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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Directed by Virgil W. Vogel
USA 1956

 

In Asia, archaeologist Dr. Roger Bentley leads a team, including Dr. Paul Stewart, Dr. Jud Bellamin and Etienne Lafarge, on a dig for Sumerian artifacts. They discover a 5,000-year-old stone tablet bearing cuneiform writing, which describes the dedication of a temple to the goddess Ishtar. During a sudden earth tremor, the tablet is broken, but the next day a worker uncovers an oil lamp whose inscription tells the tale of Sharu, who constructed an ark to rescue his people from a massive flood. The ark came to rest on top of the mountain Kuitara, and Sharu and his people built a civilization there. Ignoring his colleagues' misgivings, Roger arranges for an excavation on top of the mountain, and they set out on the treacherous winter climb. Led by guide Nazar, they struggle up the mountain, narrowly surviving an avalanche, and after finally reaching the summit, they encounter the ruins of a Sumerian temple. Just then, however, Paul falls through a crack in the ground, disappearing into a deep shaft. The others go after him and, after a long descent, find Paul dead. They prepare to climb out, but when Nazar taps a loose rope tether, a rock slide commences, killing the guide and trapping the other three inside the mountain.

***

The Mole People holds the dubious distinction of being the weakest of the Universal-International horror films. John Agar plays Dr. John Bentley, who leads a Middle Eastern expedition in search of a lost tribe of Sumerians. Bentley and his cohorts follow a tunnel deep, deep, deep below the surface of the earth, eventually coming across a tyrannical tribe of albino Sumerians, who use the semi-human Mole People as slaves. What follows is so dull and plodding that stars John Agar and Hugh Beaumont seem like Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger in comparison. Some prints of The Mole People are minus the pre-credits "explanation" by 1950s celebrity egghead Dr. Frank Baxter. (NOTE: all digital editions here have them!)

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 21st, 1956

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

 

    

Distribution Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:17:29.250         1:17:35.567   
Video

2.0:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,557,413,544 bytes

Feature: 21,277,556,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.34 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.85:1 and 2.0:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,889,758,140 bytes

Feature: 18,910,980,096 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Anolis Blu-ray:
Bitrate Shout! Factory Blu-ray:

Audio

DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1627 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1627 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1564 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1564 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1571 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1571 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles German, None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: i-catcher Media (Anolis Film Entertainment)

 

2.0:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,557,413,544 bytes

Feature: 21,277,556,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.34 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

German Trailer (1:58)
English Trailer (1:58)
Poster and Stills Gallery (2:03)


Blu-ray Release Date:
April 17th, 2014
Black slim Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Shout! Factory

 

1.85:1 and 2.0:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,889,758,140 bytes

Feature: 18,910,980,096 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historians Tom Weaver And David Schecter
Of Mushrooms and Madmen - The Making of Mole People (18:40)
Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Episode "the Mole People" (02/15/07 in SD - 1:32:00)
Posters and Lobby Still Gallery (4:33)
Photo Gallery
Theatrical trailer (2:00)


Blu-ray Release Date:
February 26th, 2019
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

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

Shout! Factory Blu-ray offers both the 2.0 Superscope ratio and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It seems pretty silly as there is little difference but there is the option (we've compared a few captures below). Both transfers are the same technical robustness. It's on a dual-layered Blu-ray in 1080P with a high bitrate. It looks pretty similar to the Anolis out of Germany with maybe a shade more grain. There are still light surface scratches and a very few speckles - and they seem to match the Anolis - so, we will assume it is the same Universal source material.  

The audio transfer is in a DTS-HD Master track (24-bit) - richer and deeper than the 16-bit Anolis. Audio effects are strangely limited but there is a score - by uncredited combination of Heinz Roemheld (The Invisible Man), Herman Stein (This Island Earth) and Hans J. Salter (The Wolfman). Unfortunately, it is fairly generic but adds some flavor to the adventure aspects of The Mole People. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on this Region 'A'
Blu-ray.

Shout! Factory add quite a bit with a new audio commentary from Film Historians Tom Weaver And David Schecter - there is some value here as well as fun - and a new 20-minute piece entitled Of Mushrooms and Madmen - The Making of Mole People with enthusiastic C. Courtney Joyner. Some may enjoy the feature-length Mystery Science Theatre 3000 satiric look at "The Mole People" from 2007 - it is in SD. There are extensive posters, photo and lobby still galleries as well as a theatrical trailer.

While I don't rate the dual-ratio option, I am appreciative of the commentary and
C. Courtney Joyner piece. Yes, The Mole People is often weak and cheesy - but it is those reasons that many love it! It hold a ton of nostalgia and remains a delightful revisit for fans. I was very pleased to see it again with the new supplements. Recommended!

***

ON THE ANOLIS GERMAN Blu-ray: Like The Monolith Monsters this is another Blu-ray from Anolis out of Germany. I'll be duplicating some of the comments from there. Duplicating that release this Blu-ray of The Mole People has the aspect ratio alteration from the 1.33:1 transfer in the The 6-disc Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection to SuperScope 2.0:1 widescreen (as was 1956's Invasion of the Body Snatchers Blu-ray). We've added a couple of capture comparisons below. You can see you are losing and gaining information (mostly losing top and bottom). This was the time of the ambiguous ratios - some theatres equipped for widescreen - others not. The 2.0:1 was considered an 'in-house' ratio used by Universal and although filmed 'full' was matted depending on each individual theater's projectionist. The 2.0:1 looks okay - well, I'm not going to quibble about composition in this film. The image quality shows a thick layer of textured grain and looks pretty good aside from some damage) scratches and occasional speckles) that are mostly frame-specific. This is single-layered but has a very high bitrate for the 1 1/4 hour film. Contrast is solid and I see no digital noise. The film's effects are pretty weak and they can look even more transparent in the higher resolution. I was appreciative of both the widescreen and the grain textures.

Audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1564 kbps in original English and a similarly robust German DUB.  There are fully optional German subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

Not much - a slideshow gallery and two trailers (German and English). I'm sure there is something to be said about the heavy 'camp' quality of the film - but there is no discussion.

Yes, I'm a huge fan of the 50's science-fiction films - notably the Universal International Pictures efforts. This is one of the weaker ones - and I think it has more to do with pace. A lot happens on the film but it still seems to drag. But I accept the limited effects budget. I enjoyed the widescreen ratio on the Blu-ray, and I got a kick out of seeing the film again. And I like Hugh Beaumont! It remains part of one of my favorite genre-periods and I will, undoubtedly, revisit it in this higher resolution.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Subtitles Sample - Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


 

1) 1.33:1 Universal DVD (reviewed HERE) TOP

2) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Shout! Factory (1.85:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) 1.33:1 Universal DVD (reviewed HERE) TOP

2) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Shout! Factory (1.85:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


More Shout! Factory (2.0:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

  

 

Box Cover

 

    

Distribution Anolis Film Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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Gary Tooze

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