A Few Words About A few words about...™ Mysterious Island -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist

    Feb 8, 1999
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    Robert Harris
    The work of legendary Ray Harryhausen, falls somewhere between that of Willis O'Brien and the latest whizz-bang digital efforts. His work on Mighty Joe Young (1949), with Mr. O'Brien in the lead, could not have been a bad fate. He is generally considered by cinephiles as the greatest magic maker of the modern analogue era.

    Except for the most jaded, digital-needy viewers, the 1961 Mysterious Island holds up today as a wonderfully entertaining production.

    But let's move over to a discussion of the folks who run Twilight Time, and their selection process. For any recently formed entity to put out Mysterious Island on Blu-ray takes, a lot of guts. And I mean that because many people, inclusive of those reviewing may not understand precisely how terrific this Blu-ray is.

    The process via which the magic was created necessitated multiple generations of exposure. This means that any time anything is on screen that isn't a simple location or studio shot, we're down by a couple of generations. And generational loss in 1961 was major.

    Most of what will be seen on this Blu-ray would have been hidden in the duping process, especially in the creation of Technicolor printing matrices, which slightly softened the image, making it a bit more cohesive.

    The image for the Blu-ray of Mysterious Island appears to have been harvested from either the original negative or a beautifully produced IP, and and while this gives the viewer sparkling clarity in original photography scenes, it also exacerbates some of the problems in the effects shots.

    Personally, I love seeing what's on the original material, unfiltered by the duping process toward theatrical prints.

    Color, while a bit contrasty in effects shots, turns around in production photography and shows us precisely how good Kodak's 5250 negative stock was -- half a century ago. Perfect colors, beautiful blacks, with nice shadow detail. Sharp images, with no artifacts.

    This is one of the things that makes Twilight Time releases special. They go for the finest quality possible. The balance between effects shots and production photography works beautifully, but the disparity is there.

    The important point is that the potential consumer understand that what they're seeing is the ultimate in high quality, and not anything problematic.

    All part of the wonderful pre-digital period.

    Mysterious Island, from Twilight Time, is available in a minuscule pressing of only 3,000 units, which is sure to sell out.

    I cannot wait to see what they'll do with Fright Night, due out in a couple of weeks. Think 3,000 units is small for Mysterious Island. Try finding a Fright Night without a pre-order.


  2. Jeff Robertson

    Jeff Robertson Second Unit

    Mar 4, 2000
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    Jeff Robertson
    Cannot wait for my order to arrive. :) I hope it hasn't sold out yet!!
  3. jaaguir

    jaaguir Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 15, 2011
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    I would say you're a bit optimistic there with the selling figures, but we'll see. This sure is a fine release, and I'm supporting Twilight Time as much as I can. I bought everything they've released so far (The egyptian, Mysterious island) except for "Rapture", and plan on buying everything they'll release up to February (Fright night, Picnic, Swamp water, Pal Joey), except for "The roots of heaven".
  4. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

    Dec 19, 1998
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    A post on IMDB claims there are only 120 copies left.
  5. Dick

    Dick Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    I just got off the phone with S.A. and they said they still have "plenty" of these left, whatever "plenty" means.
  6. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

    Sep 8, 2009
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    Ben Hufbauer
    Enjoyed watching this with the kids! A lot of thrills and laughs.+++ Those old Harryhausen effects sure stand up. And check out this test reel he did for a project that never worked out--a version of War of the Worlds set in 1898 like the novel...

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