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HTF REVIEW: The Cat People/The Curse Of The Cat People (RECOMMENDED).



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#1 of 31 Herb Kane

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Posted October 14 2005 - 09:38 AM

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Cat People / The Curse Of The Cat People
The Val Lewton Collection





Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 1943 & 1944
Rated: Not Rated
Film Length: 73 & 70 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Standard
Audio: DD Monaural
Color/B&W: B&W
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
MSRP: $19.97 ($59.97 set)
Package: Single disc/Keepcase





The Feature:
With Halloween nearly upon us, Warner Brothers released the long awaited Val Lewton Collection. The five-disc collection includes three double feature discs, I Walked With A Zombie/The Body Snatcher, Isle Of The Dead/Bedlam and the feature review set, Cat People/The Curse Of The Cat People - all of which will be available separately. Also included will be two additional discs exclusive to the collection; The Leopard Man/The Ghost Ship and The Seventh Victim which is double-billed with a new bonus documentary which focuses on the famous RKO producer entitled, "Shadows In The Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy". The individual discs list for $19.97 while the Collection lists for $59.97


Cat People

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Architect Oliver Reed (played by Kent Smith) falls in love with beautiful Irena Dubrovna (played by Simone Simon) and they duly marry. But Irena refuses to give herself to him, believing that there is something evil inside herself. She tells of her Serbian ancestors who were reputed to be able to transform into cats when angered. As Oliver's frustration and unhappiness grows, he seeks consolation in the arms of co-worker Alice Moore (played by Jane Randolph). But a series of near-attacks on the two of them leave him wondering either if Irena has not become jealously deranged or if maybe her Serbian legends are true and that she is turning into a cat person to avenge herself on them.

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Cat People was the first film from producer Val Lewton at RKO Radio Pictures. With it Lewton essentially created a new type of horror film - the psychological horror film. And in so doing, Lewton ended completely changing approaches to the horror film. In synopsis, Cat People could be any of a dozen similarly minded B-programmer werewolf variations of the same decade. The crucial difference was in Lewton’s approach to horror. Lewton took any overt manifestation of the supernatural away from the audience. The approach that became a dictum to his writers and directors relied upon casting doubt, both for the characters and audience, upon whether or not the supernatural menace was real or something imagined. Whether or not Simone Simon is a were-feline or merely imagining it, the film here is cleverly ambiguous about, even at the very end. Certainly no were-cat is ever seen - much growling is heard and the shadow of something is briefly glimpsed prowling through Kent Smith’s office, but that could always be the panther from the zoo to whose cage Simon stole the key. Even cleverer is a subtext of explanation offered by psychologist Tom Conway that all but states outright, that Irena’s belief that she is a were-feline could as much be a delusion caused by an extreme fear of sex.

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The actual suspense scenes are structured with a careful ambiguity too. There’s the classic scene where Simon pursues Jane Randolph where in Randolph’s imagination Simon’s footsteps appear to become an animal chasing her. The scene builds with such a sense of foreboding as to what is following her and where we are so misdirected to look behind her that when a bus slams into the foreground with a hiss of brakes it is a genuine jolt, a device now known as "the bus". And then there’s the celebrated swimming pool scene that creates the sensation of something present amid the rippling light reflected on the ceiling - nothing is ever shown, only suggested by growling noise and the suggestion of a shape prowling down the stairs. It’s not a hugely subtle scene, but it does contribute entirely to the haunted mood of the film, an atmosphere that seems to derive a large part from having every set light placed at ground level pointing upwards. Indeed director Jacques Tourneur creates such a remarkably haunted mood that even a revolving door left slightly rotating is made to suggest something.

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The Curse Of The Cat People

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After the death of his wife Irena, Oliver Reed (played by Kent Smith) has married Alice (played by Jane Randolph) and they now have a young daughter Aimee (played by Ann Carter). But Aimee is getting in trouble at school because she spends too much time daydreaming. Oliver tries to encourage her to make friends. But after Aimee finds a photo of Irena, whose name is never mentioned in the house, Irena’s ghost appears to her and the two happily strike up a friendship much to the consternation of Oliver and Alice.

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With Cat People (1942), producer Val Lewton created a new approach to horror, something that has been termed "psychological horror". Lewton’s trademark approach was something that exists in the mind of the viewer who was left in a constant state of ambiguity about whether they are dealing with a supernatural menace or whether the characters on the screen were imagining what was happening and there were purely mundane causes for events. Lewton’s films frequently arrived at their determined end with viewers still left unsure whether the menace was supernatural or mundane. But throughout his brief tenure at RKO Radio Pictures he was constantly at odds with studio management who did not understand the subtlety of his approach. With Curse of the Cat People, the studio had ordered a Cat People sequel of Lewton, but Lewton instead confounded them and produced this fine effort.

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To call The Curse of the Cat People a sequel to Cat People is somewhat misleading. It is a completely different story - the first film was an existential werewolf story of sorts, whereas this is a story about childhood fantasy playmates. It shares some of the same characters - the three principals of Kent Smith, Jane Randolph and Simone Simon - but is really it’s own film. It, for example, at no point requires any understanding of or reference to the first film and it is it’s own self-contained story. Nor does it involve any ‘cat people’, despite the title.

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But what it does share is the same ambiguity of fantasy elements. It is not as strongly manipulated an ambiguity as the question of whether Irena was a cat person was in the original, although the turning of Kent Smith into a parent demanding that Aimee play like other children does give a credible psychological undertow. As a film it is less concerned with ghosts than it is with the richness and power of the imagination. While Curse is not even really a ghost story, its directors adeptly create a haunted atmosphere of old houses, strange old women and oral ghost stories, and there is a great deal of imagery. A scene prowling through the old house amid gloomy bric-a-brac, with Carter’s face lit up from underneath and a supernatural wind seemingly tossing the pages of a book is the most overtly supernatural seeming of scenes, even if it is really a scene that has nothing at all to do with the rest of the film and seems inserted solely for effect. There’s a very good scene with young Ann Carter huddled on a snowy bridge, waiting for The Headless Horseman, and hearing approaching hoof-beats on the soundtrack which turn into a shadow passing her and then cuts away to shop it a vehicle passing her.

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The film also has two directors. It was begun by Yugoslavian immigrant Gunther von Fritsch and taken over by Robert Wise. Up to that point Wise had worked as an editor, racking up some highly impressive credits - Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), as well as the Charles Laughton The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) and All That Money Can Buy/The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941). Lewton let Wise take over from von Fritsch and then go on to direct The Body Snatcher solo the following year. Despite the two heads at the helm the film still holds together with great subtlety and finesse.

In 1942, when RKO was suffering financial difficulties, the studio decided to follow Universal's lead and start a unit dedicated to making inexpensive horror B-movies just for profit. The studio put producer Val Lewton in charge and gave him a series of tiny budgets and lurid pre-tested titles. They wanted shorter films (under 75 minutes) so two could be shown together on double-bills. Because RKO was concerned only with the bottom line, they also gave him a relatively free hand creatively.

Between 1942 and 1946, Lewton produced eleven films (nine of which were in the horror genre), turning those meager studio resources into momentous works of psychological terror that infused the horror genre with a new intelligence and literary luster. Lewton created his great legacy by emphasizing the fear of the unseen instead of focusing on special effects. Additionally, he hired young filmmakers who had yet to prove their worth, but were amazingly talented - Jacques Tourneur, Robert Wise and Mark Robson direct all the films in the Lewton Collection.

Ordinarily, I don't complain about such trivial things, but the box this set came in is really clunky and impractical. I don't know if the screener box I received was something intended for box-type stores, or if this is the regular box. The box is almost twice the height of a regular DVD box and the five discs just slip into the bottom opening, meaning, you have to have both hands to carry the box or to remove the box from the shelf, or the discs simply slide out (think Criterion Hitchcock set, only almost twice as high). And if your shelves are like mine, this set is far too tall to fit on any regular shelf. You're going to need to set this box on its side or remove them from the box. As I said, I don't know if I received something unique or if this is the regular box.

The Features:
Cat People 4/5 Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
The Curse Of The Cat People 3.5/5 Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image



Video:
This is my first experience owning any of the Lewton films on any format. Considering how much has been talked about with respect to the problematic (read poor) presentation of these films, I have to say, frankly, I'm surprised. I was expecting far worse than what I got - at least for these two feature films. Perhaps the opinion of this reviewer may change as I progress through the set, but so far, I'm impressed. One can't help but notice how many scenes throughout these films, are reminiscent of classic film noir. Expressionistic shadows, lighting and an atmospheric moodiness are key elements throughout these films and darker scenes or sequences shouldn't be confused with a problematic transfer. Especially considering the director here was responsible for one of the greatest films noir ever (Out Of The Past) and the DP, Nicholas Musaraca worked on as many noirs as anyone in the business. Many of the old RKO films noir (and there's plenty of them) have a very similar look and appearance. No doubt, the shoestring budget of this film and those of other RKO films contributed to this look - a quality unto itself frequently seen and associated with film noir.

Presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.37:1, first thing you'll notice as these films (both of them) progress is the jitter and instability of the image (shrinkage?). There's also a fair amount of visible print damage including scratches and blemishes. Really, these are the only true issues with the prints. Contrast appears to be good and the levels of grayscale are downright impressive. Blacks were adequately deep, while whites were relatively clean. There is a moderate amount of fine to medium film grain present and the end result is a pleasing film-like image with a satisfactory and pleasing amount of image detail, if not just slightly soft. While Curse is in slightly better condition, I found it overall, slightly softer, yet a little bit cleaner.

As has been stated on this forum no less than a kazillion times, the surviving elements of the RKO library are in less than favorable condition. It's that very reason, the end results must be given special consideration. If you're expecting "Casablanca-like" results here, you're going to be disappointed. If you find yourself disappointed, I'm afraid your expectations might not be as realistic as they could or should be.

Video:
Cat People 3.5/5 Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
The Curse Of The Cat People 3.5/5 Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image



Audio:
No real surprises here with either of these tracks encoded in DD monaural. Both of these tracks were clean and basically free of any hiss or other noisy distractions. During a couple of the quiet sequences a slight amount of hiss is noticeable, but never distracting. The overall tonality is natural and the dialogue was always bold and intelligible. There's not much heft to the track as it was bound by the limitations of the period and comes across on the thin side, but these are both solid and virtually problem free.

Overall, a nice job.

Audio:
Cat People 3/5 Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
The Curse Of The Cat People 3/5 Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image



Special Features:
With both films being presented on the same disc, the features located on each title are as follows:
[*] The main features among both titles are a pair of Commentaries by Greg Mank with Simone Simon. Mr. Mank unleashes an avalanche of anecdotal tidbits relating to the film and its production. Clearly Mr. Mank has done his homework - and it shows. He is absolutely prepared and even the timing of his information is impeccable - and often entertaining. He starts by offering brief bios of the two main stars and offers various production notes including the location shoots within the RKO studio. Appreciably, he also points out various stylistic highlights of the film and that of its director, Jacques Tourneur. He also touches upon "the bus" effect that was invented here and still used effectively to this day. Not surprisingly, he offers up a great deal of knowledge on the featured man himself, Val Lewton as well as friends and various acquaintances of the legendary producer. Various audio clips are included from Simone Simon (who passed earlier this year at 93 years) that were obtained from a telephone interview years earlier. Mr. Mank is literally non-stop and barely takes the necessary time to even breathe - you won't get bored here, a very informative pair of tracks indeed. Rarely do I gush about commentaries, but these are both superb.
[*] Both Theatrical Trailers also appear and in the case of Cat People, is in surprisingly good shape (at least better than I anticipated), while it's follow-up film doesn't fair quite as well - but still, is in nice shape. Duration: 1:05 & 1:34 minutes respectively.

The special features here are by no means overwhelming in terms of numbers, however, they're more than we've come to expect from other studios releasing similar types of vintage releases. If you want to learn about the films however, you can't go wrong with either one. Learning about the film, that's what it's all about. It should also be mentioned, that if you pickup the entire Collection, you'll be treated to the 53 minute documentary "Shadows In The Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy".

Special Features: 3/5
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**Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**



Final Thoughts:
Beyond true film buff's, Val Lewton's legacy has all but faded. In an attempt to recoup the studios losses on Citizen Kane (and how ironic is that?), Lewton helped put RKO back on the map with his string of reasonably successful low-budget horror films. It's been a long time coming, but the man who helped saved the RKO studio has finally been given his due - at least on DVD. Warners have put together a terrific compilation of Lewton's finest films. In re-writing most of his screenplays and hiring the best up-and-coming directors, Lewton brought more than the shock and the sometimes predictability of horror to the screen. Lewton's films were moody atmospheric suspense thrillers, not films with shock value - it's what we as viewers didn't see which is why his films are so highly regarded to this day.

Could the presentations of these films have been bettered? Sure. But to an expense that wouldn't have allowed a reasonable return of the studio's investment. The end result (beyond the obvious fact we finally have his films on DVD) is pleasing considering what no doubt, were elements that have suffered the ravages of time. I'm happy to have this set in my library.... even if I have to lay it on its side.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 (not an average)
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Recommended.





Release Date: October 4th, 2005



The Val Lewton Collection
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My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#2 of 31 Jeff_HR

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Posted October 14 2005 - 11:38 AM

I'm looking forward to exploring this set too when I receive it in the near future. Nice review. Too bad we could not get pristine transfers, but you know cost vs. return.
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#3 of 31 Joe Karlosi

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Posted October 14 2005 - 12:42 PM

Quote:
Video:
This is my first experience owning any of the Lewton films on any format. Considering how much has been talked about with respect to the problematic (read poor) presentation of these films, I have to say, frankly, I'm surprised. I was expecting far worse than what I got - at least for these two feature films. Perhaps the opinion of this reviewer may change as I progress through the set, but so far, I'm impressed. One can't help but notice how many scenes throughout these films, are reminiscent of classic film noir. Expressionistic shadows, lighting and an atmospheric moodiness are key elements throughout these films and darker scenes or sequences shouldn't be confused with a problematic transfer.

The quality of CAT PEOPLE was quite nice, yes. I have yet to see the new transfer for CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE, but I'll take your word for it. I've also watched BEDLAM, ISLE OF THE DEAD, THE SEVENTH VICTIM and I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, and the contrast on those was good too (thought the battered print on ZOMBIE left much to be desired) .

I was one of those saying that THE BODY SNATCHER (and only THE BODY SNATCHER) appeared to be too dark to me. And especially when compared to these others, which do look good. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm certainly aware that the "shadows, lighting, mood and atmosphere" are what these Lewton films are all about.

#4 of 31 Scott_Lemon

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Posted October 14 2005 - 03:53 PM

Could anyone who has the Val Lewton box set make a comment on what the outer packaging is like, and where you purchased it? Is it a cardboard box, a cardboard or paper slipcase, or some custom sort of thing as Herb's review says?

#5 of 31 Richard M S

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Posted October 14 2005 - 05:07 PM

Oh that absurdly tall box! And try finding one without the top being crushed or tearing through the plastic. I bought it at Tower Records on the day it came out, only because the clerk was nice enough to go in the back and get me one of the few intact boxes, all of the ones on display were damaged as I described.

#6 of 31 Joe Karlosi

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Posted October 14 2005 - 10:13 PM

I've heard that there is also a standard sized box available, but unfortunately I was one of the unlucky ones who got stuck with the "tall" version on the first day of release.

#7 of 31 Dave Jessup

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Posted October 14 2005 - 11:28 PM

My copy, via online order, came in a standard slipcase. (Local stores once again had none in stock.)

Did a quick A/B comparison of the opening minutes of Ghost Ship, disc versus VHS of a Turner Classic Movies airing a few years back. Nice print in both cases, so the VHS safely goes to the bulk-erase pile.

I look forward to seeing these again; haven't watched some since last viewing on Beta tapes, but I did look at The Seventh Victim a couple weeks back to have a fresh basis for comparison.

#8 of 31 Derek Estes

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Posted October 15 2005 - 10:43 AM

I too, thought this was a fine presentation of these films. I think the damage is considerably minor, and never distracting. I've heard several complaints about the condition of these films, but I wouldn't expect these films to look much better, considering how popular they are, and have been for over 60 years. I'm sure the negatives have seen quite a bit of use over the years besides Ghost Ship which was out of circulation for years, and looks quite lovely. And for the price, this set is a no-brainer for me. In a year of such great releases as the Gangster, and Garbo Collections, this is one of the greatest DVD releases this year, or the last couple years in my opinion.
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#9 of 31 AlanP

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Posted October 16 2005 - 08:17 AM

VAL LEWTON box set @ COSTCO for $38.99.
what a deal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Got it yesterday !!!!!!!!
Watch "I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE" and "BODY SNATCHER".
"SNATCHER" was not in great shape, nor was ZOMBIE !!!!!!
Lots of scratches and marks.


#10 of 31 Roger Rollins

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Posted October 16 2005 - 09:08 AM

There is great irony in this thread and another that dwells on the Lewton films. Alan P. above enthusiastically reports he got the Lewton set, 9 feature films for $38.99. That's less than $4.50 a film.

Let's assume it MIGHT be possible that extraordinarily expensive technology POSSIBLY could have eliminated or reduced the occasional appearance of the "scratches and marks" you found on ZOMBIE and BODY SNATCHER. IF such technology could have a positive effect in removing some of those fleeting deficiencies, it likely would have cost a huge amount of money to effect this, and might have only yielded a slightly better result.

Those unfamiliar may be aware that of all major studio libraries, RKO's was the worst maintained, worst cared-for, worst inventoried, and most whored out for a buck than any other...by far. The fate of an obscure RKO film might be far more impressive than the most popular ones which were reissued to death worldwide for decades, as the poverty stricken studio always needed money.

I think all 9 of the films in the boxed set look better than I've ever seen them, and I grew up watching 8 of the 9 on TV all through my childhood and in revival houses (GHOST SHIP being the exception). They've never looked better than they do here, and most of them look DAMNED GOOD, as Herb points out in his review above of CAT PEOPLE.

The reviews for this set have been by-and-large, terrific, the value is obvious, the care that went into the presentation (the Lewton docu is very well done with insight and intelligence).

If you are at all on the fence about this set, prepare yourself for an occasional speckle...an occasional mark.
It hasn't been sandpapered like BAMBI.

The films look great, and are easily worth the bargain price they are now selling for.

#11 of 31 Patrick McCart

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Posted October 16 2005 - 12:06 PM

Considering how poorly the RKO films were preserved prior to Turner's purchase, I'm happy to see just a good photographic quality.


I'm a really big fan of Robert Wise's The Haunting... would the Lewton films be equally appealing?

#12 of 31 Robert Crawford

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Posted October 16 2005 - 12:10 PM

I think the expectation level for some in regard to dvd presentation of classic films is not realistic is some cases.
I'm a really big fan of Robert Wise's The Haunting... would the Lewton films be equally appealing?

Some would say that Wise borrowed from these films and his experiences at RKO.



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#13 of 31 Joe Karlosi

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Posted October 17 2005 - 08:57 AM

Quote:
Let's assume it MIGHT be possible that extraordinarily expensive technology POSSIBLY could have eliminated or reduced the occasional appearance of the "scratches and marks" you found on ZOMBIE and BODY SNATCHER.

Not only is it "possible," but Warner is doing precisely that for RKO's KING KONG - a film which is even ten years older, and likely to have been run through the mill over the decades far more than all the Lewton movies combined!

I wouldn't say the Lewton films warrant such expensive "restoration" treatment as KONG is getting, but I wonder if it would have been necessary to go that far anyway? In the case of the poor-looking I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, people have said they've seen better-looking prints.

#14 of 31 Brook K

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Posted October 17 2005 - 09:43 AM

I liked both movies, but greatly preferred Curse to Cat People. Planning on watching I Walked with a Zombie and possibly The Body Snatcher tonight.

I believe Greg Mank makes a mistake on the Cat People commentary. He mishears or perhaps one of the source materials he used misinterprets the "Mamalukes" that King John defeated to be the actual Cat People. He even mispronounces the word, inserting an "R" or some other letter.

Actually the Mamalukes were the Muslim occupiers of Serbia at that time.

From "A History of the Knights of Malta":

During the XIV century, the general situation became more complex. The small Christian states of Syria were eliminated by the attacks of the Mamaluke Kings of Egypt and only Cyprus and Rhodes remained in the hands of the western people while the Turks turned their attention to Europe.

These were years of great fervour, during which the Hospital strengthened its organizing structures. From 1396 to 1437 the Grand Masters, Philibert de Naillac and Antoine Fluvian de la Riviere dedicated their means and energies towards increasing the defensive capacity of their stronghold, believing that very soon Rhodes would face even more aggressive attacks than it had already. Grand Master Antoine Fluvian de la Riviere offered his own personal wealth towards this programme. It was to be thanks to his inheritance that churches were erected and a new hospital was built.

The enemy, however, did not wait. In 1440 the Egyptians launched a violent attack but, led on by Grand Master Jean de Lastic who had arrived just in time from Europe, the Knights succeeded in warding off the attackers in a bloody battle after which they chased the enemy ships as far as the coast of Anatolia. In 1444, the Turks also risked a similar undertaking but their attempt failed too.

It was, indeed, a period of uninterrupted military activity. We must bear in mind that the vessels of the Order also took part in all the expeditions that the Catholic Countries, urged by the various Popes, organised now and then against Islam. In 1453, Mohammed II conquered Constantinople and the terrified Christians looked East where, in a few years, the Turkish Sultan occupied the Peloponnese, Trebizond, Mytilene, Euboea, part of Albania, the Genoese colonies in the Crimea, defeated Serbia and imposed levies upon many countries.
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#15 of 31 StevenA

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Posted October 17 2005 - 10:06 AM

What's this "tall box" people are talking about? Mine came in a regular cardboard slipcase.

#16 of 31 Jaime_Weinman

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Posted October 17 2005 - 10:35 AM

Re "Body Snatcher" -- the fact that the transfer is too dark seems obvious just from comparing scenes from the feature to the same clips in the trailer. You can see more detail in the trailer.

I did find that I got "The Body Snatcher" into what I found a watchable condition by a combination of turning up the brightness on my set and turning off the color (something I like to do with B&W movies anyway). But don't ask me whether the result is true to the film.

#17 of 31 Michael Elliott

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Posted October 17 2005 - 01:14 PM

Excellent review Herb. I told Brook in another thread that we're the only two that actually prefer CURSE over CAT PEOPLE.

http://p075.ezboard.....art=41&stop=60

There are some screenshots (and a heated debate Posted Image) between the HK DVD (taken from the LD) and the Warner disc. From what I gathered, there was only one HK release, which was from 2000 and taken from the LD. According to that thread there's a mysterious "alternate source" but going to Google showed nothing of a second release. The LD was also used on the Turner VHS and is what TCM shows. I don't know if there's a better source out there from a private collector but, to me, those screenshots show how much better the new transfer is.

I went through all nine titles and the documentary. I wouldn't have ANY problem recommending this set. The only transfer I'd really complain about is I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE due to several scenes, which appear to have water damage. THE LEOPARD MAN had a couple frames that were bad but the rest was good. THE GHOST SHIP looked great. The rest look like they were taken from the RKO vaults. I remember watching many RKO titles as a child that had all the black levels missing, washed out or whatever you want to call it. Warner's Film Noir sets restored the proper black levels and I think the Lewton set did the same.

It's far from perfect but I've got to really laugh at those who say Warner was taking short cuts or didn't care for these films. If they didn't care then they wouldn't have bothered releasing the lesser known titles and I doubt they would have spent extra money for seven commentaries and a new documentary. I mean, Film Noir is a big seller right now but the Lewton set still got more attention.

#18 of 31 Brook K

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Posted October 17 2005 - 06:22 PM

I just watched The Body Snatcher and didn't have a problem with it being too dark. (My display is calibrated) I thought the video quality was fine. Both Cat People films are very good quality-wise.

Like others have said, there are definitely problems with I Walked with a Zombie. Aside from the obvious print damage, there was noticeable image pulsing and other video problems that could indicate something went wrong in the transfer, though others don't seem to be noting this so it may be a problem with my DVD player. But it is still watchable and given the RKO Library history, for the price, 1 or 2 bad nuts is acceptable.

I've only watched two of the discs but would agree with Michael's opinion. I would recommend this set and will probably end up buying it myself even though Curse of the Cat People is the only one I've really been taken with so far.
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#19 of 31 Joe Karlosi

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Posted October 17 2005 - 10:02 PM

Quote:
Re "Body Snatcher" -- the fact that the transfer is too dark seems obvious just from comparing scenes from the feature to the same clips in the trailer. You can see more detail in the trailer.

Good point.

#20 of 31 Steve...O

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Posted October 18 2005 - 11:59 AM

Thanks for another well written review Herb.

I am 5 films into this set and couldn't be happier with it. Yes, Body Snatcher seemed a bit dark at first, but a simple tweak of my brightness control fixed that.

Warners may be a victim of their own sucess with the criticism they seem to have gotten with this set in that they've set the bar so high with prior releases as to set unrealistic expectations in terms of picture quality. Those of us who have watched RKO films on TV and tapes in the past will find these a revelation compared to what we're used to.

And any DVD release that give us mulitple Skelton Knaggs and Tom Conway films get bonus points. Posted Image

A huge thanks to Warners for another stellar release. An absolute steal for the $38 I paid at Costco for it.

Steve
Please help UCLA restore the Laurel & Hardy films: https://www.cinema.u...aurel-and-hardy





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