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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Flying Disc Man From Mars [Blu-ray]

 

(Fred C. Brannon, 1950)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Average Chapter Runtime: 0:13:25.763 X 12 (but Chapter 1 differs as it is 20-minutes long)

Disc Size: 48,929,644,080 bytes

Chapter Size: 3,900,020,736 bytes bytes X 12

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 26th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1784 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1784 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate (one episode):

 

 

Description: A virtual remake of the earlier The Purple Monster Strikes (1945) and containing an overabundance of stock footage from that serial and G-Men vs. the Black Dragon (1943), this 12 chapter science fiction serial from Republic Pictures featured former RKO contract player Walter Reed as owner of an air patrol company. Along with his lovely secretary, (Lois Collier), Reed is looking into the mysterious doings of a certain Dr. Bryant (James Craven). As it turns out, the good doctor is under the spell of none other than Mota (Gregory Gay), a visiting Martian in search of uranium and other materials needed to power his ferocious weapons of war. Establishing himself in the crater of a volcano, Mota embarks on a terror campaign against the earthlings which seemingly only Reed's Fowler Air Patrol is able to counter. In the end, both Mota and Dr. Bryant are destroyed by one of their own atomic bombs, leaving Reed and Collier able to plan a less stressful future. Cashing in on the enormous popularity of sci-fi in the late '50s, this serial was re-edited and released as a feature film under the new title Missile Monsters. Villain James Craven had played the same role in the earlier The Purple Monster Strikes and was obviously cast in order to match the stock-footage. Roy Barcroft, who had played the title role in "Purple Monster," did not repeat, however, but was still very visible in the re-edited footage.

 

 

The Film:

Flying Disc Man From Mars is typical of Republic’s low-budgeted 1950s serials: most of its chapter endings are composed of stock footage from earlier and bigger-budgeted Republic serials, while its new action scenes are much less spectacular and energetic than their 1940s predecessors. And yet, Disc Man, like most of Republic’s other serials of the period, manages to be briskly-paced and enjoyable; the studio, even at this late stage in their production history, was still handling serial-making with professionalism if not inspiration. The stock footage is well-integrated and only recognizable to those familiar with the studio’s earlier output, the new props are still handsome (particularly the ray machine tested in Chapter One and the mini-rocket used for collecting extortion money in Chapter Nine), and the new action scenes are still directed at a nice clip by Fred C. Brannon–even though they lack the imagination that characterized stunt sequences in Republic’s glory days. The principals also manage a few trips out to Iverson’s Ranch, giving the action some much-needed visual variety; the occasional outdoor scenes around Bryant’s factory are a welcome touch as well.

Excerpt from the files of Jerry Blake located HERE

 

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

Flying Disc Man From Mars arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. The 12 chapter serial is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. The source is in good shape with very few surface scratches and speckles. Contrast is fairly strong although there are a few inconsistencies that surface. Nothing overly poor though, IMO. I see some textures and the detail is solid all things considered. The Blu-ray gave me a good presentation - slightly superior to Olive's previously released Serial; The Invisible Monster.

 

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

 

Recap Description of preceding Chapter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Stanley Wilson composed for many 40's and 50's westerns like Woman They Almost Lynched and as well as many later TV shows and the serial The Invisible Monster. His score here is typical for the genre - sporadic, huge shifts and via in Olive's DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1748 kbps (24-bit) sounds decent. There are a few aggressive gun-related effects and some punches. There are no subtitles and my Oppo 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 the majority of their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:

I'm still a fan of these hokey Serials! I love the whole concept including entries like Jungle Girl and Olive's previous The Invisible Monster... and how can you not be intrigued by something called Flying Disc Man From Mars ?  I continue to appreciate the innocence of these 50's efforts - simple, adventurous, budgeted. The Blu-ray is a super way to rifle through these gems. I hope more of these campy serials come to 1080P.

 

NOTE: As with The Invisible Monster, my only complaint was seeing the start-up (credits, main title etc.) and rehashing of each chapter - every time. There is a lot of repeated info - and its wasted time. I wish there was a way of bypassing it to go right to the action.

 

Gary Tooze

October 22nd, 2015

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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