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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Space Children [Blu-ray]

 

(Jack Arnold, 1958)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:09:05.099

Disc Size: 13,666,278,964 bytes

Feature Size: 13,536,417,792 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 19th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 816 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 816 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: From legendary Sci-Fi director Jack Arnold (The Incredible Shrinking Man, Creature From the Black Lagoon) - a glowing brain-like extra terrestrial communicates telepathically with the children of top-secret Air Force base in California. Dave Brewster (Adam Williams), an electronic technician arrives in town for a new job at the base with his wife, Anne (Peggy Webber) and their two children Bud (Michel Ray) and Ken (Johnny Crawford). The boys are drawn, along with the other children from the base to a lonely cave near the beach, where the kids start doing the alien's bidding as the adults try to figure out what's happening with their unruly offspring. The cast includes former child star Jackie Coogan (Chaplin's The Kid), Ty Hardin (TV's Bronco) and Russell Johnson (The Professor from Gilligan's Island).

 

 

The Film:

Dave Brewster (Adam Williams) arrives to take his new job as an electronics technician at a top-secret Air Force base in California. With him are his wife Anne (Peggy Webber) and their two children, Bud (Mikel Ray) and Ken (Johnny Crawford), who are all apprehensive about this sudden transplant, as well as the spartan existence that all of the families live under. No sooner do they arrive, however, then Bud and Ken see a strange light in the sky pointing to the beach, and soon after that seem to be receiving increasingly powerful -- and detailed -- telepathic communications from an unseen source. The boys are drawn, along with the children from the other families, to a lonely cave near the beach, where an alien presence, in the form of a huge (and ever-growing) brain, has hidden itself. At first, it uses the children to try and persuade the more reasonable of the parents that their project -- a missile called The Thunderer, which will place a hydrogen bomb in orbit, capable of being used on any target in the event the United States is threatened -- is too dangerous to complete. But the parents aren't prepared to listen, either because they don't understand the danger, or because they genuinely believe in the conduct of the Cold War, as in the case of Hank Johnson (Jackie Coogan); or because they're too angry and belligerent, like Joe Gamble (Russell Johnson), who is at a dead-end in his job and has taken to alcoholism and abusing his wife (Jean Engstrom) and stepson (Johnny Washbrook). As the launch approaches and the children's entreaties are ignored, the alien takes more direct action with their help, and they soon find a potential ally in in Dr. Wahrman (Raymond Bailey), the inventor of The Thunderer, who is also the only man on the project smart enough to realize that he may not have all the answers. But the military head of the project (Richard Shannon) is still prepared to launch The Thunderer, regardless of its inventor's doubts.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

A brain from outer space lands on the earth and takes control(?) of children living on a nearby military base.

This Jack Arnold SF movie has always felt pretty dull to me; I never really get attached to or interested in any of the characters (and Peggy Webber's perpetually worried mother is a major annoyance), and the message is fairly obvious. However, there are a few familiar faces here; Jackie Coogan, Russell Johnson, Johnny Crawford, and the little girl from THEM! are all on hand. As a whole, the movie is like a cross between THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS, and VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED.

Excerpt from Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings (Dave Sindelar) located HERE

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

The source used for The Space Children via Olive Blu-ray seems to have been in decent shape. This is only single-layered but contrast is decent. There were some inconsistencies probably relating to the density of the print and Olive don't bother with restoration/manipulation. But they were nothing fatal to the viewing presentation. The black levels and detail are quite acceptable - if not stellar. There was even a bit of depth showing. It's a puny file size as running time is equally short. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and any minor flaws and brief speckling had no detrimental effect on my viewing. Where Olive usually bastardize their 1.85:1 aspect ratio films to 1.78 - The Space Children remains intact at the 1.85. I was pleased with the 1080P appearance - even with the limitations.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

There is no depth or range to speak of but it seems a faithful transfer without flaws. Some effects are surprisingly crisp at times via the DTS-HD Master mono track at 816 kbps. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I love crap like this. Cheesy 50's sci-fi is s staple of my film diet.  The Space Children is weak enough to enjoy for its 'so-bad-its-good' qualities. The Blu-ray does a no-fuss job but the price seems high for such a short feature. Couldn't they have included two of three similar genre films on the same disc? Regardless, I love having Sunday afternoon flics like this in my collection. 

Gary Tooze

June 7th, 2012

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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