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It Came From Outer Space: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.​





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IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE


Studio: Universal
Product Release: October 4, 2016
Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: DTS MA 3.0
Running Time: 81 minutes
Rating: G

post-269895-0-13032800-1364832432.jpg

On A Scale 0-5

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5
3D Separation: 5
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 5


One of the most sought-out science fiction titles from the golden era of 3D receives a stellar release on Blu-ray thanks to the efforts from the 3-D Film Archive team. This is a first-rate transfer that reflects upon the huge amount of care given to its digital restoration.


"I tell you from its size and its appearance this thing came from outer space. I even have reason to believe that there's some form of life in it."


In 1978, at the age of 15, I already had a home theater in my basement. However, it's not the kind of theater one would expect by today's standards. It consisted of an old pull-up movie screen, a Super 8mm sound projector, two speakers and a receiver for amplification, and a couch to sit upon. It was the place I entertained my friends, projecting condensed versions (on 200' and 400' reels) of popular films just out of theaters as well as a few classics by likes of Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers and more.

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One of the more interesting Super 8mm reels in my possession was a 3D version of the 1953 film, It Came From Outer Space. Released through Universal 8, it was a 12 minute condensed version of the film which came boxed with a set of anaglyphic cardboard 3D glasses. From what I remember, the 3D was a bit crude, but quite effective to make for an enjoyable movie-watching experience.

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Nearly 40 years later, my only memory of It Came From Outer Space was that 12 minute condensed version. For all the time that followed, I never was compelled to watch the film in its entirety. For that reason, having the opportunity to watch this classic on Blu-ray not only makes for a fresh viewing experience, but brings back many fond memories of the days before home video even existed.

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It Came From Outer Space is perhaps the very best, slickly produced, science fiction films to come out of the golden era of 3D. Legendary author Ray Bradbury wrote the original screenplay for this film which centers around a spaceship that veers off-course and crash lands to earth. Witnessing the meteor falling from the sky is amateur astronomer, John Putnam (Richard Carlson) and girlfriend Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush). Upon investigating the crash, Putnam comes upon an alien ship. Soon after, townspeople begin disappearing, only to reappear not quite the same as they were before. Without ruining the entire storyline, I can say that the film offers a very interesting perspective on human emotion when faced with aliens who aren't as unfriendly as they are perceived to be.

This Blu-ray release of It Came From Outer Space will no doubt be a real treat for its fans. Strikingly visually -- and audibly, this is a spectacular presentation.

Let's start with the 1080p image which is filled with an outstanding amount of contrast and detail. With the exception of two shots which have faint black lines running down the right side of the frame, the transfer is just about flawless. All dirt, scratches and debris have been painstakingly removed by digital restorationist, Thad Komorowski. The 3-D Film Archive had an active part in correcting all the visual alignment issues and reverse stereo shots. The result is a visually strong, stable and pleasing presentation with full grain intact. No argument that this film looks better now than it did in 1953.

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The 3D presentation itself is something to behold! The Mojave desert provides the perfect landscape for 3D photography. The trees and brushes that scatter the sand floor become the foreground against the desolate background. The film has a View-Master feel to it, with extraordinary depth-of field, particularly in shots looking down from cliffs. The 3D process does more than just expand the picture --- it adds a very ominous feeling of paranoia to the story. One of the most effective 3D sequences that comes to mind is where John Putnam comes upon one of the townspeople, Frank Daylon (Joe Sawyer), a lineman perched on a telephone pole. There's a ladder at its base which extends eerily upwards. Looking down, the camera effectively captures layers of depth between the vast sky, the stream of telephone wires, and the road below. The overhead shots of the desert are just breathtaking to watch with its added dimensionality.

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While there is no widespread use of 3D pop-out, there a few choice moments that do offer outward projection. One of the things I do remember about the Super 8mm version I watched as a teen, was the spacecraft explosion and rocks that hurdled towards the viewer. That sequence, at the opening of the film, still provides a very cool "In Yo' Face" effect where rock, debris and other explosive matter are thrusted forward. Another notable pop-out involves a telescope that dramatically turns outwards towards the viewer. The limbs of a Joshua Tree also provide for a interesting outward effect as do clothes hangers dangling in an empty closet.

There was only one instance where I experienced ghosting issues. It comes at the very start of the film in John and Ellen's living room and involves a row of lit candles that exhibited a bit of double-imaging. Outside of that, all of the effects are expertly conveyed without any crosstalk whatsoever.

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The Blu-ray faithfully restores a nearly lost forever, wide dynamic stereophonic sound mix. There is an excellent article that you should read after this review, which I'll remind you about again at the end of this review. This is the most incredible 3-channel mix these ears have ever heard. The best way to describe the mix is as follows...when the camera is focused on a single person, dialogue remains squarely in the center channel with the left and rights providing ambient sound. As the camera shifts to exchanges involving several individuals, that dialogue is expanded across the three front channels. It has a very wide audible presence unlike anything I have experienced from two-channel stereo before. It's almost 3-dimensional within itself. The most amazing aspect of the audio presentation is how crisp and pronounced it comes across without a hint of background hiss.

It Came From Outer Space on Blu-ray is presented in both 2D and 3D on a single disc. Both have the option of choosing running commentary by Film Historian Tom Weaver, who provides very insightful background on the writing of the movie, it's effects work, and the backgrounds of the actors/acresses that appear within. Listening to the very first chapter of Mr. Weaver's commentary, I found myself slowing down the effects footage to see hidden "gafs" within the frame, such as a very visible mirror just before the meteor crash. Also included are the film's original trailer in both 2D and 3D. Finally, a lengthy featurette entitled, The Universe according to Universal, featuring many clips from its early studio releases along with Film Historian commentary. The featurette is very interesting, particularly for science fiction fans.


CONCLUSION


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One of the most sought-out science fiction titles from the golden era of 3D receives a stellar release on Blu-ray thanks to the efforts from the 3-D Film Archive team. This is a first-rate transfer that reflects upon the huge amount of care given to its digital restoration.

I am very proud to announce that this is the second title from the 3-D Film Archive that will placed among the top 5 (of 30) very best 3D releases on Blu-ray. At the time of this review the Blu-ray is available exclusively at Best Buy for under $10. That's a mere $10 for one of the best 3D releases on our list. Please support this title with a purchase so we may see more classics like this see the light of day.

NOTE FROM THE FOLKS AT 3-D FILM ARCHIVE

I'm told that if this release does well, it would greatly increase our chances of restoring more vintage 3-D from Universal.

Please give a mention to these four widescreen titles.


REVENGE OF THE CREATURE - the sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon, directed by Jack Arnold.

THE GLASS WEB - terrific film noir with Edward G. Robinson and Kathleen Hughes, directed by Jack Arnold.

WINGS OF THE HAWK - excellent Technicolor western with Van Heflin and Julia Adams, directed by Budd Boetticher.

TAZA, SON OF COCHISE - classic Technicolor western with Rock Hudson and Barbara Rush, directed by Douglas Sirk.

The 3-D cinematography on all of these is excellent and comparable to what you've seen on IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.



Sources:

3-D Film Archive
It's In The Mix by Greg Kintz

Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc.

Equipment

Sony HW55ES Front Projector calibrated by Gregg Loewen, Lion AV
Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3311CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear side and back speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer
 
Last edited:

Ronald Epstein

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Special Note from the folks at 3-D Film Archives which I will add to the review....


I'm told that if this release does well, it would greatly increase our chances of restoring more vintage 3-D from Universal.

Please give a mention to these four widescreen titles.


REVENGE OF THE CREATURE - the sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon, directed by Jack Arnold.

THE GLASS WEB - terrific film noir with Edward G. Robinson and Kathleen Hughes, directed by Jack Arnold.

WINGS OF THE HAWK - excellent Technicolor western with Van Heflin and Julia Adams, directed by Budd Boetticher.

TAZA, SON OF COCHISE - classic Technicolor western with Rock Hudson and Barbara Rush, directed by Douglas Sirk.

The 3-D cinematography on all of these is excellent and comparable to what you've seen on IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.
 

Robert Crawford

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Special Note from the folks at 3-D Film Archives which I will add to the review....


I'm told that if this release does well, it would greatly increase our chances of restoring more vintage 3-D from Universal.

Please give a mention to these four widescreen titles.


REVENGE OF THE CREATURE - the sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon, directed by Jack Arnold.

THE GLASS WEB - terrific film noir with Edward G. Robinson and Kathleen Hughes, directed by Jack Arnold.

WINGS OF THE HAWK - excellent Technicolor western with Van Heflin and Julia Adams, directed by Budd Boetticher.

TAZA, SON OF COCHISE - classic Technicolor western with Rock Hudson and Barbara Rush, directed by Douglas Sirk.

The 3-D cinematography on all of these is excellent and comparable to what you've seen on IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.
I would buy all four 3-D titles!
 

Rodney

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I hope this sells extremely well.
It is at the right price point, even for someone like me who currently does not have a 3D setup.
I'm ready to purchase the other four titles mentioned above as soon as they become available.
 

RMajidi

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It is at the right price point...

Not contradicting you, Rodney - but I wish to emphasise just how remarkably low this price is - the UK as well as the US copies.

Factoring in the restoration, authoring, manufacturing and distribution costs, I'm unsure how the studio makes a profit at this price point.

Obviously the likes of Universal know what they're doing, and I'm just grateful that the stars seem to have aligned all the way along for this coveted title. The low price being the icing on a sumptuous cake.
 

Rodney

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Not contradicting you, Rodney - but I wish to emphasise just how remarkably low this price is - the UK as well as the US copies.

Factoring in the restoration, authoring, manufacturing and distribution costs, I'm unsure how the studio makes a profit at this price point.

Obviously the likes of Universal know what they're doing, and I'm just grateful that the stars seem to have aligned all the way along for this coveted title. The low price being the icing on a sumptuous cake.

You are quite right! I should have phrased that differently. I was trying to say that at that low a price point even someone without a 3D setup should buy it!
 

bujaki

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I have seen the 5 titles referenced above in 3D on a silver screen. and I can attest that they all look fantastic. They are all worth adding to our collections. So, yes, a shout out to Universal and to an eventual release of all these titles (with the help of the 3D Film Archives folks, that is).
 

Dick

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One of the more interesting Super 8mm reels in my possession was a 3D version of the 1953 film, It Came From Outer Space. Released through Universal 8, it was a 12 minute condensed version of the film which came boxed with a set of anaglyphic cardboard 3D glasses. From what I remember, the 3D was a bit crude, but quite effective to make for an enjoyable movie-watching experience.

Nearly 40 years later, my only memory of It Came From Outer Space was that 12 minute condensed version. For all the time that followed, I never was compelled to watch the film in its entirety. For that reason, having the opportunity to watch this classic on Blu-ray not only makes for a fresh viewing experience, but brings back many fond memories of the days before home video even existed.

Sorry for nitpicking, but that 400' 3D Super 8mm sound reel ran 17 minutes, not 12. I am looking at the box right now. The 12-minute reels were 200' and silent, running at 18fps, and there was no 3D release of this film in that form. Terrific review otherwise.
 

Billy Batson

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Not contradicting you, Rodney - but I wish to emphasise just how remarkably low this price is - the UK as well as the US copies.

Factoring in the restoration, authoring, manufacturing and distribution costs, I'm unsure how the studio makes a profit at this price point.

All the Universal restorations are priced to sell, good for them. They're quite right to be restoring their back catalogue, that's all the studios are, apart from real estate. I think disc sales are just the icing on the cake.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Sorry for nitpicking, but that 400' 3D Super 8mm sound reel ran 17 minutes, not 12. I am looking at the box right now. The 12-minute reels were 200' and silent, running at 18fps, and there was no 3D release of this film in that form. Terrific review otherwise.


Dick,

No problem. I am working with a fading memory. I no longer have any of those reels in my collection so I had to rely on an aged mind to recollect. I have made the correction in the review.
 
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Thanks for the review. I'd vote for The Glass Web as my next most wanted Universal 3D restoration though any of the four would be appreciated.
 

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