Thursday, June 30, 2011

Searching for Colour in Films: The Two Zigomars, Or, How to Reproduce Tinting

Alla ricerca del colore dei film: I due Zigomar ovvero come riprodurre le imbibizioni. Thursday, 30 June 2011 at 14.30, Cinema Jolly (Bologna, Il Cinema Ritrovato). Grand piano: Donald Sosin and Maud Nelissen. Intro: Blažena Urgošíková.

Catalogue: "In the Fifties and Sixties of the last century the archives which had large collections of nitrate films intensively worked on their transfer to safety stock. NFA Praha acted in the same manner but soon realized that by duplicating to acetate b&w material, the films lose the most important aesthetic and emotional components – richness of colour, of tinting and toning. That is why NFA, in the mid-seventies of the last century, asked the prestigious Research Institute of Sound, Image and Reproduction Technique (VÚZORT) for help to solve this problem. Together with this institute three methods were tested:
1) to make a colour internegative and a colour print
2) to make a black – and - white dupe negative and a colour print with the help of colour filters
3) to make a black and white dupe negative, a black and white positive print and do tinting and toning, according to the original nitrate print.""

"From these three methods, the third gave the best results. In seventies we made our first tinted copy of the French film Zigomar. The first prints were tinted in the classical manner, that is to say the corresponding coloured scenes were cut up, dyed and spliced into a final form. Later a procedure without splicing was realized in a small private laboratory. In the Nineties we made 40.000 m of tinted prints in a year. The documentary film Raft Voyage from the Town of Hluboká to Štĕhovice shows beautiful landscapes of the basin of the Czech river Vltava, rural cottages, castles and manors (Hluboká, Zvíkov, Orlík), river streams calm and wild, the laborious work of rafters, in wild rapids and passing through culverts. Many of the places the cameraman filmed so skilfully do not exist any more. The deep valleys of the Vltava river, old churches, mills, ferries, have all disappeared under the water of big barrages forever. The tinting, coming from the laboratory of Mr. Ledecký, underlines the beauty of the natural scenery, before its devastation." Blažena Urgošíková, Senior Curator and Restaurator, Národní Filmový Archiv.

ZIGOMAR ROI DES VOLEURS. FR 1911. D: Victorin Jasset. DP: Lucien Andriot; Cast: Alexandre-Charles Arquillières (Zigomar), Charles Krauss (Nick Carter), André Liabel (Paulin Broquet), Olga Demidova (Olga Leontieva), Josette Andriot (La Rosaria); P: Éclair. 35 mm. 260 m. 15‘ a 16 fps. Tinted (Desmet). From: EYE Film Instituut Nederland. [Nederlandse tussentitels. An improvised loudspeaker translation into Italian and English was difficult to follow.] - AA: Another wild and fantastic Zigomar action movie with disguises, catacombs, coffins, secret passages, and ruins. Nick Carter lands into a coffin, there is gunplay on horseback, and a fantastic dance sequence at Moulin Rouge (*). The story ends in ruins. - A Jan Olsson moment: a beautiful triple-screen telephone sequence between Zigomar and a woman (*).


ZIGOMAR CONTRE NICK CARTER. FR 1912. D+SC: Victorin Jasset. DP: Lucien Andriot; Cast: Alexandre-Charles Arquillières (Zigomar), Charles Krauss (Nick Carter), André Liabel (Paulin Broquet), Olga Demidova (Olga Leontieva), Josette Andriot (La Rosaria); P: Éclair. 35 mm. 921 m. 51‘ a 18 fps. Tinted (Ledecký, ca 1980). Deutsche Fassung, deutsche Zwischentitel. From: Národní Filmový Archiv. - AA: In Pordenone's great Éclair retrospective in 1992 I saw a black and white NFM print with Dutch intertitles. The story started in an electric room. A fake Zigomar was created. A magician was able metamorphose people and beings. - This Czech colour print with German intertitles is in direct continuation to Zigomar roi des voleurs. The story starts in ruins. Zigomar's boisterous gang can turn into peaceful inhabitants in an instant, and the gamblers of  Zigomar's electric casino can change into a dignified concert audience. Zigomar leads Nick Carter astray by hiring a double. At the very moment Nick Carter tries to place Zigomar's gang under arrest Zigomar's engineer arranges a black-out. In Marseilles, Zigomar, attempting a big jewel robbery, is surprised by an X ray. There is a last minute rescue at Nice. In Zigomar's den there is an opium hallucination sequence (*). Finally Nick Carter realizes that there are two Zigomars. The curtain falls, there is a free-for-all at the pub, and a chase at sea. Disguises change, black capes and masks are adopted, there is a car chase. Nick Carter and Olga land into the hands of the enemy. They are dropped into a deep cellar where there is a red glowing oven. Nick and Olga clear an escape route through bundles of brushwood. The cellar and the villains' den go up in flames. During their escape Nick and Olga are separated by wild bulls. Olga and La Rosaria fight it out while running in the sea. Olga is captured and tied to a galloping horse. Seriously injured she is rescued by country folks. Marc Martial (= Nick Carter) plants a misleading news item into the newspaper ("Nick Carter Found With Skull Broken"). Zigomar throws a big party to celebrate, but the maître d' is none other but Nick Carter in disguise. Zigomar falls into the hands of the police, but La Rosaria slips poison into his hands, and lifeless, Zigomar falls down, all stiff. - Victorin Jasset is the father of the action film, and the action was incredibly fast and crazy from the very beginning. - The strong tinting of the print is effective.

PLAVBA PO VORECH ZHLUBOKÉ DO ŠTĔCHOVIC. [The title of the print:] [Fahrt und Flössen von Hluboká nach Štĕchovice]. CZ 1925. T. ing.: Raft Voyage from the Town of Hluboká to Štĕchovice. P: Slavia Film. 35 mm. L.: 582 m. 24‘ a 24 fps. Tinted (Ledecký). Deutsche Zwischentitel. From: Národní Filmový Archiv. - AA: a beautiful print with beautiful tinting and toning of a beautiful travelogue: a river voyage with magnificent views of Prague, Budweis, Frauenberg, lumberjacks, Moldau with its rapids, Schloss Klingenberg, Vltava, rapid-shooting on a raft, Johannis with its rapids. "Nichts Schöneres und Überwältigenderes", nothing more beautiful or overwhelming could one expect to see.

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