Sunday, February 15, 2015

Beatles In My Life - Paul Rutan - Restoring The Beatles Films

Beatles In My Life - Paul Rutan - Restoring The Beatles Films

It was the middle of the Burbank night, 3 or 4 am, working late at my film printer, and Paul Rutan called me. "Sam, get over here, you're gonna want to see this."
I got over there. Paul is a master film restorer, and archivist, always working on great stuff, and he'd showed me some amazing things. I was really not prepared, though. Really not.
The room was dark, lit only by his printer, clacking away,
and Paul handed me a film can. Black and white.
"That is the original negative for "A Hard Day's Night."
Wow. Slowly sinking in. I carefully read the label. Beatles.
I set it carefully down on the film bench.
"And this is the original for 'Help!"
Beatles. Colour. Wow.
I was dizzy. A lot to take in. I held in my two hands the original film from two favorite movies. Light bounced off John, Paul, George, and Ringo, and was focused onto this very roll of film I was holding.
"Hard Days Night" was photographed by Gil Taylor BSC, who also shot "Dr. Strangelove," and "Star Wars."
"Help!" was photographed by David Watkin, who shot "Three Musketeers," "Four Musketeers," "Out Of Africa," and "Chariots Of Fire."
Just wow. Overload. What could top this?
The door creaked open, and an elderly man entered the room,
and Paul politely introduced us.
"Mr. Shenson, this is Sam Longoria."
I was dumbfounded, and answered, "You're Walter Shenson."
Mr. Shenson smiled, and said, "Do you know me?"
I said, "Of course, you Produced the Beatles movies."
He said, "We're just finishing up. Mr. Rutan has just restored them."
We chatted a bit. I had to remember to breathe slowly.
Mr. Shenson had an amazing deal with United Artists. They paid for the Beatles films to be made, and because they didn't think pop stars had market longevity, the rights reverted to Mr. Shenson, fifteen years later.
He'd released "Hard Days Night" through Universal in 1981 (I ran it at my movie theatre), and wanted them to look even better now, so Paul had done a high-quality photochemical restoration.
That was in the '90s, and I just found Paul Rutan Jr. on Facebook. Hurray! Such an amazing person, still restoring great movies, so great to re-connect with him. Paul knows all there is to know about movie picture and sound.
Paul restored many films, including "Spartacus" and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," and two other Beatles films, "Magical Mystery Tour," and "Yellow Submarine." He's been restoring classic films for 40 years.
If you want to restore your classic movie, or make a new one, Paul has my highest recommendation.
You can reach him at or

Here was the process.
The restoration of "Help!"

"Help!"Paul Rutan
"Spartacus"Sam Longoria
"A Hard Day's Night"
"Yellow Submarine"
"Magical Mystery Tour"
"The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"

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