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"Porgy and Bess" restoration

Robert Harris

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#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Greg_M

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Posted September 18 2009 - 12:12 PM

Mr Harris, have you ever been approached for the "Porgy and Bess" restoration. The rights are available, but the studios feel the restoration will cost more than the video sales.

I was told the Samuel Goldwyn company restored/worked on the film in 1985 but then the rights were an issue.  The Gershwins are now releasing the rights, and I know several people have been looking for a print to use for a video version (though they wouldn't use a print they would need the negative correct??) 

Ken Kramer owns the last print to be screened, Mile Krueger is also looking for useable elements and stated the elements are with Goldwyn and now it's just a matter of funding a restoration. Since the film wasn't screen much would it need that much work if the Goldwyn company owns has the elements?

Wouldn't the 70 MM elements still be usuable - the film only played a limited number of theaters for less that 8 months in 70MM before it was released wide in 35MM and then never again

#2 of 18 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

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Posted September 20 2009 - 10:52 PM

Good questions, I've wanted to see this film for a long time. Preminger's other 70mm film Exodus is one of my favourite widescreen films.


#3 of 18 OFFLINE   PaulTalbot

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Posted November 15 2009 - 10:58 AM

I've always wanted to see this film and hope for a DVD release.

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   BCGHR2

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Posted January 27 2010 - 02:21 PM

Well - even though the film originally had a limited release and limited print runs and thus theoretically minimal handling of the 65mm negative, if the negative has not been stored properly it could be warped and faded.  So it could in fact bee in dire condition.  And the stereo mag masters could also be suffering from serious vinegar syndrome as well, again if not stored under optimum conditions.


#5 of 18 OFFLINE   MLamarre

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Posted May 03 2011 - 12:20 PM

Any comment on this Mr. Harris? There are apparently several good 35mm prints of this film out there but the status of the 70mm version is unclear...it may need a timely restoration. There are also reports that the original 70mm version was a longer cut of the film, closer to 150 minutes in length. It would be a shame if the extra footage was lost. I know there is some questional legal issues surrounding this film but something needs to be done.



#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted May 03 2011 - 03:14 PM

Along with just a couple of other quality musical films, I owe a lifelong love of music and musical theater and George Gershwin to having been taken to this particular film as a kid.  Blew me away.  I later acquired the score and studied and played it to death on piano, soon learning of course that it wasn't just a "musical" but a full fledged opera.  Never saw the film again until a showing at UCLA in the early 1980s which once again blew me away.  Third and most recent time was in 2007 at the Ziegfeld in NYC.  That was a collector's print, and it was both fascinating to view the film with adult eyes, and shocking to see what a challenge that print apparently was for the projectionists.


I understand the issues (or at least some of them) surrounding the film, but it's such a remarkable piece of filmed musical history that I hope these things will be resolved in our lifetime, and I second the motion for the right people to be permitted to step in and ensure that the elements are preserved for when a proper release can be undertaken.




#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted May 08 2011 - 09:51 AM

All it takes if funding and interest.


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 18 OFFLINE   Phoebus

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Posted May 12 2011 - 11:56 PM

I would love to have Porgy and Bess released as a bluray.


Probably needs at least one commentary or a damn good documentary to explain how controversial the pre-production and the filming were for the times.



#9 of 18 OFFLINE   kagemusha98

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Posted June 13 2012 - 09:37 AM

Now that the Library of Congress has placed PORGY AND BESS on it's preservation list, Is there any possibility of a restoration and release on DVD?

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   jojopuppyfish

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Posted July 12 2012 - 10:31 PM

Porgy and Bess will be shown in 70mm at the AFI Silver in Washington DC on Sun, Sep 2, 1:00; Mon, Sep 3, 2:00.

#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted July 17 2012 - 03:15 PM

Originally Posted by jojopuppyfish 

Porgy and Bess will be shown in 70mm at the AFI Silver in Washington DC on Sun, Sep 2, 1:00; Mon, Sep 3, 2:00.


I can't imagine what they might be projecting.


"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


#12 of 18 OFFLINE   marlbrouk1966

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Posted July 18 2012 - 04:17 AM

I saw a very pink 70mm print at Bradford a few years ago. I enjoyed the music but found the pacing quite tough as Preminger shot every scene in medium longshot which even on the vast pictureville curve was quite distancing.

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   jojopuppyfish

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Posted July 18 2012 - 05:28 AM

Here is the link to the festival. http://www.afi.com/s.../v9i3/70mm.aspx I am new to the forum so I don't know the history of the physical problems of this movie in the vault. Mr. Harris, could you elaborate on your comments? BTW the AFI Silver is in Silver Spring, MD......which is about 20 minutes north of Washington DC......a very nice movie theater, BTW.

#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Jim*Tod

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Posted July 18 2012 - 07:08 AM

Sadly I just received word that the AFI Silver screenings of PORGY AND BESS have been cancelled due to rights issues. I just admit this is a major disappointment.

#15 of 18 OFFLINE   Ed Lachmann

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Posted July 18 2012 - 08:41 AM

Wonder if this time the rights issue over the AFI screening is with Warners. Or, did the PORGY AND BESS rights not follow the rest of the Goldwyn library to that studio? The news that the Gershwin estate is no longer a problem has me hoping and praying. I just wonder how a BD release of this picture could not be a success. The screening is still advertised on the AFI Silver site as of this post. Hell, I'd consider flying to MD just to catch it.

#16 of 18 OFFLINE   goalieboy82

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Posted July 24 2012 - 12:12 PM

who does own the rights to the film.

#17 of 18 OFFLINE   moviepas

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Posted January 14 2013 - 05:21 PM

Warner Music Sued for Millions by George Gershwin Heirs


I wonder if this report in Jan 14/15 The Hollywood Reporter will effect the Goldwyn Library issue of Porgy & Bess thru Warner Bros?



#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted January 18 2013 - 07:19 AM

Originally Posted by Greg_M 

Mr Harris, have you ever been approached for the "Porgy and Bess" restoration. The rights are available, but the studios feel the restoration will cost more than the video sales.

I was told the Samuel Goldwyn company restored/worked on the film in 1985 but then the rights were an issue.  The Gershwins are now releasing the rights, and I know several people have been looking for a print to use for a video version (though they wouldn't use a print they would need the negative correct??)
Ken Kramer owns the last print to be screened, Mile Krueger is also looking for useable elements and stated the elements are with Goldwyn and now it's just a matter of funding a restoration. Since the film wasn't screen much would it need that much work if the Goldwyn company owns has the elements?

Wouldn't the 70 MM elements still be usuable - the film only played a limited number of theaters for less that 8 months in 70MM before it was released wide in 35MM and then never again


Sorry to have not answered your original question.


I have not been approached.


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






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