Jungle Book (1942) - Any good PD versions out there?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by RoyM, May 2, 2005.

  1. RoyM

    RoyM Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure if anyone here is familiar with this movie, but it's a superior live action version of the Kipling story (liberally adapted as most versions are) starring Sabu, well directed by Alexander Korda, and featuring a terrific Miklos Rosza score. Sadly, it has passed into public domain over the years and hence will probably never get a proper restoration. A pity, considering that it is such a fine family-oriented action film, and would make a great double feature with Korda's "The Thief of Bagdad."

    I picked up the Alpha version of this PD title sometime back and finally got around to watching it recently. Much to my chagrin, this has to be literally the worst transfer of a film to DVD ever. It's not just that Alpha simply transferred a PD VHS print, but that they apparently drove a truck over the VHS and passed it under a high powered magnet before they transferred it. The image was beyond muddy and the entire color tone randomly shifted from yellow/green to orange/red throughout the film. I own a few other PD titles (several from Alpha even) and none of them are anywhere as hideous as this one.

    I did used to own a public domain VHS print of this film from Goodtimes, which as I recall wasn't too bad at all. I am wondering if anyone here is aware if there are any good (or even just halfway tolerable) versions of this film out there on DVD. I don't want to purchase another PD version only to discover that it is just as bad or worse than the Alpha version I have now.
     
  2. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Roy,

    Absolutely one of my all-time favorite films...a true classic that belongs right up there with The Thief of Bagdad, Simbad, and all the rest.

    I also own this DVD and am so saddened by it's atrocious quality...colors are so faded and detial is so blurry it's painful. It's even *worse* than Quiet Man for those of you wondering. [​IMG]

    I guess because it's public domain it's got this problem. I too would jump at the chance to purchase a DVD that does this wonderful film justice.

    Maybe at HTF we could start a fund drive to restore and release public-domain films that get trashed like this. Has anyone ever thought of that???

    Really!
     
  3. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Actually, MGM (the current company, just merged with Sony) has a really nice-looking print (from the Goldwyn portion of their film catalog) that has aired occasionally on cable tv in the last few years. They've released official DVD versions of other films that have been public domain staples (I BURY THE LIVING, HE WALKED BY NIGHT, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, A BUCKET OF BLOOD, etc) for years, so it's not entirely outside the realm of possibilty that a legit DVD might appear from them in the future, not that I've heard anything specific about a THE JUNGLE BOOK release.
     
  4. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Great info!

    Maybe we can dig up some contact info and put in a request...I think their website has some form to fill out for this purpose...
     
  5. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    You "actually" think Sony is going too release a "nice-looking print" of a PD title???
    Hope your right!!!
     
  6. obscurelabel

    obscurelabel Stunt Coordinator

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    There is at least one example of Columbia releasing a quality DVD of a public domain title: His Girl Friday
     
  7. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Ray, do you have a laser disc player? If so, there is a pretty gorgeous transfer of this movie released by Embassy Home Entertainment (accept no substitutes - other laser incarnations of the movie are as bad as the DVD's out there). Embassy's release has nice, saturated Technicolor and is sharp as a tack. I've never seen it better, and I've been through every conceivable edition of this looking for a great one (including an expensive super 8mm print). You can't go wrong with the Embassy laser, if you can find on on eBay.
     
  8. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    How is the dvd for the one platinum disc corporation, released a few years ago ?
     
  9. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    Anyone ?
     
  10. Jack Cleveland

    Jack Cleveland Second Unit

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    Does the Embassy laser have "Children's Treasures" written across the top?
    Across the bottom "Recommended by the National Education Assosciation"?
     
  11. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    That's the one!
     
  12. Jack Cleveland

    Jack Cleveland Second Unit

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    Thanks for the confirmation. I'm hoping to get this one soon!

    Is the color better than the color on "Thief of Baghdad" Goldwyn LD?
     
  13. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    Has anyone considered the Network R2 PAL UK DVD edition? I think the film is still under copyright there, and I'll bet it has a better transfer in all departments over the 20+ yr old Laserdisc....

    I got THE DIVORCE OF LADY X (another PD title in the US) from Spain on DVD and the transfer is MUCH better than the U.S. LD, which had the best transfer of the film I had seen previously. The only problem is the Laserdisc shows a LOT more picture info on ALL 4 sides when compared to the sharper, cleaner, and more appropriate color balance of the Spanish DVD. :-( Why the transfer for that DVD was cropped so heavily on all 4 sides is beyond me...
     

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