Originally Posted by Oliver Klohs
Both El Cid and Spartacus look similarly bad and the negative for El Cid has probably not been touched for quite some time, Spartacus has been restored in the analog domain around 1990 I think while El Cid never got a proper restoration/70mm re-release despite the high-profile Scorsese involvment in bringing it out again in 35mm prints.
Having waited so long now offers the option to do a 4k scan from the camera negative that would yield data that can also be used to make these movies ready for exhibition on new 4k projection systems that are already widespread in cinemas and that will become more widespread in homes, soon. And don't worry about the elements of Spartacus - they will be fine when a Blu-ray is needed even though more problematic if one was willing to revisit the OCN, at that point it would become a question of budget.
The AFI Silver, not far from me, is doing part 2 of their 70mm series this summer (part 1 was last summer, with movies like Tron, 2001 and Spartacus, all of which I saw). The difference with part 2 is that they're showing some movies in 70mm but others in 4K. Lawrence is actually being shown both ways. Cleopatra, Sound of Music and Hello, Dolly! are only being shown in DCP, though. It just goes to show how 4K projection is bringing these large-format classics back to the big screen in the 21st century. I would certainly hope El Cid gets such a restoration. I'm yet to see that movie, and part of the reason is RAH's lackluster review of the dvd. Seeing Spartacus in 70mm last summer was my first time actually sitting down and watching the movie beginning to end (same situation with Lawrence several years ago), and this movie can and should look amazing on blu-ray!
I'm sure Criterion is willing (assuming Universal allows them to be able
) to do a proper high-res scan of either the restored 65mm interpositive or the technirama negative.