Posted 09 August 2018 - 08:11 PM
PRINTS from the 1970s have faded to magenta but the original negative was photochemically restored in the late 1990s (not digitally though some new digital effects replaced older optical ones) and it had mildly faded, but not enough that it couldnt be restored by making new color intermediates.
Dye transfer was a printing technology the originals were either b&w negatives from a 3-strip Technicolor camera, or were color negatives from which b&w separations were made for making dye transfer prints. The dyes in a dye transfer print are very stable, just like the dyes in Kodachrome. However, a projection contrast print is not the ideal element for archiving a movie, though its better than nothing. Ideally youd have either a usable negative or intermediate dupe of the negative and/or b&w separations containing the full information of the negative prints lose detail because they have to be much higher in contrast.
When you say lost you have to be more clear as what has been lost. Some old movies, for example, have lost their original negative but have decent dupe elements from which prints can be made. Others only exist as prints and sometimes an archive is forced to copy that to have an element to store and reproduce.
Nothing has really been lost with Star Wars other than the cut of the original negative, which was disassembled when being photochemically restored and re-conformed into the Special Edition version. But there are intermediate dupes of the original negative in the original edit. Same with Apocalypse Now, the original negative was altered when being restored to create the Redux version, so only a dupe intermediate exists of the original edit.