Both of these films are wonderful oddities, and both are finally worthy of your attention due to the high quality masters used to create Kino's Blu-rays. 4 Stars

Among some other very interesting titles, Kino Lorber is releasing two early three-strip Technicolor productions, Doctor Cyclops (1940) and Cobra Woman (1943, released in ’44.)

We’ve not had great luck with the quality of Universal / Paramount Technicolor of late, and I was very pleasantly surprised by these, not only as my exceptions were low, but because their quality was excellent.

I’ve mention in the past, how rare these early Tech productions are.

In 1940 there were seventeen.

In 1943, twenty-five.

And to make matters worse, very few make it to Blu-ray. And many of those that do, arrive in unacceptable quality.

Both are interesting films.

Doctor Cyclops, a Paramount production, was directed by Ernest Schoedsack, probably best known for his partnership with Merian Cooper at RKO. A mad scientist drama, all 77 minutes was shot either at Paramount studio or the range in Agoura, CA.

Cobra Woman, a Universal film, has been on the Maria Montez fan want list forever, finally arriving with all her Technicolor splendor intact, and in a twin role. Another short feature, at only 71 minutes, it features Jon Hall and Sabu. Robert Siodmak, possibly best known for his noir work, directs, while Richard Brooks, later one of our most literate filmmakers gets a piece of screenplay credit.

Both of these films are wonderful oddities, and both are finally worthy of your attention due to the high quality masters used to create Kino’s Blu-rays. Both give a wonderful concept of what the process looked like it its heyday.

Image – 4.25

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Highly Recommended

RAH

 

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Robert Harris

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notmicro

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Does anyone know if this is the same transfer of Cobra Woman that was used in the German Blu-ray? Which I own, and which looks fine.

Note also that there is a UK Blu of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944 Universal) which I purchased several years ago, and think looks fantastic.

As usual, I'm left wondering what on EARTH is the source of these 3-strip Technicolor transfers - some best-available print, or a magically-extant archived IP? I realize that early separation negatives are generally way too much to ask for, and Fox is gone.

My Technicolor-on-Blu wish-list (King Solomon's Mines is highest):

Sweethearts (1938 MGM)

Down Argentine Way (1940 Fox)

That Night in Rio (1941 Fox)

Week-End in Havana (1941 Fox)

Song of the Islands (1942 Fox)

Lassie Come Home (1943 MGM)

Bathing Beauty (1944 MGM)

Frenchman's Creek (1944 Paramount) (Oscar for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color)

National Velvet (1944 MGM) (Oscars for Best Director / Best Actress in a Supporting Role / Best Cinematography, Color / Best Editing)

the Spanish Main (1945 RKO)

Ziegfeld Follies (1945 MGM)

the Harvey Girls (1946 MGM) (Oscar for Best Music, Original Song)

Till the Clouds Roll By (1946 MGM)

Sinbad, the Sailor (1947 RKO)

Romance on the High Seas (1948 Warner)

the Three Musketeers (1948 MGM)

Neptune's Daughter (1949 MGM) (Oscar for Best Music, Original Song)

King Solomon's Mines (1950 MGM) (Oscars for Best Cinematography, Color / Best Film Editing)

Anne of the Indies (1951 Fox)

Flame of Araby (1951 Universal)

Show Boat (1951 MGM)

Against All Flags (1952 Universal)

Rancho Notorious (1952 RKO)

Small Town Girl (1953 MGM)

the War of the Worlds (1953 Paramount) (Oscar for Best Effects, Special Effects)

Secret of the Incas (1954 Paramount)
 

Robert Harris

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Nothing magical about IPs. Beyond a scan of the original negatives (they’re not separations), that would be a perfectly acceptable source, presuming created properly.
 
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lionel59

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Good write up, Robert.
Great to see the number of Technicolor releases in each of those years. Does it include UK releases?
I think you meant to say you had low EXPECTATIONS, not "exceptions" (!)
(I am an English teacher as well as a Film Criticism/History teacher).
 

Robert Harris

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Good write up, Robert.
Great to see the number of Technicolor releases in each of those years. Does it include UK releases?
I think you meant to say you had low EXPECTATIONS, not "exceptions" (!)
(I am an English teacher as well as a Film Criticism/History teacher).
Which is precisely why I dislike auto-kerrect.

Should include UK.
 
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Randy_M

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Thanks for the heads up. I have my pre-order in. I don't buy as many movies as I used to, but these sound quite interesting.
 

Will Krupp

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So what a treat but my mailbox was stuffed with DR. CYCLOPS, COBRA WOMAN, and HOLIDAY today!

I'm currently watching DR. CYCLOPS and I'm just blown away. I have to say that this looks far better than it has any right to. What a gorgeous disc, there's a real depth to the image and those overripe tints are wild. Needless to say, this is far better than the old, faded DVD by a FEW country miles. COBRA WOMAN is up next!
 
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lark144

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So what a treat but my mailbox was stuffed with DR. CYCLOPS, COBRA WOMAN, and HOLIDAY today!

I'm currently watching DR. CYCLOPS and I'm just blown away. I have to say that this looks far better than it has any right to. What a gorgeous disc, there's a real depth to the image and those overripe tints are wild. Needless to say, this is far better than the old, faded DVD by a FEW country miles. COBRA WOMAN is up next!
Blast you, Will! I was going to wait for a sale but now I'm going to have to buy these immediately!
 

Robert Crawford

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So what a treat but my mailbox was stuffed with DR. CYCLOPS, COBRA WOMAN, and HOLIDAY today!

I'm currently watching DR. CYCLOPS and I'm just blown away. I have to say that this looks far better than it has any right to. What a gorgeous disc, there's a real depth to the image and those overripe tints are wild. Needless to say, this is far better than the old, faded DVD by a FEW country miles. COBRA WOMAN is up next!
Dr. Cyclops arrives tomorrow for me while Cobra Woman just shipped so it will either be Saturday or Monday for that disc. I can't wait to view both discs.
 
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verneaux

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Does anyone know if this is the same transfer of Cobra Woman that was used in the German Blu-ray? Which I own, and which looks fine.

Note also that there is a UK Blu of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944 Universal) which I purchased several years ago, and think looks fantastic.

As usual, I'm left wondering what on EARTH is the source of these 3-strip Technicolor transfers - some best-available print, or a magically-extant archived IP? I realize that early separation negatives are generally way too much to ask for, and Fox is gone.

My Technicolor-on-Blu wish-list (King Solomon's Mines is highest):

Sweethearts (1938 MGM)

Down Argentine Way (1940 Fox)

That Night in Rio (1941 Fox)

Week-End in Havana (1941 Fox)

Song of the Islands (1942 Fox)

Lassie Come Home (1943 MGM)

Bathing Beauty (1944 MGM)

Frenchman's Creek (1944 Paramount) (Oscar for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color)

National Velvet (1944 MGM) (Oscars for Best Director / Best Actress in a Supporting Role / Best Cinematography, Color / Best Editing)

the Spanish Main (1945 RKO)

Ziegfeld Follies (1945 MGM)

the Harvey Girls (1946 MGM) (Oscar for Best Music, Original Song)

Till the Clouds Roll By (1946 MGM)

Sinbad, the Sailor (1947 RKO)

Romance on the High Seas (1948 Warner)

the Three Musketeers (1948 MGM)

Neptune's Daughter (1949 MGM) (Oscar for Best Music, Original Song)

King Solomon's Mines (1950 MGM) (Oscars for Best Cinematography, Color / Best Film Editing)

Anne of the Indies (1951 Fox)

Flame of Araby (1951 Universal)

Show Boat (1951 MGM)

Against All Flags (1952 Universal)

Rancho Notorious (1952 RKO)

Small Town Girl (1953 MGM)

the War of the Worlds (1953 Paramount) (Oscar for Best Effects, Special Effects)

Secret of the Incas (1954 Paramount)

The Fox titles will never be great technicolor restorations because the original elements were discarded by Fox in the 1970’s
 

lark144

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Double feature tonight. They both arrived.
Perhaps a la Jack Smith, you should bang a gong after every scene.

(Mr. Smith used to do a performance piece in the far east village in which, wearing a gold lame cowl, he struck a gong after reciting each of Maria Montez' films; though I think he had a special fondness for COBRA WOMAN.)
 
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Randy_M

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Just watched Cobra Woman last night, and I have to say that it's one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen (IMHO). Transfer looks unbelievably terrific, though. I found myself wondering where you could buy stiletto high heels in the south Pacific. Couldn't help thinking of Queen of Outer Space as I watched all of the Hollywood starlets trying to be Polynesian.

Oh, well. This is why I don't do too many blind buys.

Cheers
 
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