It’s always nice to have a back-up plan, especially when it involves Leonardo DiCaprio, who stepped in for an absent Martin Scorsese at the world restoration premiere of “Rebel Without a Cause” at LACMA on Nov. 1.

Mr. Scorsese personally apologizes that he couldn’t be here tonight, but he’s very busy editing our new film, ‘Wolf of Wall Street‘ in New York,” DiCaprio said before reading a note from Scorsese to the packed Bing Theater. The restoration was spearheaded by The Film Foundation, which Scorsese founded in 1990.

“‘I was 13 when I saw “Rebel Without a Cause”‘ — that’s Martin speaking, I was 16,” DiCaprio quipped in the midst of reading Scorsese’s letter. “‘It was about us, the adolescents and the teenagers, and it seemed to be taking place in some legendary realm. And everything hit me like a lightning bolt — every color, every form, every composition, every gesture, every tragic turn of events. It was all fused together into one great tragic cinematic vision. I’ve seen the picture many times over the years and it’s never lost its power. When I saw this restoration, I was suddenly back there in 1955, seeing it again for the first time with all its force and beauty.”

To restore “Rebel Without a Cause,” Warner Bros. scanned the original color negative at 8K resolution and reconstructed the sound from original release prints, which had to be digitally cleaned.

“Rebel” marks the tenth restoration collaboration between The Film Foundation and Gucci. Gucci CEO Patrizio di Marco feted the absent Scorsese before lifting the crowd’s spirits with DiCaprio’s surprise appearance.

“Tonight we want to honor Mr. Scorsese and his passion and vision and love for movies,” he said. “He is an inspiration for future generations through his own filmmaking and most importantly to us tonight, through The Film Foundation and the many timeless masterpieces of the past that he’s managed to save.”

On Saturday night, LACMA and Gucci will host the museum’s annual Art + Film Gala, where they will be honoring Scorsese and David Hockney. Here’s hoping Scorsese will be able to tear himself away from the edit bay to take part in the revelry.

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