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Those Redheads From Seattle: 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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Those Redheads From Seattle


Studio: Kino Lorber
Product Release: May 23, 2017
Ratio: 1.66:1
Audio: 3-channel stereo
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rating: NR

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On A Scale 0-5

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 4
3D Separation: 5
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 2


"You Can't Trust A Blonde."


In an era filled with top-rated and poorly produced 3D fare, Those Redheads From Seattle rises to the occasion of being more entertaining than most. This beautifully restored Blu-ray is certainly worth your purchase consideration.



During the early 50s television was having a huge impact upon American audiences who chose to stay at home for their entertainment rather than going out. Theaters had to find a new way of bringing people back into the theater. For the moment, 3D seemed to be the answer. Mostly between the years, 1952-55 studios put considerable effort into supporting the short-lived 3D boom.

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Among the many titles being released during that period, Those Redheads From Seattle boasts the distinction of being the first 3D musical ever produced and the first widescreen production from Paramount Studios. If you would like to learn more interesting history about this release, I invite you to read this article from 3-D Film Archive.

A mother (Agnes Moorehead) and her four daughters travel from Cleveland to Alaska to meet their father in the Yukon. They arrive only to find that he has been killed. They soon get involved with a saloon owner named Johnny Kisco (Gene Barry) who may very well be the man responsible for the killing.

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The film itself has a little of everything for everyone: murder, a western setting, a little romance, and many opportunities to present leg-kicking musical numbers. In all, it's mildly entertaining light-hearted fare accented with excellent 3D separation.

The transfer itself is a mixed bag with inconsistent levels of quality. I say that with a bit of hesitation because one really needs to understand the amount of work that went into restoring this film and how the transfer looked before Greg Kintz and his team were able to touch it. I'll talk more about all of that in a few moments.

To watch this presentation without knowing its background, one might be dumbfounded by the ever-changing condition of its presentation. Some scenes look severely faded. Others have that breathtaking quality you would expect from a Technicolor production. It isn't until you delve into the supplements that you realize how piss-poor Those Redheads From Seattle looked when the 3-D Film Archive got their hands on it. Only then can you really appreciate the level of restoration that has been done for this Blu-ray release.

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Cinematographer Lionel Linden has done an excellent job staging his shots with proper prop placement. Nearly every scene provides a superior level of depth layered with objects that give proper foreground and background distinction. Some of the best scenes take place in the Klondike Club where even the smallest effects such as cigar smoke take on a character of their own when layered between the action on screen. This isn't a film for pop-out enthusiasts. Director Lewis R. Foster doesn't rely on much gimmickry to tell his story. There are a few moments where objects protrude slightly forward. These include: Teresa Brewer popping her head out from a curtain, a dancing line of kicking legs, and a leaky barrel spouting streams of beer. The title credits perhaps have the best use of pop-out, extending the furthest outwards towards the viewer.

More pronounced than the 3D presentation itself is the film's soundtrack. 3-D Film Archive restorationist Bob Furmanek searched globally for film's original 3-channel magnetic soundtrack. Alas, it was never found. However, sound specialist Eckhard Büttner performed a spectral extraction to restore the original sound elements, the result of which provides for an amazing auditory experience. The left, right, and main channels do an amazing job of creating specific sonic placement. As actors move across the viewing area, the sound moves with them. As someone sitting dead center in the listening area, it's an astonishing experience -- certainly a cut above standard stereo separation. For those that prefer, the original mono soundtrack is included in lossless audio.

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Normally I don't have the time to spend with supplemental material or to cover it in my reviews. In this case, however, I highly recommend you take a moment to look at two specific additions to this Blu-ray disc....

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A Restoration Demo by Greg Kintz is an absolute must watch to really appreciate the transfer of Those Redheads From Seattle. It's only a few short minutes in length, but Greg shows us how bad the print looked when they took ownership of it. Dust, dirt and built-in grime had to be painstakingly removed. Shakes, frame jumps, and vertical alignment issues had to be corrected. With side-by-side examples of "before" and "after," one gets a very clear impression of the massive work that needed to be done. Of course, with a limited budget and time frame that was allotted, one must consider that this was the absolute best job that could have been done under those circumstances.

Audio/Video Demo of the 3-channel sound reconstruction presents us with a scene from the film's most rousing musical number, "Chica-Boom." Overhead sound meters above the film's frame shows specific sound placement.

There is a 2006 interview with Rhonda Fleming. The film's original theatrical trailer is also included. Lastly, but not least, is a running audio commentary from Bob Furmanek, Greg Kintz, Jack Theaston and Hillary Hess. As I am always limited on time to get these reviews done as soon as possible, I only had the opportunity to listen to a few short minutes of the commentary. The discussion was quite lively and informative. You can be assured that with these renowned film historians at the helm, you are going get quite a bit of insight into the aspects of the 3D production including the various effect tricks that were used.

As with all Kino 3D releases, a 2D presentation is also included on the disc.


CONCLUSION

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In an era filled with top-rated and poorly produced 3D fare, Those Redheads From Seattle rises the occasion of being more entertaining than most. This beautifully restored Blu-ray is certainly worth your purchase consideration.

The team from the 3-D Film Archive, with limited budget and time, have done a remarkable job with a print that was originally plagued with problems. I am really thankful that, through their efforts, there is a continued stream of these rarities being brought to Blu-ray.



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 AVR-X7200WA Dolby Atmos Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear side and back speakers, AW-5 overheads (x4)
SV Sound Subwoofer
 
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Robin9

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Many thanks for your review which seems to have a very balanced perspective. I'll be placing my on-line order in the next day or so.
 

aPhil

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So has this release been delayed until May 23rd ? (as it says on Amazon)
My pre-order with dvdplanet still says May 9.
 

Bob Furmanek

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Yes, the release date was changed to May 23. After delivering the final master, Thad Komorowski felt he could improve on his dirt/damage clean-up so a few extra weeks were spent tweaking both the picture and sound.

Like many films from that period, opticals were cut in for the entire length of the shot and not just for the few frames needed for either a fade or dissolve. Most of the opticals are completely faded now so bringing back the color was VERY difficult. The restoration demo and audio commentary track go into much more detail on this particular challenge.

We had three months to do the work and a total budget of $14K, which included left/right 35mm 2K scans, audio restoration, image clean-up and stereoscopic alignment and panel-matching. If this work had been done at a post house like Cineric in New York or Photokem in Burbank, the price would have been closer to 250K, or more.
 
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Mike Ballew

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While I appreciate your fine review, Ron, I would ask for clarification: When you speak of certain scenes looking faded, do you have in mind that the color specifically lacks saturation, or that the entire image has a kind of gauzy softness?

A number of us watched the DCP very intently about a month ago. I felt the color looked very, very good in most every shot. In fact, I do not consciously recall a moment where I would have questioned the hues. But yes, those shots involving opticals (fades, dissolves) are noticeably softer than others, and this was observed and mentioned by several of us.

As Bob points out, those sections with opticals have looked this way ever since the film's original release in 1953. Because they are one generation farther away from the OCN, these shots do take on a kind of dupey appearance. I respectfully submit that it was far beyond the scope of the present restoration to reconstruct fades and dissolves from scratch. Having seen Those Redheads in two-strip 35mm 3-D on one memorable occasion, I feel safe in saying it now looks better overall than it ever has. But in complete fairness, we must say that those sections involving optical work look only as good and certainly no worse than they did when the filmmakers themselves signed off on them in the early fall of 1953.

Also, I am very eager to lay hands on the Blu-Ray so that I may confirm my impression, respectfully contrary to your own, that there is plenty of negative parallax on view in the film. Those expecting thinly motivated gimmick shots ("Hey, look what I can do with this yo-yo! Whatcha think of my new fishin' rod? By gosh, get out of the way of this flaming torch!") will be disappointed. But there are a number of moments where both objects and people transgress the plane of the screen and enter into theater space.

I gained a lot of respect for this film and its stereo cinematography from this restored version, and I think even the casual 3-D fan is really in for a treat.
 

Bob Furmanek

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I'll be the first to admit: double our allotted time and increase our budget and we can make any restoration project look even better, at least so far as dirt/damage and color. The 3-D image is always a priority on our projects and will always get the most attention.

That being said, we're very proud of what we have achieved many times over with a microscopic budget.

I'll stand behind what I've said countless times: you don't need a six figure budget to make a 3-D film look amazing on Blu-ray and DCP. You just need people who know how to give the best bang for your buck and how to maximize a dollar.

We've got a fantastic team and they care more about preserving the work and honoring the craftsmen behind it than lining their own pockets. Count your stereoscopic blessings for people like Greg Kintz, Thad Komorowski and Jack Theakston.
 
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Ronald Epstein

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Mike,

To answer your question, I would say that the transfer doesn't look consistent. There are parts where there seems to be a lack of color saturation.

As Bob and Greg have pointed out, there was much work that had to be done on this film with time and budget constraints.

When you consider what this print originally looked like, the resulting efforts are quite remarkable.
 

Hillary Hess

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Back when TV shows were finished on film, I'd notice a change in picture quality and shout "optical coming up." The cut to a softer, grainier picture was the giveaway. It's the same with these 1950s movies shot on Eastman or other integral tripack color films.

Ronald, I would wager that those parts where you notice a lack of color saturation are all shots that precede and follow an optical, and for the reasons described above.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Hillary,

Normally I would agree, but the length of the material was much longer to be associated with a cutaway.
 

Mike2001

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Like many films from that period, opticals were cut in for the entire length of the shot and not just for the few frames needed for either a fade or dissolve.

Normally I would agree, but the length of the material was much longer to be associated with a cutaway.

You could both be right. Per Bob, opticals were much longer than just the cutaway.
 

Mark-P

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Hillary,

Normally I would agree, but the length of the material was much longer to be associated with a cutaway.
Mr. Furmanek states in post #5 that:
Like many films from that period, opticals were cut in for the entire length of the shot and not just for the few frames needed for either a fade or dissolve. Most of the opticals are completely faded now so bringing back the color was VERY difficult. The restoration demo and audio commentary track go into much more detail on this particular challenge.
 

Camps

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We had three months to do the work and a total budget of $14K, which included left/right 35mm 2K scans, audio restoration, image clean-up and stereoscopic alignment and panel-matching. If this work had been done at a post house like Cineric in New York or Photokem in Burbank, the price would have been closer to 250K, or more.

So let's take what I'll call a conservative-case scenario for the profit potential of this title:

The current Amazon list price for Redheads is about $22. Let's make a conservative assumption the average sales price will be $19.

Let's also make a conservative assumption (based on Twilight Time's track record with Mad Magician and Man in the Dark) that Kino will sell out at least 3,000 copies at some point.

That translates to $57K in revenue. Again, I'd argue a not-unreasonable assumption.

Then, let's deduct the costs:
- $14K for 3D Film Archive's highly valuable work (without which you'd have to PAY ME to buy a '50s musical...)
- $ 3K for the cost of 3,000 blank blu ray discs
- $ 3K for the total burning costs (at $1 per disc)
- I'll throw in another $3K for "other" (there's always something...)

That leaves a relatively tidy $34K profit to be divvied among the distributor and rights-holder (and if a distributor does 10 such discs at these economics, of course that translates to $340K in (pre-tax of course) profit.

Now, I'm sure there will be naysayers & nitpickers ready to excoriate me for overlooking other costs (overhead, anyone?), but I'll argue this is not an unreasonable scenario to start with, to drive home the point that classic 3D blu rays are a worthwhile business venture.
 
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Peter Apruzzese

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So let's take what I'll call a conservative-case scenario for the profit potential of this title:

The current Amazon list price for Redheads is about $22. Let's make a conservative assumption the average sales price will be $19.

Let's also make a conservative assumption (based on Twilight Time's track record with Mad Magician and Man in the Dark) that Kino will sell out at least 3,000 copies at some point.

That translates to $57K in revenue. Again, I'd argue a not-unreasonable assumption.

Now, I'm sure there will be naysayers & nitpickers ready to excoriate me for overlooking other costs (overhead, anyone?), but I'll argue this is not an unreasonable scenario to start with, to drive home the point that classic 3D blu rays are a worthwhile business venture.

Assuming most sales are via Amazon, B & N, etc., you'd subtract approx 50% from your projected revenue.

And BD-50 replication (not burned) would cost approx $3-4 per unit.
 

Camps

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Assuming most sales are via Amazon, B & N, etc., you'd subtract approx 50% from your projected revenue.

And BD-50 replication (not burned) would cost approx $3-4 per unit.

Of course I overlooked Amazon's cut.... but, as big a monster as Amazon is, 50% sounds awfully steep. As for the burning costs, I was going off multiple estimates of $1 per disc and $1 per disc burn for a total of $2 ea. for mass-burned blu rays (vs. your $3-4 estimate). But maybe that was for reduced quality.

Anyway, I'll stick to my argument that 3D rights holders and distributors can realize a larger profit by releasing titles like these in 3D. They still get the 2D sales from the standard 2D option (from the buyers who don't have 3D equipment yet still would buy these titles) plus the 3D sales to folks like me who otherwise would never buy '50s musicals barring the 3D effect.
 

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