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THE BOWERY BOYS on DVD: continuing discussion of Warner's eventual release plans (NEW UPDATE 10/2 Post #801)

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#1181 of 1518 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted October 20 2013 - 07:28 AM

I'm happy to say that I received my copy of Volume 3 a couple of days ago - arrived without a hitch, and the discs are pressed! 

 

I haven't settled into watching any of the films, but I'm just tickled to near death at being able to have all these movies together in what will eventually be just 4 volumes!

 

Question about MR. HEX. From the very beginning we'd heard that this film was the one giving WB a lot of trouble in finding a decent print. Does anyone know if that problem got resolved, or might we be in for a longer waiting period for the final volume release?



#1182 of 1518 OFFLINE   JeffT.

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Posted October 21 2013 - 04:26 AM

If you "dig" into this extensive discussion thread one of the moderators (likely Ron Epstein) disclosed that an original 35mm print negative for MR. HEX (1946) was found so it would seem that the "problem" has (or should have) been resolved on this.

 

I am not in any hurry for volume 4 myself.  After the long anticipated volume 1 I have been patient on all of this.  In retrospect it really hasn't been all that much of a wait.  When it comes out I will (definitely) buy it.  If I'm still around that is.  Anything can happen in life.

 

With Leo's final outing released some of the anticipation for myself has been somewhat dissipated.

 

As it was previously suggested to fully (and correctly) exhibit the latter production transitions in the series I also wish that DIG THAT URANIUM (1956), CRASHING LAS VEGAS (1956) and FIGHTING TROUBLE (1956) had been featured consecutively.  But they are likely trying to maintain a quality balance with the good and only average films. 

 

Jeff T.

 

:D


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#1183 of 1518 OFFLINE   Tony Bensley

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Posted October 22 2013 - 03:43 PM

In my opinion, Warner has been pretty smart in the release of the first three Bowery Boys Volumes.  For instance, because four of the seven Stanley Clements Entries have already been included in the third Volume, the last Set will still consist mostly of Leo Gorcey led Features.  Also, the heretofore problematic Titles MR. HEX and SPY CHASERS will be on Volume 4, and should have their best possible presentation within this much anticipated final Set!

 

Regarding the upcoming Volume 4, I can't help but wonder if Warner might include any extras, such as the Bowery Boys Documentary that Leo Gorcey Junior has been working on.  This, along with some Bowery Boys Trailers would make a great capper for the Bowery Boys Volumes!

 

CHEERS!


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#1184 of 1518 OFFLINE   Tony Bensley

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Posted October 23 2013 - 09:53 PM

While Scanning through my Bowery Boys Volumes, I noticed that on two of their early entries from 1946 (BOWERY BOMBSHELL & SPOOK BUSTERS), Pathe Pictures appears on the Opening Credit instead of Monogram Pictures.  This causes me to think that Warner might have used some film stock from international prints in their restoration efforts.  Does anyone know whether this might be the case?

 

CHEERS!



#1185 of 1518 OFFLINE   JeffT.

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Posted October 23 2013 - 11:31 PM

boweryboys01.jpg

 

This discussion thread pretty much covers most inquiries that can (and have) been made pertaining to the DVD release of THE BOWERY BOYS film series.

 

For example, either missing or badly damaged footage in the U.S. version of BLONDE DYNAMITE (1950) was secured (and replaced) from a European print.

 

My own prior experience was strictly with the syndicated telecasts of THE BOWERY BOYS films which were heavily edited down to fit a hour long timeslot with commercials.  In my recent viewing of SPOOK CHASERS (1957) I was amazed at the scenes that I have never seen before (ie. The introduction with an irate Mike Clancy [Percy Helton] bemoaning all the valueless IOUs and freeloading reading of his display magazines, Sach attempting to paint the bird in the wall Cuckoo clock, etc.).

 

As I said before I had never seen the scene where Grissom the Butler (Paul Wexler) is transformed into a Mr. Hyde-like fiend in THE BOWERY BOYS MEET THE MONSTERS (1954)!

 

I am not concerned about the continuity mess of SPY CHASERS (1955) which was aired on TCM as the widescreen theatrical print will be drawn upon which likely (or definitely) will be problem free.

 

The Pathe Pictures onscreen credit may well imply latter rerelease theatrical distribution prints of these two earlier (THE) BOWERY BOYS films.  I myself cannot say with any certainty.

 

By the way, both THE BOWERY BOYS MEET THE MONSTERS (1954) and SPOOK CHASERS (1957) make for splendid Halloween home video viewing.

 

 

Just a reminder of former grandeur!

 

Jeff T.


Edited by JeffT., October 23 2013 - 11:49 PM.

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#1186 of 1518 ONLINE   Randy Korstick

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Posted October 24 2013 - 07:05 AM

I don't know for sure but WA did mention when the series began that they were using the best possible prints from wherever they could find them and in some cases mixing different prints to get the best and most complete version possible of each film. As Jeff T pointed out the Pathe Pictures credit could also be from a rerelease of the films.

 

 

While Scanning through my Bowery Boys Volumes, I noticed that on two of their early entries from 1946 (BOWERY BOMBSHELL & SPOOK BUSTERS), Pathe Pictures appears on the Opening Credit instead of Monogram Pictures.  This causes me to think that Warner might have used some film stock from international prints in their restoration efforts.  Does anyone know whether this might be the case?

 

CHEERS!


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#1187 of 1518 OFFLINE   Tony Bensley

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Posted October 24 2013 - 08:38 AM

I don't know for sure but WA did mention when the series began that they were using the best possible prints from wherever they could find them and in some cases mixing different prints to get the best and most complete version possible of each film. As Jeff T pointed out the Pathe Pictures credit could also be from a rerelease of the films.

That is an interesting observation!  My first assumption was that the Warner released prints of BOWERY BOMBSHELL and SPOOK BUSTERS were derived from international (Perhaps UK?) prints.  In any case, I think that Pathe Pictures Ltd. must have had some kind of access to working prints of these films as there was otherwise no way to simply cover up the Monogram Pictures Corporation Credit!  In my opinion, this would imply original release, rather than a later reissue of the films, along with the fact these are all followed by the Monogram Pictures and original release year, rather than a reissue seal.  In addition, HARD BOILED MAHONEY and BOWERY BUCKAROOS also sport the Pathe Pictures Ltd. Presents Credit (The latter with Western Style Lettering.), rather than the usual Monogram Pictures Corporation Logo.

 

CHEERS! 


Edited by Tony Bensley, October 24 2013 - 07:34 PM.

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#1188 of 1518 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted October 24 2013 - 06:53 PM

That is an interesting observation! My first assumption was that the Warner released prints of BOWERY BOMBSHELL and SPOOK BUSTERS were derived from international (Perhaps UK?) prints. In any case, I think that Pathe Pictures Ltd. Presents must have had some kind of access to working prints of these films as there was otherwise no way to simply cover up the Monogram Pictures Corporation Credit! In my opinion, this would imply original release, rather than a later reissue of the films, along with the fact these are all followed by the Monogram Pictures and original release year, rather than a reissue seal. In addition, HARD BOILED MAHONEY and BOWERY BUCKAROOS also sport the Pathe Pictures Ltd. Presents Credit (The latter with Western Style Lettering.), rather than the usual Monogram Pictures Corporation Logo.

CHEERS!


After thumbing through books and old Box Office Magazines, I will have to go with your theory and take on the Pathe credit. As far I can see Monogram/Allied Artists did not sell or license any prints for re-release in North America. The only thing was that in 1954 they sold most pre-1946 films to ASSOCIATED ARTISTS PRODUCTIONS, a TV program distributor, which was sold to UNITED ARTISTS in 1956. Which none of this has any thing to do with the WAC Bowery Boys collections except tells us why Warner's does not own the East Side Kids series and the first few Charlie Chans belong to MGM/UA.
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#1189 of 1518 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted October 24 2013 - 09:16 PM

List of Disitribution Exchanges belonging to Monogram in North America in the late thirties. Not much changed in the numbers until the 60's

image.jpg

Edited by ahollis, October 24 2013 - 09:19 PM.

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#1190 of 1518 OFFLINE   DeWilson

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Posted October 25 2013 - 12:04 AM

I don't know for sure but WA did mention when the series began that they were using the best possible prints from wherever they could find them and in some cases mixing different prints to get the best and most complete version possible of each film. As Jeff T pointed out the Pathe Pictures credit could also be from a rerelease of the films.

 

Some of the VHS releases by WHV had "Pathe" Title-Cards as I recall.



#1191 of 1518 OFFLINE   Jakerman1988

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Posted January 12 2014 - 10:33 AM

As I said, I already have all 48 films from a collector, whose name I will not mention on here. The homemade set is all in chronological order, but I'm going to buy volumes 1-3 and eventually 4 when it comes out and I'll trade the other set for something else.



#1192 of 1518 OFFLINE   Jakerman1988

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Posted January 14 2014 - 07:33 PM

Warner is currently working on the new masters for the fourth and final volume.


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#1193 of 1518 OFFLINE   Tony Bensley

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Posted January 16 2014 - 08:04 AM

Warner is currently working on the new masters for the fourth and final volume.

If THE BOWERY BOYS Volume 4 is ready by April, this would be an ideal 50th Birthday Present to myself!  

 

I just hope that our Canadian Dollar doesn't keep dropping, as it is now at around 92 cents U.S.  If it goes much below the 90 cent mark, it will make purchasing this final volume a bit more of a challenge, but I don't intend to stop at 3 out of 4 Bowery Boys Pressed Disc Sets!

 

Now, what a Regurgitatin' development that would be!

 

CHEERS!



#1194 of 1518 OFFLINE   Tony Bensley

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Posted January 23 2014 - 04:57 PM

I just discovered that our Dollar briefly dipped below 90 cents U.S. before finishing the day at 90.10 cents.  Worse yet, the apparent scuttlebutt is that our dollar will probably get down to 85 cents against the U.S. Dollar.  I now have a new reason to hope the last Bowery Boys set gets issued sooner, rather than later as I could see our Loonie go even lower than the current prediction.  In my opinion, the new Bank Of Canada CEO, who is driving down our dollar on purpose to 'stimulate' our economy, is a Knucklehead!

 

Sorry for my rant, but our government's ongoing rationale and justifications as to why a lower dollar benefits our economy quite frankly pisses me off and is in my opinion, a load of B.S!

 

I am definitely NOT a happy camper at the moment!  AARRGGHH!!!! :(



#1195 of 1518 ONLINE   Bob Furmanek

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Posted January 26 2014 - 11:54 PM

The World Premiere of BLONDE DYNAMITE:

 

Bowery-premiere.jpg


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#1196 of 1518 OFFLINE   JeffT.

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Posted January 27 2014 - 09:43 AM

It's great to see the "Boys" in happier days!

This proves that everything wasn't always unpleasantness. It would have been nice if the established regulars (ie. Slip, Sach, Louie, Bobbie, Whitie, Butch Chuck and Gabe) could have continued to the grand finish.

Sometime this year we will be able to finally bring closure to this sorely wanted DVD release.

Jeff T.

#1197 of 1518 ONLINE   Bob Furmanek

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Posted February 07 2014 - 01:40 PM

*
POPULAR

Newly discovered information confirms that PRIVATE EYES was fully composed for widescreen.

 

When Allied Artists announced their nearly two month old widescreen policy to the trades on July 3, 1953, they did not specify a house ratio. It wasn't until four months later - on November 17 - that 1.85 was indicated. For that reason, we assumed that 1.85 had been their chosen ratio from day one.
  
That's not the case.
 
Alllied Artists wide Bowery.jpg
 
We are currently working on the restoration of DRAGONFLY SQUADRON in preparation for 3-D Blu-ray release through Olive Films this summer. It began shooting on August 12 so we matted the film to 1.85. We found the compositions were VERY tight and one of the credit cards was clipped.
 
After that discovery, I've looked at nearly every Allied Artists production from May through November of 1953.
 
Starting with THE ROYAL AFRICAN RIFLES which rolled on May 7, I can now confirm that 1.66 was their initial widescreen ratio. It appears that AA first composed for 1.85 starting September 17 with their Technicolor production, ARROW IN THE DUST.
 
All of the pre-production trade announcements for PRIVATE EYES aka BOWERY BLOODHOUNDS, which rolled June 24, say widescreen. Utilizing an SMPTE RP-40 chart and a center image crop, I've matted the full-frame DVD transfer to 1.66 and selected medium and close-up shots from every scene in the film. You can see the results. The camera is tilting throughout to keep the actors in frame for that ratio.
 
More information on Hollywood's conversion to widescreen can be found here:
 
If you have the VLC Media Player, load the disc and open the Video settings. Set the aspect ratio to default. Then open the crop function and set to 16:10. This will give you a fairly close setting to the intended theatrical presentation ratio.
 
PRIVATE EYES - 1.66:1

 

Untitled-1.jpg Untitled-2.jpg Untitled-3.jpg

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#1198 of 1518 OFFLINE   Tony Bensley

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Posted February 07 2014 - 04:03 PM

The above Allied Artists Article nicely confirms the common practice of filming in both the traditional Academy and Widescreen Ratios during the fifties.  I've read numerous posts on various Forums, in which collectors complain about Films being issued to DVD/BluRay in the "wrong" Aspect Type.  Fans of the Three Stooges have been quite vocal of this, in regards to Sony issuing their Shorts from late 1953 on in the Widescreen Format.  From what I've been able to gather, NEITHER Aspect type is incorrect for these Films.  Not unlike the transition from Silents to Talkies, the move from Academy to Widescreen Ratios was neither instantaneous nor across the board.  If anything, the latter transition took much longer for Cinemas as a whole to adapt to, spanning at least several years!  

 

As for the Video Companies picking the wrong specific Widescreen Ratio, there are so many different Aspects used even nowadays that in my opinion, while this can be frustrating for knowledgeable viewers, I can also understand the futility of getting them all precisely right!  There are also unfortunately, those who INSIST on watching EVERYTHING in a perfectly conforming 16x9 Ratio, and NEVER want to have to make ANY adjustments!  Thus, Video Companies are faced with the dilemma of choosing the correct vs. convenient Aspect Ratio for home viewers.

 

Finally, regarding the "They should have known which Aspect Ratio is correct for this specific Film:"  While I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about how Film/Video has developed and evolved over the past 120 plus years, until the past couple of years, even I wasn't aware that individual Films made during the 1950's were often (Though not always!) filmed in two different Aspect Ratios.  Looking at it in this fashion allows me the ability to at least somewhat empathize with those involved in the field of Film Restoration.

 

In closing, I have also found that it is virtually impossible to adequately explain the convoluted history of Aspect Ratios in one article.  In my opinion, I believe an entire book on the subject is what's required for this monumental task, assuming of course that somebody hasn't already done so!

 

CHEERS!

 

Tony


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#1199 of 1518 ONLINE   Bob Furmanek

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Posted February 07 2014 - 04:46 PM

Thanks Tony, the common practice starting at the studios in the spring of 1953 was compose for wide and protect for standard. Sadly, many of these early non-anamorphic widescreen films have not been seen in the director-intended ratio for nearly 60 years now!

 

The transition in theaters converting to widescreen was faster than you think. From our article:

 

A December 5, 1953 survey of 16,753 operating indoor domestic theaters showed that 80% of downtown theaters and 69% of neighborhood theaters had installed widescreens. In total, 58% of all U.S. theaters had gone widescreen by the end of 1953. The conversion was slow in the Southern and North central parts of the country and that’s why the films were still protected during photography for the standard Academy ratio.


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#1200 of 1518 OFFLINE   Tony Bensley

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Posted February 12 2014 - 02:22 PM

Thanks Tony, the common practice starting at the studios in the spring of 1953 was compose for wide and protect for standard. Sadly, many of these early non-anamorphic widescreen films have not been seen in the director-intended ratio for nearly 60 years now!

Hi Bob!

 

That's exactly why I felt the need to weigh in on this complex Standard to Widescreen process, as there are many viewers of Films from the 1950's who feel cheated (Often, though not always wrongly!) because of the "Wrong" Aspect Ratio being used in Home Video releases.  While the Widescreen process as you stated, was already quite commonplace in Cinemas by the end of 1953, it nevertheless took many years for penetration to reach 100%.  Not only that, but there were still Films being issued in the Standard Academy Ratio well into the 1960's.  Take the 1963 Academy Award Winner TOM JONES, for instance!  This British import was issued in the 4 x 3 Academy Ratio.  

 

Don't even get me started on the seemingly endless ridiculous assortment of Widescreen processes, that seem to vary from about 1.66:1 to 2.70:1 (Or thereabouts!)!  This whole subject is such a complicated beast!

 

CHEERS!

 

Tony







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