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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe [Two Blu-rays]

 

(Harry Keller, Franklin Adreon and Fred C. Brannon, 1955)

 

 

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: 0:30:06.304  X 12

Disc One Size: 49,116,482,199 bytes

Disc Two Size: 49,116,816,228 bytes

Sample Epsiode Size: 7,577,929,728 bytes bytes X 6 X 2 Blu-rays

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Chapters: 4 X 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 13th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1767 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1767 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Episode Sample Bitrate:

 

 

Description: "Commando Cody, the venerable Sky Marshal of the Universe (Judd Holdren, Captain Video, Master of the Stratosphere), along with trusted aids Joan Gilbert (Aline Towne, Radar Men from the Moon) and Ted Richards (William Schallert, TV's The Patty Duke Show) and later joined by Dick Preston (Richard Crane, The Eternal Sea), must foil the various schemes of The Ruler (Gregory Gay, Flying Disc Man from Mars), an evil alien life form hell-bent on taking over Earth.

All twelve pulse-pounding episodes of Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (including Enemies of the Universe, Nightmare Typhoon, Robot Monster from Mars and the exciting final installment, Captives of the Zero Hour), directed by Fred C. Brannon (The Invisible Monster, The Crimson Ghost), Harry Keller (Tammy and the Doctor) and Franklin Adreon (Panther Girl of the Kongo) are now available for your home viewing enjoyment in one exciting package.

Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe also features Craig Kelly (The Furies), Dale Van Sickel (Johnny Reno), Gloria Pall (The Crimson Kimino), and William Henry (Secret of the Incas)."

 

 

The Film:

A nefarious tyrant from outer space called The Ruler has his sights on attacking and defeating the Earth. Only Commando Cody and his crew can save the world.

I actually could have covered this one some time ago, but at the time, it appeared to be a TV series that was for some reason listed in my reference books as a serial. It was only later than I realized that the history of this one was somewhat more complicated; though obviously filmed as a TV show, it apparently had to be shown in theaters before it could be shown on TV due to certain contractual obligations. Apparently, this is the source of a certain amount of controversy; since it doesn't engage in cliffhangers, some purists won't classify it as a "serial". I have no problem doing so; there is an overriding story arc, and there are some early silent serials that also eschewed the cliffhanger format.

Excerpt from Dave Sindelar at Fantatsic Movie Musing located HERE

 

Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (or, informally, Commando Cody) was a Republic Pictures multi-chapter movie serial which began as a proposed syndicated television series. It consisted of twelve 25-minute sequential episodes directed by Harry Keller, Franklin Adreon, and Fred C. Brannon, starring Judd Holdren, Aline Towne, Gregory Gaye, William Schallert, Richard Crane and Craig Kelly.

Originally intended to be broadcast on television as a 12-episode weekly series, Sky Marshall was first released theatrically in 1953 as a 12-chapter weekly serial; it was finally syndicated to television on NBC in 1955. The Commando Cody character was introduced in Republic's earlier serial Radar Men from the Moon of 1952, with actor George Wallace in the title role.

Dangerous weather and climate changes are ravaging the earth and masked super-scientist Commando Cody is approached by the government to investigate. Among the tools at his disposal are a jet-powered one-man flying suit, and a rocket ship. With his colleagues Joan and Ted, who is later replaced by Dick, he ascertains the disasters are being caused by space-alien forces led by a mysterious "Ruler" of unknown planetary origins, with occasional help from earth-born criminals. Warding off dangers, Cody and his associates are able to methodically close in on the culprits, and reveal The Ruler to be a rogue from Venus who meets his end on Mercury with the help of the Mercurians.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

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

Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. The 12 chapter serial/TV show is spread over two dual-layered discs with a high bitrate. The print used is in decent shape looking a shade fainter than the other serials we have seen (The Invisible Monster and Flying Disc Man from Mars). Density may have been compromised on the print affecting the contrast. I see some textures and the detail is reasonable. There is no real depth but this is all certainly watchable in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio as there are no detrimental flaws. It also looks quite consistent throughout. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over artifact-ridden DVDs of the past and this rendering looks solidg in-motion.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Stanley Wilson composed for many 40's and 50's westerns like Woman They Almost Lynched and as well as Republic serials The Invisible Monster and Flying Disc Man from Mars. His score here is typically energetic - sounding rousing via in Olive's DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1767 kbps (24-bit). There are some sci-fi related effects and the audio exports some depth when called upon but it stays within the restraints of the era and original production. There are optional English subtitles (bright yellow font - see sample above) 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:
Whether technically a 'serial' or not - it has all the same conventions - and looks to have similar sets/costumes as Flying Disc Man from Mars. It's just as hokey but in a loveable way - I've always enjoyed the whole concept of the 'serial'  -from Jungle Girl to Judex. Olive's Blu-ray package is certainly the absolute best way to relax to these nostalgic gems. If this sounds like your cup of tea - I suggest going for it. Lots of campy 'B'-style pleasure here. I 'm encouraged that Olive are releasing more of these kitschy serials come to Blu-ray.

 

NOTE: Since the episodes are 1/2 an hour my complaint of seeing the start-up (credits, main title etc.), and there is no text screen rehash, is not as big an issue. 6 hours of content here - stuff not as well represented in 1080P at present.

Gary Tooze

September 13th, 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.

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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