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Will Krupp

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Was anyone else disappointed in Criterion's recent Blu-ray release of Paramount's The Lady Eve? Obviously not taken from the original film negative, but just the same, I expected more from Criterion.

In fairness, we were told that the EVE elements were in dire shape and, in fact, that's what held the blu-ray release up for so long. I'm happy with what we got as they can't ALWAYS work miracles

To lose one negative may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.

"It reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution!"
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Citizen87645

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The Paramount press event cited the use of a "fine grain" for the Roman Holiday restoration. Can someone speak to how that element is typically used in the movie film processing...uh, process? And how/why the fine grain would be suitable as an alternative to the original negative for restoration purposes.

I can sort of piece it together with a Google search, but it'd be nice to have expert explanation. :)
 

Robert Harris

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The Paramount press event cited the use of a "fine grain" for the Roman Holiday restoration. Can someone speak to how that element is typically used in the movie film processing...uh, process? And how/why the fine grain would be suitable as an alternative to the original negative for restoration purposes.

I can sort of piece it together with a Google search, but it'd be nice to have expert explanation. :)

One must generationally go negative / positive / negative / positive.

A fine grain, or easier a lavender, was a protection, duplicating elements toward the production of
duplicate printing negs. The fact that a lavender was a print on tinted stock didn't help contrast all
that much.

If there is no extant orig neg, the next element in line is a fine grain master, and they can be
wonderful for duplication, as long as they're made well.
 

Josh Steinberg

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At a certain point, there’s only so much to be done with poor quality surviving elements, particularly at the budget range home video affords.
 

Trancas

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"The Lady Eve" 's fine detail and specular highlights (look at the catchlights in the eyes) are all lost in generational murk.

"On the recent podcast with Roger Deakins, Lee Kline talked a bit about the restoration for this. He says that he spent 2+ years looking for a good print of it and had to look through 8 different prints of the film just to see which one had the least damage. He states that it took 4 months to restore and that "it looks pretty good" but wishes it looked like the original negatives."

I wonder if Mr. Kline looked closely enough at those 8 prints to look not for the least damage, but for which print(s) retained the most fine detail?

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PatrickDA

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Another William Wyler film The Best Years of Our Lives is also missing it's original film negative and in fact lost in shipment?

Bottom of the Atlantic Ocean! Sent to Europe for some screenings and the ship sank on the way back over is what was reported when that blu-ray was released.
 

Harold Chasen

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I imagine we would all be rather depressed if we knew just how many ONegs are missing in film history.

That's for sure! But on the other hand, I'm often startled at ONegs that have survived. For example, The Big Parade, a good chunk of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and Kentucky Kernels, to name three that I would have been SURE would be long gone, but still exist to be turned into Blu-Rays and DCP's.

As for The Lady Eve, the frustration at not being able to find better source materials was made quite apparent in the accompanying booklet. It's customary for Criterion to describe what was used for the transfer, but this is the only one I've seen where they list what was NOT used, with a palpable tension:

"After the world's archives were combed, and multiple third and fourth generation copies held by the UCLA Film and Television Archive an the Library of Congress were reviewed, a 34 mm fine-grain master positive from Universal Studios was determined to be the best element to scan for this film."
 

Trancas

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As for The Lady Eve, the frustration at not being able to find better source materials was made quite apparent in the accompanying booklet. It's customary for Criterion to describe what was used for the transfer, but this is the only one I've seen where they list what was NOT used, with a palpable tension:

"After the world's archives were combed, and multiple third and fourth generation copies held by the UCLA Film and Television Archive an the Library of Congress were reviewed, a 35 mm fine-grain master positive from Universal Studios was determined to be the best element to scan for this film."
Is Criterion saying they used a fourth generation "fine-grain master positive from Universal Studios" as the source for their blu-ray?
It sure doesn't look like a 2nd generation fine-grain was used, does it?
 

Johnny Angell

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Between the 1890s and today, probably tens of thousands. Some important titles from the 1960s and '70s.

This is not a Paramount thing...
This is what happens when the bean-counters are put in charge of art. What would Hollywood have done if they controlled the Mona Lisa? “At least it’s got a nice frame, we’ll keep that. That stupid smile pisses me off. And look at all the cracks in the paint.”
 

ArnoldLayne

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Great to hear this is a quality disc. I've been trying to catch up on William Wyler's filmography lately, so I'm looking forward to filling in another gap.
Today I received The Cold Blue, which contains William Wyler's The Memphis Belle, from a new 'frame-by-frame 4k restoration'. Can't wait to watch it.
 

Trancas

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Unlike Amazon's slowness in sending newly released Warner Archive blu rays, Roman Holiday is out for delivery from Amazon today on release day!
I hope Paramount isn't one of those companies that allows Amazon to distribute Amazon-burned discs rather than officially pressed ones.:oops:
 

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