Question 'bout "The Last Man On The Earth"

Discussion in 'Classic' started by niMANd, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. niMANd

    niMANd Guest

    L's & G's could you be of a little assistance to me? I'm a big fan of this movie with mr. Price, but I don't know what is the best version of the movie on DVD :confused: So please, can you tell me smth. about dvd releases of the movie!
     
  2. betterdan

    betterdan Guest

    Wait a little while longer because MGM is releasing a widescreen anamorphic disc of this in early 2005.
     
  3. Damage

    Damage Mirror Mirror

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    What he said. I have the BFS Entertainment triple-bill DVD that also includes The Satanic Rites of Dracula and The Devil Bat. While The Last Man on Earth is presented in widescreen, I don't believe it's anamorphic. Still, I can't complain as the disc only cost me around five bucks.
     
  4. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    As noted,the MGM version should be out soon.On whole I've been pleased with their MIDNITE MOVIES line,the price is nice and you often get two films for the price of one.
     
  5. Lyle Horowitz

    Lyle Horowitz Miscreant

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    If you can't wait 3-4 months, get the Alpha version. It's in widescreen of the MGM laserdisc and it's watchable. It's also only 5 or 6 dollars. However, I would wait until March when MGM releases their Midnite Movies DVD.
     
  6. Damage,

    "Last Man on Earth" was filmed with anamorphic lenses. The release prints were in 35mm anamorphic on Agfa B&W stock.
     
  7. Damage

    Damage Mirror Mirror

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    Oh, okay. I just figured that since my DVD is on a "cheapie" label, that particular disc is probably non-anamorphic.
     
  8. I also love this movie with classic Vincent Price , i know i have the 50 movie Pack that came with this movie and just yesterday i recieved Horror Classcs Vol. 2 and that also has Last Man on Earth . I never knew that MGM was releasing this classic film , cannot wait to pick that one up .
     
  9. BloodyBabe

    BloodyBabe Guest


    Can someone explain to me what a non-anamorphic/anamorphic lense is? :confused:
     
  10. betterdan

    betterdan Guest

    He is talking about the dvd itself being non anamorphic not the lenses.
     
  11. BloodyBabe

    BloodyBabe Guest

    I STILL have no idea what "non anamorphic" means - can anyone help me out here?
     
  12. Damage

    Damage Mirror Mirror

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    BloodyBabe, the best explanation can be found here.
    Essentially, when I do get around to upgrading my ordinary 4:3 TV to widescreen, the anamorphic DVDs I own will look great and will fill the 16:9 screen, depending on the aspect ratio. The link up at the top of this post has pictures of anamorphic vs non-anamorphic screens.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2004
  13. BloodyBabe

    BloodyBabe Guest

    Damage,
    Thank you kindly for the information I needed to understand this thread.
    I must say, I keep looking at your avatar and it is 20 degrees in NJ and I am saying "I hope Damage is not too cold today"! :p
     
  14. Damage

    Damage Mirror Mirror

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    It's not too bad, if I keep playing fast songs, I'll stay warm. ;)
     
  15. BloodyBabe

    BloodyBabe Guest

    Damage, I hope your bench is warm too! :eek:
     
  16. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    I don't own this film, but only because I couldn't be bothered with all the Diamond/Alpha knock offs. Good to hear someone is doing it right at last. I'd definately get it!
     
  17. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    I have the Madacy DVD that presents the film in 2:35 widescreen. It's not anamorphic, but the transfer looks pretty good.
     
  18. Bloodybabe,

    That's a good explanation for anamorphic enhansement as it applies to video.
    In terms of motion picture film, it's a bit more complicated.

    Anamorphic in 35mm means the image is optically compressed (squeezed) by 50% so that everything looks very skinny. Prior to letterboxing, some TV stations used to play wide screen movies with the credits left squeezed (skinny) so you could read them then pan and scanned the rest of the movie lopping off more than half the image.

    All 35mm anamorphic widescreen prints contained the same 50% squeeze. In projection, a comparable lens would spread out the image (unsqueezing it) to make it more than twice as wide.

    However, there was a major quality difference in the different types of negatives and lenses used to generate the anamorphic (squeezed image) in the fifties and sixties.

    The first process to utilize this widescreen method was Fox's CinemaScope. From 1953-1955, the aspect ratio was wider than today. It was 2.55 x 1 even though they used the same 50% squeeze. The reason it was wider is that early CinemaScope movies used the entire silent frame without the area reserved for the optical soundtrack. The prints were struck full frame with the anamorphic squeeze without the soundtrack. Then the lab would coat the inside and outside edges of the film with magnetic oxide and record the four channel stereophonic tracks. All early Fox CinemaScope movies were thus magnetic stereophonic sound and a very wide 2.55 x 1 and shown on curved screens to simulate Cinerama. However, many theaters complained that they didn't want to install stereophonic sound...just the wide screen.
    In 1955 they came up with a compromise solution. They would make 'manetic/optical'
    or mag/opt. prints. They would include the optical soundtrack on the prints as well as the four think magnetic stripes inside and outside the sprockets. That way, theaters could play them either way. Therefore, after 1955 all anamorphic films had the smaller 2.35 x 1 ratio. So when you see DVD's of early scope titles like "Guys and Dolls", they will look quite skinny in their letterboxed versions.

    The problem with all movies made with Fox's Baush and Lomb CinemaScope lenses is that they distorted the image. Close ups made everyone look fatter than they did in real life. So all CinemaScope movies will look a bit funky both in theaters and on DVD.

    The Panavision company resolved most of these problems in 1957 by creating anamorphic lenses that did not distort as badly. The close ups were much better
    in Panavision although there was still some distortion with light flares in the distance.
    Panavision eventually replaced CinemaScope by 1967.

    However, this was not the ideal way to generate a 35mm anamorphic print. The best quality was when the movie was shot in 70mm which was twice the width of regular 35mm film. Thus, the image was wide in principal photography and the lenses did not
    have any distortion with the exception of the bugeye wide angle lens used in Todd-A0 for effect. When the lab took the wide 70mm film and reduction printed with a squeeze onto 35mm, you ended up with a 2.35 x 1 anamorphic image with greater sharpness, finer grain and no distortion. Films like "Lawrence of Arabia" were made this way and the 35mm prints and DVDs look sensational, almost three dimensional in their sharpness. Close ups and wide shots have no distortion and an expanded depth of field (foregrand and background equally sharp). Unfortunately, 70mm was one of the formats phased out in the mid-nineties when the newly built megaplexes
    refused to incorporate any of the screens for the format. The megaplex companies
    bragged about how they were going to be '70mm free'. Very depressing since 70mm was
    one of the few reasons to go see a movie in a theater through the nineties. I guess
    'putting on a show' was not part of their corporate policy. For those of you who might have seen the restorations of "Lawrence" or "My Fair Lady" in 70mm, you know
    what's missing from contemporary exhibition and how the quality of presentation has regressed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2004
  19. BloodyBabe

    BloodyBabe Guest

    Wow, Rich!
    Thanks for the info. I need to read it a few more times as it is a bit too techincal for me (my problem not what you wrote).
     
  20. Here are some other anamorphic formats...

    Technirama was an excellent format for reduction printing a sharp 35mm anamorphic image. The camera was turned sideways and exposed an eight sprocket image (like a still camera) horizontally rather than a standard four sprocket image vertically. They used an anamorphic lens that had a 25% squeeze since the image was already partially wide. For 35mm release prints the large negative was reduction printed with a extra 25% squeeze to generate the standard scope 50% squeeze but with fine grain sharpness and no distortion. The other advantage was that this large negative could be printed in 70mm with similar quality to movies filmed in 65mm. "Spartacus" was made this way and both 70mm and 35mm reduction scope prints looked great.

    There were also some second rate anamorphic processes...

    In the fifties, Howard Hughes (who owned RKO), did not want to pay Fox their licensing fee for using CinemaScope so he had some technicians come up with
    their own proprietary system. The Tushinsky brothers did although it was not
    a particularly good one. It was called "SuperScope" and is still used under the
    name "Super 35". Basically, the cameraman shoots the movie with standard
    lenses using the entire silent film frame (including the area used for the optical
    track). However, he has to compose the shots by leaving a great deal of headroom
    on top and bottom of the image. For theatrical presentations, the top and bottom
    of the image are left out and the center is 'blown up' to standard 35mm anamorphic.
    It gives you a CinemaScope image but is grainier and lacks the resolution of films
    shot with an anamorphic lens. It's basically the same as shooting in 16mm and blowing up the image to 35mm since so little of the photographed frame is used for the widescreen image. Of course for TV broadcast, the entire frame is shown including the top and bottom of the frame cropped for "SuperScope" or "Super 35"
    "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (fifties version) and "Titanic" (1997 version) were
    shot and shown this way in theaters and on television. Image quality was acceptable
    but not great.

    A similar system was known as "Techniscope". Leone's Spaghetti Westerns were shot
    this way. Instead of using the stardard four sprocket full frame and cropping the top and bottom for presentation, they only used a two sprocket image (half the normal frame) which generated a wide frame. This two sprocket wide frame was then blown up to anamorphic full frame with the 50% squeeze and same grainy image. At least Leone fully exposed his negatives and saturated the color in Technicolor so the prints looked pretty good considering how they were shot. For "American Graffiti", the negative was underexposed and the widescreen prints looks grainy, even though they were also printed in Technicolor.

    On video (DVD) these formats don't look as bad because the letterbox the original two sprocket negative and the image is not blown up as it is in the theatrical prints. Still,
    neither SuperScope/Super 35 nor Tecniscope are good formats. It's much better to shoot with a large negative (70mm, VistaVision) and reduction print rather than shoot with a smaller image and enlarge it.
     

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