Helge is still beavering away on the transfers, but he did send me a sample of what's in store and overall it's damn good work. Decidedly crisper and not as soft, most notably the scene with the Thief crashing through windows lacks the odd dark tint that plagued my transfer.
In the meantime, I've been contacting a number of companies involved with the film and its many incarnations at some point.
- Constantin Film, in search of promo materials and anything else related to the anticipated '91 release. Ended up receiving a reply from their licensing department, politely informing me that they don't own any domestic rights to the film. I didn't expect them to anyway, but it's fair to say that were a full-blown authorised restoration attempted some of the footage used to compile the trailer might well be found.
- The Creative Partnership, to obtain a high-quality copy of the licensing trailer. Contacted the general enquiries manager at the end of December, and have since not heard a word from them.
- Filmayer and Hoyts (Spanish and Australian distributors of the Princess cut respectively), for acquiring 35mm prints of the Princess edit. The former doesn't seem to have been active since 2002, so any kind of reply seems very unlikely. Hoyts doesn't have a public business email address, so I've had to mail the enquiry.
- Icon, to see whether they currently own the rights to the Princess cut; given that they inherited the catalog of its sales agent, Majestic Films. Again, as with Hoyts, mailed off. Still, a slow reply is better than none.
Moreover, I've been in touch with several film archives in the UK regarding Dick's advertising output. The British Film Institute are confirmed to own around 120 RWA-produced adverts on 35mm (the Vladivar and Nairn spots, among others) and U-Matic (the Superman PSAs, etc), as well as 35mm prints of The Little Island and Love Me Love Me Love Me. They also have I Drew Roger Rabbit on Betacam. Sadly there's no sign of The Dermis Probe, A Lecture on Man, or The Sailor and the Devils; but hell, I'm just glad that the prints for the commercials weren't trashed by the ad agencies. The other archives weren't nearly as fruitful : Only one other archive had RWA material, but it was a single ad already available from the BFI and a duped print part of a rather beaten-up reel screened in cinemas.
On a lesser note I ordered a South Korean DVD of one of the edits that seemed to be doing the rounds on eBay, in the hope that it might have had something salvageable that could be of use in the Recobbled Cut. Given that the film's Korean title translates to "Princess Yumyum and the Thief" and that the sleeve has a lot of Princess-era promo stuff, I assumed it might've been the Princess edit. Alas, it's the same shitty Miramax pan-and-scan transfer with chroma artifacts and awful colour. Amusingly (or perhaps obnoxiously), the fly-by-night distributor decided to snatch a few images from Google and adorn the back of the sleeve with your artwork!
"In theory the film (Raggedy Ann & Andy) belongs to the American people... it was funded by the CIA (and I'm not kidding!)
I went to the National Archives and requested information. It was part of the 'Spirit of 76' campaign. They were trying to boost the American economy and distract the public from the impending oil crisis in the middle east. this plan started under Nixon, and continued through Ford. That's why the CIA was so mad at Dick- and fired Emery Hawkins for slowing the whole thing down. They wanted it out at Christmas on 76. Abe Levitow was going to direct, then died. Williams was brought on, funny enough, because they thought he could deliver a Disney-style extravaganza."
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