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Cineplexy

July 12, 1987

As a winner in The Times' recent "Magnificent Movie Poll" held for the grand opening of the Cineplex Odeon theater complex in Universal City, I was excited and all set for a terrific evening. The picture I won was "The Sound of Music" and the thought of seeing it again on the "big screen" was indeed a special occasion.

The evening began impressively enough: the magnificent Cineplex complex, free popcorn and Coke, THX sound and guest speakers Robert Wise (producer/director of "Sound of Music") and Irwin Kostal (arranger/conductor). The lights came down and the film began.

20th Century Fox should be shot, especially their print department. There was Julie Andrews spinning around on a magnificent blue-green hillside against a purple-blue sky. Nuns were magically transported from one side of the screen to another.

At reel changes, the actors were attacked by a swarm of locusts. In nine or 10 reels comprising the length of "The Sound of Music" three or four were faded or fading to red (one of the highlights of films processed in Deluxe color). Six of the reels were worn with emulsion and base scratches, as well as splices, especially during the musical numbers. Only three of the reels had acceptable color and quality.

This Academy Award winning film with the producer and director present was shown to its very worst advantage. How could 20th do this? And how could Cineplex let them? Even if it would cost a few thousand to strike a new print, considering the occasion and the people in attendance, it would have been a wise (no pun intended) investment.

Well, enough said. By the way, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they showed the colorized version of "It's a Wonderful Life."

STEVEN GUNBERG

Los Angeles

A Fox spokesman told us, "We'll look into the situation. But for now, no comment."

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