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Kudos to Paramount for The Naked Jungle and Last Train from Gun Hill


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#1 of 15 Robert Crawford

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Posted November 05 2004 - 10:41 PM

The following are my comments regarding the Paramount dvd release of "The Naked Jungle" starring Charlton Heston, Eleanor Parker and a slimmer William Conrad. First off, "The Naked Jungle", is not a movie filmed in a widescreen aspect ratio. The movie was filmed in the 1.37:1 Academy Ratio in 1953, before Paramount started making Vista Vision films for release in 1954. Perhaps, the film was presented in theaters similar to "Shane" in which the top and bottom were cropped which is probably the reason for the confusion regarding it's OAR?! Anyhow, the dvd presentation was very good and captured the beauty of the 3-strip Technicolor process. This film has been a guilty pleasure of mine since childhood, probably because I had a crush on the elegant Eleanor Parker. I've always thought she was one of the most beautiful actresses ever capture on film and if you see this dvd, you will most likely agree with that assessment. There are a couple of scenes in which the color appeared to be not as vibrant as I would've expected, but overall, I was pleased with the dvd presentation.


Secondly, as far as "Last Train from Gun Hill" starring Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn and Carolyn Jones. This is another underrated western that never really received enough credit. Now, this film was filmed in Vista Vision and is presented in it's OAR. I found the dvd presentation to be another excellent job by Paramount. I have no complaints about how the film was presented on this dvd.Posted Image This film contains some top-notched acting performances from the lead actors and I always thought Carolyn Jones was an interesting actress with killer eyes. I know most people know her from "The Addams Family", but mark my word, she was an excellent actress and she had some great lines of dialogue in this picture.









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#2 of 15 John Hodson

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Posted November 05 2004 - 10:48 PM

Seconded on The Naked Jungle; I think it looks excellent. Despite the lack of extras on their titles, Paramount do seem to care about their classics and in the main give them an excellent presentation. They are one of the three studios I trust to do the right thing, even to obscure stuff like The Counterfeit Traitor. I agree that some of the confusion may arise from a Shane situation - there is sufficient room to crop top and bottom and present it in widescreen.

Good to read your comments on Last Train from Gun Hill; can't wait until it arrives (along with Arrowhead)
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#3 of 15 oscar_merkx

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Posted November 06 2004 - 03:02 AM

Never seen these two movies, so I have ordered them

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#4 of 15 Paul_Scott

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Posted November 06 2004 - 06:03 AM

never seen either of these two movies, but i have been anticiapating NJ almost as much as the GWTW SE streeting the same day.
its great to discover new/old favorites on this format, and with Parmaounts current pricing structure, this is happening more and more for me.

i'm not familiar with LTFGH or Arrowhead either, but both will be pick-ups in the not too distant future as well.

#5 of 15 Steve Christou

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Posted November 06 2004 - 06:30 AM

[rant]Marabunta![/rant]

Love both films, I have them on fuzzy vhs, time to update methinks.Posted Image

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#6 of 15 Brent Avery

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Posted November 06 2004 - 07:34 AM

I agree on the quality of presentation - especially on Naked Jungle - I watched it on a 98" 16x9 screen and it looked very good for the most part. It is commom to have background scenes looking "soft" and NJ was no exception but overall it was a very pleasing picture and who could possibly complain in light of the low price? Now all we need to have on dvd is El Cid, Major Dundee, 55 Days In Peking.

#7 of 15 Jim Robbins

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Posted November 06 2004 - 10:50 AM

Robert, when transfers from VistaVision films are made do they always use the original large negative source?

#8 of 15 TonyD

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Posted November 06 2004 - 03:19 PM

was there 2 different versions of the opening
of naked jungle?

i thought i read something about one with a skull being devoured by ants and one without that image.

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#9 of 15 Cees Alons

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Posted November 09 2004 - 07:33 AM

Robert,

I'm a bit late to this thread, but of course I fully agree with your comments about Last Train.
Strange enough, I never saw The Naked Jungle. Your appraisal is more than enough for me to go and look into this one immediately. Thanks!


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#10 of 15 Bradley-E

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Posted November 09 2004 - 10:05 AM

I am very pleased with Paramount, Fox and Warner and the treatment lately of thier classic films. I'm going to try to watch these and Fox's Three Coins in Fountain this weekend.

#11 of 15 John Hodson

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Posted November 10 2004 - 12:25 AM

My copy of Last Train From Gun Hill arrived this am and I concur with both Crawdaddy's comments and those of Robert Harris in this thread; the moment Dimitri Tiomkin strikes up the orchestra for the opening credits you know that this is 'proper western' territory, and it does indeed look beautiful.

If we are doling out kudos to Paramount, then add Arrowhead to the list which, on a brief inspection, looks as least as good as The Naked Jungle and like that movie is presented in the proper Academy Ratio.

A western feast coming up and I'll squeeze Gone With The Wind in somewhere...
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#12 of 15 Johnny Angell

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Posted November 10 2004 - 10:58 AM

Quote:
Marabunta!

Nobody says Marabunta better than William Conrad with that deep voice of his.
Johnny
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#13 of 15 John Hodson

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Posted November 13 2004 - 11:05 PM

One respected reviewer takes issue with the AR of The Naked Jungle - here. DVD Savant says it's a wrong call by Paramount and better framed in widescreen.

Bit of a quandry for Paramount here isn't it? As it was filmed, they were wondering whether widescreen, like 3D, would be a gimmick the paying public wouldn't accept, so they hedged their bets.

While accepting totally that it doesn't look at all bad cropped top and bottom and presented in 1.75:1 (I have now watched it both ways), what is the original aspect ratio when many theatre goers saw only a version in Academy ratio? Anyhoo, I still think kudos to Paramount, and it didn't spoil my viewing pleasure one iota...

EDIT - just read Savant's reviews of Arrowhead and Creature from The Black Lagoon in which he makes similar comments about the movies being released at the dawn of widescreen screenings, but he's a little more lenient in the summation and recommendations. Which is a shame; I wouldn't like to think of anyone being put off buying the disc.
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#14 of 15 Robert Crawford

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Posted November 14 2004 - 01:15 AM

quote:


Video: Good but wrong Aspect Ratio

Though, I usually agree with him in most of his reviews, I do take issue with his quoted comment above.




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#15 of 15 GerardoHP

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Posted January 26 2005 - 04:06 AM

I think this is one of those films that could have gone either way, widescreen or full-frame. According to the IMdB, NJ opened in March of 1954, which means it was probably shot at the end of '53-beginning of '54.

It was probably shown theatrically mostly as a widescreen presentation, and it wouldn't surprise me if the process of shooting it took into account the fact that widescreen was to become the norm in theatrical presentation.
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