A Few Words About A few words about... Mighty Joe Young

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The last time that I saw Mighty Joe Young was a 35mm nitrate sepia print from the original release.

    While I miss the sepia, which was interesting, but not essential in any way, the new DVD represents the film beautifully.

    The image is so sharp and pristine, that one can see reflections of foreground action in the glass plates which provide the background.

    If you've wondered what Kong might look like from orignal materials, this should provide the answer, albeit on a later film stock, with a lower grain structure.

    Warner has again, done a beautiful job of bringing the film to DVD.

    High recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Question - was the original 35mm print sepia all the way through and then tinted/toned to yellow & orange for the fire sequence?
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I can hardly wait for this disc (and the King Kong and Son of Kong discs). Finally!
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    My memory may be flawed, but I don't specifically recall the fire sequence, which may well have been tint / tone.
     
  5. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Thanks, I saw the AMC cable presentation a number of years ago and the fire sequence was tinted. Mr. Harryhausen said in a recent interview that it was originally tinted by Technicolor in some sort of red & orange system.

    I'm showing it in 35mm in three weeks and hope that the print is tinted in that scene. If not, I'll recreate it somehow with a colored gel in the lightpath. [​IMG]
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This is my favorite giant ape film and I can't hardly wait for my dvd to come. Also, I remembered the fire sequence as being tint/tone.





    Crawdaddy
     
  7. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    Mr. Harris' mind is a little foggy on this topic, so here are facts based on both Technicolo and RKO's files:

    Most of the film was straight black and white. The fire sequence was NOT tinted red (this came about in the '50s reissue for reasons I'll expunge on below).

    Instead, it was a weird variation on experiments that Technicolor was doing in colorization of film using varying contrasted negatives and mattes. Using these negatives as a basis for dye-transfer, the shadows were printed in a sepia-brown color, midtones were red, and highlights were a hot yellow-pink.

    The end scene in O'Hara's office WAS sepia color, but still dye transfered (ie. not toned black and white film), but the projected footage of Jill's film was straight black and white. When Joe gets the banana, it was yellow.

    RKO obviously had issues with this (it was costly), and after the first-run prints were struck, cut Technicolor out of the picture. All following prints were either straight black and white or were tinted red at the end. I've seen frame blow-ups from a '50s safety re-issue owned by a collector and by that point, it was simply printed on red-tinted stock.
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Actually I'm less "foggy" than one might suspect.

    I examined an original 1949 35 nitrate of this film, which was tinted.

    The additional experiments that Technicolor may have done to this title would be a different subject entirely, and I'm unfamiliar with that part of the film's history. The print which I examined had no "yellow banana" or anything else of the sort. It was plain and simple tinting.

    RAH
     
  9. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    No doubt it was not a first-run print that you examined, as Technicolor's notes as well as several people I've interviewed who saw the film on its original release in a few New York theaters vividly recalled the sequence.
     
  10. John Sparks

    John Sparks Screenwriter

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    ...and the plot thickens as to what is the real story of the tinted/2 strip technocolor fire sequence!

    Mr. Harris, earlier in a different thread, you stated that the "Son of Kong" was released in sepia tone, is that true? I wonder why, if it is true, that it wasn't released that way on the new DVD?
     
  11. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    If I noted tinted / sepia prints of Son of Kong in another thread, the comment was made in error. The correct title for discussion was MJY.

    If Technicolor prints were produced for MJY in any form of the dye transfer process, there would be full extant notes available.
     
  13. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Is the fire sequence tinted on the DVD?
     
  14. Bill Huelbig

    Bill Huelbig Second Unit

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    It's going back 30 years or more, but do any New York area members recall the WOR-TV Channel 9 tradition of showing "King Kong" and "Mighty Joe Young" back-to-back every year on Thanksgiving? Thanks to the well-timed DVD release of both films on Tuesday, I'll be able to re-create that tradition again.

    My memory fails me on this, but does anyone remember whether "Son of Kong" was shown every year as well?
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The fire sequence is beautifully, and properly, tinted in amber.

    This is yet another film which has stood the test of time. It is just as entertaining today as it was half a century ago.

    Interestingly, one point which always troubled me as a child, still seems odd today. The comparison of sizes of humans vs. Joe is quite different between the main portion of the film, and the final (projected) sequence, when Joe appears to be about "only" about 8 feet in height.

    As one of the extras on this disc, we are treated to a 12 minute discussion with Ray Harryhausen and "Jennifer," the original Joe armature.

    A great film, handled with love and care by Warner Home Video, and a gift at less than nine dollars, as part of the Kong Collection.
     
  16. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    And Mr. Harris seems to indicate (again, correct me if I'm wrong) that there aren't.

    Both can't be right here. Were there first-run Technicolor prints made that feature the yellow banana, etc., or not? This is the first I've ever heard of this, and I'm greatly intrigued. If there were actually such prints, and one was still in existence, and these special sequences could be utilized for some future release, that would just be TOO cool for us classic monster fans.
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Hopefully I'm not confusing the issue of printing technologies.

    I"m not saying that experiments were not carried out, nor that notes do not exist.

    I am saying that if this were the case, that there would be extant files. There really shouldn't be any great mystery here.
     
  18. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    A simple search through Technicolor's records will easily surface this information, as I and others have found myself (I was clued in by Scott MacQueen, a highly reputable source). It's not rocket science, folks, and it's certainly not seldom-known. If you want the proof, get it yourself.

    Even several first-run reviews of the film recall this brilliant technique, as do several people I have interviewed who saw it in New York City on its original release and should I have some time, I'll gladly do a little search for my newsclippings.
     
  19. Bob-ATL

    Bob-ATL Stunt Coordinator

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    I remember WOR-TV doing this too! I was just talking to a co-worker about it yesterday. I only remember them showing Mighty Joe Young, but that could because Joe was my favorite. Selective memory I guess. Don't remember if Son of Kong was part of the Thanksgiving airings.

    I'll probably watch Joe this Thursday!

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    Yep, SON was shown every year on Thankgiving, along with the original KONG and JOE.
     

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