This is topic Question on White Zombie and collecting in general... in forum 8mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Dave Ruth (Member # 4596) on May 09, 2017, 09:38 AM:
Hello all. I'm still new at this whole hobby so I had a few questions...

At CineSea I picked up a print of White Zombie. I was told by Lou it was a Niles print and therefore not that great. Gary further told me 'the faces were all washed out'. It was kind of deflating to hear as I was really excited to own a print of this film, but I know everyone meant well in telling me. So my question is...does everyone agree?

If so, then I think my definition of washed out is far different than most. I was actually very happy with the quality of the image. It looks better than the photos show and I projected it at about 80". If you disagree, then is this not a Niles print? There are no heads or tails to label it. And if it is/isn't, how does one tell if there are no heads or tails?
Posted by James Wilson (Member # 4620) on May 09, 2017, 09:47 AM:
Hi Dave,
It looks fine to me,
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on May 09, 2017, 09:52 AM:
Looks fine to me, too.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on May 09, 2017, 10:05 AM:
Niles has kind of a reputation. From what I've heard they don't always deserve it, some of their prints are said to be quite nice.

Every Niles I've ever seen has been kind of awful in some way, but then again I haven't seen all of them, have I?

My own first feature film was a Niles "Cattle Queen of Montana." which is downright crapulent color wise and probably was from the day it was shipped.

Cattle Queen

-it's still kind of a sentimental favorite (-I have about fifty "favorite" prints!) and you won't catch me selling it!

I actually nominated this for Saturday Night Feature at CineSea once: strictly as a goof!

Doug took the bait and put it on the ballot! After I had to vigorously campaign against my own print I approached Saturday Night Feature a lot wiser: -never nominate a print you'd be embarrassed to attach your reputation to!

(Dogs with muddy paws leave better prints than this!)
Posted by Michael O'Regan (Member # 938) on May 09, 2017, 12:26 PM:
To be honest, that print looks pretty good, when you compare it to the Kino restoration of a few years back.
Posted by Mike Newell (Member # 23) on May 09, 2017, 05:18 PM:
Actually that is quite a good print. Mine was a stinker print with a soundtrack to match the many DVD versions are not much better.
Posted by Andrew Woodcock (Member # 3260) on May 09, 2017, 07:27 PM:
Nice print Dave, if it all looks as good as these few screenshots suggests, you have nothing at all to ponder over. [Wink]
Posted by Gary Crawford (Member # 67) on May 10, 2017, 06:21 AM:
I'm so glad you got a decent print of White Zombie. Perhaps there were two or more printings, possibly from different pre-prints. My Niles print of it was probably the worst print I ever bought...both picture and sound. So you got a good bargain.
Also , enjoyed meeting your mom at Cinesea. I know she supports you in your hobby and that's always a good thing.
Posted by Timothy Brown (Member # 495) on May 10, 2017, 10:32 AM:
WHITE ZOMBIE is a decent print for Niles, though there are rough spots; I remember the cantina scene looking rather weak as well as the brightly lit scenes in Mr. Beaumont's house. There are also issues with missing footage several places throughout the film causing jump-cuts and garbled dialog.

As it stands the best and most complete version of White Zombie is the VCI Blu-ray, the Kino Blu-ray is unsatisfactory offering two prints that are either too filtered or too dark.

The Niles print is certainly watchable, but that's an exception for Niles. I bought most of my Niles prints before I knew what to look for in a good print, and was seduced by the their comparatively low prices at the time. Stay far away from their prints of THE LOST WORLD, WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES, CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, METROPOLIS, POPEYE CARTOONS, WC FIELDS shorts or NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
Posted by Panayotis A. Carayannis (Member # 1220) on May 10, 2017, 02:39 PM:
...and their silent Little Rascals shorts!!!
Posted by Steven J Kirk (Member # 1135) on May 10, 2017, 04:00 PM:
Looks good for super 8. I'd be happy with that.
Posted by Timothy Brown (Member # 495) on May 11, 2017, 10:12 AM:
Usually the problem with Niles prints, and washed out prints in general was the integrity of the original. Every time you add a generation on to a film you lose detail, black and dark-grey fill in, light tones blow out.

It's my understanding that companies like Reel Images and Red Fox Films ordered their prints à la carte from common labs that housed negs and dupe-negs of certain public domain titles. So, though not usually the best you were going to see, they were OK. Niles, Thunderbird, Blackhawk, Griggs all did primarily their own work. Blackhawk and Griggs owned nice original materials, Niles and Thunderbird obviously routinely used shoddy multi-generational material for their public domain catalog titles, and their quality was all over the map. Things like trailer compilations could look quite nice taken from 35mm and 16mm, originals, but their PD titles like CALIGARI or Fleischer Superman cartoons were the worst available.
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on May 11, 2017, 10:21 AM:
Many films are not in their OB so it is not possible to know if it's a Nile print or not (except if you project the film and you find out it's not good, for some titles at least, from what I read here)
Posted by Timothy Brown (Member # 495) on May 11, 2017, 01:47 PM:
That's true, and especially hard on titles everybody offered.

At one time I was on a quest for the best CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, and everybody was selling their version. I'd have gone straight to Blackhawk, but in the waning days they only sold a regular 8, silent print. I started with Niles but it was a terrible washed-out Super 8 silent dupe with no facial features. Then I turned to Griggs Moviedrome for a sound print, the print looked better but the music score terribly distorted and muffled, so back it went. Finally, just to have something, I got a Thunderbird which was pretty-much back to Niles quality, but on magnetic stock, so at least I could choose a soundtrack.

I wouldn't buy a feature out of the Niles roster if the seller didn't know something about the print, if not where it came from, some screen caps.
Posted by Joe Balitzki (Member # 438) on May 12, 2017, 06:34 PM:
One B&W Niles title that is reportedly good in S8S & 16mm is "Private Buckaroo". Steve's print of "Cattle Queen of Montana" may have been a lab reject because that title was from a legally licensed negative. They released several RKO/Benedict Bogeaus features under license. Generally, if Niles used legally licensed negatives as preprint material they were of excellent quality whether B&W or Color. Its the Public Domain titles that one has to be wary of.
Posted by Simon Balderston (Member # 5106) on May 12, 2017, 07:50 PM:
i would also be happy with that print looks good for super 8
Posted by Panayotis A. Carayannis (Member # 1220) on May 13, 2017, 05:40 AM:
All Benedict Bogeaus prints were exellent,sharp and with good colors. Unfortunately, as the years passed,they turned reddish or, worse,faded. As for White Zombie,as it was PD everybody released it. I bought my copy from Collectors' Club who, in the beginning, were selling it complete,in 7 single reels with all their original leaders,and a good print.Later they discontinued it and sold a 4 reel condensation instead!
Posted by Timothy Brown (Member # 495) on May 13, 2017, 12:33 PM:
I used to work in a commercial (still) film lab, and it was always my understanding that red film and fading were one in the same, the cause being that the other colors had vanished leaving mostly the red record? I think the reason it's thought that other color turned red is because the red record for most images (especially faces) all contain their healthy share of red, whereas other colors don't carry much detail.
Posted by Panayotis A. Carayannis (Member # 1220) on May 14, 2017, 05:56 AM:
As I have quite a few,I must say that Niles' sound films are of -at least- decent quality.Of course there are exceptions.... The problem is with their silents which are from bad to execrable! Of course there are exceptions....

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