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Coming from Fox DVD: "ALL THAT JAZZ" - a simple sneak at an unbelievable restoration


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#1 of 24 Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 06 2001 - 11:16 AM


Posted Image



Posted Image Posted Image


All That JazZ


"To be on the wire is life. The rest is waiting"

This is not a review of the DVD. I don't have the
DVD in my hand as of yet. What I do have for you is
some testimony to the most remarkable restoration I
have seen to date.

I touched upon this subject in the Home Theater Forum National Meet Report,
but wanted to make sure that I got the gospel out to
as many members of this forum who are fans of this film.

I had the privilidge of being invited to Twentieth
Century Fox Studios a week ago with members of our
forum.

Peter Staddon (whom needs no introduction) brought
in their restoration expert, Schawn Belston, to talk
to all of us.

Peter Staddon is known for taking title suggestions
from HTF members and making it happen. Zardoz
was certainly one of the most obscure requests ever
made to Fox, but Peter Staddon put it into production.

With that in mind, I asked Peter to put All That
Jazz
into production. This is MY Zardoz,
and ranks as one of my top favorite 3 films of all
time. Nearly two years after talking to Peter about
it, the film is nearing DVD release.

This was a very special moment for me. Schawn
brought along a film clip of the restoration that
was done to the film. Thank the maker that
All That Jazz is one of Schawn's favorite
films of all time. For that reason, the restoration
was thankfully put in the hands of someone that cared.

Now realize that like many films from the 70's
and 80's, that were all filmed on poor film stock,
are almost completely destroyed. Because of DVD,
the studios have a reason to actively go through
their film vaults and save many of the original
film elements that have become acidic.

I have 45 people that can back up what I am
about to tell you.....

As many times I have seen All That Jazz
theatrically and 10 years ago on VHS, I have never
seen the movie look and sound like it does NOW!

I think everyone who sat in the screening theater
and saw the opening 10 minutes of the film, was
just beside themself as to how vivid the colors
looked and how clean the picture looked.

Schawn came right out and told us that All That
Jazz
was in piss poor condition. The original
elements were almost completely destroyed. The
original negative had been used over and over again
countless times in order to make duplicate prints.
There was extensive sprocket damage and even huge
thumb prints throughout an entire reel.

But sitting there watching the end product of
over a year's worth of work was just mind-blowing.
Here, before us, was a print that looked brand new.
The color of the prescription bottle that Roy Scheider
pops pills out of, looked so vividly yellow. There
were no scratches and no dirt marks. Your eyes just
couldn't believe what you were witnessing after all
we had just heard concerning the original condition
of the film.

The movie played mono in most theaters. Fox has
restored the film to its original Dolby Stereo track.
As we sat there listening to George Benson's
"On Broadway", you couldn't help but but be excited
about what you were hearing. The music was dynamically
clear with noticeable separation in the channels.

I talk about this all now, and I will talk about
this more once I get a screener in my hands early
next year. I look forward to doing one of the very
first DVD reviews of this title. At this point,
however, I wanted to let all the fans know that you
are in for a real treat when this film comes to DVD.





------------------
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#2 of 24 Jefferson Morris

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Posted October 06 2001 - 01:21 PM

Excellent news. When this hits DVD, I'll be giving it serious consideration. Last time I saw this film was on Bravo--panned and scanned, interrupted, edited for content. Bleah.

Here's hoping MGM gives us Fosse's Lenny on DVD one of these days.

--Jefferson Morris

[Edited last by Jefferson Morris on October 06, 2001 at 08:52 PM]
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#3 of 24 Craig S

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Posted October 06 2001 - 01:26 PM

I just have to second what Ron says about All That Jazz. I saw the movie in its original run some 20-odd years ago. It's a great if painful film, in which director Bob Fosse literally dissects his own life. Roy Schieder gives a career-best performance as the Fosse character.

When we saw the restored clip last week at Fox, my mouth literally fell open and stayed that way for several minutes. I simply could not believe how good it looked - I could have sworn it had been filmed only in the past couple of years. Schawn Belston and his team deserve major kudos for the work they have done here.

I am so looking forward to this DVD. Fox scores again!!

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#4 of 24 Jeff Ulmer

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Posted October 06 2001 - 02:06 PM

Hey Ron, I didn't know you could dance! Posted Image

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#5 of 24 Bill McCamy

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Posted October 06 2001 - 04:59 PM

"It's showtime." This is one of my favorites. What great news.

#6 of 24 MatthewA

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Posted October 06 2001 - 11:40 PM

Well, I can't wait. Sounds like another winner from Fox.

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#7 of 24 Lone Wolf

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Posted October 06 2001 - 11:59 PM

One of my favorite films also; my anticipation for this title has just been raised to a new level upon hearing how miraculous this restoration has turned out to be. As Ron pointed out, thank goodness this was done with love and care and admiration and not just another 'job'. Kudos to all involved, your efforts are truly appreciated.

Johnny B.



#8 of 24 Robert Harris

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Posted October 07 2001 - 02:07 AM

Just for the record, Ron...

The film stocks of the 70s and 80s are not problematic,
nor are they wasting away. Kodak produced some extremely
fine emulsions during these decades.

The problems would have been overprinting, as Schawn explained, and mishandling.

But the emulsions themselves are sound.

Schawn is doing some beautiful work.

RAH

"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


#9 of 24 bill lopez

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Posted October 07 2001 - 08:53 AM

Wish this team had worked on the GODFATHER dvd set.

#10 of 24 Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 07 2001 - 09:05 AM


Quote:
The film stocks of the 70s and 80s
are not problematic, nor are they wasting away. Kodak produced some extremely fine emulsions during these decades.

It is very interesting that you say this,
because what I reported is EXACTLY what has been
told to us by every studio's restoration team
we have met with.

In addition, Schawn from Fox talked about how
much better Kodak film stock is these days compared
to what it was.

I realize you are a professional restorationist.
However, I am just accurately reporting it as it
was heard from the sources.


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Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
Circa 2000
Home Theater Forum Administrator
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Ronald J Epstein
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#11 of 24 ErichH

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Posted October 07 2001 - 10:54 AM

Smokin' News news Ron !!! ATJ was my alltime fav for years - still in my top 5 .
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw your post a few minutes ago .
This will almost be as much fun as installing OSX on my Quicksilver .

Thanks
Eric

#12 of 24 Robert Harris

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Posted October 07 2001 - 01:30 PM

Of course today's Eastman stocks are better than those
from 20 or 30 years ago.

The point is not that today's emulsions aren't far
superior, but rather that the stocks beginning even in
the early 60s with Eastman 5250 and 5251 had nowhere near
the fading characteristics of the earlier 5248 -- that was
the bad egg. Since then, Kodak's emulsions -- both negative and print stock -- continue to get better and better.

RAH

"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


#13 of 24 Julian Reville

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Posted October 08 2001 - 06:08 AM

Interesting.

I have the Laser Disc, but I havn't watched it in quite a while. I remember it's formatted 4:3 (P & S ?) and maybe even analog sound only. Could definitely be improved on.

Ann Reinking in tights....sigh. Was anyone ever hotter?

The dance sequences were REALLY something, but the movie just wasn't as good as it could have been. Fatally flawed, kind like "Chorus Line".



#14 of 24 Brook K

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Posted October 08 2001 - 06:31 AM

I've only ever seen bits and pieces of this film, but I'll be buying it when it comes out. Please keep doing great restoration work Fox, it is appreciated.

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#15 of 24 Rob Willey

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Posted October 08 2001 - 07:08 AM

I too can back up what Ron is saying about the quality of the restoration -- just a beautiful picture (at least in 35mm, we'll see about the DVD Posted Image).

To answer the obvious question, I asked Peter when he expects ATJ to street and he said they're aiming for late second quarter next year.

Rob

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#16 of 24 DeborahK

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Posted October 08 2001 - 08:12 AM

Bob Fosse was a great dancer and a fantastic choreographer and All That Jazz is a wonderful movie. If anyone is counting, I will be buying this one as well, probably in at least duplicate. I was very happy to see news of it in the HTF LA meet report and here as well. Can't hardly wait, as they say.

(BTW, I was sorry to miss Studio Day -- I had fully intended to come to that and say "hi" to all my HTF buds. But life intervened that day and I never got there. Sigh. Maybe next year ....)

Deborah

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#17 of 24 Rich Malloy

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Posted October 09 2001 - 02:37 AM

This is great news - many thanks to Ron for helping to make this happen! Posted Image
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#18 of 24 Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 09 2001 - 10:46 PM


I am very proud that Schawn Belston took the
time to write me an email yesterday.

Schawn personally did the restoration on this
film, and wanted the following comments posted...

Quote:
Hi Ron,


Thanks for your enthusiasm for ALL THAT JAZZ. The restoration of the film has certainly been an adventure, to say the least. I'm not a member of the HTF (internet challenged), so if you could pass along the following information to the topic, I'd appreciate it.


First off, Bob Harris is correct. The camera stock itself is stable...However, the CRI optical/dupe sections of JAZZ, and there are many, are quite faded.


Second, the stereo soundtrack is 4-track LCRS stereo, not 2-track. It is important to note that this is not a stereoized mono, but a careful restoration of Fosse's rarely heard original stereo mix.


The main reason I'm writing, though, is to point out that this restoration is part of an ongoing collaboration between Fox and the Academy Film Archive. Mike Pogorzelski, Director of the Academy Film Archive, worked many, many long hours on JAZZ, and deserves as much credit as anyone for the glorious job. Grover Crisp, VP of Asset Management at Sony, also lent an invaluable hand in the process (Columbia, as you know, was the film's original home).


I'm glad you liked the clip, and thrilled that you like the movie as much as I do!


Thanks for your support,


S


P.S. One last note: Now that the restoration of the film is complete, we are manufacturing new 35mm preservation elements on the film---so in a hundred years, the next guy will have elements to make a new neg.

Ronald J Epstein
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#19 of 24 Douglas Bailey

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Posted October 10 2001 - 02:45 AM

Another HTF report, another title to add to my shopping list... :-)

But I'm certainly looking forward to it. In the meantime,
I'll just offer my appreciation to all the people working
on this restoration. Few things make me as happy as seeing
great films given proper treatment, and I'm glad to hear
that Fox and Columbia are doing right by All That Jazz.

doug


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#20 of 24 Bill Buklis

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Posted October 10 2001 - 05:09 AM

I've never seen the film, but the clip we saw at Fox was simply amazing. The movie did capture my attention, so I will definitely check this out when it's released.

And after the clip of the restored M*A*S*H that we saw as well, I now have renewed interest in seeing this film again.

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