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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Magnetic Monster [Blu-ray]


(Curt Siodmak, Herbert L. Strock, 1953)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Ivan Tors Productions

Video: Kino Lorber



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

Runtime: 1:15:47.543

Disc Size: 16,628,625,920 bytes

Feature Size: 15,973,804,032 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.76 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 14th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



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

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps






Audio Commentary by Film Historian Derek Botello
Trailers; The Magnetic Monster (2:21), Donavan's Brain (2:02), Invisible Invaders (2:00), Journey to the Seventh Planet (2:07)





Description: Newly re-mastered in HD! When a young scientist's experiments with a new radioactive isotope cause it to double in size every twelve hours, a nearby town's existence is threatened by the deadly radiation. The Magnetic Monster was the first episode of producer and writer Ivan Tors (OSI Office of Scientific Investigation) trilogy, followed by Riders to the Star (1954) and the classic 3-D film, GOG (1954). Co-written and directed by Curt Siodmak (Bride of the Gorilla) and starring Richard Carlson (Retreat Hell), King Donovan (The Defiant Ones), Strother Martin (Cool Hand Luke), Harry Ellerbe (House of Usher) and Jean Byron (Invisible Invaders).



The Film:

Curt Siodmak's The Magnetic Monster (1953) is a truly novel science fiction film, in terms of its rather cerebral plot and low-key, quietly intense execution. As much a mystery and, in its first half, a manhunt, as it is a sci-fi-thriller, the movie pushed lots of suspense buttons for viewers in 1953 and still holds up more than a half century later. Richard Carlson (who also co-produced) plays Dr. Jeff Stewart, an agent for the Office of Scientific Investigation. Stewart and his colleague, Dr. Dan Forbes (King Donovan), begin searching for a dangerously radioactive element, which they have good reason to believe is somewhere in the Los Angeles area. They soon learn that this is no ordinary investigation -- among its other attributes, the unknown element generates enough radiation to kill, and also manifests a powerful magnetic field. The trail leads them to Dr. Howard Denker (Leonard Mudie), a rogue scientist who, working on his own, has created a new isotope of an element called serranium, which proves to be not only highly radioactive, but dangerously unstable in ways that science has never seen before.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

One of the earnest 'menace to mankind' movies so beloved of sci-fi in the '50s, about an experimentally developed radioactive isotope that keeps consuming energy and doubling in size until it becomes a veritable monster. Crisply done and not at all bad, even though the climax is largely constructed out of footage borrowed from a 1934 German film, Gold.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of The Magnetic Monster looks pretty solid in 1080P. There are a few speckles but generally the contrast has some pleasing layers and detail is surprisingly strong in close-ups. The visuals carry some fine texture and there is plenty of depth. The source is clean, and I noticed no noise. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable, and pleasurable, viewing in regards to the HD picture quality. No demo but probably above-average for the era.


















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a Linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps in the original English language. There are plenty of electric sounds, radar-like droning and they sound good but not dynamic. The score is by Blaine Sanford - his only film credit and it is not notably remarkable. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Kino include a fun audio commentary by film historian Derek Botello (other commentaries on The Doll of Satan and The Haunted Palace). He gives some background on Ivan Tors and also reads some interesting reviews of the day. There are also trailers for The Magnetic Monster, Donavan's Brain, Invisible Invaders and Journey to the Seventh Planet.



I had never seen The Magnetic Monster and I'm a big fan of this 50's sci-fi genre. Even knowing it had Curt Siodmak and Richard Carlson, my expectations were modest. It was actually more polished than I was anticipating but a little lifeless. It is short at 1 1/4 hours but still hold some charisma. Plenty of innocent, low budget, fun. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray has value if you are as keen on the genre/era as I am. I could watch films like this every rainy Sunday afternoon. The title hints a creature-feature status but, alas, there is none to be seen. The commentary is beneficial and a welcome addition. Recommended if you keep your expectations low.  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 45% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

May 16th, 2016



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