Will Krupp

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Well, thank you very much for the kind words, guys. I honestly wasn't fishing and didn't expect that response. Thank you.
 

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However, I was once able to compare a 35mm projected IB print of "Down Argentine Way" with the DVD.
Hey oldtimer, I found that link I was talking about the other day. It turns out I was referring to the 20th Century Fox holdings at UCLA. This is the entry on DOWN ARGENTINE WAY:
https://cinema.library.ucla.edu/vwe...hId=1666&recCount=50&recPointer=0&bibId=33516

and here's the one on MOON OVER MIAMI:
https://cinema.library.ucla.edu/vwe...hId=1665&recCount=50&recPointer=5&bibId=85376

It's interesting because UCLA seems to be the recipient of a lot of studio prints and the entries take careful note of the conditions of each.
 
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Hey oldtimer, I found that link I was talking about the other day. It turns out I was referring to the 20th Century Fox holdings at UCLA. This is the entry on DOWN ARGENTINE WAY:
Thanks for the links Will. Fascinating!
What I was getting at was that there are obviously a lot of nitrate Technicolor prints out there just waiting to be accessed for release to DVD or Blu-ray. Trouble is that most private collectors of 35mm prints are pretty secretive about their possessions for obvious reasons.
 
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Robert Harris

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Thanks for the links Will. Fascinating!
What I was getting at was that there are obviously a lot of nitrate Technicolor prints out there just waiting to be accessed for release to DVD or Blu-ray. Trouble is that most private collectors of 35mm prints are pretty secretive about their possessions for obvious reasons.
Possibly, as looked upon by local laws.

Here in the Colonies, collectors are generally thrilled to help the studios.
 
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And all of which are among the best looking of the Fox Blu-ray releases from that era (along with The Gang's All Here.)
Those three Fox Blu-Rays look absolutely horrible!
Blue, teal, harsh contrast.
The DVD's have far more pleasing colours.
 
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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

RAH
I was a rabid fan of THE GANG'S ALL HERE in my teens, and was hoping to see more Fox Technicolor in the 70s. I'd have been bitterly disappointed if I'd known that Fox was in the process of ruining all their Technicolor films at that very time!
 
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Louis B asked Minnelli and Kelly why they couldn't make their movies look like the Fox musicals.
 

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The Mayer quote is a bit perplexing to say the least, since Mayer always prided himself on studio individuality; a certain trademarked MGM style that was as inimitable as Fox's garish and gaudy use of Technicolor in the 40's. I like both 'looks' and each distinctly typifies the studio product from that vintage. Viewing a movie like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - with its gush of color (even, as it remains in its Technicolor-esque reincarnation on Blu-ray) really gives one the opportunity to appreciate what that usage of 3-strip must have been like in its heyday. Metro's more subdued hues were, what I would classify as stylish and classy. MGM movies in Technicolor had a visual panache. Fox movies in Technicolor were 'bam' in-your-face excursions into a rainbowed netherworld - like having the Skittles factory explode on the screen. Great stuff, lost for all time due to shortsightedness. Oh, I want to throw up.

PS - the reincarnation of The Gang's All Here on Blu-ray from Twilight Time in NO way replicates the look of vintage Technicolor. For that, you should turn to Eureka's Masters of Cinema region B locked disc. Still not vintage Technicolor but far closer to the mark. Fox's remastering efforts, especially for their color releases, even their DeLuxe Cinemascope product from the 50's is abysmal. They've ruined The King and I on Blu-ray; ditto for Carousel, The Blue Max, The Best of Everything, State Fair, The Black Swan, Desk Set, 23 Paces to Baker Street, Garden of Evil, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Wild River, River of No Return, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?.

Every effort should be made by Disney Inc. to reinspect original elements here and reissue these with corrected color. We should also get remastering efforts on 1956's Anastasia, The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, and, get hi-def releases of Star!, Can-Can, The Rains Came, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Orchestra Wives, Wilson, I Wonder Whose Kissing Her Now, The House on Telegraph Hill (superb, underrated noir). Lots to consider. Lots to do.
 
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MatthewA

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By the way Louis B said to Minelli and Kelly 'Why can't you make your movies look like a Fox musical?' I guess we'll never really know what a Fox musical looked like.
From the nitrate era, the closest we'll ever get with anything properly preserved are the live-action parts of Disney's The Three Caballeros, which had Carmen Miranda's sister Aurora in it. Now Carmen's film legacy joins it at Disney. At least in Caballeros, the grain buildup and contrast changes are because of the number of optical generations required to mix animated characters with real people. Now you can just push the right combination of computer buttons with the right rendering software.

Thank you RAH for clarifying what actually happened to the Fox film elements. I have to wonder if the Zanucks were still in control of Fox, would the same horrible decision been made regarding those film elements? I don't think so, but you never know.
It's hard to believe the same people who did that were also the same people who brought Fox back to financial life with Star Wars. If they ever invent time travel, I'll be using it to try and put a stop to archival fiascos such as this.*

*I'll also be moving Heaven and Earth to stop Disney from cutting up its four post-Walt musicals and also to convince ABC not to cancel Too Close for Comfort, It's a Living, or the TV version of another Fox property: 9 to 5 (the movie spelled the numbers out in its on-screen title).
 
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I just read they are modifying We Are Siamese when Lady is streamed and it will be a cold day in hell when Song is released. They are determined as ever it will not be seen. Somewhat like Warners and the original cut of Russell's The Devils.
Disney as gone full SJW. They have to. They need to keep their incredibly lucrative Princess machine relevant.
Anyway I'm still incredulous that what Fox did happened during the 70s when revival houses were becoming huge, The Gang's All Here had a hit run in NY and MGM's That's Entertainment was such a huge success. It seems that what was done was willful. Or they had managed to hire the most incompetant people imaginable.
 

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The Technicolor finale of HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD looked very good! I wonder what their source material on that was?
 

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The CRIs were made at De Luxe instead of Technicolor, right? How much of their problems can be blamed on second-rate lab work and how much can be blamed on Kodak itself?

It seems that what was done was willful.
Oceans of ink have been spilled describing how Darryl F. Zanuck lost his way, yet the archival crisis his successors created, something they apparently convinced themselves was for both their employees' safety and the struggling studio's bottom line, never gets as much press. I wonder how much resolution a digital scan could get from a 35mm IB TECH print. That should be worth at least 2k worth of info.

As for the claim that this doesn't happen anymore, I wish I could be more optimistic. A more recent Fox archival crisis occurred when the entire fifth season of the TV show Lou Grant, which they got when they bought the owner of MTM Enterprises and laid it to rest, just up and disappeared from the vaults. Shout! Factory had to rely on home recordings to complete their DVD releases!

What makes anyone think Disney will be better when they are all over the place with the presentation of their own library? They won't be worse since their biggest acts of archival negligence were back in the 1950s involving copying original soundtracks from optical discs to magnetic tracks over low-frequency telephone wires and neglecting to keep the originals. That's why they had to go to an original print to make the mono track of Dumbo sound good.

M-G-M didn't actively junk their nitrate but still lost some of it to fire around the same time; the casualties supposedly included the original negatives to the Kansas scenes of The Wizard of Oz (and with it "Over the Rainbow"), the original negative of Singin' in the Rain, and a bunch of Tom and Jerry cartoons, to name but a few I've heard over the years. That's what Fox was afraid of. But in that case, that was an accident.
 

Will Krupp

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The CRIs were made at De Luxe instead of Technicolor, right? How much of their problems can be blamed on second-rate lab work and how much can be blamed on Kodak itself?
I SEEM to remember Mr. Harris laying most of the blame on the fact that they were attempting to convert the nitrates to CRI in large batches on a very compressed time frame and weren't necessarily as fastidious as they should have been. The notion of converting three strip negatives to Color Reversal Internegatives for future printing (since dye transfer was expiring) wasn't necessarily a bad idea in and of itself (if you take out the part where they threw the old negatives AWAY, that is!) and Mr. Harris has always said that it's possible to get great results out of it and some Fox titles are better than others.

Does that ring any bells? I didn't make that whole thing up, right? Lol.
 

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Why didn't they just move them off-site as other studios did? Did they just not want to pay external storage fees? Too late now, just like it's too late to fish the legacy of the Dumont Network out of the East River if it hasn't been already. What gets me here is that they did it on purpose because they thought the dye couplers would last.

The 1945 version of State Fair seemed to fare better than most archivally and in terms of being presented on home video. I'm surprised its negative was (apparently) among the destroyed as well.

Ironically, the studio's B&W films are easier to bring back to a state resembling their original glory. Those that survived at all were the lucky ones.
 
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I SEEM to remember Mr. Harris laying most of the blame on the fact that they were attempting to convert the nitrates to CRI in large batches on a very compressed time frame and weren't necessarily as fastidious as they should have been. The notion of converting three strip negatives to Color Reversal Internegatives for future printing (since dye transfer was expiring) wasn't necessarily a bad idea in and of itself (if you take out the part where they threw the old negatives AWAY, that is!) and Mr. Harris has always said that it's possible to get great results out of it and some Fox titles are better than others.

Does that ring any bells? I didn't make that whole thing up, right? Lol.
You didn’t make it up. All that needed to be done was to create a set of fine grains from the three negative records.

They made their high contrast, mis-registered CRIs, and then separations from those poorly made elements

Nothing was done correctly.
 

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Other than the obvious overriding concern, money money money by the pound (to quote the first Disney hybrid that missed the window to be printed this way), what on Earth possessed Technicolor to get rid of dye transfer printing*? After that, it became just another lab, but one with a glorious reputation.

You didn’t make it up.
I wish he had been making it up.

*The UK had an extra three years of it.
 
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Robert Harris

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Other than the obvious overriding concern, money money money by the pound (to quote the first Disney hybrid that missed the window to be printed this way), what on Earth possessed Technicolor to get rid of dye transfer printing? After that, it became just another lab, but one with a glorious reputation.
The problem with dye transfer printing was simply turnaround time. Very different production/post/distribution ethics between the 50s-60s and the 00s.

300 prints produced vs 5,000. Lead time of a month or two vs 72 hours...

And then, the thousands of Delaware bred peacocks that gave their lives toward the creation of printing dyes.
 
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And that's why it was so easy to convince theaters to get rid of film and replace it with digital: giant utilitarian shoe-box multiplexes replaced lavish, ornately designed single-screen movie palaces, and they needed more prints. Something had to give, and since cheap, fast, and good are not all attainable at once, the print quality was it. Ironically, some of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s movies I have seen actually do look better on Blu-ray or 4k versions than they did in the drab high-speed 35mm prints that replaced dye-transfer ones. Even movies shot on 16mm can yield good results. Home video made rereleases impractical from a business standpoint; Disney extrapolated its business model to video, and it helped save their bacon. Repertory became a niche, and some studios priced themselves out of it by making it too expensive to be feasible for most theaters.

And then, the thousands of Delaware bred peacocks that gave their lives toward the creation of printing dyes.
I should have known better than to trust that shifty little avian who used to appear at the beginning of every color show on NBC. He is to peacocks as Charlie the Tuna is to fish. Now he just sits there at the corner of your screen.
 
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I remember gong to see Disney's SNOW WHITE in 1975, and I wanted to like it, but the image was so dark, drab, and grainy that I really couldn't. Same thing with 70s prints of GWTW, which were also really muddy and grainy. I did see a 16mm Technicolor print of Western Union, but I was puzzled that the color on the print I saw on TV a few years later was nowhere near as good as in the print I'd seen before. In my youthful naivete I wasn't aware that dye technicolor printing had continued into recent times but had been discontinued.
 

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