The Dr. Mabuse Collection from Image

Tim Tucker

Screenwriter
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Jun 10, 2006
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Tim Tucker
This DVD is hitting the streets next Tuesday. I was wondering if anyone had seen an advance copy, because the specs I'm reading don't add up. The collection contains:
  • The Return of Dr. Mabuse (1961), 89 min.
  • The Invisible Dr. Mabuse (1962), 89 min.
  • The Death Ray Mirror of Dr. Mabuse (1964), 90 min.
but the DVD specs say that it's 180 minutes on one disc and in 1.33:1. Shouldn't all of these films be at least 1.66:1? (I do understand that CCC Films didn't preserve its film elements properly, so all that may be remaining are P&S television prints.) So what exactly are we getting next week?
 

Jeff Krispow

Stunt Coordinator
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Sep 5, 2001
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231
Hi Tim,

Same as you, I've been desperately trying to get some information on this release, and what little I've found out about it "doesn't add up" as you said. But if my suspicions are correct, this is definitely something I'm going to be skipping.

First off — big warning — this DVD is NOT an actual Image Ent. release; they are only distributing the disc. Retromedia produced the disc.

Now, just because it's a Retromedia disc doesn't instantly mean it'll be a crappy release… it just means that the odds are greater-than-average that it'll be a subpar release. In all honestly, Retromedia does occasionally put out a really good release… one that contains an very good transfer, with anamorphic enhancement and/or it's original language. There have even been a few instances where they actually produced an excellent transfer using the original negative materials! And I love many of their peplum releases; they might contain the English-dubs, but thankfully quite a few of them are apparently uncut and thankfully properly anamorphic.

Unfortunately… it doesn't look like The Dr. Mabuse Collection is going to be one of those better Retromedia releases.

The films are listed by their edited English-dubbed titles, and I've seen nothing that suggests the original German-language audio is present, or that the transfers are letterboxed (which, as you stated, should be 1.66:1).

From what little evidence there is thus far, it looks as if this will just be yet another Retromedia compilation mastered from some old, English-dubbed 16mm U.S. television prints they found buried someplace… and p&s as well.

Obviously, I'll wait and see if anyone reviews this once it hits the streets — I expect that George over at dvddrive-in.com will write up a review at some point after release. And even if these are just English-dubbed copies, we could found ourselves pleasantly surprised… the transfers could very well be excellent. But I'm honestly not expecting much at this point. We'll see.

If this DVD is as… sub-par… as I expect it to be, we'll just have to hope that these films will see a proper release/restoration through someone who actually CARES about them: like the folks at All-Day, Image Ent. proper, or Criterion.

*SIGH*
 

Jeff Krispow

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Sep 5, 2001
Messages
231
Quick addendum Tim…

I found a little extra bit of info buried within Retromedia's forum area.

According to owner Fred Olen Ray:

As Fred himself says, I doubt we'll ever see these in a pristine edition, then again, I ever expect to see them released in any form. These three KOMMISSAR X films are basically spin-offs of the 007 franchise, and from what I recall, they were a lot of fun… (Then again, it's been at least 20 years since I've seen them, so who knows).

Someone else on the forum who's from Sweden has a bunch of old Swedish ex-rentals of the KOMMISSAR X films from the very early 80s; he recalls that all his tapes are English-dubbed and widescreen.

If the films are still as fun as I remember, I'll happily take a Retromedia edition, so long as the transfers on these are at least in "very watchable" condition. I doubt these will ever see a release through anyone else.
 

Mark Zimmer

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
4,305
Maybe one day we'll get a release of Jess Franco's 1972 Dr Mabuse movie too. I'm pretty surprised David Kalat at All Day hasn't done something with these movies by now; he literally wrote the book on Mabuse. Maybe there really aren't any good source elements any more.
 

SamSpade

Auditioning
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
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Real Name
Bruce
Thanks, Jeff, for the KOMMISSAR X update. Despite some disappointing news about the package/transfers, they should be a lot of fun to watch. I enjoyed the films 25-30 years ago.
 

DexterPQ

Agent
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Jan 5, 2007
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Andi
Here are screenshots from the German Mabuse box
criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=84060#84060

Each movie is on a DVD-5.

The Return of Dr. Mabuse (85:15min PAL) and The Invisible Dr. Mabuse (84:33min PAL) are both in 1,66:1 anamorphic.
The Death Ray Mirror of Dr. Mabuse (87:25min PAL) is in OAR fullscreen.

Unfortunaly no subs!!
 

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