Michael Curtiz’s 1945 Mildred Pierce—a noir-tinged melodrama for which star Joan Crawford won her only Oscar—is a classic whose reputation hasn’t faded over the years. But ahead of its recent Criterion release, the decades-old frames of the film required a painstaking rehabilitation process. After a number of archival film elements were scanned at 4K resolution at Warner Bros.’ in-house Motion Picture Imaging lab in Burbank, the original camera negative of the film came to light, providing the basis for the majority of the restoration—that is, until the negative’s inferior final reel necessitated dipping into another archive altogether. The resulting presentation of Mildred Pierce, now available on Blu-ray and DVD, beautifully reflects the silken texture of that original nitrate stock, the luminosity of the black-and-white images accentuating the film’s stark themes of social ambition and familial loyalty. For the full story behind the restoration—as well as an opportunity to get acquainted with the technical experts and state-of-the-art equipment at both Warner Bros. and Criterion—watch the video above, made by Criterion videographer Tara Young.
A Preservationist’s Puzzle: Restoring The Front Page
When the Academy Film Archive embarked on a new restoration of The Front Page, preservationists stumbled onto a mystery regarding the existing prints of the film.
Visits with Raoul Coutard
Last week, we were saddened to learn of the passing of Raoul Coutard. Our technical director, Lee Kline, shared some memories of working with the great cinematographer.
Cleaning Up A Brighter Summer Day
Following an arduous restoration effort that involved broken scanners, missing reels, and the complicated transfer of materials between Taipei, Bologna, and New York, Edward Yang’s 1991 epic film is finally available in a high-quality viewing forma…