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
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.
Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
Home Theater Forum Administrator
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