Rob W

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 23, 1999
Messages
831
Real Name
Robert
Understood. My point is just why do it at all? Anyway your disagreement is duly noted;)
Just wait until the 3 Stooges fans see your post ! :)

(I should mention that I did contribute to the Kickstarter campaign for this...)
 
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Jeff Flugel

Effects Supervisor
Premium
Joined
Jan 7, 1999
Messages
2,062
Location
Osaka, Japan
Real Name
Jeff Flugel
Yeah, I'm not sure that adding a "disagree" thumbs down emoji is a welcome addition to the forum...it seems to be fomenting a fair amount of discord and bad feelings, even if unintentional.

Great to hear from folks who have received their Africa Screams Blus and that the transfer and extras are top quality! I moved too slow to get in on the kickstarter for this, but will order the Blu real soon.
 

John Sparks

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2001
Messages
3,204
Location
Menifee, CA
Real Name
John Sparks
Just watched it and I’ll just add to the thumbs up. Compared it to one of the first BDs ever released of it from 1997 and the Roan double feature with JACK AND THE BEANSTALK and of course, it blows them away. Now, I have to get A NOOSE HANGS HIGH from Classicflix.
 

Richard Gallagher

Cinematographer
Reviewer
Joined
Dec 9, 2001
Messages
4,131
Location
Fishkill, NY
Real Name
Rich Gallagher
Just watched it and I’ll just add to the thumbs up. Compared it to one of the first BDs ever released of it from 1997 and the Roan double feature with JACK AND THE BEANSTALK and of course, it blows them away. Now, I have to get A NOOSE HANGS HIGH from Classicflix.
I received my copy today, and it looks terrific.
 

Robbie^Blackmon

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
170
I'll only say a few words about this release. And then a few hundred more.

The image quality of the new Blu-ray has more detail than any video format previously-- you'll see this in the pencil and ink drawings featured in the opening titles. Appropriately enough, the title card with the copyright info looks to be restored to its original state, with the typeface lettering and shading now matching all the others. It is a freeze frame, but at least it is not one of those modern mash-ups with 80's credits scribbled over.

The depth of the image is nothing short of astonishing, especially if you're like me and had gotten used to really bad video editions. Black levels never have that over saturated look (most notable in hair textures) and the grain (yes, the grain) structure is tight and consistent throughout, revealing every nuance of the camera work, be it a detailed close up, or a split-screen effect with a primitive, unstable, ragged matte line, you'll see it all. Sometimes, it can be too revealing, as in an early close up of Hillary Brooke, which details what looks like an acne or chicken pox scar on the right side of her face. Imagine what Shemp's nose bump is gonna look like in high definition!

Anyway, the video renders superb shadow detail throughout, and the transfer excels in complex fabric and surface textures, animal fur, jungle (stage jungle, anyway) fauna as well as the aforementioned skin blemishes you didn't care to hear about that weren't evident in previous video incarnations.

The soundtrack to the film is clean and largely free of defects like hiss and crackle, though it does suffer from, presumably, vintage recording techniques or processing as sibilance (that "pork chopshh and apple shhaush" effect) crops up from time to time and, on occasion, dialogue crackles into the clipping range. Naturally louder voices such as that of Joe Besser are the most notorious for the clipping, here. Sometimes it sounds less like a 35mm track and more like the limited dynamic range of 16mm. Nothing distracting by any means, but most noticeable over headphones, of which I have a pair permanently attached. Where? I'll spare you those details for now.

And, on the subject of headphones, grab 'em and give that radio with Bela Lugosi a listen. For a transcript disc, it sounds really nice with no sibilance that I could find, barely detectable inner groove distortion and a surprising dynamic range. Were it not for the "hot" microphone levels causing steady clipping, one might have mistaken it, easily, for a magnetic tape source. Very nice transfer on that, at any rate.

Then there's the 3-D comic book. This isn't the "subtle, yet effective" three-dimensional image we're used to in modern cinema. This is real, multi-plane, hand drawn pictures that "pop" right out of the screen! While most impressive in properly polarized form, the anaglyph version still packs a fully-layered depth punch. although there is some ghosting in the red side even after some twiddling with color settings. But, there always tends to be some image crosstalk with anaglyph images on a home video screen.

Mr. Ron Palumbo's commentary moves consistently, relative to what is on the screen and there are no pauses. You get a heapin' helpin' of information that, well, some you will likely already know if you bought the disc or backed the project, but there's plenty you probably don't. Behind the scenes info, actor bios, and lots of trivia about what went on during filming is related as the movie soundtrack plays behind the narration. Very complete and satisfying, though Mr. Palumbo moves at such a pace that it may take more than one listen to "grab" it all. Not a bad reason to rewatch a film that seems, in my opinion, too short anyway. But, I always want more.

An undocumented bonus plays under the restoration credits: An immaculate transfer of the novelty 78rpm disc from Abbott and Costello titled, aptly, "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh", featuring some music, jokes and plenty of banter packed into 5 minutes (that's both sides of the disc together). Presumably the original disc was well-kept or unplayed, as the audio exhibits only a moment's hint of groove damage and a teensy bit of distortion in places where, again, the audio was recorded a bit too hot (was that a vintage microphone thing?).

Then there's image galleries, trailers (two in Cine-Color), the Clyde Beatty short film (new scan, but not restored to the extent of the feature, obviously) and the Africa Screams bloopers you probably are already familiar with.

The bonus Rubdown Sketch has that b&w vintage video look restored, betrayed only by vertical scratches that come and go. Yet, withal, it is very convincing and quite like watching vintage video tape. And it is a scream! If you haven't seen it, you're in for a treat!

In the minor quibbles dept., I'd prefer to have a disc that goes straight to the menu without playing a trailer but, since the one that plays is for the excellent Blu-ray release of "The Noose Hangs High", I'll accept that. Although, it would have been nice to have included the trailer created for this release (the one on YouTube) with the others on the disc.

As for the dvd, content-wise it is the same, though there is, obviously, a step down in picture quality, especially when comparing to the Blu. Most of the details remain, but the picture is noticeably softer with a more "dithered" look, and a bit of compression noise here and there, mostly noticeable on high contrast areas like the opening titles. Don't sit 2 feet in front of your television, like I do, and I'll bet you won't even notice.

And, I have to say, as someone who, allegedly ingested flakes of lead paint chips at a very early age, the predilection must have remained, as the fresh ink on the disc smells delicious! What is it about these discs with full-color artwork? Really, it is rather candy-like. Should have got two copies now that I think about it..

Both formats are a win and have the same features, but I'd grab the Blu if I were you. It is a limited release and, truly, a special edition.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the craft store to find some leaded, candy-flavored ink.
 

Mark B

Supporting Actor
Joined
Sep 27, 2003
Messages
837
Location
Saranac Lake, NY
Real Name
Mark
Way, way back in the olden days of 1985 when I began collecting VHS tapes as a teen, one of the first I picked up was a double feature from Goodtimes Home Video of Africa Screams and Jack and the Beanstalk. It was my introduction to cheap, lousy quality PD films of home video. So it is kind of ironic that all of these years later I can not only see this film in amazing quality, but at the end when the credits roll my name passes by on the screen.
This is a great release. It would be nice to see many more PD titles get this kind of love and attention.
 

TheSteig

Screenwriter
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
1,540
Real Name
David
Nice people are receiving it, mine is still stuck in shipping label created mode now over 1 week. I should've just taken a ride to Lincoln, CA because I would've had it by now if I just drove there, which is about 2 hours. I HATE media mail, just hate it ,.

Now for me the thread is "Help the post office deliver Africa Screams" lol
 

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