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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by William Cameron Menzies
UK 1936

 

A global war begins in 1940. This war drags out over many decades until most of the people still alive (mostly those born after the war started) do not even know who started it or why. Nothing is being manufactured at all any more and society has broken down into primitive localized communities.

In 1966 a great plague wipes out most of what people are left but small numbers still survive. One day a strange aircraft lands at one of these communities and its pilot tells of an organization which is rebuilding civilization and slowly moving across the world re-civilizing these groups of survivors. Great reconstruction takes place over the next few decades and society is once again great and strong. The world's population is now living in underground cities.

In the year 2035, on the eve of man's first flight to the moon, a popular uprising against progress (which some people claim has caused the wars of the past) gains support and becomes violent...

Posters

Theatrical Release: 20 February 1936 (London)

Reviews                            More Reviews                             DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Daniel Mott for the DVD Review!

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL LEFT

2) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Network  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Criterion Collection - Spine # 660  - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:45 (from PAL source) 1:36:32.791 1:37:06.862
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.99 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,447,836,351 bytes

Feature: 18,743,021,568 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.37:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,102,516,600 bytes

Feature: 28,778,981,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.15 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Bitrate Network Blu-ray

Bitrate Criterion Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital Mono LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles None English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: February 27, 2001
Amaray

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio: Network

1.33:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,447,836,351 bytes

Feature: 18,743,021,568 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Nick Cooper

• Re-Release Trailer (4:07)

• Image Gallery

• Merchandise Gallery

 

Disc 2 PAL DVD includes
• Virtual Extended Edition of the film (134 minutes)
• On Reflection: Brian Aldiss on HG Wells (1971) (25 minutes)
• Actor Ralph Richardson interview by Russell Hardy (1975) (41 minutes)
• The Wandering Sickness 78 RPM record (Also on the Criterion)
31 page booklet by Nick Cooper


Blu-ray Release Date: June 12th, 2012

Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

1.37:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,102,516,600 bytes

Feature: 28,778,981,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.15 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary featuring film historian and writer David Kalat
• New interview with writer and cultural historian Christopher Frayling on the film’s design (22:49)
• New visual essay by film historian Bruce Eder on Arthur Bliss’s musical score (16:28)
• Unused special effects footage by artist László Moholy-Nagy, along with a video installation piece by Jan Tichy incorporating that footage (4:02)
• Audio recording from 1936 of a reading from H. G. Wells’s writing about the Wandering Sickness, the plague in Things to Come
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien 

Blu-ray Release Date: June 18th, 2013

Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 11

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION Criterion + Network Blu-rays - May 2013: The Criterion Blu-ray image is softer. Download the two corresponding large captures and toggle between them to see. My suspicion is over-digitization - or even an inferior source? The Criterion (1.37:1) has cleaned-up much of the scratch damage on the Network (1.33:1) and shows more information in the frame but the visuals have lost some sharpness. I don't see signs the UK 1080P was boosted and it still has some grain - blotchier than the Criterion but it is still there. The Criterion is dual-layered (the Network - single) and is approaching almost double the bitrate. It is mostly darker with better contrast. Honestly, I don't mind the damage and like the Network image - albeit less robust, thinner, often brighter and cropped.

Both offer audio in a linear PCM track and the UK edition may have more patches of uneven-ness. For both there are imperfections with the Network sounding a shade rougher. Both offer English subtitles and are Blu-ray coded for their country of origin.

Network offer a commentary by Nick Cooper, a re-release trailer and two image galleries. Criterion advance upon that with a new David Kalat commentary delving significantly deeper with plenty of factoids about the production. We also get a new 23-minute interview with writer and cultural historian Christopher Frayling on the film’s design, a wonderful new visual essay by film historian Bruce Eder on Arthur Bliss’s musical score. It runs 16.5 minutes. There is some short unused special effects footage by artist László Moholy-Nagy, along with a video installation piece by Jan Tichy incorporating that footage and an audio recording from 1936 of a reading from H. G. Wells’s writing about the Wandering Sickness, the plague in Things to Come. The Criterion package contains a booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien.

OMISSION (Thanks James!) I neglected to mention that the Network includes a PAL DVD of the 134-minute 'Virtual Extended Edition' film, a 25-minute piece On Reflection: Brian Aldiss on HG Wells from 1971, Actor Ralph Richardson 1975 - 41-minute interview by Russell Hardy and The Wandering Sickness 78 RPM record (also on the Criterion) plus there is a 31 page booklet by Nick Cooper in the UK package.

I remain troubled by the Criterion image softness but overall it is the more complete Blu-ray package. Kudos to Network for doing, what looks like, the best they could and including the Cooper commentary and 2nd disc DVD extras. Bravo!  

***

ON THE DVD: The DVD Cover boasts "a pristine new Film-to-Video transfer from original source materials". The problem is the source material is both severely cut and not in great shape. Even so, this is the best the film has ever looked (and may ever look) on DVD as the film is in the public domain and a full restoration and a clean negative probably is not on the horizon. The print is a bit dirty and scratched but definitely watchable. The transfer is progressive and looks relatively un-manipulated, possibly with some contrast boosting. It also seems a bit too tight and is probably cropped, not too much though. The sound is hiss-free and has relatively few crackles and pops, but it is a bit harsh. At $9.99 this is highly recommended DVD and film for sci-fi suckers like myself. It might never look any better than this.

 - Daniel Mott

 


Menus
 

 

1) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Network - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Recommended Poster Books (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

Box Cover

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Network  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Criterion Collection - Spine # 660  - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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