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Robert Harris

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I'm a huge Val Lewton fan. Always have been. Saw all of his horror/thriller genre films made for RKO while in my teens - except one - The Ghost Ship.

There were nine productions that should be considered in this group, and slowly they're being released on Blu-ray after the earlier DVD collection - mostly by Warner Archive, Shout! / Scream Factory and one via Criterion.

Here's how they currently break down:

Cat People - 1942 - Criterion
I Walked with a Zombie - 1943 - Japanese - OOP
The Leopard Man - 1943 - Shout!/Scream Factory
The Seventh Victim - 1943 - MIA
The Ghost Ship - 1943 - Warner Archive (with Bedlam)
The Curse of the Cat People - 1944 - Shout!/Scream Factory
The Body Snatcher - 1945 - Shout!/Scream Factory
Isle of the Dead - 1945 - Warner Archive
Bedlam - 1946 - Warner Archive (with Ghost Ship)

The one that doesn't quite fit the mold is The Ghost Ship, a lessor psychological drama that was involved in a copyright dispute and unseen for millennium.

Completists like myself are waiting patiently for Zombie and Seventh, which I presume will arrive in due course.

I watched Ghost Ship and Bedlam, by far the finer of the two. Both are magnificent on Blu-ray. One thing that I noted - these are both scanned from the original nitrate negatives and are pristine - is that both (and presumably others in the series) are cut and conformed in single strand format, with all printer functions (fades and dissolves) built-in as dupes.

But rather than go the normal route of cutting the dupes short, ie a couple of frames of handle for each function, they're all cut long - for example, as in Giant, so that entire shots involved in the functions are third generation dupes.

This isn't good or bad, although I personally prefer the alternative. It just is.

As noted above, the presentations are meticulous, with proper grain, shadow detail, full resolution and terrific black levels.

Both are directed by Mark Robson.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Highly Recommended

RAH
 

sbjork

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Haven't had a chance to watch both of them yet, but I did pop in the disc to check it out, and it's lovely indeed. Can't wait to take in both films this weekend.
 

Dick

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The one that doesn't quite fit the mold is The Ghost Ship, a lessor psychological drama that was involved in a copyright dispute and unseen for millennium.

I would argue that BEDLAM also does not fit the overall mold of the Lewton "horror" titles, as it, too, is a psychological thriller that includes no trace of actual or implied supernatural elements. That makes this double feature a perfect and logical pair. I kind of prefer GHOST SHIP to BEDLAM, but I doubt most of you would agree.
 

Robert Harris

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I would argue that BEDLAM also does not fit the overall mold of the Lewton "horror" titles, as it, too, is a psychological thriller that includes no trace of actual or implied supernatural elements. That makes this double feature a perfect and logical pair. I kind of prefer GHOST SHIP to BEDLAM, but I doubt most of you would agree.
Ghost Ship could be the progenitor of Caine Mutiny. Except for murders.
 

Stephen_J_H

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Glad these are available. So far, I only have Cat People and The Body Snatcher, but intend to get them all.
 

warnerbro

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Can't wait for THE SEVENTH VICTIM (my favorite) and I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed THE GHOST SHIP. It is very well done and genuinely suspenseful. And it looks beautiful. These Val Lewton movies never get old. They are timeless and set a realistic mood at the same time having a nightmare quality that I enjoy visiting over and over again.
 

sbjork

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Duly noted.
Out of curiosity, since the transfer looks so good, and they had the original nitrate negatives, does that mean that they mistakenly scanned the negative for that scene instead of the dupe element which would have contained the animation for the moth? I can't imagine it was a case of someone digitally removing the moth.
 

aPhil

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sbjork,

I doubt any dupe element without the moth exists.
Likely, it was simply the software seeing the moth as dirt & debris and removing it.
To have “mistakenly scanned the negative for that scene instead of the dupe element” -- Does not happen that way. The element with the moth would be cut into the original nitrate negative roll. In the old film days, the effects shots would never be put somewhere outside the negative. After the effect shot with the moth was completed, the original shot would likely be discarded at some point.

As for the high rating for the image quality, I don’t think the moth error would reduce the image quality rating of the transfer.

The “erasing” of the moth is an error, and I hope it will be corrected and those of us requesting a replacement will receive such, but the transfer is still top notch. I do admit that it really bothers me to not see the moth -- While actors are always playing pretend, it makes the scene seem to be all about pretending. It is a significant error.
 

Robert Harris

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sbjork,

I doubt any dupe element without the moth exists.
Likely, it was simply the software seeing the moth as dirt & debris and removing it.
To have “mistakenly scanned the negative for that scene instead of the dupe element” -- Does not happen that way. The element with the moth would be cut into the original nitrate negative roll. In the old film days, the effects shots would never be put somewhere outside the negative. After the effect shot with the moth was completed, the original shot would likely be discarded at some point.

As for the high rating for the image quality, I don’t think the moth error would reduce the image quality rating of the transfer.

The “erasing” of the moth is an error, and I hope it will be corrected and those of us requesting a replacement will receive such, but the transfer is still top notch. I do admit that it really bothers me to not see the moth -- While actors are always playing pretend, it makes the scene seem to be all about pretending. It is a significant error.
Bingo.

Everyone is aware of the missing moth.

I was going to make light of it, as moths have recently devoured some of my beloved sweaters. I’m told that it’s far worse for them than carbohydrates.

We almost removed the studio fly from MFL.

Between Covid and the coming holidays, a replacement program will take a bit of time, but consider the history involved, and be secure in the knowledge that no moth was harmed in the restoration of this film.

Not sure how many are aware, but a number of years ago, a new transfer of Olivier’s King Henry the Fifth was created.

And someone (who had apparently never seen the film) neglected to scan and include the animated archer’s arrows in one shot.
 

Stephen_J_H

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Not sure how many are aware, but a number of years ago, a new transfer of Olivier’s King Henry the Fifth was created.

And someone (who had apparently never seen the film) neglected to scan and include the animated archer’s arrows in one shot.
This reminds me of the disappearing arrows in the Gladiator Blu-ray.
 

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