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Lousy script but exceptional 3D effects for this cobbled together adventure. 2.5 Stars

If you’re looking for an entertaining avalanche of 3D effects, stop your search with Ferdinando Baldi’s Treasure of the Four Crowns, a fairly feeble adventure film but one rich in thrilling and imaginative three-dimensional photography.

Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983)
Released: 21 Jan 1983
Rated: PG
Runtime: 97 min
Director: Ferdinando Baldi
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Cast: Tony Anthony, Ana Obregón, Gene Quintano
Writer(s): Lloyd Battista, Jim Bryce, Jerry Lazarus
Plot: A group of adventurers are gathered together to retrieve some mystical gems which are in the possession of a deadly cult.
IMDB rating: 4.1
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: MGM
Distributed By: Kino Lorber
Video Resolution: 1080P/MVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 Hr. 41 Min.
Package Includes: 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray
Case Type: keep case in a cardboard sleeve
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 05/10/2022
MSRP: $29.95

The Production: 2/5

One doesn’t watch a shlock film like Ferdinando Baldi’s Treasure of the Four Crowns for any kind of compelling narrative or complex characterizations. It’s strictly popcorn movie fare, and it’s lite popcorn at that with its confusing title, less than sterling special effects, and slack direction and plothole-ridden storytelling. But as the follow-up to the huge grossing 3D extravaganza Comin’ at Ya! which is credited with launching the Silver Age of 3D moviemaking, it’s earned its place in movie history. The plotting and helming may be second-rate (if we’re being kind), but lovers of 3D won’t be able to get enough.

International fortune hunter and adventurer J.T. Striker (Tony Anthony) is tasked to retrieve a gem-encrusted key from the extensive vault of an ancient castle. It’s loaded with fierce creatures and booby traps galore, but he manages to find it and get out alive. Passing the key over to Professor Montgomery (Francisco Villena), he learns that among its supernatural powers is the ability to open secret compartments in a set of crowns that contain the control over the powers of good and evil. The two remaining crowns are under the control of cult leader Brother Jonas (Emiliano Redondo) who has the crowns entombed in a temple with laser-guarded floors, walls, and roof making retrieval of them nearly impossible. Nevertheless, Striker rounds up his old band of colleagues to aid in his quest: smart but cowardly Edmond (Gene Quintano), alcoholic Rick (Jerry Lazarus), strongman Sócrates (Francisco Rabal) and his aerial artist daughter Liz (Ana Obregon).

The screenplay by Lloyd Battista, Jim Bryce, and Jerry Lazarus (based on an original story by Tony Petito and Gene Quintano) never tries to explain the supernatural forces at play (exactly what kind of power does that jeweled key actually possess?) or why the title mentions four crowns when only three are at play throughout the film,  and it shamelessly borrows motifs from Raiders of the Lost Ark for its first twenty minutes (where there’s also not a word of dialogue spoken) and from Jules Dassin’s Topkapi for its last forty minutes where the heist of the crowns’ contents involve dangerous aerial work and another succession of booby traps that takes its toll on several members of the crew. But really, all of these adventures are merely set-ups for the staggering array of 3D effects that have been maneuvered into the film. Just about every possible item has been flung at the camera, some more effective than others lunging forward at the viewer (snakes – some real, some cheaply artificial, swords and knives and other pointy things, dogs and vultures and bats, fireballs, broken glass, cigarettes), and things fly across and through the frame with repeated frequency. There’s a slight attempt to work in some narrative interest with one of the crew suffering from a fatal illness that’s being hidden from the others, lamely trying to ratchet up suspense whether this infirmity will prevent the mission from being successful or potentially cause someone else’s death in addition to the one about to succumb, but it’s not developed well enough to have much impact when the fatal moment arrives.

Producer/lead actor Tony Anthony innocuously plays the worldly leading man with no glimmer of Harrison Ford’s charisma as Indiana Jones (or even Richard Chamberlain’s less exciting Allan Quartermain whose two movie adventures were also produced by this movie’s executive producers Golan and Globus around the same time). Cohorts Gene Quintano and Jerry Lazarus as the timid Edmond and the hooch-filled Rick manage to carve out slight characterizations even from their limited screen time. Emiliano Redondo as Brother Jonas is mired in a lengthy, unendurable fundamentalist healing ritual that is cut back to repeatedly during the actual heist while Francisco Rabal and Ana Obregon are okay as circus performers recruited into Striker’s service.

Video: 3/5

3D Rating: 4.5/5

The film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is faithfully rendered in this 1080p transfer using the AVC/MVC codec. The movie’s age and lower budget are often on display with some shots soft and color sometimes deep and striking and other times wan and lacking. There are plenty of examples of obvious dirty lenses during shooting, but there are also dust and dirt artifacts that have not been cleaned up and an occasional scratch. The movie has been divided into 10 chapters.

As mentioned above, there is no lack of 3D implementation, and the 3-D Film Archive has done a fine job bringing it to us given the materials they had to work with. The sense of great depth in the frame is overwhelmingly palpable throughout, and the director has also shot many scenes with objects on different select planes that add to the three-dimensional feel to the imagery. Of course, the pop-outs are legendary from this production company, and you’ll actually find yourself ducking occasionally as things come unexpectedly hurtling toward you in such quick succession. Unlike the classics from the Golden Age of 3D, however, the 3D camera operator wasn’t always able to hide the wires for various flying objects being shot or keep objects in focus throughout their journey out of the frame resulting in an occasional failed attempt at negative parallax (and thus the deduction of a half point from the 3D score).

Audio: 4/5

The disc offers a choice of DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 stereo sound mixes. The 5.1 does a good job at separation of various sound effects into various channels in the mix with some effective panning on occasion, and Ennio Morricone’s music cues get decent spread through the soundstage as well. There is a notable lack of bass in the mix, though, lessening the impact of the audio somewhat.

Special Features: 3.5/5

This edition of the film offers a one-stop shop for viewing this movie. You can see it in standard polarized 3D or for those who aren’t fully 3D equipped, you can watch it either in 2D or in anaglyph (Red/Cyan) 3D with an enclosed pair of anaglyph glasses. Mention must be made of the main menu screen which, in true 3-D Film Archive fashion, provides a breathtaking static 3D image that I stared at for several highly enjoyable minutes.

Audio Commentary: film historian Jason Pichonsky has done exhaustive research on all of the film’s major participants and on the history of 3D filmmaking which he shares while making occasional references to the film at hand (let’s face it: there isn’t much here to analyze in a scholarly fashion so he uses the time to school the listener in more succinct ways).

Tony Anthony Audio Interview (44:24): the actor/producer fills us in on his extensive movie career led by questions from filmmaker Douglas Hosdale.

Theatrical Trailer (1:59, HD)

Overall: 2.5/5

If you’re looking for an entertaining avalanche of 3D effects, stop your search with Ferdinando Baldi’s Treasure of the Four Crowns, a fairly feeble adventure film but one rich in thrilling and imaginative three-dimensional photography.

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Matt Hough

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Camps

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For myself, 3-D presentation of a mediocre movie doesn’t appeal to me any longer. Anyhow, thanks for the review for those that are looking forward to this movie.
Oh Robert, the movie's not that bad... and the 3D effects make it a hoot!

Even A*P*E was transformed into a fun watch thanks to the 3D restoration. (In that case 3DFA may have achieved the minor miracle of actually polishing a turd...) :)
 

Robert Crawford

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Oh Robert, the movie's not that bad... and the 3D effects make it a hoot!

Even A*P*E was transformed into a fun watch thanks to the 3D restoration. (In that case 3DFA may have achieved the minor miracle of actually polishing a turd...) :)
A 3-D presentation of a mediocre or bad movie doesn't make that movie more palatable to my film taste. If it does for you and others then I'm happy for you.
 

MikeDE

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A 3D pop out dream of a disc. This Blu-ray is better than when I saw it in a theater years ago. It’s not perfect, and the story is silly, but what a fun example of 80's 3D.
 

RolandL

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Delivery date for me is still 6/1 from Amazon. I guess it's so popular Amazon is having a hard time getting copies. :3dglasses:
 

noel aguirre

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Placing my order and looking forward to it. For those who aren’t fans of mediocre 3D films there are no alternatives as basically the entire catalogue has been released. Same for Cinerama films. Also many a mediocre film have I watched yet loved the cinematography. To each his own- that’s my philosophy.
 
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Bob Cashill

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There are more great 3D moments than there are great 3D movies—and Treasure has a lot of great 3D moments. (In 2D the whole “heist” business, with rope, winches, and pulleys, would be exhausting, but in 3D it’s riveting, three-dimensional Topkapi.) It’s a lot better than the preceding Comin’ At Ya (if hardly “good” in a conventional sense) and a pleasingly typical Cannon film of its era, with sufficient bonkers scenes up through the final “huh?” shot. So not for everyone but for me a lot easier sit than, say, The Stewardesses or Those Redheads from Seattle. (And yes I did see it theatrically, at age 17.)
 

DFurr

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I've got a 35mm 3D print of this title.
It's a bit on the rough side toward the end of the movie but it is fun to watch.
Haven't seen the Blu Ray but it's got to be miles ahead of my print. If I have a 35mm print I try not to invest in a BD of the same title. It just depends on how rough the film condition is. Some of the 80's 3D prints are in rough condition.
 

noel aguirre

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Which is EXACTLY what HE said and you gave him a red thumbs down for it. :rolleyes:
Except that’s NOT what he SAID - he SAID he won’t watch mediocre films with 3D (hence the thumbs down) and I said I’ve watched MANY a mediocre film with great cinematography. I don’t judge. READ.
And as I’ve heard over and over on here- Why even comment on something you haven’t seen?
 
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Robert Crawford

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Which is EXACTLY what HE said and you gave him a red thumbs down for it. :rolleyes:
Except that’s NOT what he SAID - he SAID he won’t watch mediocre films with 3D (hence the thumbs down) and I said I’ve watched MANY a mediocre film with great cinematography. I don’t judge. READ.
And as I’ve heard over and over on here- Why even comment on something you haven’t seen?
Please, move on as it's not worth it, as how I spend my discretionary monies is my choice and the same applies to how you spend your monies.
 

Todd J Moore

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I watched this movie last weekend for the first time in 39 years. I didn't like it then and am not crazy about it now. The 3D is good, the movie is not. The 3DFA did a great job restoring it and I'm glad I got to see it in 3D, but I'm good.

But I always find it interesting that people want to tell you how to feel about something. Good cinematography or good 3D do not make a bad movie watchable. I understand what Robert is saying about not wanting to buy this. The 3DFA is working on Prison Girls, a movie I have no desire to own or see. IF I buy it, it will be to support the 3DFA. But IF I buy it, I won't be watching it. I'm 51 now and I don't care to spend hours of my life watching something I know I won't like. I think Robert is saying the same thing and I fully respect that.