November/December 2014

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63 NOV-DEC 14 / CINEMONTAGE approach is dissolving in the 21st century, although legal questions of donations, bequests, deposits and a myriad of linked concerns remain. Trying to determine what is most "authentic" is one of the great quandaries in restoration. Although a director's cut might make for good DVD/download sales, how is that discoverable when a director is long dead? And is it more responsible to restore and preserve a filmmaker's (or a studio's) favorite version, or the one that originally reached the public? Taking into account (or perhaps ignoring) the sensibility of today's audiences is also important in restoration. Jones details a few famous restoration projects. Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), with its iconic Slavko Vorkapich montage of Mr. Smith's first tour of the Capitol's monuments, would not be accessible in its original form without the Library of Congress' efforts. When the project began, there were six different versions of the film, each with its own running time from 119 to 130 minutes. Research from paper documents pointed to 119 or 120 minutes as being the version most likely approved by releasing studio Colombia Pictures. That variance might be as simple as including (or not counting) the minute when the curtain on the theatre screen was drawn. An unknown someone had done restoration work on the film in 1959 — probably for a 20th anniversary re-release — but three minutes of critical shots leading up to the montage had been replaced on the original negative by a dupe negative blow-up made from a 16mm print. The contrast of jumping from 35mm to the poor image of 16 was a shock even to the untrained public eye. The solution was to make a fine grain master from the original negative, then strike a dupe from that fine grain and use parts of each negative for the restored picture. Restoring history is always hard work. If history does belong to the victors, then film history — and the cultural history embodied in movies — rests with those films that survive and with those who make the choices about what to preserve, restore and make accessible. Now readers have The Past Is a Moving Picture to better understand those films and those choices. f 818.777.1111 / 818.777.0169 / 800.892.1979 Find Us DOWNLOAD FROM APPLE APP STORE AND GOOGLE PLAY STORE Universal Studios_Post Prod & Media Services ad_Editors Guild CineMontage_12.12.13 MANY GUILD MEMBERS' ACHIEVEMENTS ARE GONE FOREVER, AND THE WORK OF TODAY'S MEMBERS COULD CONCEIVABLY VANISH.

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