TCM Film Fest: Restoring Sound of Music, 1776

This weekend’s annual TCM Classic Film Fest is all about “History, According to Hollywood,” and you couldn’t find two more diverse musical examples than The Sound of Music (which kicked things off Thursday at the TCL Chinese Theater IMAX) and 1776 (screening Saturday afternoon at the Chinese IMAX). Both tout digital restorations to show off their compelling stories of nonconformity and revolution.

FotoKem did The Sound of Music digital restoration a while back and the uber 5-disc 50th Blu-ray edition is currently available from Fox Home Entertainment. They scanned a new 65mm intermediate on the Imagica and then a completely 4K workflow was used for the rest of the restoration. FotoKem colorist Mark Griffith particularly addressed flicker, density fluctuation and variable color fading.

“While the fading wasn’t as challenging, the density and flicker were more so,” explained FotoKem VP Andrew Oran. “So we had to on a shot-by-shot basis go through the show and tame that. We speculated while we were working on it, whether it was camera issues or original processing. But it has always been there. But the main challenge was to represent it accurately, and not impose ourselves on the film. Often these films cut between not very sharp and high contrast shots of the male actors to soft and very diffuse shots of the female actresses.”

Meanwhile, 1776 (1972) is a cult favorite about the intense political struggle by the Continental Congress to declare independence that gets better with every viewing — and Sony will be premiering the “definitive” director’s cut in collaboration with Peter H. Hunt (the Blu-ray debuts June 2 from Sony Pictures Home Ent.).

The restoration by Sony Pictures Colorworks from the original camera negative (supervised by Grover Crisp) is based, in part, on an earlier one carried out for a 2002 DVD release. That version, also prepared with Hunt’s participation, added a number of scenes and lost elements that were missing from the original theatrical release. Among them was a musical number (“Cool, Cool Considerate Men”) that had been dropped from the film by Jack Warner at the request of President Richard Nixon (who believed the scene cast conservatives in an unfavorable light). Further detective work for the new version uncovered additional “lost” material, including dialogue that had been changed over ratings concerns.

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Blu-ray, Clips, Movies, Music, Oscar, Tech

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