Renoir’s ‘River’ rolls again

Classic pic gets a facelift

Fifty years after its original release — and a painstaking restoration, “The River” ran again Thursday.

After unspooling in Cannes, Jean Renoir’s first color feature, a coming-of-age tale set against the elegant backdrop of India, screened at the Acad’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

Restoration was the result of “unparalleled collaboration” between the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the Film Foundation, the British Film Institute, the Academy Film Archive and Janus Films.

As explained by Joe Lindner, of the Academy Film Archive, the six-month undertaking met unexpected challenges. The original audio track had deteriorated beyond use, so “everything you hear is from Martin (Scorsese’s) print.” A longtime champion of the project, the director appears in a taped introduction to the film.

At a reception before the screening, HFPA prexy Lorenzo Soria spoke of the need to restore this film, deeming it, “a film to be seen on a large screen — to see all the colors, and the lights and the frames.”

Unfortunately, Renoir will never see his film lovingly restored, but on hand was George Gale, the pic’s original editor, there to celebrate his 86th birthday.

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