The Spanish Dancer - EYE restoration

A humorous costume drama based on the adventures of Maritana, a gypsy dancer in love with Don César de Bazan, a penniless nobleman.

The lovers inadvertently get involved in a court conspiracy devised to separate the Spanish king from his French wife. Maritana however, manages to turn the situation around using her wit and charm.

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The restoration of THE SPANISH DANCER is based on film material from four different sources:


  • Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, Paramount Pictures

  • US Release: 7 October 1923

  • Director: Herbert Brenon

  • Cast:
    Pola Negri (Maritana)
    Antonio Moreno
    (Don César de Bazan)
    Wallace Beery
    (King of Spain)
    Kathlyn Williams
    (Queen Isabel)
    Adolphe Menjou
    (Don Salluste)

  • Released in 9 Reels
    (2.353 mtr.)

  • Restored version is 2.185mtr.

  • A tinted 35mm nitrate print from EYE Film Institute Netherlands (1700m.) with Dutch intertitles
  • A black&white 35mm nitrate print from Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique (1690m.) with Russian intertitles.
  • A 16mm print from Photoplay Productions (570m.) with English intertitles
  • A 16mm print from Lobster Films (625m.) with French intertitles.

Each one of these prints were incomplete and of varying pictorial quality. Inspection of these elements revealed that even the most complete version that survived (EYE print) only contained 64% of the original film, when compared to the original Paramount continuity script. The print form Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique contained about 62% of the film. The 16mm prints represent a re-release version that was dramatically shortened to contain only around 60% of the original version.

missing reels

Close comparison made it obvious that despite missing reels in the Dutch and the Russian language version, the surviving scenes in these films were complementary to each other, bringing back most of the story line. Despite the obviously inferior pictorial quality, 16mm sources were used for a number of unique scenes that were necessary for the plot development. 

All the available material was scanned, digitally restored and re-edited, reinserting the English intertitles as indicated by the script. The resulting digital intermediate was then printed back to 35mm film, using the Desmet method to reproduce the tints.

final version: not a single scene missing

The final version now contains 95% of the original script, and doesn't miss a single scene.