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>  Fascinating stuff, Steve.  "The meaning of the original work no longer
>  lies in what it uniquely says but in what it uniquely is."  This makes
>  the meaning seem terribly desiccated, like the meanings in books
>  collected by book collectors.  Did you know that one of the hallmarks
>  of quality, in a book to be collected, is that the spine has never been
>  broken?
>
>  How would it be, if the film had never been seen...
>                                                       --Fiona
 
 
Pardon me, Fiona, but I think you might have missed the issue here.  This
question bouncing around SCREEN-L is really part of a larger issue discussing
the "forms" of art, or communication.  Video vs. Film is certainly one; but
even within film there are several that come to mind.  You seem to chide book
collectors for their concern with spines.  (You might be interested to know
that much of the historical information concerning a book's physical history
is to be learned from the spine.  Many know that precious and rare manuscripts
have surfaced from the spines of old tomes.)
 
A parallel argument solely within film would be safety vs. nitrate film.  When
I used to attend the Museum of Modern Art on a more regular basis there was a
coterie of individuals who would swear that the only way to see a film is in
its 35mm nitrate original.
 
Another argument might be the issue of enlarging 35mm to 70mm (we all know of
the GONE WITH THE WIND problem) -- or further:  a week ago I saw Hitchcock's
NUMBER SEVENTEEN for the first time, and noticed that everybody's scalp was
slightly chopped off.  It turns out the film was made not with sound-on-film,
but with the separate disks.  When they recorded the sountrack on the film,
the exact ratio had to be sacrificed.  In such a case, the original "form" of
the film would be a more truer representation.
 
Last case:  even in PSYCHO:  the negative was stolen in the 1960's and has never
been recovered, which is why the videocopies are rather low class.  But I
remember seeing an original release print in the 1970's.  Even though it was a
bit dirty, you could very clearly see "mother" walking by EVERYTIME the camera
focused on the house.  Most people don't even realize this, thanks to poor
timing (photo reproduction) and the increased contrast of lower generation
prints.
 
Bob Kosovsky
New York Public Library--Music Division
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