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Fantasy films

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Please review fantasy film DVDs here, thanks. When reviewing, good things to keep in mind that people want to know: how good was the film quality, was the film itself any good, what were the extras and how good were they, was there a good commentary, etc. You know, stuff you would like to know if you were thinking about buying a particular DVD.

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This is the classic Merian C. Cooper production of the fantasy adventure film starring Randolph Scott. The print is excellent but the sound is a little low (especially noteworthy when you go back to the main menu and the Max Steiner score blares out at you).


One thing I found out after ordering the DVD was that in addition to the b&w version on it, there would also be a new colorized version of the film. While this made me groan, it was stated that Ray Harryhausen would supervise it. So, when it arrived, I tried to hold my doubts in check and give it a chance. However, after looking at it, I don't feel any different about my views on colorization. And I was not very impressed by the so-called improvements in colorization over the last few decades that were ballyhooed on the DVD. I felt there was still a leaning too much towards brown and I felt the faces were often very pasty and bland. Of course, in the case of star Randolph Scott, this seems appropriate.


This early film of his showed very little in Scott's ability with lines. When greeted early in the film with the news that his uncle, whom he had come from America to see, was dying of radium poisoning, his reaction was on the lines of "aw, too bad," as if radium poisoning was like having a mild cold.


The film is still a classic and worth seeing, especially in this nice new b&w print.


Extras include a featurette on the colorization process.

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Universal Home Video has done a very good job with its brand-new release of the 1942 Arabian Nights, a goregeous-looking fantasy with Jon Hall, Maria Montez & Sabu, which also happens to have been Universal's first movie in 3-strip Technicolor.


The film is a lot of fun, maybe not quite up there with The Thief of Bagdad (1940) but in many ways more satisfying that the similar Kismet (1944). One of the running jokes is that there's two minor characters named "Sinbad" and "Aladdin" who keep reminiscing about the adventures of their youth.


The transfer is quite nice, with barely a sight of specks, tears or scratches in the source material. For most of the running time, I had to remind myself I was watching a movie from 1942, it almost looked like it could have been filmed yesterday. The use of Technicolor is very subtle throughout much of the film, a bit unlike other 3-strip Technicolor films of the time.


There's not a lot of extras, just the original trailer and an introduction by TCM's Robert Osborne. The DVD also has optional English language captions for the hearing impaired.

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Hi. It seemed to be a good time to ressurect the individual threads that were set up when I helped get this Forum created. We are getting so many threads being started for so many things that could all be in one place that it makes it hard to find anything.


Keeping within a theme thread makes the Classic Film DVD Reviews Forum a much neater place and better organized.. Thanks.

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*Mysterious Island (Twilight Time) Blu-ray*


Note: This was a limited Blu-ray release of 3,000 copies from Twilight Time, which has now sold out (but you'll be able to find a copy selling on eBay or Amazon, I am sure, but at a collector's market price (translation: expensive!)).


Ray Harryhausen movies were a wonderful part of my youth. I remember seeing this film when it came out in the Sixties, and it still enjoyable today, though young viewers won't find it compares to today's special effects computetr technology. Harryhausen did his effects frame by frame. And inspired many young fans who became our filmmakers of today.

















































I don't rank the movie itself as highly as I do Jason and the Argonauts or The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, but it does have the marvellous character of Captain Nemo in this tale of several Union soldiers, along with a war correspondent, and a Union soldier, bust out of a Confederate prison, grab a hot-air balloon, get lost and come down on the title island. Two women get washed up from a sunken ship and they join forces to live there until they are rescued. But being a Harryhausen film, the creatures inhabiting it are of monsterous size and terrify the castaways.

















































(By the way, look for a filming flub at 33:49 when the five men climb a hill. It turns out the island isn't deserted because a shirtless crew member pops out from behind a rock.)

















































The picture quality is excellent, great clarity and good colors. There is definitely grain present.

















































Audio is quite good. Not off-the Richter-scale exceptional, but good.

















































Extras include a separate audio track that consists of Bernard Herrmann's fine score and several sound effects. There is also a TV trailer, a theatrical trailer, and an informative 8-page booklet.

















































Highly recommended.

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