Has anyone else bought any Alpha DVDs?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jay E, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,483
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I just recently took a chance and picked up a few Alpha DVDs such as Unknown World, The Head & Fog Island. The transfers weren't bad considering the price ($5.99) with Unknown World looking the best. Plus the DVD covers are pretty nice.

    I was wondering if anyone else has picked up some titles from Alpha and would be willing to share their thoughts on the transfer quality as I'm interested in buying more titles. Thanks.
     
  2. John Sparks

    John Sparks Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    504
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Menifee, CA
    Real Name:
    John Sparks
    This has been discussed before, don't buy them!

    MGM is charging $9.99 for 2 features, both are usually anamorphic, OAR and sometimes Euro prints.

    Alpha is charging $4.99 to $9.99 for 1 movie and it's public domain crap like Madacy.

    I had bought "Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla" and it was a beautiful print and then bought the one you have, "Unknown World", which is crap!

    I learned my lesson...$4.99 late! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,483
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Since all of these films are public domain, it's not very likely that any major DVD company or studio are going to release the majority of these films in restored prints. The only company that was doing a good job in putting out public domain titles was Roan and they haven't released anything in awhile.

    Obviously you haven't grown up with public domain VHS tapes, compared to those Unknown World looks beautiful. I don't expect pristine prints from Alpha DVDs, watchable is fine enough for me especially at $5.99. Some of their titles have pretty rough looking transfers, I'm trying to find the ones that are halfway decent.
     
  4. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,163
    Likes Received:
    1,325
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    They're public domain titles so hopefully no one is expecting state of the art DVDs. I would imagine that the fans of the movies who are interested in purchasing them are just that ..... fans of the movies, not home theatre types expecting something to give their home theatres a workout and impress their friends, so I imagine they are glad to get them regardless of the ragged condition.

    That said, the only Alpha title in my collection (so far) is The Fast And The Furious, the 1954 Dorothy Malone/Roger Corman version, not the Vin Diesel one. It's in poor shape but very watchable.

    On the other hand, I did buy the Alpha Algiers (1938) with Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr but had to return it. About a half hour into the film, an alternate soundtrack runs simultaneously with Algiers' soundtrack. Based on the dialogue on the alternate soundtrack, it sounds like it might possibly come from Dark Shadows! Bizarre!
     
  5. Simon_Lepine

    Simon_Lepine Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You might remember I talked about Scarlet Street in an old thread about film noir.

    I have received the Alpha video version of this movie and while it's not really good, (the audio track is quite bad, but I didn't miss any dialogue) I enjoyed watching the movie and don't regret my purchase. The print used is damaged at some point with a vertical scratch staying there for a few minutes.

    My girlfriend thought the transfer was adequate and enjoyed herself. I recently caught the movie on TV and the Alpha video was about the same quality, maybe slighty better.
     
  6. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,483
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Thomas & Simone, Scarlet Street is one of the films I was considering buying. I'm willing to accept a lesser transfer over none at all because sometimes I can't wait years to see a film. However, it's regretable that I have to be in this position, maybe someday someone will restore many of these great public domain films.
     
  7. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2000
    Messages:
    12,251
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, shoot! Looks like Alpha is releasing the Burgess Meredith-directed thriller The Man on the Eiffel Tower next month - a movie I've been wanting to see. MSRP is cheap enough that I may pick it up anyway...
     
  8. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 23, 2003
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Location:
    Windermere, FL
    Real Name:
    Jeff
    well I only get Alpha titles for blind purchases...then if I really like it I'll upgrade...so far that hasn't been the case!

    Caveat Emptor - with Alpha you truly get what you pay for...
     
  9. Mike Mpls

    Mike Mpls Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    One ALPHA title that is surprisingly good is--

    THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1933--starring Joel Mccrea, Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray) It shares some of its sets
    with KING KONG. I hope they're using this print as a reference for what they intend to do with the new KONG due out next year.

    If the restored version of KING KONG coming out in '04 looks as good as this, we're in for a treat.
     
  10. John Sparks

    John Sparks Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    504
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Menifee, CA
    Real Name:
    John Sparks
    Come on guys, Alpha puts out "CRAP."

    Don't use them as a standard for anything.

    Criterion has a beautiful print of "The Most Dangerous Game". If Alpha has it, they ripped it off Criterion.

    They do it all the time. Reel Values ripped off titles from Roan, Criterion and Image(Wade Wiliams Collection). The problem with this is, how do you know which titles they are, you don't!

    I'll say it again, if MGM can give you 2,that's right, 2 movies in OAR, 16x9, uncut prints for $9.99, why in the world would you spend $4.99-$10.00 for 1 movie guaranteed to be a piece of crap, print wise!

    Your best bet is to buy the mag "Filmfax" and order good prints of all the old movies you want in, dare I say it...VHS...please don't cut my tongue out!
     
  11. Mike Mpls

    Mike Mpls Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Doesn't Filmfax simply private label (not 'rip off') titles from Sinister Cinema?
     
  12. David Egan

    David Egan Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2001
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I picked up THE HEAD, a slow, weird German horror film with transplants and other ghoulishness. It is Sinister Cinema's print; decent, nothing special. I realize that other companies put out better looking product but I can't let my taste in film be determined entirely by the quality of the prints. Some of these Euro-weirdies and forgotten horrors have to be put out by somebody and Alpha's reportedly getting better.
     
  13. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2000
    Messages:
    2,861
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I agree that Alpha's quality is hit or miss, but they are the only game in town for some films. For instance, I watched a Poverty Row oddity called CONDEMNED TO LIVE(1935) this afternoon via an Alpha DVD. The print had some damage, but it was more than adequate, and looked better than the dupey VHS copy of the film I used to own. If Alpha didn't put this one out(and several other titles like the Bela Lugosi Monogram films)there would be no way to see the films on DVD.
    I will always buy a disc from a better DVD company if available, but I'll take the Alpha discs over nothing at all.
     

Share This Page