Beyond feature productions that had Technicolor sequences, in the nitrate era, Fox created over 90 films.
Over a third of them were musicals, and they took extraordinary advantage of the three-strip technology, creating a very specific Fox Technicolor appearance.
Afaik, with a single exception, none of the original elements survive, which means that we’re left with what was produced in the mid-1970s.
And those elements were produced in the most incorrect manner imaginable.
This horror story has been covered ad nauseam, so we won’t revisit. But for those who may not be aware, that is why Fox cannot reproduce their Technicolor productions to appear as Technicolor.
When the films arrive on home video, as have the most recent three, from Twilight Time, results are acceptable, at best.
All produced on the same film stocks, and with the same technology, their quality on Blu-ray comes down to a single major factor – how well the dupe materials were produced. And generally, they were garbage.
So how do the latest releases fare, and how do the films stand the test of time?
Mother Wore Tights (1947) and Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943), fare better than Pin-up Girl (1944). Old-fashioned charming, assembly line Fox musicals. One of the main attributes of the films was Technicolor, and without that function blazing from the screen, they all fall a notch.
Pin-Up is also the least of the three in terms of tech quality, followed by Hello and Mother. Hello’s main title sequence is the most window-boxed that I recall seeing. It might have been projected on the moon, which gives us the concept that this is an older transfer.
Probably because Mother isn’t held back by dark sequences, it looks better overall, with a light, bright look, that still lacks the Technicolor pop.
Any dark sequences have virtually no shadow detail, but viewers should be used to this from other Fox releases.
If you’re a fan of the Fox musicals in general, or completists for Betty Grable, Alice Faye or Dan Dailey, best to grab these, as akin to most other Twilight Time releases, when they’re gone…
Twilight Time deserves the Mother Teresa Award for releasing these.
Hello, Frisco, Hello – 3.25
Pin-Up Girl – 3
Mother Wore Tights – 3.5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Upgrade from DVD – Yes