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Robert Harris

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Having handled thousands of dye transfer prints, I’ve never seen fade.

Damage? Certainly, but not fade.

That noted, every dye transfer print is not perfectly produced, especially re-issues.

Those early productions probably had fewer than 300 prints struck.
 

Trancas

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Having handled thousands of dye transfer prints, I’ve never seen fade.

Damage? Certainly, but not fade.

That noted, every dye transfer print is not perfectly produced, especially re-issues.

Those early productions probably had fewer than 300 prints struck.
I don't doubt your experience with old prints, I'm not talking about fade, I'm talking about color shift and the yellowing of aged materials. It may be an interaction between the dyes and the gelatin that causes the emulsion to yellow, or wetting agents added to the dye to increase the saturating of the gelatin matrices. But something is happening on these old prints that leads to an unnatural color shift to yellow. I'm old enough to have seen Technicolor prints in the theater in the early 1950's and I don't remember everything having a golden shift. I don't remember a yellow-faced Rhonda Fleming and her red hair against a green sky - I remember intensely blue skies and blushed skin tones.
This isn't Rhonda but Shane from the same era. This looks peculiar.

shane.jpeg

Shane sky.jpeg


And it's not unique to American Technicolor films. The British "A Matter of Life and Death" has the same yellow color shift. I really can't see that as an intentional color choice particularly from Powell and Pressburger.

A matter of life and death.jpeg
 
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Robert Harris

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It’s not a y shift. It’s the color design, even more so via Tech London, for warmer prints.

The base is not shifting, it’s crystal clear.

And then, of course, there’s that tiny shift added by the carbon arc.
 

Trancas

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It’s not a y shift. It’s the color design, even more so via Tech London, for warmer prints.

The base is not shifting, it’s crystal clear.

And then, of course, there’s that tiny shift added by the carbon arc.
The nitrate base may be fine, but the portions of the gelatin that contain the dyes are yellowing from something, some chemical interaction, some substance that's transferring from the matrices along with the dye. Have you ever seen a 3 strip Technicolor print from the 1953 or earlier without the golden shading? Don't you think there would have been someone, some people with power like a producer, major director or even a studio head that said "No. I want bright natural color in this film. I don't want it golden tinted. It's not right for this film." If every old Technicolor print that you've seen has a golden tint, then I think the golden shade is not there by design....but an artifact from the Technicolor process that shows up with time.
 
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Robert Harris

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The nitrate base may be fine, but the portions of the gelatin that contain the dyes are yellowing from something, some chemical interaction, some substance that's transferring from the matrices along with the dye. Have you ever seen a 3 strip Technicolor print from the 1953 or earlier without the golden shading? Don't you think there would have been someone, some people with power like a producer, major director or even a studio head that said "No. I want bright natural color in this film. I don't want it golden tinted. It's not right for this film." If every old Technicolor print that you've seen has a golden tint, then I think the golden shade is not there by design....but an artifact from the Technicolor process that shows up with time.
I have.

Suggest you examine dye transfer re-prints of 30s-early 50s films from later eras on the same site, with more modern color timing.
 
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OLDTIMER

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If every old Technicolor print that you've seen has a golden tint, then I think the golden shade is not there by design....but an artifact from the Technicolor process that shows up with time.

This is a scan from an actual IB frame in my possession. Whilst the base is clear, the image definitely has that "golden" shift. I also can't imagine that this is intentional. I'm also old enough to have seen many, many Technicolor prints in cinemas in the 1940s and can remember the bright "lollypop" colors of, especially, Fox and MGM musicals.
When I used to collect 35mm film, I once possessed a 1000ft reel from the 1936 Ramona. I can vividly remember it being very yellow-orange which I remember thinking was quite unnatural.


j fitz.jpg
 

Paul Penna

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What was the substance that was applied to the blank receiver film that absorbed the dyes from the matrices? If it was applied to the blank receiver edge-to edge, the fact that the blank areas of surviving Technicolor prints are still clear would rule out it explaining the yellowish hue of the images.
 

Robert Harris

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What was the substance that was applied to the blank receiver film that absorbed the dyes from the matrices? If it was applied to the blank receiver edge-to edge, the fact that the blank areas of surviving Technicolor prints are still clear would rule out it explaining the yellowish hue of the images.
It was a mordant, and yes, it was applied over the entire surface.
 

Joseph Goodman

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Given that we don't know what color temperature the light source illuminating those examples from Filmcolors.org was, or what color temperature the camera used to photograph them was white balanced to, I don't think you can derive any conclusions about IB Tech turning yellow or anything like that.

When did Technicolor stop using the "key" image pass on IB prints?
 

Jay_Z_525

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Taking filmcolors.org as fact in this case, just makes you wonder why anyone would go through such pains creating a beautiful color palette which would just work well and glow in Technicolor, only to give it a gold wash that depletes most of the color. The original trailer doesn’t reflect this golden color (if it is original and not from a reissue).

Natalie Kalmus favorited muted color palettes during production and using color as a tool to convey emotion. Would that have been necessary only to wash it out in printing?
 

OLDTIMER

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Given that we don't know what color temperature the light source illuminating those examples from Filmcolors.org was, or what color temperature the camera used to photograph them was white balanced to, I don't think you can derive any conclusions about IB Tech turning yellow ...
We have the base material as our reference, so in these examples, the color temperature of the projection source is irrelevant in this case. It is obvious that, relative to the base color, there is a decided yellow shift.
 

Adam_S

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iirc, but I'm not sure I'm remembering this correctly, Carbon arc shifts about +600K , but the carbon arc reflector shifts back about -200K, so at most a +400K difference in projection.

Coatings on the projection lens probably are negligible +/- 50K iirc

Xenon projection, and I may be badly misremembering this, is significantly cooler, and projecting the vintage warm print with a xenon bulb would reduce the warmer color temperature significantly.

A much bigger shift probably occurs with the color temperature of the bulb used for the film scanner for those prints, and the digital white balance settings can obviously also shift it again, separate from the scanner bulb color temperature.
 

Robert Harris

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iirc, but I'm not sure I'm remembering this correctly, Carbon arc shifts about +600K , but the carbon arc reflector shifts back about -200K, so at most a +400K difference in projection.

Coatings on the projection lens probably are negligible +/- 50K iirc

Xenon projection, and I may be badly misremembering this, is significantly cooler, and projecting the vintage warm print with a xenon bulb would reduce the warmer color temperature significantly.

A much bigger shift probably occurs with the color temperature of the bulb used for the film scanner for those prints, and the digital white balance settings can obviously also shift it again, separate from the scanner bulb color temperature.
One can add to that, the condition of the reflector in the lamp house, as well s the color of the screen surface. No hard and fast rules here.
 

OLDTIMER

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I Thought I'd try a little experiment. Below are 2 scans of an IB frame from the 1940s in my possession. The first was scanned so that the base appears white (clear). In the second scan, I tried to emulate (approximately) projection by a carbon arc (5600K) which would appear blue (compared to an incandescent lamp). It's interesting that the "golden" hue that has been discussed here has virtually disappeared. There is an interesting discussion on the subject here:

IB TECHNICOLOR.jpg
IB TECHNICOLOR 2.jpg
 

Trancas

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I Thought I'd try a little experiment. Below are 2 scans of an IB frame from the 1940s in my possession. The first was scanned so that the base appears white (clear). In the second scan, I tried to emulate (approximately) projection by a carbon arc (5600K) which would appear blue (compared to an incandescent lamp). It's interesting that the "golden" hue that has been discussed here has virtually disappeared. There is an interesting discussion on the subject here:

View attachment 94766 View attachment 94767
I think your film scan looks much more color accurate, but I think you've gone a little too far with the greenish cyan filtering. The whites of her dress look a little too blue/green when compared to the sprocket holes. Perhaps filtering should be a little more bluish and not so intense? I eliminated the cyan tint on the edges of the film (except for a square) so your eye doesn't compensate for all the cyan.

IB TECHNICOLORedgechange.jpg
 
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RobertMG

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Having handled thousands of dye transfer prints, I’ve never seen fade.

Damage? Certainly, but not fade.

That noted, every dye transfer print is not perfectly produced, especially re-issues.

Those early productions probably had fewer than 300 prints struck.
The New York Times Review ---- about the film and the stunning Technicolor work with stunning Technicolor camera work, has created several memorable and beautiful sequences. It is a good film, one well worth seeing; how much better it might have been with an Essex worthy of Miss Davis's Elizabeth we can only surmise

1939 Review! Funny the snobbery of the times reviewer - Flynn was a natural Davis admitted years later! Seems Bette Davis read the Times review for her then opinion of Flynn!

The Warners, we understand, had to call it "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" because Errol Flynn felt that the original Maxwell Anderson title, "Elizabeth the Queen," gave too little marquee credit to his share in the proceedings. After seeing it yesterday at the Strand, with Bette Davis playing it the way she has, we still think "Elizabeth the Queen" is the way to describe it. It's Queen Bette's picture just as surely as Mr. Flynn is a good-looking young man who should be asked to do no more in pictures than flash an even-toothed smile and present a firm jaw-line. His Essex lacked a head long before the headsman got around to him.What set up the Anderson play when the Theatre Guild presented it in 1930 was the poetic quality of the dialogue he had written, the happy circumstance that a Lynn Fontanne and an Alfred Lunt were charging it with their rich vitality. (Mr. Lunt, of course, had no objection to the marquee's "Elizabeth the Queen.") Dialogue and performance remain the primary virtues of the film, although their aura has been less equally distributed. The glow comes always from that corner of the screen where Elizabeth sits or stands or stamps about. Sometimes it spreads to those around her, to a lady-in-waiting talking of her lover, to Francis Bacon in his political games, even (at times) breaking through the shallow surface of Mr. Flynn's Essex and making him seem almost genuine.If a picture ever rested upon an actress's slender shoulders, this one does upon Miss Davis's. It is an unfair burden, but she has carried it successfully, almost by force of will. How unfair the burden is may be judged when we remind you that Mr. Anderson's casually historic drama was no one-man show (or one-woman show, to put it more correctly), but a tale of conflict which depended upon the even matching of its two combatants. Essex and Elizabeth were lovers, true lovers, he said; but Essex was ambitious, Elizabeth jealous for her throne. They had quarrels and reconciliations, but there could be no reconciliation of his greed for power, her grasp of it. Essex went to the headsman's block; Elizabeth to her bitter reign. Neither had the victory.Fact may be on the physical side of Mr. Flynn's portrait of Essex: he was a young man (in his twenties to Elizabeth's sixties), fatuous and insincere. But Anderson's Essex was compounded not of fact but of a dramatist's good graces. He wanted him virile, saucy, hot-tempered, yet true. He wanted him to eye Elizabeth nut with a calf-look but the bold assurance of a favorite. He wanted him able to say of his bewigged, painted, yet fascinating mistress: "I love her, I hate her, I adore her," with at least more conviction than this Essex has been able to muster. (Mr. Flynn recites the line with the sincerity of a small boy apologizing to his teacher for throwing spitballs.)Miss Davis has had to throw her entire weight into the film to offset this insufficiency, to add fire to scenes she knew were beginning to smoulder. Inevitably she has carried a few of them too far, has been guilty of exaggeration and mannered tricks. Significantly, these defects never are apparent in the Essex-less sequences; rarely less than apparent in those she shares with him.The film, of course, is stage struck and almost too heavily freighted on the literary side. But Mr. Anderson's writing is good to hear, and his adapters, Norman Reilly Raine and Aeneas MacKenzie, have employed and deployed it well. Michael Curtiz's direction has provided the illusion, if not the actuality, of movement and, with stunning Technicolor camera work, has created several memorable and beautiful sequences. It is a good film, one well worth seeing; how much better it might have been with an Essex worthy of Miss Davis's Elizabeth we can only surmise
 
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