|Director Al Rogell (left) and the Mamba cast|
First of all, the nine reels of Mamba magic today resides in Sydney, Australia. It will be very difficult to get them over to the US on such a short notice.
|Production still of the set|
Mamba has NOT yet been restored. This is very important to make clear. The print we will show at Cinefest is a work in progress, straight out of the can. The picture elements are far from perfect and the soundtrack is noisy, still this doesn't hide the fact that the nitrate print is in very good condition. There is no apparent damage or anything apart from the usual scratches, uneven lightning and some loose splices. The digital print was made out of curiosity and the sole purpose with it is to be able to show this believed long lost film to the world.
|Director Al Rogell at work on the set|
The soundtrack was delivered to me on CD. Every reel had its own sound file. The TiffanyTone disks had been digitally transferred for us by UCLA. No filtering or processing had been made to the audio, it came straight off the original disks. I'm not sure about the pre-equalization on TiffanyTone disks so I decided not to apply anything out of the blue. The sound is rather shrill and noisy. I have good experience in restoring 78's but the soundtrack disks seems to be a bit different, and they should be. I did however apply a slight pop-filter to eliminate the most apparent pops and crackles. I also lowered the over all noise level with about 6dB to make the dialogue stand out, but that's all.
|Jean Hersholt, Will Stanton and Noble Johnson on the set|
The Australian print have a missing scene of about four minutes at the beginning of reel four. As far as I see it this particular scene had been cut by the local censors in Australia in 1930. The soundtrack however still had this scene intact so I decided to keep the sound and replace the picture elements with stills. I used frames from an earlier scene in the film for this. Another oddity about this missing scene is that the first thirty seconds of it was found between two scenes in the middle of reel five where it clearly didn't belong. I corrected this and put it back where it was intended to be.
Paul and I are very proud and honored to show Mamba at Cinefest Saturday night and we hope everyone will have a splendid time, I'm sure we will.
The Cinefest 2012 program can be found here:
Cinefest, TheVitaphone Project
More about Mamba, how it was found and the people who made it can be found here: Mamba Lost and Found
Mamba World Premiere at the Astor in Melbourne: Part 1, Part 2
The production stills in this post courtesy of the Robert S. Birchard collection.