LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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antoniod

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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostSun Apr 01, 2018 9:41 pm

vitaphone wrote:Those bits were not cut from the 1930 release. They were never included in the first place. There were a number of cuts and trims filmed but ultimately not used, as this was a very long running film. For the 1933 release, which ran just over an hour due to manycsuts of numbers thought dated, these scene were included. Do not believe any of this had to do with the material being risqué.
I guess I misread the description on the DVD menu!
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IA

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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostTue Apr 24, 2018 4:31 pm

I recently looked up a New York Times interview with John Murray Anderson from May 11, 1930. Part of it is quoted in The King of Jazz book, but the whole thing is worth reading. It makes me regret that such a gifted artist never directed another film.

***

A DIRECTOR'S AMBITIONS

The imminent possibility of seeing "Alice in Wonderland" or "Gulliver's Travels" on the audible screen in their full fantastic light may not be far off if John Murray Anderson, the director of Universal's "King of jazz," is allowed to do as he wishes in films.

And not only will such films be made, according to this director's ambitions, but the opera "Faust" may be screened with every trick use of sound and lens, and "Berkeley Square," the play current on Broadway, will be seen on the screen with a full musical accompaniment.

Before his departure for Newfoundland and Europe last week for a holiday before returning to Hollywood in the Fall to make more pictures, Mr. Anderson described his plans.

"The theatre of the future," he said, "will probably only exist as a proving ground for the films, and theatres will only exist in metropolitan centres.

"The operetta as presented on the stage is entirely unfit for reproduction on the screen. It is no joke to show a cowboy in the film dismounting and singing a romantic song to the other cowpunchers. On the stage it may go, but in pictures the exaggeration is enormous. There must come a new form, a combination of music and screen technique. I believe Lubitsch has approached it in 'The Love Parade,' in which one is not conscious of the music, most of which is incidental.

"There will come a new dance form, too, such as was evident in Mr. Lubitsch's film. This device allows characters who dance more leeway to perform. The camera and microphone follow them from room to room, up steps and down and in and out of rooms or gardens--unheard of on the stage.

"A further advance on this form would be hard to define, but it will have as much influence on the cinema of today as, for example, Fokkine of the Russian ballet had on all ballet dancing.

"The present musical films will quickly be forgotten. There is scarcely a single operetta today that deserves to live longer than its period of exhibition."

Musicians on the Screen.

"In doing 'King of Jazz' I was confronted with the problem of making a hero out of a band of musicians. And there is probably nothing so dull as showing musicians sawing away on instruments, particularly in a picture. Another detail that has become trite in the revue type of picture is the use of curtains and prosceniums as in a stage production. We eliminated those also.

"After confessing my total ignorance, upon my arrival in Hollywood I decided the public was interested in stories; that we would employ everything that most producers were afraid to use and everything I had ever imagined might do in a photoplay.

"I called our photographer, Jerry Ash, and asked him to make up a list of all the trick photography he had ever hoped to do in his life. Jerry was once a magician and was filled with stunts he had cherished for years. He came to us with a bag of tricks, most of which we found feasible and used in the picture.

"We then employed colored lights, where Technicolor had only used the regulation white arcs, to illuminate our production. The result was the addition of color subtleties that a public may possibly not appreciate, but that nevertheless add considerably to the quality of tinted photography.

"Everything had to be squeezed into ninety-seven minutes of exhibition time and we cut enough material material
from the film to show for that many hours. The cutting then began and we tried to establish a new system whereby our photography danced to the rhythm of the music. Where a three-quarter bar of music was being sung we allowed it the full swing and at its conclusion jumped into another sequence with a similar beat. The same should, I believe, be done in conversational films where irregular sequences destroy the flow.

"The old method of cutting only showed the lack of imagination on the part of the director. Directors have lacked imagination. For example, such purely fantastic stories as 'Alice in Wonderland' should long since have been put on the screen."

"Faust", as Audible Film.

"Popular operas, too, should be produced. The Germans made 'Faust' and did it successfully. Imagine its possibilities with trick photography and sound. We could make of it something about which every impresario in the business has dreamed for years. There would even be a heroine who was thin. And operas of this calibre would be eminently successful, I believe. My experience as a director of stage productions for a circuit of theatres convinced me of that, for whenever we felt the shows were getting low we would insert a prologue from 'Faust' and the audience would soon be shouting for more."

Mr. Anderson was very much elated over his future prospects. He marveled at the ability of sound experts to "make voices" by adding undertones or similar devices by means of which a singer's voice emerged as something quite different. He declared that all film players, with the exception of the stars, are underpaid and that a well-cut film is one in which one is not conscious of the cutting.
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