Restored Rosita at the Venice International Film Festival

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Restored Rosita at the Venice International Film Festival

Unread post by buskeat » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:54 pm

I'm not sure how good it can possibly look given the existing elements, but it's exciting to see this debuting at the Venice International Film Festival:

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.

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Re: Restored Rosita at the Venice International Film Festiva

Unread post by 2 Reel » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:19 pm

Wish I was there! Imagine floating languorously down the canal toward the main, sea-facing Lido esplanade, between the Hotel des Bains and the Excelsior, and disembarking at the Sala Darsena. At the Lido theater, joining the restless anticipation of the overflow crowd jamming the pre-inaugural evening of the 74th Venice Film Festival. The lights dim, the music begins, and we see Mary Pickford in Rosita. Tre risate per la Rosita! I would even have mercy on the person sitting behind me at this one and remove my hat.
They call me "Dangerous Dal"

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Re: Restored Rosita at the Venice International Film Festiva

Unread post by wich2 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:26 am

The posters for the Fest were up when I visited Venetia years ago...

It's hotter than hell this time of year, but yes, every bit the cool place it's reputed to be.


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Re: Restored Rosita at the Venice International Film Festiva

Unread post by All Darc » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:12 pm

4K for print and a dupe from a silent film era?
Many people argue that 4K it's more than even a camera negative of silent era can hold in image details.
Maybe 4K helps the digital tools to detect fine dirt and fine scratches...

Anyway it's good to see restorations efforts running.
Keep thinking...


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Re: Restored Rosita at the Venice International Film Festiva

Unread post by dalefullerfan2014 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:32 pm

I saw a print of this in the early nineties at a Cinecon. It had foreign titles which were translated. As I recall the movie is a bit stiff.

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Re: Restored Rosita at the Venice International Film Festiva

Unread post by Rodney » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:43 pm

Mont Alto played for the 16mm print of Rosita several times. The translations were very unfortunate, so this should be a big step up for enjoying the film. I thought it had a lot of potential, and I am looking forward to seeing the new restoration.
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
"Let the Music do the Talking!"

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Re: Restored Rosita at the Venice International Film Festiva

Unread post by Ann Harding » Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:52 am

I saw the Russian (unrestored) print at a Lubitsch retrospective a few years back. This image was very grainy and soft. I'm sure it will be a great improvement.

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