Interview Exclusive Interview: Robert A. Harris & Kevin Koster on the Restoration of My Fair Lady

Charles Smith

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While basking in the afterglow of properly seeing the restoration of My Fair Lady this weekend, and while happily awaiting delivery of my copy tomorrow, I realized there's an additional quick point to be made:


Comparing Alamo's presentation with that of a venue where they have neither the skill nor passion for showing something like this would be akin to comparing a fine Blu-ray with a DVD. Especially when I have a reference standard of sorts, and that would be the presentation undertaken by Robert Zohn at his lovely emporium last week. It's instructive to remember that that was a BD upscaled to 4K projection -- fine tuned by a couple of smart fellows, to be sure! -- but I still remember standing a few feet from the image and saying I felt I could have walked right into it. In both of these experiences, QUALITY prevailed.
 
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Peter Apruzzese

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I wish Alamo ran a theater somewhere in northern New Jersey - I'd go there a lot... or end up working there if they had film projectors :)
 

Mike Frezon

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I know this discussion of my defunct local theater is off-topic.


But I was driving by today and thought I'd share some pix of what's left of the little bandbox originally called The Uptown:








It's a sad thing.


I keep teasing my wife that it would be a great retirement project for me. She gets quite agitated at that thought! :biggrin:
 

Charles Smith

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Peter Apruzzese said:
I wish Alamo ran a theater somewhere in northern New Jersey - I'd go there a lot... or end up working there if they had film projectors :)
"Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers features 6 screens for new release movies, family and independent films, as well as the Alamo’s unique signature repertory programming. Auditoriums will be equipped with the highest quality Sony 4k digital projection, equipped for both high-frame-rate and RealD 3D presentations. State-of-the-art bi-amplified QSC digital audio systems provide full range multi-channel fidelity for faithful reproduction of audio soundtracks. One auditorium is also equipped with a reel-to-reel 35mm projector system. Each 35mm print is treated with the utmost care and respect from our professional projectionists."


:)
 

PMF

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Lot's to say about my 2K experience with "My Fair Lady", which was shown in a 77 year-old movie house.

But I will refrain, until I've also experienced the 4K venue within these next few days.

Nonetheless, I would be remiss not to share one comment made by an 88 year-old woman, who was in attendance.


"The woodwork in Higgins study seems more polished than before". :)
 

David_Jr

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Mike Frezon said:
I know this discussion of my defunct local theater is off-topic.


But I was driving by today and thought I'd share some pix of what's left of the little bandbox originally called The Uptown:








It's a sad thing.


I keep teasing my wife that it would be a great retirement project for me. She gets quite agitated at that thought! :biggrin:
Thanks for the memories Mike!! It seemed bigger when I was an 11 year old kid. Pardon my wandering further OT, but is it possible that Ben's Sweet Shop is still on the corner across the street? My grandparents lived in an apartment in the building next door and when we visited Grandpa would always take my sisters and me right over to Ben's for an ice cream cone. I remember sitting watching out the window onto Third St. and the theater would always be in my field of view. The neighborhood including the theater looked a lot better back then and there was always activity on the street. Sadly that neighborhood is not what it used to be.
 

Mike Frezon

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It IS further OT... and after this, we should take any further discussion to PM (which I would be more than glad to do).


It's not fair to Neil or anyone who might be expecting new discussion on the interview about the restoration of MFL to be saddled by our reminiscing.


Ben's Sweet Shop--an honest-to-God soda fountain which also sold candy and ice cream--was where I purchased all my comic books as a youth (in the 60s and early 70s). So it holds a sweet spot for me. And my Dad used to tell tales of going there to buy hand-packed quarts of ice cream for his parents back in the 40s. Sadly, Ben Ehrlich--a family friend--is gone and so is the store itself. It has been converted to apartments. All the little neighborhood specialty stores which used to dot the mid-section of Rensselaer are now gone--having given way to the franchise convenience stores, grocery stores, big box hardware stores and suburban malls of today.


If anyone wants to take this particular side discussion further, send me a PM! :biggrin:
 

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Sorry I'm so late with my report on seeing MFL at Symphony Space in Manhattan on October 20. I've written about my unfortunate experience elsewhere, including the MFL Facebook page, but until now, I didn't think to do so here.


Anyway: From what I could tell from the screening, the restoration itself is beautiful BUT....at Symphony Space, there were the following major issues:


1) scan lines or pixels of the digital image were very obvious (I assume it wasn't 4K, though I'm not sure.


2) oddly, the sound kept going slightly in and out of synch -- never very far out of synch, but definitely enough to be annoying


3) THE SOUND WAS IN MONO -- not multi-channel, not even stereo


Very disappointing, so much so that I'm planning to avoid these special event digital screenings in future, especially since I have had other bad experiences in the past.
 

GerardoHP

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I received my Bluray an hour ago and watched some of my favorite scenes. I can only say that I am completely stunned by the spectacular quality of the image and especially the sound. Glorious. I had been waiting 51 years for this.


Thank you, thank you, thank you, RAH et al.
 

cinemiracle

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Michael1 said:
Sorry I'm so late with my report on seeing MFL at Symphony Space in Manhattan on October 20. I've written about my unfortunate experience elsewhere, including the MFL Facebook page, but until now, I didn't think to do so here.


Anyway: From what I could tell from the screening, the restoration itself is beautiful BUT....at Symphony Space, there were the following major issues:


1) scan lines or pixels of the digital image were very obvious (I assume it wasn't 4K, though I'm not sure.


2) oddly, the sound kept going slightly in and out of synch -- never very far out of synch, but definitely enough to be annoying


3) THE SOUND WAS IN MONO -- not multi-channel, not even stereo


Very disappointing, so much so that I'm planning to avoid these special event digital screenings in future, especially since I have had other bad experiences in the past.
SHOWMANSHIP seems to have gone out the door with this presentation. There was only one way to see MFL and that was in 70mm and not digital - just like the amazing experiences that one use to have in the cinemas of yesteryear. To-day's audiences seem to get what they deserve when they go to the cinema. (texting,mobiles,talking etc.). A 70mm Roadshow presentation could run for several years at the same cinema..( South Pacific,Sound of Music etc).Even a 35mm non- English speaking film could run a year or more at the same cinema.(A Man And A Woman, Onibaba etc). It was once common to have half a dozen different 70mm films showing in the same city at the same time. Sadly few cinemas care about presentation today. As an paying audience member you should expect and demand the best in presentation. If not,then you only have yourself to blame.
 

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I just finished watching the whole film, and it is gorgeous from beginning to end. It can't be said enough what a wonderful job RH, CBS, and others have put into this restoration. This is an excellent example of how a film should be restored. This is now my go-to disc when demonstrating to my friends the potential of Blu-ray.

Besides the incredible improvement in contrast and colouring, the clarity of the image is one of the best improvements. I can actually make out some of the lighting configurations by looking at the reflections in the eyes of the actors. The texture of costumes and the set are very rich. However, the most significant visual improvement was the prologue and main title. In the previous Blu-ray, all the shots prior to the WB title card had glaring flicker, weaving, scratches, and hairlines. Then all of the sudden, we get these title cards with ginormous static grain. This is no longer the case with this restoration.

On the audio side of things, this mix is so much clearer. There is a lot of high frequency detail which makes it sound less dull. The dialogue and vocal are much more forward and not buried under the mix. Someone else noted that for the first time ever, he was able to understand every single word in the film.

Also, is that the "ghost of the stairway" that makes an appearance after Wilfrid Hyde-White says, "The way you’ve driven the girl in the last six weeks has exceeded all bounds of common decency."?
 
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Robert Harris

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CMNash said:
I just finished watching the whole film, and it is gorgeous from beginning to end. It can't be said enough what a wonderful job RH, CBS, and others have put into this restoration. This is an excellent example of how a film should be restored. This is now my go-to disc when demonstrating to my friends the potential of Blu-ray.

Besides the incredible improvement in contrast and colouring, the clarity of the image is one of the best improvements. I can actually make out some of the lighting configurations by looking at the reflections in the eyes of the actors. The texture of costumes and the set are very rich. However, the most significant visual improvement was the prologue and main title. In the previous Blu-ray, all the shots prior to the WB title card had glaring flicker, weaving, scratches, and hairlines. Then all of the sudden, we get these title cards with ginormous static grain. This is no longer the case with this restoration.

On the audio side of things, this mix is so much clearer. There is a lot of high frequency detail which makes it sound less dull. The dialogue and vocal are much more forward and not buried under the mix. Someone else noted that for the first time ever, he was able to understand every single word in the film.

Also, is that the "ghost of the stairway" that makes an appearance after Wilfrid Hyde-White says, "The way you’ve driven the girl in the last six weeks has exceeded all bounds of common decency."?
That's him...
 

noel aguirre

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Michael1 said:
Sorry I'm so late with my report on seeing MFL at Symphony Space in Manhattan on October 20. I've written about my unfortunate experience elsewhere, including the MFL Facebook page, but until now, I didn't think to do so here.

Anyway: From what I could tell from the screening, the restoration itself is beautiful BUT....at Symphony Space, there were the following major issues:

1) scan lines or pixels of the digital image were very obvious (I assume it wasn't 4K, though I'm not sure.

2) oddly, the sound kept going slightly in and out of synch -- never very far out of synch, but definitely enough to be annoying

3) THE SOUND WAS IN MONO -- not multi-channel, not even stereo

Very disappointing, so much so that I'm planning to avoid these special event digital screenings in future, especially since I have had other bad experiences in the past.
New York has hit rock bottom for cinema presentation. I used to love going to see movies here. So sad.
 

DP 70

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Sorry I'm so late with my report on seeing MFL at Symphony Space in Manhattan on October 20. I've written about my unfortunate experience elsewhere, including the MFL Facebook page, but until now, I didn't think to do so here.

Anyway: From what I could tell from the screening, the restoration itself is beautiful BUT....at Symphony Space, there were the following major issues:

1) scan lines or pixels of the digital image were very obvious (I assume it wasn't 4K, though I'm not sure.

2) oddly, the sound kept going slightly in and out of synch -- never very far out of synch, but definitely enough to be annoying

3) THE SOUND WAS IN MONO -- not multi-channel, not even stereo

Very disappointing, so much so that I'm planning to avoid these special event digital screenings in future, especially since I have had other bad experiences in the past.
Sounds like the manager only switched on the centre channel amp
 

KPmusmag

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DP 70 said:
Sounds like the manager only switched on the centre channel amp
When I complained to the manager at a screening of Oklahoma! a while back that the sound was mono, I was told that "Movies that old don't have stereo." :wacko:
 
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