The New Print and Audio Mix, In Stereo
There has been a new print of Mad Max screening across the US since October 1999. As far as I know it first screened at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Centre on October 22nd 2001, which at the time was part of a film festival, primarily aimed at film students, and it seemed like it would be a one off event. Since then however the print has shown up several times more, and it now seems like it will play in some sort of limited run across the US.
Ad from the first screening in Long Beach
The first thing that had me confused about this print was that it featured the original Australian dialogue, which has never been available in the US before. Secondly, I found out after some people had attended screenings that this print also seemed to be in stereo, where all previous versions had been in mono.
Byron Kennedy, George Miller and Roger Savage,
Mixing the original Mad Max soundtrack.
In the December 1999 / January 2000 edition of Broadcast Engineering News there was finally some printed information about the new soundtrack. Apparently the new mix was initiated by MGM, who are now the owners to the Mad Max rights in the US, having bought out Orion, who had previously bought out AIP, the original distributors of Mad Max. I can only assume that either these multiple takeovers somehow nullified the original distribution contracts, which previously prevented the non-dubbed Mad Max being distributed in the US, or the original contracts have simply now expired, having been 20 years since the original release in the US.
MGM gave the job of remixing Mad Max to Chace Productions, who seem to specialise in soundtrack restorations and upgrades for older films. In this case though I'm not entirely sure why MGM just didn't have the soundtrack remixed by Sound Firm and Roger Savage (pictured above), who made the original mix. Unlike some of the other mixes Chace have done for older films, in this case all of the original people and the original facilities are still available. Perhaps for some reason this is intended to only be a US release, and not be distributed elsewhere. Only time will tell on that one I guess.
Chace Productions converted the soundtrack using their proprietary Chace Digital Stereo processor, and claim that the new soundtrack provides a "truly directional stero mix". It was also stated that "plans are currently underway to issue a DVD with a 5.1 multi-channel stereo mix."
Pictures from a screening at the UC Theatre,
pictures taken by Bob Ekman, car owned by Mark Jenson.
So where to from here? Well, if you're in the US, I suggest trying to track down this new print while it's still playing in the cinemas, and see the film in all its glory. If anyone can send me a complete schedule I'll happily put it online, unfortunately at the moment I just keep getting random emails on individual showings, and I'm having trouble keeping the page up to date on that basis. Hopefully by the end of the year the promised DVD will be released, so anyone who missed it in theatres can finally catch the original dialogue version in their homes, but again I recommend seeing it in the cinema if you can, rather than waiting for the DVD release. After all, you never know for sure if that will happen... based on past experiences I wouldn't hold my breath on that one!
Inside the foyer at the UC Theatre,
pictures taken by Bob Ekman
Date Location Further info / web site ??? ???
If you know of any further screenings, please contact me...