WarnerColor was a process ill-used in many occasions, for which it’s received a bad reputation. Based upon the generic Eastman taking stock of the era, 5248, it was printed single strand to standard positive stock, or occasionally via Technicolor matrices, in dye transfer, and in some cases that was its undoing.
If there’s a poster child, it would be Giant!, the negative of which was so inappropriately cut and conformed as to render the original elements baked full of horrific dupes. Printer functions, rather than being short cut to a couple of frames either side of function, ran full length from the A to B side of the effects – in some cases over 100 feet. Giant was originally printed direct positive Eastman, with a dye transfer (same situation as Rear Window) re-issue.
Two things come into play toward making Warner Archive’s new Blu-ray of The Pajama Game, one of the wonderful ’50s musicals, based upon the Broadway play, and in turn the novel 7 1/2 cents by Marian Bissell, and they may be of equal importance.
First, printer functions are short cut, meaning that dupes run for only the actual length of the function, and second, the fact that we can now replicate in a non-analogue form, which would have used filters, lights, exposures and printing stock.
To coin a word, let’s call it “Prestidigitalization,” or in layman’s terms a renewed magical life, based upon our newest digital toolset.
A scan of the original Eastman negative, with dupes intact, has given us a remarkable look at what Harry Stradling’s negative holds, which may actually reproduce better than it did on 1957 release printing stock.
Colors pop off the screen in astonishing fashion, with any negative attributes of fade essentially hidden by a deft hand in color, beautifully balancing any problems, without causing anything problematic.
With many original Broadway players in their original roles (same situation with Damn Yankees) the film just works, and spins its tale with all twelve cylinders running smoothly – the team of George Abbott and Stanley Donen working their magic.
Yet another magnificent presentation from Warner Archive, that needs to be in every serious collection.
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Upgrade from DVD – Yup
Very Highly Recommended
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