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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Restorations: "Drums Along The Mohawk"; "Leave Her To Heaven"

Burbank, September 28, 2007 - Two classic films, John Ford's DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK (1939) and the film noir LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945) were recently restored by DTS Digital Images utilizing the company’s proprietary Lowry Process (PDF). The films will premiere at the 45th New York Film Festival on October 12. The facility, a division of DTS Digital Cinema, provided full, 2K restoration services on both films. The movies are part of the festival’s retrospective program “In Glorious Technicolor: Martin Scorsese Presents,” sponsored by American Express and The Film Foundation. Scorsese will introduce the films and discuss the importance of preservation prior to the screenings.

“These classic films are an important part of our motion picture history and culture,” says Schawn Belston, vice president of film preservation at 20th Century Fox. “The restoration and preservation of these films was a collaborative effort by Fox, the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation. DTS Digital Images restored these and other classic films in our library using the most advanced image processing technology available today. We’re very pleased and excited to see these Hollywood classics projected at the festival.”

DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK and LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN were both produced in three-strip Technicolor format. DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK was directed by John Ford with Bert Glennon, ASC and Ray Rennahan, ASC sharing the cinematography credit. LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN was directed by John Stahl. Leon Shamroy, ASC earned an Oscar for Best Color Cinematography for his work on the film.

“DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK presented some of the most difficult types of restoration challenges,” says Mike Inchalik, vice president, Strategy and Marketing, DTS Digital Images. “We were dealing with film elements that were several generations removed from the original. Because of significant fading of the CRIs (color reversal intermediates) in particular, most of the color information from the blue layer of the original camera negative was gone. There were also tricky issues to resolve, including misregistration, flicker, color breathing and grain build-up and image softening that results from the creation of second and third generation film preservation elements.”

Since the original three-strip negatives were no longer available, DTS Digital Images worked from color reversal protection copies and black-and-white YCM separations to reconstruct the films. Those elements were scanned and converted to digital files using IMAGICA film scanners that are specially designed to gently handle older, shrunken films. The images were then restored using the Lowry Process embedded in proprietary DTS software.

“The Lowry Process incorporates some very powerful imaging algorithms that have been fine-tuned over the course of more than 200 major feature film restorations performed over the past eight years,” explains Inchalik. “We’ve put a great deal of energy into inventing the right tools and putting enough computing power behind them.”

Inchalik notes that the original three-strip negatives had shrunk at different rates. As a result, there was significant misregistration photographed into the color reversal copies.

“There’s quite a science to digitally recombining those records and adjusting for the various rates of shrinkage to create a perfectly recombined registered image,” adds Inchalik.

In both restorations, DTS delivered a new negative, a digital archive, and a new HD master for serving home video markets that are all true to the restored films. The prints that will screen at the New York Film Festival were made from these new negatives.

“Restoring classics like DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK and LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN is a tremendous responsibility that we take very seriously,” says Inchalik. “The breathtaking rate of technological change helps us recover and recreate the amazing experience of seeing these cinematic treasures as they were originally meant to be seen, and that’s exciting. Using the Lowry Process, we have also prepared the films for today’s high-definition home viewing environments, and for whatever formats the future brings as well.”

The Preservation Screening Program was created by American Express and The Film Foundation to screen motion pictures that have been preserved/ restored with funding from the Foundation. The goals are to connect today’s moviegoers with film art and culture from the past, and to highlight the importance of film preservation.

The 45th New York Film Festival runs September 28 through October 14 at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and sponsored by Sardinia Region Tourism and The New York Times, features showcases, music documentaries and retrospective films. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.com/nyff.


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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Kewl Gardens

Took the first trip ever to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew last week.

On the chilliest day in some time.

But that's what gigantic greenhouses are for.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Joyeux Anniversaire, Cannes!

On this day, in 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival opened.

Back then they didn't have color, or black and white even. No, back then they had to enact the script on a large stage with a silver screen backdrop (hence the expression, "stars of the silver screen"). This is one reason many of the small-scale, post-war "Italian Realist" films were received so well at the early Cannes Festivals - much easier to put on. During the staging of the big-budget American movies, something inevitably went wrong (witness the death of 8 flying monkeys by fire during a special Cannes presentation of "Wizard Of Oz" (1939, two weeks before Hitler invaded Poland), which detracted from the production value. In that first year of the Cannes Film Festival, the top prize was shared among 11 films - which is surprising since only 7 films were entered. And back then they weren't presented with today's well-coveted "Pomme d'Or", but with an award called the "Grande Prik".

FUN FACT: Ingrid Bergman and Ingmar Bergman are not brother and sister! They are parent and child!

After 1950, things changed. What with the new technologies, movies were at last able to be made in both back and white and could be watched without having real-live actors get near anyone. Throughout the 1950's, Doris Day films inevitably won every award the Festival had to offer. That all changed with Doris Day's mysterious suicide by a lone gunman in 1962.

In 1990, the Pawm d'Orr was given to the David Lynch film "Wild At Heart" (1990). Meanwhile, that year's Academy Award for Best Picture went to "Driving Miss Daisy" (1990). These were known as "The Dark Times" (A.D. 1990).

FUN FACT: Billy Crystal has never hosted the Cannes Film Festival! But never say never!

It is rumored - and also rumoured - that next year's Cannes Film Festival, now traditionally held in the spring because of those fascist bastards over in Venice, will feature a retrospective of the films of the late Michelangelo Antoniononinoi in new, digitally-restored 3D versions!

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Countries I've Visited

How very little little of this place I've seen!

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

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Daedalus with One Wing


Wise Daedalus - with only one wing done -
fled before a mob
determined to string him up
and pinata the hell out of the man.
Running for his life,
he donned the single wing and,
triple-jumping to the cliff's edge,
launched himself,
leaving the killers marooned.

As he made into the open air,
wing outstetched on one side,
inadequate flapping hand
on the other,

he well knew that all
the weight of science and reason
would not support him.



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Friday, September 14, 2007

St. James's Park Moment

St. James's Park


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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Possible Reclamation

Made a multi-generational trip eastward down the District Line to visit the grave of my grandparents at City Of London Cemetary.

My parents, my wife, the new Small Child - the only one who stayed cheerful for the entire day - left some flowers, took some pictures, did some remembering, and ate some fish & chips on the East Ham High Street.

An old and beautiful - and very, very big - cemetary is City Of London. But apparently even there, space is at a premium. The dead just keep on comin'.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

MacArthur Quote

“The powers in charge kept us in a perpetual state of fear, kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant sums demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.”

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Monday, September 10, 2007

"Hurricane Gold" Event with Charlie Higson

I, last Thurs., Sept. 6, at the eighty-storey Waterstone's Multimegastore at Piccadilly Circus, ...

(it's not really AT Piccadilly Circus, you know - it's about 50 yards away from Piccadilly Circus )

(so I encourage you to barge into the store at all times of day screaming "You filthy liars!" at the Waterstone's staff)

(or not, as you please)

(just be aware that they may not be telling you the entire truth over there, is all I'm saying)

... had the pleasure of attending the launch party for the new - fourth - Young James Bond novel, "Hurricane Gold", written by writer / actor / producer / writer Charlie Higson.

Higson was on hand - because that's what you are at these kinds of events - you're "on hand"- Higson was on hand to give a little talk about his four (so far) Young Bond novels and to give a reading of one of "Hurricane Gold's" exciting action sequences, and to sign his name many many many times on brand new copies of the book he'd just written.

There was a first-rate Q&A after Charlie's reading. First-rate because the questions were all posed by kids. And kids will always ask the best questions. While we adults - adult journalists especially - might ask questions like "So, Mister Higson, what do you think of Young Bond?", kids ask - and did ask - questions like: "How do you solve the problem of keeping the Young Bond a teenager over the course of several novels without damaging the verisimilitude of the stories?"

Charlie Higson is first and foremost - like Charlie Dickens - an entertainer. His background in British tv and comedy makes him a great evangelist for Ian Fleming Publications' attempt to reach a whole new, media savvy audience of youngsters. The novels are thrilling reads, but Charlie himself completes the package by being an engaging personality himself. The fact that Ian Fleming is almost as famous a character as his creations is a precedent that has most certainly not gone entirely unignored by Puffin and IFP.

Wandering around Soho throughout the afternoon were a man and a woman painted in gold, clutching copies of the book, "Hurricane Gold". But these two were notpeople made of actual gold, no! No, they were two comedy actors hired especially for the event through an agency! And not an agency of government operatives with the blood of untold thousands on their hands, no! No, an agency for actors!

Do you see? They were actors!

I wonder if anyone told them about the fate of Jill Masterton in "Goldfinger".

They probably had to sign a waiver.

Anyway, I had lots of fun. I took lots of photos.

But if you want the real scoop on the whole event, and not my misty-eyed reminiscentses of days gone passed, go to John Cox's Young Bond Dossier . Young Bond Dossier is now the official, Fleming-blessed Young Bond news & info source!

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Idiotic Movie Translations - "Casablanca"

So what we do is we take famous movie dialog, and we run it through Alta Vista's Babelfish translator to translate it to a foreign language, then we translate it back into English. Then we laugh and laugh.

Today's Idiotic Movie Translation, from the closing scene of "Casablanca" (1942), this from English > French > English:

ILSA: "You say this to only incite me to go."

RICK: "I say it because it is true. Inside us, us all the two soaps which you belong with the winner. You form part of his work, the thing which maintains it. If this plane leaves the ground and you are not with him, you will regret it. Perhaps not today. Perhaps not tomorrow, but soon and for the remainder of your life."

ILSA: "But and us?"

RICK: "We will always have Paris. We did not have, us, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We recovered the last night to him.

ILSA: "When I said I would never leave you ... "

RICK: "And you never will. But I have a work to make, too. Where I go, you cannot follow. What I have to do, you cannot have very left. Ilsa, I am not any good with being noble, but it does not take much to see that the problems of three imps do not rise with a hill of beans in this insane world. One day you will include that. Now, now... Here kid looks at you."

The original classic dialogue:

ILSA: You're saying this only to make me go.

RICK: I'm saying it because it's true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.

ILSA: But what about us?

RICK: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.

ILSA: When I said I would never leave you ...

RICK: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. Now, now... Here's looking at you kid.


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Saturday, September 01, 2007

We've got this new baby ...

self-portrait, morning

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