We’re on LA time and it’s almost midnight, but here’s the very first post on the Hammer restoration blog!
We’re coming to the end of a highly productive two weeks in Los Angeles, in which we’ve been meeting with some of our US restoration partners: Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, illuminate Hollywood (fka HTV) and Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging (MPI). In the US, we are also working closely with Twentieth Century Fox (Hammer’s original studio production partner on a raft of titles in the mid-to-late 1960s) and Thought Equity Motion, but there’s only so many hours in the day!
There’s plenty of exciting news from this trip and we’ll be posting a full report next week when we’re back in London.
Meanwhile, a few things to mention immediately:
Firstly, we have to thank StudioCanal for the exquisite job they did restoring QUATERMASS AND THE PIT. This benchmark title trailblazed the current Hammer restoration project in superb fashion. If you don’t have a copy, you should remedy that right now by clicking here.
Secondly, StudioCanal have recently announced their second restored Hammer title coming to Region B Blu-ray (on March 5th). This is the chilling DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS, restored at Pinewood from 2-perf cut negative, scanned and restored in 2k. DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS will be presented in all its Techniscope glory, in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. And if that isn’t enough, Pinewood have restored the original UK title cards to the film! On top of all that, official Hammer historian Marcus Hearn has produced an all-new half-hour documentary specially for this edition, featuring Barbara Shelley, Francis Matthews, Mark Gatiss, Jonathan Rigby and others. Click here to pre-order.
Thirdly, Hammer and StudioCanal are in the final stages of completing restoration on THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES and THE REPTILE at Pinewood. We’ll post a full report on this soon, with a fascinating in-depth look at the thorny subject of original aspect ratios (for those who care about that kind of thing!).
Finally, and for long-time Hammer fans maybe most importantly, we can exclusively announce that Hammer’s forthcoming “definitive” version of Terence Fisher’s 1958 Gothic masterpiece DRACULA will receive a World Premiere Screening on Saturday 18th February at 3pm at the flicker club as part of the VAULT festival in London. Tickets will be available online here and will go on sale soon.
Recently-discovered footage that was originally cut from the British version has been restored by Molinare to the BFI’s wonderful 2007 restoration courtesy of The National Film Center at The Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. The Japanese footage features an extended and particularly gruesome death scene for Dracula, as well as a moment considered too erotic by the censors of the day.
In total, we will be restoring over 30 titles, and we plan to keep you up-to-date every step of the way, from material selection right the way through to release!