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Help Wanted: PolyGram Films (1997-1999) Logo Restoration

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Anyone who grew up with late-90’s films released by the now-folded PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, is certainly familiar when a film opens with the well-known Icarus/Crystal Winged Man logo from 1997-1999. Despite its short life-span, it impressed a lot of audiences at the time with its gorgeous atmosphere, (dated, but) innovative CGI, and the way the caricature of Icarus (from the Greek fable) was modeled after the “Speed” sculpture by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth.

In recent years however, Universal Pictures licensed most of the PolyGram library (that originally contained that logo), and the current prints (with the exception of 1997’s The Game; though only using the early prototype) plaster the Icarus logo with the 1997 Universal logo.

There are times when some obscure production logos need to be preserved for new generations of film buffs who grew up seeing them before starting a film; and this one is no exception. Since Universal would not even bother restoring the 1997 PolyGram logo for their recent Blu-ray releases, this is where we decide to take matters into our own hands and save this logo from its long abandonment.

The goal for this thread is to help preserve/restore one of two variants of the logo in a decent 4K scan; either the standard variant with the “Filmed Entertainment” text, or the US variant with the “Films” text. My money’s on the second choice, BTW. And if you are aware of preserving some 35mm prints of PolyGram’s film library (i.e. the US print of 1997’s The Borrowers), PM your response of the 35mm scan in the reply box.

Thank you and good luck!

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I know the original Big Lebowski DVD and VHS opened with this logo but I’m not sure if it was the one seen theatrically or not

Current releases plaster it with the Universal logo as you said but play the regular fanfare for it and then a black screen accompanies the start of the music for the movie (the Polygram logo played over it originally), but here’s where it gets bizarre

In TV versions the Universal logo plays in silence and the end of the logo is when the music for the movie starts

Raccoons

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This may sound crazy and a bit off-topic, but the variant with the “Films” text is also commonly found on the original theatrical prints of Barney’s Great Adventure. Say what you will about the film’s irredeemable qualities (even if I still like it, nonetheless), but its 35mm reel can be useful for scanning the opening logo at a decent 4K resolution.

eBay Seller: https://www.ebay.com/itm/35mm-Feature-Film-Barneys-Great-Adventure-1998-George-Hearn-/313342723436

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Also the term “Universal licensed from Polygram” is inaccurate, Universal flat out owns much of their library now, MGM owns everything before 1996 iirc

Raccoons

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SpacemanDoug said:

Also the term “Universal licensed from Polygram” is inaccurate, Universal flat out owns much of their library now, MGM owns everything before 1996 iirc

When I say “most of Polygram’s library,” I mean that they own most of them that originally contained the Icarus-style logo. While the rest that MGM owns, originally use the 1992-1996 logo.

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KBJ Comix said:

SpacemanDoug said:

Also the term “Universal licensed from Polygram” is inaccurate, Universal flat out owns much of their library now, MGM owns everything before 1996 iirc

When I say “most of Polygram’s library,” I mean that they own most of them that originally contained the Icarus-style logo. While the rest that MGM owns, originally use the 1992-1996 logo.

I think one of the only pre-Universal PolyGram titles that MGM doesn’t own is Trainspotting, but that’s only due to Miramax having US distribution rights

I’m pretty sure the UK prints had the Icarus logo, I know the UK VHS release had a home video variant of it

Raccoons

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I had been attempting to restore the Icarus logo in 720p HD using a few sources from old DVD transfers and enhancing them in AviSynth and After Effects. And despite the artificial results, it was my best. I could enhance the sources even more with Topaz Video Enhance AI, which will serve more detail and color consistencies. But the current operating system I’m running is unsupported to even process that, meaning I’ll have to upgrade to Windows 10 in the next few months.

I’ll give you the rough result of the restoration though, if you’d like to check out.

Archive Link: https://archive.org/details/polygram_1997_logo_rough_restoration

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SpacemanDoug said:

That’s cool looking

But that’s just an example of how we could assemble a team to restore this logo to its pristine high-def glory that not even Universal would retain it for the current prints.

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Any applicants care to help restore this logo from a decent 4K scan, say “Aye!”

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Just to be clear, what exactly is the help you’re looking for?

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Jonno said:

Just to be clear, what exactly is the help you’re looking for?

Any who are 35mm preservationists to help restore PolyGram’s animated Icarus logo from 1997-1999. I know not many 35mm reels of certain PolyGram films from that time period exist in the market, but there is one that might be suitable for restoring that logo off a 35mm scan; which is this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/35mm-Feature-Film-Barneys-Great-Adventure-1998-George-Hearn-/313342723436

Say what you will about the film’s irredeemable qualities (even though I like it, nonetheless), but its 35mm reel can be useful for scanning the opening logo at a decent 4K resolution.

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Well, there are people who could do the 35mm scanning for you, so I guess it’s just a case of you buying that print and sending it to one of them - assuming it’s worth USD300 to you.

You might do better to find a 35mm trailer from that period, e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RI0QvaGoiI&t=7s

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Jonno said:

Well, there are people who could do the 35mm scanning for you, so I guess it’s just a case of you buying that print and sending it to one of them - assuming it’s worth USD300 to you.

You might do better to find a 35mm trailer from that period, e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RI0QvaGoiI&t=7s

That’s just the thing; I don’t own a 35mm telecine scanner considering its highly expensive cost of around $30,000. And since I’m low short on cash, I don’t consider buying either that or the 35mm reel anytime soon. Plus, that suggestion you made about scanning the logo off a 35mm trailer reel from that time period is just a cut half of it at the beginning.

If anyone else seems to care about scanning the opening logos off a 35mm print of an otherwise “childish” kids film at a reasonable high cost, we’ll see how they’ll consider in the long run. But for now, in a few months after my birthday, I’ll be going back to enhance the logo with Topaz Video Enhance AI when I upgrade my operating system to Windows 10.

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I closest source I got for my update on the logo restoration, was the television counterpart logo sourced from a German MGM HD airing of 1989’s Winter People, up-scaled with Topaz Gigapixel AI.

Image Preview: https://sta.sh/027iy5h6yjro

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Even though this may be a last minute decision (mainly on save on cash), there is one 35mm source suitable to scan the Icarus logo from the beginning; that being the 35mm flat trailer to the cult Robin Williams flick What Dreams May Come. However, it is up to any of you 35mm preservationists who would like to scan this trailer.

eBay Seller: https://www.ebay.com/itm/35mm-Movie-Trailer-WHAT-DREAMS-MAY-COME-Film-Collectible-Theater-Preview-Teaser/113977882350

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The sequence is so short that it would be possible for me to manually scan it frame by frame, but I live in Canada and it get a bit pricey with the shipping considering what I would use it for(22$ + almost 15$ shipping).

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I recently got a British DVD import of 1997’s The Borrowers, which it does have the 1997 PolyGram logo at the beginning. But even though the logo is at a decently higher quality than my UK DVD copy of Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, the black clipping of the picture contrast just washes the detail of the bottom frame at the end. But they’ll still be plenty more sources to browse through for my newer restoration.

In the meantime, I’ll leave a link to an enhanced edit of the sourced logo on Internet Archive for your viewing curiosity. (https://archive.org/details/polygram_1997_logo)

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SkinnyV said:

The sequence is so short that it would be possible for me to manually scan it frame by frame, but I live in Canada and it get a bit pricey with the shipping considering what I would use it for(22$ + almost 15$ shipping).

Leave a response when you’ve managed to buy that reel for your scan.

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If saving up on a 35mm scan of the logo is too much for you, you might as well save up on a Shout Select Blu-ray of the 1998 black comedy Very Bad Things, just to source the theatrical trailer from it, which could possibly have the PolyGram Films logo at the beginning, even though it only lasts a fraction of a second. But it’s hard to tell whether it has the PolyGram logo or the plastered Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) logo played at the beginning, but we won’t know until the truth sets in.

Blu-ray Available for Purchase: https://www.shoutfactory.com/product/very-bad-things?product_id=7275

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KBJ Comix said:

If saving up on a 35mm scan of the logo is too much for you, you might as well save up on a Shout Select Blu-ray of the 1998 black comedy Very Bad Things, just to source the theatrical trailer from it, which could possibly have the PolyGram Films logo at the beginning, even though it only lasts a fraction of a second. But it’s hard to tell whether it has the PolyGram logo or the plastered Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) logo played at the beginning, but we won’t know until the truth sets in.

Blu-ray Available for Purchase: https://www.shoutfactory.com/product/very-bad-things?product_id=7275

based on the VHS opening, the IEG logo was always there and the Polygram logo was added before it, don’t know if Shout’s blu-ray restores it though

Raccoons

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SpacemanDoug said:

KBJ Comix said:

If saving up on a 35mm scan of the logo is too much for you, you might as well save up on a Shout Select Blu-ray of the 1998 black comedy Very Bad Things, just to source the theatrical trailer from it, which could possibly have the PolyGram Films logo at the beginning, even though it only lasts a fraction of a second. But it’s hard to tell whether it has the PolyGram logo or the plastered Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) logo played at the beginning, but we won’t know until the truth sets in.

Blu-ray Available for Purchase: https://www.shoutfactory.com/product/very-bad-things?product_id=7275

based on the VHS opening, the IEG logo was always there and the Polygram logo was added before it, don’t know if Shout’s blu-ray restores it though

Well it doesn’t show the PolyGram logo on the main feature, which only plasters it with the IEG logo. Same could be said for the trailer, but it could be possible for the PolyGram logo to appear at the beginning of the trailer. But won’t know until the trailer from the Blu-ray is sourced/uploaded.

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I recently, quote-unquote, “torrented” a PAL DVD rip of the 1998 filmed production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, that includes the PolyGram Visual Programming (another television counterpart) logo at the beginning. While it does serve a lot more detail in a 576i broadcast master than a film master, it still needs a lot of de-interlacing work to make it look more polished. Perhaps the “Dione” model in Topaz Video Enhance AI could make a nice new method to process that once I upgrade my operating system in a few months.

An example of how the “Dione” model can process interlaced footage is through this video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0Nnbn1H0Ok

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The next DVD I’ll be sourcing the logo from is a French PAL DVD of Robert Altman’s The Gingerbread Man, which it should arrive around the first week of March (9th or 12th).