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Fifty Million Frenchmen (1931)


Trix_of_the_Flix
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What happened to the color? The print screened last week seemed to be sepia tone...

 

 

I have never seen it, so it was fun to see early Olsen & Johnson... made up with heavy make-up for the two-strip-color processes, I am guessing!

 

 

Unforgivable Department: I cannot beleive they would drop the songs from that wonderful score! Above avarage tunes, and I was waiting to see some vintage Cole Porter numbers! Worst of all, composer credit went to someone else!

 

 

note:The film is listed on TCMDb under "50" (not "Fifty")

 

 

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> {quote:title=Trix_of_the_Flix wrote:}{quote}

> What happened to the color? The print screened last week seemed to be sepia tone...

>

> I have never seen it, so it was fun to see early Olsen & Johnson... made up with heavy make-up for the two-strip-color processes, I am guessing!

>

>

> Unforgivable Department: I cannot beleive they would drop the songs from that wonderful score! Above avarage tunes, and I was waiting to see some vintage Cole Porter numbers! Worst of all, composer credit went to someone else!

>

>

> note:The film is listed on TCMDb under "50" (not "Fifty")

>

Almost all of WB's early technicolor films are lost. Only the black and white prints remain. This is even true of studios that carefully preserved their films such as MGM. The color portions of the early talkies actually belonged to the Technicolor Corporation, not the studios. The studios didn't bother to retrieve them since the very early talkies (pre-1932) were considered technically inferior, especially after true color Technicolor replaced the two-strip process in 1934. In the late 40's Technicolor Corp. merely destroyed all of the old color prints since nobody saw much commercial value in them.

 

Music got dropped from films in the early thirties because so many bad musicals were made in such great numbers in 1929 and 1930 when talking pictures first arrived. "Fifty Million Frenchmen" was one of the casualties, so was "Manhattan Parade". That trend turned around starting in 1933.

 

Whenever you do see a Technicolor sequence of an early talkie film, many times it was found in the possession of some foreign projectionist who held on to a reel because the studio never bothered to retrieve copies of their films from other countries.

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> {quote:title=Fedya wrote:}{quote}Any idea how or why *Doctor X* and *Mystery of the Wax Museum* survived?

 

From the Wikipedia:

 

By the late 1950s, when Doctor X was being [sold as a package on television|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Associated_Artists_Productions|Associated Artists Productions], the Technicolor version was thought to be lost, since Technicolor discarded most of their 2-color negatives in the late 1940s. After the death of [Jack Warner|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Warner|Jack Warner] in 1978, a print was discovered in his personal collection, and the film was restored to its former Technicolor state by the [uCLA Film and Television Archive|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UCLA_Film_and_Television_Archive|UCLA Film and Television Archive].

 

Mystery was never reissued formally and over time was considered a [lost film|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_film|Lost film]. In 1936, Technicolor-Hollywood ceased servicing two-color printing after issuing a "last call" to their customers for prints and converted the final imbibition rig for three-color. The response of most studios was to junk the two-color negatives (which had been stored at Technicolor) of their now-obsolete films. Warner Bros. seems to have kept the negatives for only their two-color cartoons.

 

 

William K. Everson reports that Warners' London exchange kept a 35mm color print on hand and that the film screened there in the late 1940s. A 35mm nitrate copy of Reel 1, the "lab reference" print, was still held by Technicolor-Hollywood and screened privately in the 1960s; that reel is today in the collection of the [Academy Film Archive|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Film_Archive|Academy Film Archive]. A 1970 check of Jack Warner's old personal vault on the Burbank lot uncovered a 35mm nitrate print of Mystery in very good condition. With much fanfare the film screened in the summer at [Grauman's Chinese Theatre|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grauman%27s_Chinese_Theatre|Grauman's Chinese Theatre] in Hollywood (with Fay Wray in attendance), and then in October at [Alice Tully Hall|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Tully_Hall|Alice Tully Hall] as part of the 8th New York Film Festival.^[[2]|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_of_the_Wax_Museum#cite_note-2]^ Oddly, no attention was paid at the time to the color print of [Doctor X|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_X_(film)|Doctor X (film)] found along with it.

 

End of Wikipedia entry.

 

So apparently Jack Warner's own sentimentality played a part in these early color films surviving. Who would have guessed???

 

 

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