Harryhausen films

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Nelson Au, Oct 30, 2002.

  1. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Can anyone speak of the quality of the Ray Harryhausen films that are released on DVD? Picture and sound quality and extras? I've seen Earth vs The Flying Saucers and I'm curious of the rest.

    Thanks, Nelson
     
  2. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I just watched 20 Million Miles to earth on LD and it's quite good. I am sure if they used the same transfer to DVD, it would be very watchable
     
  3. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    Most of them aren't OAR. There should be a good thread here on this already. Do a search. Basically OAR on all his films, except Clash of the Titan(?), is 4x3. The DVDs are all widescreen. One of the Sinbad dvds looks very cramped. I believe all the dvds are mono also(not including CotT). The old Pioneer Special Edition laserdiscs are all OAR and a couple of them have the original remastered stereo track. Most have an isolated score too. Mysterious Island LD is stereo. Can't think of the other one right now.
     
  4. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Except for Three Worlds of Gulliver (which might have been zoomed in for some reason), they are OAR. Harryhausen told me this past June that his Columbia films are intended to be shown theatrically at up to the 1.85 ratio. The DVDs appear to be accurate representations of the source (at least with regard to the original 35mm prints that I've run).
     
  5. soop.spoon

    soop.spoon Supporting Actor

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    The quality of these disc is quite good, considering their age and the processes used at the time to create the visual effects. The extras are decent, but they are often repeated from disc to disc. Personally, I find the transfers for First Men In The Moon and The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad to be the best. All are certainly worth owning.
    Titles currently available:
    Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers
    20 Million Miles To Earth
    3 Worlds Of Gulliver
    Mysterious Island
    Jason & The Argonauts
    First Men In The Moon
    7th Voyage Of Sinbad
    Golden Voyage Of Sinbad
    Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger
    Clash Of The Titans
    Yet to be released:
    Valley Of The Gwangi (color, Warner)
    One Million Years B.C. (color, Fox)
    It Came From Beneath The Sea (b&w, Columbia)
    Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (b&w, Warner)
     
  6. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the input guys. I'll look around for the earlier titles to pick up first.

    Nelson
     
  7. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Steer away from the region 1 DVD of The Three Worlds of Gulliver. It is not presented OAR (the DVD in R2-UK is however widescreen).
     
  8. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The Harryhausen pictures almost fall into a sui generis situation much like the Kubrick pictures. While they were probably meant to be shown 1.85:1, when you do that you lose some of the Harryhausen animation, which extends into the matted area (see 20 Million Miles to Earth for numerous examples of this, such as when the Ymir is at the farm). Since the sole reason for wanting these movies is seeing the Harryhausen animation--the stories are uniformly weak and the acting is pathetic--I'd really prefer an open matte presentation where you get to see all of it.

    Why he was animating in areas that wouldn't be seen on the screen is beyond me, but I'm all for taking it all in.
     
  9. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I just bought Mysterious Island, and it is not in stereo. I was a little disappointed (because I love the Hermann score).
     
  10. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    Nope, aren't all the dvds mono? Only the Pioneer Special Edition Laserdisc was in stereo AND including an isolated score!
     
  11. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I'm just spoiled by Vertigo and North by Northwest, that re-mixed their soundtracks for 5.1 Dolby. Some people consider this blasphemy, but those scores! They just sound sublime.
     
  12. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    The Harryhausen films were matted for British Projection (1.66 x 1) and not 1.85. When I trnasferred many of these films for Laser the negatives varied shot by shot - some shot were 1;33, some 1.66 - NONE were 1.85. columbia said they wanted these dVDs to be pure originals, hence mono. But the Sinbad I remixed did not to be remixed for the final reel - we found a three channel stereo track for the final reel. and Columbias inventory claimed the original was a complete four channel stereo mag.
    Columbia canhardly proclaim pure originls for anything when they release Bridge on the River Kwai with fake stereo and NEW sound effects. Give me a break. One of these DVD transferes is very inferior. When I did Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, all we had was a faded internegative.
    Later, Columbia did a Sinbad boxed laser set and used a restored negative for Sinbad and my stereo track. THAT is the best transfer by far.
     
  13. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    First men in the Moon is the only one which Columbia has issued in stereo. It really annoys me that they didn't duplicate the LDs and issue the stereo tracks of Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Mysterious Island so that we could hear Bernared Herrmann's music at its best. 3 Worlds of Gulliver has also played in stereo on TV prints.
     
  14. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Actually, I didn't find the transfer of Mysterious Island to be bad at all -- I really liked it, overall. It's anamorphic, and the details come out well.

    Scenes with special effects are grainier, as one would expect, and the special effects using traveling mattes are very obvious in this format, but I didn't mind. Not to be mean, but the video quality of this movie beats "To Catch A Thief."

    The movie itself isn't all that great, but that crab! It was a real crab (usually Harryhausen's models were clay) that they stuffed and wired up, and it looks very real!

    The movie does have surprise actors. Joan Greenwood? from The Important of Being Earnest and The Man in the White Suit. She is simply splendid.
     
  15. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Actually, foam rubber over steel ball-and-socket armatures.
     
  16. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Jack: your list omits MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949), which was co-animated by Harryhausen and Willis O'Brien. It is said Harryhausen did the majority of the work. This was an RKO film and belongs to Warner Bros. Also, Ray contributed the sole sequence of any interest for THE ANIMAL WORLD (1956), an Irwin Allen production. The 8-minute dinosaur sequence is jerky by Harryhausen's later standards, but is still of great interest to collectors of stop-motion. Unfortunately, the rest of the film's 80 minute running time is comprised of terrible wildlife footage with silly narration and is almost certainly never going to see video release in any form whatsoever.
     
  17. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    The First Men in the Moon disc is one my serious favorites. And I'm looking so forward to screening Mysterious Island this weekend. I think it's a delightful title.

    Also can't tell you how much I love Harryhausen, and always have.

    Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is another must-have.
     
  18. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

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    I've been a Harryhausen fan all my life, and have had the pleasure of meeting him many times. I've also attended a number of lectures he's given, and even had the opportunity to interview him a couple of years ago.
    I've generally been very happy with Columbia's DVDs, although I wish they'd drop the Harryhausen Chronicles in favour a commentary track. For what it's worth, you can find reviews of some of the disc at my website.
    Some of you may not have heard that Nathan Juran, director of The First Men in the Moon, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Twnety Million Miles to Earth died a couple of weeks ago.
    He was also responsible for several iconic 50s science fiction B-movies, including Attack of the 50ft Woman.
    There are several obituaries online, including this one:
    Nathan Juran obituary
     
  19. Randy_M

    Randy_M Supporting Actor

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    I remember when 7th Voyage of Sinbad came out, I saw it 13 times when it first came out (thank heaven for Saturday Matinee's). I was 8 yrs old.

    I've got all of them except 'Golden' and 'Eye of the Tiger' (have to pick up at least 'Golden').

    Gulliver is the most disappointing. I really loved watching Mysterious Island the other day; must have been 25 years since I've seen it. I thought the quality was pretty damned good.

    Cheers!
     
  20. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I had the pleasure and the privilege of meeting Mr. Harryhausen not long after the release of Clash of the Titans. I got a good closeup look at the models used for the film. His films always had a "special" quality about them, because me and all the other kids could tell that his creations weren't just a guy in a rubber suit, or a puppet on strings. He imbued them with a "life" of their own.
     

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