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- Seen: http://www.imdb.com/list/v16qhalihQY/
- Want to see: http://www.imdb.com/list/QWOzJU7VJDs/
- Votes: http://www.imdb.com/user/ur0341158/ratings
- Good Blu-ray quality: http://www.imdb.com/list/CQ-nSdBqgGg/, see also my collection: http://www.blu-ray.com/community/collection.php?u=280578
Gulliver's Travels (1939)
2014 Thunderbean Blu-ray: Great value and restoration of several gems
Ratings out of 10: Movie 8, Video 9, Audio 8, Extras 9
This 1939 classic feature film cartoon is still widely reproduced and you can read plenty of reviews of the film online, so I will focus on the technical details of this 2014 Blu-ray release. I received this in the mail yesterday and have watched most of the content, but I probably do not have as discerning an eye as others, nor have I ever written professional Blu-ray reviews. As a final introductory note, the DVD and Blu-ray contents are virtually identical (other than the higher quality of the latter); I will note a couple of differences in the extra features. Steve Stanchfield, chief archivist on the project, has written a detailed review of the restoration and embedded (through his YouTube account) a 2-minute sample of 1080-quality video highlighting each title on this release. http://cartoonresearch.com/index.php/gulliver-comes-to-bluray/
VIDEO: With a few minor exceptions, the visual quality of the feature and shorts on this disc are excellent. I am accustomed to Kino and Criterion Blu-ray releases of films from the first half of the 20th century; the high quality of this Thunderbean release deserves to be compared to both of these larger companies. The only obvious problem I noticed was a small green blotch on the left edge of the screen for about three minutes, starting at the 30-minute mark. The 8 shorts are of varying quality, but they were not cleaned up as well as the Gulliver feature.
AUDIO: Most likely as good as these releases will ever sound. I don't know if any noise-reduction editing was done, but there is minimal hiss and all the content on these discs sound about average for most films I've seen restored from this era. I noticed at least twice a shift in the sound for a few seconds (one at 40:17). I assume this is probably a transition between film reels; the video is consistent, but there are significant blips in the sound.
EXTRAS: There are at least two hours of extra video and audio material on this disc. It is a wealth of Fleischer content. My only (very minor) complaint is the reduced navigational ability of the Blu-ray compared to the DVD on the audio content. I could not fast-forward through the Decca audio content, and some of the image galleries required the use of the Play button instead of the track-advance button.
Cartoons (54:34 total): - Modeling (1921) - In My Merry Oldsmobile (1931) - Is My Palm Red? (1933) with Betty Boop (I believe this should be "Read") - The Little Dutch Mill (1934) Color Classic - The Paneless Window Washer (1937) with Popeye - Ding Dong Doggy (1937) with Pudgy - Two for the Zoo (1941) with Gabby from Gulliver - Swing Cleaning (1941) with Gabby from Gulliver
Bonus Features: - Production Artwork (at least 80 images) - Decca Album (8-tracks, featuring Victor Young and His Orchestra and Max Terr's Choristers, audio with photos of each album side) - Guy Lombardo (Decca single of "Bluebirds..." and "It's a Hap...", audio with photos of each album side) - Trailer (2:20) - Books and Publications (43 images) - Publicity Material (43 images) - Radio Broadcast (23:43, Good News of 1940, 12/21/39) - Popeye & Gulliver Pencil Test (0:27) - Toys & other Merchandise (20 images)
Booklet (12-page b&w insert), includes various essays on these releases. - Liner Notes by Steve Stanchfield (order of The Paneless and Ding Dong shorts switched in this description) - Gulliver's Travels Notes by John McElwee - The Miami Gamble by Ray Pointer - On Gulliver's Travels by G. Michael Dobbs - Gulliver's Travels: Music to My Ears by Chris Buchman
SUMMARY: This is the first Blu-ray release from Thunderbean and it is clearly a labor of love. The video and audio restoration of Gulliver in particular are the best these releases have ever been on home video, and the wealth of extras alone make this an invaluable set of discs to add to your collection.
La souriante Madame Beudet (1923)
Technically well-shot, but not impressive
The film with English subtitles is currently on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VA8NBhipvs
This is the 2005 Arte version, which appears to be the most commonly available. Soundtrack by Manfred Knaak, performed by the Kontraste ensemble, 38 minute runtime. IMDb lists the film as 54 minutes long; I'm curious if this is a longer version of the film or just a slower film speed.
As for my opinion of the film itself, I did not find it very engaging or entertaining. Much of my impression of silent films is influenced by the soundtrack and I found this small orchestral score to be average at best. I appreciate the historic value of the film as (one of?) the first woman- centered film(s) and it was technically well-shot.
Good mix of interviews/studio/live performances
This has received a Grammy nomination for Best Music Film, and I can see why. It's a good look at the creative process of the musicians at this point in their careers, experimenting for the first time since 1993 by performing to small audiences and then tweaking the albums (Uno, Dos, and Tre) according to their reaction. There is a good mix of interviews/studio time/live performances in the film.
Note: You can watch this on Qello.com with a free 7-day trial. Also for the record, I wouldn't consider myself a huge Green Day fan. I've always enjoyed Dookie and American Idiot, and I saw them at Lollapalooza in 2010, but otherwise find it difficult to listen to most Green Day albums from start to finish.
Red Dragon (2002)
A chilling prequel
I got to see a sneak preview of the film on Monday night (Sep. 30). What a fabulous flick! Not overly gorey like *Hannibal*, but a great thriller/mystery. All actors did a great job, especially Ralph Fiennes. They did show his back side a little too often, though!
Long, But Memorable
I just watched this movie today for my Holocaust course at Vanderbilt. The filming in this movie is very effective and it is altogether a movie worth seeing.... However, it would have been nice if it was an hour or two shorter - and it could have been, too. There are a number of scenes that are unnecessary.