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"Gone With the Wind" - Restored Technicolor Print

Technicolor Gone With the Wind George Eastman House Restoration Film preservation

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#1 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 12:21 PM

Saw the restored 35mm Technicolor print at the Museum of Modern Art, yesterday.  Quite a nice experience.  Considering the age of the print, the George Eastman House did an amazing job.  I'd like to know the specific history of the print and I'm really surprised there's no information on the restoration on it.  I e-mailed the George Eastman House in the hope of obtaining some.  If it was indeed struck at the time the film was first released, it's a 76 year-old print.

 

There was one scratch on the right side of the frame which lasted about 10 minutes, which made me think this print was most likely projected at one time or another.  I also saw some color shifting within scenes, and some shots were a bit more faded than others, but all this could have been due to the age of the print.  But that was more prevalent in the first 40 minutes of the film than anywhere else.

 

The shots that blew me away - which made up the majority of the film - were the ones that featured crisp contrast and lush colors.  Very sharp print, too. 

 

Overall, a great cinematic experience.


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#2 David Cunningham

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 12:34 PM

Those original technicolor prints are amazing.  I have some very old 16mm technicolor prints that are pristine in both color and contrast.  Beautiful.  I also have prints from the 70s that are so red/pink you almost cannot see any other color.  So sad!


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#3 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 01:35 PM

I saw “The River” last week as part of the same festival. It’s a very special experience seeing those films. Color shift was also slight, but the sharpness and density was superb. 


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 04:18 PM

"Gone with the Wind" was re-released a couple of times in dye transfer prints, some generations more saturated than others (some people say that the first 1939 printing was more pastel than later ones) -- the dye transfer process allowed some control over saturation and contrast because the matrixes were flashed a small amount to control contrast and early prints used a fourth black silver key pass on the image.

 

The later re-prints were in Eastmancolor except for the final big re-release a decade ago, which used the prototype dye transfer printer at Technicolor, the same one used for some prints of "Bulworth", "Apocalypse Now Redux", "Batman & Robin", "The Wedding Planner", "Godzilla", and that one print of "Thin Red Line".  That re-release was made though from a color IP restoration master made in the 1980's, and the Academy image was printed inside 4-perf 35mm anamorphic rather than as a reduced image inside the 1.85 projected area of modern theaters.

 

There was a lot of controversy over these "1.37 inside 2.40" prints so MGM followed that release of a smaller release of "Wizard of Oz" where they managed to make dye transfer prints from matrices made from the original negatives, all steps in 4-perf 35mm Academy, but only would release those dye transfer prints to theaters that said they could project 1.37 Academy correctly. The rest of the theaters got Eastmanaolor prints with the 1.37 image inside a 1.85 area.

 

One clue as to whether the prints of "Gone with the Wind" are from the first decade of release and re-release is that some shots were replaced in the mid 1950's with dupes where a 1.66 or so hard matte was printed into the image, and the original negative of those shots were lost.  There is a shot of Melanie or Scarlett walking away from a house on a hill or something with that hard matte visible in 1.37 Academy.


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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 04:33 PM

One clue as to whether the prints of "Gone with the Wind" are from the first decade of release and re-release is that some shots were replaced in the mid 1950's with dupes where a 1.66 or so hard matte was printed into the image, and the original negative of those shots were lost.  There is a shot of Melanie or Scarlett walking away from a house on a hill or something with that hard matte visible in 1.37 Academy.

 

There were a few shots were I suddenly saw black at the bottom edge of the frame.  That was one of them.


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