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Quality of Roan Group transfers?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted June 13 2002 - 01:03 AM

I recently ordered "The Outlaw" & "Captain Kidd" and am hoping for the best, but I am also interested in buying the following titles and was wondering if anybody else has them and could give me a brief review.

Bird of Paradise/The Lady Refuses

D.O.A.

Lonely Wives

Behind Office Doors

#2 of 24 OFFLINE   Brian Kidd

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Posted June 13 2002 - 01:23 AM

Cary Roan loved these movies when nobody else did. They're the best transfers you're going to see or possibly ever get, but don't go into them thinking you're going to see CITIZEN KANE-type picture and sound. That being said, I think you'll be pleased.
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#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted June 13 2002 - 05:19 AM

The Roan catalog is now owned by Troma. You can buy many of them directly from Troma at 50% off the suggested retail price. Check it out at troma.com www.troma.com

Some of the titles may be out of print. It's unclear if Troma intends to keep making them available.
Rich Gallagher

#4 of 24 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted June 13 2002 - 09:27 AM

Ahh, I hate that they are controlled by Troma now! I'm just a simple serial fan, and I have to enter an "18 or older" website to find what I want? Posted Image

Seriously, though, I can't answer to the movies you listed, Eric, but the transfers on the Roan serials are uniformly excellent. In fact, they have spoiled me for other serial discs. Roan has a sterling reputation, so if you like the discs you're getting, chances are you'll be pleased with the others.

Don't know if this'll work, but this is the direct link to the Roan Group:

http://store.choppin....&department=72

#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Thomas T

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Posted June 13 2002 - 09:44 AM

The Roan Group can be easily accessed at www.roangroup.com.

I own Captain Kidd, The Outlaw, Bird Of Paradise/Lady Refuses and Behind Office Doors and considering their age and condition of their elements, they're all in more than decent condition. But don't expect Warner or Anchor Bay like restoration material!

#6 of 24 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted June 13 2002 - 10:24 AM

Thanks for the help guys, I'll probably pick up all of these titles as I found them for pretty cheap.

#7 of 24 OFFLINE   Matt Everett

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Posted June 13 2002 - 04:04 PM

Just ordered the Noir set...not the Anthony Mann set (which is great) but the other one...I'll post a review when I get it!

#8 of 24 OFFLINE   Ben Motley

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Posted June 13 2002 - 05:29 PM

Thomas, that link just redirects you to the Troma Chopping Mall. It's a damn shame there's no independant Roan site, because Troma BLOWS. Other than that...

Eric, I have several Roan dvds, and while there can be considerable print damage from time to time, and framing issues (usually zooms, presumably due to edge damage), but Brian and Greg are pretty much dead on that they are the clearest transfers you'll find. Now, there may be a framing issue, where another crap company might fram the film better, but the picture generally won't be any clearer than a Roan transfer. Rain looks phenomenal, but is unfortunately out of print, or at least you can't get it through Troma.

As to the titles you mentioned, I was very impressed with the transfer on The Outlaw, if not the movie Posted Image . Bird of Paradise is beautiful, if slightly soft in a few spots. This is really evident in the underwater sequence, which I'm sure wasn't crystal clear when filmed anyway. Add so many years on the print, and you get a very soft scene, but the film overall was in great shape. I don't think I ever did watch The Lady Refuses yet. I just watched Behind Office Doors last night in fact, and it looked terrific. It was slightly zoomed in, probably to compensate for print damage to the edges, but after the credits, you really don't notice it. There were a few spots where the print was very scratched up, but in general, the print was very clean and free of jump cuts, and the picture was crisp and clear. It was a pretty darn good movie too, with a pretty solid plot dealing with office politics and unrequited love. I may give The Lonely Wives a spin this weekend. As for D.O.A., what a great movie! I haven't watched the Roan dvd yet, but I haven't heard great things about it. I think there may have been a framing issue on that one? I'll try to check that one out this weekend too.

If you dig the Pre-code Hollywood stuff, and haven't got it yet, I've got to endorse the first set, with Millie, Kept Husbands, and Of Human Bondage. I never got around to Kept Husbands, but Millie and Of Human Bondage were great. And really, seek out a copy of Rain with a young smokin' Joan Crawford playing a tough party girl. I never thought of Joan as hot, but damned if she wasn't back in the day. Check it out. If you can't find it on Roan, I think Image currently has a version of it out.

#9 of 24 OFFLINE   Thomas T

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Posted June 13 2002 - 09:36 PM

Ben, I'm a classic movie nut and have all the Roan DVD titles you mentioned except for Lonely Wives. I don't have the D.O.A. DVD but I have the Roan laserdisc double bill of D.O.A. and Quicksand.

If you're into old musicals, you might want to also check out the Roan DVD of the 1951 musical Happy Go Lovely with David Niven and Vera Ellen. It's fluff but the print is good and the Technicolor though not as vivid as those MGM musicals is serviceable.

#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Ben Motley

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Posted June 13 2002 - 10:23 PM

Thanks for the suggestion Thomas, but I do in fact have Happy Go Lovely.

I found HGL very good, even though I'm not a big fan of musicals. HGL came in a package "Classics" deal that Troma offered, which took about 8 months for me to actually get my dvds Posted Image , but that's another story...

I only gave HGL a shot as it had David Niven in it, and he's so cool, plus, Cesar Romero rules. It turned out to be fun and entertaining, and Vera Ellen was sure easy on the eyes, to put it lightly (I don't think I've seen her before).

I can't say the same for Dixiana. Sheesh! What a stinker!! Good Christ, now I got that song runnin' through my head... ouch ouch ouch! And those vaudeville "commedians"? Okay, I gotta go hurl now.

....

Okay, I'm back. What I got into Roan for in the first place was the noirs and horror dvds, but like I said, Troma was having a "sale", and when I started shoppin', I just couldn't stop. I ordered several horror and noir dvds, and the classic set, which at the time consisted of about 30(?) dvds. I've got about 42 of the available 60 or so Roans, but can't seem to bring myself to ordering the rest, as it was truly a harrowing experience dealing with Troma. However, just this past week, I bought a few (the last two Pre-Code dvds, and Captain Kidd) from a guy on eBay, which has rekindled my interest. I may just bite the bullet and order the rest I need in one last ditch effort to finish of the line, as it stands now anyway. There are still several Lugosis, other horror, and noir titles I'd really like to have, so I'll just have to brave one more Troma order. Posted Image

#11 of 24 OFFLINE   Thomas T

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Posted June 14 2002 - 06:24 AM

Ben, one of the good things about living in L.A. is that you can't walk two blocks without bumping into a DVD store. Which means, thankfully, I've never had to order a Roan DVD through Troma as one of the DVD stores is bound to have the titles in stock or let the store special order it for me and let them do the worrying.

Never seen Vera Ellen? How did you manage to escape watching White Christmas all these years?

#12 of 24 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted June 14 2002 - 07:07 AM

Ben, do you have Undersea Kingdom and Radar Men? Radar Men was okay, but Undersea Kingdom was a lot of fun. I'm just glad Roan put 'em out, and I'm glad I still have SOS Coastguard waiting in the wings.

Is Roan pretty much dead? I wish I could have more serials from them. VCI is real hit-or-miss.

#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Ben Motley

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Posted June 14 2002 - 09:25 AM

Ha ha, Thomas, it's been so long since I've seen White Christmas last, I'm not surprised I didn't make the connection. Posted Image

Greg, I do have Undersea Kingdom, and yes, it is a lot of fun! I can only imagine my dad and his buddys going to see serials like that, and having a great time. I don't have Radar Men yet, but do have The Three Musketeers, although I haven't got around to checking that out yet.

As for Roan as a company being dead, I don't think they are just yet. In the past year (I think), they've released Danny Kaye's The Inspector General, MGMs The Painted hills, with Lassie, an Abbot and Costello double feature, and a collection of old Christmas cartoons. I think Captain Kidd came out no too long ago either. No, they aren't serials, but I think this shows there may be hope yet. However, I could be wrong. These could easily have been previously produced by Carry Roan, and Troma just took their sweet time in offering them for sale on their site.

And speaking of Troma's site, the only reason why I do order from them, and not buy Roan at retail outlets, is that it is a lot cheaper, even with their bend-you-over shipping prices. I boggles my mind when I walk into a store and see a Roan dvd for $25.00. I guess I'm spoiled, but I feel paying more than ten bucks for a single feature Roan is too much. Now, if Carry Roan were still doing these completely on his own, I might feel different, but with Troma at the helm (and probably taking most of the profits anyway) I'll hold out for the cheapest price.

And, finally, Eric... I just watched D.O.A., and it looks great! I see what the fuss was about, as there is a bit of "black bar" at the top of the screen. Now, I could be completely wrong here, but if Roan presented this at real Acadamy ratio, at 1.37:1, I'm betting that may be the cause. you can't really tell during the movie, but during the end credits it's obvious the whole frame is being shown, as the curved corners are present on the bottom corners, just as they are on the top. I think they window-boxed the film, but instead of centering it, they shifted it down to the bottom. Know what I mean? Well, if you don't, just get the darn thing. It's a great movie, a great transfer, and I honestly don't think we're missing any information. Check it out. Posted Image

#14 of 24 OFFLINE   Bill Burns

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Posted June 25 2003 - 06:57 PM

A fine Roan thread worthy of new life. Posted Image So here are a few questions for anyone who may know:

1. Are the copies of The Stranger / Cause for Alarm currently shipping from major e-tailers (such as Amazon and DVDEmpire) the remastered, corrected edition of the disc? Back when it came out in ... '99, I think it was, something like that, Cause for Alarm was missing a brief segment of the original film. I didn't even notice the omission while watching it at the time (though one shot looked like a 16mm blow-up, if memory serves, and this might have been the spot where footage was missing), but Roan announced they'd remaster the title and correct the problem, which they did. The new edition said "remastered" on the cover, and the product ID number added "RM" to the end of the previous ID number. I saw one copy of the disc at a Borders a couple of years agao, and it indeed said "Remastered" on the cover (in the corner of the section of cover art devoted to Cause for Alarm), but I didn't upgrade at the time. Most on-line retailers listed it as out of stock at this point, then out of print, and continued doing so for ages. I've just checked, and both of the above-named e-tailers now list it as in stock, but the images they offer of the disc are the old images they've had all along, and neither have "remastered" on the cover nor RM (for "remastered") in the product ID numbers. I presume Roan (or is it Troma now?) wouldn't have sent out new batches of the faulty disc this long after the correction (years), but I assumed something similar for Image's correction of Intolerance (both the original and corrected editions are now out of print in favor of Kino's edition), and would up with two faulty copies from yet another e-tailer as a result. So ... no presumptions. Posted Image Does anyone know if the discs shipping out today are the remasters, in spite of the old images that remain up at e-tailer sites?

2. Anyone with the excellent Dick Tracy set: how does image quality compare on the James Cagney and Mr. Wong sets? The Pre-Code Hollywood #1 set is ... all right in its image quality, but can't hold a candle to the first film in the Dick Tracy set (I haven't watched the others yet), so I was wondering if anyone with the DT films could offer some idea of how Wong and and the Cagney films compare.

3. How is the 3-Strip quality on the short films found on the Dixiana disc?

4. Does anyone have info on just what Cary Roan is up to these days? After a wonderful presence on laser, the Troma merger on DVD seems to have left the Roan Group more or less stagnant in the home video waters. I love many of the titles this company has made available over the years (Night Train to Munich remains a highly prized laserdisc, despite mediocre picture quality; their gold colored laser for The Trial was really something!), and was really taken aback by just how good the first film in the Tracy set looks -- any rumors out there about where the company is headed in the future? Does Troma own all future productions, or just the DVD catalogue up until the time of the merger/sale/acquisition? Will there be any future Roan productions on DVD? They came out of the gate swinging, but the last couple of titles they've released (the last two feature titles of which I'm aware are Behind Office Doors and Lonely Wives) are quite mediocre in quality (a poor contrast range in both, and analogue video glitches in the Lonely Wives transfer), at least to my eyes ... I'd love to see the company jump back into the DVD game (perhaps continuing their Pre-Code Hollywood: The Risque Years line, in particular, and also their serials, as mentioned earlier in the thread), but haven't heard a peep about 'em in ... well, once again, ages.

More than one critic referred to Roan as Criterion's little brother on laser. That hasn't remained the case on DVD, but I'd love to see the company enjoy a resurgence on the format.

“That line was screwy.”

- Outtake
Warner Bros.' Breakdowns of 1938

#15 of 24 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted June 26 2003 - 02:42 AM

Another vote for Rain with Joan Crawford; it's a terrific transfer of both sound and picture--considering it's an early sound film that's pretty impressive. Crawford does a great job with the Sadie role too.

#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Enrique B Chamorro

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Posted June 26 2003 - 08:23 AM

Review of "Mr. Wong" DVD;

http://www.dvdangle....iew.php?Id=2828

Comarison of "The Stranger" DVD with UK PAL version;

http://207.136.67.23...e/stranger2.htm

Review of "D.O.A." DVD;

http://www.dvdcorner.net/html/doa.html

(I have all three and am very happy with them.)

#17 of 24 OFFLINE   Bill Burns

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Posted June 26 2003 - 12:00 PM

Thanks, Enrique. Posted Image Great links. As to D.O.A.: I have the Image edition; any idea of how it specifically compares to the Roan edition? I'm always interested in owning the best copy of a film, and if Roan's disc offers any improvement over the Image edition, I might upgrade. Thanks again.
“That line was screwy.”

- Outtake
Warner Bros.' Breakdowns of 1938

#18 of 24 OFFLINE   Enrique B Chamorro

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Posted June 27 2003 - 02:13 AM

Another review for "The Stranger";

http://www.dvdlaser....ail.cfm?ID=2494

If you can still play laserdiscs then try and find,
"Brute Force" which has an audio interview track with
director Jules Dassin. The track is NOT on any DVD.

http://www.dvdlaser....il.cfm?ID=20540


Another Dassin film on laserdisc is "Naked City" with
TWO commentary tracks not on DVD.

http://www.dvdlaser....il.cfm?ID=21902

#19 of 24 OFFLINE   Rodney

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Posted June 27 2003 - 04:42 PM

Anyone have comparisons of Roan's and Image's versions of RAIN?
Are they comparable, or is one better than the other?
-Rodney

#20 of 24 OFFLINE   Bill Burns

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Posted June 27 2003 - 04:57 PM

I fully agree that The Stranger looks great -- I bought it when it first came out. Does anyone know if the discs that e-tailers are currently sending out are the corrected copies, though? I never picked up a replacement (which again corrects a bit of missing footage from the companion picture, Cause for Alarm).

I don't yet own either version of Rain, but hopefully someone can compare the two D.O.A.'s, as well? I can tell ya' that Warner's anamorphic widescreen edition of The House on Haunted Hill is superior to Roan's non-anamorphic widescreen edition, though the Roan disc comes with a copy of The Bat, as well ... so may be worth owning for that (I haven't compared their copy with Anchor Bay's edition of The Bat).

“That line was screwy.”

- Outtake
Warner Bros.' Breakdowns of 1938