Just a quick post, as I received the DVDs that I ordered from VCI today.
Mind you, I only did a quick skip through a few chapters on each disc to ensure that they are in good condition, and to get an idea of the quality, but here is my initial impression for the benefit of anyone who may be interested in picking up any of these titles:
City of the Dead
(John Moxey, 1960) -- This title has been lauded by several people in the forum, and on top of the clips that I watched looking extremely moody and scary/exciting, the transfer is as close to pristine as one can get without going to heaven. Not the slightest hint of a defect in the print, and a very strong transfer + copious extras.
(Dwan, 1956) and Silver Lode
(Dwan, 1954) have both been mentioned above as good discs, and I must say that I was impressed. Again, the source prints appear to be almost completely spotless, and the colors (both films were photographed by John Alton -- as were most, if not all of the Dwan pictures mentioned hereafter) definitely looked quite above average for color films of this age.
(Dwan, 1954), Cattle Queen of Montana
(Dwan, 1954) and Tennessee's Partner
(Dwan, 1955) -- All of these westerns by Dwan looked to be very close in quality to Silver Lode
. The source prints again appear to have been in almost pristine condition, and the colors (which do vary a little from scene to scene) fall in the spectrum from quite acceptable to good.
Pearl of the South Pacific
(Dwan, 1955) and Escape to Burma
(Dwan, 1955) also looked very strong, although in the scenes I watched, there seemed to be slightly greater variance in the colors between individual scenes. That said, Pearl
will probably be the first that I watch... a real late night summer flick. In the few minutes that I watched, I saw gorgeous Polynesian locales, one sea monster, and one Virginia Mayo in risque "swimsuit."
The flip side of Escape to Burma
features Appointment in Honduras
-- an adventure yarn by Jacques Tourneur, featuring Glenn Ford sweating bullets and brandishing a machete, as he leads a group of people through the jungle... unfortunately, this side of the disc appears to have some pressing related issues, so I could only watch little bits of the film, before it would break up into "digital blocks" and freeze. The colors in this film do appear to be below the level of all the other titles mentioned, but the film as such looked really exciting.
King & Country
(Losey, 1964) has also been mentioned above, and it looks absolutely great.
(Hathaway, 1941) is by far the oldest film of the batch, and here the print is not in excellent shape. The transfer as such also looks a little weaker than the other films, but then what are the chances of a better release of this film coming along anytime soon...
All in all, I am very pleased with these DVDs. And, extremely pleased to be in a position to view such a relatively large group of Allan Dwan's later films. Up until now my impression (from various reviews and posts) has been that VCI's releases were very poor. Of course this may still be so, but these titles certainly look fine, and to think that I got them all for just over $80. It is certainly not the last time I have traded with VCI, and I would be happy to hear about other titles of theirs that are of good quality.[/b]