That's one of the reasons I no longer shoot 35mm--it's much easier to make good enlargements from medium and large format. I used to notice that difference between the contact sheets and enlargements all the time. However, you should be able to make a beautiful 9x12 print from 35mm. Have you tried split-grade printing? In my experience, it's a very reliable method for managing highlights and shadows--and getting a high quality print. My other remedy is slightly more complicated--large format contact prints.