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Gone with the Wind 70mm Conversion

Robert Harris

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#1 of 11 ONLINE   Panavision70



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Posted July 28 2013 - 06:25 AM

Has there been a discussion of the technical details of the 70mm conversion of "Gone with the Wind" in 1967?  It is how I first saw the film and it was a huge ticket seller at the time.  I would love to know how it was done.  Thank you.

#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted August 15 2013 - 05:33 AM

A basic vertical pan & scan derived from an interpositive produced, afaik, from the original negatives.


Not a great way to see the film, but technically nicely done.  Also scope 35 prints produced concurrently.



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#3 of 11 ONLINE   Panavision70



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Posted September 02 2013 - 08:04 PM

Thank you for the information.  It was how I first saw the film, only 14 at the time.

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Brian McP

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Posted September 02 2013 - 09:41 PM

I always wanted to see this version of GWTW as it has practcally disappeared from the face of the Earth and even on the internet there are hardly any references to it.


The only remnant I ever got from this version of the picture was the soundtrack album 'electronically' rechanneled in 'stereo', circa 1967. This album was still selling in the early 80s when I was a teen and could afford to buy such things -- once it came out on home video, seemingly MGM returned to the original version of the picture, and the soundtrack album, released for the first time on audio cassette, was now in it's original mono..


The one good thing from this release of the picture was the sensational poster artwork, I think, by Howard Terpning, inspired by the original 1939 poster.


Seeing this 1967 poster, even today, is an awesome sight -- it is killer artwork in all formats -- newspapers, posters, billboards --  to this day. I see that poster and not think of the great movies of the 1930s, but great movies of the late 1960s.  


It blended in so well with the likes of artwork for edgier movies like "Easy Rider", "Midnight Cowboy" in newspapers, not making it seem like a movie already 30 years old. These days posters are of people looking into the camera or people standing back to back....well, nothing lasts forever, as they say.


MGM seemed to use this artwork for reissues right up to (I guess) the late 90s, probably a few years after the 50th anniversary, when the picture first went to dvd. the main artwork changed again. (These days? I think it may be back to the 1967 look again, I've lost track....)


With "The Wizard of Oz" making it's big leap into 3D IMAX mode in coming weeks, would the folks at MGM take GWTW to this beyond-70mm state? Would they give it the 8k scan Oz got -- and to throw everyone, would they go back to their 1967 widescreen version and give the full treatment to this version of the picture?

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Moe Dickstein

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Posted September 03 2013 - 02:04 PM

Why would you want to see like half of the picture chopped off?
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#6 of 11 OFFLINE   jseabough



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Posted September 08 2013 - 02:30 PM

I saw GWTW two days after it opened at the Rivoli in NYC. October 1967. I was there on a week long theatre trip with  my parents and a friend from high school.  My friend Gary and I went to see GWTW at a midweek sold out matinee. I had seen the previous 1961 reissue. I remember being disappointed in the 70MM version. Three years... ?... before I had seen the 70MM Todd AO THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the same theatre. GWTW just didn't work for  me.. looked blurry, heads were croppefd off. no sweeping title credit at the beginning. Much preferred the standard ratio release that played my hometown the following year in  1968. Bought the theatre program, the gatefold MGM Records 'in enhanced stereo' LP and as the poster said upthread, marveled at the great art work for the film. However, the 'in new screen splendor 70MM and FULL Stereophonic Sound!' didn't thrill this 17 year old.

#7 of 11 OFFLINE   JSLasher



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Posted November 06 2013 - 10:24 PM

I saw the 70mm premier in Atlanta, seated alongside Ann Rutherford, who remarked that the transfer was full of grain.


My only complaint is the fact that the famous title, which moved across the screen in the original prints, was stationary against a rephotographed background.

#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted November 07 2013 - 04:09 AM

Why would you want to see like half of the picture chopped off?


I can't speak for anyone in this thread but I doubt anyone is saying to get rid of the original version.  Personally speaking, I'd like to see a copy of this just to see a part of the film's history and to see what people saw back in the day.  I'm still trying to get a copy of the cut down ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA simply because I'm curious to see its alternate version.

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted November 07 2013 - 11:58 AM

Curiosity is the ONLY reason to look for the butchered cut of Once Upon a Time in America. Don't waste too much time looking. :)

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#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Vic Pardo

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Posted November 12 2013 - 02:36 PM

I saw GWTW in a neighborhood theater in the Bronx in 1969, two years after the big reissue. It would have been 35mm, but I have no idea what version it was. I seem to remember the titles moving by horizontally, but that could be a memory from a later viewing of the film. At the time I was too young and uninformed to be aware of aspect ratio issues, so I didn't notice if anything was cropped or not. 

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   allanfisch



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Posted January 11 2014 - 03:19 PM

If anyone's interested, the is a contemporary American Cinematographer article that deals with the 70mm conversion by Metrocolor that's an interesting read if you can find it. My local library doesen't even have the Reader's Guide to Periodic LIterature!

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