Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.


Photo
Blu-ray Reviews

Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Blu-ray Review - Recommended



  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
107 replies to this topic

#1 of 108 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter



  • 2,857 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted October 07 2012 - 08:01 PM

Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection scares its way onto Blu-ray in an 8-disc set mostly featuring some exemplary HD transfers that present these movies in the best manner they have been available on home video.  Six out of the eight discs feature excellent picture and sound, and the two remaining discs (of Phantom of the Opera and Creature From the Black Lagoon) are still watchable, even if they don’t scale the heights of the first six.  For that reason, this release is Recommended for purchase as a must-see for fans of classic Universal Horror films.   I note that four of the movies included in this set (Dracula, Dracula (Spanish language), Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein) were included on the special attention list for restoration as part of Universal’s 100th Anniversary celebration.


UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTERS

THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION



Studio: Universal

Year:  Various, between 1931 and 1954

Length:  Various, averaging around 1 hour and 15 minutes each  

Genre:  Horror/Adventure


Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1, except for Creature From The Black Lagoon at 1.85:1

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC (@ an average 30 mbps),

Except Creature 3D with MVC encoding


Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (@ an average 1.9 mbps), French DTS 2.0


Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish


Film Rating: Unrated (Mild Scares and Violence)






Release Date: October 2, 2012



Before I begin the review proper, I need to once again thank Joe Kane, for allowing me to bring this Blu-ry set to his professional grade system for evaluation.  I’m grateful to Joe for giving me the opportunity to do so, and I thank him for his generosity, graciousness and for his good counsel.   For the record, Joe’s system is an HD projector that he designed, and the screen is 90”, also of his design.   Joe’s system is calibrated to the nth degree, and is set up to allow whatever information is on a Blu-ray disc to be transmitted to the screen and speakers at around 90% - meaning that the system passes through the information without trying to reinterpret the signal.   Sitting comfortably at a distance of 8 feet from the 90” screen, Joe and I were able to evaluate all 8 discs as projected.  I also brought along for comparison purposes the 2004 “Legacy Collection” sets of Dracula and Frankenstein, and the Special Edition DVDs of The Mummy and The Wolf Man.   The only movies in the set for which we did not have comparison materials were The Invisible Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature From the Black Lagoon.


The short version of this evaluation is that I’m going to RECOMMEND this set for purchase, based on the strength of the first six discs in the set.  I cannot make this a Highly Recommended set, due to picture quality issues with the final two discs – Phantom of the Opera and Creature From the Black Lagoon.  I should also note that since I put up my draft review, several people have contributed information about Creature From the Black Lagoon that indicates that at least some of the PQ issues with the movie may have to do with an extensive use of opticals in that movie.  Nevertheless, fans of the original Dracula and Frankenstein, etc, are going to have a great time with this set.  The movies on the first six discs have never looked better, and Universal should be commended for what was clearly a massive undertaking to restore them.  It’s a shame that the last two couldn’t have been in that good company, but in the overall scheme of things, it’s a heck of a good opportunity to get seven classic monster movies, now preserved for all time in all their glory.


Looking over the complete set, I find that almost all of the extensive special features here are ported over from the prior DVD editions, current to whatever the most recent release was in each case.  This is not a bad thing, as the existing featurettes and commentaries are a treasure trove of information about all of these movies, and having the whole pile together like this is akin to being given a full semester film school course in the fundamentals of the Universal Horror legacy.


Let’s take the discs in order.  As I go through each disc, I will note the picture and sound quality, as well as the origin and nature of all the special features to be found with each movie.




DISC ONE:  DRACULA


Studio: Universal

Year:  1931

Length:  1 hour 15 minutes

Genre:  Horror/Adventure


Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC (@ an average 30 mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (@ an average 1.9 mbps), French DTS 2.0,

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Content Rating: Unrated (Mild Scares and Violence)


Starring:  Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye and Edward Van Sloan


Based on the Novel by:  Bram Stoker

And on the Stage Adaptation by:  Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston

Screenplay by: Garret Fort

Directed by: Tod Browning


Film Rating: 5/5


The first disc in the set focuses on Dracula – the English language Tod Browning version and the Spanish language version filmed nightly on the same sets.  Watching English language version today, I am struck by how much of a silent expressionist movie it really is.  (It’s no accident that a completely effective silent version was released at the same time as the sound version.)  Over 80 years after the fact, Bela Lugosi’s performance in the title role continues to be mesmerizing, as is the delirious spin into lunacy by Dwight Frye.  The movie’s power rests in the performances and in the hypnotic imagery created by director Tod Browning and cinematographer Karl Freund.   It’s interesting to hear the baying of the “children of the night” near the beginning of the movie.  After this film, that sound would go on to be one of the hallmarks of horror cinema for decades to come.


VIDEO QUALITY   5/5

Both Dracula movies are presented in AVC 1.33:1 transfers that are absolutely the best the films have ever looked on home video.  The English language version benefits more from the work, showing clear improvements over the 2004 transfer in many ways.  The most significant improvement is a change in the gamma, allowing viewers to see much more detail in the shadowy areas of the screen.  In earlier transfers, many characters and objects are in total blackness when in shadow.  This doesn’t become evident until you compare between the Blu-ray and the earlier DVD, at which point it’s clear that you’re seeing a lot more detail and texture within the shadows.  This is not to say that the moody, dark, expressionist look of the film has been compromised in any way – on the contrary, the improved transfer simply allows the viewer to see a bit more into the shadows.  Both movies have benefited from an extensive cleanup of scratches and other damage, and from a stabilization of the picture that makes the credits easier to watch and generally helps ground the picture.   The Spanish language version of the movie gets the same benefits as the English language, but it seems to me that it was likely in better shape before the restoration to begin with, so the hill it’s climbed in quality doesn’t seem as high as the English language version.  (And for those who are curious, the English language version title card indeed has the word “President” misspelled as “Presient”…)


AUDIO QUALITY    5/5

Both Dracula movies are presented with DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mixes that greatly improve the sound quality from what we’ve been given before on home video.  Again, the English language version really gets the better part of this deal.  The sound has been noticeably cleaned up and the hiss has been reduced, thus allowing the dialogue to be heard more clearly.  Listening between the 2004 DVD sound and the new Blu-ray sound, we noted that the earlier mix had some unfortunate distortion which has now been cleared up.  For the record, the performance of Swan Lake heard over the opening titles is correct for each version of the movie.  (The Spanish language version uses a different performance.)  I also note that the unhappy moans and groans of Bela Lugosi as he is staked off-camera at the end are indeed present.



SPECIAL FEATURES   5/5


The Blu-ray disc of Dracula comes packed with extras, mostly ranging back to the 1999 release, but one is actually a new featurette assembled this year.


Spanish Version of Dracula, with Introduction by Lupita Tovar Kohner (Movie presented in 1080p AVC with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix, as noted above) (Introduction presented in 480p 4x3, running 4:14) (NEW TRANSFER FOR THIS RELEASE, INTRODUCTION ORIGINALLY PREPARED FOR THE 2004 DVD) – The Spanish-language version of the movie is included here, fully restored in all its glory.  As with DVDs of this title since 2004, a video introduction by actress Lupita Tovar Kohner is included.  And as she points out, this version of the movie was filmed on the same sets and locations as the English language version – but during the nighttime hours between 7pm and 7am.


Commentary by David J. Skal  (FROM THE 1999 DVD) – This commentary, prepared for the 1999 DVD, is a thorough series of prepared remarks by David J. Skal, who walks the viewer through a massive amount of information about the movie.  The remarks are tailored to coincide with on-screen events, but are clearly a prepared lecture.  Regardless, there’s a mountain of material here.


Commentary by Steve Haberman  (FROM THE 2006 DVD) – This commentary, prepared for the 2006 75th Anniversary DVD, is a series of prepared remarks by author and screenwriter Steve Haberman, who at another time wrote the script for Mel Brooks’ Dracula: Dead and Loving It.  This is another mountain of information that mostly coincides with the onscreen events even if it isn’t quite scene specific.  Haberman takes a few shots at the Spanish language version, noting how Tod Browning’s version is better paced and shot.


Monster Tracks  (FROM THE 2006 DVD) – This is a text commentary prepared for the 75th Anniversary DVD, providing background information about everything from the cast to the sets to anything else you could possibly want to know that hasn’t been in either commentary you’ve already heard at this point.


Alternative Score by Philip Glass, Performed by the Kronos Quartet  (FROM THE 1999 DVD) – As another bonus dating back to 1999, there is an option to watch the movie, with all the dialogue audible, accompanied by a new score written by modern composer Philip Glass.  Fans of Philip Glass’ stylings will likely enjoy this, but I must confess finding the music a bit frenetic and distracting.  Granted, it’s interesting to hear the movie with ANY score, since there is no music aside from the credits.  But this just feels like an interpretation of the movie as opposed to a score written FOR it.


The Road to Dracula  (FROM THE 1999 DVD) (35:04, 480p, 4x3) – This featurette, assembled by David J. Skal for the 1999 DVD, covers a lot of ground from the book through the production and release of the movie.  Multiple scholars weigh in on various aspects of the movie, as well as the Spanish language version.  This featurette continues to be a fine supplement to the movie.


Lugosi: The Dark Prince  (FROM THE 2006 DVD) (36:07, 480p, 4x3) – This featurette, prepared for the 75th Anniversary DVD, focuses on the career of Bela Lugosi, including a frank discussion of how he was rejected for the title role in Frankenstein but wound up playing the part later on in a blind performance that came to typify how people remember the role.  (The lurching walk with the outstretched arms, etc.)  Lugosi’s rivalry with Boris Karloff is also discussed, although much of the time goes into their roles together in movies including The Black Cat.


Dracula: The Restoration  (NEW FEATURETTE) (8:46, 1080p) – This new high definition featurette discusses the extensive restoration work done to preserve Dracula and prepare the movie for a Blu-ray release.


Dracula Archives  (FROM THE 1999 DVD) (9:11, 480p, 4x3) – This is an assembly of poster art and production stills, presented initially to the tune of Swan Lake and then to blander music.  This assembly dates back to 1999 but is still interesting to watch.


Trailer Gallery  (FROM THE 2004 DVD) (6:22 Total, 480p, 4x3) – Four trailers are presented here as they were on the 2004 Legacy Collection where all four movies were part of the package.  Older SD trailers of Dracula, Dracula’s Daughter, Son of Dracula and House of Dracula are presented here either individually or via a “Play All” option.   Watching all the trailers in one sitting has the unfortunate result of making the later sequels look sillier and sillier the farther on it goes…



DISC TWO:  FRANKENSTEIN


Studio: Universal

Year:  1931

Length:  1 hour 11 minutes

Genre:  Horror/Adventure


Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC (@ an average 30 mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (@ an average 1.9 mbps), French DTS 2.0,

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Content Rating: Unrated (Mild Scares and Violence)


Starring:  Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Mae Clark, John Boles and Edward Van Sloan


Based on the Novel by:  Mary Shelley

And on the Stage Adaptations by:  Peggy Webling and John L. Balderston

Screenplay by:  Francis Edward Faragoh and Garret Fort

Directed by:  James Whale


Film Rating: 5/5


The second disc in the set focuses on Frankenstein, the second major horror movie released by Universal in 1931.  Unlike Dracula, Frankenstein is much more of a conventional sound picture, although it still harkens back to expressionism at multiple points.   The performances here are more subtle than the earlier film, although Colin Clive gets to an inspired level of mania during his famous “It’s ALIVE!” rant.  Another staple of the horror genre, the dark and stormy night, gets a first major spotlight here – and in this story the storm is crucial is it’s the lightning that will give life to the monster.



VIDEO QUALITY   5/5

Frankenstein is presented in an AVC 1.33:1 transfer that, again, presents the movie in the best condition it’s ever been seen in a home theater.  As with Dracula, the picture has benefited from stabilization (fixing the gate weave noted on the 2004 transfer), significant scratch and damage cleanup, and a change in the gamma that reveals more shadow details.  The changes here are not as profound as those with Dracula, but they are still noticeable.  Again, it’s a pleasure to see a 1931 movie looking this good on a 2012 HD system!  Of course, there are some drawbacks to the improvement in quality – namely that the opening funeral/body recovery scene is now very obviously on a stage.  The “sky” background is clearly the back wall with a drop.  We can clearly see the folds in the fabric and even a hole!  The issue is exacerbated when the good doctor throws his first shovelful of dirt behind him – and we can see and hear the dirt hit the wall!


AUDIO QUALITY    5/5

Frankenstein is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that is an obvious improvement over the prior DVD mixes.  Again, the dialogue is clearer, the hiss is reduced.  Like the picture quality, this is not as significant of a quality jump as we saw with Dracula, but the improvement is still noticeable.  And for the record, Dr. Frankenstein’s line of “Now I know what it is to BE GOD!” is present in all its glory.



SPECIAL FEATURES   5/5


The Blu-ray disc of Frankenstein comes packed with extras, mostly ranging back to the 1999 release.


Commentary by Historian Rudy Behlmer  (FROM THE 1999 DVD) – This commentary, prepared for the 1999 DVD, is a thorough series of prepared remarks by Rudy Behlmer, who like David Skal with the prior film, walks the viewer through a massive amount of information about this movie. 


Commentary by Historian Sir Christopher Frayling  (FROM THE 2006 DVD) – This commentary, prepared for the 2006 75th Anniversary DVD, is a series of prepared remarks by historian Sir Christopher Frayling.  This is definitely more of a lecture than a commentary, but there’s still a mountain of information to receive here.


Monster Tracks  (FROM THE 2006 DVD) – This is a text commentary prepared for the 75th Anniversary DVD, providing background information about everything from the cast to the sets to anything else you could possibly want to know, just as was the case with the earlier film.


The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster   (FROM THE 1999 DVD) (44:53, 480p, 4x3) – This featurette, assembled for the 1999 DVD, covers everything from the origins of the book through the production of the movie and its subsequent legacy.  This is another solid piece of Hollywood history, filling in the backstory and anything that might not have been covered in the commentaries.


Karloff: The Gentle Monster   (FROM THE 2006 DVD) (37:58, 480p, 4x3) – This featurette, prepared for the 75th Anniversary DVD, focuses on the career of Boris Karloff, including his multiple appearances in the Frankenstein movies and the movies in which he appeared with Bela Lugosi.  The trajectory of his career is examined, including his late appearance in Targets.


Universal Horror  (1998 Documentary, included with DVDs as of 2006) (1:35:14, Full Frame) – This 1998 documentary, narrated by Kenneth Branagh, has previously been seen on television. It essentially covers the gamut of classic Universal horror films, starting from before Dracula and including several lesser-known films to boot. As is usual with these documentaries, the piece consists of interviews with surviving crew members and cast (including Fay Wray from King Kong and various scholars and family members, intercut with footage from the films and the odd production still for variety. There's also a bit of color on-set footage from a test for Son of Frankenstein, showing Karloff mock-strangling Jack Pierce and revealing the monster in all his green glory. (One wonders if that had any impact on the eventual coloring of The Incredible Hulk...) It’s fascinating material, for those who have not seen these interviews before.


Boo!  A Short Film  (FROM THE 2004 DVD) (9:30, 480p, 4x3) – This is a short film made in 1932 by Albert DeMond using clips from various horror movies including Frankenstein and Nosferatu, only in a mocking fashion.
 

Frankenstein Archives  (FROM THE 1999 DVD) (9:24, 480p, 4x3) – This is an assembly of poster art and production stills, presented initially to music from the film, but as we get into the stills, the backing sound becomes the dialogue in the movie.


100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics  (FROM VARIOUS 2012 BLU-RAYS) (9:13, 1080p) – This featurette, which has been included on several 2012 Blu-ray releases, discusses the restoration work being done for multiple Universal titles, including the monster movies in this collection.


Trailer Gallery  (FROM THE 2004 DVD) (8:23 Total, 480p, 4x3) – Five trailers are presented here as they were on the 2004 Legacy Collection where most of the movies were part of the package.  Older SD trailers of Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and House of Frankenstein are presented here either individually or via a “Play All” option.   Watching all the trailers in one sitting continues to have the result of making the increasing level of ridiculousness, and the drop in story quality more obvious…




DISC THREE:  THE MUMMY


Studio: Universal

Year:  1932

Length:  1 hour 14 minutes

Genre:  Horror/Adventure


Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC (@ an average 30 mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (@ an average 1.9 mbps), French DTS 2.0,

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Content Rating: Unrated (Mild Scares and Violence)


Starring:  Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners and Edward Van Sloan


Written by:  John L. Balderston

Directed by:  Karl Freund


Film Rating: 3 ½/5


The third disc in the set focuses on The Mummy.  As I noted in my review of the 2008 DVD, The Mummy is a curious addition to the line of Universal horror films from the 1930’s, in that it is more of an adventurous romance than a scare fest, but it still has that opening image of Boris Karloff in exquisite Mummy makeup to get the viewer going. The plot is clearly designed to take advantage of the interest in Egypt and mummies after the 1922 discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. At the same time, many scenes are designed to echo the prior year’s hit, Dracula, with the same screenwriter brought back, along with cinematographer Karl Freund, promoted here to director. The grotesque “monster” moment of the film passes quickly, and the next hour or so is spent with the heroes as they deal with the attempt by Karloff’s revived Imhotep to similarly revive his lost love. Since her soul has already been reincarnated, Imhotep embarks on a mad plot to kill the current incarnation and return her soul to her original body. While this sounds like typically scary material, it actually plays in a more tragic vein. This is greatly enhanced by the performance of Zita Johann as the the lost princess and particularly by Karloff, whose stillness and intensity is simultaneously moving and chilling. And I should note that the filming techniques are very much in a vein with silent films, particularly for a flashback sequence to Ancient Egypt. In the hands of Karl Freund, this is all fairly effective stuff – not that scary, but still quite atmospheric.



VIDEO QUALITY   5/5

Here’s another quantum jump in picture quality from the prior DVD transfers.  The Mummy gets a new AVC 1.33:1 transfer which is an absolute revelation in terms of detail and stabilization over prior home video transfers.  This is really a remarkable achievement, given that I don’t think an original camera negative for this movie even exists anymore.  I reviewed the Special Edition DVD a few years ago and noted there were serious picture and sound issues but that there wasn’t much we could expect to be done about it.  Looking at the new Blu-ray of this movie, I was shocked at how much better this movie looks.  Much more detail can be seen, the picture is more stable – this is a pleasure.  Once again, the transfer benefits from a change in the gamma, just like what was done with Dracula.  Scratches and damage have been cleaned up, the gate weave has been fixed.   This is one of those cases, as RAH noted with Pillow Talk, where the guys at Universal really did make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.


AUDIO QUALITY    5/5

The Mummy is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono mix that both reduces the hiss that could be noticed in earlier editions, and fixes the distortion issues.  Again, this is really a pleasure.   If you’re a fan of this movie, you now get to see and HEAR it in a way that hasn’t been possible since it first hit theaters in 1932, and it likely didn’t sound as good then…


SPECIAL FEATURES   5/5


The Blu-ray disc of The Mummy comes packed with extras, mostly ranging back to the 1999 release.


Feature Commentary by Paul M. Jensen  (FROM THE 1999 DVD) – This commentary was available on both the 1999 and 2004 DVDs. It’s a bit dry, and sounds as though Jensen is reading from a prepared script. There’s a lot of information on tap here, but it’s more of a lecture on the subject of the film than a specific interaction with it.


Feature Commentary by Rick Baker, Scott Essman, Steven Haberman, Bob Burns and Brent Armstrong  (FROM THE 2008 DVD) - This commentary is a new group discussion, with all the participants clearly being fans and students of the film. This is a scene specific group commentary with everyone chiming in with their reactions as the film unspools. Rick Baker has recorded some comments separately to specifically discuss the makeup work of Jack Pierce, which are inserted at appropriate points during the film.


Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed  (FROM THE 1999 DVD) (30:11, 480p, 4x3) – This featurette has been available on both the 1999 and 2004 DVDs. It’s an informative look back at the making of this film, with a brief discussion of the sequels that followed it. Since pretty much all the original participants have passed on, the stories here are second-hand, coming from people who conducted interviews with the actors and filmmakers when they were alive. There’s some good stuff here, including a graphic description of how difficult it was to do the heavy Mummy makeup seen at the beginning of the film. And there’s a general recounting of the difficulties onset between director Freund and Zita Johann, culminating in a discussion of a deleted sequence of a past life of her character being fed to the lions. (The discussion of deleted material is fascinating, but none of these scenes has ever been found, to my knowledge.)


He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce (FROM THE 2008 DVD) (24:58, 480p, 4x3) – This 25 minute featurette explores the work of makeup artist Jack Pierce, who created multiple horror makeups for Universal over 75 years ago, including Frankenstein and the legendary smile for The Man Who Laughs, which is universally acknowledged to be a primary origin of Batman’s nemesis, The Joker.


Unraveling the Legacy of the Mummy – (FROM THE 2008 DVD) (8:06, 480p, 4x3) - This featurette is really a promo for the 2001 film The Mummy Returns, only starting with a very brief look at the original 1932 film, tracking forward to the 1999 remake and spending the bulk of the time on the sequel.


The Mummy Archives (FROM THE 1999 DVD) (9:46, 480p, 4x3) – This feature has been available on both the 1999 and 2004 editions under the title The Mummy Archive. It’s a nearly ten minute display of various posters, lobby cards and production stills, backed with score from the film, including the opening titles and their signature lift from Swan Lake (which just happens to be the same lift used for the opening titles of Dracula.)


100 Years of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era (FROM VARIOUS 2012 BLU-RAYS) (8:41, 1080p) – This featurette, which has been included on several 2012 Blu-ray releases, offers a very light discussion of the contributions of Universal’s founder, Carl Laemmle.  Unfortunately, this rose-glassed portrait does not include anything about the end of his tenure at the studio.


Trailer Gallery – (6:29 Total, 480p, 4x3) - Trailers for the original Mummy movie and its four sequels are presented here, as they were in the 2004 Legacy Collection – for The Mummy, The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse. Picture and sound quality is a bit distressed, but they’re fun to watch as a quick romp through the stories of the five films. There’s also a lot of fun to be had in seeing how the studio will try to sell the same story in each succeeding instalment. (In the sequels, the Mummy effectively just shambles his way through the movie strangling people – who stand still, screaming their heads off - until somebody does something rash, like set him on fire. On the other hand, the Mummy really could be seen as an early incarnation of a zombie...)  The trailers can be viewed individually or via a “Play All” option.

 




DISC FOUR:  THE INVISIBLE MAN


Studio: Universal

Year:  1933

Length:  1 hour 12 minutes

Genre:  Horror/Adventure


Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080


#2 of 108 OFFLINE   bgart13

bgart13

    Supporting Actor



  • 983 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 04 2008

Posted October 07 2012 - 08:18 PM

Eight feet from a 90" screen...? Sheesh, didn't your parents ever tell you not to sit so close to the tv screen?? :P

#3 of 108 OFFLINE   Ken Volok

Ken Volok

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 145 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 27 2012
  • Real Name:Ken Volok

Posted October 07 2012 - 08:21 PM

Ok so am I the only person who's Creature from the Black Lagoon disc (2D version) plays in slow motion with sound drops beginning approx. 58:00 to the end of the film? VERY unhappy. Plan on contacting Universal tomorrow. And yes of course I checked for dust and fingerprints; and tested it on a second machine as well.

#4 of 108 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

Nelson Au

    Executive Producer



  • 11,775 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 16 1999

Posted October 07 2012 - 08:37 PM

In reading the first few paragraphs of the review, which is great, I kept thinking to myself, if Colin Clive or Lagosi or Karloff or James Whale were alive today, or some how teleported from a time shortly after these films have been out to modern day and sat in a room with a high end home theater system, what it would be like for a 20th Century man to experience their films on a system from the 21st century. They saw these films in their most pristine condition, so would it look the same to them or better? I imagine it would blow their minds. I look forward to a free evening where I can sit and watch Frankenstein! In regards to. The backdrop being visible in the grave robbing sequence of Frankenstein, it's like we are in a situation where as Robert Harris has said, seeing the the film as clean as ever, without the effects of duplications and poor projection systems or TV broadcasts to dilute the image. Such as in 2001: A Space Odyysey, and The Wizard of Oz, we can really see the stage or backdrop paintings now that we never could before.

#5 of 108 OFFLINE   willyTass

willyTass

    Second Unit



  • 367 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 09 2005

Posted October 07 2012 - 10:38 PM

Ok so am I the only person who's Creature from the Black Lagoon disc (2D version) plays in slow motion with sound drops beginning approx. 58:00 to the end of the film? VERY unhappy. Plan on contacting Universal tomorrow. And yes of course I checked for dust and fingerprints; and tested it on a second machine as well.
timestamp please. US or UK version?

#6 of 108 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter



  • 2,857 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted October 07 2012 - 10:39 PM

Hi Ken.  Just posting this in this thread as well.  I'm sorry you're having problems with the Creature disc.  I'm not sure what's causing it, but the disc in my review set plays fine both on a PS3 and on the Oppo 93.  I just played Creature all the way from 57:30 to the end without any playback issues.    All I can think is that either it's the players or it's a badly pressed disc (or whatever the vernacular is).  I only know the disc I have in hand does not have the problems described.

#7 of 108 OFFLINE   willyTass

willyTass

    Second Unit



  • 367 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 09 2005

Posted October 07 2012 - 10:43 PM

pretty sure Universal's UK box set of David Lynch had similar glitches

#8 of 108 OFFLINE   Ken Volok

Ken Volok

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 145 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 27 2012
  • Real Name:Ken Volok

Posted October 07 2012 - 11:02 PM

pretty sure Universal's UK box set of David Lynch had similar glitches
Hi Ken.  Just posting this in this thread as well.  I'm sorry you're having problems with the Creature disc.  I'm not sure what's causing it, but the disc in my review set plays fine both on a PS3 and on the Oppo 93.  I just played Creature all the way from 57:30 to the end without any playback issues.  All I can think is that either it's the players or it's a badly pressed disc (or whatever the vernacular is).  I only know the disc I have in hand does not have the problems described.
timestamp please. US or UK version?
Thanks everyone for your replies. US version. At approx 58:00 it started getting really bad, but it actually begins earlier. To test it on the second machine (Samsung*) I just went directly to the chapter "Breaking Out" I guess I'll just ship the whole thing back to Amazon unless by some miracle I hear from Universal who it seems impossible to reach (went to universalhomevideo.com). Only watched three films in the set, don't know if I can bear watching Phantom again just to QC it :( * first machine a Sony

#9 of 108 OFFLINE   willyTass

willyTass

    Second Unit



  • 367 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 09 2005

Posted October 08 2012 - 07:06 AM

Ok so am I the only person who's Creature from the Black Lagoon disc (2D version) plays in slow motion with sound drops beginning approx. 58:00 to the end of the film? VERY unhappy. Plan on contacting Universal tomorrow. And yes of course I checked for dust and fingerprints; and tested it on a second machine as well.
Ok just checked 55:00 to 60:00 on my US version . Runs smooth. Hope u get your replacement soon Superb review Kevin :tu:

#10 of 108 OFFLINE   Yorkshire

Yorkshire

    Screenwriter



  • 1,335 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 22 2009

Posted October 08 2012 - 07:26 AM

Kevin, I don't know what's going on here, but you're review is completely wrong. I've been assured many times by some forum members that Universal are incapable of producing good catalogue releases, and that they don't care about film. Please ammend your review accordingly. I suggest you -5 from each score. Steve W ps. Seriously for a second, great review. Many thanks. SW
Correct a fool and he will hate you, correct a wise man and he will thank you.

#11 of 108 OFFLINE   warnerbro

warnerbro

    Second Unit



  • 254 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 22 2010
  • Real Name:Darrell
  • LocationBurbank, California

Posted October 08 2012 - 08:44 AM

Has anyone noticed any differences between the UK and the US versions? I ordered the UK version, but it hasn't arrived yet. And I've always loved the fact that you can see wrinkles in the cyclorama near the end of Frankenstein. It gives it an historical feel. They were doing the best they could with what they had and they created a wonderful world. And I've always loved the long silences in Dracula because it made it seem creepier like I was watching something really happening. The atmosphere these old Universal horror films created has only been slightly recaptured and that was in Young Frankenstein. I think the atmosphere they created is why we are still watching these 80 years later with wonder. Thank you, Universal!

#12 of 108 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

FoxyMulder

    映画ファン



  • 5,062 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 14 2009
  • Real Name:Malcolm
  • LocationScotland

Posted October 08 2012 - 08:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorkshire /t/324286/universal-classic-monsters-the-essential-collection-blu-ray-review-recommended#post_3985756 Kevin, I don't know what's going on here, but you're review is completely wrong. I've been assured many times by some forum members that Universal are incapable of producing good catalogue releases, and that they don't care about film. Please ammend your review accordingly. I suggest you -5 from each score. Steve W ps. Seriously for a second, great review. Many thanks. SW
  Your sarcasm is duly noted and i agree with you that in the past they have usually not been very good at catalog titles but, there are always exceptions, this year there have been more exceptions than usual, let's hope it continues into next year, having said that i won't hold my breath but i will keep my fingers crossed.   Credit and praise must go to Kevin for a comprehensive and quality review.

     :Fun Movie Quotes:

"A good body with a dull brain is as cheap as life itself"   

"Maybe it's a sheep dog... let's keep going" 

"Please doctor, I've got to ask this. It sounds like, well, just as though you're describing some form of super carrot"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 


#13 of 108 OFFLINE   Mark Oates

Mark Oates

    Supporting Actor



  • 874 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 12 2004

Posted October 08 2012 - 10:00 AM

Kevin, I don't know what's going on here, but you're review is completely wrong. I've been assured many times by some forum members that Universal are incapable of producing good catalogue releases, and that they don't care about film. Please ammend your review accordingly. I suggest you -5 from each score. Steve W ps. Seriously for a second, great review. Many thanks. SW
Steve, you do realise what's happened with this set - the ultimate cock-up. They've only gone and released the perfectly restored version destined to be accidentally destroyed rather than the carefully misframed, yellow-tinted and DVNRed version with the computer generated, misspelt titles they'd intended to release. Many had been looking forward to complaining about Bride of Frankenstein which had been mastered with the entire fourth reel transferred upside-down.
J Mark Oates
Do Not Be Afraid. That sound is simply my mind boggling.

 


#14 of 108 OFFLINE   warnerbro

warnerbro

    Second Unit



  • 254 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 22 2010
  • Real Name:Darrell
  • LocationBurbank, California

Posted October 08 2012 - 11:04 AM

It seems Universal has learned their lesson about over-smoothing grain.

#15 of 108 OFFLINE   Johnny Angell

Johnny Angell

    Played With Dinosaurs Member



  • 5,581 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 13 1998
  • Real Name:Johnny Angell
  • LocationCentral Arkansas

Posted October 08 2012 - 12:25 PM

An excellent an informative review. I do have some comments on it. What you consider to be a lecture, I call a well-prepared commentary. In too many commentaries it is clear that no preparation has been done. The participants show up and start talking (or often they don't talk). Too much time is spent on "how lucky we were to get him for the part." These commentaries by film historians are prepared, yes, and that is what I like about them. You are either getting info directly pertinent to the film or in-depth background on a participant in the film. Secondly, I would have rated the Mummy a 5 and the Invisible 5an a 4.5. Ratings of 3.5 and 3 put them on a par with the Wolfman, which I consider the least film in this set. I've not seen this version of the Phantom. Creature from the Black Lagoon, even in 2D (all I've seen so far) is a 5 for me. The fact I grew up with this film as a child has absolutely nothing to do with my rating.:rolleyes: Finally, I'll mention that despite popular opinion, I consider the Bride to be the lesser of the two Frankenstein movies. The little people in the bell jars seems out of place for a "scare" film. There's a place were the Monster does a snarl, and a double take. Both are out-of-place. I do agree the climax is wonderful. All, IMHO, of course. Come on, come on, where's my coffin?
Johnny
www.teamfurr.org
But a family cat is not replaceable like a wornout coat or a set of tires. Each new kitten becomes its own cat, and none is repeated. I am four cats old, measuring out my life in friends that have succeeded but not replaced one another.--Irving Townsend


#16 of 108 ONLINE   JoHud

JoHud

    Producer



  • 3,022 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 11 2007
  • Real Name:Joe Hudak

Posted October 08 2012 - 12:38 PM

Your sarcasm is duly noted and i agree with you that in the past they have usually not been very good at catalog titles but, there are always exceptions, this year there have been more exceptions than usual, let's hope it continues into next year, having said that i won't hold my breath but i will keep my fingers crossed.
I agree there, with the only serious misstep being The Sting this year. The Hitchcock set is still a big question mark due to the previous negative buzz and Universal pulling the release to (hopefully) fix what was wrong with this set. Crossing my fingers and hoping they deliver on Hitchcock like they did with the Universal Classic Monsters. From my experience, Universal 60s and 70s titles seem to be the more problematic ones.

#17 of 108 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

Adam Gregorich

    Executive Producer



  • 15,110 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 20 1999
  • LocationThe Other Washington

Posted October 08 2012 - 01:26 PM

Great review Kevin.  You took a lot of time with it and it shows.  Thanks!  My UK version hasn't arrived yet.  Waiting patiently....

#18 of 108 OFFLINE   Dave H

Dave H

    Producer



  • 5,340 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 13 2000

Posted October 08 2012 - 04:56 PM

Very good review and extremely informative.

#19 of 108 OFFLINE   RolandL

RolandL

    Screenwriter



  • 2,735 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 11 2001
  • LocationCromwell, CT

Posted October 09 2012 - 01:05 PM

My UK version came in the mail today. The 3D for CFTBL is excellent! Sounds great too!

Roland Lataille
Cinerama web site

 


#20 of 108 OFFLINE   JohnS

JohnS

    Producer



  • 4,637 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 17 2001
  • Real Name:John Steffens

Posted October 09 2012 - 02:29 PM

My UK version came in the mail today. The 3D for CFTBL is excellent! Sounds great too!
I hope mine is coming in the mail today. It was suppose to be here on Monday. I hate I can't track my UK package.

all-banner.jpg






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Blu-ray Reviews

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users