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Flicker Alley DVDs

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Wow, the company really puts out the rare movies serious film fans have been looking for. 

 

http://www.flickeralley.com

 

They just released a 3D rarities compilation I would love to see, but alas, I do not have a 3D Blu-Ray player or 3D TV. Apparently, it looks ok in a 2D TV, but Mark Martucci's review in Classic Images makes me want to buy new equipment just to see this DVD.

 

I highly recommend checking them out. You often find them at hard core film festivals in the dealer's room.

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The Cinerama features are a trifle pricey but they are loaded with entertaining extras along with reprints (smaller size) of the program brochures... so, yes, you DO get your money's worth. Also that site has periodical sales, just as the Warner Archive and TCM shops do... sometimes the prices go down to the high twenties rather than roughly fifty.

 

You can't help but be in a state of "wow" over how the deteriorating Eastmancolor prints of the 1950s are restored frame by frame to as close-to-the-original colors as possible.

 

You get both a BluRay and one or two "standard" DVDs in each set... and the latter look virtually as good on your regular DVD player as the high def disc on the other. Of course, the curved screen may take a bit getting used to.

 

THIS IS CINERAMA (1952) has been shown on TCM and is probably the dullest of the bunch, but you enjoy it simply because it was such a novelty in its day... and prompting Hollywood to go "wide-screen" in the process. I only saw this one on TV, but have three others (which I got for my travel oriented dad). I have not seen SEARCH FOR PARADISE or WINDJAMMER yet.

 

CINERAMA HOLIDAY, filmed 1953-54, will be more entertaining for those who visited Switzerland and Paris than others, largely because a lot has changed since then.

 

Look! No security around the Mona Lisa! (According to an "extra", the filmmakers started a mini fire in the museum with their equipment and the painting needed cleaning afterward.)

 

54-cinerama-holiday-the-mona-lisa-with-n

 

This film is... probably... not the VERY best of the Cinerama features, but it does have the VERY best "extras", including interviews with both starring couples shot in the 1990s before the husbands passed away and later, just a few years ago, with the widows attending a restored premiere showing with Leonard Maltin. Betty Marsh has a scrapbook of news clippings and memorabilia that was apparently lost and "resurfaced" on ebay. She is shown going through the material for the first time in over five decades... and her memory of events is brilliant. This is her in the spring of '54, Paris.

 

54-cinerama-holiday-betty-john-marsh-in-

 

SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE, shot in 1957 and released '58, has Orson Welles introducing on the soundtrack, followed by individuals commenting on the different Pacific islands, Hawaii and Australia. I like the kangaroo segment the best, but they also have a peculiar "medical drama" sequence set on the outback that seems a trifle hokey (but still entertaining) today. This film was most famous for the shots of New Hebrides bugee jumps.

 

57-south-seas-adventure-outback-kangaroo

 

I think my favorite is THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, which took a year and a half to film (1954-55) and is probably the "meatiest" of the bunch in terms of all of the locations showcased. It also has some of the best orchestra music, as you can imagine over shots like Victoria Falls here...

 

55-01-seven-wonders-of-the-world-victori

 

Here we see Rikki Tikki Tavy in India...

 

55-02-seven-wonders-of-the-world-mongoos

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They are releasing two more Cinerama DVDs in November and those who pre-order early can get them for $29.95... which may still seem too much for some for a BluRay/DVD combo with a lot of extras. Yet these films are so fascinating that you will likely be viewing them multiple times.

 

http://www.flickeralley.com/classic-movies/#!/Cineramas-Russian-Adventure/p/68178472

http://www.flickeralley.com/classic-movies/#!/The-Best-of-Cinerama/p/68178461/category=12445055

 

Russian Adventure was, according to imdb.com site, stitched together from several Soviet films. Bing Crosby is host.

 

Soviet footage used in this U.S. compilation were taken from the Kinopanorama releases "Shiroka strana moya..." (1957), "Udivitelnaya okhota" (1961) and "SSSR s otkrytym serdtsem" (1961), all produced by the Moscow Popular Science Studio; The Enchanted Mirror (1958), "Chas neozhidannykh putesbesviy. V polyote na vertolyote" (1960) and the dyptich "Chetvyortaya programma panorammykh filmov", integrated by "Tsikovoye predstavleniye" and "Na Krasnoy ploshchadi" (1961), all produced by the Central Documentary Film Studio, as well as "V Antarktiku za kitami".

 

I have the feeling that the DVD will be better looking than this theatrical reissue presentation:

 

 

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They are releasing two more Cinerama DVDs in November and those who pre-order early can get them for $29.95... which may still seem too much for some for a BluRay/DVD combo with a lot of extras. Yet these films are so fascinating that you will likely be viewing them multiple times.

 

http://www.flickeralley.com/classic-movies/#!/Cineramas-Russian-Adventure/p/68178472

http://www.flickeralley.com/classic-movies/#!/The-Best-of-Cinerama/p/68178461/category=12445055

 

Russian Adventure was, according to imdb.com site, stitched together from several Soviet films. Bing Crosby is host.

 

Soviet footage used in this U.S. compilation were taken from the Kinopanorama releases "Shiroka strana moya..." (1957), "Udivitelnaya okhota" (1961) and "SSSR s otkrytym serdtsem" (1961), all produced by the Moscow Popular Science Studio; The Enchanted Mirror (1958), "Chas neozhidannykh putesbesviy. V polyote na vertolyote" (1960) and the dyptich "Chetvyortaya programma panorammykh filmov", integrated by "Tsikovoye predstavleniye" and "Na Krasnoy ploshchadi" (1961), all produced by the Central Documentary Film Studio, as well as "V Antarktiku za kitami".

 

I have the feeling that the DVD will be better looking than this theatrical reissue presentation:

 

 

[Never buy anything from FLICKER ALLEY, just too expensive for me. They never have sales. I know these titles must be costly but still no sale for me. The two film noirs TOO LATE FOR TEARS and WOMAN ON THE RUN are selling for around $35.00 each. You can get these two titles from Great Britain for around $20.00 each. Not sure about the CINERAMA titles.

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I travelled cross country to a small little townin the midwest awhile back just to see a film in cinerarama. It was well worth it. At the time he was the only person stateside showing anything in cinerama and had converted his small theater for it.

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I forgot to mention that I did get the Russian film earlier when it was on sale.

 

http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/71547/cineramas-russian-adventure/

 

The footage was shot between late 1956 and early 1963, culled from roughly ten features and "featurettes" that were shot in the Soviet version of Cinerama.

 

The only part I didn't like was the gruesome whale hunt in Antarctica, not Russia (1961 footage). On the other hand, I loved the saiga antelope "hunt" (not for killing, but herd distribution to protected areas) with their cute faces all shown in trios before they escape the lasso of the rodeo riders. Lots of other critter scenes involving lions performing on top of circus horses and clever bears raiding bee hives.

 

All in all, a very FUN travelogue with Bing Crosby narrating with plenty of gusto.

 

Among the extras is Fortress of Peace, an Oscar nominee from Cinerama that pretty much shows Swiss military maneuvers practicing in 1964, but with some pretty alpine scenics. Also the construction of the Concorde airplane.

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Flicker Alley has just released a rare 1927 silent, CHILDREN OF DIVORCE, starring Clara Bow and Gary Cooper. It has both a blu ray and DVD in the package.

 

But it's time for me to sit and wait for it to become more affordable. Amazon.ca (which I can't use as a Canadian) has it for $35, while Amazon.ca (the Canadian version) has $47 as the dirt cheapest price there.

 

I spoke to one manager of a Toronto DVD store who expects to out a price tag of over $60 when the DVD comes in. He agreed that very few will sell, but he said his price tag is so high because (especially after import fees) he has to pay so much to get it into his store, starting off with Flicker's own high price tag.

 

Flicker Alley produces a nice product but, as a small company, they appear to put out a limited number of releases and then heap a large price on the few they hope to sell. That means that many collectors of limited means simply can't afford their DVDs.

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They do have plenty (particularly silent films) that are under $20, but the ones I want do tend to be too much.

 

The Cinerama titles are worth the sometimes $29 sale price with all of their extras and outstanding image quality (on both BluRay and traditional DVD discs provided for all of your machines), but not necessarily worth $40+. I still haven't gotten SEARCH FOR PARADISE or WINDJAMMER yet, because those prices have never been knocked down as some of the others.

 

In a way, you are essentially assisting the cost of restoration and film preservation. These were NOT easy to restore back to their original greatness.

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In a way, you are essentially assisting the cost of restoration and film preservation. These were NOT easy to restore back to their original greatness.

 

Yeh, that's a positive way to look at it.

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Leonard Malton has a nice article on the restored version of The Lost World (1925) that Flicker Alley recently released on Blu-Ray:

 

http://leonardmaltin.com/before-king-kong-a-lost-world-found/

 

 

For more details on the release, including screen shots, etc., go to:

 

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Lost-World-Blu-ray/180739/

 

 

This one is going on my Christmas list!

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