Archive for the 3-D Category

Fleischer Animation Process

Posted in 3-D, Miscellania with tags , , , on November 26, 2017 by MONSTERMINIONS

Here’s a figure excerpted from Max Fleischer’s Patent #2,054,414 for the stereoptic process. This begets a weird quasi-3D effect seen in many of the Fleischer cartoons in the 1930’s (e.g. Dancing on the Moon (1935) and several old Popeye shorts). Items No. 27, 33 and 34 are not fans, but color wheels for changing the mood of an animation scene. Note there are up to 5 planes behind the animation cell. Disney studios’ Bill Garity and Roger Broggie later advanced (copied?) the concept by developing the “multiplane camera” put to extensive use in Bambi (1942).

It Came from Outer Space (1953), HD BR 2-D

Posted in 3-D, Sci-Fi with tags , , , on October 13, 2016 by MONSTERMINIONS

 

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It Came from Outer Space (1953) was a landmark film for Universal in being the studio’s first attempt at depicting an alien visitor,  a first for use of stereophonic sound and photography in the Mojave/Joshua Tree landscapes, first presentation of a 3-D monster film (anticipating Universal’s Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)), and the first film to show perspectives from the monster’s point of view.

I rate it as one of the all-time great sci-fi films and top-tier 50’s sci-fi, along  side with The Thing, DTESS, IVOTBS, Them!, TWOTW, Shrinking Man, and Black Lagoon. Oddly, I’m not as high about Forbidden Planet (1956) and This Island Earth (1955), which look terrific and are brilliantly designed films, but seem unusually stiff during resent screenings. The Eisenhower-era depiction of military types in FP really seems dated to me now  (see Danny Peary’s review in the original Cult Movies (1981)).

It Came from Outer Space was just released on Blu-ray disc and it looks and sounds terrific. I particularly noticed the vibrato nuances of the theremin in the DTS MA 3.0 LCR audio. Some historians (Bob Burns) consider this one of the greatest of the original 3-D movies, and the BR release includes both 2-D and 3-D versions. Unfortunately, I’m a simpleton and refuse to upscale to 3-D or any of the multi-channeled opulence (why would I listen to Bela Lugosi in 7.1 channel anyway?). A few years back I did purchase an OPPO BDP 103D disc player with a Darby processor and I can attest that a xenomorph has never looked finer processed through that bit of electronics.

The bonus material has been around: The Universe According to Universal documentary is superb and Tom Weaver’s feature commentary is informative. I prefer reading Weaver over hearing him. (Tom you talk too fast—please pack less in your commentaries).

Movie: Five Stars. Near Perfect Sci-Fi.

BR: Nice Print. Sounds Terrific. Four Stars. New supplements lacking.

It Came From Outer Space (1953) | Dir: Jack Arnold | Ref: ITC003BL | Photo Credit: [ The Kobal Collection / Universal ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement

 

The Bubble (1966), Blu-ray

Posted in 3-D, Sci-Fi with tags , on January 3, 2015 by MONSTERMINIONS

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We believe The Bubble is a very entertaining story about most unusual people in a situation you’ll talk about for a long time to come!

I was first introduced to the gimmickry of Arch Oboler through Bill Cosby’s dialogue about his childhood being terrorized by a radio broadcast on a monstrous giant chicken heart (Wonderfulness, 1966). The Chicken Heart bit was of course one of the many brilliant “Nights Out” radio show scripts penned by Arch Oboler from the mid-1930’s through the 1940’s. Most of these shows are now lost, but Oboler recreated “The Chicken Heart” on a record LP. Oboler was quite a maverick and was successful in stage, radio, television and film as a writer, playwright, novelist, director and producer. He had a huge hit with the 3-D film Bwana Devil (1952), and later returned to the genre with the unusual “Space Vision” 3-D film The Bubble (1966), now available for the first time on Blu-ray (Kino Lorber, 2014).

Like The Angry Red Planet (1959), filmed in the ridiculous negative image and solarisation CineMagic technique developed by animator Norman Maurer and 3-D movie producer Sid Pink, The Bubble (aka The Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth) is a gimmick film and a one tricky pony at that. The 3-D compositions are nothing special ~an airplane foil juts out in the opening moments, a man sticks a broom in your face, and various items float in space. However, the film is unusual technically in being perhaps the first anamorphic film (2.5:1) shot in the 3-D strip process. The film restoration looks fantastic. Unfortunately I don’t have a 3-D system to fully appreciate the dimensional effects.

The plot has an expecting mother, her husband and a pilot force landing during a storm into an odd rural community. There they discover they are trapped under an impenetrable dome. The movie reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode “Five Characters in Search of an Exit” (Episode 79, 1961), with ambivalent and slightly off-kilter people stumbling around a cylindrical space, at odds why they are where they are. Not surprising, Rod Serling has acknowledged Arch Oboler as an early inspiration. If I had the notion to read Steven King’s Under the Dome (2009), or worse, watch the 13-episode mini-series, I would probably draw some similarities to The Bubble.

The film is not bad at all and certainly not worthy of awful reviews seen on IMDb. The acting is passable with Michael Cole (The Mod Squad) and Deborah Walley the romantic leads, and I love those floating Don Post masks in the shock therapy sequence. The floating heads and the weird “nutrient pylon” were made by physical effects jack-of-all-trades Harry Thomas (1909-1996), who designed the man-eating plant in a coffee-can Audrey Jr., in Corman’s The Little Shop of Horrors (1960). The Blu-ray comes with several extras, including the original and 1976 re-issue trailers, advertising art and promos, and 2-D and 3-D versions of the film.

Looking for something different? This is it. Genre enthusiasts will enjoy The Bubble and it might just surprise and intrigue some others.

JP 3D

Posted in 3-D, Kaiju with tags on April 10, 2013 by MONSTERMINIONS

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I had the good fortune of taking some time off this evening to see Jurassic Park 3D (2013).  I’m not a huge fan of 3D, and usually opt to see a film in standard perspective, when given the option, but this was different. This is the same film from 1993, with no additional footage besides some added lens flares to create the illusion of depth.  Several point-of-view action sequences worked beautiful in Spieberg’s “re-boot”.

Remember the fantastic Gallimimus stampede with Sam Neill and kids running toward the camera?  Now the fleeing dinos are in our seats.  The raptor scenes are even better.  The angular and snouty look of these villains works well in 3D. At one point after a raptor jumped into an air duct popcorn went flying!  Great fun. Take your kids to see JP 3D.  Even better, encourage them to read Michael Crichton’s novel!

The Mask (1961)

Posted in 3-D, Horror with tags , on September 21, 2012 by MONSTERMINIONS

This film was a whole lot better than I remembered it to be. I picked up a $10 internet copy from Cheesyflicks via Amazon. The DVD was advertized as a 3-D film with glasses included. I never received the glasses, but had some laying around and was able to check out the 3-D visuals. The Mask (1961) was Canada’s first horror film, an indie and a late entry into the world of stereo optical projection or 3-D (popularized in the early 1950’s). I like the film. It’s gritty and has a low-key, deliberately-paced feel, similar in spirit to the far-superior Horror Hotel (1960). There’s a crime-drama feel to the flick. I could see Roger Corman directing this film.

The plot is simple enough. Archaeologist Michael Radin (Martin Lavut) catalogues ancient museum antiquities in his apartment, including an encrusted skull-like mask. The mask is endowed with magical and hallucinogenic powers. A person who wears the mask is tranported to a hell-like world filmed in 3-D. Under the spell, Radin strangles a young woman. Radin seeks help from his psychiatrist Dr. Allan Barnes (Paul Stevens) who thinks the stories about the mask are hogwash. Radin packages up the mask and has his landlord mail it to Barnes. In his apartment, Radin pulls out a Luger pistol and kills himself.

Detective Lt. Martin (Bill Walker) investigates the death of Radin and learns about the mask. Allan Barnes also falls under the mask’s spell and enters into a surreal nightmare world populated with strange imagery and entities. What will become of Barnes and of the mask?

As 3-D effects go, this isn’t a bad little film. James B. Gordon (Airport, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Fly (1958), The Lost World (1960)) worked up the 3-D effects and they are effective. Even on TV with cheapo plastic, red-blue 3-D spectacles the nightmare world of The Mask pops out. I also like the set design (allegedly built on wheels for quick breakdown and reconstruction of set pieces) with romanesque buildings, altars, vaulted arches and plenty of fog. Later, director Julian Roffman went on to produce the effective Canadian occult-thriller The Pyx (1973), starring Christopher Plummer and Karen Black.

Ah… They don’t make ’em like they used to…

C. Hamilton, 1991. Canada’s First 3-D Horror – The Mask, Producer Julian Roffman unmasks the making of this obscure horror film oddity. FilmFax No. 25, 1991.