If Carole Lombard knew what had happened over the years to "Nothing Sacred," one of her favorite films (and top performances), she probably would want to slug somebody. This David O. Selznick production was released in three-strip Technicolor (the first comedy feature to receive such treatment), but when Selznick sold the rights to this and several other films of his in 1943, they were remastered in the cheaper, less vivid Cinecolor. Later, black and white prints were made for early television showings, and "Nothing Sacred" eventually lapsed into public domain. The film has long been available on video and DVD, but the quality of the prints matched its cheap price, ranging from passable at best to appalling at worst.
But that soon may be changing -- and in time for Christmas, too.
This "tenderest, toughest love story ever told" is getting the Blu-ray treatment from Kino Video on Dec. 20. Advance orders are being taken at several sites, including Classic Flix (http://www.classicflix.com/nothing-sacred-bluray-p-11771.html). According to publicity, "This is the only version of the of the original film authorized for release from the estate of David O. Selznick "
That may be good news; it may be bad news. For you see, in 1998 Disney restored the film for its European markets, and when that print was shown publicly, it was hailed for bringing its original, brilliant 1937 color back. (Learn more about the painstaking work required to restore "Nothing Sacred," including a then-new digital technique for one of the reels, at http://digitalcontentproducer.com/mag/video_first_person_restoring/.) Until its release, no one is certain whether this was the print that was used.
But there is reason for optimism. In a thread about the release at Home Theater Forum (http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/315232/nothing-sacred-1937-coming-to-blu-ray), it's been noted all recent Kino issues have been of high quality, including "The Battleship Potemkin," "Metropolis" and several Buster Keaton films.
So keep your fingers crossed that this issue (which apparently will also come in a conventional DVD version) will be something worth smiling about.