More reasons to love Spielberg: Raiders, and UN-changing ET
Steve (and I read in EW where he prefers to be called Steve, but NOBODY calls him that) was in LA Tuesday to show a new print of Raiders of the Lost Ark, struck from the same restored negative that they're using for the upcoming Blu-ray release.
Here's what he had to say afterward.
This is the best I think it’s ever looked, because in preparation for the eventual release on blu-ray we had to correct the print again and get the original negative out of the salt mines, and then we had to do the separations, and basically the files, which are just amazing, with all the technology of today, without changing any of the movie materially, we haven’t removed anything, we haven’t added CGI, there’s no digital enhancements! It’s purely the movie you some of you may remember from 1981.
Wow, imagine that.
Now he did change a film once - you remember the gun (or was it guns? I forget) become a walkie talkie? Here's what Steve has to say about that:
For myself, I tried [changing a film] once and lived to regret it. Not because of fan outrage, but because I was disappointed in myself. I got overly sensitive to [some of the reaction] to E.T., and I thought if technology evolved, [I might go in and change some things]…it was OK for a while, but I realized what I had done was I had robbed people who loved E.T. of their memories of E.T. [...] If I put just one cut of E.T. on Blu-ray and it was the 1982, would anyone object to that? [The crowd yells "NO!" in unison.] OK, so be it.
I. Love. This. Man.
Via Slashfilm, which also has some extra goodies from Steve's talk, including some bits where Harrison joins him on stage.
[Tim Wilson] "you remember the gun (or was it guns? I forget)"
Definitely two guns. I remember watching E.T. again a couple months ago for the first time in years. My eyes still watered up during the last 30 minutes. But the only copy I had in my possession was the altered one. So there was the CGI bunny hopping in the beginning, and the CGI bathroom deleted scene added in, and several other CGI head/face replacements, and of course the walkie talkies. All slightly annoying, definitely took me out of the moment, made me realize I wasn't watching the childhood movie I loved so much, but at least he didn't screw with the emotion of third act. I will, without a doubt, be purchasing a Blu-ray of E.T. if it's the unaltered version, and will be watching it again immediately.
Now get working on that Jaws Blu-ray I want even more. (Jurassic Park already has a Blu-ray release date, I believe. Do want.)
Man, all this anti-altering classics talk... Steve's never going to get invited back to Skywalker Ranch!
[Scott Roberts] "Now get working on that Jaws Blu-ray I want even more."
I know for a fact that the Jaws restoration is happening. When we were invited to a screening of the Taxi Driver restoration, they mentioned three others on tap: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (which was shown publicly a few weeks ago), All That Jazz, and Jaws.
I agree, I'll take Jaws over ET. I hadn't been planning on Raiders, but knowing the pains they went to for the restoration, it's officially on the list.
By the way, I saw a transcript of a fascinating talk with the restoration team for Dumbo, who had also worked on 20,000 Leagues. The hardest part in restoring "the movies that we fell in love with" is that the prints we saw in theaters BIT. I saw Pinocchio in a theater in the 60s, over 20 years after it was first released, and I have no trouble believing that the print I saw was a long, long way from what the first audiences saw. I can only imagine what you whippersnappers saw in the 70s and 80s.
The bottom line is that ONLY cleaning gave the IMPRESSION of much more fundamental tinkering...but nope, just cleaning.
They also talk about what happens when even cleaning is too much. Remarkable stuff, and considerably more complex than idiots like me can make it out to be. It's long, but worth the read.
[Scott Roberts] "Man, all this anti-altering classics talk... Steve's never going to get invited back to Skywalker Ranch!"
A fun profile from the LA Times in 1981, after 1941, before Indy, called "The Graying of a Crap-shooter." He specifically rejects the approaches of Coppola (I don't want to become a mogul) and Lucas (when it comes to real estate, I'd rather rent than buy), so I think that he and Lucas must have come to terms with their differences a long time ago.
They're also kind of like Paul and Ringo, in that there are only two of them left, and they're the only ones who know what it was like to go through what they did.
So there, I said something vaguely sympathetic to Lucas. Now where's my dang original Star Wars, man?