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HP to restore "King Kong" (1933) and "re-invent" Cinerama [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : HP to restore "King Kong" (1933) and "re-invent" Cinerama


baracine
04-25-05, 01:36 PM
According to Hewlett Packard's website on April 18, 2005(http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2005/050418a.html):

Warner Bros. Studios and HP breathe new life into classic motion pictures

Warner Bros. Studios and HP also announced that they have teamed to restore the 1933 classic motion picture "King Kong." One of the American Film Institute's 100 most beloved films and named to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, the original camera negative of "King Kong" has long been destroyed, leaving only elements and prints that have been deteriorating over the years.

Warner Bros. Studios has brought the best elements and prints from all over the world and has scanned them into a 4K digital file. Using HP's "dirt and scratch" technology, which was developed by HP Labs, the 72-year-old classic will be digitally restored to its 1933 brilliance. A new camera negative as well as new archival elements will be created so that the film will be saved for generations to come. This new, restored version of "King Kong," as it was originally released, will be screened theatrically and broadcast on television, as well as released on Warner Home Video.

HP has also invented a new film restoration process for Cinerama films that eliminates the "seams" visible from the old three panel Cinerama process as well as corrects the distortions in perspective that were inherent in the change from Cinerama's curved screen to a flat one. Tests have already begun on the classic MGM 1962 film "How The West Was Won," now part of the vast Warner Bros. Studios library.

It's anybody's guess
(1) how exactly this "seamless" Cinerama will come to be (extensive digital manipulation, methinks, since it does not just entail erasing two harmless vertical lines but realigning the whole perspective of the left and right screens so they appear to have been shot by the same camera and from the same angle as the central panel, which defeats the purpose of Cinerama, if you ask me);
(2) if the Warner Brothers DVD of "King Kong" is going to be a tie-in with the theatrical release of the restored 1933 film or still come out at the same time the Peter Jackson version of "King Kong" hits theatres, which will probably be two different times, as one can't imagine two versions in theatres at the same time; and
(3) whether the WB DVD of "King Kong" (1933) will incorporate the Turner colorized version of the film as an interesting extra or whether this version will be rejected outright for reasons of cinematic correctness and be forever lost to future generations.

Although it will be cool to finally see "King Kong" (1933) on the big screen and to own a "cleaned-up" DVD of same, just to be on the safe side, I have just bought on eBay, at great expense, one of the last available Turner colorized/surround sound laserdiscs of the 1993-restoration of "King Kong" and I will treasure it forever, not only as a canny investment but also as a wonderful work of art in its own right. Each of the individual frames of the colourized version could be sold as an Andy Warhol original lithograph any day...:up:

Tyler_Durden
04-25-05, 03:27 PM
http://www.compare.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare/kingkong2/C2.JPG

Looks trippy!

Brain Stew
04-25-05, 03:31 PM
Each of the individual frames of the colourized version could be sold as an Andy Warhol original lithograph any day...:up:
Buying a colorized copy of a movie is tantamount to spitting on artistic vision.

baracine
04-25-05, 03:48 PM
Buying a colorized copy of a movie is tantamount to spitting on artistic vision.

... Which explains why the makers of "Mighty Joe Young" colorized their own film. But,then again, there is no reasoning with the ayatollahs of culture.

Steve Phillips
04-25-05, 03:57 PM
The filmmakers adding a tint to a scene for the 1949 theatrical release is not the same as Ted Turner colorizing the film 40 years later.

baracine
04-25-05, 04:00 PM
http://www.compare.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare/kingkong2/C2.JPG

Looks trippy!

Ah be trippin! If you remove the colour from this scene, the heroine disappears completely in a tangled mass of black and white vines. Just right-click on the picture and print it on a B&W printer and you'll see what I mean...

FinkPish
04-25-05, 04:18 PM
So baracine, are you suggesting that the colorized version is the right one?

baracine
04-25-05, 04:20 PM
So baracine, are you suggesting that the colorized version is the right one?

Here we go again... The trials of Joan of Arc all over again. I'm only suggesting that the colourized version is a work of art in its own right that no one is entitled to suppress on the basis of his or her private or public convictions and that it would make a lovely addition to any DVD package of this film. It also makes visible scenes and details of scenes that were very dense and confusing in the B&W original (the jungle scenes) or voluntarily obscured for censorship purposes (the fight between King and the T-Rex).

FinkPish
04-25-05, 04:26 PM
I wasn't attacking you, so no need to get immediately defensive; I was just trying to clarify. Thank you.

Tyler_Durden
04-25-05, 04:44 PM
It also makes visible scenes and details of scenes that were very dense and confusing in the B&W originalThat could be partially explained by the poor quality of most (all?) existing video releases. I expect the subsequent restoriation to be very revealing.

baracine
04-25-05, 05:39 PM
That could be partially explained by the poor quality of most (all?) existing video releases. I expect the subsequent restoration to be very revealing.

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare/kingkong2/BW2.JPG

Where did Fay Wray go?!

The screen captures used here are from www.dvdbeaver.com comparisons and all taken from a legitimate 2000 Spanish PAL DVD (Magna Films) of the B&W and colour Turner elements (http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare/kingkong.htm). The Turner elements from the 1993 non-digital restoration were the clearer available at that time, more so than the Criterion elements, which left a lot to be desired. Apparently, another, cleaner British copy has emerged since, which might be used by Hewlett Packard/WB for their digital restoration.

The reason I like the Turner coloured version so much, besides the fact that it untangles the murkiness of much of the original, is that it adds a layer of artificiality on an already artificial film (it's a fantasy, after all) with the end product unfurling a veritable satori of unreality, which, arguably, is one of the definitions of art.

FinkPish
04-25-05, 06:04 PM
But without movement, that still frame isn't a fair assessment of the clarity of the black and white picture vs the color. Plus, she isn't the main focus of that shot anyway. Looking at that website, all of the people look unnaturally yellow. I personally prefer the B&W version over color any day.

baracine
04-25-05, 06:10 PM
Looking at that website, all of the people look unnaturally yellow.

Artistic licence... The natives do refer to the Fay Wray character as their "golden girl".:)

Cygnet74
04-25-05, 06:31 PM
http://pbskids.kids.us/images/sub-square-barney.gif

RyoHazuki
04-25-05, 06:40 PM
No spider fight = No sale.

TomOpus
04-25-05, 06:41 PM
Colorized Barney is teh suck!

just kidding.... :)


I can't wait to see a restored King Kong on the big screen. I'm very excited over the project.

Cameron
04-25-05, 08:18 PM
will buy a ticket...will buy a dvd....will love it all to death

PatrickMcCart
04-26-05, 03:49 AM
Warner has already released dozens of B&W films with extant colorized versions to DVD, yet has always stuck to the original version. They didn't even bother to include the colorized clips of Casablanca on its 2-disc SE. So, I dont see why they'd waste time, disc space, and thought on a worthless colorization made with archaic technology. Colorized versions have no artistic merit... they're just meant for marketing. Except for some of the Legend Films work recently, and some of the digital color applied to Looney Tunes in the 1990's, pretty much all colorization is not only garish but poorly applied. Art? I guess artistic like a 3 year old using crayons to fill in a coloring book.

Sure, they're worth keeping around as artifacts, but they have no significance other than showing the lengths studios will go to make classics "palatable" to newer audiences. It's just like how some high schools teach Shakespeare from Americanized text. So much for artistic integrity!

Colorized versions are about as artistic as censored or re-edited versions of films not condoned by the filmmakers. What really irritates me is that this cheapens the artistic aspect of films. Too many people refuse to look at the motion picture as an artform. Would you say it's OK for someone to paint over Michelangelo's "David" sculpture so that it would have full fleshtone color, hair color, and colored pupils? Of course not. It's just modern "improvement" by people who think updating actually does a service.


Also, Mighty Joe Young wasn't even "colorized" by the filmmakers. Portions of the film were tinted on the original prints. There's a huge difference between color tinting (a process more commonly used in the silent era) and adding color that was never supposed to be there. Even those films aren't safe. Giorgio Moroder thought he was doing "Metropolis" a service by adding colored tints everywhere, despite it being a film never intended for tinting.



No spider fight = No sale.

Agreed. Also, I refuse to buy The Magnificent Ambersons until Warner finds that "lost" footage. And Warner better not forget to include that 10 hour cut of Greed when they do their 6-disc SE of that film! :)

baracine
04-26-05, 06:27 AM
http://www.twoguysfossils.com/images/t-rex-skeleton-lg.jpg
This is a rare view of Barney without makeup.:)

Seriously, PatrickMcCart, you have never seen the colourized "King Kong" to speak that way. It was done with great effort and great attention to the different planes of each frame to give them more depth and definition. Each scene was treated as a composition. Of course, it looks unreal. But so does the original black and white concept art. And the filmmakers had to crowd all of their matte paintings, live action, double exposures and stop-time animation on one tiny 35 mm strip of film. SFX technicians of today use Vistavision frames twice that size for the same purpose. If you really love this film, you want to see more of it. And the colour helps get you into the action.

And Turner, the Beast of Mammon, didn't only do this for money. He got the best-preserved elements and salvaged the original B&W elements for posterity as well. He also got a decent version of the previously-censored material, which Criterion had only found in 16 mm format and in bad shape. Which is to say that most people who saw the uncut "King Kong" owe their experience to Turner. And I don't hear anybody mention the sacrilegous surround sound treatment he gave the film: he cleaned up and isolated the dialog track in center channel and diverted the filmscore and sound effects to the surround channels for a totally engulfing (if not properly stereo) effect, which is pure genius.

So we at least agree that it is worth preserving as an artifact... But in your history of art course, I guess they forgot to mention that a lot of ancient Greek and Egyptian statuary was meant to be painted over in realistic fashion. Or that Sotheby's does not exactly throw out "school of Rembrandt" in the garbage because it's not the real thing.

By the way, the version of "Mighty Joe Young" I saw was not merely tinted, it had a whole scene (the building on fire) where the flames themselves were very clearly painted over in red and yellow. I'm sure the producers would have colourized the whole film if they knew how, or have shot in colour if they had had the means. [I know this is the worst argument to use on an anti-colourization ayatollah because of the inevitable comeback: "How dare you presume what the artist's intentions were?", which is really funny because it works both ways.]

For the record, the first time I ever heard of King Kong, I saw him in colour. The year was 1954. We didn't even have a TV then and I hadn't even seen a single film in the school hall. I was living in a kind of Pleasantville in dire need of colourization. I was five years old and running around with bad boys in my suburban Montreal neighbourhood when we found a store that sold little press-on tattoos of one-inch-square frames of the King Kong film, all gloriously colourized by some anonymous Chinese artist. We were not sufficiently pop-cultured to know what the giant ape was doing to that tiny blonde woman exactly. But the power of those images opened up a whole world of imagination and colour. I remember pleading with my mother not to wash the tattoos away and when they inevitably faded I promised myself I would connect once again with that mysterious universe. Needless to say, after all that buildup, my first viewing of "King Kong" on B&W television years later was a bit of a letdown in spite of the film's other qualities. Thank God this situation has now been corrected...:)

P.S.: I have yet to see a single piece of marketing art for "King Kong" that is in black and white. I guess the filmmakers knew what would lure the public in.

JLyon1515
04-26-05, 09:34 AM
Would you say it's OK for someone to paint over Michelangelo's "David" sculpture so that it would have full fleshtone color, hair color, and colored pupils? Of course not.

Sounds about as silly as putting clothing on the people in the Sistine Chapel. Oh wait...that happened. :)

baracine
04-26-05, 10:17 AM
Sounds about as silly as putting clothing on the people in the Sistine Chapel. Oh wait...that happened. :)

I don't see the point of comparing the addition of colour to the censoring of sex organs, but, just for the record, this is what happened to the Sistine Chapel:

The Last Judgement was an object of a heavy dispute between Cardinal Carafa and Michelangelo: the artist was accused of immorality and intolerable obscenity, having depicted naked figures, with genitals in evidence, inside the most important church of Christianity, so a censorship campaign (known as the "Fig-Leaf Campaign") was organized by Carafa and Monsignor Sernini (Mantua's ambassador) to remove the frescoes. When the Pope's own Master of Ceremonies, Biagio da Cesena, similarly denounced the work by saying that the work was more suited to a bath-house than a chapel, Michelangelo worked his semblance into the scene as Minos, judge of the underworld. It is said that when da Cesena complained to the Pope, the pontiff responded that his jurisdiction did not extend to hell, so the portrait would have to remain.

In coincidence with Michelangelo's death, a law was issued to cover genitals ("Pictura in Cappella Ap.ca coopriantur"). So Daniele da Volterra, an apprentice of Michelangelo that after this work was nicknamed "Braghettone", covered with sort of perizomas (briefs) the genitals, leaving unaltered the complex of bodies. When the work was restored in 1993, the restorers chose not to remove the perizomas of Daniele; however, a faithful, uncensored copy of the original, by Marcello Venusti, is now in Naples, at the Capodimonte Museum. (http://www.answers.com/topic/sistine-chapel)

So, yes, there was censorship, and, by the way, the briefs are still on the Last Judgment following restoration and two versions of the work exist to this day, one with penises and one without penises. But this comparison is pointless as you can't compare colourization to censorship. If anything, it is the anti-colourization fanatics who want to suppress a work of art.

And this is what they wear during their secret meetings:
http://www.t-shirtking.com/med_graphics/117-01024.jpg

eXcentris
04-26-05, 10:44 AM
Well... errr... where's Fay Wray supposed to be on that screencap?
Left of King Kong a bit higher up, is that it? I think I'd have an easier time finding Waldo. :)

baracine
04-26-05, 10:56 AM
Well... errr... where's Fay Wray supposed to be on that screencap?
Left of King Kong a bit higher up, is that it? I think I'd have an easier time finding Waldo. :)
Fay Wray, who is totally invisible in the B&W version of this frame, is on top of a tree stump where Kong has put her while he has his paws full with the T-Rex. She at least appears as a pink (the colour of her dress) blob in the colourized version.

milo bloom
04-26-05, 11:10 AM
I can't see her in either one, so I'd lean toward leaving it black and white of course.
And I've seen lots of movie promo stuff in color for B&W movies. It's just the way it was done.

Anybody else have the Image double feature laserdisc of KK and Son of? I found it a few years ago for under $20.

Giles
04-26-05, 11:12 AM
talking about Cinerama - Warner Bros. should give a theatrical push to the documentary film

Cinerama Adventure (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0279734/)

baracine
04-26-05, 12:14 PM
talking about Cinerama - Warner Bros. should give a theatrical push to the documentary film
Cinerama Adventure (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0279734/)

Speaking of Cinerama, what HP intends to do to Cinerama films sounds much more objectionable than colourization, judging from their simple explanation. In three-panel Cinerama, each panel showed an image that was at an angle of some 30 degrees from the next panel. Putting all three images on the same plane will give absurd results.

For instance, let's say the film represents three men standing at attention and facing towards the spectator, each man captured by a different camera angle. In 3-panel cinerama on a curved screen, the left and right panel would show each man in three-quarter profile looking away from the spectator, giving the spectator the impression he is sitting directly in front of the central character and looking sideways at the left and right character. The seamless HP version on a flat screen would show three men side by side with the left one looking to the left and the right one looking to the right while the converging lines of perspective would convince the spectator the three men were effectively photographed on a single plane by a single camera; in other words, a rather extreme fisheye view. I don't call this progress. This is in fact what you get when you watch the DVD version of How the West Was Won, except that the lines of perspective don't converge. This DVD by the way (which is not even enhanced for widescreen TVs!) shows a picture composite of the three frames side by side but amputated of roughly one third of their total surface at left and right.

The only way around this problem, short of inventing a curved concave screen for home viewing, is to show the film in a "smilebox" format which adds black compressing "curves" on top and at bottom of the picture to give the impression of a curved screen. This smilebox format has been attempted before in the video documentary about the history of Cinerama that Giles is mentioning (Cinerama Adventure) to give the spectator the impression of watching an old-time curved screen. This is the only thing that might work IMHO.

http://www.cineramaadventure.com/ticcoaster-smile2.jpg

Also see this explanation: http://www.cineramaadventure.com/smilebox.htm

If that's what HP intends to do, they didn't say, though... It's also possible that HP's ultra-secret process means simply ripping off the smilebox process, colour-correcting the three images to make them seamless and cutting away the curved parts of the above picture (top and bottom) in order to produce a perfectly rectangular image for anamorphic home video, which would be a subdued sort of rape, but still a sort of rape.

PatrickMcCart
04-26-05, 10:29 PM
http://www.twoguysfossils.com/images/t-rex-skeleton-lg.jpg
This is a rare view of Barney without makeup.:)

Seriously, PatrickMcCart, you have never seen the colourized "King Kong" to speak that way. It was done with great effort and great attention to the different planes of each frame to give them more depth and definition. Each scene was treated as a composition. Of course, it looks unreal. But so does the original black and white concept art. And the filmmakers had to crowd all of their matte paintings, live action, double exposures and stop-time animation on one tiny 35 mm strip of film. SFX technicians of today use Vistavision frames twice that size for the same purpose. If you really love this film, you want to see more of it. And the colour helps get you into the action.

And Turner, the Beast of Mammon, didn't only do this for money. He got the best-preserved elements and salvaged the original B&W elements for posterity as well. He also got a decent version of the previously-censored material, which Criterion had only found in 16 mm format and in bad shape. Which is to say that most people who saw the uncut "King Kong" owe their experience to Turner. And I don't hear anybody mention the sacrilegous surround sound treatment he gave the film: he cleaned up and isolated the dialog track in center channel and diverted the filmscore and sound effects to the surround channels for a totally engulfing (if not properly stereo) effect, which is pure genius.

So we at least agree that it is worth preserving as an artifact... But in your history of art course, I guess they forgot to mention that a lot of ancient Greek and Egyptian statuary was meant to be painted over in realistic fashion. Or that Sotheby's does not exactly throw out "school of Rembrandt" in the garbage because it's not the real thing.

By the way, the version of "Mighty Joe Young" I saw was not merely tinted, it had a whole scene (the building on fire) where the flames themselves were very clearly painted over in red and yellow. I'm sure the producers would have colourized the whole film if they knew how, or have shot in colour if they had had the means. [I know this is the worst argument to use on an anti-colourization ayatollah because of the inevitable comeback: "How dare you presume what the artist's intentions were?", which is really funny because it works both ways.]

For the record, the first time I ever heard of King Kong, I saw him in colour. The year was 1954. We didn't even have a TV then and I hadn't even seen a single film in the school hall. I was living in a kind of Pleasantville in dire need of colourization. I was five years old and running around with bad boys in my suburban Montreal neighbourhood when we found a store that sold little press-on tattoos of one-inch-square frames of the King Kong film, all gloriously colourized by some anonymous Chinese artist. We were not sufficiently pop-cultured to know what the giant ape was doing to that tiny blonde woman exactly. But the power of those images opened up a whole world of imagination and colour. I remember pleading with my mother not to wash the tattoos away and when they inevitably faded I promised myself I would connect once again with that mysterious universe. Needless to say, after all that buildup, my first viewing of "King Kong" on B&W television years later was a bit of a letdown in spite of the film's other qualities. Thank God this situation has now been corrected...:)

P.S.: I have yet to see a single piece of marketing art for "King Kong" that is in black and white. I guess the filmmakers knew what would lure the public in.

Well, when Criterion did their first video restoration of King Kong, the 35mm elements were not found yet. A few years later, Turner was able to re-do the film's transfer since there had 35mm to use instead of 16mm. It's a lot like how Criterion had to use 16mm for portions of their reconstructed "The Devil and Daniel Webster" on laserdisc, but by the time they re-did it for DVD, someone had discovered a 35mm print of the uncut version (I think in William Dieterle's own collection). Let us not forget how Criterion delayed Grand Illusion's DVD so they could use a new 35mm print made from the original camera negative, which had just been re-discovered.

Besides, the poor quality of the colorization has to do with it being an old video master. I'm sure that if Warner wanted to throw some money down the toilet by letting Legend Films colorize Kong with modern technology, it would look pretty good. Especially if colorized from the new 4K digital files.

But it doesn't matter if it looks good or not. They shot it in B&W, which meant the cinematographer had to shoot it all to look best in B&W. Everything from lighting, set design, costumes were all designed specifically for shooting in B&W. If they shot it in color (which would have been possible, besides RKO being somewhat cheap and only 2-strip being availible), it would have been shot differently. Lighting would have changed, costume designs, even the special effects would be different.

What is even more absurd is how Columbia publicized their two volumes of colorized Three Stooges shorts. They went back to costumes and props to find out what colors to use... which makes as much sense as using a faded Eastmancolor print of Gone with the Wind for color reference on the restoration.


I don't know if you're being sarcastic or not (if so, this is hilarious), but I just find it hard to believe that someone intelligent (you are a film professor, are you not?) would be serious.


Speaking of Cinerama, what HP intends to do to Cinerama films sounds much more objectionable than colourization, judging from their simple explanation. In three-panel Cinerama, each panel showed an image that was at an angle of some 30 degrees from the next panel. Putting all three images on the same plane will give absurd results.

For instance, let's say the film represents three men standing at attention and facing towards the spectator, each man captured by a different camera angle. In 3-panel cinerama on a curved screen, the left and right panel would show each man in three-quarter profile looking away from the spectator, giving the spectator the impression he is sitting directly in front of the central character and looking sideways at the left and right character. The seamless HP version on a flat screen would show three men side by side with the left one looking to the left and the right one looking to the right while the converging lines of perspective would convince the spectator the three men were effectively photographed on a single plane by a single camera; in other words, a rather extreme fisheye view. I don't call this progress. This is in fact what you get when you watch the DVD version of How the West Was Won, except that the lines of perspective don't converge. This DVD by the way (which is not even enhanced for widescreen TVs!) shows a picture composite of the three frames side by side but amputated of roughly one third of their total surface at left and right.

The only way around this problem, short of inventing a curved concave screen for home viewing, is to show the film in a "smilebox" format which adds black compressing "curves" on top and at bottom of the picture to give the impression of a curved screen. This smilebox format has been attempted before in the video documentary about the history of Cinerama that Giles is mentioning (Cinerama Adventure) to give the spectator the impression of watching an old-time curved screen. This is the only thing that might work IMHO.

http://www.cineramaadventure.com/ticcoaster-smile2.jpg

Also see this explanation: http://www.cineramaadventure.com/smilebox.htm

If that's what HP intends to do, they didn't say, though... It's also possible that HP's ultra-secret process means simply ripping off the smilebox process, colour-correcting the three images to make them seamless and cutting away the curved parts of the above picture (top and bottom) in order to produce a perfectly rectangular image for anamorphic home video, which would be a subdued sort of rape, but still a sort of rape.

I'm pretty sure Warner would be aware of using the smilebox process with the films. The makers of Cinerama Adventure had to use existing software for their clips (I think they used Inferno). As good as the results are, there's only so much you can do without inventing something more specific for Cinerama.

http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/special/cinerama.htm

While Martin Hart probably spent some time in Photoshop getting the joins just right, you can see how they merge well when the conditions are right (color, geometry, etc) unlike the optically reduced prints.

Colorization doesn't preserve the integrity of a film, while using smilebox basically adapts Cinerama in the best possible way for home video.

baracine
04-27-05, 06:17 AM
Colorization doesn't preserve the integrity of a film, while using smilebox basically adapts Cinerama in the best possible way for home video.

First of all, I am not a film professor, just a would-be informed consumer. Second, you have me at a disadvantage because I have no idea who Legend Films are. My only interest is in the Turner colourized and restored version of King Kong with enhanced sound, which I think is a work of genius and the greatest viewing experience that film, which I love very much, has ever given me. I am very happy to learn that Criterion has another, improved reconstruction of The Devil and Daniel Webster from 35 mm elements up their sleeve, but that doesn't change the fact that Turner has trumped Criterion on the quality of the King Kong restoration.

I am very glad I have acquired in time, before it totally disappears from the market, on eBay, a laserdisc version of the colourized version of that restoration, even tough its price had been pushed up to the approximate price of gold by the screaming anti-colourization dogmatists of this world with their panicky cries of "Ted Turner is out to destroy our film heritage!".

I am saddened that so few film lovers are ready to come forward and admit that in this particular instance the colourization does add to the enjoyment of this film. I can only attribute this reaction to two things: either the power of strongly-held convictions over the evidence of the senses or the fact that very few people have actually seen the colourized version, from beginning to end, to speak about it intelligently.

I am glad that King Kong is going through yet another restoration, digital this time, from, apparently, even better elements. I find it sad that the prevailing anti-colourization zeitgeist will make the colourization of this restoration very improbable.

I don't care about Three Stooges films much but I think you should know that the good people of France have taken to colourizing some of their best sophisticated comedies of the fifties and sixties recently (which are shown on Canadian television) and that the results are absolutely stunning in the rendering of details (things like plaid material and complex embossed curtains and famous paintings hung on the wall and dresses by Hermes) and that the general look is remarkably similar to the colour films of the period down to the last infuriating detail. People should also know that, in France, you can actually buy a DVD of Georges Clouzot's Le Salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear) which has been lovingly colourized under the supervision of the director's own daughter, no less, who was present during filming and that nobody considers it an act of terrorist desecration or even an impigement on the national heritage. So the book is far from closed on the subject, if you keep an open mind.

In the case of Cinerama, I have always hailed the smilebox process as the way to go if the legacy of Cinerama films is to survive and find an audience. But I suspect HP is out to pilfer that process and make it into something more radical and questionable. Time will tell.

P.S.: My favourite koan: Do colourization heretics at the stake burn in black and white? [To which many members, no doubt, will probably answer: "Let's find out!"] Oops, that's two haikus for the price of a koan! Oh, what the hell! Here's another koan-haiku: Don't you think daltonians hate that whole colourization debate?:)

I also found this somewhat positive opinion on the colourized version on a "conservative" film debate thread in relation to the Peter Jackson version:

I happen to own something of a rarity - a ‘colorized’ version of Kong , which gives the story a much weirder, more exotic feel - something we may see in the Peter Jackson version. Expect a major DVD release of the 1933 Kong sometime near December, coordinated with the release of Jackson’s remake. I look forward to both, although I cringe at Jackson’s casting (Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts). ( http://www.libertyfilmfestival.com/libertas/index.php?m=20050402 )

PatrickMcCart
04-27-05, 11:23 AM
First of all, I am not a film professor, just a would-be informed consumer. Second, you have me at a disadvantage because I have no idea who Legend Films are. My only interest is in the Turner colourized and restored version of King Kong with enhanced sound, which I think is a work of genius and the greatest viewing experience that film, which I love very much, has ever given me. I am very happy to learn that Criterion has another, improved reconstruction of The Devil and Daniel Webster from 35 mm elements up their sleeve, but that doesn't change the fact that Turner has trumped Criterion on the quality of the King Kong restoration.

I am very glad I have acquired in time, before it totally disappears from the market, on eBay, a laserdisc version of the colourized version of that restoration, even tough its price had been pushed up to the approximate price of gold by the screaming anti-colourization dogmatists of this world with their panicky cries of "Ted Turner is out to destroy our film heritage!".

I am saddened that so few film lovers are ready to come forward and admit that in this particular instance the colourization does add to the enjoyment of this film. I can only attribute this reaction to two things: either the power of strongly-held convictions over the evidence of the senses or the fact that very few people have actually seen the colourized version, from beginning to end, to speak about it intelligently.

I am glad that King Kong is going through yet another restoration, digital this time, from, apparently, even better elements. I find it sad that the prevailing anti-colourization zeitgeist will make the colourization of this restoration very improbable.

I don't care about Three Stooges films much but I think you should know that the good people of France have taken to colourizing some of their best sophisticated comedies of the fifties and sixties recently (which are shown on Canadian television) and that the results are absolutely stunning in the rendering of details (things like plaid material and complex embossed curtains and famous paintings hung on the wall and dresses by Hermes) and that the general look is remarkably similar to the colour films of the period down to the last infuriating detail. People should also know that, in France, you can actually buy a DVD of Georges Clouzot's Le Salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear) which has been lovingly colourized under the supervision of the director's own daughter, no less, who was present during filming and that nobody considers it an act of terrorist desacration or even an impigement on the national heritage. So the book is far from closed on the subject, if you keep an open mind.

In the case of Cinerama, I have always hailed the smilebox process as the way to go if the legacy of Cinerama films is to survive and find an audience. But I suspect HP is out to pilfer that process and make it into something more radical and questionable. Time will tell.

P.S.: My favourite koan: Do colourization heretics at the stake burn in black and white? [To which many members, no doubt, will probably answer: "Let's find out!"] Oops, that's two haikus for the price of a koan! Oh, what the hell! Here's another koan-haiku: Don't you think daltonians hate that whole colourization debate?:)

I also found this somewhat positive opinion on the colourized version on a "conservative" film debate thread in relation to the Peter Jackson version:

I happen to own something of a rarity - a ‘colorized’ version of Kong , which gives the story a much weirder, more exotic feel - something we may see in the Peter Jackson version. Expect a major DVD release of the 1933 Kong sometime near December, coordinated with the release of Jackson’s remake. I look forward to both, although I cringe at Jackson’s casting (Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts). ( http://www.libertyfilmfestival.com/libertas/index.php?m=20050402 )

Legend Films' work can be seen in the Fox DVD's of Night of the Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, and Reefer Madness. They also did some work for The Aviator (some newsreels for inclusion in the film as stock footage, I think). They use HD, which allows for considerable quality in comparison to the Kong colorization which was done with analog mastering with no real restoration. LF seems to use digital restoration before colorizing.


The problem with the color choices in a lot of colorizations has to do with it being too "modern". Here's a few examples from a shot in "It Happened One Night" to demonstrate...

The original B&W frame:

http://img160.echo.cx/img160/5681/ithappened1sm9po.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)

Well, the first option would be to think about how it would look in color from 1934. They would have used two-strip Technicolor, since 3-strip wouldn't be availible for another year:

http://img160.echo.cx/img160/2003/ihon2strip0nv.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)

Another idea is to think about how a color film would look with that kind of cinematography. It would look a little desaturated... sort of like what you'd see in The Godfather:

http://img160.echo.cx/img160/1998/ihoncolor9ie.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)

Or let's go with the deep saturation approach digital colorists used on films like King Kong:

http://img160.echo.cx/img160/5178/ihoncolorized1mn.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)


It gets more difficult, though. What if Clark Gable was wearing a tan scarf instead of a burgundy one? Perhaps the original costume piece survives. However, how do we know that's the right color, still? Charlie Chaplin had soldiers in The Great Dictator wear red pants in order to for them to appear in deep black on film. Which is the right color?


I don't think Ted Turner tried to destory anything (to be honest, as much as asshole he is, he's responsible for organizing the greatest film library in the world, as well as making sure it's maintained), but I think his only intention was to make B&W films more appealing to Joe Six-Pack.

The thing is, color isn't needed to make a film watchable. Filmmakers still like to use B&W as a style choice, just like an artist would choose to create a portrait with charcoal instead of oil paints.

baracine
04-27-05, 12:19 PM
The thing is, color isn't needed to make a film watchable. Filmmakers still like to use B&W as a style choice, just like an artist would choose to create a portrait with charcoal instead of oil paints.

Thank you for that info. It would appear Legend Films strives for realism. What I like about the Turner colourization, on the other hand, is its naive unreality.

About style choices: When King Kong was done, colour wasn't even an option except in the makers' pipe dreams and it's easy to conclude they would have liked to imagine it could be done one day.

Finally, on a purely Freudian/Jungian level, and speaking on behalf of Joe Six-Packs everywhere, there is something to the allegation that purists of any kind have issues with the simple enjoyment of life. To me, the idea of not wanting to see Fay Wray's golden flesh peering through her artistically torn pale pink dress smacks of old-time Puritanism filtered through Neo-Conservatism. In other words, the idea that art should always be this arid, serious, dry, somewhat painful endeavour whose benefits should never, ever be tallied in terms of personal enjoyment. It just ain't Catholic! :)

PatrickMcCart
04-27-05, 02:40 PM
Finally, on a purely Freudian/Jungian level, and speaking on behalf of Joe Six-Packs everywhere, there is something to the allegation that purists of any kind have issues with the simple enjoyment of life. To me, the idea of not wanting to see Fay Wray's golden flesh peering through her artistically torn pale pink dress smacks of old-time Puritanism filtered through Neo-Conservatism. In other words, the idea that art should always be this arid, serious, dry, somewhat painful endeavour whose benefits should never, ever be tallied in terms of personal enjoyment. It just ain't Catholic! :)

What is so arid, serious, dry, or painful about B&W?

I really have nothing else to say without repeating myself, so I'll just let films speak for themselves on those 4 issues:

http://img140.echo.cx/img140/7888/ahdn4ki.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
A Hard Day's Night (1964, dir. Richard Lester, cine. Gilbert Taylor)

http://img140.echo.cx/img140/4894/m6iy.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
M (1931, dir. Friz Lang, cine. Fritz Wagner)

http://img140.echo.cx/img140/7825/sunset1ad.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
Sunset Blvd. (1950, dir. Billy Wilder, cine. John Seitz)

http://img140.echo.cx/img140/4964/thirdman3qz.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
The Third Man (1949, dir. Carol Reed, cine. Robert Krasker)

http://img140.echo.cx/img140/3615/manwholaughs6no.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
The Man Who Laughs (1928, dir. Paul Leni, cine. Gilbert Warrington)

http://img106.echo.cx/img106/6223/maltese2eh.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
The Maltese Falcon (1941, dir. John Huston, cine. Arthur Edeson)

http://img106.echo.cx/img106/5583/kane1wn.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
Citizen Kane (1941, dir. Orson Welles, cine. Gregg Toland)

http://img106.echo.cx/img106/8592/still7bp.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, dir. Robert Wise, cine. Leo Tover)

http://img106.echo.cx/img106/5544/ducksoup3em.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
Duck Soup (1933, dir. Leo McCarey, cine. Henry Sharp)

http://img106.echo.cx/img106/7596/youngf5ye.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
Young Frankenstein (1974, dir. Mel Brooks, cine. Gerald Hirschfeld)

http://img106.echo.cx/img106/6140/goldrush5zb.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
The Gold Rush (1925/1942, dir. Charles Chaplin, cine. Gordon Pollock/Rollie Totheroh)

http://img106.echo.cx/img106/3356/metropolis7iy.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang, cine. Karl Freund/Günther Rittau)

http://img33.echo.cx/img33/7569/psycho6sq.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
Psycho (1960, dir. Alfred Hitchcock, cine. Robert Burks)

http://img33.echo.cx/img33/4044/casa0yp.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
Casablanca (1942, dir. Michael Curtiz, cine. Arthur Edeson)

http://img33.echo.cx/img33/1818/citylights4kv.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
City Lights (1931, dir. Charles Chaplin, cine. Rollie Totheroh)

http://img33.echo.cx/img33/1378/elephantman1db.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)
The Elephant Man (1980, dir. David Lynch, cine. Freddie Francis)

If all you can think while seeing these films is how great they'd look in color, that's fine, I guess. I just wish you could see B&W for being the wonderful thing it is.

baracine
04-27-05, 04:22 PM
If all you can think while seeing these films is how great they'd look in color, that's fine, I guess. I just wish you could see B&W for being the wonderful thing it is.
Rest assured I have no such bad thoughts. The subject was King Kong which I maintain shows more detail and depth in every one of its murky, crowded frames in the colourized version than the original B&W can ever convey, no matter its level of restoration. The point is: some films cry out for colourization.

For instance, the monumental Indian epic Mughal-E-Azam, which was only partly shot in colour in the fifties because of budget constraints, has finally been colourized in its entirety, which is a source of great pride and celebration for the whole Indian nation (http://www.indiapost.com/members/story.php?story_id=4621).

http://sfgate.com/c/pictures/2005/04/15/dd_india_s_biggest.jpg

I also just learned from perusing the articles on the Three Stooges "controversy" that on that DVD the viewer can switch the colour on or off at will, which makes this technology an extremely user-friendly added bonus which may eventually augment the comprehension and study - not to mention the restoration, distribution and profitability - of black and white films, among other benefits, while allowing purists to modestly shield their eyes and thus preserve their status of higher intellectuality and effortlessly distinguish themselves from Yahoos the world over for centuries to come. Everyone wins!

Brain Stew
04-27-05, 05:13 PM
baracine aren't you the one who posted the insane thread about the new Marie Antoinette movie where you said it was a cultural step back and an example of America's cultural roll in the gutter?

If so, I find it ironic that you are now saying that people who feign intellect are trying to distinguish themselves from the "yahoos."

baracine
04-27-05, 05:53 PM
baracine aren't you the one who posted the insane thread about the new Marie Antoinette movie where you said it was a cultural step back and an example of America's cultural roll in the gutter?

If so, I find it ironic that you are now saying that people who feign intellect are trying to distinguish themselves from the "yahoos."

I didn't say anything about "feigning" intellect, although my implying that I count myself among the Yahoos was certainly irony on my part.

So, does that mean that the "cross-thread stalking game" has begun? If so, PatrickMcCart, it was really fun talking to you. It was the most polite, illuminating, informative, sustained and restrained on-topic discussion I have had in Movie Talk in a long time.

One last thought: Having barely survived watching two films from the Errol Flynn boxset with very bad colour registration (The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and Dodge City, which are unwatchable for a full 40% of their running time), I certainly hope more digital technology will be applied to also preserve valuable colour films that need it, ŕ la GWTW. And it's a shame that Warner Brothers, who usually do such a good job, have decided to dump those two inferior products in a rather expensive boxset of otherwise fine (B&W) films.

Brain Stew
04-27-05, 06:02 PM
So, does that mean that the "cross-thread stalking game" has begun? If so, PatrickMcCart, it was really fun talking to you. It was the most polite, illuminating, informative, sustained and restrained on-topic discussion I have had in Movie Talk in a long time.
Who's PatrickMcCart?

No one's stalking you, I saw your name and my memory was jogged.

baracine
04-27-05, 06:18 PM
Who's PatrickMcCart?

No one's stalking you, I saw your name and my memory was jogged.
Well, maybe your memory will also be jogged the next time you see the name PatrickMcCart.

PatrickMcCart
04-27-05, 07:42 PM
Rest assured I have no such bad thoughts. The subject was King Kong which I maintain shows more detail and depth in every one of its murky, crowded frames in the colourized version than the original B&W can ever convey, no matter its level of restoration. The point is: some films cry out for colourization.

Where exactly is this detail and depth, though?

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare/kingkong/King_Kong_Continental_9.jpg

There is almost no fine detail, nor is the image totally intelligible. Windows on buildings are just little dots.

Look at this other example: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare/kingkong2/C1a.JPG

They didn't even color most of the background!

And in the example posted earlier: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare/kingkong2/C2.JPG

Fay Wray still looks like a pinkish blob.


Now, here's what colorization looks like when actual effort is put into the "revision":

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare10/whenthelastswordoisdrawn/my%20man%20godfrey%20PDVD_004-01.jpg

Notice how fine detail isn't softened into oblivion and how sensible the coloring is. Doesn't enhance the B&W original, but it's at least a watchable job. The color choices are somewhat tasteful... they kept the sharpness of the original film source. Black levels are correct. Most importantly, the technical aspect is terrific... no smearing or bleeding. Colors are also applied in such a way it's not just one big "wash" of a single color in an area. Image density is preserved, rather than washed out.

Another example is the colorized Carnival of Souls: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare5/carnivalofsouls.htm

Look how much detail the image has, as well as the quality of the coloring. It's almost good enough to make it seem that it was really shot in color.


I wouldn't object so much to the colorized Kong if it didn't look so awful.

That's nice and all about the Indian film, but that's an exception. For example, the video restoration of the silent Phantom of the Opera (on DVD from Milestone/Image) had a few shots colorized. This was done because of certain footage only existing in B&W. That's a perfectly legitimate use of colorization, since it's bringing the film closer to its original intended version. They also applied tints and stencil color to correctly reproduce the 1925 viewing experience. They're not adding anything, just bringing the film back to its original state as closely as possible.

baracine
04-28-05, 09:08 AM
Where exactly is this detail and depth, though?
As I said before, the original B&W film lacks definition because of the overcrowding of the frame with special effects, double exposures, matte paintings, animation, etc. It has always been that way and will always be that way. It can't be compared to a film like My Man Godfrey or any other film in that respect.

The underlying film has limitations: You can't make the ape less jerky and you can't unmat its hair, for instance.

The colour brings depth in helping to distinguish between the various planes of each picture (as you can see in the first example in this thread) and it adds detail by making visible what is often only guessed at (e.g.: Fay Wray in the tree, but also in thousands of other instances).

Besides which, saying "I'm against the King Kong colourization because it was so badly done so I'm waiting for the next HD one which can only be an improvement" is absurd. First of all, because you don't believe in colourization, and, second, because there will never be a second one in the present climate of unidimensional conformity to the diktats and conventional wisdom of Roger Ebert (a.k.a. the big Chicago Authority on Cinematic Art, the big CACA for short, and a major opponent of colourization).

I happen to like the present colourization for its very primitivity, naďveté and crudeness. I'm running out synonyms here.... I think it's a perfect match for the film itself. I like its "weird and exotic" quality to quote that other anonymous commentator.

PatrickMcCart
04-28-05, 11:33 AM
As I said before, the original B&W film lacks definition because of the overcrowding of the frame with special effects, double exposures, matte paintings, animation, etc. It has always been that way and will always be that way. It can't be compared to a film like My Man Godfrey or any other film in that respect.

No it doesn't.

The problems in the video transfer of the colorized version has to do with VIDEO artifacts. The blurriness and edge enhancement are artifacts from the process of tranferring the film to video. In the original film source, there would actually have fine detail, even if a little grainy.

When the 4K restoration coms out, compare the two. There will be huge amounts of detail in the remaster that were smeared over in the old version. That detail finally visible has always been in the film elements... it's just invisible in the colorized version.

I mean, it's like how VHS looks so inferior to modern DVD's. It's not like DVD magically adds anything, it just reveals more of what VHS couldn't show due to limitations of the format.

The underlying film has limitations: You can't make the ape less jerky and you can't unmat its hair, for instance.

The colour brings depth in helping to distinguish between the various planes of each picture (as you can see in the first example in this thread) and it adds detail by making visible what is often only guessed at (e.g.: Fay Wray in the tree, but also in thousands of other instances).

Besides which, saying "I'm against the King Kong colourization because it was so badly done so I'm waiting for the next HD one which can only be an improvement" is absurd. First of all, because you don't believe in colourization, and, second, because there will never be a second one in the present climate of unidimensional conformity to the diktats and conventional wisdom of Roger Ebert (a.k.a. the big Chicago Authority on Cinematic Art, the big CACA for short, and a major opponent of colourization).

I happen to like the present colourization for its very primitivity, naďveté and crudeness. I'm running out synonyms here.... I think it's a perfect match for the film itself. I like its "weird and exotic" quality to quote that other anonymous commentator.

Well, Ebert has a Pulitzer Prize, so I think he's worth listening to.

baracine
04-28-05, 01:27 PM
Well, Ebert has a Pulitzer Prize, so I think he's worth listening to.

I'm sure Roger Ebert, as a man who has authored more books than he has read - if you don't count comic books, wholeheartedy agrees with you on that point.
http://wizbangblog.com/images/respect.jpg
This is how I view Ebert. The name Eric Cartman has no relationship whatsoever with PatrickMcCart.:)

Or does it? (http://www.aoqz76.dsl.pipex.com/Web%20Page%20Components/Wallpaper/TV/Homer%20Simpson%20Is%20Watching%20You.jpg)

PatrickMcCart
04-28-05, 04:52 PM
n/a

Thread more or less reached surreal peak.

baracine
04-28-05, 05:12 PM
n/a

Thread more or less reached surreal peak.

I agree.

baracine
05-04-05, 12:12 PM
For what it's worth, I found this review of the colourized VHS version of King Kong on Amazon.com:

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

A Grudging Vote for Colorization, March 30, 2004
Reviewer: Jack Roberts (Eugene, OR United States) - See all my reviews

I have to admit, when colorization first came out I was shocked and offended. I couldn't imagine anyone messing with the classics, including King Kong (one of my all-time favorites). But when I finally broke down and got this colorized version it has become one of my favorites as well.

Admittedly, colorization destroys some of the "atmosphere" of a classic horror film. The positive side, however, is how much easier it is to distinguish background and small objects, particularly in the jungle scenes, compared to the black & white version on a small television screen.

When Ted Turner first bought these film rights and began colorizing them, he threatened to pull the black & white versions from distribution. That would be criminal. But having both available, I now realize, is a plus.

Jay G.
05-04-05, 11:05 PM
When Ted Turner first bought these film rights and began colorizing them, he threatened to pull the black & white versions from distribution. That would be criminal.
This was really the reason behind the fight against colorization. It wasn't really so much that people were against a colorized option, they just didn't want these versions replacing the original version.

Nowadays colorized versions of films like Reefer Madness get released without much fanfare, because the original B&W version is included on the same disc.

I really don't think anyone is trying to suppress the colorized King Kong or any other colorized version of a film. The reality is that film enthusiasts don't like it on principle, and the general public didn't like it based on end results. There's simply no real demand for these versions.

baracine
05-05-05, 06:21 AM
I really don't think anyone is trying to suppress the colorized King Kong or any other colorized version of a film. The reality is that film enthusiasts don't like it on principle, and the general public didn't like it based on end results. There's simply no real demand for these versions.

If that is so, why did I just pay upwards of 100 $US for the colourized Turner laserdisc of King Kong on eBay?

Jay G.
05-05-05, 08:34 AM
If that is so, why did I just pay upwards of 100 $US for the colourized Turner laserdisc of King Kong on eBay?
You paid $75 for the laserdisc, plus $5 shipping. You were the only bidder on it as well.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6389292945

A quick perusal of eBay shows that the colorized laserdisc doesn't show up that often, with the B&W laserdiscs being much more common. The price of an item depends as much on the available supply as on the demand. Even an item with very low demand can garner a high price if the supply is even lower. As a purchaser of several rare books I can say that just because an item costs a lot doesn't mean that the item would sell very well if it was republished. The reason this release is so rare in the first place is because not many people wanted it when it was first released.

baracine
05-05-05, 01:48 PM
You paid $75 for the laserdisc, plus $5 shipping. You were the only bidder on it as well.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6389292945

Oops... Better make that 100 $CAN. And it shows that those who like it, like it a lot.

Jay G.
05-05-05, 03:04 PM
Oops... Better make that 100 $CAN. And it shows that those who like it, like it a lot.
Actually, since you were the only bidder, all it shows is that you like it a lot.

And in a world of collectables, high prices don't necessarily mean enjoyment of the content. A purchaser of the colorized King Kong could be doing it for completeness sake or because of its rarity moreso than because of any affection for the content.

And again, fanaticism of a few does not directly translate to the affection of the many. The Criterion DVD of Salo goes for over $400 on ebay. However, I doubt many of that film's appreciators would say that the film has any large appeal.

baracine
05-06-05, 09:59 AM
Actually, since you were the only bidder, all it shows is that you like it a lot.

A lot indeed. To the 100 $CAN I paid upfront for the item and shipping fees, I have to add the Canada Customs flat inspection fee, a total of 15% in combined Canadian federal and provincial sales taxes that will be levied by Customs and Customs duties whose amount depends on whether Canada Customs considers this a product that is available in Canada or not. Not to mention, the insurance fees and the fact that I have to wait 4 to six weeks.

I took advantage of the "Buy it now" feature of eBay, otherwise, I'm sure there would have been a bidding war in the last hours.

And what makes you think the mass of the people is any judge of the value or relative importance of any work of art? Whereas price, despite Oscar Wilde's warning about knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, is still a fairly reliable indicator. Besides, I have already handled many requests of several parties who are literally begging me to make an (illegal) DVD copy of my prize. You know who you are.:)

Jay G.
05-06-05, 01:23 PM
And what makes you think the mass of the people is any judge of the value or relative importance of any work of art?
Well, relative importance is just that, relative. If most people don't care for a piece of art, then, relatively speaking, it's not that important. Relative to yourself, the colorized King Kong is important, but that's only your viewpoint.

Whereas price, despite Oscar Wilde's warning about knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, is still a fairly reliable indicator.
Is a good indicator of what though? Value is all relative. While you are willing to fork over $75 for a LD, many many more people wouldn't pick it up if it was lying in the gutter. Again, it's all relative. That the small number of people interested in it are willing to pay a high price for it is either a indicator of strong fanatiacism, or it could be merely an abumdance of disposable income. Again, there are many rarities in the realm of books, music, and movies that can garner a high price, but that doesn't mean any of them have widespread appeal. In fact, if the item in question did have widespread appeal, the copyright holder would rerelease it instead of letting the collectors make all the money.

Besides, I have already handled many requests of several parties who are literally begging me to make an (illegal) DVD copy of my prize. You know who you are.:)
There are people who would take an illegal copy of near anything. All it proves is those people aren't willing to fork over $75 for a copy.

I'm not really trying to argue the "worth" of the colorized version. That's a personal judgement and by your admission relative. I only replied to counter your claim that the colorized version is being "suppressed." It's not. The reason it's so rare is because the majority of people aren't interested in it, and it's not worth it to re-release it. It's not suppression, it's simple economics.

whaaat
05-06-05, 01:51 PM
A lot indeed. To the 100 $CAN I paid upfront for the item and shipping fees, I have to add the Canada Customs flat inspection fee, a total of 15% in combined Canadian federal and provincial sales taxes that will be levied by Customs and Customs duties whose amount depends on whether Canada Customs considers this a product that is available in Canada or not. Not to mention, the insurance fees and the fact that I have to wait 4 to six weeks.
:violin:

baracine
05-06-05, 07:40 PM
Well, relative importance is just that, relative. If most people don't care for a piece of art, then, relatively speaking, it's not that important. Relative to yourself, the colorized King Kong is important, but that's only your viewpoint.

Ture story: I came back from the office just now and there's a message in my mailbox that a package came in and was left with the super. This being Friday night, I have to wait till Monday morning to get at it but I can clearly see through the super's office window that it's my laserdisc all shiny and desirable and securely packed in sturdy brown cardboard, paper and string (not colourized). I will probably give in tomorrow about 10 AM and tip the super an extra 20 $ (CAN) for him to fork it over outside office hours. I am sooooo weak.... :drool:

Breakfast with Girls
05-06-05, 10:04 PM
Did you know? Baracine likes the colorized version of King Kong. I just wanted to let everyone know.

resinrats
05-07-05, 09:14 AM
Why don't they make a new colored version. I'm sure today, it would look much better than the old colored version.

I also feel the need to point out that while the girl is hard to see in that one picture, she is easy to see during the film since she is moving all over the place.

baracine
05-08-05, 07:09 AM
Did you know? Baracine likes the colorized version of King Kong. I just wanted to let everyone know.

http://junkstorecowgirl.com/images/gollum.jpg

PatrickMcCart
05-08-05, 10:03 PM
Why don't they make a new colored version. I'm sure today, it would look much better than the old colored version.

I also feel the need to point out that while the girl is hard to see in that one picture, she is easy to see during the film since she is moving all over the place.

Even easier to see on a new digital transfer mastered with modern technology, unlike an ancient video transfer made in the late 1980's.

Heck, even the un-restored print on TCM has better image quality.

baracine
05-09-05, 06:36 AM
Even easier to see on a new digital transfer mastered with modern technology, unlike an ancient video transfer made in the late 1980's.

Heck, even the un-restored print on TCM has better image quality.

... Better image quality than what, exactly? The laserdisc? I should remind you that laserdisc technology's main characteristic is that it's "better than broadcast" (BTB). Better than the DVD transfer screen captures? I'm not sure where you're going with that exactly. I've just watched the laserdisc in colour and black and white during the whole weekend (it cost me 4 cans of REV) and I conclude:

1. The Turner print, remarkable as it is, still needs a lot of work: the picture is not stabilized from frame to frame, especially in the first part of the film, which can be corrected digitally. Some parts are rock-solid. And the negative has suffered a lot of damage, particularly in vertical bands of varying shades - which may go back to the original negative - and outright vertical scratches. It is also covered in dirt and spots which can be removed digitally. The sound, however, is pretty much where we want it. Some faults can't be corrected, like the too-soft focus on the human characters in the heavily composited - and therefore second or third generation - escape from Skull Mountain scene.

2. The stop-motion Fay Wray is totally invisible in black and white for a few frames when she is up on that tree and not moving (did she pass out from all the excitement?).

3. The colour has, as a side effect, the ability to make some of the front projections and rear projections (like the charge of the stegosaurus) look more convincing as it unifies those fields of vision somewhat, compared to the more detectable black and white contrast between the different black and white source elements, which is surely not the directors' intention. [I am assuming here that the directors would have attempted special effects in order that they look "real" and not be easily detected by the viewer.] I realize that is no great argument against the "warts-and-all" school of film preservation. I also realize that "warts-and-all restoration" is also a bit of an oxymoron.

PatrickMcCart
05-09-05, 11:56 AM
... Better image quality than what, exactly? The laserdisc? I should remind you that laserdisc technology's main characteristic is that it's "better than broadcast" (BTB). Better than the DVD transfer screen captures? I'm not sure where you're going with that exactly. I've just watched the laserdisc in colour and black and white during the whole weekend (it cost me 4 cans of REV) and I conclude:

The master shown on TCM has better image quality than the video master used for the colorization. It doesn't suffer from the excessive edge enhancement and blurriness. In fact, the only problem is the dirt and scratches. Obviously, a newer remaster (i.e. the 4K restoration) will get rid of these scars, as well as offer much better image definition, as well as detail not visible in older masters... just due to the improvements in newer transferring technology. One big problem with older colorization technology is the use of DVNR and interpolation to speed up the process. This results in ghosting, softness, and loss of detail. For films with opticals like King Kong, this turns those shots unintelligible... especially since heavier grain doesn't mix well with DVNR.

Also, the bootleg R3 (?) DVD was made using an actual laserdisc, rather than a digital master which wouldn't be availible to a bootleg company.

Just as another demonstration, this is how colorization should look if it's supposed to be "convincing":

http://img223.echo.cx/img223/4430/m0en.jpg (http://www.imageshack.us)

baracine
05-09-05, 01:17 PM
One big problem with older colorization technology is the use of DVNR and interpolation to speed up the process. This results in ghosting, softness, and loss of detail. For films with opticals like King Kong, this turns those shots unintelligible... especially since heavier grain doesn't mix well with DVNR.

Here's another new one on me: Older colourization uses DVNR? Seems to me that if the colourized King Kong had been cleaned up with Digital Video Noise-Reduction technology, it would have less conspicious specks of dirt and debris.

Anyway, this whole colourization debate will pretty much be yesterday's news when the reality starts sinking in that what many of today's directors really want to do is to dimensionalize(TM) their films:

What fresh hell is this!? (http://www.videopost.com/pages/inthree7.html)

DRG
05-09-05, 05:13 PM
What I find interesting about those colorized stills is that they look like the halfway point between a photograph and a painting. Not quite live action, not quite animation. Now I've never actually seen this colorized version (or the B&W version in its entirety, if I'm being honest), but if that effect carries through to the actual movie I can see a certain charm in it. In no way should it replace the B&W version, but the shots are pretty in a strange sort of way.

baracine
05-09-05, 05:32 PM
In no way should it replace the B&W version, but the shots are pretty in a strange sort of way.
http://www.mythictruth.com/Images/filmstills/PDVD_026.jpg
Yes... Yes... Pretty ... Good master...

a handle
05-10-05, 06:40 AM
Heres two more cents. I just bought the colorized version. Actually on Half.com I thought it was the B&W it also said shipping from kansas or some where in the US. it came from Taiwan by the post mark and stamps. Anyway I liked it a lot. It is a lot clearer than the B&Ws I have seen over the years. May be the new B&W will be clear. I for one like colorized movies and think they have there own place in the world of movies. Downing colorized is about the same as saying there should not be DVDs or VHSs only the big screen is how the makers intended for the movies to be seen.

PatrickMcCart
05-10-05, 12:48 PM
Heres two more cents. I just bought the colorized version. Actually on Half.com I thought it was the B&W it also said shipping from kansas or some where in the US. it came from Taiwan by the post mark and stamps. Anyway I liked it a lot. It is a lot clearer than the B&Ws I have seen over the years. May be the new B&W will be clear. I for one like colorized movies and think they have there own place in the world of movies. Downing colorized is about the same as saying there should not be DVDs or VHSs only the big screen is how the makers intended for the movies to be seen.

That's a really poor comparison.

DVD's are basically equal to having a high-quality framed reproduction of a painting. You don't get the textures, all the details, but it's the best you can get without stepping into the museum or art gallery.

Colorization, on the other hand, is like taking a charcoal artwork reproduction and painting over it in color.

The former involves adapting the original in the best possible way for having in your own home. The latter doesn't preserve the original artwork, it's something separate from the original.



As for DVNR, it doesn't mean anything is perfectly clean. For example, the DVD of "Some Like It Hot" has a heavy use of DVNR, but it still has occasional specks... one shot even has some really horrible acetate decomposition (film rot). This is partially why I think using blunt automatic processes like DVNR or edge enhancement are useless... it doesn't help that much and ends up doing more harm than good. Studios need to rely on processes that are manned like Criterion's use of Mathematical Technologies restoration software. Also, there's Lowry Digital Images... their software is much more complex and effective than DVNR... mainly due to actual frames being cleaned up rather than DVNR's brainless "comparing" and averaging to get rid of problems. And LDI's work actually enhances detail rather than reducing it like DVNR.

baracine
05-12-05, 06:32 PM
BTW, I just got hold of the colourized My Man Godfrey (1936) and I like it a lot (the colour version, I mean, although the B&W is included and, according to dvdbeaver.com, very comparable to the Criterion edition in quality - at 1/4 the price). The people at Legend Films tried to give the impression that the film was originally shot in colour and took particular care with the interior decoration and the complementary ensembles and outfits of the characters and even their harmonization with their background, which is the work of art directors, really. Compared to this, the colourized King Kong is not much more than animated sepia-toned lobby cards - but I still really, really like it. Really!

One sure giveaway of colourized films, however, is still the tendency to endow male characters with the same copper-coloured hue as if they just jumped off a tanning bed. Must be a shortcut after spending so much time on the ladies' makeup and various complexions.

a handle
05-14-05, 06:12 AM
Patrick WOW I diddn't realize how smart you are, thanks for the lesson. I am totally convinced and surely must stop using such poor analogies.

baracine
05-14-05, 04:06 PM
BTW, the "enhanced stereo sound" on the Turner version of King Kong features directional dialog, which has almost never been done since the widescreen fifties and is always a plus, and directional sound effects, particularly groovy during the circling airplanes finale.

baracine
06-15-05, 01:50 PM
No spider fight = No sale.

This appeared in this week's DVD Savant (http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/):

Also, there is a rumor going around that may be a real revelation for King Kong fanatics. I call this a *rumor* because I haven't even read it personally, but it is supposed to come from genre authority Tom Weaver, and I checked with another genre authority yesterday and he seemed to think it was real as well. Remember the legendary 'spider pit' sequence in the original Kong, reportedly cut after a preview? If my source is correct with this *rumor*, Weaver says that at least a part of it has been located, in a French print that was used as a new restoration source for the other more standard excised Kong scenes - the gnashing of natives in Kong's mouth, the dropping of the brunette over 5th Avenue, Kong's amorous monkeying with Ann Darrow's perfumed dress. In the cut Spider Pit scene, the barely-alive sailors tossed from the log by Kong are attacked by giant spider monsters. The horrible detail has been seen only in a single surviving still image that first saw the light in Famous Monsters magazine, back when we were gum-chewing kids.

Again, this is still in the category of *rumor*, but some rumors are too hot to keep quiet about, as long as one stresses their proper status. --- Glenn Erickson

Also see this thread: http://www.dvdmaniacs.net/forums/showthread.php?t=13671 about Peter Jackson reconstructing the missing parts of the sequence in CGI to look like stop-motion animation.

http://www.laserrot.com/images/outside/spider.jpg
Still from the spider pit sequence
http://www.laserrot.com/images/outside/spider2.jpg
Spider model used in this sequence

Not to douse anybody's enthusiasm about this rumour, but it should be noted that Max Steiner never wrote any music for a "spider pit" sequence, which means that, if it ever existed, it was cut before the final editing copy that Steiner worked from. If it was ever shown, in some preview or overseas, it must have been dubbed with music recycled from other parts of the film. Either way, if this scene is ever found or reassembled or whatever, it can never be part of the film itself and can only be shown as an interesting DVD extra. And my question is: When will it be colourized? :)

PatrickMcCart
06-15-05, 09:02 PM
This appeared in this week's DVD Savant (http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/):



Also see this thread: http://www.dvdmaniacs.net/forums/showthread.php?t=13671 about Peter Jackson reconstructing the missing parts of the sequence in CGI to look like stop-motion animation.

http://www.laserrot.com/images/outside/spider.jpg
Still from the spider pit sequence
http://www.laserrot.com/images/outside/spider2.jpg
Spider model used in this sequence

Not to douse anybody's enthusiasm about this rumour, but it should be noted that Max Steiner never wrote any music for a "spider pit" sequence, which means that, if it ever existed, it was cut before the final editing copy that Steiner worked from. If it was ever shown, in some preview or overseas, it must have been dubbed with music recycled from other parts of the film. Either way, if this scene is ever found or reassembled or whatever, it can never be part of the film itself and can only be shown as an interesting DVD extra. And my question is: When will it be colourized? :)

I think the rumor that the "lost" sequence was found in Europe is bullshit. First, it was cut out in previews, so why would it end up in Europe? I think someone distorted the news that Warner was using a less choppy print without jump cuts from Europe.

Sure, anything can happen, but since a lot of the RKO negatives and fine-grains don't even exist, why should a deleted scene suddenly turn up? It's silly to think that for a studio that couldn't even preserve the original negative to Citizen Kane would save a then-unimportant scene.

baracine
06-16-05, 06:44 AM
I think the rumor that the "lost" sequence was found in Europe is bullshit. First, it was cut out in previews, so why would it end up in Europe? I think someone distorted the news that Warner was using a less choppy print without jump cuts from Europe.

Sure, anything can happen, but since a lot of the RKO negatives and fine-grains don't even exist, why should a deleted scene suddenly turn up? It's silly to think that for a studio that couldn't even preserve the original negative to Citizen Kane would save a then-unimportant scene.

From John Morgan's reconstruction notes of the Steiner "King Kong" score (1997 CD - Marco Polo 8.223763):
"To set the record straight, Steiner never wrote music for the now-famous deleted "Spider Pit" sequence. He was not brought into the film until this entire sequence was dropped and refilmed with the sailors falling to their death in the chasm."

So the spider scene was not just an addendum to the log sequence, it was meant to replace it, which means a very different film. And the complex log sequence certainly took a long time to film and put together after eliminating the spider idea. I also note that those rumours are in circulation since at least december 2004 or thereabouts, ample time to confirm or deny either way. On the other hand, it is certainly possible that Peter Jackson might still concoct something for his and our amusement with the ample moolah he has at his disposition, such as a "recontructed" CGI spider scene extra for the upcoming DVD.

Other tentalizing possibility: John Morgan's quote may be meant to say that in the original version, the sailors, instead of falling to their death right away at the bottom of the chasm, fell in the spider pit and survived until eaten by one or more spiders, which would only mean reshooting the sailors hitting the gound - which is, by the way, a not very convincing part of the existing film in the way they rebound all over the place like superballs. In this version, the spider pit sequence could have survived until the very end of production. Also note the presence of a lizard type creature in the spider pit still, probably the same lizard that goes up a vine to Jack Driscoll's hiding place later in the log sequence.

One must also factor in the fact that sometimes different negative elements were used for overseas versions of films, at least as late as the end of the silent film era, which makes the existence of interesting variants possible, especially in light of the extreme care the French took in dubbing foreign films and the possibility that the spider sequence was eliminated purely for stateside censorship reasons (i.e. too violent for American stomachs), and one can still hope for a miracle along those lines.

Other factor: Apparently, science-fiction author Ray Bradbury claims that he saw the spider sequence in a preview at age 13 (in 1933).

Well, it's possible. Or am I just clutching at vines?

[The debate rages on... Also see this Yahoo discussion group: http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/PrehistoricHorror/message/776 for contradictory opinions. Also this cached discussion of the Yahoo group discussion in Sinister Cinema: http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:whMBZHZ0kNMJ:www.sinistercinema.com/cgi-bin/bb/YaBB.pl%3Fboard%3Dchitchat%3Baction%3Ddisplay%3Bnum%3D1045158987+%22Ray+Bradbury%22+%22King+Kong%22+ spider+pit&hl=en]

The Bus
06-16-05, 11:04 AM
When will it be colourized? :)

http://www.fantasticdamage.com/blog/spiider.jpg

This new colorization breathes a new fantastic life into this scene.

baracine
06-16-05, 11:58 AM
http://www.fantasticdamage.com/blog/spiider.jpg

This new colorization breathes a new fantastic life into this scene.
Well, it's a start. Thanks.

shill66
06-21-05, 10:28 AM
One very important thing about the colorized release of King Kong: at the time, it was the best available home video transfer of the film, color or not. I myself am a very big fan of King Kong. I love the black and white, but I also love the colorized version.

BigStinky
06-22-05, 08:56 PM
well thats what i said too so I now I even make my own screen savers. I spent a couple days on Ansel Adams that guy maybe knew some stuff about f stops and how to focus to get the best tones but what a dweeb when it comes to colors. This one time I was at half dome in Yosemeite with my dad and I stood there looking up and it wasn't just blacks and whites you could see the real colors. Shiny blues plus the other colors that are in there. So right then I thought about how the picture doesn’t even look like it except for the rock shapes and the way the moons round and that’s when it hit me. The guy left something out of his pictures. Okay maybe the rock is gray cause its granite or what not but I made mine a better color cause it could look that way if it was made up of some different minerals or when the sun hits on it when the park is closing plus I got this 19 inch viewsonic and I didnt pay for it to just do black and white. So I got to thinking well how come he ruined his picture before he ever clicked on the shutter I mean he blew it when he went to the guy in the store and said give me some black and white film, see what I mean what a dummy. So then I thought okay maybe hes not dumb maybe he just couldnt afford the right film. But then he's still dumb because if he knew he was going to make posters out of it why didnt he just borrow some money from his parents or somebody - it could be a cousin maybe and get the more expensive color film first and then take it in color so theres that then if he wants to he can make a black and white poster later on for the 5 people who like it that way. Either way he goofed up big time and it takes somebody who comes along to fix it. What a goof.

http://onfinite.com/libraries/503181/f53.jpg

baracine
06-23-05, 09:35 AM
http://onfinite.com/libraries/503181/f53.jpg

Well, I don't know if you're being serious or what. Either way, it's nice picture.

marknyc
08-02-05, 03:29 PM
baracine wrote:

So the spider scene was not just an addendum to the log sequence, it was meant to replace it, which means a very different film. And the complex log sequence certainly took a long time to film and put together after eliminating the spider idea.
_____________________

No, the log sequence was the first thing shot for Kong, long before the Spider Pit or anything else! In order to get backing for the film, Cooper and O'Brien shot the log sequence as a test. The original plan was to have some of the sailors survive being shaken off the log, only to be eaten by the giant spiders below.

The story that is most widely told is that when the rough cut was complete, Cooper and Shoedsack felt that the Pit slowed down the film, and distracted from the pursuit of Kong. So it was cut - along with a lot of other bits of business on the ship.

It's possible that the Spider Pit was shown to preview audiences, or that it was cut even before previews. Either way, NO PRINTS would ever have left the studio - not to France, not to the Philippines, not anywhere. In fact, only one workprint of the sequence would ever have existed, and once cut would surely have been destroyed.

The chance of Ray Bradbury being lucky enough to catch one of the few sneak previews is very slim, IMHO, but who knows?

The bottom line is that the sequence was shot, cut out, destroyed, and will never be seen again.

So has anyone heard any more on a release date for the new DVD?

Mark

Fincher Fan
08-02-05, 09:40 PM
well thats what i said too so I now I even make my own screen savers. [garble snipped]

WTF?

Cameron
08-02-05, 11:04 PM
enjoyed your comments



So has anyone heard any more on a release date for the new DVD?

Mark

nothing new. looking like december though. keep checking.

What's the holdup on 1933 King Kong? (http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=407546&highlight=king+kong)

baracine
09-23-05, 02:05 PM
New developments from Hewlett-Packard:
http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/execteam/speeches/robison/05nab2005.html

SHANE ROBISON
Keynote address at NAB2005
National Association of Broadcasters show
Las Vegas
April 18, 2005

First, we're helping Warner Bros. to restore their Cinerama films. In the 1950s and '60s, Cinerama was kind of the IMAX of its day, and it captivated American audiences with its wide panorama views. The only problem was they were shot with three cameras and then blended together on a curved screen. Now this became a problem. The original elements began to deteriorate. And when you try to stitch them together for DVD release, you could actually see the seams between the cameras. Well, that is until today.

As you saw in the clip from How the West Was Won, HP used its own image-processing technology, which is found today in our digital cameras, to help them remove the seams and restore this classic movie. In addition, we're helping Warner Bros. with their ultra resolution restoration by harnessing the power of parallel processing to manage huge amounts of data.

We announced today that Warner Bros. tapped HP to help restore its 1933 classic motion picture, King Kong. The original negative of this film no longer even exists, and the remaining prints have long since deteriorated. So, using HP's technology, these prints have been scanned at 4K resolution. And again, we're using technology originally invented for our digital still cameras to clean dirt and scratches from the film image. So King Kong will be restored and seen with greater clarity and more detail than ever before - even better, actually, than the original theatrical release in 1933. And this new, restored version will be screened theatrically. It will also be broadcast on television in advance of the new remake of King Kong, which is scheduled for release, I think, in December. So that's a bit about restoration.


The presentation comes with a video. I you look really fast, you will see a 5-second clip of the "seamless" new How the West Was Won. I reserve judgement but it looks OK.

marknyc
09-23-05, 05:51 PM
I don't understand - this is the same link you posted last April. What are the "new developments"?

baracine
09-24-05, 07:03 AM
I don't understand - this is the same link you posted last April. What are the "new developments"?

This updated link contains the press conference highlighting in more detail the April 18, 2005 announcement. It is also on video and this video shows - almost four minutes in - a clip from the restored, seamless "How the West Was Won".

marknyc
10-04-05, 12:15 PM
Thanks. Still no word on the promised theatrical release?

My emails to HP, Universal and Film Forum have all gone unanswered.