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Immersed in Movies: Restored 'Shane' Celebrates 60th at TCM Classic Fest, with the Right Aspect Ratio! (TRAILER)

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood April 26, 2013 at 3:23PM

If it weren't for a recent aspect ratio brouhaha, "Shane" probably would sneak into the TCM Classic Film Festival on Saturday at the Chinese without much fanfare. Which would've been a shame considering that Technicolor has digitally revived its naturalistic sheen in honor of the 60th anniversary and an upcoming Warner Home Video Blu-ray on June 4. I asked the director's filmmaker son, George Stevens Jr., to clear up the confusion: "There's no controversy about aspect ratio," he replied by email. "We made a 1:37 transfer, color corrected and cleaned up. I also supervised a 1:66 in which we took care with every shot for optimum framing."

"He worked with Loyal Griggs to mute the color, something other than 'Glorious Technicolor.'  The more muted look is now more common. He also worked with the production designer and costume designer [Edith Head] to keep away from bright colors.... The clothes were well worn and very real looking."

Naturally, Stevens Jr. supervised the mastering of "Shane" with Technicolor after the three-strip negatives were scanned at 4K and digitally cleaned and registered correctly. He suggests the distinctive look is well represented but was particularly concerned about getting the day for night scenes to look just right. But, he adds, "Nothing will surpass the original 35 mm print of 'Shane' projected properly in a theater.  That is the true experience."

Unfortunately, Stevens Jr. won't be able to attend the TCM screenings of "Shane" or "Giant" (digitally restored by Warner Bros. and coming to Blu-ray later this year) preceding it. He'll be at the Tribeca premiere of son Michael's doc, "Herblock -- The Black & White," a tribute to the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist, Herbert Block, whom Stevens Jr. first met while working on "Giant." His father would've wanted it that way.

Speaking of movie families, the festival will also premiere on Sunday the TCM doc, "Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking: The Story of Richard D. Zanuck," a celebration of the Oscar-winning producer who passed away last year, directed by Laurent Bouzereau, and featuring interviews with a who's who of Hollywood luminaries (including Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg, Johnny Depp).

Passing down the craft and appreciation of movies from generation to generation is what the TCM Fest is all about.

View the complete TCM Classic Film Festival schedule here.

This article is related to: Immersed In Movies

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.