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A Few Words About A few words about...™ King of Jazz -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. Message #1 of 93 Mar 4, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2018
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Yup.

    Even "Stumpy," from Rio Bravo was young-ish once.

    Appearing in one of the quicky vignettes, you'll find Walter Brennan.

    How about a Bing Crosby in what I believe to be his first film appearance?

    Universal has done cinephiles a huge favor. A major studio supporting the restoration of a film that on its face has more historical than entertainment value.

    But today's audiences discovered that the now 87 year-old production could be fun, as it toured the festival circuit.

    Filmed in two-color (let's please not call it 2-strip, as it was a single strand of film, with two exposures for each frame (over/under), King of Jazz is a beautiful artifact of the end of that Technicolor era.

    Generally, used sparingly, and usually for sequences, we'll put things in perspective.

    In 1930, there appear to have been 29 films using the process, with 13 using it for sequences only.

    Many don't survive, or survive partially, in black & white, or as discs only.

    Bottom line, for those with a desire to experience the process, at least in full quality, King of Jazz is a rarity.

    Warner's 1932 Doctor X, and 1933 Mystery of the Wax Museum have survived as release prints.

    King of Jazz is substantially based upon camera negative, with portions from other elements.

    Possibly because it was also rarely used at Universal, survival (by chance or luck) leaves us in good stead.

    The earlier sequence from the 1925 Phantom of the Opera, survives as camera negative.

    And if my sources are correct, it would not be until 1942 (with 3-strip) that the studio would again visit the technology with Arabian Nights, 1943 for Cobra Woman and the re-make of Phantom of the Opera and White Savage.

    We can thank Criterion for licensing the project, and crating a superb Blu-ray, spine number 915, for those who keep track of such things.

    For cinema fans, this is one of the early wonders.

    Image - various - 4.5 - 5 for original material

    Audio - 4

    Pass / Fail - Pass

    Highly Recommended

    RAH


     
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  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I really cannot wait to have this in hand. I LOVE those studio revues of the early sound era (well, Warners' Show of Shows not so much), and this is one of the great ones. I wish Universal would also restore and release Paramount on Parade as it really has some wonderful musical highlights, too.
     
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  3. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    :dance:Happy Feet!
     
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  4. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    I think King of Jazz is also the first time a color cartoon was made. I asked Walter Lantz about it once and he told me that they didn't know what kind of paint to use on the cels. On King of Jazz they used house paint for the colors and it was a huge mess. The paint shrank and pulled back from the lines as it dried leaving gaps. Lots of corrections needed. But the animation by Bill Nolan is fantastic.
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Weren’t there a couple of two-color Betty Boop’s that followed not too long after?
     
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  6. aPhil

    aPhil Supporting Actor

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    The review mentions 1932 2-color "Doctor X" surviving as a release print.
    From what source does the Black & White version of 1932 "Doctor X" survive, as I would really like to see it.
     
  7. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    This is quite possible. At the very least, it beat Flip the Frog in "Fiddlesticks" to release by six months.
     
  8. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Greatly looking forward, for both technological and musical content.
     
  9. Message #10 of 93 Mar 5, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
    Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Cinematographer

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    It was somewhere here on HTF where I first heard that the B&W version was a differently shot, unique version. Back in the early 80's I can remember a B&W version of it playing on our local PBS station and the host mentioning that it was originally in color. Whether this was the differently shot black and white version or just a monochrome version of the original color version I don't know. I've never seen it anywhere since and it's never been released anywhere, to my knowledge. I would like to see it, too.

    That SAME PBS channel also played MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM but obviously didn't realize it was supposed to be in color. When playing B&W movies in those days, channels would often reduce the "color" in the signal so as to avoid that annoying pink "shimmer" that would sometimes appear in B&W NTSC broadcasts (anyone remember Lucy Ricardo's dresses?) and they did that to WAX, resulting in there being just the TINIEST bit of color for the first two thirds. Someone obviously realized their mistake and it suddenly BLAZED into color for the finale. I was SO disappointed, heheh.
     
  10. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    No, it's a completely different version with alternate takes and camera angles. You can see some shots in the trailer.

     
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  11. Message #12 of 93 Mar 5, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
    Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Cinematographer

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    In the days before good duping stock, trailers were almost always made up of alternate, unused takes. We're going on more than that, yes?

    From imdb:
    which sounds rather definitive (with the name of the cinematographer) that a second version was prepared. Again, I don't know it's whereabouts. Does anyone?

    Then there's wikipedia:
     
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  12. Message #13 of 93 Mar 5, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
    battlebeast

    battlebeast Cinematographer

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    If criterion can do this with KING OF JAZZ, i'd love to see them release THE HOLLYWOOD REVUE OF 1929.
     
  13. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    Poor Cinderella was 1934
     
  14. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    All the clips I've seen look like a lot of fun. Something about two-color Technicolor adds this stylized element that really looks neat. Definitely looking forward to checking this out.

    Criterion and Universal also collaborated on the 1928 part-silent/part-talkie Lonesome, which is another obscure gem that got a terrific release.
     
  15. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    The black and white version is out there. I think it ran on early cable back in the TBS days and is floating around among collectors.
     
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  16. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    I have a copy of the B&W transfer, which used to be the more commonly-seen version of the film on TV until MGM/UA did a transfer of the color version in the late '80s. They're definitely two different films, with different camera setups, takes and editing flow. As far as I know, WB has the elements on the B&W version, too.
     
  17. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    It's too bad that the alternate Black & White version couldn't have been included as a bonus feature!

    CHEERS! :)
     
  18. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    Perhaps Warner Archive will see this and consider an issue of the B&W version paired with the Technicolor version.
     
  19. bujaki

    bujaki Cinematographer

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    Richard Towers shot the B&W version of Doctor X; Ray Rennahan, the color.
     
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