Gone With The Wind-1954 Cropped Shots

Discussion in 'DVD' started by ScottR, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Regarding the 1954 reformatted shots of Gone With the Wind- since the original Technicolor prints would have been pretty heavily cropped anyway, wouldn't the version now seen on dvd be pretty close in terms of cropping to what was projected in 1939? I compared the zoomed in shots of the Ultra Resolution version to the non-zoomed in shots (but vertically panned)shots of previous versions. Yes, the previous versions display various degrees of extra information on the sides of the screen, but I'm not sure how much of that would have been seen when masked by the Technicolor printing process. Perhaps someone could at least post some comparison screenshots of the two versions on disc. One shot is the final shot of the train depot of the wounded soldiers around the 1:17:00 mark or so.
     
  2. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Just to clarify, the half dozen or so shots in question were printed one sproket hole up from the original negative. If the 1939 prints were heavily cropped, wouldn't the image now seen be consistent with the image seen in 1939 anyway?
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Where did information come from that 1939 prints were "heavily cropped?"


    RAH
     
  4. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Actually, I thought that it was talked about in a Wizard of Oz thread that Technicolor prints were cropped more than their negatives. This was brought up when people were complaining that the new Oz disc was missing picture info on the sides.

    Edit: RAH, this quote came from you in a HTF member review thread from the new Oz disc:

    "Having seen the final release discs, I can tell you that cropping is fine.

    Original dye transfer prints were created in five stages. Yellow, cyan and magenta dyes imbibed to the blank, followed by black and white frames lines to mask the image, and the black and white soundtrack.

    What I'm seeing is exposure of the unmasked image on the left side. The new release is proper. Masking frames on these films were quite heavy. Possibly we can post an actual frame as an illustration."
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The frames of the original prints, which also carried a silver image record was heavy, ie. dense enough, to act as a mask to cover splices, possible dirt in the camera aperture, and to bring the image down to a 1.37 aspect ratio.

    The three-strip productions were essentially photographed full frame, but the image area outside what would be cropped was generally not meant for public consumption. In many cases it looked outside of mattes, cycloramas, etc.

    The original release, ie. pre-1954 prints held more vertical information in the affected shots, which was lost thereafter. All of this information would have been originally viewable.

    RAH
     
  6. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Surprisingly, most of the affected shots, were matte shots. How much of the vertical, percentage wise would have been cropped off in 1954 (if printed up one sproket hole?) And wouldn't the bottom have been unaffected?
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The bottom of the image was unaffected.

    The point is that as the actual frameline was moved into view, it provided a new lower matte, which was then covered with the standard 1.37 frame.

    I'm told that there is an original nitate print in China.

    Although this image does not show the area between the frames, it will give some idea of the space involved:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    Mr. Harris,

    I know this is an older topic, but did you ever get the opportunity to look into Ron Haver's claim that the affected shots were prnted onto Eastmancolor before new matrices were made?
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Possible, but doubtful, as the grain structure would have bloomed. One would be separating something and taking it back to black and white with no need.

    Technicolor three-strip and Eastman color are two totally different formats, with the printing matrices produced from black and white negatives.

    One would have had to take the fine grain masters, print them to Eastman color negative stock, and then take the resultant negative and separate it back out to black and white positives. From this three negs could have been produced.

    Rather the long way 'round, and rather like attempting to breed a hippo with a flamingo to produce a giraffe.

    While possible, I can't imagine anyone going that route.

    RAH
     
  10. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    Heheh...good point. I wonder where he got that info from then?
     
  11. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    That's quite a bit of cropping! What I don't understand is why they only selected half a dozen or so shots, and why they picked the ones they did...it's not like they were the most important in the film, or the most spectacular.
     
  12. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    The film was projected through a 1.66:1 plate, with the cropping occuring at the bottom of the 1.37:1 frame (so as not to cut off any heads.) The system was judged to work well, with only a few shots that would suffer appreciably.

    These shots, with important action occuring in the bottom portion of the frame (Scarlett running down the hill, the famous tableau of the wounded soldiers, etc) were the ones chosen to be cropped at the top of the image and re-centered.
     
  13. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Actually, it wasn't the famous shot of the wounded soldiers, it was a final shot of the scene, after Scarlett finds Doctor Meade, and the other shots include a sign of Twelve Oaks that was perfectly centered, some cows on a hill, etc.
     
  14. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    Whatever...you get the general point though
     
  15. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Yeah, thanks for the explanation. I'm just glad that the vertical pans from the past releases have been corrected in this shots. They look better than ever as well. Colors are more vibrant. Some of them (Melanie running down the hill at Tara to meet Ashley) even contain more picture info at the top of the frame. Whoever did this in 1954, made a stupid error for a limited re-release.
     
  16. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    WB should look into the possibility of China having a nitrate print. But could the affected shots, if they existed in a print, be put back into the film without sticking out? Too bad they don't have a 1947 print on hand. WB did a nice job handling these shots for the new release. Although they had to zoom in a bit, resulting in even more cropping, it is better than having to pan and scan the shots as they fade into the next scene.
     
  17. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    Frankly, my dear, WB putting out a new edition of GWTW, improved or not, would be beating a dead horse. They've got better things to move onto at this point.

    PS. The black "masking" served a very simple purpose-- without it, there would be a solid white frameline, which is rather difficult to cover up if your plate was overcut. The residual black image was there to cover up fringing in the early period, but significant changes in the printing process led them to ditch it in the late '30s/early '40s. Personally, I think it makes every film I've seen with it look like crap.
     

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