Universal Announces Silent Film Preservation Initiative

Discussion in 'Classic' started by X-human, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    I should have posted this a week ago but this is a bit more informative:
    http://associationsnow.com/2015/06/film-archivists-new-supporting-role-silent-film-preservation/

    Although no titles are yet listed The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera must be earmarked for restoration.

    On their 100th Anniversary there were plausible whispers of Hunchback and Phantom making it to Blu-ray; which I really wanted to believe. But in the end all they did was make an appearance on their Anniversary website with links to Amazon to buy public domain copies! So I'm happy to see it's coming through after all (and then some!).

    There's been a very long going restoration project at UCLA for Phantom so I wonder if they'll be tapping that? There's also the long delayed Milestone release which better shit or get off the pot at this point.
     
  2. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Less than a year later and we'll be seeing the results of their new restoration initiative with a month long theatrical screening at The Museum of Modern Art in New York:
    http://www.moma.org/calendar/film/1642?locale=en

    They'll be showing the silent horror The Last Warning along with quite a few of James Whale's films.
     
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  3. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    Incredible job by Universal. I will definitely pick up Phantom and Hunchback once they are available on blu-ray.
     
  4. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Well don't get swept up in rumors or speculation. They are public domain titles that studios rarely touch. But then both Warner and Fox have recently rattled their sabres in that domain and so who knows what Universal may be considering.

    Also worth mentioning is the fact that a 4k restoration of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man was shown this month at the TCM Film Festival, which hopefully means more Universal Monsters are not far behind on Blu-ray.

    And also also worth mentioning is the Blu-ray was released in France, and appears to be completely DNR free; along with many more Universal Monsters. I was originally going to wait for the US releases, but after reading this I now think I should bite on these. I do enjoy a more film like presentation, especially for these films, and I doubt the US distribution arm can keep their hands off 11 of the DNR dial for American audiences.
     
  5. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    Now this is something I thought would never happen. I love the direction Universal was gone with their classics.
     
  6. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Thought I'd bump this to include an Instagram from Criterion:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BGzDJ-wSzZ0/

    New better footage always seems to be turning up. Makes me wonder whatever became of this: http://www.horrordvds.com/community/threads/complete-31-dracula-print-located.35785/
     
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  7. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Flicker Alley included a 2019 calendar with their shipments of Der Hund von Baskerville which showcased two Universal silents:
    The Man Who Laughs (1928): restored by Universal Home Entertainment with a new score by The Berkle.
    The Last Warning (1929): restored by Universal Home Entertainment with a new score by Arthur Barrow.

    I was concerned some of these restorations wouldn't have a home video outlet since Universal has been so reluctant to release any silents themselves so I'm happy to see these announced.

    Full List:
    The Man Who Laughs (1928), restored by Universal Home Entertainment with a new score by the Berklee School of Music
    The City Without Jews (1924), restored by the Filmarchiv Austria
    Fragment of an Empire (1929), restored by the SFSFF, EYE FIlmmuseum and Gosfilmofond of Russia.
    Spring Night, Summer Night (1967), reconstructed and restored in 4K by Nicholas Winding Refn and the Cinema Preservation Alliance
    Trapped! (1949), restored by the Film Noir Foundation
    3D Rarities Volume 2
    The Last Warning (1929), restored by Universal Home Entertainment with a new score by Arthur Barrow
    A Little Princess (1917), restored in 4K by the Mary Pickford Foundation with a new score by Julian Ducantenzeiler
    Mother (1926), The End of St. Petersburg (1927) and Storm Over Asia (1928), restored by Lobster Films

    Some more 3D Rarities would be awesome too!
     
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  8. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    With scant details this may be the best place for this news:

    The San Francisco Silent Film Festival held a "Masterclass" which included a clip for The Hunchback of Notre Dame newly restored by Universal Home Entertainment!


    The composer for the event begins taking about Hunchback at 14:10 and shows a clip of the opening at 18:00.

    So it's scheduled to screen during the San Francisco Film Festival in May 2021 at the Castro Theatre: https://silentfilm.org/festival-2021/

    Pretty big news as there was some doubt Universal would be working on restoring a public domain film so widely available. Hard to tell with the compression over Vimeo but what we see still looks good. And of course this suggests Phantom of the Opera is not far behind.
     
  9. rxfiend

    rxfiend Joe Six-Pack

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    Via a thread on nitrateville.com (silent film site), this clip was from an early stage of the restoration and not to judge it based on this vimeo footage.
     
  10. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    A Dutch print of Phantom of the Opera has surfaced with 2-strip Technicolor footage from the opening ballet not seen since 1925! It's been posted by EyeFilm.nl:


    Not exactly the uncut footage we salivate over today but pretty cool. Word is Universal has this footage although it's not certain if it is this exact print or their own archive copy.
     
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  11. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    What the hell I'll bump,

    February 18th the silent The Phantom of the Opera will be shown on TCM. It'll be very interesting to see what they air. Since the first announced Hunchback's restoration has yet to be screen theatrically I doubt it'll be Universal's rumored Phantom restoration premiering but one can never be too sure.
     
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  12. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    I don't remember what my source was at the end of December but it aired this past Silent Sunday instead and is no longer scheduled on 2/18. I stumbled upon PotA on Sunday night in time to watch it all and it turned out to be the Photoplay edition of the Eastman House print with Carl Davis score. All of which can be seen here:

    Which is, of course, enjoyable but not the product of the recent finds and ongoing UCLA restoration work with Universal. Which was also to be expected but still a little disappointing.

    I rather enjoyed Jacqueline Stewart's intro and outro. Informative for newbies but still appreciable to knowledgeable fans. It seems like some of these TCM intros are nothing more than literally reading off the Trivia page on IMDb so I appreciated her hosting. Just last October they had Skal on who said the same old falsehoods about Dracula/Chaney so it's nice to have Stewart not retread old dis-proven rumors about Opera.
     
  13. MaxRenn

    MaxRenn Active Member

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    I watched the introudction and figured it was the usual print so I did not watch the movie. Jacqueline Stewart does do a good job and I actually enjoy all the TCM hosts - they are knowledgeable and enthusiastic particularly Alica Malone and Eddie Muller.

    What are the falsehoods about Dracula/Chaney mentioned by Skal? He is usually up on things.
     
  14. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Skal continued to repeat his notion that Lon Chaney Sr. was originally going to play Dracula before he died and that Tod Browning was an absent director. These unsubstantiated claims have been refuted over the past decades by modern research which is well represented in Gary D. Rhodes' book Tod Browning's Dracula.

    TCM's host segments are mostly good but Dave Kargern seemed out of his depth this past October. That just rankled me a little bit. I'm sure a good part of it is COVID-19 restrictions which led to a rushed production.
     
  15. MaxRenn

    MaxRenn Active Member

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    Thanks for the information. So Chaney was never asked to be Dracula as I always thought that was the idea of the studio. Or is it just that he never agreed?

    You're right about Karger - he's a little weak. I actually don't see him too much on the stuff I DVR from TCM.
     
  16. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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    https://www.facebook.com/kinolorberinc/posts/3947875178594506
     
  17. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    What's most exciting is Universal's doing a restoration of the materials they hold. We've only ever seen 16mm consumer grade prints up until now. What Universal holds has been a completely mystery.

    So, I'm still interested in hearing what materials were used. The fact that they did it at 4k says they had something worth scanning at 4k... Hopefully.
     
  18. rxfiend

    rxfiend Joe Six-Pack

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    They are using a 16mm print for Hunchback. The person who owned said print mentioned this at the Nitrateville forums (I believe that is where I read it). So we're going to see how much sorcery Universal can pull off in this restoration from 16mm to 4k.
     

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