THE NEW YORK TIMES 2016 REVIEW OF THE RESTORED “KING OF JAZZ”
A significant movie restoration not only can return a film’s patina of newness but its place in film history as well. That may be the case when the musical revue “King of Jazz” (1930), brought back to something of its original splendor, emerges from the vaults in the soft, shimmering red and green tones of early Technicolor.
An old-fashioned prestige picture, “King of Jazz” required a newfangled prestige restoration that was thought by some close to the project to be among the most expensive ever.
Material from a partly complete original negative was digitally matched with material culled from three other prints. “We don’t comment on specific costs,” Peter Schade, who leads Universal’s preservation team, said, while allowing that, compared with other restorations, the one for “King of Jazz” was “definitely on the higher side.”
Looking like a million, as might have been said in 1930, “King of Jazz” celebrates the truism that Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley were America’s gifts to 20th-century world culture, even as the film revels in the unexamined prejudices and show-business segregation of the day.