A Few Words About A few words about...™ My Fair Lady (Take Two) -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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There is a single shot in My Fair Lady, that is the only element in the new restoration that I feel isn't totally perfect.

It's 33 feet, 12 frames long, and it has just the very slightest quality of what might be considered leaning toward a slightly "gritty" look.

The shot is from 65mm black & white separation masters, as are another 1,967 feet, or 22 minutes of the film, as original negative had been destroyed during the intervening decades.

The trick, if there is one, is to move absolutely transparently from original negative, be it faded, damaged, torn, whatever -- to black & white separation masters, so that no one is the wiser.

David Lean had a theory about film restoration.  His take was that it should be considered much like a Native American hand-woven blanket, and that at least a single flaw should show.

Will any viewers notice the flaw?  We'll see.

Other than that, thanks to a superb band of men and women, who inspected (Pro-Tek) and repaired the film elements, scanned, stabilized, colored, cleaned, and did digital repairs, My Fair Lady now looks much as it did in 1964.

Overall, the original Eastman Kodak 5251 65mm negative was slightly faded, but more problematic had differential fade, especially at heads and tails of shots.  Color correction (by Fotokem's Mark Griffith) would begin at the center of affected shots, and then correct the heads and tails, dissolving into the body of the shot, and occasionally color correcting a frame at a time.

An hour or more on a shot?  Not unusual.

We calculated that over twelve million fixes were performed for dirt, detritus, tears, scratches, and a myriad of other anomalies, inclusive of mold that had grown on the separation masters.

The fact that the original negative was just worn out, doesn't begin to tell the story.

As to audio, Nicholas Bergh, of Endpoint Audio Labs, was able to achieve an audio image from the original 1964 6-track full coats, and Audio Mechanics' John Polito was able to take the 96k tracks, clean them, and create new re-recorded media for both theatrical as well as 7.1 home video.

We felt that the audio was so incredibly and clean, that we chose to give up a bit of real estate on the Blu-ray, and run the tracks at full 96k, a rarity, in Dolby True HD.

Achieving pure black and white, especially from faded elements is always fun, and all involved are thrilled with the final results.  Pure blacks, at multiple levels, along with enough air to separate wool suits from satin collars.  Gray scale is miraculous.  Color superb.

The ability to use the 65mm masters, and have them perfectly fit together, which was something impossible to do in 1994, adds measurably to the final result.

Happy camper here.

By the way, compare the shot of Ms Hepburn coming down the stairs in her ball gown to the surrounding shots.  That one shot is derived from black & white elements.

If you feel the desire to thank CBS, for their foresight, respect of their library, and willingness to make a huge investment, you'd be on the right track.

​Your purchase of My Fair Lady, not only aids film restoration, but sends a message that properly restored and released classics, will not be overlooked.

And keep in mind, that the discs you'll be playing are running at 1/4 resolution.

That's the miracle of Blu-ray.

So...

Is this a Perfect restoration?

No.

There's one tiny little flaw.

And Sir David would be happy.

Image - 5*

 

Audio - 5*

4k Up-rez - 5

 

Pass / Fail - Pass

 

Very Highly Recommended

 

RAH

 

atcolomb

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I guess i can give the first blu-ray release to my Brother just like i did with other blu-ray's where the second time around was better in image and sound. Happy that buying the new version will help film restoration of other classics.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Seeing and hearing it in the theater at 2k was a marvel. According to Amazon, they are "Preparing for Shipment". It is exactly 400 days since I placed my preorder. I can't wait to have this in my hands to enjoy.


I cannot thank you, CBS and the dedicated professionals you worked with enough for your efforts above and beyond the call of duty to save my favorite big screen musical for the ages. The final product, from what I saw on the big screen, is nothing short of miraculous. And hearing that the audio on the Blu-Ray utilizes a 96k sample rate is a wonderful bonus.
 

Allansfirebird

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I'm wondering if I'll have a delayed shipment with MFL as Amazon did with my copy of Spartacus... Either way, I can't wait to lay mine eyes on this disc!
 
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AnthonyClarke

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33 feet, 12 frames long of slightly less than optimal quality?

Well, really. I don't really know whether to send my disc back to Amazon when it arrives .. or whether to watch it half a dozen times first and try to spot the anomaly. Maybe the latter......

Can't wait !
 

AnthonyClarke

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Had to post this link in case anyone has missed it:

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/My-Fair-Lady-Blu-ray/113301/#Review

Does anyone else agree that it's a bit chary of praise? They could have been a bit more positive about it! Damning with faint praise, I call it.

I also want to complain about Amazon's service. I received this morning a notice that my copy has been shipped.

I've been to my letterbox six times. But is still hasn't arrived!

What's going on? I mean, Australia is still on Planet Earth. It's not as if it's on Mars!
 
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Tony Bensley

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AnthonyClarke said:
Had to post this link in case anyone has missed it:

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/My-Fair-Lady-Blu-ray/113301/#Review

Does anyone else agree that it's a bit chary of praise? They could have been a bit more positive about it!
Hi Anthony!


A bit chary, indeed! ;)


Seriously though, other than perhaps being a bit too kind in labeling the "previous release" watchable, it's a most loverly review! :)


CHEERS! :)


Tony
 

DP 70

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Just got this and tried on my 2K Digital Projector with about a 14 ft picture and it looked fantastic better than some DCPs I have shown.

Thanks again Mr Harris and all for your hard work.


The Best BD I own.
 

Scott Merryfield

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12 frames?! 12 frames?! The next thing you'll be telling us is that there is no slip cover! This is just unacceptable! :)

Seriously, the only negative for me is that I will not have time to watch my copy for a couple of weeks. :(
 
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Dr Griffin

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I never noticed the quick cut in Spartacus, until it was discussed in this forum, so I doubt I will notice the 33 feet. Well, maybe now I will notice, but I'll try not to breakdown over it. Maybe I am among the diminishing crowd that can still enjoy watching a movie without twitching every few minutes over a few thorns among the roses. :lol:
 

David Weicker

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I apologize for my confusion.

What is the relationship between 33 feet and 12 frames?

Does this mean each frame is two-foot nine-inches of film?
 

WilliamMcK

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Ah... I dunno... is it really worth double dipping? :lol: :lol: :lol: (Mine is supposed to arrive on Thursday... *and* I'm going to see it projected in 4K in the theaters again on Sunday... in Hazlet, NJ)
 
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Mike Frezon

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David Weicker said:
I apologize for my confusion.

What is the relationship between 33 feet and 12 frames?

Does this mean each frame is two-foot nine-inches of film?
I'm no expert on such things, David, but i think the 12 frames is just a sub-division of 33 feet.


It's kind of like saying that something is 6-feet 4-inches long.


The scene is 33-feet 12-frames long on the actual film.
 
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Mike Frezon said:
I'm no expert on such things, David, but i think the 12 frames is just a sub-division of 33 feet.


It's kind of like saying that something is 6-feet 4-inches long.


The scene is 33-feet 12-frames long on the actual film.
Quite correct, Mike. There is no way 12 frames of film would be equal to 33 feet. RAH could have said 33 feet AND 12 frames.


Having passed on the previous release due to its less than stellar reviews, I am watching the newly restored version right this moment, and it is jaw-droppingly beautiful in every way (except perhaps for that 33 feet, 12 frames). Stunning!!! Kudos, Mr. Harris, on another fantastic job!
 

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