The Great Gabbo color sequences.

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Spiritus

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The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostWed Jan 18, 2012 7:42 am

Are the color sequences mentioned in the titles "lost" for the Great Gabbo. I presume these were the musical numbers in the film. I can only imagine what a more rich experience this great film would be with the color sequences restored. Yet on the cover of the DVD It says "Newly restored by the Library of Congress" So I reckon if the color sequences were available they would have been restored also..... Anyway my question remains,,, are they lost?
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sethb

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostWed Jan 18, 2012 8:28 am

I have the Alpha release of GABBO, and it's the usual Alpha-dupe quality. There are no color sequences, although the main title does state that the film is in PrizmaColor or some other early two-color process.

I have seen clips of GABBO in other documentaries, where the picture quality is much better, but still no color. I'd be interested to know which outfit released your copy of GABBO.

BTW, with the digital colorization processes that are now available, it's a shame that someone doesn't use this technology to restore color to a film that was originally released in color, instead of trying to "improve" original black-and-white movies by the addition of color. SETH
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FrankFay

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostWed Jan 18, 2012 8:59 am

The new technology is great but there is no surviving color footage from Gabbo to get the color scheme from. Without that it would be pure conjecture and no more accurate than colorizing a black and white film. I'm not against doing it, but it couldn't be called restoration.
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Spiritus

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostWed Jan 18, 2012 9:26 am

My edition of The Great Gabbo is a double feature with Blind Husbands, both Von Stroheim , and it is released by KINO international. The picture quality is very good on both and the sound quality on Gabbo is also very good.
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didi-5

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostWed Jan 18, 2012 10:38 am

I've only ever seen it on the Alpha release so thanks for the tip about Kino. I wasn't aware of this release. Is Blind Husbands worth all the hype?
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FrankFay

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostWed Jan 18, 2012 11:21 am

didi-5 wrote:I've only ever seen it on the Alpha release so thanks for the tip about Kino. I wasn't aware of this release. Is Blind Husbands worth all the hype?


It's very good, and still pretty strong stuff- Stroheim's character is both complex and creepy.
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Spiritus

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostWed Jan 18, 2012 3:26 pm

Blind Husbands is great, it seems to me to sort of be the counter-piece to Foolish Wives, which I like very much. It always amazes me that Von Stroheim was willing to portray "himself" (his characters) as such slithering, revolting cads, he really goes beyond "cad", he's despicable. I can only assume that since he was able to portray such DEPTH of revolting-nes, he was probably a pretty nice fellow in real life. ? Though insufferable to work with. I sort of think that geniuses should be given a long leash when it comes to what is insufferable. Kubrick was supposed to be insufferable (though for different reasons) and every one of his films is a masterpiece! With the exception of Eyes Wide Shut which he didn't live to do his famous last minute editing on. I think it would have been very much better had he lived. And what happened to Greed is just a tragedy.
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Changsham

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostWed Jan 18, 2012 4:32 pm

I have seen BLIND HUSBANDS. A fascinating compact well paced film with which is far more developed than most films from the same period. It's a shame Stroheim didn't make more of these smaller less ambitious films. He didn't need to grandstand.
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Donald Binks

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostWed Jan 18, 2012 10:11 pm

The new technology is great but there is no surviving color footage from Gabbo to get the color scheme from. Without that it would be pure conjecture and no more accurate than colorizing a black and white film. I'm not against doing it, but it couldn't be called restoration.

Not necessarily so if the original notes exist for production - including set design and costuming. I believe that in a lot of the monochrome pictures that were made into colour, they rendered the colours according to such notes.
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David Alp

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostSat Jul 29, 2017 9:05 am

Bump...

Okay, so I am just revisiting "The Great Gabbo" (1929) on the "Talking Pictures TV" channel here in England; and its obviously an old English print of the movie, because there are totally different titles at the beginning of the movie, compared to the American version (which I also have on KINO video from 2003). It says on the titles: "Distributed in the United Kingdom by EQUITY-BRITISH-FILMS Ltd. 167-169, Wardour Street, London, W.1."

This version is also cut in a completely different way. The opening scene is Von Stroheim on stage with Otto saying to a lady in the audience "How are you fixed for company?" (whilst Von Stroheim is smoking and drinking).

In all, this UK version runs 1 hour 19 mins, compared to the KINO version, which runs 1 hour 36 mins (so 17 minutes have been cut).

There is NO mention of any colour sequences in this version.

Did anyone ever find out which scenes in this film were shot in Multicolor? I can usually tell what was shot in colour because the actors usually have extremely HEAVY rouge on their cheeks, but in this film I can't see any sign of heavy rouge.
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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 4:06 am

THE GREAT GABBO(1929)
Touted in advertising as an "all-dialog singing, dancing and dramatic spectacle", this early sound film oddly interleaves stark drama with gratuitous full-length, large-scale, on-stage musical production numbers such as "Every Now and Then", "I'm in Love with You", "The New Step", "The Web of Love", and the now-missing "The Ga Ga Bird", which was filmed in color. The "Web of Love" number, in which the performers wear stylized spider and fly costumes, is occasionally shown on Classic Arts Showcase. Footage from the dance sequences was re-used with different music in The Girl from Calgary (1932).
The public domain version available on Internet Archive runs 68 minutes, while the original film ran 96 minutes, including the exit music. The opening credits mention "Color sequences by Multicolor", but those sequences are now either lost or have survived only in black-and-white form. Multicolor, based on the earlier Prizma color process, went out of business in 1932; its assets were bought by Cinecolor.
The quality and clarity of the film sound is notable.
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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostSun Jul 30, 2017 2:36 pm

Grapevine Video's DVD release is excellent quality. The color sequences are presumed long lost.
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Scott Eckhardt

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostMon Jul 31, 2017 9:51 am

As Multicolor utilized an orangey-red and a shrill blue color pallette, I don't see why they couldn't colorize the revue segments as they survive in a very good condition in black-and-white. Colorizing for film noir is harmful to the mood of the film, but, in the case of garish musical numbers, as seen in GABBO, I think it would add to the authenticity of the 1929 experience.
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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostThu Aug 03, 2017 3:13 pm

AFAIK the ONLY sequence that was in Multicolor is the lost "Ga Ga Bird" musical number. Since it is lost in all forms, until it is found there wouldn't even be a guide for "false" color.
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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostThu Aug 03, 2017 7:26 pm

The opening credits say "Color Sequences by Multicolor." Plural. Everything I've read about GABBO says that all the revue sequences were in color. That "New Step" number with the spinning wheels would have been a natural in color. One review of the film is worded to sound like the lost "Ga Ga Bird" was in color, but I doubt that was the singular showcase for Multicolor.
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oldposterho

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Re: The Great Gabbo color sequences.

PostThu Aug 03, 2017 9:52 pm

A flyer for the film does tout "Revue scenes in natural color," again with the plural, but since these are written in Hollywood Hype-Speak, who knows what that really means?

The usually perceptive Mordaunt Hall notes "The prismatic effects in some of the scenes that take place on the stage are not especially good." If "prismatic effects" means "color," again, it does imply more than one of the musical numbers got the prismatic effect.

It's an interesting question, and surprising that it hasn't been conclusively figured out. Or maybe it has -- somewhere.

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