1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

"A Star Is Born" Garland in 6k resolution

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Danoldrati, May 23, 2008.

  1. marknyc

    marknyc Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Real Name:
    Mark Smith
    Whether or not studios ever sold or gave legal prints of films to individuals is debatable, but that fact is that 99% of the prints out there were not obtained legally. In all the collectors and dealers I have known over the years, not once did I ever hear of someone who had any legal documentation proving they were the rightful owner of a print. It was all done on the black market, and WB could easily sue any collector who wouldn't play ball. We can disagree on whether or not they would win, but they could sure make life hell for the collector.

    The only thing that would convince me that a collector has more ASIB footage is verification from someone who had personally watched the footage. Too many collectors claim to have stuff they really don't have, or we hear about it from a "trusted source."
     
  2. Vern Dias

    Vern Dias Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 1999
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Many 35mm prints were sold to the armed services film exchanges in the past.

    Vern
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    12,282
    Likes Received:
    14,605
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    Both 35mm and 16mm prints have been sold by certain studios for decades, inclusive of overrun prints for use as fill leader, old prints clearing out exchanges and new 16mm prints produced to order.

    Anyone who owns a print owns the sprocket holes and ability to use it in a home setting. Prints cannot be used for any type of commercial purpose.

    As an example, many 16mm prints of the pre-1949 Warner productions, inclusive of dye transfer prints of The Adventures of Robin Hood were sold to collectors for home (non-theatrical) use only, for life of print. Many of these prints are still out there.

    While one should not have a 35mm print of Indy 4 (for example), an old print from the '50s should not cause any waves unless used inappropriately.

    Generally, the studios, inclusive of WB, are extremely collector friendly.

    RAH
     
  4. Garysb

    Garysb Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Messages:
    2,896
    Likes Received:
    1,250
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    As the uncut version of A Star Is Born only played for the first few weeks of the its release to first run theaters it seems unlikely that 16 mm or print overruns would have been made of the complete version for Warners to sell or give away. Unlike today, movies like A Star is Born played in one or two theaters per city when they first opened. There could not have been that many prints of the complete version made. Per Ron Haver's book the complete version prints were cut while the film was still playing in first run and the trims were sent back to the Warner Bros film exchanges. The hope is or was that some of the trims were not destroyed or that maybe a print wasn't cut in error. I think it is fair to say in the case of A Star Is Born that a complete print or the trims were not obtained legally.
    Perhaps someone who was told to destroy the trims kept them instead.
     
  5. marknyc

    marknyc Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Real Name:
    Mark Smith
    According to Haver:

    Technicolor had made the first set of prints for the full-length road show version back in 1954. According to their September 1954 records, they printed 150 four-track stereo prints on Eastmancolor stock for the first run. Then no more work was done until mid-October, when an order came through to cut the master negative...The excised material - the "trims and deletions" as the order phrased it - were put in cans, numbered 430 through 440, and shipped back to the studio.

    Thereafter, the print orders called for another 150 optical prints of the short version made by the dye-transfer process, for second-run usage. From this shortened master negative were made all the subsequent printing materials for 16mm and foreign 35mm use. So much for a full-length version being printed overseas.

    According to the studio files at USC...orders went out from the editorial department to all film exchanges across the country, instructing them how to cut the prints and to send the excised material back to the studio. At this point, we thought it was worth a try to contact people who had worked in the film exchanges to see if possibly some zealous studio editor/inspector had cut it and kept it. The Academy placed ads in daily and weekly Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. The response, while gratifying in numbers, turned up nothing of interest.

    I asked Dan Adler what would have happened to the film cans shipped back to the studio..."In those days, we'd keep it for six months and then junk it." Was it possible that some of it might not have been junked? "Possible, but not likely."
    ____________________

    Haver contacted a number of collectors and did an exhaustive search of film vaults. What he found is what we see in the 1983 restoration. (I saw the first screening in Chicago, and was quite proud that I figured out he had found the stock footage, before I read that anywhere! =)
     
  6. Danoldrati

    Danoldrati Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    48
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Real Name:
    Dan Oldrati
    I saw "A Star is Born" in 1954 at the Earl theater located at 28th and Reed St. in South Philadelphia. The movie theater was a third run house but somehow they had an uncut copy. I was 10 years old and of course didn't know anything about movies being cut. I was just mesmerized so I return the next day and saw it again. A few years later it was reissued and I was very disappointed, a few of my favorite scenes were missing. So strange things do happen. I wish I could remember more details about the exact date I saw the movie but I know it was before the 1955 Academy awards.
     
  7. Drew Salzan

    Drew Salzan Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    110
    I'm surprised that despite the Technicolor credit at the brginning, that all of the prints were not printed by Technicolor.
     
  8. Richard M S

    Richard M S Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Messages:
    759
    Likes Received:
    171
    Trophy Points:
    610

    Actually, wasn't the "collector" of the Gypsy footage actor Karl Malden who starred in the film? I think he just happened to have his own private unedited print and it was no problem for Warners to use the footage.
     
  9. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,366
    Likes Received:
    2,021
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Salinas, CA
    Real Name:
    Matthew

    They were printed by Technicolor, they were just not printed in the IB Tech process. Why they would choose Eastmancolor prints for this film, which was to be their tentpole picture of 1954, and then print it in dye-transfer after the edits, is beyond me.
     
  10. marknyc

    marknyc Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Real Name:
    Mark Smith
    The "Gypsy" footage is from a very red 16mm print and could never be remastered to fit in unobtrusively. I did cut it into the actual film (it's included as a bonus on the DVD) and the change is quite abrupt. (BTW, you can see why they cut it before release: three non-singers attempting to do "Together" is painful to listen to!)

    I think the fact that WB is doing a 6K remaster makes it clear that they do "care" about this film, and would do whatever is needed to obtain any missing scenes. So until someone comes forward to say they have actually seen this mythical footage, I remain unconvinced.
     
  11. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Messages:
    909
    Likes Received:
    284
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    New York
    Real Name:
    Jack Theakston

    Well, how do you know where any print comes from? I mean, you could apply the same to used cars: are all of them stolen goods too, just because there are SOME stolen cars on the market?

    Truth is, as mentioned, there were a LOT of prints distributed quite legally over the years. WB, at one point, would strike you any print of any film in 16mm or 35mm that they had a neg on (granted, this was the '50s, when mostly anyone willing to shell out that much would have been staff). You don't know where these prints come from, so how can you say they're illegal, any more than that they're legal?

    In order to bring any charges, you have to apply the doctrine of stolen merchandise to the situation: 1) proof that it was stolen, 2) proof that the person buying the goods knew that it was stolen goods and 3) proof that said buyer actually owned it. Two out of three are relatively impossible to prove on any level.
     
  12. Rob W

    Rob W Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 23, 1999
    Messages:
    751
    Likes Received:
    429
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Real Name:
    Robert
     
  13. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Messages:
    909
    Likes Received:
    284
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    New York
    Real Name:
    Jack Theakston
    No, I'm just trying to soften the blow. [​IMG]
     
  14. marknyc

    marknyc Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Real Name:
    Mark Smith
    The collectors I know were threatened with legal action because they had no proof that they had legally bought their films. No studio has to prove a film was stolen in order to seize it - when the FBI moved in on the collector who had the "Lose That Long Face" number, they simply took all his films, since he had no evidence he had obtained them legally.

    The point I'm making is that we all know that the vast majority of these films were not obtained legally. Putting a collector in jail might be a stretch, but seizing the films is easily done. Anyone who buys stolen merchandise risks having it returned to the rightful owner. They may not face criminal charges, but they certainly can lose the item.

    So if WB knew that some guy had TWO complete prints of ASIB, they could and would seize them - unless the guy had documentation that they were sold or given to him legally. Which he certainly does not.
     
  15. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Messages:
    909
    Likes Received:
    284
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    New York
    Real Name:
    Jack Theakston
    Mark, I'm sorry, but again I must disagree with you. Anyone who was busted in the '70s had their collections confiscated because there WAS proof that they had bought unauthorized copies (ie. dupes).


    Sorry, we "don't all know that." You're looking from the outside in. I know where a lot of prints that passed through my hands came from. Few of them were stolen. A large portion of them were sold through exchanges to make space.

    You can't seize property just because you DON'T know it's legally purchased. You must have proof that it's illegal. WB has no leg to stand on with the gentleman with the prints, because if you know the backstory to how he got them, it's clear that they WEREN'T stolen.
     
  16. marknyc

    marknyc Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Real Name:
    Mark Smith
    As I said in an earlier post, I am not looking "from the outside in."

    I knew, and know, a number of film collectors and dealers. I'll never forget the night, at the tender of age of 17, when I was invited to the home of one of Chicago's biggest 16mm film collectors and stayed up 'til 6 am screening prints. I knew his dealer, Vito, and the late Fred Clarke of CFQ, who also collected. There were also a couple of guys who collected only 35mm. I recall screening a 35mm nitrate print of "Son of Kong." Breathtaking - the only nitrate print I have ever seen (we kept a fire extinguisher handy).

    We all knew, and discussed, that none of this was legal, and Vito was shut down by the FBI in the 80s. Some of the films were being thrown out. But just because a film is unclaimed, that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want with it. And you're wrong that the police have to prove someone knew an item was stolen in order to seize. As long as the studios can prove that they never sold or gave the prints to anyone, they can seize them, which they have done in the past. The burden of proof is not on them.

    Of course, this urban legend claims that after destroying all complete prints of ASIB, the studio gave two complete prints to a former employee, in order to explain why their hands are tied. That's absurd, but even if he had documentation that they were given to him, I'm sure he has improperly obtained prints and they could threaten to take those.

    The point is that if WB knew these prints existed, there are a number of legal actions they could take against the collector, and they would do so before releasing a 6K transfer of the restoration.
     
  17. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Messages:
    909
    Likes Received:
    284
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    New York
    Real Name:
    Jack Theakston

    I seriously doubt it. I'm not going to change your mind about the collector market and where this stuff comes from, but I can tell you with some definitiveness that WB knows about this particular collector and has chosen not to act upon it.
     
  18. marknyc

    marknyc Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Real Name:
    Mark Smith
    As I said, there may be some legal prints out there, but my experience with the many film collectors and dealers I have known over the years is that 95% of the prints being traded and sold are not legal.

    As to this story, I'll believe it when someone who has actually seen a screening writes to say that. We all want to believe that lost footage exists, but that doesn't make it so. Especially a story as unbelievable as this. TWO IB Tech prints? C'mon.
     
  19. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    Messages:
    1,544
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Real Name:
    Doug Bull
    Here is a well guarded secret from the past.

    Most 16mm and 35mm Prints circulated among Film Collectors in Australia during the 60s and 70s were considered to be highly illegal.
    All collectors were scared of being raided and so were extremely secretive on what they had or where they were stored.

    Screenings were usually only held between those in this select group.

    Long after their theatrical run was over, the prints were withdrawn from circulation by the Studios and sent to the rubbish dump to be destroyed (cut up with an Axe and then burnt or buried)

    Certain money would exchange hands by somebody with a tip off (that person was Australia's Biggest collector, but is now long dead) and the Studio's truck load of films would somehow, mysteriously find their way onto another truck which would then drive from house to house and the films offered for sale among the collectors.
    If you were first on the round you got to pick the best titles.( if you weren't home or didn't have the cash -too bad )
    Fox and Paramount titles were the most plentiful in those days. MGM and Warners, because of tight security with their dumping, were most rare and so any MGM or Warner title would fetch a premium.(especially Musicals)

    Features sold for $40-$60 with trailers and Short subjects bringing about $5-$10 each.
    As the films were going to be destroyed anyway, most collectors did not feel too guilty.

    I must add here that the collector I spoke about had the largest collection of rare titles (both silent and sound) and that after his death his enormous collection was passed onto the Australian Film Archives.
    Because of private film collection, they now own many prints that were considered lost at the time.
    So collectors do have a role to play.

    The majority of collectors I knew would NEVER EVER touch a film that they knew was actually stolen.

    Rising Film prices along with the convenience of Laserdiscs and DVDs saw a fall off of Australian Film Collectors.

    I'm sure they are still out there, but that is, now, just a memory for me.
     
  20. marknyc

    marknyc Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Real Name:
    Mark Smith
    Any news on a release date? If not, any guesses?
     

Share This Page