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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Nathan Juran
UK 1964

Special effects maestro Ray Harryhausen’s First Men in the Moon (1964) posits a modern-day U.N. lunar mission which discovers – lo and behold! – that a motley little 19th-century human crew has beaten them to it. Edward Judd, Martha Hyer and the inimitable Lionel Jeffries are the intrepid explorers, encountering everything from a giant centipede to some particularly nasty oversize insectoid creatures.

***

First Men in the Moon is an H.G. Welles cinemadaptation from director Nathan Juran. When scientists in the year 1964 are confused by evidence of a long-ago space flight, nonagenarian Arnold Bedford (Edward Judd) explains all. Back in 1899, Bedford, eccentric scientist Joseph Cavor (Lionel Jeffries) and heroine Kate Callender (Martha Hyer) took a trip to the moon in a home-made space vehicle. Once on the lunar surface, they encountered an alien civilization resembling an ant colony, complete with "queen," soldiers and workers. How they returned, and the aftereffects of their journey, comprise the film's final third. Peter Finch appears briefly as a messenger; he happened to be visiting the set when the actor hired to play the bailiff's assistant failed to show up.

 

  Posters

Theatrical Release:  July, 1964

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Comparison:

Sony (OOP) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC vs. Twilight Time (OOP) - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Indicator (Powerhouse) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

  

 

 

Distribution Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC Twilight Time
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Koch Media
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Indicator (Powerhouse) - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:42:45 1:43:03.135 1:43:00.090 1:43:02.593
Video 2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.29 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Disc Size: 33,210,290,832 bytes

Feature Size: 29,659,084,800 bytes

Total Bitrate: 29.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

2.35:1 Disc Size: 24,783,418,512 bytes

Feature Size: 21,682,569,216 bytes

Total Bitrate: 25.23 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

2.35:1 Disc Size:46,077,393,174 bytes

Feature Size: 36,447,336,000 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.96 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Twilight Time Blu-ray

Bitrate: Koch media Blu-ray

Bitrate: Indicator Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUB: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3381 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3381 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1312 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1312 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1552 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1552 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1010 kbps 4.0 / 48 kHz / 1010 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 4.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1523 kbps 3.1 / 48 kHz / 1523 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 3.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3381 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3381 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Isolated Score:

LPCM Audio Undetermined 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, Thai, Chinese, None English (SDH), none English (SDH), German, none English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• This is Dynamation Featurette (3:25)

The Harryhausen Chronicles (57:52)

Photo Gallery

Theatrical trailers (First Men in the Moon, Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad)

DVD Release Date: January 1st, 2002

Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio:
Twilight Time

 

2.35:1 Disc Size: 33,210,290,832 bytes

Feature Size: 29,659,084,800 bytes

Total Bitrate: 29.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Ray Harryhausen and FX artists Randall William Cook

Isolated Music & Effects Track
Randall William Cook introduces First men in the Moon (4:54)

• Tomorrow The Moon (4:33)

Original Theatrical Trailer (3:21)

Teaser (1:23)

• 8-page liner notes by Julie Kirgo
Limited to 5,000 units

 

Blu-ray Release Date: February, 2015
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Koch Media
 

2.35:1 Disc Size: 24,783,418,512 bytes

Feature Size: 21,682,569,216 bytes

Total Bitrate: 25.23 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:

The Harryhausen Chronicles (57:55)

• This is Dynamation Featurette (3:23)

Kino Trailer (3:19)

• Gallery (2:48)

Blu-ray Release Date: February 23rd, 2017
Standard
Blu-ray Case inside cardboard slipcase
Chapters: 11

Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

 

2.35:1 Disc Size:46,077,393,174 bytes

Feature Size: 36,447,336,000 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.96 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

Edition Details:
Ray Harryhausen audio commentary
Randall William Cook Introduces 'First Men in the Moon' (4:54)
Tomorrow the Moon: vintage featurette (4:33)
New and exclusive interviews with Terry Schubert (4:41), title designer Sam Suliman (3:38)
Original Men in the Moon - interview with production manager Ted Wallis (16:24)
Isolated scores Laurie Johnson (First Men in the Moon)
Original trailers, teasers, TV spots and promotional films (3:21, 1:23)
John Landis trailer commentary for First Men in the Moon (3:40)
Image galleries: extensive promotional and on-set photography, poster art and archive materials
Limited edition exclusive 80-page book with new essays by film experts Kim Newman and Tim Lucas, an in-depth oral history of all three films, and full film credits
Limited Dual Format Edition Box Set of 6,000 numbered units

 

Blu-ray Release Date: November 13th, 2017
White Blu-ray case

Chapters 16

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray (November 17'): We reviewed Indicator's Ray Harryhausen Volume One (20 Million Miles to Earth, It Came from Beneath the Sea and The 3 Worlds of Gulliver) and this is part of Ray Harryhausen Volume Two which includes favorites Mysterious Island, First Men in the Moon and Jason and the Argonauts.

This is cited as a "4K restoration from the original camera negative." It's similar to the Twilight Time but has warmer skins tones and richer colors overall. It has a max'ed out bitrate and is a small notch ahead visually.

Indicator go with the options of linear PCM 1.0 mono, a DTS-HD Master 3.1 or a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 bump (all 24-bit) although 70mm prints (blow-ups) did have a 6-Track audio. The initial blast-off has some impressive intensity and effects are sharp and crisp. The score by Laurie Johnson (famous for The Avengers TV series theme, Dr. Strangelove, Hammer Studios' Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter and many more) adds adventure-inducing orchestrations - also available as an isolated option. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the Region FREE Blu-ray disc.

Included is the older audio commentary by Ray Harryhausen and FX artists Randall William Cook, plus a 5-minute Introduction to 'First Men in the Moon' by Cook. We get Columbia's Tomorrow the Moon featurette plus new and exclusive interviews with special effects assistant Terry Schubert (4:41), title designer Sam Suliman (3:38) and a piece entitled Original Men in the Moon which is a 16-minute interview with production manager Ted Wallis. There are two original trailers, a John Landis trailer (TFH) commentary for First Men in the Moon, and image gallery and the aforementioned isolated score by Laurie Johnson. The package has a limited edition exclusive 80-page book with new essays by film experts Kim Newman and Tim Lucas, an in-depth oral history of all three films, and full film credits and includes DVDs for all films. The Box Set is limited to 6,000 numbered units.

The Ray Harryhausen Volume Two Boxset has so much value with First Men in the Moon being another prime example why. Fans should get it, and the extensive book,  before it goes out of print. Strongly recommended!

***

ADDITION: Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray May 17': With the Twilight Time out-of-print and fetching high prices, we decided to look at the new Koch Media Blu-ray of First Men in the Moon, out of Germany. It is from a different source than the US release. It's marginally cropped and colors shift with warmer skin tones and a blue-leaning. It's also a shade brighter - I don't think detail suffers extensively. It is 1080P on a single-layered disc with a reasonable bitrate. It may have a few more light marks, but I don't think it's terribly poor and certainly not unwatchable although the Twilight Time is obviously superior.

Audio offers a lossless German DUB, and a DTS (16-bit) original English track.  It doesn't pack the intensity of the Twilight Time bump but fans might appreciate the flatness as being more authentic.  There are optional German and English (SDH) subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is, also, region FREE.

Extras repeat the 2002 DVD with the hour-long Harryhausen Chronicles, a short This is Dynamation advert (both with German subtitles), a trailer and image gallery.

At current rate/price The German Blu-ray works out to about $14.50 US (about 1/3 the, obviously superior, Twilight Time) which I think is okay if you just want to watch the film in 1080P. Cool cover too. It's always nice to have options.

***

ADDITION: Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray March 15': The Sony DVD was one of the best to come out for its time (2002). But the Twilight Time Blu-ray advances in every area - visual, audio and extras. The image quality tightens up, is brighter and shows more information in the frame. Skin tones warm and contrast is significantly layered. The film is housed on a dual-layered disc with  a high bitrate and the visuals, especially the Harryhausen effects, are scrumptious and rich with vibrancy. In a word: Perfect.

Twilight Time use a 5.1 bump for the feature utilized through a DTS-HD Master at whopping 3381 kbps. Effects are rich and deep including the blast-off sequences and the alien noises. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is region FREE.

Twilight Time include a very worthy audio commentary by Ray Harryhausen and FX artists Randall William Cook plus there usual Isolated Music & Effects Track (in lossless). We also get a 5-minute intro by Cook, and a Tomorrow is the Moon vintage featurette (only 5-minutes also) plus an original Theatrical Trailer and teaser. The package contains an 8-page liner notes booklet with photos and an essay by Julie Kirgo. It is limited to 5,000 units.

This is another of those wonderful young-man-adventure-fantasy science fiction gems from the 60's. Easy to watch anytime- but I prefer a rainy Sunday afternoon. This Twilight Time Blu-ray may be one to go out of print so those keen should act sooner rather than later.  

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 

Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

  

 

 

Distribution Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC Twilight Time
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Koch Media
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Indicator (Powerhouse) - Region FREE - Blu-ray



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Gary Tooze