Dracula and The Mummy Complete Legacy Collections on blu-ray 05/16/17

Discussion in 'High Definition' started by buck135, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Excellent read, X-human! I don't think there's much doubt that Chaney was tapped for Dracula, and the studios would have worked out an arrangement to let him take the role. It would definitely have been interesting to see what would have happened next. In all likelihood, Chaney's Dracula would have been at least as big a hit as the film that was eventually released--which would have raised the stakes for Chaney to take the Frankenstein monster role, too.

    I don't completely agree that Dracula's lack of a score is a problem. In my opinion, Dracula is one of the few flicks that gains spooky ambience from the relative background silence. The low-key stillness of Lugosi's more vampiric scenes only makes them that much more unnerving. Werner Herzog seemed to recognize this, as some similar passages in his Nosferatu remake also play without music.

    Like you, I think things at Universal worked out for the best. Chaney Sr. is near and dear to me, but so are Bela and Boris. Had Chaney lived through the 30s, it certainly would have resulted in reduced opportunities for Bela and Boris. And who knows how it would have altered Universal's classic horror output?
     
  2. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    There's a fair argument to make that Chaney wouldn't have come back but that's not as fun as speculating what Universal Horrors would become with Chaney Sr! For example Robert Florey directing Frankenstein with Chaney Sr! But yes, any way you sliced it, a live Chaney may have meant less innovation from Universal. The ramifications are nearly impossible to say.

    As for the Dracula that did get made, the lack of score doesn't bother me, but is admittedly a stumbling block for people today. Just is. It does heighten the spookier scenes, but doesn't help the rest and the silence would have been even more effective had they used music in other scenes. The ballet scene with its music cues is a good example of its effective use. This is a question I've never thought to ask but... Could the early expectation have been that the theaters would have an organist playing? I was about to say it was alright for the audiences at the time not to have much music, but that's not really true either. Sure not every screening of a silent film had an organist but all the good shows did. The fact that they prepared a silent version would anticipate an organist accompany the film... So to be at a packed theater opening night and sit through a movie sans ANY music? Wouldn't have left as good of an impression even to a contemporary audience. Maybe the novelty of sync sound would have been enough that early on but music was even more important back then; audiences complained when there weren't song and dance numbers in films in this era!

    I've always enjoyed The Mummy. Karloff is hypnotic as Imhotep, Van Sloan is back (though not quite as enthusiastic) and Zita Johann is mesmerizing. The opening is nearly perfect and the ending is about as lurid and suggestive as horror got. On top of that having clear actions from a called upon pagan god is rather unique. It's also fairly Lovecraftian and probably the first of its kind in that regard. The sequels are fun but get rather hair brained ending up in America and you have a Mummy roaming around the swamps for half the series! But I'll commit yet more blaspheme in saying Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy is a guilty pleasure of mine. I enjoy it much more than Meets Frankenstein.

    I'm just glad these are coming out before The Mummy remake. If it flops, they may have put a hold on all of Universal monster projects. Rumors are that Revenge of the Creature in 3D is a fair possibility! So an Invisible Man and Creature sets may not be too far behind! This Halloween? Next year for another remake? (What's in the pipe?)
     
  3. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad to hear this. It's been years since I've seen A & C Meet the Mummy, and it didn't make a big impression on me. I hope I enjoy it as much as you.

    I've said this in other threads, but it applies here. The Mummy is a flick I admire, but don't enjoy. Karloff is great, I recall Freund doing some interesting things with the camera, and the ending was cool and interesting. But most of the middle is yack, yack, yack. For me, it shares a lot of the same weaknesses as Werewolf of London, another of my least-favorite Universal classics. Parts of both are great, but neither does much for me start to finish.

    You pose an interesting question about organ music. I've read quite a few books about Universal's golden age, and although I've never heard any mention of this type of accompaniment for their early talkies, it would make a lot of sense as a carryover transitional practice. Truthfully, I think I appreciate the lack of music in Dracula largely because of the unbelievably overbearing and misguided optional Philip Glass score. I remember being excited about the prospect of a Glass score because I'm a huge fan of his work on Candyman. But 30 seconds into the coach ride at the beginning of Dracula, I said uncle. That score is so busy and inappropriately uptempo. Waxman, Salter, and Skinner must spin in their graves every time someone switches on that audio track.

    Are you holding out any hope for these modern Universal films? Indecisiveness and second-guessing turned The Wolfman into a mess, and Dracula Untold isn't even a horror film. Barring the reincarnation of Junior Laemmle, I don't see any of these new flicks favorably recalling the classics that inspired them. I hope I'm wrong.
     
  4. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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  5. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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  6. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Sounds like you'll know way more than me! As you said, it was an early transition period. A fog of war kinda thing. But with more thought, chances seem low to me; you've got an organist try to play under dialog? Probably didn't work out too well. The novelty of talking pictures was probably enough.

    I find a lot to enjoy in Werewolf of London. It's more like the pulps of the day mixing Sci-Fi and mythology along with the far East. I just like that stuff. Son of Dracula and Dracula's Daughter? Not so much.

    From what Universal's said about their whole reboot, it's more inspired by Marvel than anything else. So I'm not expecting it to be much like the originals at all. But I've mellowed out about such things over the past few years. And even had to begrudgingly admit to enjoying Stephen Sommers' Mummy movies. But based on the trailers it appears to be action/horror akin to Underworld and Resident Evil, and I can live with that. If they're as gory as those films I'll consider it a win. Maybe Deadpool's success will even help steer them in that direction.
     
  7. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    Both sets are currently $29.99 on Best Buy.com. While that's relatively on the high side for the Dracula set (2 new films), it's a bargain for the Mummy set (5 new films).
     
  8. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Looks like Amazon has matched that with The Mummy.

    But the standard discount is 30% off, which would be $27.99 (about where Amazon has the Frankenstein set now). So that's not even competitive with the market standards. Wolf Man's at $20.99 currently and was a $14.99 Pre-Order at Best Buy! And there was some immediate drops on the Fall Universals ICFOS and G&Mr.C after their release dates. So we may see Dracula have a similar drop. Mummy will probably hold, it's got the most going for it and has the tie in this Summer. Although the tie in may cause it to drop since sales will be so good. :cool:

    Which is why I feel bad putting these on my timely birthday wish list. If my family's not paying attention they may pay way too much! But it's the sorta stuff they'd want to get me. I almost want to buy'em at the right price and just have them pay me back. :D
     
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  9. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    File this in the drive-by category, as I've only checked out part of one movie, Dracula's Daughter (and I didn't have time for an A-B comparison with the Legacy DVD), but these transfers seem to have the same strengths and weaknesses as those on the Frankenstein and Wolf Man Legacy sets. There might be modicum more grain visible in some shots, but most exhibit the "Universal Blu-ray look"--definite signs of digital noise reduction. During normal viewing, most shots look silky-smooth, soft, and lacking the type of detail you'd expect from a 4k restoration. At my Oppo's maximum zoom setting, many well-authored blu-rays exhibit very even, natural-looking grain structures. But certain shots in Dracula's Daughter look very odd, with inconsistent grain resolution in different parts of the frame. Once again, contrast, black levels, and grayscale are awesome, which makes these films much more dramatic-looking in hi-def. So all of the films are likely huge upgrades from the DVDs. It's just maddening to know that they probably looked a lot more like film before Universal started twiddling dials.

    I'll make a more detailed report once I've been able to check out the sets more thoroughly.
     
  10. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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  11. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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  12. baggio

    baggio Well-Known Member

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    So these sets(Wolfman, Mummy) are coming out today on Blu. Anybody picking them up? Still no word on Invisible Man or Creature from Black Lagoon which were both on DVD. Assume they will make Blu's too.

    Seems like the Wolfman has the most over lap of all the sets so far. 3 films in the set can be found on the other sets, not to mention Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. Mummy is the only set with no repeats. Seems like best deal.

    Now I'm wondering if one should wait for the entire collection on Blu like they did on DVD. Especially to avoid repeats on each individual set.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  13. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    I'm not sure what you mean. The Dracula and Mummy sets came out in May. The Frankenstein and Wolfman sets came out last year. They are incredible. I was hoping for an announcement regarding the Invisible Man and Black Lagoon sets by now, but we'll see what happens.
     
  14. baggio

    baggio Well-Known Member

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    Ok, so I was confused. The Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy comes out today. Just figured how is that film included in the Mummy set, yet the film comes out today. Should have been the other way around like A & B Meet Frankenstein.

    Anyway, glad to hear they're good. Only wish there was a Blu-ray complete collection (like the DVD) to avoid triples of certain movies if you buy each set individually.
     
  15. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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    That's right, I forgot Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy came out individually. I agree about wanting the complete set and the overlapping discs, however the quality of the restorations at the price they are charging is staggering.
     
  16. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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    If I'm not mistaken, that complete collection on DVD is just a consolidation of the individual monster DVD sets so you still wind up getting duplicates and triplicates.
     

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