Film Restoration and Preservation

Started by wilder, January 16, 2013, 09:30:59 PM

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Quote from: wilder on February 17, 2020, 09:25:24 PM

^ Blu-ray from Cohen Media Group on April 21, 2020. Also includes Albert Lewin's The Living Idol (1951)

PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN is producer/director Albert Lewin's hauntingly romantic film of the famed legend of The Flying Dutchman. In one of the most sensually rich performances of her career, Ava Gardner stars as Pandora Reynolds, a nightclub singer on vacation in Spain, with whom all men fall hopelessly in love. But Pandora, never having known true love, is indifferent to her suitors' affections. Until, one evening, she swims out to a mysterious yacht and meets its captain - a Dutchman named Hendrick van der Zee (James Mason). Hailed for its brilliant Technicolor cinematography by Jack Cardiff and with impressive production design by John Bryan, PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN remains a wonderfully enigmatic and compelling movie.


A new restoration of Marguerite Duras' India Song (1975) has been streaming on Mubi for the past couple of weeks and expires tonight at midnight

The wife of a disgraced French diplomat suffers from "leprosy of the soul," another term for ennui. Through a mélange of off-screen gossip, we learn of Anne-Marie's scandalous conduct in 1930s India and her eventual fate, engendered by boredom, colonial guilt, and a string of meaningless affairs.

QuoteA Mesmerizing 'India Song,' Pulpy and Austere
The New York Times
April 15, 2020

Spare, elegant, disjunctive, initially annoying and ultimately drop-dead beautiful, Marguerite Duras's "India Song" (1975) was one of the great European art films of the post-art-film era. It followed the 1960s heyday of Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman and Alain Resnais, Duras's one-time collaborator (she wrote the screenplay for his first feature, "Hiroshima, Mon Amour"), and was in some ways more radical than their work.

Like much of Duras's work, the film, streaming through May 3 on the highly curated site, Mubi, is obliquely self-referential, drawing on earlier writings as well as her childhood in French-occupied Indochina. It originated in the early 1970s as a play — commissioned but never staged by the National Theater in London — loosely based on her 1965 novel, "The Vice-Consul," in which a French diplomat in Lahore painfully yearns for the French ambassador's promiscuous wife.

"India Song," which begins with a stunning sunset, shot in what feels like real time, is nominally set in late-1930s Calcutta (but was filmed in and around a French chateau). It is less theatrical or literary than it is ritualistic and, as the title suggests, musical. A handful of characters — notably Delphine Seyrig as the ambassador's unhappy wife and Michael Lonsdale as the smitten vice consul — languidly drift, pose and pivot around an old-fashioned drawing room.

Incense burns, the dominant color is a velvety jade green, and the single Indian servant wears a turban. (The story takes place in a bubble — you never see India or, the one servant aside, Indians.) The action is the more stylized for being scored with society jazz and for unfolding in the sultry, rarefied world of European colonialism. Intimations of madness, horror and suicide hover just outside the narrative.

Duras's most daring ploy is the elimination of synchronized dialogue. It's never clear whether characters are actually speaking to each other or if the viewer is simply privy to their thoughts. (Given the subtlety of her expressions and gestures, Seyrig would have been a sensational silent movie presence.) A chorus of off-screen voices seems to be reacting to the action or perhaps simply remembering it. Language is incantation. The oft-referred to Ganges River produces "the smell of mud and leprosy and fire."

"India Song" manages to be both florid and austere and, for all its forbidding formalism, not so far from a steamy tropical romance or the B-movie exotica beloved by French surrealists. Reviewing "India Song" when it appeared at the 1975 New York Film Festival, the New York Times critic Vincent Canby (not a fan) found the movie reminiscent of a Hollywood "four-hankie" melodrama but praised "the fine, schlocky, thirties musical score" by Carlos d'Alessio.

The heart of "India Song" is a masterpiece of hypnotic minimalism — a scene in which the stricken vice consul watches as the ambassador's wife dances and flirts with several current and would-be lovers during an embassy reception.

All relations are ambiguous, as is the space. (Duras gets more mileage out of a floor-to-ceiling mirror than anyone since the Marx Brothers in "Duck Soup.") The vice consul, who someone says, "seems to be in a state of tears," stalks the ambassador's wife and, his advances rebuffed, makes a scene that reverberates, off-screen, for the rest of the movie.


Russia's Mosfilm has a YouTube channel where many of their films are streaming for free. Some restored, some not, some subtitled, some not.

Quote from: Open CultureTo most international cinephiles, the word Mosfilm immediately brings to mind two towering names in Russian motion pictures: Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkovsky. Both directors made not just important movies but took major steps to develop the visual language of film itself, and both worked for Mosfilm, one of Russia's largest and oldest film studios. First established in 1923, it went on to produce more than 3,000 films during the Soviet era, some of which now define the cinema of that period. Now viewers around the world can enjoy their aesthetic lushness, historical interest, and pure entertainment value more easily than ever on Mosfilm's Youtube channel.


4K restoration trailer for The Man Who Laughs (1928), which is coming to blu-ray from Masters of Cinema (UK) in August.

Also available from Flicker Alley in the US in a comparatively more expensive version.

One of the most visually striking of all the later silent films, The Man Who Laughs reunites German Expressionism director Paul Leni and cinematographer Gilbert Warrenton from their horror hit the previous year, The Cat and the Canary (1927). Both films are often considered to be among the earliest works of legendary horror classics from Universal Studios, yet the undeniably eerie Man Who Laughs is more accurately described as a Gothic melodrama. However, its influence on the genre and the intensity of the imagery—art director Charles Hall and makeup genius Jack Pierce would go on to define the look of those 1930s Universal horror landmarks—have redefined it as an early horror classic, bolstered by one of the most memorable performances of the period.

Adapted from the Victor Hugo novel, The Man Who Laughs is Gwynplaine (an extraordinary Conrad Veidt), a carnival sideshow performer in 17th-century England, his face mutilated into a permanent, ghoulish grin by his executed father's royal court enemies. Gwynplaine struggles through life with the blind Dea (Phantom of the Opera's Mary Philbin) as his companion – though she is unable to see it, his disfigurement still causes Gwynplaine to believe he is unworthy of her love. But when his proper royal lineage becomes known by Queen Anne, Gwynplaine must choose between regaining a life of privilege, or embracing a new life of freedom with Dea.

The startling makeup on Veidt was the acknowledged direct inspiration for The Joker in the 1940 Batman comic that introduced the character, and film versions of The Joker have been even more specific in their references to Leni's film. While The Man Who Laughs contains powerful elements of tragedy, doomed romance, and even swashbuckling swordplay, its influence on horror cinema is most pronounced. Leni died suddenly at the age of 44 a year after this film (with Veidt also unexpectedly passing away too soon in 1943), and The Man Who Laughs endures as one of the most haunting and stylish American silent films, made just as that era was coming to a close.


A fan restoration of Michael Mann's The Keep (1983) from a scan of a 35mm print is in the works.

There's a whole community of people doing these for unavailable films and alternate cuts. Couple of related forums:


Filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island and directed by world-renowned photographer, Bert Stern. JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY features intimate performances by an all-star line-up of musical legends including Louis Armstrong, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O'Day, Chuck Berry, Dinah Washington, and closes with a beautiful rendition or The Lord's Prayer by Mahalia Jackson at midnight to usher in Sunday morning.

The 1959 classic is considered one of the most extraordinary and possibly the first concert film ever made. Its sparkling new 4K restoration by IndieCollect, recently premiered at the 57th New York Film Festival. The film was named to the National Film Registry in 1999, and its restoration was funded by the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress in time to celebrate the film's 60th Anniversary.

Opens August 12 in theaters, virtual cinemas, and drive-ins. Blu-ray forthcoming.


Quote from: wilder on July 18, 2019, 07:01:07 PM

Both a thriller and a Kafkaesque dissertation on identity, Joseph Losey's Mr. Klein stars Alain Delon (Le Samourai, Le Cercle Rouge) as Robert Klein - a charming and unscrupulous art dealer in Nazi-occupied France. As Jews flee Paris, Klein exploits them, preying on their desperation by buying their valuables at a fraction of their worth... until he finds his name is shared by a Jewish member of the anti-Nazi resistance. Klein reports this to the authorities only find that he is uncontrollably sinking into the quicksand of mistaken identity. Co-starring Jeanne Moreau (La Femme Nikita), Mr. Klein is an award-winning suspense classic that studies the ever-changing relationship between victim and oppressor.

Coming to The Criterion Channel August 9th



oh goodie. yeah that's a big deal in terms of I've never seen that one


Oscilloscope has restored Tom Noonan's What Happened Was... (1994). Now available VOD.

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Screenwriting Award at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, WHAT HAPPENED WAS... is Tom Noonan's directorial debut; a darkly humorous take on dating dread. Featuring powerhouse performances by Noonan and Karen Sillas as two lonely hearts spending one claustrophobic Friday night together in an imposing apartment, the film exposes with startling clarity the ways in which people struggle to connect. As relevant now as ever, O-Scope undertook a brand new 4K restoration from the film's original 35mm negative and is making this pristine version widely available for the first time since the 90s.


György Kovásznay's Habfürdo (1979) was just restored in 4K and there's speculation Arbelos (or Criterion?) will be putting it out

A man wants out of a marriage and tries to convince a friend of the bride-to-be to tell her the bad news.

QuoteHungarian artist, writer, and editor György Kovásznay was a prolific painter and animator, working primarily in the 1960s and 70s. He made a couple dozen shorts, but Habfürdő (variously translated as "Foam Bath" or "Bubble Bath") is his sole feature, and his magnum opus. The plot is slight—focused on a studious nurse, her sexy nurse friend, and her friend's hypochondriac fiancé—but the animation is a roiling, dynamic tapestry of ever-shifting styles. Kovásznay considered his films to be extensions of his painting, and brings to them a kinetic, kaleidoscopic energy and a visual style that Eyeworks co-curator Alexander Stewart has likened to Ralph Bakshi. Habfürdő is a modernist-infused cartoon, with musical numbers, that reflects on social and personal relationships in a communist society in flux. 

Quote from: Letterboxd user momalleyA supremely strange animated rumination on domesticity and marriage. I can't claim to really know much about Hungarian animation, but this film's style, in which the character models and backgrounds are in constant motion, stretching and twisting and ballooning in concert with the emotional register of the characters (or, sometimes, seemingly just on a whim), feels pretty radical to me--like a proto-Bill Plympton but on a metric ton of acid. 


An independent restoration of the original theatrical trailer for The Abyss


On The Criterion Channel May 6th. Trailer above.