(horror of) dracula to be released uncut on blu ray!!

Discussion in 'Classic' started by Buechlers_beard, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. Buechlers_beard

    Buechlers_beard Active Member

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    Great news regarding Christopher Lee's first outing as the Count and it's impending BD release! I imagine this will please a lot of people :)

    Taken from Hammerfilms.com:

    DRACULA RESURRECTED!

    Marcus Hearn reports on a remarkable discovery by an enterprising Hammer fan

    In 2007 Hammer and the BFI collaborated on a restoration of Dracula that resulted in the creation of a new HD master of the classic film. The version that was restored was the American print, which is slightly longer than the British version, but the re-master has the original title card added to the beginning (the US version of the film carried the title Horror Of Dracula).

    However, for many years historians have pointed to the fact that an even longer, more explicit, version of the film played in Japanese cinemas in 1958. Up until now, efforts to locate the mythical ‘Japanese version’ of Dracula have been fruitless, but it seems that writer and cartoonist Simon Rowson has succeeded where everyone else failed.

    Simon, who lives in Tokyo with his Japanese wife, was prompted to begin investigating on behalf of the British Horror Forum in early 2010. “My friend and fellow Hammer fan Stuart Hall suggested I should look for the missing footage,” says Simon. “That's when my wife Michiko started to help me in trying to find the most likely depository for foreign film stock in Japan. We were pointed towards the archive of the National Film Center just outside Tokyo, and quickly established (thanks to Michiko’s excellent interpreting skills) that the Center’s print of Dracula was partially destroyed in a fire in 1984. The first five reels were gone, but reels 6, 7, 8 and 9 – the last 36 minutes of the film – survived.”

    After a year of negotiation, and some good luck, Simon was finally able to view reels 8 and 9 on the 9th March. They revealed something remarkable. “I was able to positively identify two extended scenes,” he says. “The first is Dracula’s attack on Mina while Van Helsing and Holmwood are standing guard outside the latter’s home. Having now re-run this scene many times on my British DVD, I think that the most obvious difference is the last shot of Dracula pushing Mina back onto the bed just prior to the sudden cut to the screeching owl outside.

    “On the normal UK/US print we just glimpse Dracula’s shoulder moving downwards before the cut, but on the Japanese print there is a shot from a completely different angle which clearly shows Christopher Lee’s mouth wide open and his fangs fully exposed as he moves forward to bite Melissa Stribling’s neck – then it cuts to the owl as usual.”

    Even more exciting was Simon’s discovery of a complete version of the film’s iconic disintegration scene. “As many people have speculated in the past, there is indeed an additional few seconds where, after Dracula is forced back into the sunlight by Van Helsing and raises his left hand to protect his face, we see the real actor – not a dummy – claw at his forehead and drag his hand down to his chin, peeling away his burnt skin in the process. There is also extra audio of Dracula groaning during this scene and an extra reaction shot from Peter Cushing.”

    Sadly, Simon’s discovery was followed by the terrible earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan just 48 hours later. The National Film Center was relatively unaffected, but the situation remained serious for many.

    Hammer began a conversation with the National Film Center, and in due course the four reels were transferred to tape and sent to London.

    On the 14th September, Hammer reviewed an HD telecine transfer of all four reels; both of the scenes to which Simon Rowson refers are indeed present. Hammer hope to make these resurrected scenes available as part of a future UK release of Dracula.



    Postscript from Hammer:
    Hammer would like to express its warmest thanks to Simon Rowson, Marcus Hearn, the National Film Center at The National Museum Of Modern Art, Tokyo, and IMAGICA Corp, Tokyo for their roles in recovering this footage.


    http://www.hammerfilms.com/news/article/newsid/314/dracula-resurrected
     
  2. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    Oh. My. God. If this is $100, I'm buying it day one.
     
  3. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    very cool. wasn't warner originally going to release the film as an SE? and all we got was a trailer and a few pages of production notes. hopefully they'll get a chance to rectify that in the near future.
     
  4. chrismac87

    chrismac87 Zombie Eater

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    It's a shame the first 5 reels were destroyed, hopefully there wasn't too much footage lost - judging by the "but" in the comment I can only assume that a majority of the extended footage was contained in the last few reels - but this is awesome news none the less.

    I just saw this film for the first time this past July and I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it. I was ready to pick it up but something told me to wait a bit before rushing out to buy it - glad I decided to hold off.

    Will definitely be picking this one up day one for sure!
     
  5. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    I'll hold off celebrating until we get confirmation that the BFI's restored version will be used as the backbone for the Blu-ray release. Word is the BFI version has much improved color saturation, more accurate exposure levels in day for night scenes, and vastly improved framing with substantially more picture info visible.

    If they add the missing scenes from the Japanese reels we could finally get a definitive release of this classic.
     
  6. JGrendel

    JGrendel New Member

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    This would nice to have in blu & a nice start to getting the rest of the series as well.
     
  7. Anthropophagus

    Anthropophagus Well-Known Member

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    Still think it's one of the greatest horror films ever, and the Dracula film I enjoy most, even over the 1931 Lugosi version.
    Glad to see it get a proper release.
     
  8. russweiss

    russweiss Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful news. A must for my blu collection.
     

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  9. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    Nice lobby cards. It's a shame movies this good can't be made anymore.
     
  10. JGrendel

    JGrendel New Member

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    They can, studios just don't want to take the time, money & energy to do so.
     
  11. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    I've seen stills of the extended finale for years and Christopher Lee recalled doing a couple of different make-ups for it.To finally have this surface is amazing news.I'd love to see a restored version at long last.
     
  12. JGrendel

    JGrendel New Member

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    Just have to keep our fingers crossed that warner or someone will pick this up.
     
  13. Terry44

    Terry44 Member

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    Its like a dream come true for hammer fans
     
  14. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    I have heard that there was originally a staking sequence at the castle involving Van Helsing and Harker that was cut out of the film but have never confirmed this.Anyone know the full story ? As the Japanese print is missing the first reels of the film I guess it wont be showing up in a restoration,real or not (unless it exists on some old Japanese television print of the film).
     
  15. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    At this point I'm more inclined to believe that this footage will be added as an extra rather than edited back into the feature. I'm not up on the latest ways to make HD masters, but before being sent to London the four reels were transferred to TAPE?! That just seems wrong.
     
  16. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    I'm very happy to see original word of this turned out to be entirely true. Sad to say though that the article does not mention a Blu-ray release. Hammer and the BFI may have the theatrical rights to tour but afaik Warner still has Blu-ray distribution even in the UK. There is a disconnect here.

    Hopefully this will spur a Blu-ray release.

    There are HD video data tapes, and while technically data is data, I know for example Synapse Films received a HD master on tape for Embodiment of Evil from Brazil was unhappy with it so they had them send the original uncompressed raw HD scan on a hard drive. While it's true that in theory those ones and zeros should be transferred to any media perfectly, in practice that's not always the case. If they did a digital recording to tape instead of digital transfer to tape there could be added compression.

    Unfortunately the best practices are not the common practices even at the highest levels. But if it makes you feel better I'm sure the BFI did the same thing with their own HD master. So they'll somewhat match. :D

    Edit:
    I just happened to see it noted that the US DVD has the footage and it was added back into the BFI restoration mentioned in the article. This was the more "uncut" HD master touted in 2007. So it's sounds like maybe we do have all of it now. Excellent.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011
  17. Jeremy

    Jeremy Closet SCREAM fan

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    They probably used an HDCAM SR tape. While that's not the BEST quality possible, it is very, very good, and lots of great looking releases, including Midnight Legacy's ALIEN 2, were taken from SR masters. The best quality of course would be to go straight from the digital files, but it's not vitally necessary. The tape would be of lesser quality, but it would not be of POOR quality compared to the files.

    And of course, what we're talking about here is individual shots, not an entire movie or even an entire scene. It would probably be easy for the Japanese film people to have the full quality footage put on a server and let the folks in the UK spend a few hours downloading it. That is already being done with whole movies (including the upcoming BU restoration of ZOMBIE) and would be even easier with just a few small chunks of scenes.
     
  18. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info, fellas. Much appreciated. :)
     
  19. JGrendel

    JGrendel New Member

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    I'm hoping for a blu-ray out of this, maybe Warner, Hammer & BFI can cut some sort of deal to get this out.
     
  20. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    Actually it wasn't the Lucy staking scene I was talking about (thanks for the link though ! ) ,it was a scene I had heard discussed that occurred earlier in the film.After Harker's confrentation with Dracula at the castle Cushing's Van Helsing shows up,descends to the basement and discovers a vampirized victim in a casket.In the version that has generally been shown the scene fades out and we cut to another scene.I have read in the past that there was a staking scene that took place with Van Helsing in the basement but that it was cut.I'm not sure if this is true or if it's just a myth.Anybody ever heard of this before ?
     

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