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:However, I was once able to compare a 35mm projected IB print of "Down Argentine Way" with the DVD.
Thanks for the links Will. Fascinating!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:
Possibly, as looked upon by local laws.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.
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!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
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.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.
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.*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.
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.It seems that what was done was willful.
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.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?
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.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.
I wish he had been making it up.You didn’t make it up.
The problem with dye transfer printing was simply turnaround time. Very different production/post/distribution ethics between the 50s-60s and the 00s.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.
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.And then, the thousands of Delaware bred peacocks that gave their lives toward the creation of printing dyes.