In the end, new 4K scans were made of a 35mm fine grain print as well as a dupe negative, as the original camera negative was damaged by the lab in Rome at the time of the film’s theatrical release.
Here’s a look at a few frames from that source material, showing the age and photochemical damage that had to be repaired (the restoration work progresses left to right)...
In a Zoom call last week, Paramount’s Senior Vice President of Archives, Andrea Kalas—joined by film historian Leonard Maltin—discussed the restoration process and revealed that this Blu-ray release represents the first time that proper screenplay credit will be given to writer Dalton Trumbo (Exodus, Spartacus, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo), who was caught up in the Hollywood Blacklist in the 1950s. Fellow screenwriter and friend Ian McLellan Hunter fronted his name for Trumbo’s on the film at the time. Story credit was restored to Trumbo in 1993, but full screenwriting credit was finally restored by the WGA in 2011. So finally, those credits will be properly listed on the film.
From studio’s press release: “Every frame was reviewed, and the film received extensive clean up to remove thousands of scratches, bits of dirt, and other damage. Because audio elements to properly up-mix to 5.1 do not exist, the original mono track was remastered, and minor anomalies were corrected. The result is a film returned to its original vibrancy and beauty that remains true to director William Wyler’s vision.”
In terms of special features, Paramount’s Blu-ray will include 6 featurettes (Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on Roman Holiday, Behind the Gates: Costumes, Rome with a Princess, Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years, Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist, and Paramount in the ’50s: Remembering Audrey), as well as theatrical trailers, and 4 photo galleries (Production, The Movie, Publicity, and The Premiere).
Here’s a look at the packaging for the release...
We’ll add the Amazon.com pre-order link as soon as it’s available.
In the meantime, Kalas also revealed that George Stevens’ A Place in the Sun (1951) has recently been restored and is expected to be released on Blu-ray at some point in the not-too-distant future. She was also asked about the studio’s treatment of film grain on its recent catalog BD restorations, and acknowledged the difficulty of this issue. Apparently, when the film is scanned, digitized, and compressed, a certain percentage of that original grain becomes digital noise, so they have to figure out how to address it on a case by case basis. [Editor’s Note: My suggestion is that Paramount should contact the restoration teams at Warner Bros., Sony, and Criterion to see how they approach the grain issue, because those companies almost always do it right. No more excessive grain removal with DNR, please! And static “fake grain texture” added back into the image afterwards is also a big no-no.]
One other piece of announcement news this morning: Mill Creek Entertainment has revealed its October Blu-ray and Digital slate, which is set to include Ultraman R/B: The Complete Series + Movie, Ultraman R/B: The Movie – Select! The Crystal of Bond (a movie-only release), The Pledge (2001), a double feature of Imaginary Crimes (1994) and Silent Fall (1994), and a triple feature of Diabolique (1996), Incognito (1997), and The In Crowd (2000), all on 10/13.
And finally today, The Digital Bits has just established an affiliate relationship with the UK Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K retailer Zavvi (this is in addition to our primary affiliate partner, Amazon.com). The benefit of this is that there are a number of titles that are only available across the Pond, and Zavvi makes it easy for US-based customers to pre-order and import them. Zavvi also has lots of other cool product.
For example, Zavvi currently has TONS of great exclusive 4K Steelbooks available (like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Beetlejuice—click this link to see them all), along with non-Steelbook titles like George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead: Limited Edition (click here—which isn’t shipping to the US from Amazon.uk right now), and much more. Click on the logo below to browse their website to your heart’s content, and know that with every order through our affiliate links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Digital Bits. We appreciate it!
And that’s all for now. As always, stay tuned...!