October 17, 2013 posted by

“Rhapsody Of Steel” (with Time Code!)

I’ll be brief this week, folks – it’s super busy here, working around the clock to finish up the cartoon film shows for the Detroit Institute of Arts that coincide with the Watch Me Move art exhibit. The response from the film programs so far have been great. Jerry Beck will be presenting Looney Tunes here on Saturday.

On the Thunderbean front, digital cleanup is happening here daily on three projects, but I haven’t had a chance to do much of it myself in a little while. Everyone is doing a great job. I think the trick is to make them look really good without being tempted to ‘fix’ eveything just because you can. I don’t want to ever get the point of ‘overcleaning’ or leaving the remnants of DVNR in the final release. Gulliver Travels is moving right along and the bonus features keep getting things added to them. Should you have anything especially rare from Gulliver, I’d love to include it in the set.


I’ve been returning some attention this week to my forthcoming Mid-Century Modern, Volume 2 as well. Several new transfers arrived, joining the rest and finally completing the films on the set. Here’s one of the first films we transferred for the new collection, John Sutherland’s Rhapsody of Steel (1959).

US Steel went all out in their production work on this 22 minute film, with full orchestration (by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra) and clearly a healthy budget on the animation side as well. Veteran MGM animator Carl Urbano directed and Eyvind Earle, Maurice Noble and Victor Haboush are production designers on this short. It has to be one of the most strikingly designed commercials/ PR films ever produced.

Sutherland Productions had great animators on so many of these films – on this one it’s Irv Spence, Emery Hawkins and Gerald Baldwin getting credits. I especially love the change of style that happens around 14:10. This print is 35mm (IB) Technicolor, and although it has it share of wear, cleanup is going quite well. This is just the ‘raw’ transfer. What really strikes me about the 35mm prints is just how much crisper the sound is. We ran this print before transfer to get a look at it, and it is just beautiful big. Every transfer for this new set was done in HD, and at this point I’m tempted to have a BluRay on everything….


  • Love all the China girls in the opening! Film is great as well….

  • That was awesome! Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray!!!

  • A true beauty!

  • Superb!

  • Never seen this one before. Thanks for sharing!

  • By the way Steve, its GERARD Baldwin, not Gerald, but it’s one of the most common spelling mistakes in animation, so you’re forgiven.
    Keep a’Goin, Mark

  • I have the record album but never thought the day would come where I’d be able to see this film (which I had always imagined as an ‘Industrial Fantasia’). I can’t wait for the disk !

  • This is kinda like some of the educational films and “Disneyland” TV segements that Disney was doing at that time. It isn’t surprising considering that some people on this film worked at Disney, most notably Eyvind Earle.

  • Oh, Blu-ray would be fantastic! This is the clearest I’ve over seen this and it’s even more amazing than I thought. Thank you so much for doing this!

  • Very nice transfer. It’s really amazing what a good Magnetic 35 print can sound like, even 50+ years later.

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