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Robert Harris on The Bits - 10/25/05 column - OFFICIAL THREAD


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#1 of 32 OFFLINE   Bill Hunt

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Posted October 25 2005 - 11:24 AM

Well, it's been a few months since Robert last turned in a new column at The Digital Bits, but he's been pretty busy lately. And we're pleased to say that his lastest Yellow Layer Failure was worth the wait. In this edition, Robert interviews George Feltenstein, Ned Price & Ronnee Sass of Warner Home Video about the restoration work that went into the long awaited King Kong DVD (due in stores on 11/22). The piece features interesting information on the history of the film and the efforts to preserve it, as well as the creation of the DVD and its special features. If you're as excited for this release as we are, the interview is well worth a read:

Robert Harris' latest Yellow Layer Failure column

Click the link to read Robert's interview and then come on back here to this official thread at the HTF to discuss, give feedback, ask questions of Robert and sound off as you will. Best!
Bill Hunt, Editor
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billhunt@thedigitalbits.com

#2 of 32 OFFLINE   Jo_C

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Posted October 25 2005 - 11:35 AM

Wow!

For a film that's over 70 years old, I'm sure WB/Turner have done a good job at the restoration of the original "King Kong". I would never had thought that they would take the best surviving materials and turn it into pretty much the way it looked when first released in 1933. If only Fay Wray hadn't died last year...

...I was watching a VCD of a TCM documentary "The Race To Save 100 Years" the other day, and the miracle stories that come out of it are amazing. There really are people who care enough to restore great film classics...if not very few.

I wish even more would get the treatment "King Kong" has gotten.

#3 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark Oates

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Posted October 25 2005 - 11:40 AM

I think there will be enough interview material with Miss Wray to constitute some pretty interesting stuff on the commentary track.
J Mark Oates
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#4 of 32 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted October 25 2005 - 11:47 AM

What a great article including some insight to what's going on with "The Searchers" restoration.






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#5 of 32 OFFLINE   Derek Estes

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Posted October 25 2005 - 02:08 PM

That was a great article. Speaking of the Searchers, I wonder if it will be finished in time for the planned release next year. It sounds like they are waiting to make sure it is done right. And I'm grateful, but I'm also terribly anxious to see what they are doing,. I know it will be worth it. I can't wait for King Kong, it sounds incredible. Thank you, George Feltenstein and company!
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#6 of 32 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted October 25 2005 - 02:15 PM

I'm thrilled to hear that WB is using the Ultra Resolution process for The Searchers. One of the problems that plagues VistaVision "non-restorations" like The Court Jester, Funny Face, and To Catch a Thief is the extreme contrast build up, muddiness, and graininess. How I wish Paramount would do this with films like The Court Jester... Posted Image

What exactly would the A/B roll fine-grain positive separations be? I know E.T. had A/B roll negative for the lap dissolves in the opening, but how would this apply for The Searchers?

#7 of 32 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted October 25 2005 - 11:53 PM

A/B rolls separation masters allow you to re-conform all of the original aspects of the film, inclusive of fades and dissolves.

Because of the overlaps necessary for dissolves, the seps are printed in sections with "handles."

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


#8 of 32 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted October 26 2005 - 12:50 AM

This is a very informative and entertaining interview. Thanks to Mr. Hunt and Mr. Harris for making it available.

Reading through some of the comments in the "Lewton", "OZ", & "KONG" threads I don't know whether to be saddened or amused by what, in my opinion, are some very unrealistic expectations that a few folks have with regards to these releases. There was a time when we could enjoy a movie for the acting, story, direction, photography, etc. Now it seems the movie takes a back seat while details in the picture are over-analyzed. Sure, A/V quality is important, but let's keep our perspective. I've enjoyed "OZ" for over 30 years and I'm not going to let the experience be ruined because someone thinks Dorothy's dress is the wrong shade of blue.

Because of their track record and respect the team at WB has toward their films (which is evident in this article), I feel that the folks at Warners are well qualified to research these things and put together a DVD that accurately represents the movie within the limits imposed by technology (and the cost of the restoration). Are occasional mistakes made? Sure, that's to be expected. But on the whole, I have been very pleased with the job they have done over the past few years and feel that my money was well spent on their products.

Once again, a sincere "Thank you, keep up the great work" goes out to the great team at Warners.

Steve
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#9 of 32 OFFLINE   Reagan

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Posted October 26 2005 - 01:31 AM

Thanks for another great article.

-Reagan
The truth doesn't care whether you believe it.

#10 of 32 OFFLINE   Nils Luehrmann

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Posted October 26 2005 - 03:02 AM

Quote:
RH: It should be gorgeous, then.
GF: Well, it's aged a little.
RH: Haven't we all?
Posted Image

What a terrific interview! Great information on the history of this project and I especially enjoyed the discussion on the special features and the recreation of the "missing spider pit sequence".

#11 of 32 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 26 2005 - 05:02 AM

Absolutely terrific article.

I have a great fondness towards George
Feltenstein. I had the opportunity to meet
him at WB last year with my partner. George
is an extremely kind and animated person who
anyone would just love to sit in a room for a
few hours with and shoot the shit about classic
film. This man has stories to tell.

And Robert Harris? An equally delightful
gentleman.

With those characters all together, that must
have been a hell of an interview session. Posted Image

I am very happy to see the explanation given
to why King Kong took so long to get to
DVD. Two years ago members were fuming over
the delay, not understanding that the studio
wanted to make certain that they had the means
and technology to make this restoration worth
the effort.

Looking forward to this DVD!

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#12 of 32 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted October 26 2005 - 05:07 AM

Years of delay are worth more than getting a mediocre DVD the first time around. The same fans who howl over King Kong being delayed would be the ones who complain about all the dirt and missing frames if it was released years ago.

#13 of 32 OFFLINE   Michel_Hafner

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Posted October 26 2005 - 06:38 AM

Mr. Harris, do you know if WB used digital grain reduction on the Kong restoration? The interview does not say. They did on GWTW and Oz and I did not like the artifacts it added.

#14 of 32 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted October 26 2005 - 08:57 AM

another great interview indeed.

I have updated the Searchers 2006 update thread with the new information

Posted Image
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#15 of 32 OFFLINE   Ron Fisher

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Posted October 26 2005 - 10:30 AM

Again, let me join the group and give great praise to the interview! Excellent stuff!

Ned Price mentioned that they found some
Quote:
censored or deleted sequences
for Top Hat. Do you know if this material was included in the recent Astaire/Rogers box set, or was this left aside or perhaps found after production began on this DVD? Thanks, Ron.

#16 of 32 OFFLINE   TomTom

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Posted October 27 2005 - 01:34 AM

Can someone explain the origin of the film term "lavender" and what it means?

thanks,
tom
nyc

#17 of 32 OFFLINE   Nils Luehrmann

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Posted October 27 2005 - 03:07 AM

Quote:
Can someone explain the origin of the film term "lavender" and what it means?
It's a name for a positive fine grain master film stock printed from original negatives or dupe negatives.

#18 of 32 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted October 27 2005 - 03:58 AM

... which had a lavender tint, to hold down contrast.

Today fine grain stock is available either with a clear or gray base.

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


#19 of 32 OFFLINE   Nils Luehrmann

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Posted October 27 2005 - 05:14 AM

Robert, I assume the tinting was because they used to use lavender oil in the processing?

#20 of 32 OFFLINE   Ed St. Clair

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Posted October 27 2005 - 06:10 AM

Well it's been a super long wait for Kong on R1 DVD, so it seems my super long wait for the new Bits was appropriate as well!
Thanks.
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