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

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Neil Middlemiss, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. zoetmb

    zoetmb Second Unit

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    Just about everything either used to premiere in NYC or be specially treated with special prints, extra equipment added or the introduction of new technology.

    That's no longer the case. NYC used to be a real movie town, but no longer. I don't think that BowTie, which operates the Ziegfeld (and the Chelsea) cares much about doing anything special (other than renting the theatre out for premieres).

    We're a long way from the era in which the Ziegfeld showed films exclusively.

    Since 2001, NYC has lost 32% of its theaters and 18% of its screens. There's been rumors for a few years that we're going to lose the UA14 and the Cinema 1,2, 3rd Ave. Going back decades, there were 139 U.S. theaters with more than 2800 seats. 29 of those were in NYC.

    While the Walter Reade is capable of 70mm, the screen is too small and the audio isn't that great. I was disappointed when I saw Lord Jim there.

    On the other hand, we do now have a Dolby Cinema screen at the AMC Empire 25 (although film can't be shown there).
     
  2. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    NYC is bad. Philadelphia is worse.
     
  3. RichMurphy

    RichMurphy Second Unit

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    We're a long way from the era in which ANY large urban movie theatres showed films exclusively. For that matter, we are now in an era in which most of the few large urban movie theatres that still exist aren't even movie theatres anymore.


    Having met an executive with BowTie, I can attest that they care quite a lot about quality exhibition and the history of their properties. I believe they are doing their best to cope with the losses that the Ziegfeld incurs.
     
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  4. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member

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    Same, with another film. I was happy to see it there, but the fact it was 70mm was just about meaningless.
     
  5. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I'm currently learning resolve because I can't slack and rely on just knowing symphony anymore, what software and hardware do you work on when grading?
     
  6. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

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    Fascinating read as always, RAH.
     
  7. cinemiracle

    cinemiracle Screenwriter

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    Maybe the 70mm prints shown in the USA were superior to that which was shown at Hoyts Entertainment Centre in Sydney,Australia. That was woeful.Other friends had the same view as mine.
     
  8. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Or maybe, just maybe, the Hoyts Entertainment Centre in Sydney, Australia did a bad presentation. Certainly a possibility.
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As I recall, all 70mm prints were struck by deluxe, Hollywood, and all were beautifully made.

    There was only one printing element, and all striping and sounding would have been performed in LA.

    RAH
     
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  10. cinemiracle

    cinemiracle Screenwriter

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    All seven cinemas in the complex had 70mm projection. MFL was shown in the largest cinema.Bad presentation would not make the film so grainy. It was also possible that they used an old print and advertised it as being the new restored print?
     
  11. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Considering how faded a 30 year old 70mm Eastman print would likely have been, I doubt that was the case.
     
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  12. Clark V. Kauffman

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    Just offering a different perspective...

    The day in 1994 that I went to see the 30th Anniversary restoration is still my all-time favorite experience at the movies. Nothing is likely to ever top it. Although I had never seen "My Fair Lady," I was familair with the story and many of the songs, so I was perfectly willing to drive three hours to see it at the McClurg Court Theater in downtown Chicago. I was absolutely blown away -- not just by the content of the film, but by how gorgeous it looked and sounded on the big screen. As I said last year in another thread, when I was walking out of the theater that evening, I was thinking to myself, "So this is what it was like when one went to the movies back in the 1950s and early 1960s." It was an event, not just a casual outing. It was such a thoroughly enjoyable experience, I seriously considered staying for the next show -- and I would have done exactly that were it not for the fact that it would have meant getting back home long after 1 a.m.


    At any rate, I can't conceive of anyone seeing that 1994 restoration, properly projected, and characterizing it as "extremely grainy and an embarrassment."
     
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  13. octobercountry

    octobercountry Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll add to what everyone else has said---I thought the quality of the 1994 re-release was splendid. I saw the picture in DC---let me think, was it playing at the Uptown Theater?---and was blown away. Great presentation---an experience to remember.
     
  14. Jim*Tod

    Jim*Tod Supporting Actor

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    I saw it at the Uptown too... a great experience. And saw it in 1965 at the Criterion in NYC with my dad on a trip to the World's Fair.
     
  15. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Fox also struck 35mm in 1994 on CBS' behalf for some revival play as well. I got to handle one of those prints for a holiday run in Columbus that year, it looked nice.

    But I take your answer to mean that no, CBS will not be making any 35mm prints available of this restoration. Rats.
     
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    That print, and any other 1994s, was struck from a printing dupe, derived from a 65 IP of the restoration. They were beautiful prints, by deluxe.

    RAH
     
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  17. Henry Gondorff

    Henry Gondorff Stunt Coordinator

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    Criterion1964.
     
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  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    For those who wonder how a film frame fits within theatrical guidelines, here's a sample frame with an RP91 overlay.


    5% is considered acceptable for cropping in theatrical. Keep in mind that the actual projected image may appear rectangular, but may be a trapezoid.


    The far sides would be covered by magnetic stripes, and fall outside the crop.


    my_fair_lady_r07ab_RP91grid.
     
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  19. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I see the 5% and 10% markings, but what do the red and yellow boxes represent?
     
  20. KPmusmag

    KPmusmag Screenwriter
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    I saw a 35mm print in Sacramento, at, I believe, The Crest Theater on the K Street mall. I had previously seen the 70mm at The Plitt in L.A., which of course was just gorgeous. I recall thinking that the 35mm showed some "gate weave" and obviously not quite as crisp as the 70mm, but it was still a very nice presentation, rich color, and I recall the sound was very nice, full bodied with surround. The people I went with, some of whom had never seen MFL except on TV, were thrilled to see it on the big screen.
     

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