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Author Topic: What is the quality of b/w classics re-issued on new 35mm prints?
Jerry Axelsson
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 102
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: May 2005


 - posted 02-03-2006 10:47 AM      Profile for Jerry Axelsson   Email Jerry Axelsson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
-Hello Film-Tech folks,

I am a private distributor of 35mm material. I have re-issued a few classics for theatrical runs in Sweden where I am located.

The reason that I am looking for your comments is that I am considering to re-issue a few additional classics in 35mm.

Has anyone of you seen the quality on recent b/w prints such as "SOME LIKE IT HOT"-59 or "MANHATTAN"-1979 if you have screened those?

What I am trying to find out is simply if it is possible and worth to order new prints on such classics OR if there is limited possibilities these days to re-print such titles with good results?

I would appreciate your help.

Thank you in advance

Jerry Axelsson

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 02-03-2006 11:21 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Do remember that it is especially important that B&W prints be proper lubricated, per SMPTE Recommended Practice RP 151, and the Kodak Processing Manual H-24.02. Edgewaxing reduces frictional abrasion of the film as it goes through the projector gate, greatly extending the useful life of a print. Most B&W prints today are made on polyester stock, e.g., Kodak Black-and-White Print Film 2302:

Kodak B&W Print Film 2302

quote:
KODAK Black-and-White Print Film 2302 is an ESTAR Base, low-speed, high-resolution print film. The proprietary, new polyester base of 2302 improves physical performance throughout the motion picture system, providing benefits to archivists, laboratories, exhibitors, creatives, and distributors. It is a cleaner, more durable print stock with improved sharpness, and has clearer, longer lasting sound performance. This film continues to offer the process flexibility of previous black-and-white print films to achieve the desired look.

Kodak Processing Manual: Edgewaxing

quote:
Edge Coat
The 35 mm and 70 mm films for theatrical projectors
need additional waxing for satisfactory projection life.
This additional wax is coated on the film edges since
theatrical projectors require an amount of lubricant
that would cause mottle on the picture area and in the
sound stripe.
The edge coat waxing equipment described by Perry
and Mino is recommended. Variations of these units
can easily be made an integral part of the processing
machine to reduce handling costs and increase the
speed of production. In the basic design, rotating discs
apply the lubricating solution to the area of the film
that lies outside the picture area along the perforations
and edges. These discs usually rotate in a lubricant tray
and they depend on surface wetting to pick up and
transfer the solution to the film. The applicator discs
should be coupled into the main drive to assure that
film speed and applicator speed remain equal.
Wax is usually applied only to the emulsion side of the
film. The drying rate of the edge coat formula should
be low enough to allow transfer of wax to the support
side of the roll. Some laboratories lubricate both sides
of the film directly.


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Christian Appelt
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 502
From: Frankfurt, Germany
Registered: Dec 2001


 - posted 02-05-2006 07:05 AM      Profile for Christian Appelt   Email Christian Appelt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jerry,

IMHO most vintage prints of b&w classics look sharper, more steady and have finer grain than new prints. In some markets and up to a certain printing volume, prints often were struck from original camera negatives and on contact step printers, so the quality is excellent.

On the other hand, many foreign releases were printed from dupe negatives that had different quality levels. I remember the German language prints of LA DOLCE VITA, they always looked soft, slightly foggy and grainy. The version restored by Cinecittá labs in the 1990s looks razor sharp, has deep blacks and super fine grain.

In your case, it depends. What kind of intermediate materials do you have or will you get?

Of course nobody will take the risk of damaging OCNs just to have a few new prints made, but you should talk to the studio or owner of rights.
Some rereleases of classic b&w films have been done from intermediate materials which were originally created for TV use, and their lack of quality will show up on the big screen. Personally, I would not rerelease a film from such source material because audiences are used to decent image quality from watching DVDs.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5198
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-06-2006 04:49 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jerry, I am not quite understanding what is your goal? Are you planning to ask the studio which owns these properties (MGM/UA/Sony et al) to allow you to distribute them theatrically in your area? Does Sony Classics not already have distribution offices that service theatres where you are? And if you do want contract distribution for these titles, wouldn't you need to order prints and pretty much have to rely on whatever quality the studio's lab can come up with when they make 35mm reprints for you from whatever quality original elements they have in the vaults? Knowing what condition any release prints that have been circulating here in the states would have very little relevance as to what quality the studio's lab will be able to deliver on either title. Or do you wish to have the studio release used 35mm release prints to you as part of any distribution deal that they will allow you to circulate in your country?

On the other hand, I do know that both these titles have been in repetory circulation here and the quality is quite good, but again, that has not bearing as to what the studio's lab can produce at this point in time. A lot can happen to original elements between the time the last prints were struck and what condition they are in now. However, Sony and MGM have good track records in terms of dedication to archiving and they have quality lab work.

Do you want to know if we have run any of these titles recently and what quality they were, thereby giving you some ide

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Stephen Furley
Film God

Posts: 3057
From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 02-06-2006 05:29 AM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I ran a very good, recent print, on polyester, of something from the BFI a few months ago; I can't remember what it was now. Other recent prints have not been so good, the quality seems to vary considerably.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1830
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 02-06-2006 08:33 AM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We ran a new polyester print of Manhattan at the Loews Jersey last year, and it looked great. Sharp, great contrast, etc.

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Tao Yue
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 209
From: Princeton, NJ
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 02-06-2006 10:37 PM      Profile for Tao Yue   Author's Homepage   Email Tao Yue   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank Angel wrote:

quote:
Does Sony Classics not already have distribution offices that service theatres where you are? ... Knowing what condition any release prints that have been circulating here in the states would have very little relevance as to what quality the studio's lab will be able to deliver on either title.
Note that Jerry was asking explicitly about "recent b/w prints," so he'd be asking about the quality that labs have delivered recently.

Also note that the population of Sweden (9 million) is very similar to the population of New York City (8 million), so it'd be similarly logical that he can't get any good prints of classic American films in his country without paying for them to be struck himself.

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Jerry Axelsson
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 102
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: May 2005


 - posted 02-08-2006 11:25 AM      Profile for Jerry Axelsson   Email Jerry Axelsson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you everyone which have supplied input to this thread.

Tao, you are right on the money for what I am after!

Certain titles have been out of circulation for quite some time here in Sweden. "MANHATTAN" is one of them.

I have seen that small independent distributors (like me) have re-issued classics theatrically around the world. At this point I do not find that certain studios or agents on their behalf have been able to supply enough detail on what a new release print will look like.

Mitchell, you supplied exactly the kind of input I was hoping for regarding "MANHATTAN". I was looking for oppinions from experienced people which care about film projection.

Regards

Jerry

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Jerry Axelsson
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 102
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Registered: May 2005


 - posted 02-13-2006 08:46 AM      Profile for Jerry Axelsson   Email Jerry Axelsson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Has someone seen the quality of recent prints of "A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE"-1951? I am thinking of the dir-cut which where in the 75:th aniv. package from WB.
Comments of other classics like "GILDA"-46 or "FROM HERE TO ETERNITY"-1953?

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William Hooper
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1879
From: Mobile, AL USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-14-2006 05:18 AM      Profile for William Hooper   Author's Homepage   Email William Hooper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've run Streetcar & Eternity, but sorry, do not recall enough detail about the image to give the info you're looking for.

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