The Blu-ray editions of William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge were works in progress when I was lucky enough to watch some remastered scenes from the films in LA last autumn – introduced by director Baz Luhrmann himself.
Enthusiastically holding court in the place he calls his home from home, LA’s legendary Chateau Marmont, Baz described the painstaking efforts he and his colleagues were taking to ensure that the movies – the final two-thirds of the “Red Curtain” trilogy begun with Strictly Ballroom – looked their very best on Blu-ray.
In the selfsame room where, more than half a century earlier, James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and Nicholas Ray undertook the very first read-though of the script of Rebel Without a Cause, Baz took us through some of the steps they were taking to ensure the films got an amazing makeover rather than extreme plastic surgery.
The amount of time that’s elapsed since that afternoon in the Chateau Marmont, long a hangout of louche rock musicians and actors, is an indication of just how painstaking Baz and his collaborators – led by famed digital intermediate colorist Jan Yarbrough – have been.
Today, the films look fabulous. But, as Baz puts it:
“It’s not so smooth that you go, ‘Gee. Your face looks great but aren’t you 45?’”
More on the films tomorrow.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge are released on Blu-ray on 1st November.