Techniscope was an interesting, proprietary system, created by Technicolor, which served multiple purposes.
It permitted a 50% savings in raw negative stock for a shoot, and was able, via the dye transfer process, to yield
a fully commercially acceptable product in 35/4, which served the needs of the basic theatrical community.
Exposing 2 perforations, as opposed to the standard 4, and exposing printing matrices direct from the source, worked beautifully, and became a less expensive standard for hundreds of productions over several decades.
Probably best known for the more famous Italian westerns, it arrived in 1960 (The Pharoah’s Women), in a slightly different post process, and finally appeared in 1963, using dye transfer for a single Italian production, Gladiators 7, as well as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
The following year, 11 films used the process, the most known being, A Fistful of Dollars, Roustabout, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and Where Love Has Gone.
In 1965, 14 production, inclusive of Dr. Who and the Daleks, The Face of Fu Manchu, and Young Fury, as well as the purpose for these words, The Ipcress File.
1966 brought The Appaloosa, Beau Geste, Dracula Prince of Darkness, Gambit, and King of Hearts.
Films using the process in the late 1960s through to present times, include Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Charly (1968), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), Blue Water, White Death (1971), THX 1138 (1971), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), American Graffiti (1973), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), American Hustle (2013), and I, Tonya (2017).
I’d like to be able to tell you that Kino’s new Blu-ray of The Ipcress File perfectly matches the original prints, but I’m unable to do so. Not because it may not, but rather because I don’t recall the look of the film well enough to comment.
Shadow detail is limited in some shots, but that may be as intended. Perhaps Mr. Kimmel might comment.
As to the overall look and sound of the film, it’s a superb disc, with proper (or near-proper) grain, rich colors, deep blacks, and resolution that one might expect from a larger source element. I’m presuming the source was a 35/4 IP.
As a film, it’s an interesting study, especially because of those behind its production. It plays a bit akin to Bond without hype and super-human powers. Mr. Caine, in his first starring role, is excellent.
One scene that I appreciated, occurs early on when Mr. Caine, as Harry Palmer, a lower-end government agent, is being shown through his new facility. We come upon a worker using a drill press, and my initial though was, “here we go, we’re going to be introduced to some new weapons.” Nope. Harry is handed a well used Smith wheel-gun.
John Barry created the score, Peter Hunt edited, Ken Adam was behind production design. The list goes on, and that should give you an indication of heritage.
Mr. Caine appeared as Harry Palmer in Funeral in Berlin (1966),and Billion Dollar Brain (1967), both based upon works by Len Deighton.
Kino adds a few nice extras inclusive of an interview with Mr. Caine, and a commentary track with Mr. Furie and Mr. Hunt.
The audio, which was originally monaural, is 5.1 stereo.
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Upgrade from DVD – Yes
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