2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Silents

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Keatonesque
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2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Silents

Unread post by Keatonesque » Wed May 02, 2018 4:52 pm

I wished to ask those here with perhaps insider knowledge or that follow global restoration efforts what the status is for the following important silent films yet to undergo 2K/4K restoration work (or already have) and have a BD release in the US, and what the possibilities that they may get the funding and green light for such a release in the (hopefully) near future are at this point in time (particularly with restorations from 35mm elements as opposed to merely remastered HD transfers and upgrades from old prints with existing scores). I'll list mostly those either never released on DVD or OOP (or as Warner Archive DVD-Rs), which I believe to be deserving of 2K or 4K restorations (many of which have been featured at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival over the years), whether by virtue of their high regard, artistry, or historical value (eminent director or actor/actress). Naturally, countless silents deserve to be blessed with a release, but these I consider most essential.

As we've been waiting forever for many of these, I am hoping to learn where each of these currently stand in terms of their status and future prospects as standalone releases like "Wings," "The Big Parade," "The Thief of Bagdad," and "Beggars of Life," among others. Which among these would seem to be more likely to get a restoration and distribution (on BD) sooner than others if factoring in ROI (return on investment) which has proven such a major roadblock for silent film releases on BD? I'm thinking of who would most likely have the license (and rights) to finance and invest in such restoration efforts in order to release them in the US, such as Kino Lorber, Flicker Alley, Criterion, Cohen, and obviously Warner (Archives) and Paramount, who together own the rights to most of those below (until 2025), and the latter of which has a deal with KINO that has resulted in a number of long-awaited silents being released. By "restoration," I am only referring to 2K/4K scans.

The essential films in question are:

1. The Wind (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
2. The Crowd (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
3. The Scarlet Letter (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet (Preserved by UCLA Archive)
4. Ben-Hur (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
5. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
6. Greed (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet (Only 4-hour TCM reconstruction)
7. The Merry Widow (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
8. The Wedding March (Criterion?) / Restoration Status: None Yet
9. Underworld (Paramount ––> Criterion?) / Restoration Status: None Yet
10. The Last Command (Paramount ––> Criterion?) / Restoration Status: Unknown (HD transfer via Eureka, 2016)
11. The Docks of New York (Paramount ––> Criterion?) / Restoration Status: None Yet
12. The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
13. The Spanish Dancer (Paramount) / Restoration Status: Completed (EYE Institute, 4K, 35mm, 2012)
14. Forbidden Paradise (Paramount) / Restoration Status: Completed (MoMA, 4K, 35mm, 2017)
15. A Woman of the World (Paramount) / Restoration Status: Completed (MoMA, 4K, 35mm, 2016)
16. Hotel Imperial (Paramount) / Restoration Status: Unknown (quality archived prints exist via Brownlow)
17. Barbed Wire (Paramount) / Restoration Status: None Yet (only 16mm)
18. 7th Heaven (Fox) / Restoration Status: Completed? (Digital restoration via FOX, 2K?, 2018)
19. Street Angel (Fox) Restoration Status: Unknown (Carlotta, HD transfer?)
20. Lucky Star (Fox) / Restoration Status: Unknown (Carlotta, HD transfer?)
21. Show People (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
22. The Patsy (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet (Photoplay, original 35mm nitrate negative)
23. The Cameraman (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
24. It (Paramount) / Restoration Status: None Yet
25. Kid Boots (Paramount) / Restoration Status: Completed (LoC, 4K, 35mm, 2017)
26. Get Your Man (Paramount) / Restoration Status: Completed (LoC, 4K, 35mm, 2017)
27. Mantrap (Paramount) / Restoration Status: Unknown (LoC, 35mm nitrate positive)
28. Fine Manners (Paramount) / Restoration Status: Unknown (16mm/35mm?)
29. Ramona (Public Domain) / Restoration Status: Completed? (LoC, via German/Czech 35mm nitrate print)
30. The Marriage Circle (Warner) / Restoration Status: Unknown (MoMA & UCLA, 35mm, 2015 DVD-R via Flicker Alley)
31. Three Women (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet (Eastman, 35mm)
32. So This Is Paris (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet (LoC, 35mm)
33. The Canadian (Paramount) / Restoration Status: None Yet (SFSFF 2012, LoC, 35mm)
34. The Valley of the Giants (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet (SFSFF 2007, UCLA, 35mm)
35. The Goose Woman (Universal) / Restoration Status: None Yet (SFSFF 2011, UCLA, 35mm)
36. Secrets (Warner) / Restoration Status: Completed? (LoC, Cohen & MoMA, various prints)
37. The Woman Disputed (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet (SFSFF 2010, LoC, 35mm)
38. Isn't Life Wonderful (Warner?) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm)
39. Lilac Time (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm)

The following films of Mary Pickford have undergone, are currently undergoing, or will soon undergo 4K restorations:

1. Madame Butterfly (1915) / Restoration Status: Planning Stages (Paramount, 35mm, 4K)
2. Tess of the Storm Country (1914/1922) / Restoration Status: Planning Stages (Paramount, LoC & Gosfilmofond, 35mm, 4K)
3. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917) / Restoration Status: Planning Stages (UCLA & NEA, 35mm, 4K)
4. Stella Maris (1918) / Restoration Status: Planning Stages (UCLA & LoC, 35mm, 4K)
5. Rosita (1923) / Restoration Status: Completed (MoMA, 35mm, 4K)
6. Little Annie Rooney (1925) / Restoration Status: Completed (AMPAS, 35mm, 4K, 2016)
7. Sparrows (1926) / Restoration Status: In Progress (LoC, 35mm, 4K)
8. My Best Girl (1927) / Restoration Status: In Progress (UCLA & Film Foundation, 35mm, 4K)

Greta Garbo silents (varying condition of elements from different prints):

1. Torrent (1926) (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
2. The Temptress (1926) (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
3. Flesh and the Devil (1926) (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
4. Love (1927) (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
5. The Mysterious Lady (1928) (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
6. A Woman of Affairs (1928) (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
7. Wild Orchids (1929) (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
8. The Single Standard (1929) (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet
9. The Kiss (1929) (Warner) / Restoration Status: None Yet

Foreign Silent Cinema & 2K/4K Restorations (Well-Known & Lesser-Known Essentials):

France

1. Pandora's Box (1929) (Criterion?) / Restoration Status: Unknown (2K/4K? / 2009 Restoration by Deutsche Kinemathek)
2. Prix de Beauté (1930) (Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2013, 35mm)
3. Visages d’enfants/Faces of Children (1925) (Lobster?) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2015, 35mm)
4. Nana (1926) (Cinémathèque Française/Lobster?) / Restoration Status: Unknown (35mm positive via Eastman)
5. L'Argent (1928) (Lobster) / Restoration Status: In Progress (Lobster, 2K/4K?, original 35mm nitrate negative)
6. The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) (Cinémathèque Française) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2009, 35mm)
7. Au bonheur des dames (1930) (Cinémathèque Française/Lobster) / Restoration Status: None Yet (SFSFF 2006, 35mm, 2008 DVD via Lobster)

Soviet Union

1. The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (1924) (Gosfilmofond/Lobster?) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2014, 35mm)
2. Oktjabr'/October (Gosfilmofond) (1927) / Restoration Status: Unknown (35mm, 2014 DVD via Edition Filmmuseum with original Meisel score restored)
3. Tret’ia Meshchanskaia/Bed and Sofa (1927) (Gosfilmofond) / Restoration Status: Unknown (35mm, 2015 DVD-R via Flicker Alley)
4. Dom na Trubnoy/The House on Trubnaya Square (1928) (Gosfilmofond) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2013, 35mm)
5. Moya babushka/My Grandmother (1929) (Gosfilmofond) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm, 2005 DVD via BC Records)
6. Oblomok imperii/Fragment of an Empire (1929) (Gosfilmofond) / Restoration Status: Completed? (SFSFF 2018, 2K/4K?, SFSFF, EYE Filmmuseum & Gosfilmofond, 35mm)

Weimar Germany

1. Asphalt (1929) (F. W. Murnau Stiftung) / Restoration Status: Completed (Murnau Stiftung, 2K, 35mm, 2016)
2. The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna (1929) (F. W. Murnau Stiftung) / Restoration Status: Unknown (Murnau Stiftung, 35mm)
3. Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney (1928) (F. W. Murnau Stiftung) / Restoration Status: Completed (Murnau Stiftung & MoMA, 2K, 35mm, 2017)
4. Wunder der Schöpfung/Our Heavenly Bodies (1925) (F. W. Murnau Stiftung) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm)
5. Die Weber/The Weavers (1927) (F. W. Murnau Stiftung) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2013, 35mm)
6. Unter der Laterne/Under the Lantern (1928) (Deutsche Kinemathek) / Restoration Status: Completed? (SFSFF 2014, 2K, 35mm, 2014)
7. Heimkehr/Homecoming (1928) (F. W. Murnau Stiftung) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm)
8. Der lebende Leichnam/The Living Corpse (1929) (F. W. Murnau Stiftung) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm)
9. Jenseits der Straße/Beyond the Street (1929) (F. W. Murnau Stiftung) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm)
10. Mutter Krausens Fahrt ins Glück/Mother Krause's Journey to Happiness (1929) (Munich Film Museum?) / Restoration Status: Completed? (SFSFF 2018, 2K/4K?, Munich Film Museum, various nitrate prints)

China

1. Fengyu zhi ye/On a Stormy Night (1925) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: Unknown (35mm?)
2. Tao hua qi xue ji/The Peach Girl (1931) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: None Yet (SFSFF 2000, 35mm?)
3. Yi jian mei/A Spray of Plum Blossoms (1931) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: None Yet (SFSFF 2010, 35mm?)
4. Lian ai yu yi wu/Love and Duty (1931) (Taipei Film Archive) / Restoration Status: Completed (Ritrovata, 2K, 35mm, 2014)
5. Ye Megui/Wild Rose (1932) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: None Yet (SFSFF 2009, 35mm?)
6. Xiao Wanyi/Little Toys (1933) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: None Yet (SFSFF 2012, 35mm?)
7. Tiānmíng/Daybreak (1933) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm?)
8. Chun cun/Spring Silkworms (1933) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm?)
9. Shennü/The Goddess (1934) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: Completed? (35mm?, botched 2017 DVD via BFI)
10. Tǐyù Huánghòu/Queen of Sports (1934) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm?)
11. Dàlù/The Big Road (1934) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm?)
12. Xīn nǚ xìng/New Women (1935) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm?)
13. Guó fēng/National Customs (1935) (China Film Archive) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm?)

Scandinavia

1. Gösta Berling's Saga (1928) (Swedish Film Institute) / Restoration Status: Completed (SFSFF 2018, SFI, 2K/4K?, 35mm, 2018)
2. Norrtullsligan (1923) (Swedish Film Institute) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2015, 35mm)
3. Den starkaste/The Strongest (1929) (Swedish Film Institute) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2016, 35mm)
4. Laila (1929) (National Library of Norway) / Restoration Status: Completed? (2006 digital restoration via National Library of Norway, 2011 DVD via Flicker Alley)

Note: Gartenberg Media specializes in Danish Silent Cinema releases (all DVDs) in association with the Danish Film Institute. Hopefully, they will upgrade them in the coming years. Source: http://www.gartenbergmedia.com/dvd-dist ... ent-cinema

Korea

1. Arirang (1926) (Korean Federation of Film Archives) / Restoration Status: Unknown
2. Salangeul chajaseo/In Search of Love (1929) (Korean Federation of Film Archives) / Restoration Status: Unknown
3. Mondongi Tultte/At Daybreak (1929) (Korean Federation of Film Archives) / Restoration Status: Unknown
4. Imjaeobtneun naleutbae/Ferryboat with no Ferryman (1932) (Korean Federation of Film Archives) / Restoration Status: Unknown

Note: Much of Korean Silent Cinema (1926–1932) still needs to be rediscovered & restored (like the work of Na Woon-gyu)

Other Foreign Silents

1. Prem Sanyas/The Light of Asia (1925) (BFI) / Restoration Status: None Yet (35mm)
2. Erotikon (1929) (Narodni Filmovy Archiv?) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2009, 35mm)
3. Legong: Dance of the Virgins (1935) (UCLA) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2013, 35mm)
4. Keisatsukan/Police Officer (1933) (National Film Archive of Japan) / Restoration Status: Unknown (SFSFF 2018, 35mm)
5. Picadilly (1929) (BFI/Milestone) / Restoration Status: None Yet (initial restoration via BFI, later 2005 DVD release via BFI & Milestone with terrible Neil Brand jazz score)

Note: I didn't include any Chaplins or Lloyds, as it's almost certain Criterion, which holds the rights to both, will eventually release all their remaining features, if not shorts too (in the case of Lloyd, according to Suzanne Lloyd), though it's been over two years since the last release for either. I'm unsure if any Chaney films have been restored via 2K/4K scans.

On Paramount & Warner: Aside from Paramount's deal with KINO that continues, other releases still depend on whether particular labels are willing to pay a licensing fee to Paramount and Warner, given that most of their 1923-29 silents remain protected. However, renewed 1923 copyrights are scheduled to expire on the first day of 2019, so if no further copyright extension laws are attempted by Congress, all silents from 1923 (and intellectual property) will enter the public domain. Each successive year will include the following year's silent films (i.e. 1/1/2020 = all silents from 1924 enter public domain). In short, by 2025, this will include every studio film from the silent era. Thus, the incentive for Paramount, Warner, and others to capitalize on licensing/releasing these films will only exist until 2025.
Last edited by Keatonesque on Tue May 29, 2018 11:13 am, edited 61 times in total.

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Re: Possible New Restorations/Future Releases of Major Silen

Unread post by Keatonesque » Thu May 03, 2018 3:09 pm

I understand the most obvious yearly issue seems to be that of whether restoring/releasing such films in HD is financially viable given the current market, i.e. unlikely to result in impressive sales and return on investment. I assume neither KINO nor Flicker Alley have the rights to most of those I listed (unlike Warner Archives), since they both are consistent in releasing either mastered or restored silent films yearly featuring big names like Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, and Douglas Fairbanks, aside from lesser-known gems. One wonders if the pendulum will ever swing in a new direction and interest in HD silent film releases will increase or remain status quo. The coming years/decade will mark the centennial of many of these films, so perhaps that is the only hope that these masterpieces may see the light of day in HD in fully restored glory.

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Thu May 03, 2018 9:12 pm

Nearly everything you name is Warner/Warner Archives/TCM material. And after The Big Parade didn't sell very well, they backed off of doing additional titles, so it will likely continue to be a while.

Others, who knows? Many of the Fox films have had restorations, so we could see things like Seventh Heaven and Street Angel. Paramount titles are now coming out from Kino, who just announced the unexpected choice of Wellman's You Never Know Women with Florence Vidor, so Barbed Wire from them would not surprise me. The von Sternbergs could come out again, having already been Criterion DVDs once. And so on.
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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Danny Burk » Thu May 03, 2018 9:16 pm

Keatonesque - if you didn't know, the three Fox silents are available on blu-ray from France, easily ordered from Amazon.fr. If you don't have a region free player, here's the first of many reasons to get one.

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Keatonesque » Fri May 04, 2018 12:44 am

Danny Burk wrote:Keatonesque - if you didn't know, the three Fox silents are available on blu-ray from France, easily ordered from Amazon.fr. If you don't have a region free player, here's the first of many reasons to get one.
A fine recommendation. I do have such a player, but these titles were too expensive to import last I checked. It's unfortunate (and a bit baffling) to see so many obscure or cult titles from recent decades get consistent HD releases in the US from companies while acknowledged silents, many of which have never enjoyed even a DVD release, are neglected due to the poor or underwhelming sales of one last major release ("The Big Parade"). The first five I listed are the most disappointing if music and rights aren't an issue and only investing in restoration efforts. At the very least, they deserve the same treatment as others, particularly in the US so importing can be left to a minimum (such as "Napoleon" and those released by Eureka in the UK like "Cœur fidèle").

I, like many I'm certain, are understanding of the importance for a decent return on investment. However, glancing at Warner/Warner Archive's output on Blu-Ray, out of 665 HD releases thus far, only 2 have been from the silent era: "The Big Parade" and "The Jazz Singer." That's all. Looking at some of the other titles they've released, I doubt many of them have sold much better than either of those two, if not worse. Just my perspective. It's a delicate balance, I'm sure.

Speaking of which, in contrast to "The Big Parade," how well did "Wings" sell (in the US)?

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by buskeat » Fri May 04, 2018 12:51 pm

Keatonesque wrote:
Danny Burk wrote:Keatonesque - if you didn't know, the three Fox silents are available on blu-ray from France, easily ordered from Amazon.fr. If you don't have a region free player, here's the first of many reasons to get one.
A fine recommendation. I do have such a player, but these titles were too expensive to import last I checked. It's unfortunate (and a bit baffling) to see so many obscure or cult titles from recent decades get consistent HD releases in the US from companies while acknowledged silents, many of which have never enjoyed even a DVD release, are neglected due to the poor or underwhelming sales of one last major release ("The Big Parade"). The first five I listed are the most disappointing if music and rights aren't an issue and only investing in restoration efforts. At the very least, they deserve the same treatment as others, particularly in the US so importing can be left to a minimum (such as "Napoleon" and those released by Eureka in the UK like "Cœur fidèle").

I, like many I'm certain, are understanding of the importance for a decent return on investment. However, glancing at Warner/Warner Archive's output on Blu-Ray, out of 665 HD releases thus far, only 2 have been from the silent era: "The Big Parade" and "The Jazz Singer." That's all. Looking at some of the other titles they've released, I doubt many of them have sold much better than either of those two, if not worse. Just my perspective. It's a delicate balance, I'm sure.

Speaking of which, in contrast to "The Big Parade," how well did "Wings" sell (in the US)?
I've heard "Wings" sold poorly. However, Paramount is now licensing their silent catalog to Kino Lorber, and I have to imagine sales are effective by Kino's standards because the announcements keep coming. To Paramount's credit, it is they who are providing Kino Lorber with the 2K scans of these pictures so someone there must be awesome.

The financial incentive for Warners to pump money into these films is less and less every year as the copyrights are due to expire. Most experts seem to agree this Congress is unlikely to further extend copyright protections past 95 years, meaning in eight months, all intellectual property from the year 1923 goes into the public domain. By 2025, this will include every studio film from the silent era.

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Keatonesque » Fri May 04, 2018 3:02 pm

buskeat wrote:
Keatonesque wrote:
Danny Burk wrote:Keatonesque - if you didn't know, the three Fox silents are available on blu-ray from France, easily ordered from Amazon.fr. If you don't have a region free player, here's the first of many reasons to get one.
A fine recommendation. I do have such a player, but these titles were too expensive to import last I checked. It's unfortunate (and a bit baffling) to see so many obscure or cult titles from recent decades get consistent HD releases in the US from companies while acknowledged silents, many of which have never enjoyed even a DVD release, are neglected due to the poor or underwhelming sales of one last major release ("The Big Parade"). The first five I listed are the most disappointing if music and rights aren't an issue and only investing in restoration efforts. At the very least, they deserve the same treatment as others, particularly in the US so importing can be left to a minimum (such as "Napoleon" and those released by Eureka in the UK like "Cœur fidèle").

I, like many I'm certain, are understanding of the importance for a decent return on investment. However, glancing at Warner/Warner Archive's output on Blu-Ray, out of 665 HD releases thus far, only 2 have been from the silent era: "The Big Parade" and "The Jazz Singer." That's all. Looking at some of the other titles they've released, I doubt many of them have sold much better than either of those two, if not worse. Just my perspective. It's a delicate balance, I'm sure.

Speaking of which, in contrast to "The Big Parade," how well did "Wings" sell (in the US)?
I've heard "Wings" sold poorly. However, Paramount is now licensing their silent catalog to Kino Lorber, and I have to imagine sales are effective by Kino's standards because the announcements keep coming. To Paramount's credit, it is they who are providing Kino Lorber with the 2K scans of these pictures so someone there must be awesome.

The financial incentive for Warners to pump money into these films is less and less every year as the copyrights are due to expire. Most experts seem to agree this Congress is unlikely to further extend copyright protections past 95 years, meaning in eight months, all intellectual property from the year 1923 goes into the public domain. By 2025, this will include every studio film from the silent era.
Paramount undoubtedly deserves a ton of credit for licensing their silent catalog to Kino regardless of poor sales of, say, "Wings," which wouldn't surprise me. Kino continues their consistent silent output in HD, many of which have undergone restorations, such as with the aid of scans courtesy of Paramount. That benevolence is commendable and I fully agree that, on paper, it makes sense to invest in restoring/releasing these films now before copyright protections expire (MGM should take notice with their Gish classics and "Ben-Hur"), but on the other hand, if the likely lackluster (or nonexistent) return on investment isn't worth the risk for, say, Warner, I suppose it also makes sense why they may just allow those copyrights to expire entirely in 2025 while perhaps sporadically releasing silents on DVD only. For Paramount, it seems little or no return on investment was not a factor or else they wouldn't now be licensing their catalogue to Kino. For Warner, they only seem to license 30s and 40s classics they know will perform well if released by Criterion, which I'm sure they have. It's only a matter of whether Warner could put that same faith in their (mostly unreleased) silent classics. A meager two silents out of 665 HD releases (0.30% of their BD catalogue) is a really unfortunate statistic.

I admit I'm a bit surprised Warner hasn't at least thought it worth restoring and releasing all the Garbo silents in a collection on HD. The silents collection via TCM has been OOP for some time now, last I checked. A collection of the 9 silents plus perhaps the excerpt from the still–lost "Divine Woman" would prove quite popular, I'd imagine. But I digress...

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Harold Aherne » Fri May 04, 2018 5:02 pm

Keatonesque wrote:I admit I'm a bit surprised Warner hasn't at least thought it worth restoring and releasing all the Garbo silents in a collection on HD. The silents collection via TCM has been OOP for some time now, last I checked. A collection of the 9 silents plus perhaps the excerpt from the still–lost "Divine Woman" would prove quite popular, I'd imagine. But I digress...
Preparing nine silents for HD at the standards Warner has set would be a very expensive proposition, and it would probably take many years to earn back the investment.

While I have no idea which of the Garbos survive as camera negatives or fine grains and which don't, the condition of elements can certainly be a factor in determining what gets priority for Blu-ray release. To name just one example, The Single Standard apparently doesn't survive in very good condition. Current TV and video prints are heavily worn and scratched in places, and cleanup (to the degree it's possible) would be costly. And the score for Love, recorded live, is marred by the audience laughing at inappropriate moments. Certainly I think it's worth a do-over, but whether it would sell is another matter.

--HA

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Keatonesque » Fri May 04, 2018 5:16 pm

Harold Aherne wrote:
Keatonesque wrote:I admit I'm a bit surprised Warner hasn't at least thought it worth restoring and releasing all the Garbo silents in a collection on HD. The silents collection via TCM has been OOP for some time now, last I checked. A collection of the 9 silents plus perhaps the excerpt from the still–lost "Divine Woman" would prove quite popular, I'd imagine. But I digress...
Preparing nine silents for HD at the standards Warner has set would be a very expensive proposition, and it would probably take many years to earn back the investment.

While I have no idea which of the Garbos survive as camera negatives or fine grains and which don't, the condition of elements can certainly be a factor in determining what gets priority for Blu-ray release. To name just one example, The Single Standard apparently doesn't survive in very good condition. Current TV and video prints are heavily worn and scratched in places, and cleanup (to the degree it's possible) would be costly. And the score for Love, recorded live, is marred by the audience laughing at inappropriate moments. Certainly I think it's worth a do-over, but whether it would sell is another matter.

--HA
True. Perhaps it is more likely Warner will simply allow the copyrights to expire for them all before committing to any long-term restoration process given the cost, risk, and varying condition of film elements. I thought Love has an existing (but unreleased) film score by Carl Davis? In any case, these are serious considerations, as you duly note. Perhaps compare the print for The Single Standard with that of the recently released Swanson vehicle Manhandled on KINO. A restoration can only do so much, but that so much can still be enough in order for the film to see the light of day as Manhandled has, even if it could clearly use more work that would've been too costly (six-figure costs, apparently). If Warner's hesitation to work on silents is on account of having very high standards for restoration efforts, in contrast to, say, KINO (hit or miss), I can respect that. However, those standards may never be worth investing in for another silent to them. If "The Big Parade" flopped for them, despite its reputation, why invest again? I suppose the next 10 years will determine what's to become of these, if anything.

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Brooksie » Fri May 04, 2018 8:31 pm

To clarify, the issue with Wings (1927) was not poor sales but Paramount's expectations. The word is that the sales were excellent for a silent, and it would have been considered a smash hit by any of the smaller labels. The trouble was that Paramount spent over $700,000 on the restoration, and were over-optimistic if they thought they were going to recoup that. I'm not sure of the situation with The Grand Parade (1926), but it would not surprise me if it were similar.

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Keatonesque » Fri May 04, 2018 10:18 pm

Brooksie wrote:To clarify, the issue with Wings (1927) was not poor sales but Paramount's expectations. The word is that the sales were excellent for a silent, and it would have been considered a smash hit by any of the smaller labels. The trouble was that Paramount spent over $700,000 on the restoration, and were over-optimistic if they thought they were going to recoup that. I'm not sure of the situation with The Grand Parade (1926), but it would not surprise me if it were similar.
Thank you for sharing. I feel much the same way. Unfortunately, at least in WB's case, expectations for recouping expensive investments in restorations is everything, regardless of whether said expectations should perhaps be lower and more reasonable for silents. It seems WB took their one chance and have since called it a wrap on silents on account of such expectations for returns on investment. Perspectives will vary, but I can understand why there are those that feel it's unfair to expect so much of silents, but labors of love come at a hefty price, sadly. In the case of WB, anyway. :wink:

I've updated the initial post to include the rights-holder of each film and likely distributors. So far as I can tell, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is now public domain, correct? If so, what are its prospects? One hopes (idealistically, I admit) it will undergo restoration within the next 2-3 years and be released by one company or another come its centennial in 2021.

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Harold Aherne » Fri May 04, 2018 10:44 pm

The copyright to The Four Horsemen may have expired, but Warners still own it through their control of the Turner Entertainment library, just as they own (e.g.) the group of 1951 MGM titles that lapsed because paperwork wasn't filed in time.

They don't own My Best Girl, however. Its copyright was renewed on 20 May 1955 by the Pickford Corporation, and I presume that the Pickford estate still controls it.

Forbidden Paradise was remade by 20th Century-Fox in 1945 as A Royal Scandal, and the copyright of the original was allowed to lapse in 1952. Paramount may have sold it out of the library, but I don't know for certain.

--HA

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by moviepas » Sat May 05, 2018 4:07 am

Keatonesque - if you didn't know, the three Fox silents are available on blu-ray from France, easily ordered from Amazon.fr. If you don't have a region free player, here's the first of many reasons to get one.

I have looked for the Blu Ray versions as I was ordering some French Blu Ray but only DVDs seem to there tonight. Any clues?

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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Rick Lanham » Sat May 05, 2018 5:49 am

moviepas wrote:Keatonesque - if you didn't know, the three Fox silents are available on blu-ray from France, easily ordered from Amazon.fr. If you don't have a region free player, here's the first of many reasons to get one.

I have looked for the Blu Ray versions as I was ordering some French Blu Ray but only DVDs seem to there tonight. Any clues?

7th Heaven
https://www.amazon.fr/LHeure-suprême-Bl ... QM38CA21TW

Lucky Star
https://www.amazon.fr/Lucky-Star-Blu-ra ... ar+blu+ray

Street Angel seems to be out of print?
Street Angel
https://www.amazon.fr/LAnge-rue-Blu-ray ... ue+blu+ray
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Re: Possible Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Sile

Unread post by Keatonesque » Sat May 05, 2018 12:58 pm

Harold Aherne wrote:The copyright to The Four Horsemen may have expired, but Warners still own it through their control of the Turner Entertainment library, just as they own (e.g.) the group of 1951 MGM titles that lapsed because paperwork wasn't filed in time.

They don't own My Best Girl, however. Its copyright was renewed on 20 May 1955 by the Pickford Corporation, and I presume that the Pickford estate still controls it.

Forbidden Paradise was remade by 20th Century-Fox in 1945 as A Royal Scandal, and the copyright of the original was allowed to lapse in 1952. Paramount may have sold it out of the library, but I don't know for certain.

--HA
Once again, gratitude for you sharing this. Do we know if the Gaynor/Farrell silents underwent 2K/4K restorations for those French releases or if they're only remastered HD transfers?
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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Silents

Unread post by Keatonesque » Sat May 05, 2018 1:44 pm

Many silents with Crawford, Chaney, Davies, Pickford and even Colleen Moore have been released on DVD(-Rs) via Warner Archives, KINO, and Milestone, some fairly recently, so the prospects of HD releases of their films in the near future seems perhaps unlikely. However, do we know if any of the following (some that have already been released on SD) have undergone 2K/4K restorations in recent years prior to or subsequent to release?

1. Lilac Time (1928)
2. Why Be Good? (1929)
3. Our Dancing Daughters (1928)
4. Our Modern Maidens (1929)
5. The Patsy (1928)
6. Show People (1928)
7. Shooting Stars (1928)
8. Chicago (1927)

How about any Chaney films? KINO's The Penalty (2012) was just an HD transfer from the 35mm, if I recall.

In consideration of foreign silents, have any of Victor Sjöström's incredible pre-Hollywood silents other than The Phantom Carriage (1921), such as Ingeborg Holm (1913), A Man There Was (1917), The Outlaw and His Wife (1918), and Love's Crucible (1922), been given 2K/4K restorations in Sweden yet or are any in the pipeline?

Pickford's Little Annie Rooney is slated for a BD release later this year via Flicker Alley from a 4K restoration (AMPAS) and we know from MoMa that Rosita (also 4K) is now completed and is having its American premiere at this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival. We know the Pickford Foundation’s multi-year partnership with AMPAS will likely result in 4k restorations of perhaps all her major films (1916–1928) over the next decade, which is a real blessing since the distribution agreement with Milestone ended. According to the Pickford Foundation, as of 2018, 4K restorations of Sparrows (1926), My Best Girl (1927), and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917) are currently underway in production, while both versions of Tess of the Storm Country (1914 and 1922), Madame Butterfly (1915), and Stella Maris (1918) are in the planning stages.
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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Silents

Unread post by Keatonesque » Sun May 06, 2018 1:39 pm

The F. W. Murnau Stiftung is doing an incredible job with 2K restorations for their silents, which should ideally translate to HD releases in the next few years, as many of the DVDs of these films (KINO, Eureka) are OOP. I have updated the original post to reflect this and expanded the list to include which important silents are undergoing restorations or already have, such as Pickford films and German films. I know the Swedish Film Institute is also hard at work doing the same, so perhaps that means Victor Sjöström and Mauritz Stiller's pre-Hollywood work will also be getting 2K/4K restorations. If anyone has any corrections or suggestions (such as other important silents from, say, Asia or the USSR, and their restoration status) to make regarding the list, please do let me know. :wink:

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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future HD Releases of Major Silents

Unread post by Keatonesque » Tue May 08, 2018 1:43 pm

The British Film Institute (BFI) is giving Pandora’s Box (1929) a theatrical re-release in June, but the version that will be shown is unfortunately a 2K DCP of the 1997 Munich Film Museum restoration. I assume rights issues relating to the 2009 Deutsche Kinemathek restoration are the reason why this theatrical re-release is using a now-21-year-old restoration (the one used for the Criterion DVD) rather than the recent 2009 restoration (itself nearly a decade old). While the BFI may just use this 2K DCP of a restoration from the 20th century for a future release, I truly hope Criterion will follow its high standards for its BDs of silents and be able to use the 2009 Deutsche Kinemathek restoration. If not, DK's restoration serves little purpose other than occasional screenings here and there, which would be a colossal disappoint, in my view.

Thoughts?

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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by Keatonesque » Sun May 13, 2018 4:10 pm

I would expect the most celebrated silent films of Lon Chaney, Greta Garbo, and Douglas Fairbanks (Thief of Bagdad, aside), in addition to those of filmmakers such as Ozu and perhaps Mizoguchi, will receive 2K/4K scans in the future. That seems perhaps less likely with the films of Colleen Moore, Norma Talmadge, and even Marion Davies (When Knighthood Was in Flower being the sole exception). Two films of Bebe Daniels deserve a proper release too (especially given only 9 of 44 silent features she did after 1920 survive): Señorita (1927) and Feel My Pulse (1928). Your day will come, Bebe!

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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by Keatonesque » Fri May 18, 2018 12:59 pm

Since this didn't get much attention last year, I wanted to share it here. About a year ago, after dedicating over a decade to Charlie Chaplin's films and archive, Cineteca di Bologna and l'Immagine Ritrovata announced a multi-year project to restore Buster Keaton's silent filmography with 4K scans. The first restorations were presented last summer in Bologna during the XXIX edition of the Cinema Ritrovato Film Festival and others that were completed were subsequently released as a box-set by Eureka (Masters of Cinema) featuring The General, Sherlock, Jr., and Steamboat Bill, Jr. It seems safe to say that we can expect Eureka to respectively release more Keaton features scanned in 4K courtesy of these outstanding photochemical restorations from Cineteca di Bologna and Cohen Film Collection at the L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in Bologna, whether individually or in another box-set, as the new restorations vastly improve on what KINO has had to offer. Cohen is expected to release these restorations in the US at some point, though nothing has been specified yet.

Source: http://www.cinetecadibologna.it/news/n_161

In any case, the news means the next few years could see all the following get 4K restorations and releases:

The Saphead
Three Ages
Our Hospitality
The Navigator
Seven Chances
Go West
Battling Butler
College


Here's the trailer for last year's incredible Eureka (limited) box-set and a link to where you can still purchase it. Highly recommended for those that are region-free. The picture quality is far beyond what KINO offers and worth the investment.

https://www.eurekavideo.co.uk/moc/buste ... at-bill-jr


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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by Keatonesque » Fri May 18, 2018 7:36 pm

Looks like Paul Leni's masterpiece, The Man Who Laughs (1928), has gotten the 4K restoration treatment courtesy of Universal and the new score is being recorded next week, which will presumably be used for a BD release in the near future.

Source: https://www.berklee.edu/news/berklee-si ... estoration

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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by wich2 » Sat May 19, 2018 10:20 am

Sounds great.

The film was shot in '27 - but was it at 24 fps?

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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by Keatonesque » Wed May 23, 2018 12:41 am

The screening of Buster Keaton's underappreciated Battling Butler (1926) at this year's SFSFF (introduced by Leonard Maltin) will feature the new 4K restoration conducted by Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with Cohen Collection.

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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by Roscoe » Wed May 23, 2018 7:06 am

Keatonesque wrote:Looks like Paul Leni's masterpiece, The Man Who Laughs (1928), has gotten the 4K restoration treatment courtesy of Universal and the new score is being recorded next week, which will presumably be used for a BD release in the near future.

Source: https://www.berklee.edu/news/berklee-si ... estoration
This is going to be the opening night attraction at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival --with the Berklee score, which I'm eagerly anticipating. Looking forward to a potential Blu-Ray, too.

So there's good news sometimes.
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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by Keatonesque » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:11 pm

For those that missed it, here's a terrific video recently published by MoMA showing the restoration process ROSITA underwent.


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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by wich2 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:32 pm

Keatonesque wrote:For those that missed it, here's a terrific video recently published by MoMA showing the restoration process ROSITA underwent.
And I hope the Photochemical Uberpurists looked and listened carefully... because that is a TEXTBOOK example of what good - and smart! - Digital Restoration is capable of.

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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by Keatonesque » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:16 pm

wich2 wrote:
Keatonesque wrote:For those that missed it, here's a terrific video recently published by MoMA showing the restoration process ROSITA underwent.
And I hope the Photochemical Uberpurists looked and listened carefully... because that is a TEXTBOOK example of what good - and smart! - Digital Restoration is capable of.
I agree. It's incredible work indicative of a truly miraculous restoration process – the best that could've been hoped for.

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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by Red Bartlett » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:44 pm

Keatonesque wrote:For those that missed it, here's a terrific video recently published by MoMA showing the restoration process ROSITA underwent.

Thanks for sharing that video. I wish every silent release had a video like that to accompany its release. A lot do, but a lot don't. The film's history and status is a story often just as interesting and important as the film itself.

Anyway, I hope Rosita gets a release -- I'd love to see it!! I assume it will, given the work that's been done.

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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by Keatonesque » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:53 pm

Another miraculous (4K) restoration has been completed that was once thought impossible. Der Golem – Wie er in die Welt kam (The Golem – How He Came Into The World) will be screened at the 75th Venice Film Festival from a new digital copy made from the original negative that was long thought to have been lost, restored in 4K and supervised by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung in Wiesbaden (Germany) and by the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique (Cinematek) in Brussels. The digital restoration was done by Immagine ritrovata in Bologna. Further notes regarding the restoration:
No German version has survived of the silent classic Der Golem – Wie er in die Welt kam. A photochemical restoration from the 1990s bases on export versions.

The discovery of an original negative at the Cinematek (Royal Film Archive of Belgium) gave cause for a new digital 4K restoration of the lost German version by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung and the Cinematek (Royal Film Archive of Belgium). This negative is edited of different takes than the export version. The takes for two negatives were filmed with two cameras in parallel. The Cinematek's negative is superior with respect to camera angle and montage.

A duplicate negative from the US release version at the George Eastman House proofs that at some point this negative was used for the US market. It is likely that it was originally the negative for German release. As a result of cuts for the US release, several shots were abridged.

Today, the original negative lacks few scenes. Some of them have survived in the material of the George Eastman House. Another source for completion will be a black-and-white print of the Cinémathèque française made from the export negative.

The original negative contains many intertitles in the original Expressionist font that had not been accessible for the previous restoration. Together with the titles that the Filmmuseum München obtained from the Gosfilmofond of Russia, the new restoration will present almost all titles in the famous original font.

Digital restoration of the image includes removal of excessive white dirt, defects of the negative that were created by wear and tear, and adjustment of the completing sources as close as possible to the original negative. The digitale restoration is carried out by L'Immagine Ritrovata.

Reference for colours and grading is the only known vintage print of this film, an Italian release version from the Fondazione Cineteca Italiana to restore the original gray scale and typical colour effect of the original tinting.

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Re: 2K/4K Restorations & Future BD Releases of Essential Sil

Unread post by Keatonesque » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:21 pm

Unfortunate news regarding the possibility of KINO getting to release the 4K restoration of THE MAN WHO LAUGHS:
We asked for The Man Who Laughs which we had released in our old Universal deal, but didn't get it.

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