The Val Lewton Horror Collection

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J Wilson
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#51 Post by J Wilson » Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:33 pm

I bought my copy at Costco, and it came in the usual warehouse longbox, but with the standard Warner box with art holding the discs inside. The box is of the same construction style and materials as their previous sets I own (the noir sets and the gangster set). So there are correctly packaged copies out there.

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oldsheperd
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#52 Post by oldsheperd » Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:35 am

I think those that got the weird packaging must have got the first wave of the set. I noticed that most online retailers had this on order for a couple days after it was released. There must have been a correction to the packaging, hence the delay.

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porquenegar
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#53 Post by porquenegar » Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:27 pm

I got my set in yesterday from Amazon and the packaging was the standard Warner's for box sets, ala Gangsters, Noir, etc. Popped in Cat People and it looked great. I'm glad I got to finally see this one and it definitely lived up to the hype. I'm eagerly looking forward to plowing through the rest of the set.

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Lino
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#54 Post by Lino » Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:57 pm

What about the transfers, people?! Are they any good? Stop whining about the boxes.

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thethirdman
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#55 Post by thethirdman » Thu Oct 06, 2005 1:41 pm

I watched three of the film from the set yesterday (I Walked with a Zombie, The Seventh Victim, and The Body Snatcher) and the transfers were disappointing. There are a lot of white specks and various fluctuations throughout the films.

Narshty
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#56 Post by Narshty » Thu Oct 06, 2005 3:05 pm

Annie Mall wrote:What about the transfers, people?! Are they any good? Stop whining about the boxes.
Ha! If it was a coffin box, you'd be at the front of the picket line.

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Gordon
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#57 Post by Gordon » Thu Oct 06, 2005 6:02 pm

Word on the street is that the transfers for Zombie and The Body Snatcher have brightness and contrast problems that are not present in recenty screened prints:

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htforum ... ost2817430

Being HTF, they are more than likely exaggerating, but it does sound like little refurbishment work has been done to these two films. No info on the other films.

Incidentally, I ordered the Canadian set from DVD Import for $43.20 (£24.00), but the Canadian set doesn't street until the 18th of October. I was not aware of this, so I'm looking to you for answers.

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david hare
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#58 Post by david hare » Thu Oct 06, 2005 7:09 pm

Oh dear. I kept directair copies from DTV of all these titles during the last year which looked like they were from new prints (to the sole Australian distirbutor for RKO.) I thought, given the usual slight overscanning for TV and a slight degree of contrast boosting the prints looked very good, and had hoped, given the time we have been waiting these DVDs would be prety exceptional. Mine have only just been despatched so can't comment for another 10 days or so.

Does this make anyone want to rush back and reconsider the main thrust of the recent article in Beaver critical of Warner's output.

djali999
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#59 Post by djali999 » Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:01 am

I've gone through Body Snatcher and Seventh Victim so far. The pictorial quality (grain, contrast, etc) has been perfectly acceptable to me so far. The most distressing thing I've run into is that the credits and first few shots of Seventh Victim shake a bit. It corrects itself. I can deal with it.

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Gordon
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#60 Post by Gordon » Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:59 pm

Reviews for The Leopard Man and the underrated, Ghost Ship at DVD Beaver:

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReview ... review.htm

Prime elements may not exist for The Leopard Man. A shame as this is an atmospheric gem. Incidentally, why was my hero Billy Friedkin invited to record his jive for this film and not Criterion's new Wages of Fear 2-disc?! The mind, as ever, boggles.

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Alonzo the Armless
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#61 Post by Alonzo the Armless » Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:54 pm

I hate to say this about your hero Billy, but I agree with DVD Beaver on his commentary for THE LEOPARD MAN. After 45 minutes or so, I got bored listening to him describe the obvious and turned it off.

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the dancing kid
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#62 Post by the dancing kid » Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:10 pm

I watched Bedlam last night, which I had never seen or heard much of before, and I was very impressed with it. Karloff gets a great character to play, and even though he's still "the monster" he at least gets to play it with plenty of wit and style. And the movie was inspired by a painting. How cool is that? I thought the image quality was pretty decent as well, although I've only watched this and Isle of the Dead of the set so far, so I don't know how it stacks up in comparison to the other films.

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Gordon
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#63 Post by Gordon » Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:18 pm

Friedkin can be a bit dull in his commentaries and interviews. He's on top form on The French Connection set and the original Exorcist DVD, though. He recently recorded a commentary for one of the Warner Film Noir releases - which one was it?

What do you make of the transfers overall, Alonzo?

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otis
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#64 Post by otis » Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:36 pm

Gordon McMurphy wrote:why was my hero Billy Friedkin invited to record his jive for this film and not Criterion's new Wages of Fear 2-disc?!
Pity they couldn't get Jacques Rivette to do a commentary for The Seventh Victim...

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porquenegar
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#65 Post by porquenegar » Mon Oct 10, 2005 2:32 pm

I found the Greg Mank commentary for Cat People to be very interesting and enjoyable. Definitly worth a listen if at least to hear recordings of Simone Simon's voice.

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Alonzo the Armless
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#66 Post by Alonzo the Armless » Mon Oct 10, 2005 3:58 pm

Gordon McMurphy wrote:What do you make of the transfers overall, Alonzo?
I am bummed that the transfer of THE LEOPARD MAN -- my favorite of the batch -- has some white scartches or fuzz every so often and that there's a gray vertical line on the right side of the screen most of the time. SEVENTH VICTIM looked okay mostly. I'm halfway through BEDLAM and it looks pretty good too.

The sound is fine. Lewton loves to have loud and quick shock sounds that come out of nowhere to make you jump out of your seat. There's been a couple times when it worked on my wife and me.

Stig Helmer
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#67 Post by Stig Helmer » Tue Oct 11, 2005 3:38 am

The DVD Savant - Glen Erickson har posted an exellent review on DVD Talk.

http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s1765val.html

=D>

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porquenegar
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#68 Post by porquenegar » Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:02 pm

Alonzo the Armless wrote:
Gordon McMurphy wrote:What do you make of the transfers overall, Alonzo?
I am bummed that the transfer of THE LEOPARD MAN -- my favorite of the batch -- has some white scartches or fuzz every so often and that there's a gray vertical line on the right side of the screen most of the time. SEVENTH VICTIM looked okay mostly. I'm halfway through BEDLAM and it looks pretty good too.

The sound is fine. Lewton loves to have loud and quick shock sounds that come out of nowhere to make you jump out of your seat. There's been a couple times when it worked on my wife and me.
On the Cat People commentary, Greg Mank talks about this and apparently Val Lewton refered to the sudden shock sound he used in many of his films as The Bus. Taken from the first stalking scene in Cat People.

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justeleblanc
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#69 Post by justeleblanc » Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:08 pm

I love The Bus! Does anyone know if Lewton or Tournier were the originator of THE BUS or of this first appeared in other films?

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otis
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#70 Post by otis » Tue Oct 11, 2005 4:15 pm

JusteLeblanc wrote:I love The Bus!
You can read about the "bus" and other related matters here: http://www.imagesjournal.com/issue03/fe ... artle1.htm

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justeleblanc
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#71 Post by justeleblanc » Tue Oct 11, 2005 4:26 pm

Thanks dude. Great article.

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porquenegar
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#72 Post by porquenegar » Tue Nov 01, 2005 4:10 pm

I viewed Curse of the Cat People for the first time last night and fell completely in love with it. It is wildly different than I was expecting and was obviously a very personal film for Lewton. The entire movie, but particularly the snow scene in the finale, felt like a child's fairy tale. Ann Carter gives the best child performance I've had the pleasure to see.

I continue to be astounded how Lewton was able to produce these magical films with such low budgets and being handicapped with studio selected movie titles.

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Lino
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#73 Post by Lino » Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:10 pm

Having now watched everything on this set and enjoyed them all to varying degrees (Curse of the Cat People was the surprise title for me while I walked with a Zombie, the certified masterpiece), I have a major quibble to share: why is it that Warner couldn't have done a more extensive restoration on some of the titles? While a few look great, others look just awful and hardly inappropriate to 2005 DVD viewers.

I know that the reason is probably down to the condition of the masters but surely less dust and debri could be achieved with only minor effort (the software does exist). Maybe Warner thought that these weren't worth it or even profitable but I think that my complaint is pertinent. Not to say that they look shitty (far from that, the definition levels are always high and this is perhaps the transfers biggest asset) but they could have looked so much better. Maybe in a HD-DVD future, one hopes.

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cafeman
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#74 Post by cafeman » Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:45 pm

Well, Annie, you have to take into account that some of these were in pretty bad shape. Take Ghost Ship, which was essentially never shown for years, and look how great that transfer is, and even that probably needed restoration.

I don`t think these could look any better without a complete ground up restoration effort, and that`s never gonna happen.

As far as my picks from this box go: blown away by Curse of the Cat People and The 7th Victim, immensely enojoyed Cat People, Body Snatcher and The Leopard Man, liked Ghost Ship, kinda liked I Walked with a Zombie and Bedlam, disliked Isle of the Dead.

An amazing box, an amazing career.

And who keeps asking Friedkin to do commentaries? He had me begging for Bogdanovich in 2 minutes.

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Lino
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#75 Post by Lino » Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:51 pm

cafeman wrote:Take Ghost Ship, which was essentially never shown for years, and look how great that transfer is
The whole reason for that is its very unavailability. It just never got shown until very recently and that's why it looks so good - the original materials were still in good shape.

My main problem is with the constant cracks and tears in the video department (on the other hand, the audio is perfectly acceptable). It just ruins the overall effect of the films to a point where it's really distracting. I know that over the years I've been spoiled rotten by recent restorations of even older films (Metropolis comes to mind) so that's why I'm whining on these ones. But as I said before, they don't look as bad as I'm painting them but there's definitely room for improvement and I'm pretty sure that if it was another company other than Warner that had put them out, we'd be all bitching to high heaven. Sad but true - Warner are indeed the new Criterion and our level of forgiveness has increased.

This case however is thankfully not to be applied to other truly fantastic releases that Warner has been putting out these past couple of years - Gone with the Wind comes to mind and that really is one heck of a DVD release!

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