The movie is NOT in 3D. Just the Comic book extra. You put the glasses on and that is it. No 3D TV or Player is needed.Got mine yesterday. Full disclosure...I don't have a 3D player or 3D TV, so I can't watch this (or any of the other 3D BDs that have been released) in that format. Doesn't matter. Even just watching it in 2D, the restoration is magnificent. Hats off to all involved.
Awesome Josh. And may I suggest getting familiar with other A&C films. If you like Africa Screams you’re in for a treat with many of the boys other classics!My copy has arrived and I've finally had a moment to watch the film and wanted to share a few thoughts.
I don't know as much about Abbott & Costello as I probably should. What I do know is that they occupy one of my earliest memories, one of those fragments that stays in your brain from an early age. I've loved movies, and collecting movies, for as long as I can remember, and Africa Screams was formative in that regard. It's also involved in the only memory I have of my great-grandfather.
When I was about five, give or take a year, my mom took me on a trip to visit her grandmother, Mary, and her husband Jim, who were traveling in a Winnebago-type thing. I don't remember exactly where, exactly when, or for how long we stayed, but I remember that Great-Grandpa Jim had a TV, VCR and a lot of public domain VHS copies of classic movies and b-movie westerns. I remember how cool it was that they had a vehicle that had a shower and a TV, that you could sleep in it and also drive it - at age five, that's pretty mindblowing stuff. I remember that we watched two things together, and that at the end of that visit, he sent me home with those two tapes. One was a western that was made with an all little people cast, and I don't remember what it was called, but how strange and wonderful it was to see a movie with adults that were basically my size. And the other was Africa Screams, and the sound of Costello's frequent sputtering was utterly delightful to my young ears. And that there was a lion (real) and a gorilla (probably not real). I couldn't tell you anything else about the movie, but I remembered that much. I wore out that VHS tape while I was still in the single digits, and hadn't thought about it until many years later. When A&C movies started coming out remastered for DVD and then BD, I always wondered why Africa Screams wasn't one of them; that's the one I grew up with, how could no one else know it?
The good people of this forum filled me in on some of the history of Africa Screams, and how it had fallen into the public domain, and how there simply weren't any good copies in circulation. When I found out that Bob was going to be working on the restoration, I was incredibly excited because I knew that was the best chance for the film to have a rebirth and a second life. My own children had just been born around the time this was announced, and I had been thinking a lot about legacy, about family. My great-grandparents are long gone, but Jim's act of generosity of sharing something he liked stuck with me, and I didn't want that to be lost to time. I wanted something tangible that I could show to my kids, something they could look at and hold and one day understand, something that would help them see how none of us exist as islands onto ourselves, how we're all connected and how even the smallest gesture can reverberate through lifetimes and generations. I barely knew my great-grandfather, but I wanted my kids to be able to understand a tiny piece of who he was. And as my grandmother reaches her twilight years, I wanted to be able to do something that honored her mother and stepfather; I wanted her to know that they would live on beyond her lifetime, so that she would never have to feel as though her history would vanish with her.
I eagerly supported the Kickstarter; even if I had little memory of the movie itself, it was such a strong childhood memory that I wanted to play my part in bringing it back. I never even stopped to think that I didn't remember much of the actual movie and that I had no idea whether or not I'd still like it; the important part was simply making sure it was preserved. But I also have to confess that I had little idea of what to actually expect when the movie arrived.
The disc arrived just before the weekend, and with infant twins, it does take a little time to actually find 80 minutes to get lost in anything, but when the moment presented itself, I put it on. The first thing I noticed, which didn't take me by surprise so much as it just delighted me, was how good the film looked and sounded. This didn't look like a public domain VHS tape from 1980, or anything of the sort. This looked like someone took a time machine back to 1949 and grabbed one of the first prints out of the lab before anyone had a chance to play it. This is what makes me happy when I get to see a new restoration of an older classic: something that looks like brand new film. Watching the disc, you'd never know that this film was on its way decomposition city; you'd never know that the elements had reached the "now or never" stage of requiring attention. The work here is virtually transparent. You'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between something as painstakingly restored as this vs. something that was in great condition to begin with. It's another home run for Bob Furmanek and his wonderful team.
As to the film itself: what a delight! Memory is a funny thing. As the film played, I realized that I didn't remember a single bit of dialogue or a single hint of the plot. But what I did remember were the visuals. I had fragments of scenes all in my head without the context for what they meant. I couldn't believe that I remembered Costello at the book store at the beginning, or how clear my memory of the lion tamer was. Except, more than thirty years later, I could finally understand the actual context of what I was watching. All of that's a fancy way of saying that Lou sputtering still cracks me up, only now I understand what he's sputtering about. The film remains a delight, and the crisp visual and aural presentation allows ever nuance and broad stroke of Bud and Lou's comedy antics to shine through.
It's not often that I find myself this touched by watching a film, but this was a very special thing for me. I've been heartened to see that the Kickstarter raised more than expected, and heard that sales have also been good, which makes me happy. As long as people keep watching and enjoying Africa Screams, a small part of my great-grandparents' spirit remains alive.
It goes without saying that I highly recommend this disc both for the quality of its presentation and the contents within!