House Of Wax starring Vincent Price - Black & White or Color?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Johnny G, Jun 30, 2003.

  1. Johnny G

    Johnny G Supporting Actor

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    DVD Planet list this as being the B&W print.

    I'm asking this question for a friend, he's seen the 3D version, Color version, B&W version, Academy ratio, 16mm version and 2.20:1 re-issued version.

    Can anyone tell me whether this actually is the B&W version or can we live in hope that it's the color print?
     
  2. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    The film was shot in colour, so I don't see why Warner would use a black and white print for the transfer.

    Another DVD Planet typo, presumably.


    Gordy
     
  3. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Everything I've seen and heard on-line says color, so the disappointment lies only in that it'll be 2D -- no major studio yet supports the field sequential 3D viewing systems already on the market for DVD (I know of one from Slingshot; there may be others in Region 1 and beyond). [​IMG] The real upside to WB's release will be the inclusion of the Michael Curtiz horror gem Mystery of the Wax Museum, a 2-strip Technicolor feature from 1933. That'd be worth the price alone (assuming it's well-transfered), so the Vincent Price film is a great bonus (and don't misunderstand, I value the film in 2D as splendid entertainment, and the picture certainly works in 2D, but it was designed and shot with the expectation that some audiences would see it in 3D; a 2D-only presentation is thus needlessly incomplete ... and it's the "needlessly" part that sticks in my craw; mayhap in the coming years, though if WB passes on 3D yet again for their edition of Dial M for Murder next year, I have no plans to buy the disc, and as a Grace Kelly fanatic, that pains me deeply. [​IMG]).

    Here's a link to an enlarged front graphic of the disc, as found on Amazon's site:

    http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0...1.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

    Note that they list the film as "color" on their order page:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...693664-5803901
     
  4. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Vincent Price rises again! [​IMG]

    The man is a legend - a true hero of Cinema. The best thing about House Of Wax is Price's performance, not the 3D. But it would have been great to have a 3D-DVD version!

    Mystery Of The Wax Museum is triumph of cinematography, in my opinion, and I can't wait to see this DVD. [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  5. Johnny G

    Johnny G Supporting Actor

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    I must be blind, I checked that Amazon listing & didn't even see the word color.

    Just curious, how does 2 strip Technicolor work, ie which colors a let through each of the 2 strips?
     
  6. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    The blue layer (yellow in printed form) is missing (but "approximated" photochemically, with results certainly inferior to a true blue record, but charming and unique in their own right). The reasons for this are complicated (having to do with camera construction and processing costs, rather than ignorance), but the best explanation I've found is in the following links (where the explanations of complimentary colors and dye transfer are of particular importance):

    http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/oldc...ubtractive.htm

    Two-color is briefly discussed apart from Technicolor here:

    http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/oldcolor/subtract.htm

    And Technicolor's specific 2-strip subtractive system is detailed here:

    http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/oldc...chnicolor2.htm

    That links you to page two of their Technicolor history, which begins the coverage of 2-strip subtractive color film, but jump back to page one for further information on the earliest Technicolor processes.

    Hope that helps, Johnny. I'm always searching for this kind of info as a motion picture lover and collector, because the better everyone (including those of us who've never actually worked with feature film materials) understands how these really quite magical "visual patterns" (to quote Orson Welles) are created, the better we can appreciate both their value to audiences of any generation and their place in cinematic history. As much as I've found on the language and content of film over the years, true histories of the technical machinations of filmmaking (particularly the early processes) seem far more scarce. There's a cinematographer's handbook that Robert Harris linked in a post a number of weeks ago, but that's probably more than you wanted to know. [​IMG]
     
  7. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Remember that the DVD is a double feature and includes the original "Mystery of the Wax Museum" which is a black and white movie. Likely the box says "B/W & Color" and some clerk just typed in the first part or it could be that the database entry only allows one or the other.
     
  8. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Hmmm ... a delayed post, or has someone been skimming? [​IMG] Mystery of the Wax Museum is 2-strip Technicolor, Eric.
     
  9. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Wow! The original is technicolor!! I had no idea and apparently was skimming. Was it the first technicolor movie?
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Without consulting reference, I believe the earliest incarnation of Technicolor dates to 1918. There were several technological updates between that period and the early 1930s, during which two-strip went from a process in which two layers of film, each with a separate color were literally glued together, to the imbibition process via which the layers of color dye were printed one atop the other on a single strip of blank.

    Wax Museum is a superb example of the latter.

    House of Wax was photographed on Eastman color 5248.
     
  11. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the info Robert. I knew that 2-strip was used for impact scenes in several silent movies, but I didn't know that a full feature was made as early as 1933. Does anyone know what the first feature length movie was that used Technicolor?
     
  12. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Eric! The great Bill Burns has already linked that site in this thread! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Great stuff, though, Eric! [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  13. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I found a good website with that shows the history of technicolor.

    http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/oldc...chnicolor1.htm

    They discuss "Mystery of the Wax Museum" on page 3. Apparently it was the last, but one of the best feature length 2-Strip Technicolor movies.
     
  14. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Why does my reply to Eric appear above his?! :b

    Even in the future, nothing works! [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  15. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    Fans should take note that for decades MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM was thought to exist in B&W only. Most original 2-color Technicolor negatives were destroyed when that process went out of fashion, and WAX MUSEUM was no exception. WB actually filmed several pictures in that process, and many of them either exist in B&W or not at all.

    In the early 1970s, an original 35mm 2-color Technicolor release print of WAX MUSEUM was found in Jack L. Warner's personal collection. It is from that nitrate print that dupe negatives were made, and the picture returned to distribution in "color". However there are flaws (splices, scratches, etc.) inherent in Mr. Warner's original source print that were evident in previous VHS/LD/Television editions, and they will be on the DVD release as well.

    We're just lucky to have the movie in Technicolor at all!
    (no less to be issued on DVD...)
     
  16. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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  17. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Boy, I'm really guilty of skimming here. I read some of those early posts several times and repeatedly missed the mention of 2-strip technicolor on the 1933 feature.:b
     
  18. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    We're all guily of skimming, Eric! :b [​IMG]

    Like the I.A.L Diamond quote, BTW! 2 weeks until those Wilder DVDs, eh?! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Great stuff! [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  19. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Gordon,

    Thanks! Mr. Diamond said that at Wilder's AFI tribute. I've had that quote on there for over a year and you're the first to mention it. I can't wait for the Wilder DVDs, so I can finally retire my LDs of "Kiss Me Stupid", "One, Two, Three", "Private Life...", & "Avanti"
     
  20. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    I've read ('prolly at "The Widescreen Museum"...) that Warner's had contracted to make a certain amount of films in the 2-color format.

    But public interest was wanning by the time Mystery of the Wax Museum was made (as well as Warner's Dr. X the year before), so they fulfilled their obligation, but most saw this in B/W except for the larger metropolitan houses.

    I'm actually more interested in Mystery of the Wax Museum than House of Wax. :b But I'll enjoy both!
     

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