OLDTIMER

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Sorry, I was not aware of your previous praise of this movie - I'm a newcomer. The other Fox DVD that looks really good is "Moon Over Miami" . Regarding the crushed blacks in most of the 40s' Fox releases, I've recently bought a Panasonic OLED TV which has a Gamma control which is great for restoring (to some extent) those horrible blacks.
 
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Nick*Z

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I assume you're referring to the DVD of Down Argentine Way which is extremely solid. Greenwich Village was another handsome DVD back in the day when Fox was into doing box sets, as was Week-end in Havana. That Night in Rio was okay, but had inconsistent image quality. Fox Archive also did a rather splendid job of Springtime in the Rockies on MOD DVD. And no one is criticizing Fox movies on DVD or Blu-ray in totem. The Dolly Sisters DVD was pretty rich and solid, but I think here I slightly prefer the LaserDisc - I still have it. Call Me Madam was uneven on DVD, but certainly passable and great performances from Ethel Merman, George Sanders, Vera Ellen and Donald O'Connor. Sure wish we had this one in hi-def!

Coney Island and I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now could really use some work - both appearing as part of the aforementioned and now seemingly defunct 'archive'. Ditto for Wilson - which currently is a travesty, matched only by the egregiously awful Forever Amber, another TT/Fox Blu-ray in sad need of some love. Will we ever get Irish Eyes Are Smiling, Centennial Summer, and, Star! on Blu? Boo-hoo. One can hope.

PS - I'd also like to see more Fox B&W on Blu - The Rains Came, Alexander's Ragtime Band, In Old Chicago, Thin Ice, Sun Valley Serenade, Cafe Metropol, Heidi, the Charlie Chan's, Hudson's Bay, Son of Fury, Stowaway, Suez, The Littlest Rebel, Lillian Russell, Tin Pan Alley. Again...in a perfect world!
 

OLDTIMER

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We're probably getting off the subject of this discussion but I certainly have most of the movies you mention. Re Laser disc, I copied most of the respectable transfers to DVD before I sold my Laser Disc player. Blue Skies certainly looked better on LD than on the DVD. State Fair on DVD looks much better than the awful Blu-ray. I guess we could go on and on!
 

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I was referring to Nick Z's post and I did use 'these' not 'all'. Is Down Argentine Way a bluray release or are you speaking of the standard DVD release?
 

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And yes you are right clearly this needs to be taken on a case by case basis although I am still dismayed at hearing about what happened to the Fox catalogue thinking it had been preserved like much of the MGM and Warner color catalogue. Though I'd give anything to see a beautiful complete two color Golddiggers of Broadway and the two color Wedding of the Painted Doll.

And now I see you are referring to the standard DVD release.
 

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Yes, the Down Argentine Way was the 2006 Fox DVD release. It's so good that a Blu-ray release probably wouldn't look much better. I say this because I saw a nitrate 35mm print projected several years ago and it looked exactly like the DVD - color and grey scale and resolution!
 

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I left a reply yesterday but it hasn't appeared, so I'll try again. I'm a new member (from Australia). Some time ago I was able to compare a 35mm projected IB nitrate print of "Down Argentine Way" with the DVD. Colors and grey scale were almost identical so it appears that this DVD came from a true Technicolor print.
The only other Fox musical DVD from the 1940s that looks like it came from an IB print is "Moon Over Miami". All of the rest, as everyone agrees, look pretty awful.
Surely there are good technicolor 35mm prints around to be successfully converted to Blu-ray.
 

OLDTIMER

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As a new member (from Australia) I'd like to make a few comments about the 1940s' Fox musicals. I agree with earlier comments about the horrible crushed blacks and wrong colours in most releases. However, I was once able to compare a 35mm projected IB print of "Down Argentine Way" with the DVD. The colours and grey scale were almost identical, so it appears that this DVD came from a good IB original. (The colours are beautiful.) Probably the only other Fox musical on DVD from the period which is a decent transfer is "Moon Over Miami" which also seems to come from an IB Technicolor print. Every other available Fox musical DVD from this period is awful.
As someone has commented, if one can obtain some good technicolor prints from somewhere and work on them we may get some beautiful blu-ray releases.
 

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However, I was once able to compare a 35mm projected IB print of "Down Argentine Way" with the DVD. The colours and grey scale were almost identical, so it appears that this DVD came from a good IB original. (The colours are beautiful.)
I have often suspected, but been unable to prove, that the DAW DVD master was made from original elements. It has none of the tell-tale crushed blacks that plague most Fox 3-strip transfers (there's A LOT of detail in those shadow areas) and contains really eye-popping color. Someone, some time ago (RAH maybe? I'm sorry I can't remember who or where so maybe this will jog some memories) posted a link to the listing of print elements FOX still had in their holdings. I seem to remember that they hold multiple reels of DAW but not (to my knowledge) an extant print. If they DO still have original elements (for whatever reason) they could have timed those to the archive materials they still hold. In any regard it's a beautiful transfer and, at the risk of being exposed as a philistine (and I'm aware, so please save your cards and letters), I actually prefer the look of it to the HD master now available (which seems too brown/gold from what I'm used to.) Slight change in color temperature aside, the HD master is wonderfully sharp and bold and you can't really go wrong with either, IMO.

Probably the only other Fox musical on DVD from the period which is a decent transfer is "Moon Over Miami" which also seems to come from an IB Technicolor print. Every other available Fox musical DVD from this period is awful.
While I've always found the MOM DVD to be very very watchable (if a little dirtier than I'd like) I think it's something of an odd duck of a transfer. It's been cobbled together from multiple sources, the most obvious evidence of this is at the reel change around the 20 minute mark. Betty Grable wears a blue blouse (with stars) and a white skirt that presents as navy blue when they are in their hotel suite and when she firsts goes to Robert Cummings' party. At the reel change, the colors completely change and leap off the screen. The blouse is now a bright, royal blue and all of the other colors appreciably change in hue and saturation as well. I agree with you, though, that there is both color and shadow detail present and, unless they can give us a blu-ray that is better, this will certainly do nicely.
 

OLDTIMER

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Will, I can see that you're a Technicolor connoisseur! Whatever the source of DAW and MOM, they certainly look the best of the 1940s' Fox musical transfers. On the subject of Technicolor, as you would probably be aware, Technicolor Corp changed their IB dyes over the years. I think you would agree that the colors of the late 30s to late 40s were the most pleasing shades. In another post it was assumed that this was because of the nitrate base but I'm sure it was just the dyes that were used during that period.
 
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Robert Harris

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Will, I can see that you're a Technicolor connoisseur! Whatever the source of DAW and MOM, they certainly look the best of the 1940s' Fox musical transfers. On the subject of Technicolor, as you would probably be aware, Technicolor Corp changed their IB dyes over the years. I think you would agree that the colors of the late 30s to late 40s were the most pleasing shades. In another post it was assumed that this was because of the nitrate base but I'm sure it was just the dyes that were used during that period.
And the silver record
 

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And the silver record
Will, I can see that you're a Technicolor connoisseur!
Well, I'm sure there are those who would disagree with you, but I've been fascinated with it my entire life. I'm strictly amateur, though, and let's just say I'm at an age where I know what I like and that's good enough for me. Thanks for the kind words, though.

What Mr. Harris is referring to, by the way, is that, up until about 1946 or so (sources vary) Technicolor printed the blank receiving film with a 50% density of the green record (in silver) to improve contrast and apparent sharpness in the release print. Interestingly, according the Martin Hart's widescreen museum website, BECKY SHARP was originally printed with a key image from the blue record, but green (the sharpest of the three negatives) was otherwise utilized.
 

Robert Harris

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Well, I'm sure there are those who would disagree with you, but I've been fascinated with it my entire life. I'm strictly amateur, though, and let's just say I'm at an age where I know what I like and that's good enough for me. Thanks for the kind words, though.

What Mr. Harris is referring to, by the way, is that, up until about 1946 or so (sources vary) Technicolor printed the blank receiving film with a 50% density of the green record (in silver) to improve contrast and apparent sharpness in the release print. Interestingly, according the Martin Hart's widescreen museum website, BECKY SHARP was originally printed with a key image from the blue record, but green (the sharpest of the three negatives) was otherwise utilized.
For those further interested in minutia, for b/w re-issues, as well as early TV broadcast, the green record was utilized, as was the green separation, toward producing a b/w dupe neg.
 

Will Krupp

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For those further interested in minutia, for b/w re-issues, as well as early TV broadcast, the green record was utilized, as was the green separation, toward producing a b/w dupe neg.
Which, if I recall correctly, was one of the major stumbling blocks to a decent three-strip version of NOTHING SACRED when ABC-Disney acquired the rights to the Selznick library. The green/magenta record had been so mishandled to make those reissue and tv prints that reel one was completely missing and perforations and holes were actually punched through the picture in the reels that remained.
 
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OLDTIMER

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It probably applies in the US, but in Melbourne there are quite a number of 1930s and 40s (and later) 35mm Technicolor prints in the possession of private collectors. Most are still in pretty good condition. I know this because I was once part of their group. There are 2 Fox musicals still in private circulation as far as I know, namely Down Argentine Way and Sweet Rosie O'Grady (which unfortunately had the last 2 minutes missing last time I saw it). The colours in these prints were simply beautiful.
Further on the subject, I found that the George Eastman House book "The Dawn of Technicolor" an excellent and informative read.
 
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Robert Harris

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Which, if I recall correctly, was one of the major stumbling blocks to a decent three-strip version of NOTHING SACRED when ABC-Disney acquired the rights to the Selznick library. The green/magenta record had been so mishandled to make those reissue and tv prints that reel one was completely missing and perforations and holes were actually punched through the picture in the reels that remained.
Probably linked in with Cinecolor re-issues
 

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Well, I'm sure there are those who would disagree with you, but I've been fascinated with it my entire life. I'm strictly amateur, though
Don’t sell yourself short - I always look forward to your thoughts and insights on Technicolor films and their home media releases!
 

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Well, I'm sure there are those who would disagree with you, but I've been fascinated with it my entire life. I'm strictly amateur, though[...]
Don’t sell yourself short - I always look forward to your thoughts and insights on Technicolor films and their home media releases!
Me, three; as I know lesser on the technical end than all those combined or separated.
But that's okay with me; and that's altogether fine; otherwise I'd have nothing worthwhile to read.:)
 
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