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Ice Station Zebra - Short Review

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23 replies to this topic

#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted January 04 2005 - 06:20 PM

My overall impression of this film is that it was well worth purchasing. I found it to be quite entertaining and although I haven't read the book I never try to compare one to a film that bases itself on any novel - the novel usually wins. Overall the print was very clean and sharp with very good colors - detail was very good as well. The soundtrack is presented in 5.1 and gets very high marks. I do not know what they sourced - I assume it was originally a multi track recording but regardless the final outcome was very welcome. The bass was full and substantial - given the age of the film - and the various instruments easy to follow and well dispersed through the front and rears. The rears were used more for ambience but were also put to good use throughout the film to enhance the musical score as well. I noticed it mentioned that it was filmed in Cinerama during the opening credits - and Super Panavision. It has an opening Overture, the Intermission/ Entr'Acte and Exit Music- each with a different still shot of the sub.Which leads me to ask if this was part of the original theatrical release.Granted ,as far as the video is concerned this was viewed on a 26" tv and I plan on watching it on a 107" 2:35 screen by the weekend so that should address overall quality but so far so good. There is a short ( 7 minutes )vintage featurette on cameraman John Stevens entitled "The Man Who Makes A Difference" that was informative enough and showed a few scenes from the making of Gran Prix - not much but still interesting - but mostly dealing with his techniques and applying them to Ice Station Zebra. So far I give Warners an A for taking the time to give us an above average effort. Enjoy yours - I certainly did! Posted Image

#2 of 24 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted January 05 2005 - 02:05 AM

Bruce - I believe the street date is Jan.11, I just happened to find one earlier.

#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Tim_P_76


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Posted January 05 2005 - 04:02 AM

Thank you Brent. This waters my appetite. I have never seen this film and so I plan to do so.
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#4 of 24 OFFLINE   Peter Kline

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Posted January 05 2005 - 04:16 AM

ISZ was not filmed in Cinerama. It was filmed using a single lense 65mm camera. It was "Presented in Cinerama" in some venues where there were still large curved Cinerama screens. The transfer for the DVD used version with the extra "Cinerama" card during the opening credits for those special theatres. If a theatre did not have a true Cinerama screen, the mention in the credits was omitted. Real Cinerama used 3 cameras to film and 3 projectors to exhibit. It's like taking standard films and showing them on IMAX screens. Phoney baloney. Posted Image

#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Peter Kline

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Posted January 05 2005 - 04:25 AM

A bit of history. Back in the early 60s MGM made a deal with Cinerama, Inc. to film 5 productions in the original 3 camera/projector process. Two films were made that way: "How The West Was Won" and "The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm." MGM, because of high production costs as well as the immense dificulty in filming in the process then decided to switch to single camera 70mm processes for the final 3 films. Cinerama, Inc. by that time had been purchased by Pacific Theatres who immediately abandonded the original process and ceased all developement of a true single camera system that would have approximated the 146 degree view of the original 3 camera Cinerama. Since Cinerama Inc was in financial difficulties they agreed to let MGM use the name for 3 other films: "Grand Prix", "Ice Station Zebra" and "2001: A Space Odyssey" only when the films were actually presented in theatres that had true Cinerama screens. Eventually a whole slew of films from several movie companies used the "Presented In Cinerama" nomenclature for theatrical showings. None of them were the "reel" thing.

#6 of 24 OFFLINE   Randy Korstick

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Posted January 05 2005 - 04:59 AM

Peter I believe "Battle of the Bulge" was another that used the Cinerama name. Can't wait to get Ice Station Zebra as well as Ivanhoe and King Solomons Mines. I hope and expect all will have big color improvements over the LD's.
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#7 of 24 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted January 05 2005 - 05:03 AM

Thanks for the review and trivia guys, I nearly forgot about this one, not the greatest movie but I liked it. 5.1 stereo too? Nice.Posted Image

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#8 of 24 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted January 05 2005 - 06:07 AM

I've never seen the Ivanhoe LD, but I just watched the DVD and I was rather underwhelmed, particularly with repsect to the colors. I'll have the review up by the weekend.
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#9 of 24 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted January 05 2005 - 08:55 AM

That's slightly disappointing, but I'm desperate to hear that Miklos Rosza score - look forward to reading your full review Herb.
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#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Jeff_HR



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Posted January 05 2005 - 10:31 AM

I'm glad to have this film on DVD. Too bad so many people don't like or enjoy it.
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#11 of 24 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted January 05 2005 - 11:04 AM

"Then they took the film, developed by our German scientists, and the camera, developed by your German scientists, and sent it up in a rocket - developed by their German scientists..."

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#12 of 24 OFFLINE   RobertR


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Posted January 05 2005 - 02:14 PM

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#13 of 24 ONLINE   RolandL



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Posted January 07 2005 - 02:01 AM

For a list of all of the films promoted as being "In Cinerama" go to http://cinerama.topcities.com

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#14 of 24 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted January 09 2005 - 07:47 PM

For those who are awaiting their copy I will add to my earlier comments regarding the video quality since I just finished a repeat viewing - this time on the 107" screen I intended to use intially. To put it in perspective the previous film watched was The Fifth Element Ultimate Edition so if you are familiar with the SuperBit version this also employs then it is agreed generally that this one is very good. Basically while watching Ice Station Zebra shortly after I was quite impressed. It had the odd scene - notably one inside a hut at the base involving Patrick McGoohan and Rock Hudson where there was some apparent flickering and another where Ernst Borgnine is putting the film back into the cannister - Chapter 35 - where the image has the effect of seemingly contracting and then expanding although the actual framed shot remains stable. I never really noticed it on the much smaller tv but wonder what would cause it. The image appeared very film like with no evidence of film grain or edge enhancement -this along with good black levels and colors. Some scenes were obviously shot to look softer either by design or conditions such as those under water and during the snow storm at the base. It's nice to see Warners release this film on dvd and they deserve credit for putting the effort into the audio and video in order to give fans a worthy product. Now if they would just release Gran Prix...

#15 of 24 OFFLINE   Paul Bond

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Posted January 10 2005 - 03:12 AM

Brent, Re your earlier question about the intermission et al. I have a copy of ISZ on VHS from back in the 80's that I know had the intermission section, but I cannot recall if it had entry and exit music. This doesn't really answer the question of whether it was part of the original theater release, but it does show that it was not added just for the DVD. Bond. Paul Bond.

#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Dennis Gallagher

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Posted January 10 2005 - 10:19 AM

The Overture and Entr'acte music were part of the original "roadshow" "Cinerama" release. Any graphics used with the music weren't, of course, part of the theatrical presentation. The music was played with curtains closed (as quality presentations should be done). (Does anyone here remember curtains in movie theaters, or movies shown without commercials preceding them?)

#17 of 24 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted January 10 2005 - 11:28 AM

Yes. I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning, and half the time I have no idea where my car keys are, but curtains in movie theaters and no commercials still ring a bell. Posted Image

(The main downtown theater in my small hometown was a former legitimate theater and vaudeville house with a real orchestra pit, a stage and an honest to goodness balcony. Sadly they tore the place down and put in a bank before I was old enough to put the balcony to its intended use. Posted Image But I see films like Thunderball, 2001 and Planet of the Apes on an appropriately huge screen. I even talked my dad into taking me and my friends to see The French Connection there, although I seem to recall him having sudden loud coughing fits from time to time, and confiscating my eyeglasses at least once. Posted Image)



#18 of 24 OFFLINE   Garrett Adams

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Posted January 10 2005 - 12:49 PM

A bit of trivia. Ice Station Zebra was Howard Hughes' favorite film. In his final years of Las Vegas seclusion he would watch the movie countless times. He had his own print of the film.

#19 of 24 OFFLINE   TonyD


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Posted January 11 2005 - 08:29 AM

nice short review brent, one request.

add in a seperate paragraph here and there.Posted Image

#20 of 24 OFFLINE   John Stockton

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Posted January 11 2005 - 10:34 PM

Thanks for the review Brent. I picked this up for $12.99. Posted Image

Does anyone know if Warner used 65 MM elements for the transfer of this DVD?? I would also love to hear what our fellow member, Robert Harris thinks of this DVD.

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