What's new

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
14,540
Real Name
Robert Harris
Aeons ago, before I hit my early teens, my parents went on an extended trip.
This was during a time that the cinema was becoming a part of my soul.

One of my father's friends was involved in the films for TV game, and shortly
before the trip, half a dozen large cardboard cartons arrived, along with a 16mm projector.

This was a special treat for evenings after schoolwork was done, and weekends.

There was an assortment of Monogram films - I was learning about the "B"
production entities, along with a number of pre-1949 Warner titles.

I recall seeing a short commemorating the 25th anniversary of sound at Warners, with
sequences from many early Vitaphone films I'd thus far not seen, following audio up
through the latest and greatest of the era, inclusive of scenes from a Bogart film.

The prints were all used. Many had cue marks where commercials would be cut in. Some
fades and dissolves had been removed. But for some the image quality rang out, loud and
clear.

I was learning the difference of printing methods, of Kodak vs Dupont film stock, of
prints made by reduction from 35 negatives as opposed to being produced from 16 dupes.

Two titles became my favorites.

One was a 1946 Bogart film - The Big Sleep - and in this old Dupont print, filled to the
brim with silver halide crystals, every detail was visible, down to the chalk pinstripes in
men's suits. What I recall as being telling was that a replacement section had been cut in
from a new dupe neg, which was flat vs deep blacks, and those chalk stripes were all but
invisible.

The other film that caught my attention, probably because I was a huge Gary Cooper fan,
was a 1941 film, about the greatest American hero of World War I - Alvin York - who
came from a town in Tennessee so tiny, that it probably wasn't even on maps. Something
"holler…"

I found it to be a fun film, although I really didn't understand much of it. The concept of
a conscientious objector wouldn't form in my young mind for a bit longer, when I saw
another of Mr. Cooper's films, which came out late in 1956, and in which he (oddly -
does this happen often in films) played a similar character, in an earlier war.

While I'm sure that the mushy parts, with Joan Leslie left little impact on me, even
today I relish hearing him do his turkey calls. That was what the film was about to me
at that time.

Back then, I never would have considered that the film's original cut camera negative
might someday disappear, but this one, along with many others - did.

I'd not seen a quality print of the film in decades, until the new Blu-ray from Warner Archive
arrived recently, and it brought back a flood of memories.

The imagery on this disc is generally magnificent, but not perfect, and possibly something
needs to be explained at this juncture.

Once a camera negative, which permitted a multitude of different looks via different exposures
is gone, we're left with the dupes, and I'm presuming that this transfer came from a fine grain
master.

There are just a couple of shots that appear slightly off on the film now. Both are just
slightly heavy. And I'm betting that when the fine grain was produced, it was made this way.

But no matter, the rich tonalities that appeared in 1941, as captured by Sol Polito, are still
very much in evidence. The close-ups of Joan Leslie are glowing.

Between that first viewing of Sergeant York, and today, many things have changed, and
I can now appreciate the incredible direction of Howard Hawks, the low-key acting of
the great Margaret Wycherly, as Mother York, and the innocence portrayed by both
Miss Leslie and June Lockhart, both sixteen at the time. Miss Lockhart is still with us,
at 95, God bless her!

Along with a commentary by Jeanine Basinger, there's a making-off doc that comes with
the new disc. It was probably on the DVD, but I don't recall seeing it, and it gives a wonderful
concept of what went into getting the film made.

There have been wonderful anti-war films, but few of this quality and import meant to stir
emotions and get us ready for war.

Sergeant York is one of those extraordinary films that gets better with age, both it's and ours, and
our understanding of levels of love of country, love of religion, and how it all comes together.

For those who may have never seen this film, you're in for a treat, and I'm quite jealous of anyone
seeing it for the first time.

This is a film that belongs in every serious collection, and arrives on October 13.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Absolutely

Very Highly Recommended

RAH


Support HTF when you purchase on Amazon
 

PMF

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
5,176
Real Name
Philip
This, this film; which was my first introduction to Hawks, Huston and Cooper; has long been coveted and awaited by both me and my BD library. Can’t wait for its arrival.

Excellent write-up Mr. Harris and thoroughly enjoyable.:thumbs-up-smiley:
 
Last edited:

richardburton84

Supporting Actor
Joined
Sep 4, 2011
Messages
520
Real Name
Jack
The concept of
a conscientious objector wouldn't form in my young mind for a bit longer, when I saw
another of Mr. Cooper's films, which came out late in 1956, and in which he (oddly -
does this happen often in films) played a similar character, in an earlier war.

Just out of curiosity, Mr. Harris, would you happen to know what the condition of the elements for that other Gary Cooper film are?
 
  • Like
Reactions: PMF

Astairefan

Supporting Actor
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Messages
529
Real Name
Neil Powell
Certainly sounds good to hear that this one looks so good, and I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival! Out of curiosity, Mr. Harris, you told us nearly three and a half years ago that they were working on this movie (and already had been for a while). Are you able to tell us what was the cause of the delay?
 

PMF

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
5,176
Real Name
Philip
I am personally amazed, in awe and ever so thankful as to how WAC has been able to supply us with such precious titles throughout this pandemic.

Their work and presentations are of sustained excellence which, when factoring in the countless furloughs of those who worked within the many departments of film preservation, is something that brings me to a pause.

Be it WAC, or any other studio, my hat of admiration is off to all who do this work. But mostly, though, I look forward to one day reading of the news where the fuller forces are finally recalled to their specialties and stations.
 
Last edited:

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
14,540
Real Name
Robert Harris
Certainly sounds good to hear that this one looks so good, and I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival! Out of curiosity, Mr. Harris, you told us nearly three and a half years ago that they were working on this movie (and already had been for a while). Are you able to tell us what was the cause of the delay?

I don’t recall mentioning it, but one might presume it came down to the clean-up of problematic nitrate. I believe the source was a fine grain preserved by MOMA.
 

Dan Cooper

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Messages
160
Real Name
Dan
Without inspecting them, my perception would be problematic, at best.

Bad vintage for film stock.
I hope Warner can do some work on Friendly Persusion and release it on blu ray some day That Sergeant York and High Noon are my three favorite Gary Cooper movies. I am such a fan of these films for years and years and own them on every single home video format rca selectavision CED, Laserdisc, VHS, DVD and bluray for high noon and Sergeant York.
 

PMF

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
5,176
Real Name
Philip
I hope Warner can do some work on Friendly Persusion and release it on blu ray some day That Sergeant York and High Noon are my three favorite Gary Cooper movies. I am such a fan of these films for years and years and own them on every single home video format rca selectavision CED, Laserdisc, VHS, DVD and bluray for high noon and Sergeant York.
A perfect trio of cited Cooper films; but I would have to add “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”. And yes, we would be altogether lucky if “Friendly Persuasion” could ever find its way to Blu.
 
Last edited:

Dan Cooper

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Messages
160
Real Name
Dan
A perfect trio of cited Cooper films; but I would have to add “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”. And yes, we would be altogether lucky if “Friendly Persuasion” could ever find its way to Blu.

Mr Deeds Goes to Town is probably at 4 on my list. I prefer it to meet john doe. I hope it is released in 4k by Sony soon like mr smith was.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PMF

battlebeast

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
3,591
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
Real Name
Warren
Mr Deeds Goes to Town is probably at 4 on my list. I prefer it to meet john doe. I hope it is released in 4k by Sony soon like mr smith was.
I'd love "Friendly Persuasion" to come to blu. It's a great film, and a nominee too. Some Warners DVDs like "Persuasion" and "Yearling" need good restorations to make the technicolor shine.
 

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
14,540
Real Name
Robert Harris
I'd love "Friendly Persuasion" to come to blu. It's a great film, and a nominee too. Some Warners DVDs like "Persuasion" and "Yearling" need good restorations to make the technicolor shine.
Don’t recall offhand if The Yearling fits into the category, but several of the M-G-M productions of the era, had location photography on Kodachrome, separated in post to create three-strip printing elements. I don’t believe the chrome elements are known to survive.
 

PMF

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
5,176
Real Name
Philip
Don’t recall offhand if The Yearling fits into the category, but several of the M-G-M productions of the era, had location photography on Kodachrome, separated in post to create three-strip printing elements. I don’t believe the chrome elements are known to survive.
If a three-strip printing element survives; but not the chrome element; where would this theoretically take a restoration, in terms of its final best-case-scenario result?
 
Last edited:

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
14,540
Real Name
Robert Harris
If a three-strip printing element survives; but not the chrome element; where would this theoretically take a restoration, in terms of its final best-case-scenario result?

Best case would be the pre-final element, which would not replicate the appearance of the final film, which was down a gen.
 
  • Appreciate
Reactions: PMF

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
348,747
Messages
4,855,323
Members
142,370
Latest member
napasada
Recent bookmarks
0
Top