To Mr. Robert Harris: 10 films you’d like to have restored!

So, Mr. Harris, what are your top 10 films you'd like to have restored? 4 Stars

I just thought that this would be interesting to know.
So, Mr. Harris, what are your top 10 films you’d like to have restored?
These could be personal favourites, films you feel are important for cinema, obscure films with bad original elements, etc..

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179 Comments

  1. atcolomb

    One film I would like to see on his list is John Huston's Beat the Devil. All broadcasts and released discs of this great film I have seen should look better.

    I have news that'll make you happy!

    Sony just restored the film in 4K. It's now available for repertory theaters as a DCP. (Though the film has circulated in poor quality public domain versions, Sony is asserting that the film is not actually in the public domain and that the claims that it is are false.) It's been rumored that Criterion will be releasing this new restoration eventually. That seems a likely possibility, as Criterion has been releasing some recent Sony restorations like The Awful Truth, It Happened One Night and Only Angels Have Wings. So I think you'll get to see this, and perhaps sooner than later.

  2. Josh Steinberg

    I have news that'll make you happy!

    Sony just restored the film in 4K. It's now available for repertory theaters as a DCP. (Though the film has circulated in poor quality public domain versions, Sony is asserting that the film is not actually in the public domain and that the claims that it is are false.) It's been rumored that Criterion will be releasing this new restoration eventually. That seems a likely possibility, as Criterion has been releasing some recent Sony restorations like The Awful Truth, It Happened One Night and Only Angels Have Wings. So I think you'll get to see this, and perhaps sooner than later.

    Definitely AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS.

  3. Tino

    The Searchers. I recall Mr Harris saying it needs some work.

    I think the current Blu looks terrific but if it can be improved, go for it.

    My favorite western.

    While The Searchers can use a bit of help, and as much as I both highly respect the film, and would like to be involved, this can be done internally, using the process I perfected.

  4. I'd like Disney to ask Mr Harris to work on The Last Valley (1971), a beautifully photographed film shot on a large format. I don't know if it will need a restoration or just a bit of TLC, I suppose you don't really know until you start opening those film cans.

  5. Like most people who know Mr Harris purely through this forum know of his love for The Alamo so would have been very surprised if it wasn't choice number 1 🙂

    There are without doubt so many movies that I have never heard (so many I only found here) so using the old venn diagram how about The Magnificent Ambersons or El Cid ?

    Regards,

  6. I'd like to see The Great Ziegfeld, and, The Talk of the Town get some love, also 80 Days, The Alamo, Ryan's Daughter, El Cid, Fall of the Roman Empire and some of the earliest Busby Berkeley and Astaire/Rogers musicals. Personal favorites like National Velvet and Holiday in Mexico would also be on this list.

  7. Robert Harris

    While The Searchers can use a bit of help, and as much as I both highly respect the film, and would like to be involved, this can be done internally, using the process I perfected.

    I would hope to see Criterion get a chance at releasing this from Warner as getting a 4K/UHD probably isn't going to happen.

  8. SAhmed

    Like most people who know Mr Harris purely through this forum know of his love for The Alamo so would have been very surprised if it wasn't choice number 1 🙂

    There are without doubt so many movies that I have never heard (so many I only found here) so using the old venn diagram how about The Magnificent Ambersons or El Cid
    Regards,

    Was disappointed about the dvd release of The Magnificent Ambersons a few years ago and TCM still broadcasts the same old print of the film. Glad i still have my Criterion laserdiscs with the commentary

  9. I suppose there's a fine line between a film needing restoration & a film just a wee bit too far gone & beyond a good looking restoration. A favourite from my childhood would be Northwest Passage (1940), I don't know if that's too far gone.

  10. Nick*Z

    I'd like to see The Great Ziegfeld, and, The Talk of the Town get some love, also 80 Days, The Alamo, Ryan's Daughter, El Cid, Fall of the Roman Empire and some of the earliest Busby Berkeley and Astaire/Rogers musicals. Personal favorites like National Velvet and Holiday in Mexico would also be on this list.

    As famously biased as I am towards Ryan's Daughter being released on a BD or a native 4K disc, 80 Days and The Alamo are clearly in a state of emergency. Even me, myself and I would have to first favor these two rescues.
    In other words, as RAH's list evolves, I am betting that his choices will have a greater emphasis on matters such as these.

    P.S. Excellent topic, Konstantino's; this one will prove to be both educational and enlightening.

    [NOTE: Just read the other posts that followed my response and read RAH's additional comments concerning the condition of Ryan's Daughter vs. the rest. Well, at least I'm on the right track, here.]

  11. Hey, I've got an idea. Instead of raising monies for restoration, why don't we all pitch in and buy a thoroughbred racing horse for Gary Barber; but, on the sole condition that he allows RAH a complete access to "The Alamo".

  12. PMF

    Hey, I've got an idea. Instead of raising monies for restoration, why don't we all pitch in and buy a thoroughbred racing horse for Gary Barber; but, on the sole condition that he allows RAH a complete access to "The Alamo".

    How about we send Mr Harris to Russia to restore WAR AND PEACE.

    1. Or better yet, Dersu Uzala. Kurosawa’s only large-format film appears to be in a horrible state, at least in the State. There’s no Blu-ray, the DVD isn’t even anamorphic, and the only 35mm print in this country is old, scratched, and has horrible subtitles.

  13. atcolomb

    One film I would like to see on his list is John Huston's Beat the Devil. All broadcasts and released discs of this great film I have seen should look better.

    Absolutely. The best we've seen of this title comes from a VHS Columbia issued in the 90s. I also think that the European release may have been longer. It's one of my favorite films and I would love to see a quality release of it.

  14. JoeDoakes

    Absolutely. The best we've seen of this title comes from a VHS Columbia issued in the 90s. I also think that the European release may have been longer. It's one of my favorite films and I would love to see a quality release of it.

    Jennifer Jones was never better…

  15. atcolomb

    Was disappointed about the dvd release of The Magnificent Ambersons a few years ago and TCM still broadcasts the same old print of the film. Glad i still have my Criterion laserdiscs with the commentary

    Totally agree with you Angelo and I too hang onto my laser disc player primarily for playing the Criterion disc (plus a couple of others including The Alamo) 🙂

    Regards,

  16. Robert Harris

    The original Ambersons is an extraordinary film. The cut version, far less so.

    All one needs to assess is the continuity for the ball early on…

    I'm a little confused. Well known that Ambersons was cut before release, but I did not know that there was an "original Ambersons" to view and compare — Is there something besides the single film that most/many(?) of us have seen ?

  17. Billy Batson

    A favourite from my childhood would be Northwest Passage (1940), I don't know if that's too far gone.

    Would love Northwest Passage. I have saved my recorded version from TMC, which looks pretty good. But that film would be great with color restoration and a full restore.

  18. I have in my hands The Magnificent Ambersons, A Reconstruction by Robert L Carringer. A excellent book with a complete transcription of the film's original shooting script and still pictures.

  19. atcolomb

    I have in my hands The Magnificent Ambersons, A Reconstruction by Robert L Carringer. A excellent book with a complete transcription of the film's original shooting script and still pictures.

    What has been posted are the original continuity sheets

  20. Nick*Z

    I'd like to see The Great Ziegfeld, and, The Talk of the Town get some love, also 80 Days, The Alamo, Ryan's Daughter, El Cid, Fall of the Roman Empire and some of the earliest Busby Berkeley and Astaire/Rogers musicals. Personal favorites like National Velvet and Holiday in Mexico would also be on this list.

    THE GREAT ZIEGFELD would be great . A much loved favourite musical of mine.Also CAN-CAN. This film was very popular where I worked, when it was first released in TODD-AO.We had several revivals over the years.

  21. trajan007

    How about we send Mr Harris to Russia to restore WAR AND PEACE.

    I would prefer QUIET FLOWS THE DON a 3 part masterpiece from the fifties. The Russians did restore the film but only on dvd. A bluray would be nice. The best war films ever made (in my opinion) have emanated from Russia. Most of them were anti-war films .Who could ever forget COME AND SEE. A film that once seen, haunts you forever.

  22. Dale MA

    I'd like to see Vertigo on 4K UHD with the required work headed by Mr. Harris. That would be amazing, I'm sure.

    I would love to see it on UHD and the same goes for the other Hitchcock large format titles with a special mention for To Catch a Thief that imo is his "prettiest" movie.

    Luckily there is no extensive restoration necessary for Vertigo from what I remember, but The Man who Knew Too Much would be a great candidate as well as Raintree County that has been mentioned before. Both large format titles, both in need of attention but then RAH is calling the shots here with regard to what HE would like to see restored so I am curious what titles he'll come up with.

  23. Allow me to note, one more time, that one does not restore prints or restore films to DVD or Blu-ray.

    Nor to UHD.

    Films are restored either digitally, or via analogue means, from the finest surviving elements, to either 4k or higher data files, and then whenever financially feasible, back to film.

    If a film has not been printed, or seen in decades, and only old prints are in circulation, it does not mean that it necessarily needs to be Restored.

    Unless something untoward has occurred, the majority of films, post-1960, should not need restoration.

    The same applies to large format films, as well as those used to produce blow-ups, unless they have been physically re-cut or severely abused and overprinted.

  24. I don't have a suggestion, but a question for Mr RAH. What film project was the hardest… maybe most time consuming? which one gave you that "whew, I'm glad that is finished" moment?

  25. cinemiracle

    II would love to see Japanese classic RAN 70mm print restored if it still exists. It was shown in Paris for one night only on a huge outdoor screen on 29 Sep 1985.

    Like every other 70mm print of the 80s, that was just an optical blow-up. The neg itself is 35mm. Basically you only want a 70mm for its six-track mag striping and nothing more.

  26. Here's one that rarely if ever gets mentioned. Maybe the source material is hopeless. Don't know. All public domain versions are atrocious:

    Our Town (1940)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032881/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_wr#writers

    Lovely production, un-improvable cast, Aaron Copeland music, Thornton Wilder wrote the screenplay of his own stage masterpiece. Yes, the ending was lightened up a bit from the play. But it still packs an emotional wallop even though the sight and sound of any home video version I have seen is a real struggle to get through. Can anything be done to make this wonderful film at least watchable?

  27. cb1

    I don't have a suggestion, but a question for Mr RAH. What film project was the hardest… maybe most time consuming? which one gave you that "whew, I'm glad that is finished" moment?

    Yeah, & what are the hardest problems? I'm thinking colour fading for some fifties & early sixties films (& especially faded dupes), scratches (but wet gate scanning is great for cell scratches), damage & sound mags gone bad for some fifties films. And of course correct alignment for three strip Technicolor (if all three strips still exist). And then there's the budget for the project.

  28. Andrew Budgell

    Not before he pays a visit to Raintree County. I hear it's beautiful this time of year. 😉

    Rumor has it that when Robert Harris is dining out and orders a salad, that the wait-staff has been given the strictest of instruction to never mention Vinegar in his presence.

  29. I love how this thread had originally began as a question to Robert Harris.
    I believe that the query being asked is which were the top ten films that HE would like restored.
    Wait…Robert…are you saying that the bulk of my BD digital restorations are not TRUE restorations?
    How could that be? It says so on most of the slip-cases.:D

  30. cb1

    I don't have a suggestion, but a question for Mr RAH. What film project was the hardest… maybe most time consuming? which one gave you that "whew, I'm glad that is finished" moment?

    While I'm always pleased to see final results, I'm seldom gleeful at the end of a project, as I love the work and those working around me.

  31. PMF

    I love how this thread had originally began as a question to Robert Harris.
    I believe that the query was which were the top ten films that HE would like restored.

    yeah, I wanted to say that.
    People, not to offend anyone, but the thread is not about what YOU would like to see restored.
    I assume there are other threads about it (or you could create one). 😉

  32. What with technology ever growing and always advancing, I wonder if the work on a true restoration is ever really completed.
    For example, "My Fair Lady" certainly benefited from its initial restoration and on to its second, some 18 years later.
    But is there more? It seems impossible. It seems perfect. And it's also hard to imagine.
    Yes, even in this isolated example of MFL are you still seeing further possibilities that we can not?

  33. PMF

    What with technology ever growing and always advancing, I wonder if the work on a true restoration is ever really completed.
    For example, "My Fair Lady" certainly benefited from its initial restoration and on to its second, some 18 years later.
    But is there more? It seems impossible. It seems perfect. And it's also hard to imagine.
    Yes, even in this isolated example of MFL are you still seeing further possibilities that we can not?

    There is a point, aside from the benefits of new tools, with resolution, beyond which there is no rational reason to go.

  34. I think WE (namely me) automatically assumed that HE was a happily married man (being totally not politically correct and presumptious) so that being told what HE liked was perfectly good 🙂 I can feel the bruises already – both physical and emotional :rolling-smiley:

    No offense to anybody – honest!

    Regards,

  35. Not a restoration, except in the sense of the director's framing, but I'd like to see what Finian's Rainbow looks like in the planned 35mm framing. According to director Francis Ford Coppola in his commentary, the film was actually shot in, and composed for, 35mm, but Warner at the time decided after photography was done that they wanted it for roadshow in 70mm. Result: In many cases Fred Astaire's feet got cropped out!

  36. Rick Thompson

    Not a restoration, except in the sense of the director's framing, but I'd like to see what Finian's Rainbow looks like in the planned 35mm framing. According to director Francis Ford Coppola in his commentary, the film was actually shot in, and composed for, 35mm, but Warner at the time decided after photography was done that they wanted it for roadshow in 70mm. Result: In many cases Fred Astaire's feet got cropped out!

    One would not lose the bottom of the frame if cropping for 2.21. One would love a bit of the sides.

  37. Rick Thompson

    Not a restoration, except in the sense of the director's framing, but I'd like to see what Finian's Rainbow looks like in the planned 35mm framing. According to director Francis Ford Coppola in his commentary, the film was actually shot in, and composed for, 35mm, but Warner at the time decided after photography was done that they wanted it for roadshow in 70mm. Result: In many cases Fred Astaire's feet got cropped out!

    That doesn't make a lick of sense. Cropping anamorphic 35mm (2.35:1) to fit 70mm (2.20:1) would lose a bit from the sides, not the bottom! And the Blu-ray IS the original 35mm framing.

  38. PMF

    I love how this thread had originally began as a question to Robert Harris.
    I believe that the query being asked is which were the top ten films that HE would like restored.
    😀

    I understand. But a list of ten films in one or two posts would make for a rather short thread, no? I think he has only mentioned two films on his list so far. Meanwhile, someone else first mentioned The Magnificent Ambersons and I for one really like where Mr. Harris himself took that mention. Seems he was very much into responding to the mention of that title, too. But as of this writing I am not even sure The Magnificent Ambersons would be on his top ten list of films he'd like to have restored. Surely among them. But in his top ten? Not sure.

  39. I would also like to see what Mr. Harris would like to see restored. As far as my own opinion goes, I haven't seen my favorite genre represented here, so I'll throw in the two main musicals that have been mentioned as needing some restoration: Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and High Society (would love to see to RAH restore either of these).

  40. Cineman

    I understand. But a list of ten films in one or two posts would make for a rather short thread, no? I think he has only mentioned two films on his list so far. Meanwhile, someone else first mentioned The Magnificent Ambersons and I for one really like where Mr. Harris himself took that mention. Seems he was very much into responding to the mention of that title, too. But as of this writing I am not even sure The Magnificent Ambersons would be on his top ten list of films he'd like to have restored. Surely among them. But in his top ten? Not sure.

    Fully support Ambersons. The only known print was, as I recall, last seen in Brazil.

  41. Astairefan

    I would also like to see what Mr. Harris would like to see restored. As far as my own opinion goes, I haven't seen my favorite genre represented here, so I'll throw in the two main musicals that have been mentioned as needing some restoration: Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and High Society (would love to see to RAH restore either of these).

    I can support High Society. A wonderful film. Unaware that Seven Brides needs any restorative efforts

  42. I admit, I don't really have any exact knowledge on the elements for either Seven Brides or High Society, I was just going off information on this forum that both would be really expensive to put out on blu (hence why we haven't seen them yet).

  43. Robert Harris

    I can support High Society. A wonderful film. Unaware that Seven Brides needs any restorative efforts

    I had read that the OCN was in terrible shape because they over-used it the 1960s to make 70mm blowups.

    1. You beat me to the punch. A very popular film, many prints were struck directly from the Ansco OCN in the 1950’s. Blown up to 70MM in the sixties finished the job. The OCN is in terrible shape. I’m not sure if separation elements were made, survive or what condition they are in.

  44. Mark-P

    That doesn't make a lick of sense. Cropping anamorphic 35mm (2.35:1) to fit 70mm (2.20:1) would lose a bit from the sides, not the bottom! And the Blu-ray IS the original 35mm framing.

    This is good to know that cropping was not the culprit. But Rick Thompson's eye and mine agree. To my irritation, Finian's Rainbow is one of those few musicals where the feet goes below the frame, at times; as some DP's (or directors) miss the bigger picture when it comes to capturing a dancer.

  45. Hi all!

    This is a great thread full of interesting information!

    Some ideas:

    Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

    The existing copy, a bonus on the Blu disc of House of Wax (1953), has incorrect colours, compared to the laserdisc,
    according to these discussions:
    https://www.hometheaterforum.com/co…ts-not-on-blu-or-dvd-but-on-laserdisc.356525/
    (see top post)

    http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=15350
    This discussion is quite old, but Includes input from Jack Theakston (about a nitrate print with Dutch subtitles)
    and David Shepard (about an original print from Jack Warner´s personal collection:

    " I acquired an original Technicolor print of MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM for the AFI/LoC collection in the early 1970s. It was a perfect print, from Jack L. Warner's personal collection. (At that time, Mr. Warner was being very friendly, and a major donor to AFI who paid for the construction of AFI's small theatre in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts).

    An Eastmancolor negative was step-printed from this nitrate by Don Malkames, then developed, graded and printed at Guffanti Film Labs (great skill all around, both entities long gone). We brought the answer print from the new negative to a theatre where we put it up on one projector, the original nitrate print on the other projector, ran them simultaneously, and kept switching back and forth. You couldn't tell the difference between the original and the copy, it was that good.

    David Shepard"

    Eva (Joseph Losey, 1962)
    The Kino DVD contains two cuts of this film, one is 118 minutes long and reconstructed using a print with Finnish and Swedish subtitles. Subsequent to this, the EYE Institute in The Netherlands has constructed an even longer version, I think around 128 minutes. It was shown at the London Film Festival in 2007.

    Baby Face Nelson (Don Siegel, 1958)

    Blood Money (1933) and Quick Millions (1931) – Rowland Brown´s gangster films have good reputations but seem strangely MIA from most discussions of classic films

    Roland West´s The Monster, The Bat and The Bat Whispers – surely these films require remastering or touch-ups?

    Rex Ingram silents
    Kevin Brownlow restored The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse a long time ago, but I imagine that The Prisoner of Zenda, Mare Nostrum and Scaramouche need to be attended to.

    Scaramouche (1952)
    A wonderful-looking swashbuckler with a great dueling scene.

    Bringing Up Baby
    I seem to remember reading somewhere that a line of dialogue is missing from some current prints.

    Hawks´s A Girl in Every Port (1927)

    Romola (1924)

    The White Sister (1923)

    La Bohème (1926), King Vidor, starring Lillian Gish

    The Elusive Pimpernel, Powell & Pressburger

    +1 vote for The Last Valley

  46. Happily , Scaramouche doesn't need much attention, the Warner DVD looks stunning. I have the French release (Warner didn't release the DVD in the UK) & it has the 1923 silent version as an extra, unrestored, I really must get around to watching it one day.

  47. LincolnSpector

    Or better yet, Dersu Uzala. Kurosawa's only large-format film appears to be in a horrible state, at least in the State. There's no Blu-ray, the DVD isn't even anamorphic, and the only 35mm print in this country is old, scratched, and has horrible subtitles.

    Have the Criterion laserdisc, Kino & the Ruscico dvd with the Ruscico dvd that is not watchable due to a very distracting shimmering issue. TCM did broadcast the film a week ago and it's a good improvement from the discs. The good news is that the film had the Janus Films logo at the beginning and chances are very good Criterion will release it on Blu-ray.

  48. One movie which I'd like to see restored is The Greatest Story Ever Told. I believe that a print exists in the Library of Congress, and I heard that George Stevens Jr. had plans to restore the film. So, I'm holding out some hope that it can be restored to its original running time or very close to it.

  49. Robert Harris

    Fully support Ambersons. The only known print was, as I recall, last seen in Brazil.

    Wow. You mean there is in existence an original Welles-approved cut of The Magnificent Ambersons, last known to have perhaps been seen in Brazil, from which a restoration could be derived?

    My understanding is the film's editor, Robert Wise, was instructed by the studio to make the cuts after certain scenes in the Welles-approved version were met with unintentional laughter at preview screenings. Which could have been due to bad timing re the U.S. audience's WWII mood, merely a goofy audience mix or something other than how the movie would have been received and appreciated by audiences ever since. But I thought everything that was cut was then destroyed by the studio.

    Do I correctly understand what you meant about that "only known print"?

  50. Cineman

    Wow. You mean there is in existence an original Welles-approved cut of The Magnificent Ambersons, last known to have perhaps been seen in Brazil, from which a restoration could be derived?

    My understanding is the film's editor, Robert Wise, was instructed by the studio to make the cuts after certain scenes in the Welles-approved version were met with unintentional laughter at preview screenings. Which could have been due to bad timing re the U.S. audience's WWII mood, merely a goofy audience mix or something other than how the movie would have been received and appreciated by audiences ever since. But I thought everything that was cut was then destroyed by the studio.

    Do I correctly understand what you meant about that "only known print"?

    AFAIK, Mr. Welles had a print in S. America

  51. Robert Harris

    AFAIK, Mr. Welles had a print in S. America

    If he did and it has survived over the years, that is fantastic news (news to me, that is)! If so, I wonder why during all the years he struggled to get new projects financed and distributed, all while he must have known there was intense film fan interest in his version of Ambersons, he didn't just bring that print to light and make the most of it.

  52. nara

    I seem to remember reading that in a UK "Sight and Sound" article in the late 1960s.

    Ha, it's sitting on some dusty shelf in a dank basement somewhere, alongside a complete print of London After Midnight & the King Kong spider sequence & the original opening to Sunset Boulevard.

  53. Billy Batson

    Ha, it's sitting on some dusty shelf in a dank basement somewhere, alongside a complete print of London After Midnight & the King Kong spider sequence & the original opening to Sunset Boulevard.

    Uh, you forgot the complete version of Greed. Toss in all the other Stroheim films cut by the studios.

  54. In the case of The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes, it's the rest of it that needs rescuing, after all, that's the version I saw at the cinema. A new scan from the original cut negatives, & all the stuff after that done properly. I wonder if I'll ever happen?

  55. Billy Batson

    In the case of The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes, it's the rest of it that needs rescuing, after all, that's the version I saw at the cinema. A new scan from the original cut negatives, & all the stuff after that done properly. I wonder if I'll ever happen?

    That would be lovely. I have the beat-up Kino Blu-Ray, but it's really not worth looking at. And yes, the film was glorious to watch in the cinema.

  56. "THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL" (John Sturges' Ultra Panavision)
    "THE GO-BETWEEN" (Joseph Losey's Cannes winner)
    "BOUND FOR GLORY" (Hal Ashby's pic on Woody Guthrie)
    "SAVAGE MESSIAH" (Ken Russell's biopic)
    "MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON" (Bob Rafelson)
    "RAISE THE RED LANTERN" (Zhang Yimou)
    "DAYS OF RUNNING WILD" (Wong Kar-Wai)
    "THE SCARLET EMPRESS" (Josef von Sternberg)

  57. Robert Harris

    The trick is finding that print, after decades in a hot & humid location…

    Good Lord. Finding the Ark of the Covenant would be probably more easy than finding this Magnificent Andersons print….except if there is some hints about where the print could eventually be – or where it was seen for the last time, even decades ago.

    Is there any hints, Robert?

    It's a great treasure hunt anyway… But are you sure that Orson didn't came back from Brazil with the print? Seems strange to me that he would have left it there… I know he found about the editing cuts after he went back from South America so eventually he may have left a print in Brazil thinking he won't need it, but still…

  58. I would have like to see Mr. Harris restoring Hammers 1958 classic DRACULA. Every effort so far has produced one disappointment after another. I think in his hands, this film, including the restored scenes would look terrific!!!

  59. The Woman God Forgot 1917 DIR:Cecil B. DeMille w/Geraldine [email protected] House
    Genuine (A Tale of a Vampire) 1920 DIR: Robert Weine
    Orphans of the Storm 1921 DIR: D.W. Griffith
    Sodom und Gomorrha 1922 DIR: Michael Curtiz
    Moon of Israel 1924 DIR: Michael Curtiz
    Quo Vadis 1924 DIR: Gabriellino D'Annunzio
    Dante's Inferno 1924 DIR: Henry @ UCLA & MOMA
    A Kiss for Cinderella 1925 DIR:Herbert Brenon w/Betty [email protected] Eastman House
    Alraune 1928 DIR:Henrik Galeen w/Brigitte Helm
    Journey Beneath the Desert 1961 DIR:Edgar G. Ulmer w/Haya Harareet

  60. kinzoels

    I would have like to see Mr. Harris restoring Hammers 1958 classic DRACULA. Every effort so far has produced one disappointment after another. I think in his hands, this film, including the restored scenes would look terrific!!!

    Well it's supposed to be coming from Warner at some point. There are many who really like the cool look BFI release, I'm not one of them, let's have a bit of colour please Warner.

  61. t1g3r5fan

    One movie which I'd like to see restored is The Greatest Story Ever Told. I believe that a print exists in the Library of Congress, and I heard that George Stevens Jr. had plans to restore the film. So, I'm holding out some hope that it can be restored to its original running time or very close to it.

    For many years, I have hoped that this film would get a restoration . For reasons I cannot understand, it has never been given any attention. Even the son of its director has never done anything. Perhaps because it is not highly regarded in some circles, it has been ignored. I wonder what Mr. Harris thinks are its chances …

  62. Our 10 films include: The Alamo, Around the World in 80 Days, The Big Fisherman, The Big Country, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Hallelujah Trail, The Private Lives of Sherlock Holmes, Opasniye Povoroty and Great is my Country [the first Kinopanorama® film].

  63. philip*eric

    For many years, I have hoped that this film would get a restoration . For reasons I cannot understand, it has never been given any attention. Even the son of its director has never done anything. Perhaps because it is not highly regarded in some circles, it has been ignored. I wonder what Mr. Harris thinks are its chances …

    No idea. Not certain that it needs to be restored.

  64. kinopanorama.widescreeen

    Our 10 films include: The Alamo, Around the World in 80 Days, The Big Fisherman, The Big Country, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Hallelujah Trail, The Private Lives of Sherlock Holmes, Opasniye Povoroty and Great is my Country [the first Kinopanorama® film].

    It is very doubtful that there would even be a market for the two Russian kinopanorama films that you mention .The cost would be prohibitive. How do you know that they even need to be restored? A new print of OPASNIYE POVOROTY was promised a long time ago but only a reel or two were ever printed. Their appeal outside Russia would be almost zero..They would simply be of curiosity interest only. Some of the footage from GREAT IS MY COUNTRY can be seen in the bluray of RUSSIAN ADVENTURE. It was a pity that Bing Crosby's nauseating narration ruined that film when it was shown in the west more than half a century ago.

  65. kinopanorama.widescreeen

    Our 10 films include: The Alamo, Around the World in 80 Days, The Big Fisherman, The Big Country, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Hallelujah Trail, The Private Lives of Sherlock Holmes, Opasniye Povoroty and Great is my Country [the first Kinopanorama® film].

    Don't you mean "my' rather than 'our'? Good to see that you have changed your 40 plus year old photo on your profile .

  66. Great thread idea and wonderful to see many of the big titles I've either long wished could be addressed or read into how they've not been represented too well. Sorry this might get a tad long. 😉

    Robert Harris

    The trims were in Mr. Wilder’s office, destroyed in a fire

    Oh no! If that's really true, what an absolute tragic moment. I read of that fire in Ed Sikov's biography of Wilder IIRC but had no idea it claimed something as precious as that. Long have I wished they could be found somewhere such as in a dusty old case with the Watson name stamped upon it in old UA archives.

    Mystery of the Wax Museum really needs its color addressed. I've had the LD on my wishlist for some time as I can't stand the garish looking DVD version. I finally gave up and got The Hallelujah Trail on LD at the local shop for 99 cents just before the BD was announced-ditto for Greatest Story Ever Told which looks pretty darn bad on BD. Plus I'm a silly nut who always winds up going backward when everyone else goes forward.

    My big one would be The Man Who Knew Too Much '56 for which I've held onto my old 2001 DVD because I really dislike the newer transfer and hope one day it and the other VV Hitchcock titles can be represented properly on disc. At least Vertigo and Rear Window were updated (by others sadly) for their Blu-ray debuts but really all the Hitchcock Universal titles could fare better. As good as Trouble With Harry looks it doesn't look as good as the print I saw in 2008 or so that made me fall madly in love with it even further.

    Worst of all is the continued situation with Sergio Leone's work. It should be possible to have beautiful renditions of all six of his major films yet they continue to do restoration after "restoration" many times without proper research and this results in a myriad of incomplete, inconsistent and in some cases downright wrong versions. For example, after finally getting it put back in 2005, Duck, You Sucker has just been reverted to the UA Fistful of Dynamite title which was only used for the second issue super shortened version aimed at making quick money in the US. (And of course it still has the wrong music cues and censored soundtrack etc.)

    I finally, finally, finally tracked down the long version of The Alamo on Laserdisc and the ac3 reissue to boot! Can't wait to see the long version finally. It really is incredible just how long they let this case go on for and considering now that the source has deteriorated… (I am correct in remembering that the lone 70mm print source found and used for the long Laserdisc has now gone bad beyond usage, aren't I?)

    The Hammer titles are slowly but surely seeing fine transfers per film, but mostly overseas or only in barebones releases here. (That said a number have issues with improper ratios and the like, so you can't win as a Hammer fan.) WB have been supposed to do Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of Dracula, but those have had many reported issues over the years and hopefully they achieve some magic. The UK CoF Blu-ray many complained about was a scan of the best and only vaulted source WB had, and I abhor the awful blue tinted Dracula UK release.

    As for Ambersons, I've read so many rumors and legends it's hard to keep straight. As far as I knew the South American/Brazil story was never quite officiated and the only definite confirmed location was the (Miami IIRC) Florida Fleischer studio where Robert Wise flew to meet Welles and go over the rough cut before any studio tampering. Warner have an HD version streaming that is slightly better than the DVD (same source) so hopefully WAC does a Blu-ray in the near future just to have a HD version of the butchered cut. I also have both Criterions but find it quite hard to watch the film as you can't quite get away from the pain of it being mutilated.

    Lastly, the films no one ever discusses in this regard and ones in terrible need of not only proper documentation but also their first proper transfers in some cases ever are the Hong Kong classic action films, particularly the heroic bloodshed films of John Woo. Only A Better Tomorrow has been restored overseas but sadly it passed through the hands of that Italian firm which messes about with color and everything else. The Killer and Hard Boiled have long needed to return to the Criterion slate.

  67. Just wanted to cast another vote (pun intended) for THE BIG FISHERMAN, which I haven't seen since it's original theatrical release. It seems that Disney has quietly disowned the film (it was a pet project of Roy, Walt didn't want to do it.)

    I have heard that there are rights issues on CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and HORROR OF DRACULA, i.e. that they were acquired by Studio Canal and US release rights would go to Lionsgate, not Warner, and this has been holding up the US Blu-Ray release. Can anybody shed more light on this?

    And of course, THE ALAMO. BTW, I am looking forward to the upcoming release by Kino of my favorite Alamo film, THE LAST COMMAND.

  68. Spencer Draper

    I finally gave up and got The Hallelujah Trail on LD at the local shop for 99 cents just before the BD was announced-ditto for Greatest Story Ever Told which looks pretty darn bad on BD. Plus I'm a silly nut who always winds up going backward when everyone else goes forward.

    How does Greatest Story Ever Told look on laser disc compared to the Blu-ray? It has an AR of 2.2 for sides 1 to 3 and around 2.4 for side 4 so it is cropped compared to to Blu-ray which is 2.76.

  69. Often mentioned and already having its own thread

    THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM is badly in the need of a restoration.

    Not sure if it needs a restoration, but Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

  70. I agree with Spencer Draper.

    A good-looking Ambersons on Blu, even if only the mutilated cut, would be a very important release.

    The soundtrack issues on Duck You Sucker need to be resolved, and the John Woo films on Blu would also be very attractive.

  71. PMF

    Are there any missing OCN's that are not officially ruled out as destroyed or forever gone?
    I would imagine so, but wonder if RAH is in the position to name but a few.

    More (nitrate) elements, presumed lost, especially by fire, are occasionally found via new inventories.

    In a general sense, Universal, WB, M-G-M, RKO and Columbia have many extant elements, along with Disney animated. Fox, Goldwyn (b/w) and Paramount, the least.

  72. My favorite musical, MGM's Show Boat (1951). A Place in the Sun (1951). The Mating Season with the great Thelma Ritter (1951). A Hatful of Rain (1957). Hud (1963). All currently available on DVD and all desperately in need of restoration (and I do mean restoration!). Cheers~~

  73. filmnoirguy

    Let's add Picnic (1955) The latest DVD looks grand, but it's in pan & scan! How about a new widescreen Blu-ray?

    Twilight Time had a very nice BD of "Picnic". Unfortunately, it's been Sold Out for quite some time.

  74. Robert Harris

    The trims were in Mr. Wilder’s office, destroyed in a fire

    That's interesting, I've never heard that before. I obviously don't doubt your info in the least but when I was a part of an interview of Wilder in the mid 90's he was quite insistent that the Mirisch Bros still had the footage. Perhaps he was more 'hopeful' than 'certain,' but… what a shame!

  75. Robert Harris

    No idea. Not certain that it needs to be restored.

    It certainly does need restoration. Depending on sources I have read , it was nearly four hours long at its premiere – current prints run 3 hours and 19 minutes . So approximately 25 – 40 minutes were removed. I saw it in Roadshow in 1965 and I remember scenes that are no longer present in the last edit that Stevens made and reissued in 1966

  76. cinemiracle

    It is very doubtful that there would even be a market for the two Russian kinopanorama films that you mention .The cost would be prohibitive. How do you know that they even need to be restored? A new print of OPASNIYE POVOROTY was promised a long time ago but only a reel or two were ever printed. Their appeal outside Russia would be almost zero..They would simply be of curiosity interest only. Some of the footage from GREAT IS MY COUNTRY can be seen in the bluray of RUSSIAN ADVENTURE. It was a pity that Bing Crosby's nauseating narration ruined that film when it was shown in the west more than half a century ago.

  77. cinemiracle

    It is very doubtful that there would even be a market for the two Russian kinopanorama films that you mention .The cost would be prohibitive. How do you know that they even need to be restored? A new print of OPASNIYE POVOROTY was promised a long time ago but only a reel or two were ever printed. Their appeal outside Russia would be almost zero..They would simply be of curiosity interest only

    I saw those projected in three panel at Bradford a few years ago. I would agree that full restoration will probably never happen because of the costs involved, but would strongly disagree with your assessment of their appeal. The photography of the action shots in particular was much more advanced than Cinerama was able to achieve

  78. nara

    I saw those projected in three panel at Bradford a few years ago. I would agree that full restoration will probably never happen because of the costs involved, but would strongly disagree with your assessment of their appeal. The photography of the action shots in particular was much more advanced than Cinerama was able to achieve

    A friend just sent me a dvd of OPASNIYE POVOROTY (DANGEROUS CURVES) – It is the complete version of the Kinopanorama film but only with Russian dialogue. Apparently he got it off Youtube..

  79. cinerama10

    A friend just sent me a dvd of OPASNIYE POVOROTY (DANGEROUS CURVES) – It is the complete version of the Kinopanorama film but only with Russian dialogue. Apparently he got it off Youtube..

    The complete film is enjoyable enough but it would be very unlikely that the cost of restoring such an obscure film would make any money via dvd/bluray sales. It's of curiosity interest only. Where is the interest in Russia? There are numerous other more important, Russian films that deserve restoration. Let's see those restored as they are an important part of Russian cinema history. I have always been a great fan of Russian cinema especially from the fifties and sixties. Where are the restorations of such masterpieces as COME AND SEE-possibly the greatest war film ever made? The list is endless. The Russians did a superb job of restoring 25 classic films several years ago ( QUIET FLOWS THE DON ,for example) – it's time for more.

  80. cinerama10

    The complete film is enjoyable enough but it would be very unlikely that the cost of restoring such an obscure film would make any money via dvd/bluray sales. It's of curiosity interest only. Where is the interest in Russia? There are numerous other more important, Russian films that deserve restoration. Let's see those restored as they are an important part of Russian cinema history. I have always been a great fan of Russian cinema especially from the fifties and sixties. Where are the restorations of such masterpieces as COME AND SEE-possibly the greatest war film ever made? The list is endless. The Russians did a superb job of restoring 25 classic films several years ago ( QUIET FLOWS THE DON ,for example) – it's time for more.

    I can’t answer for the film the original post was about or some of the other Russian classics (though I’ve heard Mosfilm is working on War and Peace), but as for Come and See, if this tweet from Janus Films is anything to go by, we may be getting that one quite soon, possibly before the end of the year.

    Edit: Forgot to add the link to the tweet in question:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/janusfilms/status/986634873120198656

  81. nara

    I saw those projected in three panel at Bradford a few years ago. I would agree that full restoration will probably never happen because of the costs involved, but would strongly disagree with your assessment of their appeal. The photography of the action shots in particular was much more advanced than Cinerama was able to achieve

    I agree with you that the action shots in O.P. were better than a anything that Cinerama was able to achieve. 3 panel Cinerama was almost finished by the time that Kinopanorama came around..By then the 3 panel system was more advanced and capable of better things.Most noticeable were the join lines between the projected panels.They were less visible.Cinerama also used a lot of professional actors in some of their documentary films (SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE and 7 WONDERS OF THEWORLD for example) Most viewers were unaware of this at the time. It did make several sequences less authentic by describing them as documentaries. Would you describe WINDJAMMER as a documentary if it were made today?

  82. philip*eric

    It certainly does need restoration. Depending on sources I have read , it was nearly four hours long at its premiere – current prints run 3 hours and 19 minutes . So approximately 25 – 40 minutes were removed. I saw it in Roadshow in 1965 and I remember scenes that are no longer present in the last edit that Stevens made and reissued in 1966

    The premiere opening running time was 221 minutes plus a 15 minute intermission. The 199 minute Blu-ray is missing 22 minutes of the premiere footage.

    View attachment 45640

  83. Billy Batson

    Ha, well mine works as well, so I shall continue saying that to myself when I read OCN 🙂

    Since "OCNs" often include opticals, your version is actually technically more correct, since any opticals are not from the "original camera".

    Vincent

  84. Vincent_P

    Since "OCNs" often include opticals, your version is actually technically more correct, since any opticals are not from the "original camera".

    Vincent

    Vincent is correct, as he’s gone through the trials of making a film.

    That noted, OCN or EK generally refers to a cut and conformed neg, in any format, inclusive of possibly cut-in printer functions, as well as main and ends,

  85. RBlenheim

    "MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON" (Bob Rafelson)

    Absolutely! What an amazing adventure film, gorgeously photographed. This was made by the late Carolco company and released (in the States, anyway) by Columbia (Sony). Who currently owns this film, and why isn't it available on Blu-ray? To tie into the OP, I don't think this would need much, if any, restoration.

  86. RolandL

    The premiere opening running time was 221 minutes plus a 15 minute intermission. The 199 minute Blu-ray is missing 22 minutes of the premiere footage.

    View attachment 45640

    GSET
    I for one would like to see this restored to it's original length though Director Stevens was always tinkering with the music…as if the music was the problem with the film.

  87. WED definitely deserves a fresh transfer. I was quite shocked recently to spin up the letterboxed Laserdisc I picked up out of curiosity-only to find that it was a roadshow styled presentation with an Intermission! Apparently it uses the roadshow version used on the British release, much as Guns of Navarone has the optional European intermission on the Blu-ray.

  88. Billy Batson

    I suppose there's a fine line between a film needing restoration & a film just a wee bit too far gone & beyond a good looking restoration. A favourite from my childhood would be Northwest Passage (1940), I don't know if that's too far gone.

    I like this film. It really only represents the first half of the Kenneth Roberts book (which gets a bit anticlimactic after that, anyway). The DVD is mediocre, and I would assuredly welcome a Blu-ray upgrade. Who knows? WAC is constantly surprising us (BILLY BUDD, anyone?).

  89. Robert Harris

    The original Ambersons is an extraordinary film. The cut version, far less so.

    Are you basing that opinion on the original shooting script, or on an actual viewing of the uncut version? If the latter, how did you manage to pull that one off? :wacko:

  90. Dick

    Are you basing that opinion on the original shooting script, or on an actual viewing of the uncut version? If the latter, how did you manage to pull that one off? :wacko:

    The picture & dialogue cutting continuity.

  91. Robert Harris

    The picture & dialogue cutting continuity.

    Probably not in my lifetime, but I would wager that the uncut version will turn up in a dusty storage room somewhere in the world and get a digital restoration, probably too late for a physical disc release.

  92. t1g3r5fan

    One movie which I'd like to see restored is The Greatest Story Ever Told. I believe that a print exists in the Library of Congress, and I heard that George Stevens Jr. had plans to restore the film. So, I'm holding out some hope that it can be restored to its original running time or very close to it.

    Needs work, for sure. Too bad it's such a crappy film, IMO.

  93. RBlenheim

    "THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL" (John Sturges' Ultra Panavision)
    "THE GO-BETWEEN" (Joseph Losey's Cannes winner)
    "BOUND FOR GLORY" (Hal Ashby's pic on Woody Guthrie)
    "SAVAGE MESSIAH" (Ken Russell's biopic)
    "MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON" (Bob Rafelson)
    "RAISE THE RED LANTERN" (Zhang Yimou)
    "DAYS OF RUNNING WILD" (Wong Kar-Wai)
    "THE SCARLET EMPRESS" (Josef von Sternberg)

    Totally agree with you regarding BOUND FOR GLORY, which is one of the worst-looking releases from Twilight Time, and MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, which had its last (non-anamorphic) release on DVD. Beautiful film, largely forgotten, directed by the man who gave us FIVE EASY PIECES.

  94. Spencer Draper

    Great thread idea and wonderful to see many of the big titles I've either long wished could be addressed or read into how they've not been represented too well. Sorry this might get a tad long. 😉

    Oh no! If that's really true [PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES trims lost in fire], what an absolute tragic moment.

    This sort of shit happens all the time. It happened to me. I had shot a feature-length film here in Maine in 1973 using Kodak Plus-X and Tri-X cartridges, roughly 70 of them ("usable" vs. shooting ratio of about 1:3). These were all sent to a lab from a local Zayre Dept. store (remember those?) for processing and post-production soundstriping, and every single 50' reel that was returned to me for editing had been UNDERDEVELOPED. Most shots lost. No shadow detail. The February snow, an important part of the film's intended look and atmosphere, was dark, dull gray, not white. I had had a lot of experience shooting with black and white on Super 8mm (it was rare and expensive, but my preference) and knew how to use light meters and filters, so it was a huge embarrassment when I had to keep moving the projector nearer to the (bedsheet) screen for the premiere in the town where it was filmed. It was still largely unviewable. I'd spent about $800.00 (a lot for me) on this film, and it almost led me to quit filmmaking entirely. It crushed me. I can easily imagine how Mr. Wilder felt when this truncated film was released, as I can when Mr. Welles saw the result of the studio's AMBERSONS cut. It's like losing a family member.

  95. Did anybody ask Wise towards the end of his long life what happened to the cut footage of Ambersons and if it could be restored? I've never seen that addressed. I met him once but didn't have the nerve though I asked him if the original 70mm negative existed of WSS and he said no. Was that really the case? I've never seen a TODD AO print of 80 Days. Is this gone for good? Strange for such an enormously popular Best Picture winner.

    Another thing Greed is one of my favorite films and what film fan would not want to see the 8 hour director's cut?
    In Irene Selznick's autobio she says she was at that famous press preview where the complete film was shown and since it was already controversial she was totally on Stroheim's side. After sitting through it not so much. She says that it was a long sprawling mess with a great deal of tedium between its brilliant sequences. I believe that extra footage was destroyed by Thalberg and it was never shown commercially so the chance of finding it is 0.

    A comment about Harris's recent restoration of My Fair Lady. While visually it is stunning aurally it is not though I know critics are doing cartwheels about the sound. Well I don't think they ever heard it in its original roadshow 6 track stereo glory. I did in '78 at the Warner Cinerama(I actually had seen it as well at the great Criterion in Times Square in '65 and '71 but I was so young I remember little about the presentation) but the sound system in that theater was tremendous(you should have heard South Pacific and Paint Your Wagon there!) and you can't imagine how rich transparent and warm it was with great impact. The first 8 notes of the overture had you already flattened against the rear of the theater. Somebody on another thread was discussing how so many of the 4 track and 6 track tapes of movies from the 50s and 60s have deteriorated and it seems that the glorious MFL is one of them. Though I'm sure Harris did the best he could with what he had.

    Visually it is as close as I have seen to that Super Panavision 70 print on the 80ft curved screen at the Warner. By the way I don't know if that print was from the mid 60s or the 71 rerelease but it was so gorgeous and eye popping it looked practically 3D. On that size screen even Hepburn's entrance at Ascot left you floored.

  96. roxy1927

    Did anybody ask Wise towards the end of his long life what happened to the cut footage of Ambersons and if it could be restored? I've never seen that addressed. I met him once but didn't have the nerve though I asked him if the original 70mm negative existed of WSS and he said no. Was that really the case? I've never seen a TODD AO print of 80 Days. Is this gone for good? Strange for such an enormously popular Best Picture winner.

    Another thing Greed is one of my favorite films and what film fan would not want to see the 8 hour director's cut?
    In Irene Selznick's autobio she says she was at that famous press preview where the complete film was shown and since it was already controversial she was totally on Stroheim's side. After sitting through it not so much. She says that it was a long sprawling mess with a great deal of tedium between its brilliant sequences. I believe that extra footage was destroyed by Thalberg and it was never shown commercially so the chance of finding it is 0.

    A comment about Harris's recent restoration of My Fair Lady. While visually it is stunning aurally it is not though I know critics are doing cartwheels about the sound. Well I don't think they ever heard it in its original roadshow 6 track stereo glory. I did in '78 at the Warner Cinerama(I actually had seen it as well at the great Criterion in Times Square in '65 and '71 but I was so young I remember little about the presentation) but the sound system in that theater was tremendous(you should have heard South Pacific and Paint Your Wagon there!) and you can't imagine how rich transparent and warm it was with great impact. The first 8 notes of the overture had you already flattened against the rear of the theater. Somebody on another thread was discussing how so many of the 4 track and 6 track tapes of movies from the 50s and 60s have deteriorated and it seems that the glorious MFL is one of them. Though I'm sure Harris did the best he could with what he had.

    Visually it is as close as I have seen to that Super Panavision 70 print on the 80ft curved screen at the Warner. By the way I don't know if that print was from the mid 60s or the 71 rerelease but it was so gorgeous and eye popping it looked practically 3D. On that size screen even Hepburn's entrance at Ascot left you floored.

    MFL at the Criterion was indeed a great experience. Paint Your Wagon originally opened at the Loews State 2 and sounded wonderful. In 1978 the Warner Cinerama had a 70mm festival of popular movie musicals. I'm sure they all sounded wonderful as I only saw South Pacific there. All the NYC Roadshow theatres had wonderful sound systems. Among them the Criterion and Warner Cinerama theaters.

  97. roxy1927

    Did anybody ask Wise towards the end of his long life what happened to the cut footage of Ambersons and if it could be restored? I've never seen that addressed. I met him once but didn't have the nerve though I asked him if the original 70mm negative existed of WSS and he said no. Was that really the case? I've never seen a TODD AO print of 80 Days. Is this gone for good? Strange for such an enormously popular Best Picture winner.

    Another thing Greed is one of my favorite films and what film fan would not want to see the 8 hour director's cut?
    In Irene Selznick's autobio she says she was at that famous press preview where the complete film was shown and since it was already controversial she was totally on Stroheim's side. After sitting through it not so much. She says that it was a long sprawling mess with a great deal of tedium between its brilliant sequences. I believe that extra footage was destroyed by Thalberg and it was never shown commercially so the chance of finding it is 0.

    A comment about Harris's recent restoration of My Fair Lady. While visually it is stunning aurally it is not though I know critics are doing cartwheels about the sound. Well I don't think they ever heard it in its original roadshow 6 track stereo glory. I did in '78 at the Warner Cinerama(I actually had seen it as well at the great Criterion in Times Square in '65 and '71 but I was so young I remember little about the presentation) but the sound system in that theater was tremendous(you should have heard South Pacific and Paint Your Wagon there!) and you can't imagine how rich transparent and warm it was with great impact. The first 8 notes of the overture had you already flattened against the rear of the theater. Somebody on another thread was discussing how so many of the 4 track and 6 track tapes of movies from the 50s and 60s have deteriorated and it seems that the glorious MFL is one of them. Though I'm sure Harris did the best he could with what he had.

    Visually it is as close as I have seen to that Super Panavision 70 print on the 80ft curved screen at the Warner. By the way I don't know if that print was from the mid 60s or the 71 rerelease but it was so gorgeous and eye popping it looked practically 3D. On that size screen even Hepburn's entrance at Ascot left you floored.

    I’m also sure that Harris did the best with what he had.

    What he had were (short one single unit) the original 6-track mix, which is encoded on the latest Blu-ray in 96k.

    He did hear it in all it's 6-track glory.

    He feels that your home theater sound system is not up to Warner Cinerama standards, as he recently ran a DCP, and could not have been more pleased.

    The Blu-ray that you find problematic is actually encoded with audio one generation closer to what you heard on at the Cinerama.

    Signed In His Majesty's absence…

    by…

    Me

  98. Admittedly my home theater is not up to Warner Cinerama standards. When those roadshow houses came down in the late 80s I mourned their sound systems as much as the theaters themselves. But I have to say and this is odd the soundtrack of the blu ray DVD of the Todd AO Oklahoma totally knocked me out and this is what I remember in the Penthouse during that '78 70mm film festival. And it's even 9 years earlier than MFL!

    And may I say that visually this My Fair Lady is the most stunning thing you have done? And I saw your My Fair Lady in '93 3 times at the Ziegfeld( had it run longer than 9 days I would have seen it many more times, and dear lord it was replaced by a Meryl Streep action flick!!! when MFL would have continued to be a sellout..), Lawrence in the late 80s 3 times at the Ziegfeld, and Spartacus once at the Ziegfeld and then again at the basement theater complex that used to be in the building that replaced the parking lot that replaced the 8th AV MSG.

  99. Paul Rossen

    What I neglected to say was I find the sound on the MFL restored Blu Ray to be as good as I remember it was the Criterion. The sound is that good.

    As noted, the audio was harvested from the original 6-track full-coats.

  100. Paul Rossen

    MFL at the Criterion was indeed a great experience. Paint Your Wagon originally opened at the Loews State 2 and sounded wonderful. In 1978 the Warner Cinerama had a 70mm festival of popular movie musicals. I'm sure they all sounded wonderful as I only saw South Pacific there. All the NYC Roadshow theatres had wonderful sound systems. Among them the Criterion and Warner Cinerama theaters.

    I saw all the films that played at that 70mm festival of musicals at the Warner Cinerama in 1978. They sounded spectacular but had, for the most part, turned a beautiful magenta or purple tone.

  101. bujaki

    I saw all the films that played at that 70mm festival of musicals at the Warner Cinerama in 1978. They sounded spectacular but had, for the most part, turned a beautiful magenta or purple tone.

    That would be screened in all their analogue glory.

  102. I didn't mean to sound snarky but I really regret the tints in SP when the scenes without the colors are so beautiful and the point of the musical is these Americans in this tropical paradise having their assumptions challenged.
    One effective use though is when is the moment when Nellie suddenly realizes the jeep is waiting for her and the tint instantly vanishes.

  103. I didn't mean to sound snarky but I really regret the tints in SP when the scenes without the colors are so beautiful and the point of the musical is these Americans in this tropical paradise having their assumptions challenged.
    One effective use though is when is the moment when Nellie suddenly realizes the jeep is waiting for her and the tint instantly vanishes.

  104. While I'm not a fan of musicals I had to put on the new MFL when it became so cheaply available and must say that in my modest 7.1 HT I was absolutely floored by the presentation. In addition to the stunning picture, the sound is absolutely remarkable. It is so incredible it could be used as a textbook for sound design in the roadshow era-and the great bonus is the higher than usual encoding at 24/96!

    That being said, the audio on Spartacus is even better as it has all of the directional panning intact and absolutely blew my mind on first viewing. No review really mentioned it, but no prior release has ever had this degree of panning intact-not even the 35mm restored print from Universal which I saw a few months ago. (The 1991 restoration, new print struck in 2006.)

    To me both of these being so cheaply and readily available make them the absolute best examples of the format hand down.

  105. Spencer Draper

    While I'm not a fan of musicals I had to put on the new MFL when it became so cheaply available and must say that in my modest 7.1 HT I was absolutely floored by the presentation. In addition to the stunning picture, the sound is absolutely remarkable. It is so incredible it could be used as a textbook for sound design in the roadshow era-and the great bonus is the higher than usual encoding at 24/96!

    That being said, the audio on Spartacus is even better as it has all of the directional panning intact and absolutely blew my mind on first viewing. No review really mentioned it, but no prior release has ever had this degree of panning intact-not even the 35mm restored print from Universal which I saw a few months ago. (The 1991 restoration, new print struck in 2006.)

    To me both of these being so cheaply and readily available make them the absolute best examples of the format hand down.

    Both Spart and MFL have directional audio.

  106. I wouldn't mind if Mr Harris would restore one of my favorite films Mamoulian's Silk Stockings. The DVD is visually soft and I understand the blu ray is even worse. 'Silk Stockings doesn't look bad; it just doesn't look very good.'

    It's not a MFL or Spartacus but it's a joy all the same.

  107. Matt Hough

    This isn't the first negative comment I've read about the Blu-ray of Silk Stockings, but I thought it looked and sounded just fine. I had no complaints at all.

    I agree with you. And the rest of the question is, even if Mr. Harris did work on it, how much more could he do? I thought that any problems had more to do with how it was originally made, and what shape the elements were in. Even to ignore that, it was released by WAC, not WHV (owing to popularity of catalog titles), and they still have a limited budget to work with (and I doubt that would have changed if Mr. Harris had done this one, either).

  108. Astairefan

    I agree with you. And the rest of the question is, even if Mr. Harris did work on it, how much more could he do? I thought that any problems had more to do with how it was originally made, and what shape the elements were in. Even to ignore that, it was released by WAC, not WHV (owing to popularity of catalog titles), and they still have a limited budget to work with (and I doubt that would have changed if Mr. Harris had done this one, either).

    All projects like Silk, move steadily toward an ultimate rational budget point.

    I thought that it looked terrific, for a 1957 Monopack negative production.

    Could it look better?

    Possibly, but incrementally.

    And only by throwing another six figures into the budget, presuming that the elements would allow it.

    That noted, I don’t understand what the purpose might be.

    I’d leave it as it is, as opposed to spending funds to possibly raise a score by one or two tenths of a point.

    One might peg a higher score at $75,000 per tenth, and that score might never hit 5.0.

  109. Well now after Mr Hough's and Astairefan's comment I just might pick it up. I understand it suffers from 'yellow layer collapse' and would be to expensive to fully restore. Charisse and Astaire(even middle-aged) at their best and Lorre singing and dancing is a real surprise.

  110. roxy1927

    Well now after Mr Hough's and Astairefan's comment I just might pick it up. I understand it suffers from 'yellow layer collapse' and would be to expensive to fully restore. Charisse and Astaire(even middle-aged) at their best and Lorre singing and dancing is a real surprise.

    Forgive me, but you’re discussing problems with a film, suggesting that someone restore it, and have not seen the subject you’re discussing!?

  111. I was commenting on the fact that there are people who have been complaining about the blu ray of the film and so I haven't bought it not wanting to spend close to $20 for something not much better than what I have. The review on Blu Ray was not good and also people on Amazon who are familiar with both editions were lamenting an increase in grain and softening of details. Bringing up this issue and having feedback from a few posters has given me the incentive to spring for it.

  112. roxy1927

    I was commenting on the fact that there are people who have been complaining about the blu ray of the film and so I haven't bought it not wanting to spend close to $20 for something not much better than what I have. The review on Blu Ray was not good and also people on Amazon who are familiar with both editions were lamenting an increase in grain and softening of details. Bringing up this issue and having feedback from a few posters has given me the incentive to spring for it.

    I would always be very wary about believing Amazon "reviewers" as many of them don't know what they're talking about.

  113. Well it did make me question if I should spend the money if it wasn't much better than the DVD and did cause me do wonder if somebody like you could have done a better job. But as you said it might be only incremental. I'm glad so many like the film. I believe it was Mamoulian's last completed film. He was certainly one of the most extraordinary talents of American film and theater in the mid Twentieth Century when there were so many enormously gifted people. I wish I had been around when it played at the Music Hall. I bet it looked crisp and dazzling on that large Cinemascope screen. I would have gone any number of times. Instead I was able to go alone into the city around the time when Radio City was playing such films as The Girl From Petrovka and Hennessey.

  114. Robin9

    I would always be very wary about believing Amazon "reviewers" as many of them don't know what they're talking about.

    So True. Most Amazon reviewers haven't even seen a bluray or dvd of the film that they are reviewing. Reviews should only be allowed for actual buyers of the disc. For the best in bluray reviews try http://www.dvdbeaver.com.They are compiled by people who know what they are talking about.

  115. Have a look at this one:

    https://www.caps-a-holic.com/c.php?go=1&a=0&d1=8716&d2=8717&s1=83601&s2=83609&i=5&l=0

    The difference is not just subtle but very substantial. Surely this is no large format extravaganza when it comes to detail but the increase in detail over the DVD is defnitely there even in darker amd grainy (duped?) indoor scenes:

    https://www.caps-a-holic.com/c.php?go=1&a=0&d1=8716&d2=8717&s1=83596&s2=83604&i=0&l=0

    Frankly I would have expected a bit more detail in a number of scenes if that was indeed a 4k OCN scan but there definitely is enough improvement to warrant having it on Blu-ray.

  116. Well I'll be honest . I have seen the DVD many times on my Sony 65 inch screen TV from about 8 feet away and it does not look as bad as they are presenting it here(though still it is sorely lacking though not enough to keep me from enjoying the film.) But since it is one of my favorite films and there will be no further restoration at least during my lifetime it is worth getting for myself and making my own decision. I'll post my thoughts. Now when will they put out the first 3 color full length feature Mamoulian's Becky Sharp which I saw many years ago at Moma in a beautiful print except for the ending which was a disaster. They claimed it was beyond any effort for restoration due to available materials.
    Now I see Kino Lorber has announced it for this summer. I wonder what will happen with the ending.

  117. roxy1927

    Well I'll be honest . I have seen the DVD many times on my Sony 65 inch screen TV from about 8 feet away and it does not look as bad as they are presenting it here(though still it is sorely lacking though not enough to keep me from enjoying the film.) But since it is one of my favorite films and there will be no further restoration at least during my lifetime it is worth getting for myself and making my own decision. I'll post my thoughts.

    You are sitting much closer to your monitor then your TV so that will make a big difference. The other difference is that moving pictures always look better than stills as they add temporal resolution.

  118. This is the section of the BluRay.com review that had me concerned and made me question buying the bluray and disappointed that it might not look as good as other Warner transfers. At the end the reviewer in comparing it to others says it is subpar to the point of being noticeable. A number of you seem to disagree so it is for me to buy it and make my own decision.

    'The disc's weak point is the accentuated grain pattern caused by "yellow layer collapse", with the coarseness of the grain amplifying the perception of softness and lack of detail. While WAC is to be commended for resisting the temptation to apply digital sharpening and grain reduction in an effort to compensate for the source's limitations, there is no getting around the fact that the Blu-ray's image is disappointingly bland. Without an independent assessment of the negative, it is impossible to say whether a superior image could be achieved. I have been told that the effects of "yellow layer collapse" can be substantially rectified in the digital domain, but only at a cost that would far exceed the budget typically afforded to WAC for its Blu-ray transfers.

    A singular oddity occurs at approximately 1:10:05, where Cyd Charisse is exiting the elevator to the hotel lobby. After several frames, all of the color values shift noticeably (compare screenshots 30 and 31). I have been advised that this discontinuity results from a flawed and faded optical, but I find it hard to excuse the colorist for leaving it uncorrected, given the capabilities of modern digital tools.

    WAC has mastered Silk Stockings at the company's usual target average bitrate of 35 Mbps, with a capable encode. Unfortunately, the best encoding in the world can't compensate for the limitations of the source. My video score attempts to balance the results achieved against the challenges of the material. Silk Stockings doesn't look bad; it just doesn't look very good. WAC's recent efforts have set such a high benchmark that anything subpar stands out noticeably.'

  119. moviefanatic1979

    +

    If you have a player which upscales the picture it gets sharper on the TV screen.

    The screencaps are already upscaled to 1080p or 4k or the size would change dramatically for some mouseovers. The upscaling is actually pretty good compared to what many TV's offer.

  120. roxy1927

    This is the section of the BluRay.com review that had me concerned and made me question buying the bluray and disappointed that it might not look as good as other Warner transfers. At the end the reviewer in comparing it to others says it is subpar to the point of being noticeable. A number of you seem to disagree so it is for me to buy it and make my own decision.

    'The disc's weak point is the accentuated grain pattern caused by "yellow layer collapse", with the coarseness of the grain amplifying the perception of softness and lack of detail. While WAC is to be commended for resisting the temptation to apply digital sharpening and grain reduction in an effort to compensate for the source's limitations, there is no getting around the fact that the Blu-ray's image is disappointingly bland. Without an independent assessment of the negative, it is impossible to say whether a superior image could be achieved. I have been told that the effects of "yellow layer collapse" can be substantially rectified in the digital domain, but only at a cost that would far exceed the budget typically afforded to WAC for its Blu-ray transfers.

    A singular oddity occurs at approximately 1:10:05, where Cyd Charisse is exiting the elevator to the hotel lobby. After several frames, all of the color values shift noticeably (compare screenshots 30 and 31). I have been advised that this discontinuity results from a flawed and faded optical, but I find it hard to excuse the colorist for leaving it uncorrected, given the capabilities of modern digital tools.

    WAC has mastered Silk Stockings at the company's usual target average bitrate of 35 Mbps, with a capable encode. Unfortunately, the best encoding in the world can't compensate for the limitations of the source. My video score attempts to balance the results achieved against the challenges of the material. Silk Stockings doesn't look bad; it just doesn't look very good. WAC's recent efforts have set such a high benchmark that anything subpar stands out noticeably.'

    I can see that reading a review like this one may lead to second guessing but the important questions that one has to answer are imo:

    Is there likely to be another release soon that will look better? NO
    Is there a big enough upgrade over the DVD? YES
    Does it look about as good as could be expected given the way it was shot and the available elements and that it is not a super high profile title? YES

    So in this case this makes Silk Stockings a definite buy.

    How other movies may or may not look should not be of any importance if one is after a reasonably good looking version of a specific movie. It is not as if buying a great looking version of My Fair Lady will help when you originally intended to watch Silk Stockings on Blu-ray.

  121. I understand the first bluray of MFL was a disappointment. This is so great I now want my friends who don't like the film to see it. A surprising number don't due to finding it too stagey and they can't get over the fact that Andrews didn't do the role. At this point who even saw her do it? Hepburn wasn't even nominated which was very cruel. Watch her on you tube giving the Oscar to Harrison. Talk about rising above it! I like them both better than Howard and Hiller and they are among my favorite actors.

    Andrew Sarris called MFL 'elegantly embalmed.' Elia Kazan wrote Cukor that he won the Oscar for the wrong film. My friends if not totally won over will still find it impressive.

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