What chance have we of having a restoration of STAGECOACH (1939)?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Dick, Jan 10, 2004.

  1. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    The elements available for video transfer have been notoriously bad for decades. What, if anything, can be done to bring this movie back to life, if only on DVD?
     
  2. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    I also have bought other titles instead of picking up this classic because of the current transfer. I've been holding out hope for one of Warner's great 2-disc SE's.
     
  3. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Hopefully tomorrownight I will have the chance to see this on the big screen at Glasgow's GFT

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    The current DVD's not so bad. The elements look a little dupey (slightly soft, grainy and lack of contrast) but it's perfectly watchable.

    However, a 2-disc restoration would be almightily welcome! Ford forever!!
     
  5. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

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    It would be great if you could give us an indication of the quality of the print that you saw tonight, Oscar. [​IMG]

    I certainly would like to add this to my collection as a gorgeous Warner 2 disc set.. Anything like the previous year's pristine versions of Robin Hood, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Yankee Doodle Dandy. mmmm.. [​IMG]
     
  6. Mark Philp

    Mark Philp Second Unit

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    Having been involved in film collecting for many years, I've seen this a number of times in both 16mm and 35mm here in the U.S. and once in 35mm in England. I've never have seen what I would call a really good print. All of them were dark and looked dupey. They all looked like they came from the same source and it wasn't the camera negative. While Warners has the title now, it was produced by Walter Wanger and was distributed by UA (if I remember correctly) and by Rank in the UK. It's highly possible that the original elements no longer exist. If this is the case, it's really sad. It would be wonderful
    if some archive or private collector could come up with a pristine print. One can always dream.
     
  7. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I will try and find out about the print tonight especially as it is part of a 10 week course on classic films, next week is King Kong. They all have an introduction before the film starts

    [​IMG]
     
  8. obscurelabel

    obscurelabel Stunt Coordinator

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    I believe that I heard at one point that Stagecoach had been edited (perhaps in the negative) and over-printed for reissues over the years and no decent prints or film elements could be found ... and that the current prints all derive from a complete print that John Wayne had stored in his garage. He was giving an interview and the writer mentioned this state of affairs; Wayne realized he had the print and made it available to the studio. That's how I remember it anyway ... the story may be apocryphal, but I thought I would post it in case it dovetailed into anyone else's recollections or first hand knowledge.
     
  9. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    I'm quite envious Oscar! I hope you enjoy the course [​IMG]

    ---
    So many films, so little time...
     
  10. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Found out what the other 3 movies are.

    Casablanca, Singing in the Rain & All Quiet on the Western Front.

    Stagecoach is fabulous seeing this for the very first time.

    Great intro by Wayne.

    The print I saw was okay I guess and thoroughly enjoyed seeing it

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jo_C

    Jo_C Second Unit

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    "Stagecoach" has been restored...it was restored in 1996. The UCLA Film And Television Archive (in co-operation with American Movie Classics) was entrusted by the former rights holders, Castle Hill Television (which, along with Republic Pictures, owns the majority of the pre-1952 United Artists library) and Warner Bros. for the restoration, and working from whatever best elements were on hand, the film was restored to nearly its original state when the film originally opened in 1939.

    I don't think the current restored version is yet represented on home video or DVD, but the next time you see it on television the way you can tell it is the restored version is the UCLA Film And Television Archive opening at the front of the picture.

    So yes, "Stagecoach" has undergone formal restoration. It is up to WB to authorize the restored print's use on home video or DVD.
     
  12. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I believe that was in front of the screening tonight, so perhaps I have seen the restored version

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

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    The current DVD of Stagecoach has a "warning" on the back saying it is modified for standard tvs. Was this shot in 1.37:1?
     
  14. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    Occasionally studios mess up and slap that disclaimers on movies that are OAR. They did the same to Singin' In the Rain the first time it hit DVD...
     
  15. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    I thought Stagecoach was one of those ultra-rare 1930's scope productions (approx. 2.35:1) and the DVD was from a cropped element. I thought I had seen on an older AMC documentary that Stagecoach (or another western from the same period) was shot using anamorphic lenses.

    There were anamorphic widescreen movies produced before the 1950's, but with movies where the studio had the money and foresight, and wanted to experiment with new technologies.

    Dan
     
  16. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Dan, you're thinking of The Big Trail, another Western starring John Wayne, but from almost a decade earlier (1930, Stagecoach was '39). That's the only widescreen Hollywood movie I know of from before the early '50s, but maybe there were a few others. Stagecoach was always 1.37:1.
     
  17. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Wayne's first abortive stab at stardom (before he copied Ford's walk and Harry Carey's drawl!), The Big Trail was filmed on both 35mm and 70mm stock for showing in theatres in both AR and 'Grandeur' 2.10:1 format.

    Unfortunately, the DVD presentation is 1.33:1.

    Haggai is correct that Stagecoach was 1.37:1 - Warners, we need two more John Ford SEs; Stagecoach and Fort Apache.

    ---
    So many films, so little time...
     
  18. obscurelabel

    obscurelabel Stunt Coordinator

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    The Bat Whispers from 1930 is another, filmed in both a standard 4:3 and a 65mm widescreen version. This one is availble from Image with both versions on one DVD.
     
  19. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    I stand corrected!!

    Dan
     
  20. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    bumped

    Bried within the massive 4 disc edition of ther 4 disc edition of GWTW, is small preview of John Ford's 1939 classic Stagecoach.

    Go to disc 4 and click on The Supportin Players and further click on At Tara, and finally The O'Hara Plantation in Georgia.

    It is during footage of Thomas Mitchell as Gerald O'Hara that we catch a glimpse of Stagecoach.

    Superb
     

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