Monday, January 18, 2010

The New and Improved French Connection

Robert Harris (yes, that Robert Harris) was involved in the new restoration of William Friedkin's "The French Connection" early last year, and it's worthy of revisiting (Friedkin is doing a Coppola - since he isn't producing mainstream films on note anymore (I haven't seen "Bug," so I'm reserving judgment), he might as well restore the old triumphs). And perhaps to be expected, there are concerns about the results of the updating, seen here on the Home Theatre Forum website (here).

Apparently they've moved from the original 1971 film stock color palette and "reimagined" the look, making it more in tune with a '40s Technicolor look, "denaturalizing" the original and sharpening the contrast. While not in the ballpark of Lucas changing plotpoints in his reissues of "Star Wars," this again brings up the responsibility of a filmmaker working in the 21st-century blu-ray aesthetic.

Mr. Harris himself notes that it is not the film that won the Oscar 35 years ago anymore. It's now a 2009 version of a '40s look applied to a '70s film's version of the '40s. No iteration of which is authentically, intentionally or completely of its time.

I was happy to have seen this film in its new digital glory, but will no doubt never have a chance to see the "original" '70s version again.
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An earlier version of this post originally appeared on the AMIA UCLA Student Chapter blog in 2009.

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