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The Bela Lugosi Collection and related dvd problems


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#1 of 209 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 24 2005 - 03:04 AM

IN CELEBRATION OF THE LEGENDARY AND MYSTERIOUS HORROR AND SCI-FI STAR

THE BELA LUGOSI COLLECTION

COMES TO DVD SEPTEMBER 6, 2005 WITH FIVE OF THE ACTOR'S BEST FILMS PLUS EXCLUSIVE BONUS FEATURES FROM UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Universal City, California, August 23, 2005 - Universal Studios Home Entertainment is thrilled to salute one of the most revered and enduring horror film stars of all time with the unveiling of The Bela Lugosi Collection. With his dark handsome features, exotic accent, and suave but mysterious manner, Lugosi simultaneously frightened and charmed moviegoers for over five decades, appearing in everything from classic gore flicks to eerie sci-fi thrillers. Finally, five of his finest horror films - many co-starring sinister superstar Boris Karloff - are available for one great price. The Bela Lugosi Collection DVD, featuring Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, The Raven, The Invisible Ray, and Black Friday, is available September 6, 2005. Priced at $26.98 SRP, the collection also features original theatrical trailers plus special, collectable packaging.

THE LEGACY OF THE MAN BEHIND THE CAPE LIVES ON

Hungarian-born Bela Lugosi rocketed to international fame after starring in the 1931 film Dracula - a role he had played several years earlier on Broadway. The enormously successful film helped usher in a new era of horror movies and Lugosi's charisma and mysterious aura set the standard by which all future silver screen vampires would be judged. His captivating talent for playing the villain netted him a career playing a myriad of monsters, murderers and mad scientists in film and television. Since his death in 1959, Lugosi's popularity and status as a cult figure have continued to grow, aided in no small part by Martin Landau's Oscar®-winning portrayal of the actor in Tim Burton's 1994 critically acclaimed film Ed Wood.

SPINE-TINGLING BONUS MATERIAL
As a special bonus, The Bela Lugosi Collection DVD also includes the original theatrical trailers for Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Invisible Ray and Black Friday.

SYNOPSES

Murders in the Rue Morgue
Based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe, Murders in the Rue Morgue is a haunting atmospheric classic heavily influenced by the German Expressionist classic, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. A deranged scientist, Dr. Mirakle (Bela Lugosi), searches Paris for a prospective bride for his pet gorilla. Inviting young ladies to his sinister laboratory, he injects his victims with gorilla's blood and then disposes of their ravaged bodies through an ingenious trapdoor. Mirakle settles on a beautiful young woman (Sidney Fox) to be his gorilla's mate, kidnapping her from her fiancé Pierre Dupin (Leon Ames). But just as the young lady is about to be sacrificed in the name of unholy science, a frantic Dupin locates his betrothed and rescues her from unspeakable evolutionary experiments.

The Black Cat
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi star in this shocking horror classic of Satanism and murder. A bus crash on a lonely Austrian road compels American honeymooners Joan (Jacqueline Wells) and Peter Alison (David Manners) to spend the night at the house of Herr Poelzig (Karloff), a sinister looking man engaged in an intense death-feud with Dr. Werdegast (Lugosi), whom the couple met on the Orient Express. Poelzig's attention to Joan, and her uncharacteristic behavior, compel the couple to pack their bags until they learn they are being held captive. Trapped in the mausoleum-like house, the Alisons discover that Poelzig functions as a high priest at Black Mass, and he has chosen Joan to be the Devil's bride. Shrugging off the effects of a strong narcotic, David finds labyrinthine pathways which house coffins containing the corpses of beautiful young women, each guarded zealously by a black cat. David breaks into the ensuing Mass and attempts to free Joan while Werdegast discovers Poelzig's unspeakable treachery in an unforgettable climax.

The Raven
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi star in this macabre horror classic inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Dr. Richard Vollin (Lugosi) is a brilliant but unstable surgeon with a morbid obsession for instruments of torture. He saves the life of Jean Thatcher (Irene Ware), a beautiful young socialite injured in an automobile accident, and becomes increasingly attracted to her. The girl is frightened by his advances and complains to her father, Judge Thatcher (Samuel S. Hinds), who tells Vollin to leave her alone. When escaped killer Edmond Bateman (Karloff) approaches the surgeon for a new face, Vollin agrees only after convincing Bateman to assist him in his sinister plan of revenge. The doctor ultimately becomes the victim of his own wicked schemes when Bateman realizes Vollin has no intention of remaking his disfigured countenance in this elaborately produced shocker.



The Invisible Ray
On a scientific expedition to Africa, Dr. Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff) discovers a meteorite containing an unknown element a thousand times more powerful than radium. Contaminated by his contact with the element, Rukh finds himself killing everyone he touches. His friend Dr. Benet (Bela Lugosi) develops an antidote, but its effects are short-lived and result in unintended side-effects. Suspecting everyone of wanting to steal his secret, Rukh becomes increasingly unable to control the urge to kill and eventually goes insane. No one is immune to the effects of The Invisible Ray in this classic chiller.

Black Friday
Boris Karloff plays brain specialist Dr. Sovac, who illegally transplants part of injured gangster Red Cannon's brain into the head of his dying friend Professor Kingsley (Stanley Ridges). The operation saves Kingley's life, but transforms him into a Jekyll-Hyde who is sometimes his timid self, sometimes the vicious Cannon. When Dr. Sovac discovers Kingsley's dual personality - and learns the dead gangster had hidden away $500,000, he's determined to locate the money via the part of Red's brain that still lives. Manipulated by Sovac, Kingsley descends into a horrifying abyss as he alternates between killing those who crossed Cannon and reverting to his own meek personality. Fine acting is one of the joys of this chiller that also features Bela Lugosi in a vivid appearance as a gangster. Nightmarish twists and fast-wheeling action make this a first-class thriller.

CAST & FILMMAKERS (Murders in the Rue Morgue)

Director: Robert Florey
Screenwriters: Tom Reed, Dale Van Every
Based on the Story by: Edgar Alan Poe
Adapted by: Robert Florey
Additional Dialogue by: John Huston
Producer: Carl Laemmle, Jr.
Associate Producer: E.M. Asher
Cinematography: Karl Freund
Art Direction: Charles D. Hall
Editor: Milton Carruth
Cast: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames

CAST & FILMMAKERS (The Black Cat)

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Screenwriter: Peter Ruric
Screen Story: Edgar G. Ulmer, Peter Ruric
Based on the Story by: Edgar Allan Poe
Producer: Carl Laemmle, Jr.
Supervising Producer: E.M. Asher
Cinematography: John J. Mescall
Editor: Ray Curtiss
Cast: Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Jacqueline Wells, David Manners



CAST & FILMMAKERS (The Raven)

Director: Louis Friedlander
Screenwriter: David Boehm
Contributing Screenwriters: Michael L. Simmons, Dore Schary, Guy Endore, Clarence Marks, Jim Tully, John Lynch
Additional Dialogue by: Florence Enright
Based on the Story by: Edgar Allan Poe
Executive Producer: Stanley Bergerman
Producer: Carl Laemmle, Jr.
Associate Producer: David Diamond
Cinematography: Charles J. Stumar
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino
Editor: Albert Akst
Original Music: Clifford Vaughan
Cast: Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Irene Ware, Samuel S. Hinds

CAST & FILMMAKERS (The Invisible Ray)

Director: Lambert Hillyer
Screenwriter: John Colton
Story: Howard Higgin, Douglas Hodges
Executive Producer: Fred S. Meyer
Producer: Edmund Grainger
Cinematography: George Robinson
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino
Editor: Bernard W. Burton
Original Music: Franz Waxman
Costume Supervisor: Brymer
Cast: Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff

CAST & FILMMAKERS (Black Friday)

Director: Arthur Lubin
Screenwriters: Curt Siodmak, Eric Taylor
Contributing Writer: Edmund L. Hartmann
Associate Producer: Burt Kelly
Cinematography: Elwood Bredel
Art Direction: Jack Otterson
Editor: Philip Cahn
Original Music: Samuel Lerner, Ben Oakland, Hans J. Salter, Frank Skinner
Costume Design: Vera West
Cast: Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Stanley Ridges


TECHNICAL INFORMATION
DVD
Street Date: 9/6/2005
Pre-Order Date: 8/2/2005
Copyright: 2005 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Price: $26.98 SRP
Selection Numbers: 28295
Number of Discs: 1
Running Time: 5 Hours and 40 Minutes
Layers: Dual/Dual (Double Sided)
Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1:33:1)
Rating: NR
Technical Info: English Dolby 2.0 Mono/Captioned; French Subtitles; Spanish Subtitles

Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 209 LaurenceGarvey

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Posted August 24 2005 - 12:04 PM

Oh, is Boris Karloff in some of these films?

#3 of 209 Chris Cheese

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Posted August 24 2005 - 03:28 PM

Quote:
...PLUS EXCLUSIVE BONUS FEATURES FROM UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT


Quote:
SPINE-TINGLING BONUS MATERIAL


Quote:
As a special bonus, The Bela Lugosi Collection DVD also includes the original theatrical trailers for Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Invisible Ray and Black Friday.



I don't know about anyone else, but my spine isn't really tingling all that much over these "exclusive bonus features". I mean, I didn't expect anything more than a couple of trailers (though why all five movies don't have trailers, I don't know), but why even mention bonus material when that's all you've got?

#4 of 209 BrianRi

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Posted August 24 2005 - 10:12 PM

Heh, I'm surprised they didn't mention "interactive menus" and "scene selections" as "extras".

#5 of 209 ChrisPearson

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Posted August 24 2005 - 10:26 PM

That made me chuckle, Chris. Although I actually do find it "spine-tingling" that the classic Paramount and Universal films of the 1930s and 1940s are being handled with so much incompetence and disrespect by this bargain-basement outfit. If Warner owned these films, each would be on its own disc (or at most two to a disc), they would be appropriately divided into separate Lugosi and Karloff boxed sets, and we would be getting excellent commentaries, trailers for each film, original poster art and a documentary or two. Universal: check out Warner's Val Lewton set for a look at how it *should* be done.

#6 of 209 Mark Zimmer

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Posted August 25 2005 - 01:39 AM

I'm just glad Universal's releasing them at all, frankly. It didn't look like they were going to remember that they have a lot more classic horror in their vaults than just the franchised monsters.

#7 of 209 LaurenceGarvey

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Posted August 26 2005 - 05:33 AM

If there's a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for DVD blurbs, Universal'll get it for this one... check out that cast list for BLACK FRIDAY.

No doubt, when Universal (if Universal) releases ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, the cast list will be "Starring Bela Lugosi and Charles Laughton."

What a bunch o' maroons.

#8 of 209 Joe Karlosi

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Posted August 26 2005 - 08:46 AM

Quote:
No doubt, when Universal (if Universal) releases ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, the cast list will be "Starring Bela Lugosi and Charles Laughton."

What a bunch o' maroons.

It's not surprising, considering this is being marketed as a "Bela Lugosi Collection".

If that's the most we can find to complain about here (though of course it should have been billed as a KARLOFF/LUGOSI set), that's still fine by me. I'm glad these are being released at all, looking better than ever according to Robert Harris, and I thank Universal and hope they'll be many more.

And the reason there are not trailers for every film is because there aren't trailers for every film. At least none that have ever turned up.

#9 of 209 Michael Elliott

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Posted August 26 2005 - 08:56 AM

Quote:
If Warner owned these films, each would be on its own disc


Gaslight, Jekyll and Hyde and the upcoming Val Lewton's aren't on their own disc.

We've got five films coming out with Robert Harris saying the quality is great and yet people still find something to be unhappy about. This is really good especially when we're wanting lesser known titles to be released. Perhaps Universal will cancel any work on SECRETS OF THE BLUE ROOM since they don't have the trailer.

#10 of 209 Joe Karlosi

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Posted August 26 2005 - 10:14 AM

This is one time I agree with you 100%, Michael.

#11 of 209 LaurenceGarvey

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Posted August 26 2005 - 10:54 AM

Since Universal was going to release them, they should've assigned the project to somebody who appreciated the films and done it right. That's not too much for us whiny fans to ask. At a time when Warners is topping the sales chart with a THIN MAN collection and selling tons of Film Noir boxes, there's no excuse for Universal dumping product on the market with all the thought and preparation of a cheap PD release.

#12 of 209 Michael Elliott

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Posted August 26 2005 - 02:46 PM

We just have a different opinion of "dumping". To me, dumping would be taken the VHS, throwing them on DVD and releasing them that way. From what Mr. Harris has said, these all look better than ever before so that there tells us Universal spent money on the set. The guy involved with the extras on previous sets is no longer "friendly" with Universal so that could be a reason why extra stuff wasn't added here. Perhaps Universal just wasn't interested.

Either way, the main thing is that we've got these things coming and the quality is going to be great.

Rumor has it that a Karloff set is coming, a Paramount set and possible a set of films that were never released on VHS or LD. I would certainly hate to see these not released because of fans upset over the lack of extras.

Warner is the greatest studio out there no question but Universal is doing great with these sets. They might not feature the extras that Warner gives but they are half the price. $4 a movie is cheaper than something from Alpha.

#13 of 209 Robert Crawford

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Posted August 26 2005 - 02:59 PM

The studios can't make everybody happy, but Robert Harris's comments about the quality of this dvd release in this thread is good news to me. I'm looking forward to buying and watching this release.




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#14 of 209 Chris Cheese

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Posted August 26 2005 - 04:31 PM

Just a note - I'm not complaining about the set at all. If the quality of the transfers is good, I'm quite happy to get these films and a low price is a nice bonus. I just thought it was funny that three trailers qualified as spine tingling bonus features.

#15 of 209 Michael Elliott

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Posted August 26 2005 - 05:06 PM

2 trailers, easily available on various VHS releases is a reasonable complaint I think. I just don't want a Paramount situation where we don't get any releases next year. I'm sure every Universal fans want the big titles like ISLAND OF LOST SOULS as well as the stuff that's never been released on home video. The real injustice would be these things not getting released like several Paramount's that aren't coming this year. Posted Image

#16 of 209 Mario Gauci

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Posted August 26 2005 - 05:29 PM

As with you all, I'm glad these much-anticipated titles have been given reasonable transfers. However, I do hope Universal get their act together with regards to DVD authoring issues: as some of you know, I didn't purchase the Abbott & Costello Franchise Collections because of several complaints of freezing. Well, I've just watched the 2-Disc 5-Film Gary Cooper set and, sure enough, playback during the double-layered side featuring BEAU GESTE (1939) broke up intermittently during the second half, thus diluting considerably my enjoyment of the film (which I had never watched before)!

#17 of 209 FrancisP

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Posted August 27 2005 - 10:15 AM

I agree that a few trailers make up spine tingling extras is laughable. Whoever wrote that gets an A for hype and hyberbole. My spine may tingle for the movies but not for the extras.

#18 of 209 BrianRi

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Posted August 27 2005 - 11:46 AM

I think people can be "grateful" and and the same time voice beefs about a dvd release. Universal is a business, and we as consumers have every right to "complain" or criticise a product. I for one am "grateful" these films are being put on dvd, but to use the phrase "SPINE-TINGLING BONUS MATERIAL" to describe three trailers is a total joke, and what's more is condescening. I mean, pul-eeze, dvd has been around for a few years now, so Universal should realize that most people have a clue what is "bonus material" and what is not.

#19 of 209 Joe Karlosi

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Posted August 27 2005 - 11:00 PM

Quote:
I didn't purchase the Abbott & Costello Franchise Collections because of several complaints of freezing. Well, I've just watched the 2-Disc 5-Film Gary Cooper set and, sure enough, playback during the double-layered side featuring BEAU GESTE (1939) broke up intermittently during the second half, thus diluting considerably my enjoyment of the film (which I had never watched before)!

I was afraid when I heard these original reports too, but of all the Universal Sets I've bought, not one frame of any film has ever given me a problem -
Obviously, though, people ARE having trouble, and I hope Universal gets their act together there. My SONY players handle these discs fine.

#20 of 209 LaurenceGarvey

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Posted August 28 2005 - 12:05 PM

Thanks, Brian -- "condescending" is EXACTLY the right word to describe Universal's offering of these films.


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