Unfortunately film development can't compensate totally for the lack of contrast due to internal flare with older uncoated or poorly coated lenses, I include some Multicoated lenses in that statement.

Michael R is right about many 1950's coated lenses being almost equal in terms of contrast to modern Multi-coated equivalents, there's also a misconception that lenses have a single coating, some do but others have more than one coating layer Zeiss used 2 quite early on and some pre- Multicoated lenses were not far different in terms of their coatings.

Early coated lenses were problematic with colour films often giving quite a strong blue cast and warm up filters were introduced to compensate. Lens manufacturers overcame this in the 1960's with newer coatings and often these lenses were designated to reflect this, Color Skopar, Pancolor etc.

My experience using an uncoated 1930's 135mm f4.5 CZJ Tessar, a mid 1950's 150mm T coated 150mm f4.5 CZJ Tessar, a late (2000/1) coated 150mm f5.6 Xenar and also various Multi-coated 135mm & 150mm Symmars & Sironars is that apart from the uncoated lens the results are almost indistinguishable in terms of contrast even shooting into the light. In any light there's a drop in micro-contrast with the uncoated Tessar and that's the same for my other uncoated lenses, there's a loss of detail in subtle highlights. The 50's Tessar is very heavily coated and visually give a blue cast but it's remarkable good for B&W work and micro contrast which is imprtant for fine detail is as good as a modern MC lens, and it's very flare resistant.

The problem with discussions like this is not all manufacturers coated their lenses properly, they wouldn't coat every air glass surface or coatings were poor.

A classic for poor Multicoating was the Hoya range of lenses in the late 1970's or early 80's launched with a lot of hype. They were very sharp lenses but Hoya skimped on the coatings and many suffered from severe flare, the result was Hoya dropped the entire range and went back to the drawing board, the new range was launched under their Tokina brand name.

So the choice of lens does have an effect on the contrast and particulary micro contrast, highlight and shadow separation, varying exposure and film development time can only help to get the bst from the inherent contrast of the lens itself.

Ian