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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Dragonfly Squadron (3D and 2D) [Blu-ray]

 

(Lesley Selander, 1954)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Allied Artists Productions

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:23:32.382

Disc Size: 34,062,112,124 bytes

Feature Size: 33,673,343,616 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.87 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 14th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

Trailer (1:46)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Veteran director Lesley Selander was signed on July 21. Two days later, Lt. Col. Claire E. Towne at the Department of Defense approved John C. Champion’s script. It was the first 3-D feature to require Pentagon approval.

On August 5, Variety reported that former professional basketball and baseball player Chuck Connors was signed for the pivotal role of Capt. Warnowski. He was receiving good reviews for his recent appearance with Burt Lancaster and Virginia Mayo in SOUTH SEA WOMAN.

Barbara Britton also joined the cast on August 5, having made a strong impression in the first color 3-D feature, BWANA DEVIL.

On August 6, Col. Dean Hess USAF reported to Allied Artists to serve as Technical Advisor on the film. In June 1950 and over the next twelve months, he had been commanding officer of the “Bout One Project,” a U.S. Air Force mission to train South Korean pilots to fly the P-51D Mustang. In that one year, he had flown a total of 250 combat missions. His 1956 autobiography BATTLE HYMN was filmed by Universal-International with Rock Hudson in the lead role.

Excerpt from Bob Furmanek's 3-D Archive located HERE

 

The Film:

In May 1950, Major Matt Brady is redeployed to Pusan, South Korea. His mission there is to train South Korean pilots in the defensive struggle. Also, there are air support exercises in case of the need to evacuate the Americans. Colonel Schuller sends Brady and Captain MacIntyre to the airbase in Kungju. The American instructors only have 25 days left to introduce the South Korean pilots to US tactics.

At the base, Brady meets Donna Cottrell, a former fiancÚ of his. Donna's husband, Red Cross physician Dr. Stephen Cottrell, is said to have been killed in action. When Donna finds out that he is actually alive - he had been captured, but was able to escape - she returns to him. She tells Matt, that Stephen cannot work as a surgeon any more, as his hands were badly injured during enemy torture. She is intent to do the right thing, but she feels torn apart between the two men.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

RESTORING DRAGONFLY SQUADRON

We acquired the rights in 2009 and began our preservation work just in time. The various stock shots used in the final battle scenes were deteriorating with vinegar syndrome and began to affect the surrounding footage as well.

The 3-D world premiere took place on September 14, 2013 in Hollywood at the World 3-D Film Expo. It was great to finally see it on the big screen but unfortunately, there were some problems with the presentation. Technical issues in the booth required the film to be shown in the aspect ratio of 1.37:1 and the Intermission card was placed in the wrong spot. Timing was inconsistent between the left/right 35mm prints and an audio glitch caused the sound to run out of sync for nearly two minutes. In addition, the opening credits were flat due to a mislabeled element when the new prints were made.

All of the problems have now been fixed in this stunning new 3-D Blu-ray release from Olive Films.

Greg Kintz, Technical Director for the 3-D Film Archive, has meticulously restored this lost 3-D film in 4K from the original left/right 35mm elements. The timing between both eyes has been precisely matched; the Intermission card is in the correct place; the dynamic optical audio track has been fully restored and is in sync; the baked-in vertical alignment errors have been painstakingly corrected shot-by-shot; the opening titles are now fully three-dimensional and the film has been mastered in the correct aspect ratio of 1.66:1.

Excerpt from Bob Furmanek's 3-D Archive located HERE

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

Firstly, this Olive Blu-ray package offers both the 3D and 2D (Standard) versions of the film, Dragonfly Squadron. We will only review the 2D version here.

NOTE: When viewed on a compatible 3-D monitor and 3-D blu-ray player set-up, the menu offers an option for both 3-D and 2-D playback, but when this disc is viewed on a regular 2-D monitor and 2-D blu-ray player, the 3-D version button is visible but not accessible -- the "Play Movie" option works only with the 2-D version -- there is nothing wrong with your disc, the specialized encoding merely prevents the 3-D version being incorrectly displayed on a 2-D screen.

 

This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and Dragonfly Squadron has quite a history. The Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films shows some beautiful film grain texture. The condition of the source and restoration work done are quite remarkable. There is a film-like thickness to the visuals, the 2-D looks fairly flat and contrast wavers a bit throughout.  There are a few speckles and the 'stock' aviation footage is certainly discernable in 1080P.  The Blu-ray provided an appreciated presentation noting all the restoration hurdles involved.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio in the form of a linear PCM stereo track at 1536 kbps. It is fairly unremarkable with only aviation/combat/explosion sounds showing depth. We get an original score by Paul Dunlap (Shock Corridor, Shack Out on 101, Cry Vengeance, Portland Expose, Big House U.S.A., Target Earth, Park Row) which supports the film reasonably well with some tension.  There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

Only a trailer, but while there are no liner notes you should check out the 3-D Archive, HERE, and read what Robert Furmanek has written about the film.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I was able to watch the 3-D on a friend's system. The restoration of Dragonfly Squadron is impressive and its 'recovery' from its 'lost' status story is nothing short of fascinating. I wasn't bowled over by the film, although I was interested. This type of archival work and production to consumer Blu-ray is highly important. I was thankful to actually see this and those keen on the veritable 'primordial-soup' of 3-D should dive in head first. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

October 11th, 2014

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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