In November 1989, a Royal premiere was presented at the ODEON WEST END on Leicester Square in London, the most famous theater in Europe at that time. It was our first Royal Premiere, presenting All Dogs Go to Heaven. Princess Anne, the second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and her two children Zara and Peter Phillips (behind George Walker, owner of Goldcrest Film & Television). A beaming Cathy Goldman stands at the left behind Don & Gary.
It was a very nervous evening for us. Just a week before the event we had our crew screening at a theater in downtown Dublin, which was a disaster. Gary had worked with Technicolor London, carefully color-timing the original master with the film technicians at Technicolor and the final product was beautiful. Our contract with Goldcrest Films International included a clause that all film printing would be done at Technicolor, the master prints from the original negative and the release prints from the inter-positive print, which was made as an identical transfer element from the color-timed film print and used to create the additional negatives used to produce release prints – thousands of them for theaters around the world. The purpose was that a film negative could only print about 50 copies of “perfect” prints. So, after every 50 prints the negative would be replaced. The purpose of having Technicolor labs do all of these processes, were extremely important to the quality of the film for the audiences. Immediately after completing the master print, a call came from Goldcrest to inform us that they were going to do the release prints at Rank Labs, because they could get an extended 180-day payment contract for the prints before they would have to pay for the work. Consequently, for our crew screening, Goldcrest sent over a Rank Labs’ release print for the event, which in fact was terrible. It looked like they ran the film thru a green-brown liquid that stuck to the film. Don’s reaction after the showing on the way to the reception in a car was, “What the hell was that?!!” Gary explained the issue and the difference in quality between a Technicolor product and a Rank Labs product.
Gary called Technicolor the next day and explained that we were having a Royal Premiere at the Odeon on Leicester Square and that Goldcrest would be supplying one of those Rank prints!!! Technicolor responded immediately. On the evening of the Royal Premiere, three of the Technicolor crew, dressed to the nines in tuxedos walked thru the doors carrying two, polished chrome film cases with a perfect Technicolor print from the original negative. It was beautiful. We had a great audience reaction to the film – tears and all at the end.
Epilogue: No one has ever seen the Technicolor version of the film, because Rank provided every green-brown release-print for theaters around the world and we saw many critiques commenting on the bad colors selected for the film. In an effort to save the look of the film for home entertainment, Gary sent an email to the top executives at Goldcrest Films, begging them to use the Technicolor inter-positive to do the transfer to video. Sadly they didn’t.