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SpringBoob SquirePin

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5-Jun-2019
Last activity
12-Dec-2019
Posts
11

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Post
#1307987
Topic
Extra "Fantasia" commentary audio may still exist...
Time

I had the same thought some time ago, but I have no idea where the telephone transfer ended up after the magnetic stereo prints were made. I’m not sure if RCA immediately junked their copy or if it ended up in somebody else’s hands after the company went under, but whatever the case, and until someone pops out of nowhere with those RCA mag reels, it seems that copy was sadly lost to time as well.

I’m telling you, the soundtrack to this film could not catch a break.

Post
#1307671
Topic
Extra "Fantasia" commentary audio may still exist...
Time

That article isn’t the most reputable source for lost Fantasia material. Unless there’s citation-- and sadly, there isn’t-- then it’s just hearsay.

The original sound stems aren’t “lost,” that would imply that someone’s just unknowingly keeping them stored away in their attic, basement, or storage room somewhere. They were nitrate 35mm film reels, which have a horrible reputation for either deteriorating fast under bad storage conditions, or bursting into flames that even water can’t put out. You don’t even have to look further than the film’s 2000 DVD “making of” featurette for the following factoid: no more than 12-14 Fantasound prints were ever manufactured. All but one of those prints were junked, which allowed a 4-track magnetic copy to be created via then-high-quality RCA telephone wires. That’s it. That telephone wire transfer is all we have left today. The first generation nitrate stems, which contained Taylor’s complete commentary segments, have sadly been lost forever to time.

The magnetic stereo soundtrack and reprints of the 80min RKO cut contain all that have survived of the original Taylor commentaries. Several preservationists have already made efforts to capture the mag stereo mix (in fact, I have the 1969 release on loan from a very generous collector and I intend to have it preserved as soon as possible), so we can rest assured that that mix will surface in decent quality soon enough. Locating a good reprint of the RKO cut is the real trick.

Post
#1307438
Topic
Extra "Fantasia" commentary audio may still exist...
Time

The cut you’re thinking of is not the general release, which received a much wider, nationwide distribution, but a slightly modified recut of the original roadshow version which, yes, did bare the RKO logo before the program started to indicate the company’s then-recent distribution takeover; nothing else was changed. In a perfect world finding a copy of this would be ideal, but the problem is that even if you were able to track it down, it would not contain even a mono downmix of the original soundtrack, let alone the original stereophonic mix, because both the footage and soundtrack ran on completely separate reels of 35mm nitrate film. Tracking down the original nitrate soundtrack has been a fruitless effort, too, as the last one that survived by 1955 no longer exists today. Just a 4-track magnetic copy of it, which was used for the 1956, 1963, and 1969 releases.

Considering the original stems are long lost, I truly do believe that the best bet right now is to get a clean capture of the mag stereo soundtrack and the 80min RKO cut (from a reprint if those are still around) that contains some of the missing Taylor audio. That combined with an uncensored IB Tech print, along with the interstitial and intermission footage from the Blu-ray, would yield the most complete version of this movie that uses as many of the original elements as possible.

Post
#1294716
Topic
Extra "Fantasia" commentary audio may still exist...
Time

The general release version of the finale introduction has to be a dub. In the reinstated roadshow footage, Taylor is very clearly mouthing “world famous” instead of “immortal.” To be sure, I tried lining up the LaserDisc audio with the roadshow footage and it didn’t sync properly without constantly cutting up the audio and shifting it every which way. Might post a video of that soon.

Post
#1294049
Topic
Help With Fantasia Original 1940 Version Reconstruction
Time

It’s all wishful thinking at this point, honestly. Rumors abound on what’s in Disney’s archives and what they have at their disposal, but nobody ever really knows for certain until we see empirical evidence. If Taylor’s audio tracks did somehow survive 70 years of questionable storage conditions by the time the Blu-ray was released, I can’t imagine that they would be in great shape, but I’m open to miracles too, so hey, let’s see what’s on the next Fantasia release.

Until then, you may want to see this. I discovered a while back that, according to the studio drafts for the infamous 80 minute version, Deems Taylor was not only kept in the picture, but some of the commentary missing from subsequent “general release” versions are in this cut of the film. A 35mm print of this would be nitrate stock, not safety, so odds are that version is long gone unless Disney stored it properly for decades instead of junking it. Years ago, however, somebody on eBay sold what they claimed was an 8mm version of that very 80 minute cut, but other copies have never shown up since. I wish I had the listing page to prove it. Better still, that same 8mm print to prove what version of Fantasia was on it.

Post
#1293855
Topic
Help With Fantasia Original 1940 Version Reconstruction
Time

UncutIsSuperior said:

So, is there any 35mm print of the movie that has the full narrations?

Unfortunately, no.

So much of Taylor’s original commentary was cut from 1946 onward that all that’s survived since is what’s on the optical mono and magnetic stereo soundtracks, both of which were the basis for the 50th anniversary sound mix, which you can hear on the subsequent VHS and LaserDisc releases. I’ve heard two stories that tried explaining this: that Disney either claims his complete commentary tracks didn’t survive beyond the late 40s, as the original sound stems were recorded on nitrate film (which can deteriorate fast under poor storage conditions), or they somehow did technically survive but were so far beyond repair by the time Disney started piecing together the 60th anniversary “roadshow” edition that they were declared unusable. In any case, the only feasible option left was to dub Taylor entirely using Corey Burton.

poita’s already working on preserving a 35mm Technicolor print of the 1956 SuperScope release, which contains the uncensored Pastoral scenes as well as the aforementioned magnetic stereophonic soundtrack.

Post
#1291911
Topic
Walt Disney Classics 4K
Time

Beauty and the Beast’s CAPS source ratio is 1.66, yes, but it was hard matted to 1.85 on 35mm as the directors intended. There’s a preservation project currently in progress for an Italian print somewhere on this site with the same ratio. The only way you can see the film as close to the original CAPS ratio as possible in HD is through the 3-D Blu-ray. Same for Lion King.

Post
#1286845
Topic
Extra "Fantasia" commentary audio may still exist...
Time

SilverWook said:

Does any of this match with the missing Deems narration that Corey Burton was brought in to dub?

Identically. Save for just one word in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice intro (in the draft it’s “wrote his music,” but in the dub it’s “wrote the music” instead) it’s all the same.

Post
#1286834
Topic
Extra "Fantasia" commentary audio may still exist...
Time

Somebody brought this up in a private forum and after some brief digging it turns out they weren’t kidding: according to the 1942 continuity draft, the dreadfully trimmed down RKO cut of Fantasia contains interstitial audio that isn’t even available on the longer general release prints. The first half of the Nutcracker commentary was kept (the drafts on Hans Perk’s animation blog confirm that there were more lines after the fade out present in the 2000 roadshow reconstruction), only one missing line from the Sorcerer’s Apprentice intro, a very decent portion of the Rite of Spring commentary (even the off-screen crash that interrupts Deems’ first attempt at introducing the segment was kept) and the full “Meet the Soundtrack” intro. See below…



My question now is does anybody have this version of the movie? Or at least aware of any collectors that may have it? It runs for a measly 80 minutes, and it apparently did show up once on eBay in 8mm and then never again. 35mm would be close to impossible to track down as those prints were likely nitrate and have long since deteriorated, but 8mm/16mm safety stock reprints of this thing, even if they’re faded beyond salvage, have to exist somewhere-- the main objective here is saving the sound. The missing interstitial audio isn’t substantial, but it’s still more of the original audio than we currently have access to for preservation projects, and I think it’d be really cool to restore it.

Holding out for a hero here.