Carole Lombard appeared in glorious three-strip Technicolor in 1937's "Nothing Sacred." Several of her black-and-white films have been colorized, such as "My Man Godfrey."
But in the near future, could Carole return to the big screen in an entirely new project, even though she's been dead for more than three-quarters of a century? It's not out of the realm of possibility.
Tomorrow night at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, where Lombard's first husband William Powell was master of ceremonies at its opening night nearly 87 years ago...
...a concert will be held starring beloved rock legend Roy Orbison...even though he's been gone for nearly three decades.
The tour, approved by Orbison's estate, has drawn criticism from some who deem it little more than a cash grab, although others have defended it as reflecting Orbison's legacy (http://theconversation.com/the-ghost-of-roy-orbison-goes-on-tour-and-some-arent-happy-about-it-100873). And other artists in recent years have been given the hologram treatment -- from Tupac Shakur to Maria Callas, Michael Jackson to Billie Holiday.
Technology has improved by leaps and bounds, enabling orchestral backing to be removed from artists' recordings and more. Some say it's reached the point where Holiday could perform hip-hop and Shakur sings standards.
Such tech already has been used in films. Facebook friend Mary Sean Young, who played a replicant in the 1982 sci-fi classic "Blade Runner," reappeared in the recent "Blade Runner 2049" -- and camera magic made it appear she hadn't aged a day.
And Peter Cushing, who supported Lombard in 1940's "Vigil In The Night" and appeared in the original "Star Wars" 37 years later, digitally reprised his role as Tarkin in 2016's "Rogue One," 22 years after his death. Cushing's estate gave its approval (https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/rogue-one-creator-defends-cgi-tarkin-says-carrie-fisher-loved-her-digital-self-203453637.html).
So what kind of films could a reborn Lombard star in? Probably comedies, given her rep as queen of screwball. Imagine Carole appearing with comic heirs Goldie Hawn and Anna Faris in the same film, though technological magic could reproduce Hawn circa 1980, making all three roughly the same age. (Hey, Goldie and Anna both starred in versions of "Overboard.")
The key, of course, is sensitivity to the deceased actor's image. We know Lombard was no prude and was famed for her inventive invective, so having her blurt out a few choice words might be appropriate, but putting her in a sex scene? That might be taking things a bit too far.
Some noted actors reportedly are preserving themselves digitally so they can star on screen long after they're gone (https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2018/03/05/590238807/in-the-future-movie-stars-may-be-performing-even-after-their-dead). If that's the case, let's hope the projects they appear in are worthy of their memory.
Since we mentioned Orbison earlier, let's hear one of his hits, one that might appear in his hologram show. This is from 1964, a perfect example of his compelling style as one of rock's greatest voices..."It's Over."