VCI PLANS NEW 4K RESTORATION OF RAIN (1932)
This will be the original, uncut, pre-code version.
VCI Entertainment in conjunction with the Mary Pickford Foundation and the Library of Congress Film Archive, will be undertaking a new restoration of Lewis Milestone’s version of W. Somerset Maugham’s famed story. This is arguably the best known, and seldom seen versions (the second of three versions filmed) with Joan Crawford giving one of her finest performances as Sadie Thompson, a bad girl who soon becomes the object of a missionary’s almost fanatic attentions which eventually leads to his destruction and Sadie’s apparent reformation. A film that caused controversy when first released, RAIN is one of the classic drams that has its own place in film history. Walter Huston, Guy Kibbee, Beulah Bondi and William Gargan also star.
When VCI decided to give RAIN the 4K treatment, it was soon realized that their 35mm fine grain was of the 1950’s re-issue, which had been severely cut to pass the stricter moral standards of the “Hays Code”. Pre-Code Hollywood was the brief era in the American film industry between the widespread adoption of sound in pictures in 1929 and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines, popularly known as the “Hays Code”, in mid-1934. Although the Code was adopted in 1930, oversight was poor, and it did not become rigorously enforced until July 1, 1934, with the establishment of the Production Code Administration.
Once it became known that VCI was dealing with a cut source, a search began for more film material. First stop was to the Library of Congress, where George Willeman, head of the film archive, let them know that they indeed have a 35mm film negative and fine grain on the uncut film, however it was owned by the Mary Pickford Foundation, who would have to give permission to access the film. VCI was led to contact Elaina Friedrichsen, director of the Mary Pickford Foundation, who graciously and enthusiastically granted permission.
The restoration process will start by making a state-of-the-art scan of all the 35mm film elements in 4K resolution. A new scan master will then be created by editing the best and most complete film footage, to create a complete uncut version of the movie. Then the uncut master will be digitally restored frame-by-frame to repair any defects, scratches and dirt. The soundtrack will also go through a thorough digital restoration to remove all pops, crackle and hiss. The whole process should restore this important film classic to all its glory.
Look for RAIN to be available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, sometime in mid-2020.