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Vanishing Point (1971) - Special Edition (Released)

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 (Edited)

The Molecule of Speed

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SPOILERS as always.
This is another back burner project that just happened when I had bored down time. Something to do, but something I felt was meaningful enough to do it for release.

It’s a re-framing/cropping project with an alternate ending, new artwork and some technical detail recovery work to minimize the over zealous sharpening from what had to be a lesser resolution intermediate master used for the 2009 & 2014 Blurays. It just looks so flat, by manipulating the positive and negative space using my partial transparency outline filter method, it just tweaks the relationship between the halo’d contrast of over sharpened low-res images, and creates the illusion of depth. There is some small loss of bold edge detail, including the grain in some areas and some gains in suggestive detail in other areas like overall depth and granular happenstance when the grain resolves into less space than it did previously…


…Heheheh FFS. I started this project last year and worked it on and off along with the Dune edit that now needs to be rebuilt with new footage. Now as I started to write this thread I look for an interview with Richard Sarafian, and in the process, learn that there was a remastered Bluray of the US. Theatrical released in June of this year. Heheheh…That’ll teach me for getting a new job in the summer and paying no attention for a while.

Oh well. I’ll get the new Bluray at some point and come back to this, againmuch like what I need to do with Dune…Needless to say a lot of restoration work has now been rendered unnecessary. But the alternate ending is something I’m still keen about. It’s not a large departure by any means, but the original ending featured a lot of footage of the aftermath of the film’s climax, showing far too much, as though you were watching a documentary of the making of the film before the credits are even over. So I’ve made a new credit sequence in an attempt to keep the viewers suspension of disbelief in place. It features aerial shots of winding desert roads where you could imagine a spectral Challenger RT continuing it’s journey unseen. The climax itself is also slightly altered to echo Richard Sarafian’s original notion that the main character experiences a transition to a higher plane of existence in the split second it takes to meet his fate - forced by will alone. The will for freedom and the sheer belief he could see enough light between the bulldozers blocking his path to escape into. The edits are a re-arrangement of frames and frame rates and it utilizes some colour wheel separations, overlapped zooms and audio editing for the whole thing to just hang on the moment a little longer, for the “molecule of speed” to reveal itself to the viewer and seemingly usher our protagonist through and beyond. You see an extended shot of Kowalski’s face looking into the middle distance as a transparency over, what the viewer then realizes with an audible bump back to the original footage in real time, is the culmination of a massive car wreck. We then follow the film as is towards the new credits, showing the policemen with regret and the gathering crowd, but we pull up short of the stunt mannequin head and shoulders being tossed around as the car is inspected.

As for the cropping. This film was obviously not shot with a large budget and so was a flat feature. But it’s basically a western in premise and 2.35:1 just suits the subject matter in my mind, if the grain doesn’t betray it too badly. Generally I think they shot with enough space around the focal points on medium shots to make it work when you lose upper and lower frame information without feeling it’s loss. Close-ups are often dynamic enough that you can slide the frame up and down smoothly enough to use it to good effect. In all honesty I can watch the original aspect ratio now and hanker for the tighter crop to give it the elbow room it deserves - Which sounds back to front I know, but such is the proportionate relativity of 2.35:1.

So yeah, to be continued. Cheers 😃

15MaF

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you adding the European cut footage of the conversation in the car?

I like this film.

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Whilst I don’t think it is necessary to the film overall and I kind of prefer the flow without his flip-flop over drug use vs his journey’s haste, I do like Christie’s devilish and seductive delivery of her dialogue. In calling this a special edition I feel obliged to include it.

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It’s mostly done - The updated Bluray footage is in now, but due to my prioritising other editing projects it is currently on the back burner, waiting for encoding - but certainly not forgotten…