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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Directed by Jack Arnold
USA 1955

 

This 50's sci-fi staple has all the expected clichés... from the small isolated town (Desert Rock in rural Arizona) to the skeptical Sheriff (Nestor Paiva) - from the suspicious young doctor (John Agar) linked to the ultra feminine heroine (Mara Corday). Plus where would we be without the loner experimenting professor (Leo G. Carroll) whose scientific, but well meaning, intrusion in nature's scheme produces the titled monster. The effects are better than average as the Tarantula was an actual spider manipulated on miniature sets with air jets. This is hokey of course, but it is still fabulous stuff - director Arnold, who brought us The Incredible Shrinking Man among many others, really had these B-movies nailed. The script is competent and the acting believable enough. Ohh... and yes that Jet Squadron Leader is a young Clint Eastwood. How could we not recommend this to fill space on my DVD shelves with such classics as 'This Island Earth' (where Arnold did much of the re-shooting) and 'Creature from the Black Lagoon' (1954)?

 

 Posters

Theatrical Release: December 14th, 1955

Reviews                                                                          More Reviews                                                                DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Universal Pictures - Region 2,4,5 - PAL vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - LEFT

2) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Shout! Factory  Region 'A' - Blu-ray- RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

 

 

 

 

 

  

Distribution Universal Pictures - Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Koch Media

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Shout! Factory

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:16:54 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:20:13.517 1:20:14.851
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.91 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,915,171,415 bytes

Feature (both 1.33 + 1.78): 21,156,489,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 25,770,806,132 bytes

Feature: 24,361,254,912 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Koch Blu-ray

Bitrate: Shout! Factory Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: German (Dolby Digital 2.0) DTS-HD Master Audio German 1587 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1587 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 / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1583 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1583 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1649 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1649 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, None English, German, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Pictures Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: February 6th, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 18

Release Information:
Studio: Koch Media

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 / 1.78:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,915,171,415 bytes

Feature (both 1.33 + 1.78)::

21,156,489,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Interview with Jack Arnold (26:10 in 576i)

• Super 8 version (8:14 in 1080i)

• Normal 8 version (2:16)

• German Opening (2:24)

• German Trailer (1:51)

• English Trailer (1:53)

• Gallery

Blu-ray Release Date: June 12th, 2014
Standard
Blu-ray Keep Case (not 'red' as in picture) inside cardboard slipcase
Chapters: 18

Release Information:
Studio: Shout! Factory

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 25,770,806,132 bytes

Feature: 24,361,254,912 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historians Tom Weaver, Dr. Robert J. Kiss, And David Schecter
• Theatrical Trailer (1:52)
• Stills Gallery (4:15)
• Poster and Lobby Card gallery (4:55)

Blu-ray Release Date: April 30th, 2019
Standard
Blu-ray Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - April 2019: Boo! What has gone on here? The Shout! Factory - while in the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio looks very poor - soft with far less grain support. I suspect digitization as it appears to have come from the same print (speckles are the same.) Ugghh..., it is unnaturally thick and heavy - it's duller and has muddy contrast - I'm surprised. It is on a single-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate but something is wrong here. Admittedly, it looks okay on my system (cited as a 'NEW 2K Scan Of The Original Film Elements') - even showing depth, but the German Koch Blu-ray looks better, imo.

24-bit DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono. It gains the edge with the Herman Stein (The Incredible Shining Man - also with a big spider!, The Monolith Monsters) score and some explosive-related effects. It's a small advancement but it is there. Shout! add optional yellow English subtitles (see below) on their Region 'A'-locked - Blu-ray.

Shout! Factory add another enjoyable commentary from Tom Weaver, with recorded pieces from Dr. Robert J. Kiss (theatrical run)and David Schecter (about the music) - some unflattering comments about director Jack Arnold, recreation of quotes from Mara Corday and much much more. It's worth the indulgence - detailed and also humorous. There is also a trailer and a couple of stills galleries (with a misplaced still from, 'Monster on the Campus').

Well, I'm definitely keeping my Koch Blu-ray for the image but the Shout! has the valuable commentary. Always good to have a choice.    

***

ADDITION Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - June 2014: This was also part of the Classic Sci-fi Ultimate Collections - both the initial and the larger ,second, one. We've added a couple of captures from it below. We, mostly, used the PAL version reviewed HERE. Like some of the UK Hammer Blu-rays (ex. The Curse of Frankenstein and 1959's The Mummy) and the German Blu-ray of Cobra Woman, Koch's 1080P of Tarantula offers two different aspect ratios. The mid to late 50's represented an ambiguous time for aspect ratios as it was usually dependant on whether the theater was equipped for the new widescreen format (see a more complete description in our This Island Earth review). So, some may have seen Tarantula theatrically in widescreen - others in the 'Academy ratio' of 1.33:1.

This, region 'B'-locked Blu-ray immediately gives the menu choice of 1.33 or 1.78:1. We have added samples below. They are of a duplicate technical transfer size (21 Gig each) and bitrate (30 Mbps). This is housed on a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate for the features. They also look about the same but I tend to see more, very light, damage and marks on the widescreen for some reason. They both looks quite impressive, a bit of edge-enhancement, barely noticeable, but black levels can be quite rich and there is a tightness to the visuals - not present on SD. The information missing on the widescreen is at the top and bottom of the frame - I don't see any added to the sides. Grain textures are supported.

Audio comes via a DTS-HD Master stereo track at 1571 kbps in both original English or a German DUB. It sounds authentic with the less-effectual effects exploding with bass but the, rather generic (less original), score by Herman Stein (The Incredible Shining Man - also with a big spider!, The Monolith Monsters) seems the biggest beneficiary of the lossless transfer. There are both optional English and German subtitles. The Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.

Koch add some extras - a 26-minute interview with Jack Arnold talking about the film, an HD-transferred Super 8 version of Tranatula for 8-minutes and a Normal 8 version for 2 1/4 minutes. We also get the 'German Opening' of Tarantula and trailers in German and English as well as an image gallery with posters, lobby cards and behind the scenes stills.

We love these 50's sci-fi and/or creature-feature Blu-rays and hope for more! This is certainly recommended to fans of the genre. We've had The Monolith Monsters and The Mole People, how about The Incredible Shining Man next?

***

ON THE DVD: Another above average transfer from Universal Europe. Single layered but with region-coding to flog in Europe, Middle East, Russia and Australia. The image is acceptably sharp, progressive, good contrast and there is some grain and dirt showing through. I enjoy this no-nonsense approach to DVD with a total lack of digital manipulation. No extras at all - consistent with many of the new crop of Universal PAL DVDs.

As far as the film goes - I can't extol it much more - one of my favorite of the 'B' sci-fi's. It is such a pleasure to have this in such a relatively pristine digital form - ready for a spin when the mood strikes (and it strikes at least once a year!).  

Gary W. Tooze





Menus

 

1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - LEFT

2) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT


 
 

 

 

Shout! Factory  Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Shout! Factory  Region 'A' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Shout! Factory  Region 'A' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Shout! Factory  Region 'A' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Shout! Factory  Region 'A' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Universal (Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection) - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region 2,4,5 - PAL REVIEWED HERE - TOP

2) Universal (Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection) - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media 1.33;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Koch Media 1.78;1 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More 1.33:1 Blu-ray captures

More 1.78:1 Blu-ray captures

Box Covers

   

 

 

 

 

 

  

Distribution Universal Pictures - Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Koch Media

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Shout! Factory

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Covers

   

Distribution Universal Pictures - Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Koch Media

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 





 

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