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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Byron Haskin
USA 1953

 

The daring grandfather of more modern day alien attack films such as Independence Day and still giving a mutated birth to, most recently, Mr. Spielberg's imprint of the same name (well minus the "The"). The mere existence of this classic just goes to prove that there is very little from the past that won't be absconded and re-shaped with a current twist - or that there are very few new idea ventures in the cultural void of Hollywood.

Producer George Pal was already onto a good thing with past success of 1950's Destination Moon and 1951's When Worlds Collide. But the real glory came with this more subtle Martian invasion where the imagery of the villains is as frighteningly commonplace as a 1952 vacuum cleaner. Gene Barry and Ann Robinson do a grand job of as our hero's - staying alive and narrating the global events of destruction. The relentless aliens and their deadly manta-rays were immensely chilling and unforgettable to a child's mind. Aside from the occasional weak effects and an acceptable continuity error... or two, this has all the fun and charismatic charm of other 50's quintessential sci-fi gems like This Island Earth and Invaders From Mars! Don't deny yourself the ultimate pleasure of a mixture of pure cinema innocence, magical screeching alien sounds, and a haunting cosmic attack that will stay with you well past puberty. It is certainly one of the better of its niche-genre and well worth checking out on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

***

A mysterious, meteorlike object has landed in a small California town. All clocks have stopped. A fleet of glowing green UFOs hovers menacingly over the entire globe. The Martian invasion of Earth has begun, and it seems that nothing—neither military might nor the scientific know-how of nuclear physicist Dr. Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry)—can stop it. In the expert hands of genre specialists George Pal and Byron Haskin, H. G. Wells’s end-of-civilization classic receives a chilling Cold War–era update, complete with hallucinatory Technicolor and visionary, Oscar-winning special effects. Emblazoned with iconographic images of 1950s science fiction, The War of the Worlds is both an influential triumph of visual imagination and a still-disquieting document of the wonder and terror of the atomic age.

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 3rd, 1953

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Paramount - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Coming to the UK, on 4K UHD, in November 2022, in a Collector's Edition

and standard 4K UHD:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Paramount - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime 1:25:25.203        
Video

1.37:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 64,381,478,394 bytes

Feature: 56,023,886,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 63.18 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

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

Bitrate 4K Ultra HD:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3291 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3291 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

Dolby Digital Audio German 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -28dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -29dB
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -31dB

Subtitles English, English (SDH), German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch , None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Paramount

 

1.37:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 64,381,478,394 bytes

Feature: 56,023,886,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 63.18 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

 

Edition Details:

4K Ultra HD disc

• Commentary by: by actors Ann Robinson and Gene Barry
• Commentary by film director Joe Dante, film historian Bob Burns and Bill Warren, author of Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties
• The Original Mercury Theatre Radio Broadcast of The War of the Worlds (59:30)
• The Sky is Falling: The Making of The War of the Worlds (29:59)
• H.G. Wells: The Father of Science Fiction (10:29)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (2:21)

 

Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray

• When World's Collide

• Trailer (2:01)


4K Ultra HD Release Date: September 27th, 202
2

Black 4K Ultra HD Case in a cardboard slipcase

Chapters 13

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: Paramount 4K UHD (September 2022): Paramount's have released Bryon Haskin's iconic 1953 War of the Worlds to 4K UHD. Included in the package is a Blu-ray of another George Pal produced 50's sci-fi gem, When World's Collide. It has some issues and is compared HERE. War of the Worlds to 4K UHD has already been identified that it has not been color corrected to show Mars, in the opening - narrated by Sir Cedric Hardwicke - as red as opposed to blue.

This was corrected on the Criterion Blu-ray, but wires etc. were still visible.

From Wikipedia: "Despite the many accolades awarded to the film, for 50 years, beginning in the late 1960s when The War of the Worlds 3-strip Technicolor prints were replaced by the easier-to-use and less expensive Eastman Color stock, the quality of the film's special effects suffered dramatically, resulting in a degradation of lighting, timing, and image resolution, causing the originally invisible wires suspending the Martian war machines to become increasingly more visible with each succeeding advance in film and video formats, leading many, including respected critics, to believe the effects were originally of low quality."

We compared DVDs and Blu-rays of War of the Worlds HERE.

So how does this 2160P resolution look? Overall, I'm pleased but not overwhelmed - certain scenes are stunning in this higher resolution. Black levels can be deeper and richer - as are some primary colors. I would have appreciated more grain and some sequences can look distastefully waxy. Like the Blu-rays, this is in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio with the older DVDs looking vertically stretched. While I don't dispute a visual improvement on this 4K UHD, both Criterion and Imprint 1080P transfers were very strong. Some may consider it to be the law of diminishing returns to upgrade further. It, generally, looked great on my 60" system - but so did the BDs.     

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 52 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages to date: The Incredible Melting Man  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cloak & Dagger (software uniformly simulated HDR), Event Horizon (software uniformly simulated HDR), Get Carter (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Killing (software uniformly simulated HDR), Killer's Kiss (software uniformly simulated HDR), Out of Sight (software uniformly simulated HDR), Raging Bull (software uniformly simulated HDR), Shaft (1971),  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Double Indemnity (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Untouchables (software uniformly simulated HDR) For a Few Dollars More (no HDR), Saboteur (software uniformly simulated HDR), Marnie (software uniformly simulated HDR), Shadow of a Doubt (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (software uniformly simulated HDR), A Fistful of Dollars (no HDR), In the Heat of the Night (no HDR), Jack Reacher (software uniformly simulated HDR), Death Wish II (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Apartment (no HDR), The Proposition (software uniformly simulated HDR), Nightmare Alley (2021) (software uniformly simulated HDR), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Godfather (software uniformly simulated HDR), Le Crecle Rouge (software uniformly simulated HDR), An American Werewolf in London (software uniformly simulated HDR), A Hard Day's Night (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Piano (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Great Escape (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Red Shoes (software uniformly simulated HDR), Citizen Kane (software uniformly simulated HDR), Unbreakable (software uniformly simulated HDR), Mulholland Dr. (software uniformly simulated HDR), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Hills Have Eyes (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Servant (software uniformly simulated HDR), Anatomy of a Murder (software uniformly simulated HDR), Taxi Driver  (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Wolf Man (1941) (software uniformly simulated HDR), Frankenstein (1931) (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Deep Red (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Misery (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Silence of the Lambs (software uniformly simulated HDR), John Carpenter's "The Thing" (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Cat' o'Nine Tails (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (software uniformly simulated HDR), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (software uniformly simulated HDR), Perdita Durango (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Django (software uniformly simulated HDR) Fanny Lye Deliver'd (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, (NO HDR applied to disc),  Rollerball (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Chernobyl  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Daughters of Darkness (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vigilante (software uniformly simulated HDR), Tremors (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cinema Paradiso (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bourne Legacy (software uniformly simulated HDR), Full Metal Jacket (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Psycho (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Birds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rear Window (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vertigo (software uniformly simulated HDR) Spartacus (software uniformly simulated HDR), Jaws (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Invisible Man, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucio Fulci's 1979 Zombie  (software uniformly simulated HDR),, 2004's Van Helsing (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Shallows (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bridge on the River Kwai (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Deer Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Elephant Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), A Quiet Place (software uniformly simulated HDR), Easy Rider (software uniformly simulated HDR), Suspiria (software uniformly simulated HDR), Pan's Labyrinth (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Wizard of Oz, (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shining, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Batman Returns (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Killed Killed and then The Bigfoot  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Bram Stoker's Dracula (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucy (software uniformly simulated HDR), They Live (software uniformly simulated HDR), Shutter Island (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Matrix (software uniformly simulated HDR), Alien (software uniformly simulated HDR), Toy Story (software uniformly simulated HDR),  A Few Good Men (software uniformly simulated HDR),  2001: A Space Odyssey (HDR caps udated), Schindler's List (simulated HDR), The Neon Demon (No HDR), Dawn of the Dead (No HDR), Saving Private Ryan (simulated HDR and 'raw' captures), Suspiria (No HDR), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (No HDR), The Big Lebowski, and I Am Legend (simulated and 'raw' HDR captures).

On their 4K UHD, Paramount offer a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround (24-bit) bump. It is in the original English language and two lossy foreign-language DUBs. But there is no monaural track option. This is unfortunate. The 5.1 surround audio mix was created for the 2018 restoration of the film by Academy Award-winning sound designer Ben Burtt, but the lack of mono will be considered by purists to be a black mark. It should have been included. The separations were evident if not dynamically discrete. The Martian rays sound effective in the lossless. The score is by Leith Stevens (Great Day in the Morning, The Gun Runners, Syncopation, World Without End, The Night of the Grizzly, I Married a Monster From Outer Space, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Garment Jungle) sounding a bit drowned out by the intensity of the alien-invasion effects. The disc offers optional English, English (SDH) subtitles - plus a handful of foreign-language options and the Paramount is, like all 4K UHD, region FREE, playable worldwide. As is the second disc Blu-ray of When World's Collide.

There extras on the 4K UHD disc - repeat the two commentaries available in the 2005 DVD (with actors Ann Robinson and Gene Barry and - in the second - Joe Dante, film historian Bob Burns and Bill Warren, author of Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties.) The rest of the supplements repeat what is on the older Paramount DVD with the hour long original Mercury Theatre (audio) radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds from Orson Welles, the 1/2 hour The Sky is Falling: The Making of The War of the Worlds, ten minute piece on H.G. Wells: The Father of Science Fiction, the original theatrical trailer. But they are in 2160 resolution. There are no liner notes. The second disc Blu-ray of When World's Collide only has a trailer.

Paramount's
4K UHD release of George Pal's 1953 War of the Worlds has some negatives; lack of color correction of Mars may be forgiven, the lack of mono audio not-so-much and no new extras (you get 'new' and more on the Blu-rays) - except the inclusion of a poor quality Blu-ray of When World's Collide, - and, as we stated, the video upgrade limitations. Of course, War of the Worlds has such a loyal fan-base that even the marginal upgrade must be owned. The film adaptation of the 1898 novel of the same name by H. G. Wells is considered to be one of the great science fiction films of the 1950s. The Albert Nozaki-designed Martian war machines - that look similar to manta rays - are embedded into childhood memories forever. Many who own one of the stellar Blu-rays will not consider double-dipping for this 4K UHD. Others will. To each his own.

Gary Tooze

Package - Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Coming to the UK, on 4K UHD, in November 2022, in a Collector's Edition

and standard 4K UHD:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Paramount - Region FREE - 4K UHD


 


 

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