Any info about the making of Service with a Smile (1934)

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ebaillargeon82

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Any info about the making of Service with a Smile (1934)

PostThu Apr 12, 2018 11:00 pm

I'm seeking information about the making of the Warner Bros. three-strip technicolor film "Service with a Smile". It seems to me that A. Dorian Otvos and Eddie Moran (the film's writers) came up with the idea to make a film with a fancy gas station as its subject, and that Warner Bros. liked the idea and thought the film would look great in three-strip technicolor. Any information about the making of this film would be much appreciated.
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moviepas

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Re: Any info about the making of Service with a Smile (1934)

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 3:53 am

Service with a Smile is a 1934 Vitaphone short comedy film released by Warner Brothers on July 28, 1934 that was the first live-action film in full color (three-strip Technicolor). This film debuted in theaters a few weeks before the Pioneer Pictures film La Cucaracha (also produced in three-strip Technicolor).

Leon shows off his new "deluxe" service station, complete with golf course, food service, and a staff of "chorus girls" pumping gas.
Service with a Smile
Directed by
Roy Mack
Written by
Eddie Moran
A. Dorian Otvos
Starring
Leon Errol
Maxine Doyle
Herbert Evans
Marie Wells
Harry Seymour
Frank Darien
Billy Bletcher
Music by
Leo F. Forbstein
Cinematography
Ray Rennahan
Distributed by
Warner Brothers
Release date
July 28, 1934
Running time
17 minutes
Country
United States
Language
English
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Richard P. May

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Re: Any info about the making of Service with a Smile (1934)

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 9:40 am

Preservation of SERVICE WITH A SMILE was done while I was VP-Film Preservation at Warner Bros. We had the original 3-strip Technicolor negatives, and the results are quite beautiful. The only problem is that several scenes have registration errors, no doubt from incorrect adjustment of the Technicolor camera.
It is included in the DVD set "Vitaphone Cavalcade of Musical Comedy" along with several other early 3-strip Technicolor shorts.
Dick May
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sethb

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Re: Any info about the making of Service with a Smile (1934)

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 11:03 am

Mr. May's post raised an interesting question for me. It's my understanding that all of the equipment needed to strike new Technicolor prints no longer exists, having been disassembled and scattered in various museums or destroyed. So the Technicolor process is now obsolete, and new Technicolor prints cannot be made, at least not by using the original process.

If that's correct, how are any new Technicolor prints being made? If they aren't done via the original contact/imbibition process, are they done digitally now? If so, I'm also guessing that fixing registration problems due to errors or shrunken film are fixed much more easily and quickly, if not as cheaply. SETH
"Novelty is always welcome, but talking pictures are just a fad." -- Irving Thalberg
"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk ?" -- Harry Warner
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antoniod

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Re: Any info about the making of Service with a Smile (1934)

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 6:06 pm

Poor Leon! No Insurance money for him! I think that even though SERVICE WITH A SMILE was the first live-action film released in 3-Strip Technicolor, LA CUCARACHA was still the first MADE. Release dates can be misleading!
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Harold Aherne

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Re: Any info about the making of Service with a Smile (1934)

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 11:01 pm

antoniod wrote:I think that even though SERVICE WITH A SMILE was the first live-action film released in 3-Strip Technicolor, LA CUCARACHA was still the first MADE. Release dates can be misleading!


The Dawn of Technicolor by Messrs. Layton and Pierce addresses this issue. The first live-action three-strip production, excluding films made for test purposes, was a short subject filmed at the World's Fair in Chicago in October 1933. I don't have the precise title handy, but it was a sponsored film. "La Cucaracha" was something like the 11th live-action three-strip subject.

Another early sponsored three-strip film: "Dinner for Eight", filmed in late February 1934 and shown in southern CA theatres by May:
https://www.filmpreservation.org/preserved-films/screening-room/dinner-for-eight-1934

Items in Hollywood Reporter indicate that "Service with a Smile" and "Good Morning, Eve!" were produced in April and early May 1934, just prior to "La Cucaracha".
http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?t=725

--HA
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Richard P. May

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Re: Any info about the making of Service with a Smile (1934)

PostSat Apr 14, 2018 8:42 am

This is in response to sethb's inquiry about the making of Technicolor prints. He is correct that the equipment to make prints in the dye-transfer method (also known as IB) no longer exists in working manner.
Modern restoration from Technicolor negatives is done by three-pass printing (one exposure for each color from the separation negatives created in the camera) on to modern color positive film. While it might not be Technicolor all the way, the results are excellent reproductions of the original color represented in the three black and white negatives.
The fact that these negatives do not contain any color dyes eliminates the possibility of fading affecting the color.
Full details of the Technicolor process can be found elsewhere, and are to complicated to go into here.
Dick May
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ebaillargeon82

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Re: Any info about the making of Service with a Smile (1934)

PostSat Apr 14, 2018 12:01 pm

Harold Aherne wrote:
antoniod wrote:I think that even though SERVICE WITH A SMILE was the first live-action film released in 3-Strip Technicolor, LA CUCARACHA was still the first MADE. Release dates can be misleading!


The Dawn of Technicolor by Messrs. Layton and Pierce addresses this issue. The first live-action three-strip production, excluding films made for test purposes, was a short subject filmed at the World's Fair in Chicago in October 1933. I don't have the precise title handy, but it was a sponsored film. "La Cucaracha" was something like the 11th live-action three-strip subject.

Another early sponsored three-strip film: "Dinner for Eight", filmed in late February 1934 and shown in southern CA theatres by May:
https://www.filmpreservation.org/preserved-films/screening-room/dinner-for-eight-1934

Items in Hollywood Reporter indicate that "Service with a Smile" and "Good Morning, Eve!" were produced in April and early May 1934, just prior to "La Cucaracha".
http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?t=725

--HA


Yes, even if only including "regular" films (as opposed to sponsored films), the release "La Cucaracha" was still predated by that of "Service with a Smile" ("Good Morning, Eve!" was released September 22, 1934. So it was released after "La Cucaracha"). After reading through the 1934 issues of Motion Picture Herald, it seems that "Service with a Smile" premiered at the Strand Theatre in New York City, as part of a bill which also included "A Penny a Peep” (short subject) and "Here Comes the Navy" (feature).

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