unique studio with only $$$'s as their motivation. It seems to me that this is more the norm than the exception, notwithstanding the Paramount story you cite. I wonder what your take is on the Internet community's 'clout' in such matters. Can we 'shame' them publicly if we are not satisfied? Or are we more likely to get attention when we vote with our own buying habits in light of the smaller share of the market that we now represent? I'm not implying that I know the answer. Corporate responsibility was a subject with some visibility in the 70's and 80's -- after some public debate on the subject. I just don't hear that much about it any more. If this means that the pendulum has swung again, I don't know. You've heard representatives from other studios express the status of their organization's appetite for low/no return projects (I won't get specific here so as to not embarrass the parties concerned). I wish I saw the world differently but I'm a bit cynical about this subject (I'm sure you can tell). If a famous Director such as Scorcese or Spielberg raises the temperature on the studios they tend to respond (including doing semi-commercial projects), otherwise they take the road of least resistance (translates to high ROI projects).

Joel

#22 of 566 Jeffrey Gray

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Posted January 05 2003 - 11:35 AM

Yes, but once again...can't we try to rally people together to campaign to MGM? If we could convince Warner Bros. to do the widescreen Willy Wonka disc, we can convince MGM to pay for a $2.5 million (cheap) restoration...but I have not heard anything from any members agreeing with the idea I have...

#23 of 566 Joel Vardy

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Posted January 05 2003 - 11:41 AM

Quote:
Off the top of my head the cost to save both Mad World and Alamo in large format, not inclusive of shooting a couple of scenes to sync with extant audio for Mad World, would be under 2.5 million.


Sorry, I must have posted after Robert's post. His quote above is very revealing. $2.5MM would be a sizable investment, if, for argument's sake it returns only enough to yield a $1.5MM loss. Though we see this as insignificant relative to what we see as the benefits, I wonder if the studios have the same views. If an average project runs $20MM-$50MM a significant loss would need to be recouped elsewhere and still provide an attractive return to shareholders. There is no doubt that there are people employed by each studio that would favor restoration over risky returns. What their relative clout is compared to the higher decision makers is the question. Any studio with a series of 'hits' to reinvest in new projects can take the 'long view'. Others, that are staring at disappointing recent projects, may be more inclined to put their retained earnings elsewhere.

I don't want to imply here that I condone any type of behavior either way. I just think it helps to understand the nature of the business that we are trying to influence. Ron, I know you have special insights due to your contacts so I don't mean to lecture anyone just raise some broader issues.

Joel

#24 of 566 george kaplan

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Posted January 05 2003 - 11:52 AM

While I disagree vehemently with the sentiments of Joel, I am certain they accurately reflect the mindset of the studio executives.

This is a very depressing situation, and it looks like I will never get to replace my ld with a proper dvd. Posted Image
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#25 of 566 Rain

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Posted January 05 2003 - 12:01 PM

Quote:
Off the top of my head the cost to save both Mad World and Alamo in large format, not inclusive of shooting a couple of scenes to sync with extant audio for Mad World, would be under 2.5 million.
To a major Hollywood studio like MGM, that figure is chump change.

Besides which, even if the money were not recouped in the short term, it almost certainly would be over the long term.

Considering the other option is to lose the films forever, this sort of penny pinching is ludicrous.

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#26 of 566 Patrick McCart

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Posted January 05 2003 - 12:57 PM

Quote:
$2.5MM would be a sizable investment, if, for argument's sake it returns only enough to yield a $1.5MM loss.

Actually, it's not even that expensive. I think in the HTF article by Ron about the pending restoration...the cost is around one million.

#27 of 566 Joel Vardy

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Posted January 05 2003 - 01:41 PM

Quote:
While I disagree vehemently with the sentiments of Joel, I am certain they accurately reflect the mindset of the studio executives.


I don't believe I have voiced 'my point of view' only what I perceive is the Studio's viewpoint. I have made a career of trying to 'do the right thing' at the expense of the health of my own career. In fact I have helped others far more than I have helped myself (evidenced by several colleagues who now hold power positions relative to my situation due to lobying and counseling efforts).

I am grateful to this forum, as well as others that I have both participated in and learned from, for helping me enter the wonderful world of HT. It wasn't hard after starting as an audiophile a couple of decades ago but the information and encouragement/inspiration have been great. I only raise these issues as a balance to wishful thinking that I see here in the face of more sobering realities. These realities are not immune from influence but we need to be realistic about how much influence we collectively have as well as how to wield what we actually have. No doubt, if properly handled, we can change many 'hearts and minds' and affect change.

Quote:
To a major Hollywood studio like MGM, that figure is chump change.
(referring to $2.5MM investment).

Having worked for some of the largest as well as some of the smallest companies in the US I don't believe any company considers this sum as 'chump change'. Once again, I am not advocating or presenting a value associated with this investment. Taking the 'long view' this amount seems indeed more than justified. Only problem, very few, if any companies are taking any 'long views' of late. If I had more of a say in this world I would gladly see a pendulum swing back to respecting the value of our heritage represented in film. Peace.

Joel

#28 of 566 Robert Harris

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Posted January 05 2003 - 02:09 PM

And now I must agree with Mr. Vardy in terms of the "long" view.

Studios execs with a financial background are paid to look at projects with a strict concept via a financial model.

If a project doesn't make sense within a certain model, it doesn't necessarily mean that would not LIKE to move a project forward. but cannot as it does not meet financial guidelines of viability.

At a certain point the best advice that I can give is to stop banging one's head against the wall and simply allow films to die a natural death.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#29 of 566 David Lambert

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Posted January 05 2003 - 10:40 PM

Robert, I wonder what would happen if - say - Entertainment Tonight got ahold of this story? Just thinking out loud here.

Get Leonard Maltin involved. Would writing to someone like Roger Ebert help? Variety? Heck, just make it an all-around AP story.

"Hello, yeah...I got a story for you. Would you be interested in knowing that a major Hollywood studio is letting the prints of the original form of a major film in its genre just sit in its vault and disintegrate by years-end? A film with an all-star cast featuring over a dozen of the zaniest comics of their era? An item that could be preserved - along with a classic historical film in the same boat - for just under $2.5 MM? Yeah, I'll hold."
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#30 of 566 oscar_merkx

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Posted January 05 2003 - 11:49 PM

David

Why don't you get the boat rolling then ?

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#31 of 566 Robert Harris

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Posted January 06 2003 - 01:37 AM

I would not go that route as MGM are not the "bad guys."

They have a huge library, which, by no fault of current management, is probably in the worst shape in the industry.

They have an equally huge job on their hands producing preservation elements on printable titles, where there have been none produced in the past.

They are spending, and have been spending massive amounts of money on this project.

It simply isn't a case where they need to be publicly scolded. They haven't done anything wrong, and a campaign or public placement in that light would be adding insult to injury regarding what they are currently preserving.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#32 of 566 Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 06 2003 - 08:51 AM

Okay, Robert....

Knowing that the film will be totally destroyed
in the near future, what do you recommend we do?

Who do we contact? How can we best bring this
issue to light to the people most responsible
without making anyone seem like the bad guy?

I am putting out a Newsletter to 33,000 members
in the next few days. Give me something that I
can present to our membership and perhaps I can
encourage everyone in this forum to campaign to
help save this film.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#33 of 566 oscar_merkx

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Posted January 06 2003 - 09:41 AM

very good question indeed.

What would say the amount of $ 33000 do in the long run (£ 1 donation from every HTF member, sounds simple enough I would think and would not hesitate to donate more),

From what I can read from these pages that is most likely just a tiny drop in a large bucket. What kind of money are we talking about anyway ? Doesn't more publicity help this in the long run ?

I would think so and at the same time MGM will realise that it is worth saving after all. Or am I missing the point here /

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#34 of 566 Paul_Nyman

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Posted January 06 2003 - 03:55 PM

Posted Image Ron I look forward to the newsletter!

This film is a CLASSIC! God I hope it's not to late to be saved?!?!

#35 of 566 Darren Gross

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Posted January 21 2003 - 07:43 PM

Since certain elements of THE ALAMO and MAD WORLD will be insoluble by mid year, why not have MGM put up the $ to make the necessary duplicates and preservation material for these elements?

Leave out the b & w protection masters, digital print work (at least the output process, not the scanning) and fully timed answer prints and audio work to some later date. The costs couldn't be 1/4 or 10% of the estimated final budget.

Clearly, it's imperfect and would only be a stopgap measure, but it sounds like a gap that needs to be stopped.

This would at least provide the option of further work down the line, should Texas investors and financing opportunities change.

We've been hitting similar stumbling blocks with the NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS restoration. That situation is a bit reversed though, because the separation masters are in excellent condition and I'm confident they'll remain that way for several years. The problem is that we're missing audio for many of the recovered scenes and the dialogue needs to be re-recorded. This has been going on for 3 + years. We're now looking into the possibility of recording the missing dialogue soon, as a stopgap measure. The actors are not getting any younger and three of them have such extensive relooping that if we were to lose one of them, the restoration would be impossible. At least it would give us a few more years to put this thing together.

Perhaps similar pre-emptive work might help give more time for these two other projects to happen. With the current state of the economy and venture capital being very tight, it seems that time is definitely needed in this case.

Best of luck, as always.

Darren

#36 of 566 Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 22 2003 - 12:39 AM

Folks,

If you want this film restored, we need to act fast.

I usually hate trying to round up a huge support
effort that will probably fall on deaf ears, but
if you have any ideas how we can persuade MGM to
do the right thing, let me know.

Ronald J Epstein
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#37 of 566 Greg_M

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Posted January 22 2003 - 04:24 AM

Ron,

Why don't you find out what MGM/UA needs to restore the film. Maybe HTF can raise some of the cost through member donatations. This could be the first film restored/saved through the Home Theater Forum.

#38 of 566 Paul_Nyman

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Posted January 22 2003 - 05:13 AM

what to do, what to do?

Anyone here have any creative ideas that will move to Restore this picture?

#39 of 566 Matt Butler

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Posted January 22 2003 - 05:55 AM

I dont make alot of money but I'll kick a few bucks to save one of my favorite films.

This is indeed a travesty.

What can we do?
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#40 of 566 JeremySt

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Posted January 22 2003 - 07:07 AM

I want to do my part. IAMMMMW is one of my all time favorites. I would gladly kick a few dollars to this worthy cause.


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