'Beneath the 12 Mile Reef' - Best Version?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Simon Howson, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    I'm looking for the best public domain version of Beneath the 12 Mile Reef. My main criteria is picture, rather than audio quality. Ideally one that is letterboxed as close to the original 2.55:1 aspect ratio as possible, and that has an otherwise generally good image, colour etc.

    Locally it seems most copies are pan and scan. One trouble with reading reviews for this title is that often it is unclear exactly which version is being reviewed.

    Apparently there is one by "SabuCat productions" & "Slingshot DVD" that has UPC code 1707898232. Does anyone have this disc and can confirm that it is letterboxed close to 2.55:1? Is this one a laser disc port?

    Any information regarding half decent versions will be great. If possibly please provide the UPC so I can identify the right disc when I buy.

    Has anyone seen the CHV Communications version - UPC 096009014933. Is it widescreen?
     
  2. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    There was a widescreen DVD put out by Lumivision I believe, but word is that it is missing some footage...what footage, I have no idea, as I've never seen the film. Perhaps others can help?
     
  3. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    There's a DVD release of this title that claims to have Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, while another claims to have Dolby Digital and DTS audio, but that one didn't list a channel layout.

    Could one of these versions have a direct port of the original 4-track mix?
     
  4. Jeff Joseph

    Jeff Joseph Agent

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    This was ours. That is, we did a gorgeous 2.55 letterboxed stereo (2 track) laserdisc for LumiVision (later Slingshot). They later used that same master for DVD. So if it says "5.1", it isn't. Nor is it "anamorphic", since the master was done for laserdisc, not DVD.

    That said, it's by far the best transfer on the film, both in terms of picture and sound.

    As far as its "missing footage"... well, that's news to me. What footage is missing?

    Jeff Joseph
    SabuCat Productions
     
  5. Jeff Joseph

    Jeff Joseph Agent

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    I should add that the stereo track was Dolby encoded, but NOT direct 4-track sound.

    Because the film is public domain, lots of companies have copied our master.

    Jeff
     
  6. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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  7. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Guys-

    Glad I found this thread in my search!

    I have the Beneath the 12 Mile Reef DVD which I bought back in 1999 or so. I never opened it till last week and I just saw it all the way through. My disc is the Slingshot DVD mastered by Sabucat, number 1707-89823-2. The same one Jeff Josephs describes above.

    What struck me was how good it looked, but it was still marred for what they had to work with probably. Compared to the current releases of films of this era, this disc isn't going to win any comparison tests. The film has some scratches and dust. The color was pretty good throughout and the sound was fine. The image suffers from softness. And I guess the edges of the image tended to exhibit aberrations (correct word?) from the wide lens. It's most obvious when the camera pans and the edges distort slightly. It is not anamorphically enhanced, but widescreen.

    Sharpness and detail was poor. But the film itself still had the power of transporting me to the sea and the charm of the actors kept me engaged. I remember seeing this movie once before on TV during the 80's or so and enjoyed it just as much this time. It was a trip to see a 22 year old Wagner up against a slightly older Peter Graves!

    From a quick look at Amazon, it looks like this disc I have is out of print(?). There is a newer one but it's cropped! I'd be curious if there was a better disc, but if not, this is a pretty good disc.

    I just finished reading Robert Wagner's memoir and it was a really fun and fascinating read. I recommend it to anyone who has any passing interest. Plus it's a great look from his perspective of the Hollywood of the 50's and the studio system. I'm a casual fan and I always liked his work, but I have a new respect for him now. I also saw A Kiss Before Dying and Prince Valiant on TV, so I might have to get those DVD's too!
     
  8. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    I still live in hope's of Fox releasing a "'1950's: The CinemaScope Years" Box, full of as yet un-released movies, which would include "Beneath The 12 Mile Reef".
     
  9. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    Same here! and King of the Khyber Rifles (which I think was the best of the five 1953 CinemaScope films) and The Egyptian (we know they have a good master of it, because it plays on the HD channels).

    They could just put a whole heap of them out in one of their big Ford at Fox / Borzage & Murnau sets. 20 films for $200 would be fine with me, so long as the packaging doesn't suck. [​IMG]
     
  10. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    I suspect Fox will release King Of The Khyber Rifles on a third and final Tyrone Power box set along with Pony Soldier, Diplomatic Courier, Untamed, American Guerilla In The Philippines and Suez.
     
  11. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    I don't think there's many 40's & 50's movies that will be released on their own (those days seem to have passed). It looks like the studios have come to the conclusion that the box set is the way to go.
     
  12. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    From memory there are two scenes that were trimmed by the BBFC, the fist fight with Gilbert Roland and Wagner's assault in the wood at night by Graves' character.
    I hope the Fox 4-track master is still in useable shape.
    I have a pan & scan Cinemax broadcast somewhere which is uncut.
     
  13. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    Interesting! I have a PAL public domain copy that includes these scenes.

    The quality is downright terrible, but I desperately wanted to see the film. Herrmann's score and the cinematography are beautiful, even considering the poor quality Chretien prototype lens the film was shot with.
     

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