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Gog aka 'Space Station USA' (3D and 2D) [Blu-ray]
(Herbert L. Strock, 1954)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Ivan Tors Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 48,382,598,426 bytes
2-D Feature Size: 22,438,041,600 bytes
Video Bitrate: 20.60 Mbps
Case: StandardBlu-ray case
Release date: March 1st, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1560 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1560 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1564 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1564 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Audio Commentary by Film Historians Tom Weaver, Bob Furmanek and David Schecter
• Restoration Demonstration (2-D + 3-D) (6:49)
• Interview with Herbert L. Strock (8:26)
• Interview with Natural Vision Co-Creator Lothrop Worth (19:02)
Description: Newly restored in HD and 3-D! In a remote, underground research laboratory two scientists, engaged in space travel research, are frozen to death in a cold chamber when their instruments comes under the control of an unknown power. A security agent, Dr. David Sheppard (Richard Egan, The 300 Spartans) arrives at the secret space research base, home of two experimental robots to investigate the possible sabotage. Early in his investigation, Sheppard finds that the underground laboratory under the control of the Supercomputer NOVAC and experimental robots GOG and MAGOG. Herbert L. Strock (The Crawling Hand) directed this Sci-Fi/Horror classic with a stellar cast that includes Constance Dowling (Black Angel), Herbert Marshall (The Letter) and William Schallert (TV s The Patty Duke Show).
When two scientists at a top-secret government installation devoted to space research are killed -- in their own test chamber, seemingly by an experiment gone awry -- Dr. David Sheppard (Richard Egan) is sent out from Washington to investigate. Sheppard mixes easily enough with the somewhat eccentric team of scientists, though he always seems in danger of being distracted by the presence of Joanne Merritt (Constance Dowling), who serves as the aide to the project director Dr. Van Ness (Herbert Marshall) but is, in reality, another security agent. Sheppard is as puzzled as anyone else by the seemingly inexplicable series of events overtaking the installation -- properly operating equipment suddenly undergoing lethal malfunctions, and the radar tracking aircraft that aren't there -- until he puts it together with the operations of NOVAC (Nuclear Operated Variable Automatic Computer), the central brain of the complex. But the mystery deepens when he discovers that NOVAC was shut down during one of the "accidents" -- and even the computer's operators can't account fully for the whereabouts of GOG and MAGOG, the two robots under the computer's control.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE A baffling mystery is presented in the little Ivan Tors thriller called "Gog," now showing at the Palace with eight acts of vaudeville. It is this: Who or what is sabotaging the scientific experiments being made in preparation for launching an outer-space station at a secret underground laboratory in New Mexico?
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it Superman? Or is it some other esoteric force, known only to Gog-headed fellows in the science-fiction realms?
For the better part of the picture, Richard Egan and Constance Dowling snoop around in the great subterranean laboratory, looking into apparatus-filled rooms where solemn scientists are studying body freezing, solar radiation, supersonic sound, centrifugal anesthesia and the pretty redheads who seem to be all over the place. Even though Mr. Egan and Miss Dowling are trained security agents, the mystery of the saboteur eludes them. Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE
"Of all our restoration projects, GOG is the most rewarding
for me personally. When I began my search for lost 3-D elements in the
early 1980's, GOG was at the top of my want list. Through my archival
work with Jerry Lewis, I got to know director Herbert L. Strock quite
well. He was very proud of his work on this film and lamented the fact
that it was lost in 3-D. After extensive research, I found the lost left
side faded Pathe color 35mm release print in 2001. I tell the full story
of this exciting discovery in the commentary track on the Blu-ray.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, this Kino Lorber Blu-ray package offers both the 3D and 2D (Standard) versions of the film, Gog. 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 will indicate that with the current set-up- it is not playable and then 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.
The restoration of Gog looks very impressive via the Blu-ray transfer from Kino Lorber. It looks as though the 2-D and 3_D versions are not seamlessly-branched but are separate transfers residing on the same dual-layered BD disc. The condition of the source and restoration work done are quite remarkable - as evidenced by the descriptions in the 3-D Archive material and the supplement on restoration (...the only surviving left 35mm element: an original 1954 Pathe color release print that was completely faded with no yellow or cyan information.) What stands out are the colors which are vibrant +lush and grain textures rich and thick. The aspect ratio is 1.66:1 and this looks impressive in 1080P - as it still maintains the film's more innocent and modest production values (love the 'Nuclear Indicator" gauge - image below). The Blu-ray provided an appreciated presentation noting all the restoration hurdles circumvented and the value of seeing the film at all - since it was on the cusp of theatrical 3-D dying of and received only had a handful of cinema engagements. We are lucky to have it presented so beautifully for home theater viewing.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1560 kbps (16-bit). It exports the 'tech' laboratory / robotic shooting / fire / plane effects with some depth and the appealing, homey, score by Harry Sukman (Forty Guns, Verboten!, The Crimson Kimono, Underworld U.S.A., Someone's Watching Me!) which is supported well via the lossless. There are no subtitles and theBlu-ray disc is region 'A'-locked.
Great extras here too - a new audio commentary by film historians Tom Weaver, later joined by Bob Furmanek and David Schecter giving gratuitous details on the 3-D process and this production in particular. Very professional and educational. There is a 6.5-minute restoration demonstration for the more technically curious plus interviews with director Herbert L. Strock (8.5-minutes from Sept 1993) and 20-minutes with Natural Vision Co-Creator, and DP on Gog, Lothrop Worth. Plus we get trailers for Gog, and other vintage 3-D Blu-ray releases The Mask, and The Bubble.
February 25th, 2016
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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