The story I’ve heard more than once is that sometime in the past 20th Century Fox was considering an anaglyphic DVD release of Inferno. The ball got rolling, and some sensible person at their home video division decided to bring in 3-D expert Dan Symmes to supervise the work. They provided him full 1080p high definition masters of the left and right eyes. He used these to tweak the images and iron out a few minor problems that had been present in the stereo cinematography since day one.
Eventually the project ran out of steam, I guess. Fox never released an anaglyphic standard def DVD of Inferno. It also apparently never bothered to retrieve its masters from Dan Symmes. He used those masters to create his own private Blu-Ray copy of Inferno.
A few years ago, Dan Symmes passed away unexpectedly. Eric Kurland and others from the Stereo Club of Southern California were present at the estate sale, hoping to retrieve and preserve as much of Mr. Symmes’ 3-D legacy as possible. And so ownership of Dan Symmes’ Blu-Ray of Inferno passed to this group.
Someone in this group knew how to use the Blu-Ray to create a DCP of Inferno for theatrical projection, which was done. It was decided to screen Inferno at the Downtown Independent Theater in L.A. Since the people who own the Downtown Independent are honest, law-abiding people, they contacted Fox about paying an appropriate fee to screen Inferno in 3-D.
Fox was surprised and very interested. They weren’t aware a 3-D repertory copy of Inferno was in circulation. Hmm.
So the situation was explained to them, and you know what Fox did? A surprisingly sensible thing. Yes, pay us “X” amount to screen the movie, Fox said, and then, if you don’t mind, could you please provide us a copy of the DCP you’re using so that we may make this film available for other repertory screenings elsewhere?
And that’s exactly what happened. Inferno has been screened digitally at several festivals and retrospectives around the country.
My belief is that Dan Symmes’ optimized version of Inferno is the one to be presented on this forthcoming Blu-Ray.