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July 07, 2010


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Storaro is, as Duvall put it in Network, "...intractable and adamantine..." http://mutinycompany.com/article_vittoriostoraro.html

Mike Mazurki

The restoration of BN was done a few years prior to RS, and as such didn't have the option of going through the same workflow RS did in restoring all three Technicolor layers separately at 4K, working instead (as Harris confirms) from a new Interpositive made the traditional (photochemical) way from the best available elements, resulting in some occasional registration fluctuations.

Registration remains the real bugbear in 3-strip restorations (provided the original elements still exist) as all three elements would have been subject through the years to unique shrinkage and other damage (warping, torn frames, etc) making them very difficult to put together seamlessly. Fortunately digital has come a long way with this, as evident from The Red Shoes, as well as the new restoration of the new African Queen.

What one needs to bear in mind is that restorations, 3-strip Technicolor or otherwise are always at the mercy of what elements still exist and in many cases, the original negatives were lost long ago.


My experience is with print; I used to do press checks on four-color web (newspaper) presses. With all that motion, they jump out of register frequently, which is why the Sunday funnies look so funny some Sundays.

Doesn't surprise me that the Technicolor process has analogous problems. I remember watching "Wings Of Eagles" on TCM years ago and seeing blatant edges that would have had me running to the pressmen.


Forgot to add: Anyone who'd be put off by these barely noticeable "pink edges" in such a brilliant, all-consuming work of art like "Black Narcissus" might oughta find another hobby. Like press checks.

Doug Pratt

For the record, I was not put off by it in the slightest. Even diamonds have flaws. I just found the oversight of mentioning it in the original article to be curious, and was attempting to elicit a minor elaboration, which, to my surprise (and pleasure), was a rather more extensive response that what I anticipated...


Sorry, Doug. I was being snarky.

Actually, I love press checks. Press solvent smells like...victory.

Because it would mean I had a real job that used my skills.


chromatic aberrations are common in photography (when capturing the image), especially with inferior or zoom lenses, and then mostly when shot wide open, mostly in the edge of the frame.

there's a bunch of 'purple fringing', as it's often called, apparent in your iphone shot (around the fire escape/patio, and most other high contrast areas):


usually, it's purple but can be any color.

Black Narcissus was made in 1947 so was (probably) not shot with a zoom lens (they were very poor quality at the time). fringing also occurs with primes, though

Joseph "Jon" Lanthier

Jut got finished watching this blu-ray. Quite a disc, indeed. The only blemishes I found at all distracting were some wavers in color temperature throughout, particularly when the photography turned towards more opulent props and costumes (all those spangly Indo murals). I assume, however, that this is another unavoidable byproduct of digitizing three-strip technicolor.

An honest question: When Sister Ruth traipses through the jungle to visit Mr. Dean and works herself up into a cerebral hue-gasm, I could have sworn that the screen went from red to blue rather than red to black (I'm gonna dig out my original SD Criterion issue to confirm this tomorrow). Does anyone know if the blue was an inaccuracy to begin with, or if/why it was ditched in this print? I always found it rather daring, and an incredibly visceral simulation of what's it's like to faint (a coolness overcomes you after the initial white wave), so I was somewhat disappointed to see it missing.

Fabian W.

I don't know if you're aware, Glenn, but Jonathan Lethem linked to this post on his Facebook page, calling it "One definition of love".

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