If Americans and Soviets have the same objective against the Chinese during the Cold War, should they unite in their objective or fight it out and let the Chinese challenge the victor? This is the question that the producers of The Bamboo Saucer sought to pose to film audiences in 1968, in a matinee adventure film starring Dan Duryea and Lois Nettleton.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 43 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
Release Date: 04/08/2014
Fred Norwood(John Ericson) finds himself washed out as a fighter pilot after he insists that he observed and chased a flying saucer. Norwood becomes obsessed with searching the skies for evidence of these otherworldly aircraft, until he is selected to join a team of Americans infiltrating into Red China to locate an actual flying saucer reported to be abandoned. Dan Duryea(Scarlet Street), plays team leader Hank Peters in what would be his final screen role. As the team covertly searches the Chinese countryside, they encounter a Soviet team, including love interest Anna Karachev(Lois Nettleton), with the same objective. The Americans and Soviets find themselves competing against each other, all while trying to avoid discovery by the Chinese. The cast also includes character actor James Hong(Bladerunner) and Bernard Fox, who is remembered well today as Dr. Bombay on Bewitched.
The Production Rating: 3/5
Although it was released theatrically in 1968, The Bamboo Saucer is kind of a throwback to the types of science fiction "B" movies that were so popular in the 1950s. The Bamboo Saucer is a fun enough matinee that never surpasses its cliches. For example, when Anna Karachev, the female scientist from the Soviet team is bathing in a stream and finds herself surprised by the presence of the Americans, she screams as though they had walked into her private hotel room, rather than an outdoor stream, even though the Soviets are trying to evade capture by the Chinese just as much as the Americans, so screaming is the last thing that she ought to do, except that is what bathing women do in this type of film. This is a sample of the dialogue:
Norwood: I wouldn't mind being strangled by her.
Peters: She's a Commie!
Just as with the plot and dialogue, the special effects have not aged as well as they could for the time in which the film was released. Although the film conveys the message that we are stronger united than divided, there is not much depth of meaning beyond that. The Bamboo Saucer may be no classic like The Day The Earth Stood Still, but it has its own matinee charm. The film benefits from location filming in Lone Pine, California, which stands in for Chinese countryside.
The Bamboo Saucer appears on Blu-ray in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This transfer has considerable dirt and debris on what would be the first reel, but the picture quality improves noticeably afterward. The first 10 or 15 minutes of the film are weighted heavily with optical shots that typically have less sharpness and more visible dust. Into what would be the second reel, the film has boosted contrast with strong colors and fairly solid blacks. There is virtually no film grain, and fine detail is reasonably good during the body of the film.
Video Rating: 3/5 3D Rating: NA
The film is presented in mono DTS-HD audio. There is some audible hiss during the first few minutes of the film, and the last few minutes, but this is not an issue for most of the running time of the film. Dialogue level never fluctuates but is always consistent and audible.
Audio Rating: 3/5
There are no special features on this edition.
Special Features Rating: 0/5
The Bamboo Saucer is an adequate and mildly entertaining science fiction "B" picture. Although it suffers from its cliches, that is also arguably part of its charm. The video and audio presentation are adequate but not exceptional; admittedly, the film elements for The Bamboo Saucer probably have not been stored with the same level of care over the years as a release from a major studio. Fans of MST3K may find themselves at home with The Bamboo Saucer.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Timothy E
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