Strohmaier

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David Strohmaier
Hello "Grimm" fans

A restored 4K “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” trailer has just been shown on the Cinerama louvered 146 degree screen last Sunday at the annual Widescreen Weekend Festival in Bradford, UK. This trailer is a 1961 original MGM five-minute pre-release announcement trailer that was reconstructed from 6-perf Cinerama negatives as well as a 7-channel magnetic soundtrack. (See below) This brings up the restoration efforts currently underway between Cinerama Inc. and Warner Bros. for the complete digital restoration of the roadshow version of what the original ads stated as ”The first Cinerama film to tell a story.” When this project is completed all the Cinerama 3-panel feature films will have been digitally restored.

Tom H. March and I enthusiastically decided to tackle this project since we were allowed to work out of our home offices as I now live in Eagle, Idaho and Tom lives in Calgary, Canada. This decision was made last November long before Covid-19 came on the scene. Tom and I have worked together on several of the Cinerama travelogues as well as “Windjammer” and 2 other non-Cinerama features over the past 6 years. Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging provided the expert scanning of the original 6-perf 3-panel o-negatives and Cinerama Inc. updated my home editing bay with new computers, monitors and appropriate software to accommodate such a 4K restoration.

Many who participate in this forum know that the “Grimm” elements had suffered damage due to some sort of a flood many years ago at MGM and until now there has been an understandable hesitancy to attempt such a digital restoration due to the great expense of dealing with these 3-panel films. Utilizing some new amazing software and much faster computers, it is possible to perform restoration miracles in your own home restoration/edit bay. At this point you might want to see my former comments (#20 in this thread) from back in 2018 called “The Grimm Truth about Brothers Grimm” to get an idea of the challenge we faced. Truth be told, and to my relief, I did not have to follow up with all of my former assumptions.

Fortunately, we found the negatives were in somewhat better condition than a 1994 inspection report seemed to indicate, however still problematic with the many damaged and worn areas. Digital restoration can allow a lot of flexibility that photo chemical or earlier digital work could never accomplish. We can now report that we have repaired all the damaged areas in “Grimm,” including compositing and aligning the 3 panels which now look quite stunning. For those who are very familiar with the 35mm CinemaScope version that has appeared on TCM, this restoration will appear like a completely different film as if it was shot yesterday. We also obtained some IB Technicolor frame clip samples from the Bradford UK print and we feel we can give the final film something very close to the Technicolor look that audiences originally saw back in 1962. Having done all the former Cinerama 1950s travelogues and dealing with their many grain problems, “Grimm” seems to have an almost grainless look to it now, other than some of the vintage 1961 opticals. Correcting some of the damage required several digital passes, that’s why our original composite assembly master (3 panels aligned and joined together) was in 6K so we could suffer multiple digital passes, however the actual restoration work is being done in 4K for speed and rendering efficiency. As with Warner Bros. “How the West Was Won” digital remastering back in 2008, the legendary Cinerama join lines are practically invisible with “Grimm” as well.

We are remastering the film in both letterbox and SmileBox formats for eventual Blu-ray and DVD release from the Warner Archive Collection sometime later in 2021. I noticed in earlier comments that someone believed Cinerama Inc. pressured WB to release “How the West Was Won” in SmileBox. That is simply untrue, Warner Bros. asked for SmileBox early in the game for the “West” release. Due to the stunning reviews and comments for the “West” release, they clearly indicated to me, the SmileBox was a big part of that success as well as the inclusion of my documentary “Cinerama Adventure.” The only thing Cinerama Inc. ever required of a distributor was that Flicker Alley release the original travelogues in SmileBox in order to be more faithful to the original roadshow releases. It was I who insisted on adding the Cinerama Dome curtains to recreate as close as possible the original roadshow presentations for the home video release. FYI all the 1950s travelogues I have done exist in both straight SmileBox, SmileBox with curtains, and Letterbox digital masters. “Grimm” will grace the Cinerama Dome screen in Hollywood sometime next year before the eventual home video release. Since the project started last November, I have to say it has been a real pleasure working with Cinerama’s Jim Vandever and the Warner Bros. people such as George Feltenstein, Steven Anastasi and Craig Johnson. They are as thrilled as Tom and I to see it finally coming to fruition. A 15 to 20 minute documentary is also being planned about this restoration by award winning documentary filmmaker, Harrison Engle, to include interviews with the team and several before and after examples explaining in layman's terms how the project was accomplished.


Grimm trailer in Cinerama.jpeg
 

Angelo Colombus

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Love all the Cinerama films and have them on my Blu-ray shelf so i can't wait to have this one too. Very happy the film was restored.
 
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Douglas R

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Wonderful news. I saw the original Cinerama trailer which ran with How the West Was Won on original release and always later regretted not seeing the film then. That error can now be rectified.
 
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richardburton84

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How very informative, Mr. Strohmaier! I look forward to seeing the finished product. I will ask what may be a bit of a silly question. The extensive FSM CD of Leigh Harline’s score contains an “Act I Epilogue” not heard in the print that has been airing on TCM (I have included the link to a YouTube video below with the music in question so you’ll know what I’m talking about). Will this music be on the restored print along with the overture, entr’acte, and exit music, if it was ever part of the initial roadshow engagements, of course?

 

Josh Steinberg

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I noticed in earlier comments that someone believed Cinerama Inc. pressured WB to release “How the West Was Won” in SmileBox. That is simply untrue, Warner Bros. asked for SmileBox early in the game for the “West” release.
That might have been me, mea culpa. I was going off an ancient post from back in the day that stated such and shouldn’t have taken it as the gospel.

I am absolutely delighted to read the entirety of your update and will gladly purchase the disc once it’s out!
 
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Ken_Martinez

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I'm not as big on this movie as you guys are, but I'm still extremely impressive that such an unlikely restoration that was once deemed totally financially infeasible is happening.

That gives me hope for other problematic restorations in WB's library.
 

Matt Hough

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David's post is thrilling beyond belief for those of us who saw this film as youngsters and were completely enchanted by it. I cannot wait to cue the disc up, pull my chair a bit closer to the screen so I can be totally immersed in "Cinerama" and experience this film: the same procedure I used when How the West Was Won finally came out in that breathtaking Blu-ray edition.
 

ahollis

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Thank you David. This is exciting news and I’m looking forward to owning the last 3 strip Cinerama film that has not been released on Blu-ray. I will happily add it to the rest on my shelf. I have to say, that I never in my mind thought that not only would I see the Cinerama titles, let alone have then in my Blu-ray collection. Thank you so much for you and the others in doing so.
 
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Darby67

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Arguably one of the best home entertainment news items of 2020! Thank you David, Tom and everyone at Cinerama and Warner Brothers for the efforts in restoring and releasing this wonderful film! First day purchase for me!

David, just a quick follow-up: will the Warner Archive Blu-Ray and DVD releases be on pressed discs?
 

haineshisway

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Again, I will say that even in whatever stage this was in when Dave showed me a few sequences, it looked amazing - I was actually shocked at how good it looked. This will be a dream come true for those who either love this film or have never seen it properly and longed to. I saw it the week it opened at the Warner Cinerama and about ten times thereafter. I knew it wasn't a great movie, but it was just so impressive and looked so amazing and that seven channel sound was beyond belief. As Dave says, if you've only seen the 35mm thing that TCM has shown, you haven't actually seen the film.
 

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