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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Il pianeta degli uomini spenti" or "Planet of the Lifeless Men" or 'The Planet of Extinct Men')

 

Directed by Antonio Margheriti
Italy 1961

 

A runaway asteroid dubbed The Outsider mysteriously begins orbiting the Earth and threatens it with lethal flying saucers. Directed by Amtonio Margheriti, starring Claude Rains, Bill Carter, Umberto Orsini, Maya Brent, Jaqueline Derval, Renzo Palmer. Filmed in Italy at the height of Italy's sci-fi craze. Cinematography by Marcello Masciocchi. Best watched late at night.

***

Dr. Fred Steele (Umberto Orsini) and Eve Barnett (Maya Brent) work together at an astronomical station on a bucolic island. The station's scientists learn they must deal with a rogue planet -- "The Outsider" -- that has entered the solar system. which must be controlled by an alien intelligence Professor Benson's(Claude Rains) expedition discovers a race of humanoid creatures dead...

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 30th, 1961

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Review: Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Also available on DVD from Film Detective:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:21:36.933        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 28,690,340,557 bytes

Feature: 21,176,043,072 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.28 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1560 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1560 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1558 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1558 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Subtitles English, Spanish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Film Detective

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 28,690,340,557 bytes

Feature: 21,176,043,072 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.28 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Full length commentary track by Justin Humphreys
All new original featurette production by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures (30:38)
Original Essay by Don Stradley, Margheriti's World


Blu-ray Release Date:
August 9th, 2022
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 8

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Film Detective Blu-ray (August 2022): Film Detective have transferred Antonio Margheriti's Battle of the Worlds to Blu-ray. This appears to be the shorter American version of the film (The Italian cut runs about 1/4 hour longer.) The 1080P image quality seems decidedly poor. It's flat and dull without much in the way of texture looking brown and green heavy. I don't have a DVD to compare it to (there may not be an English-friendly one) - but this HD presentation is sub-standard although it handles Margheriti's filtered lighting with relative ease. The stock footage (storms etc.) are readily apparent being even weaker showing damage and marks. On the positive, it's fairly consistent and still watchable - just be sure to keep expectations on the modest side. We have screen captures below that should give you an idea.

NOTE: We have added 60 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Film Detective use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (16-bit) in the, frequently DUB'ed, English language. Battle of the Worlds has a few aggressive - mostly space-conflict related (sound waves) - that come through with unremarkable depth. The score is by Mario Migliardi (Let the Corpses Tan) - his first composure credit - described as atonal by Tim Lucas. It is quite eerie and the soundstage has some surprising buoyancy with zapping spaceship torpedoes, a resounding explosion etc. The audio is a notch ahead of the video, but that's not saying too much. Film Detective offer optional English or Spanish subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Film Detective Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Justin Humphreys. He is the Curator of the Estate of producer / director / animator George Pal and the author of his upcoming official biography, "George Pal: Man of Tomorrow." He's well versed in this genre and has done commentaries for Blu-rays of 1955's Conquest of Space, and 1951's Flight to Mars, as well as supplement work on 1953's War of the Worlds. He discusses the artistic ability show in Battle of the Worlds considering the film's very low budget and shooting schedule. He talks about the film as sci-fi pulp - there almost comic-book quality - he references Margheriti's The Wild, Wild Planet (the English name capitalizing on the then-popular TV show The Wild Wild West) and the genre's matinee appeal. It is informative and well-researched. Film Detective include a new 1/2 hour featurette, "A Cinematic Outsider: The Fantastical Worlds of Antonio Margheriti" production by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures which has Tim Lucas narrating. He talks approvingly of Battle of the Worlds and his first exposure on TV. He discusses effects of related cinema by Mario Bava in this sub-genre, director Margheriti referencing his earlier film, Assignment: Outer Space, as well as the writer Ennio De Concini (as Vassilij Petrov,) Barbara Steele in two Margheriti films (Nightmare Castle and The Long Hair of Death) and much more. It is at his usual high standard - entertaining and informative. The package includes a 10-page booklet featuring an essay, "Margheriti's World", by author Don Stradley. There is a leaflet for 50% OFF Film Detective's online library of over 3,000 films.

In Phil Hardy's Science Fiction: Complete Film Source Book he describes Antonio Margheriti's "Battle of the Worlds" as one of the director's "most humorous, inventive, stylish, films, effortlessly transcending the crudities of the script, acting and special effects." Yes, it does have some charismatic inventive-ness and fulfils many of the desirable attributes of the pulpy sci-fi film genre of this 60's time period. Although the inclusion of Claude Rains (as Professor Benson) raises the film's gravitas - it still seems a sad come-down for him as the actor who had worked with Hitchcock as well as memorable as Captain Renault in Casablanca and as the titular character in James Whale's The Invisible Man almost 30-year before this. Battle of the Worlds is cheap, fun and imaginative. The Film Detective Blu-ray with the shorter US cut and less-than-optimal video will still have strong appeal to Margheriti fans and this who can't get enough of this genre.

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Also available on DVD from Film Detective:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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