BLU: Universal Classic Monsters - The Essential Collection 10/2/12

Discussion in 'Classic' started by jstell, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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    I'm a little perplexed as to how the the 1943 Phantom keeps getting thrown into the Universal Monsters boxsets. This is the only film in the set I've never watched before and I finally got around to it tonight. I knew it was in color, but I didn't realize that it had production values that far surpassed any other Universal Monster movie nor did I realize that it's basically a musical. This has far more in common with the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical than it does with any of the classic (or not so classic) monster movies of the era. It just seems to miss everything that makes a Universal Monster movie a Universal Monster movie.
     
  2. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    I agree. When I think of "Phantom of the Opera", I think Lon Chaney. I have no interest in any other version.
     
  3. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately it's pretty simple. Universal neglected to renew the copyright to the Chaney version in 1953. So it fell into the public domain. Image currently holds the rights.

    The original DVD boxset held the same 8 films (9 counting Spanish Dracula) as the current Blu-ray set. I suspect the iconic status of the Chaney version and Universal's inability to include it led to the substitution of the 1943 film.

    It's definitely a bummer the first time you watch it. It includes WAAAAAY more opera than Phantom. But over time I've come to appreciate the horror elements a little more. It's definitely not on par with the 1925 or 1929 Chaney versions. But there are some things to enjoy if you know what you're getting into when you sit down with it.

    How's the transfer look? Several reviews said there are serious color registration errors in some scenes.
     
  4. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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    Given that it's a Technicolor film from 1943, I really can't complain too much video wise. The color was extremely vibrant, though it did seem to flicker a bit, but nothing I would consider too distracting. I didn't notice any issues where I would say there was a serious problem.
     
  5. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    From what I've read the problem on PotO is that three strip technicolor is literally three strips of film; one for each color. Over time these shrink and physically change in various ways but not equally. So after some time they are ever so slightly off. It's possible to restore but that's something that can change from reel to reel, shot by shot, frame by frame. I.E. money.

    Something like Wizard of Oz or Gone with the Wind has been properly corrected but Universal is not spending that kind of cash on their second tier Phantom. Hell he didn't even make most of the DVD boxsets and we're lucky to get it on Blu at all I guess.
     
  6. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    You hit it on the head. Fixing this requires frame-by-frame re-alignment of the 3 strips (since the shrinking is anything but uniform). And since it sounds like the most serious issues are confined to a few sequences I'm sure they figured it wasn't worth the fuss and cost to correct them.

    I'm going to watch this disc tonight. I'll comment later on the severity of the issues. It sounds like they're not too bad unless you're viewing the disc projected onto an enormous screen. Hopefully that's the case.
     
  7. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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    That's definitely not my situation. I have a 42" plasma.
     
  8. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    I just finished watching Phantom. On my 52" LCD screen I saw occasional minor color bleeding. But it's not constant or overly distracting. If you don't pay attention to the outlines of white objects you might not notice it at all.
     
  9. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Creature 2D plays fine in my Oppo BDP-83. No strangeness in the 58:00-1:00:00 interval or anywhere else. This could be a player-related situation for some like The Hammer Horror Series DVDs.

    As far as the transfer goes it's a really mixed bag. Pieces of the same shots are vastly different in quality (a razor sharp shot's continuation will be blurry as if it's from a much lesser source). It can't be related to the camera technology since it literally happens within the same shots. I've never seen anything exactly like it before.

    The new (to home video) widescreen framing is definitely a huge plus. It looks like a much more modern movie now. And as far as that reviewer's comments about the Creature suit looking fake, I don't buy that at all. More detail is present than ever before. And the suit really looks astoundingly good from all angles. These Blu-ray presentations really make it easy to appreciate the artistry that made these films enduring classics.
     
  10. baggio

    baggio Well-Known Member

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    Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection


    $64.99 at Amazon.
     
  11. Jack_Burton

    Jack_Burton New Member

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    Must get this set!
     
  12. foller

    foller Active Member

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    I was thinking about buying some of the Universal Monster Blu Ray single releases. To my surprise it seems that there are 2 versions of these discs out there: a) the ones with the original poster art, b) the ones with the original poster art but without the taglines and with a different title font.
    Has anyone of you ordered from amazon and received the ones without the taglines? I want to make sure that I get the ones with the taglines.
     
  13. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    yeah, i'm with you - the written copy is part of the charm.
     
  14. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    Since I bought the original U.K. coffin boxset, I needed the Dracula commentary with Steve Haberman. I purchased the U.S. Dracula blu-ray from Amazon when it came out last year. It doesn't have a tagline, just the picture of Lugosi, "Carl Laemmle presents Dracula" and "featuring" the main cast members.
     
  15. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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  16. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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