Originally Posted by CatBus
If I can distill our disagreement down to its essential points...
1) Intent vs. tolerances. You believe that unintended errors are fair game for correction.
Correct, for general public exhibition and consumption. Ideally those decisions would be supervised by the pertinent filmmakers; otherwise by individuals that have the appropriate appreciation for (the) film and understand the difference between scrubbing away film grain versus say unintended errors. Such as wires which more often than not were never intended to be visible to the audience.
I believe films are full of unintended errors and only the ones that are outside the tolerances of the time are fixed, and they are fixed at the time.
This is a mistaken assumption that all errors were noted or observed at the time of the take and could be resolved by improving the next take. Even if reshoots are permitted and a particular mistake has been discovered, it may not be practical to get a better take or it is determined that it is tolerable enough to let slide and focus resources elsewhere.
Those who actually have worked on a film project, such as myself, know that errors occur and no one notices at the time but those mistake rear their heads down the road when it may not be feasible to redo. If the error is egregious enough then yes it would be a candidate for a reshoot.
Yet if you had an elaborate set and it has already been torn down and the hypothetical shot is fairly wide you go with the take that has the best performance, hopefully without any obvious issues. Especially before the advent of powerful digital tools.
So by my definition, no films contain errors worth fixing because if they made it onto the final print, they are, by definition, within tolerances. Neither point is provable, and my position probably seems as naïve to you as yours does to me.
That is one assumption and can be correct periodically but I disagree that it is the rule rather than the exception. Coming from experience being on actual shoots and film school.
This is a flawed premise, although it does retain a fair amount of truth to it. Again mistakes actually can be missed until the film is released or when it is too late in post-production, it happens and in order to meet deadlines the filmmakers must resign themselves to that state and hope no one notices.
2) Historical value of errors. This is actually derived from the first point. I think errors have historical value because they show what the tolerances for error used to be at various points in history.
If you don't think it was within tolerances, of course there's not much historical value.
In respects to archival copies I fully endorse retaining the highest quality versions possible, including errors. What I disagree with is retaining certain issues for home theater consumption.
3) Public right to art in the public space. I think once a piece of art enters the public space, the public has a right to see that this piece of art is preserved in the state in which they saw it (e.g. Library of Congress, etc). I'm not sure you care one way or the other about this.
A different animal but I agree with you partly here. As mentioned prior in this response and earlier in the thread. The highest quality archival copies should be retained for the sake of posterity, with the inclusion of various errors. I believe Library of Congress attempts to retain various versions of works that have been revised. Books that have been changed by the author for example or Star Wars where I believe they do have several versions.
I feel that for general public consumption certain issues can and should be addressed so long as they are subtle, organic, congruent, unintrusive, and complimentary to the suspension of disbelief. I do understand why some feel that corrections are inappropriate revisions. Although I believe the heighten sensitivity has more to do with the imprudent, incongruent, superfluous, inconsistent, and obnoxious changes Lucas applied to Star Wars.
I hope this provides clearer common ground.
PS I love those alternate cover suggestions, amoergosum and Evangelo2. Perfectly depicts the spirit of the series.
Why subtlety and simplicity escapes Lucasfilms these days is perplexing.