Speaking of which, this is the second high-profile 4K restoration of a Pickford picture since the distribution agreement between the Pickford Foundation and Milestone Films ended. Does anyone know who, if anyone, could potentially release this, along with the recent 4K restoration of Little Annie Rooney?
Some text from the Venice Film Festival press release:
Following the American success of his German historical epics (Madame DuBarry, Anna Boleyn), Ernst Lubitsch was invited to Hollywood by Mary Pickford to direct her in what would become her first adult role, as a street singer of Seville who attracts the flattering but inconvenient interest of the King of Spain (Holbrook Blinn). The results are a thoroughly enchanting blend of the “cast of thousands” period films that Lubitsch had been making in Germany and his emerging interest in bittersweet romantic comedy. The film was, by all accounts, a major critical and commercial success on its first release, but in later years Pickford turned against it, for reasons that still remain mysterious, and decides to allow the film to decay (she did, however, preserve reel four, for reasons no less mysterious). Rosita vanished from circulation until a nitrate print was discovered in the Russian archives and repatriated by the Museum of Modern Art in the 1960s. A safety preservation negative was made from the nitrate print, but no further work was done on the film because of the expense and difficulty of recreating the English intertitles. Happily, a copy of a complete continuity script, which includes all of the intertitles, surfaced in the collection of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Using the titles in Pickford’s preserved fourth reel as a template, new intertitles have been created to match the original. Working with this new material, MoMA has recreated this celebrated but severely damaged film in a form as close as possible to its original release.
This film survives as an incomplete nitrate print with Russian intertitles, now lacking the final reel. Fortunately, the Museum’s preservation program previously made a full safety dupe negative and those two sources have been combined to yield the full Russian distribution version. We have also had access, through the Pickford Foundation, to the fourth reel that Mary Pickford copied from her own domestic print, which has been our guide to recreating the original English intertitles. The project began with a 4K wetgate scan of the incomplete nitrate print plus the final reel from the safety dupe negative. Digital restoration of the image would included removal of white dirt, scratches and other defects printed into the source materials, minor image stabilization where appropriate, and grading of the image to restore the original gray scale. The final step was output to a 35mm polyester preservation negative, and the creation of DCPs for exhibition in theaters not equipped for film. Musicologist Gillian Anderson has recreated the original theatrical score, working from the music cue sheets surviving at the Library of Congress. MoMA will produce a full symphonic recording of this score for use in venues that cannot provide live music.