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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

It Came From Outer Space (3D and 2D) [Blu-ray]

 

(Jack Arnold, 1953)

 

Coming out on Blu-ray in the UK - October 17th, 2016

and is already out in France (not in 3D):

Finally coming to Amazon US February 2017:

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universal International Pictures (UI)

Video: Universal

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:20:18.271  

Disc Size: 27,773,390,935 bytes

Feature Size: 21,578,133,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 4th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2423 kbps 3.0 / 48 kHz / 2423 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 3.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Spanish, French, None

 

Extras:

Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver

The Universe According to Universal (31:36)
Theatrical Trailer (2D and 3D - 2:41)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Based on a story by acclaimed writer Ray Bradbury, It Came From Outer Space starring Richard Carlson and Barbara Rush is a science fiction classic that is as thought-provoking and tantalizing today as it was when it first "landed" on the silver screen.When amateur astronomer John Putnam (Carlson) and his fiancée Ellen Fields (Rush) are stargazing in the desert, a spaceship bursts from the sky and crashes to the ground. Just before a landslide buries the ship, a mysterious creature emerges and disappears into the darkness. Of course, when he tells his story to the sheriff (Charles Drake), John is branded a crackpot. Before long, strange things begin to happen, but will the tide of disbelief turn in time?

 

 

The Film:

An early attempt at the theme of an encounter with benign but awe-inspiring aliens. The script (nominally from Ray Bradbury's story The Meteor) rattles through all the formulary clichés: an amateur astronomer who 'understands', a belligerent sheriff, a woman used as a pawn. But seen in its original 3-D, it's clear that Arnold's direction gives it more than a passing lift. He isn't much good with his second-rate cast, but his compositions in depth are consistently interesting, and his sparing use of special effects keeps the level of visual interest high. The 3-D process leaves the image somewhat murky, but you can discern sparks of authentic pulp poetry throughout.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Interplanetary visitations aside, "It Came From Outer Space" is fair evidence that three-dimensional photography can be occasionally effective without resorting to violent optical tricks and gimmicks. As viewed through polaroid glasses, scenes from high on an eminence in the desert gave impressions of depth and true vastness, as did some medium shots of the principals against a backdrop of mesas and grotesque cactus. And, while close-ups were merely "flat" and two-dimensional, and a shower of rocks during a landslide seemed perilously close to being dragged in for its shock effect, the over-all illusion seemed natural and unobtrusive.

Excerpt from the NYTimes located HERE

 

Writer and amateur astronomer John Putnam (Richard Carlson) is sharing his telescope with his fiancee Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush) when they witness a blazing object streak across the sky and crash in the nearby desert. Upon investigation Putnam sees a strange spacecraft at the base of a newly formed crater but an avalanche buries the object before other townspeople arrive at the scene. No one will believe Putnam's account, dismissing the town newcomer as a kook. Suddenly, people in the community begin to disappear - only to turn up later as zombie-like "duplicates" of themselves. As panic and fear incite the townspeople to rise up in arms, Putnam makes contact with the extra-terrestrial visitors and learns the true nature of their presence, one that poses no real threat. He then attempts to act as a mediator between the two groups but can he prevent a violent resolution to an already explosive situation?

Like a more benign version of Edgar Ulmer's The Man From Planet X (1951), It Came from Outer Space (1953) is a seminal science fiction film that launched the careers of many key figures in the genre. It was the first collaboration between producer William Alland and director Jack Arnold who would continue their partnership with Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), the sequel Revenge of the Creature (1955), and the anti-nuke parable The Space Children (1958). Alland, a former actor and stage manager of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre (he appeared as the investigating reporter and narrator in Citizen Kane, 1941), would branch out on his own, producing This Island Earth (1955), The Mole People (1956) and other memorable sci-fi fantasies. Arnold's filmography is no less impressive, and includes such fan favorites as Tarantula (1955) and his masterpiece, The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957).

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

Firstly, I had an issue with some pixilation that was NOT part of the disc transfer. This has happened 2 -3 times in ten years. I still don't know why. I verified the disc on three separate systems. It is free of any digitization or pixilation.

 

This Universal Blu-ray package offers both the 3D and 2D (Standard) versions of the film, It Came From Outer Space. We will only review the 2D version here.

 

It is also available a a Best Buy exclusive as well as from our Amazon Canada link above (at about $11 US).

 

NOTE: The menu offers an option for both 3-D and 2-D playback, so this disc can be viewed on a regular 2-D monitor and 2-D blu-ray player.

 

Described by on the 3DFilmArchive website as "All the baked-in vertical alignment issues and reverse stereo shots have finally been corrected and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE looks better now than it did theatrically in 1953. Dirt and damage clean-up was done by Thad Komorowski. In addition, IT was only the sixth feature to be released with stereo sound and when you hear the original and VERY dynamic 1953 mix (not heard in 63 years) you will be knocked out!. (thanks Bob!)

 

Despite the modest bitrate the image shows some film grain textures. Detail is probably as good as the film can get on digital. Contrast shows some nice layering. I thought this 1080P gave a very pleasing presentation. What fun!

 

NOTE: For the first time in 63 years, people are seeing It Came From Outer Space with the original intermission card (see capture below)! 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Described on the 3DFilmArchive website; "Magnetic tracks had a number of advantages over their optical soundtrack counterparts, including the potential for a much wider dynamic range. Additionally, with the initial separate interlock 35mm full-coat magnetic audio dubbers used for theatrical playback in 1953, audio quality was of even higher fidelity than the later combined "mag on film" approach that quickly became the norm for both 35mm and 70mm. For those first interlocked magnetic sound releases, audio mixers were well aware of the various audio advancements. To that end, engineers worked on highlighting these advantages in these new stereophonic presentations. "It Came from Outer Space" was the sixth feature released in stereophonic sound and is a perfect example of a showcase mix, meant to emphasize not only the very directional three channel sound (left, center, right) but also utilizing the possibilities of what a wide dynamic range can offer as well."

which is cool with a few surprising separations. Universal use a DTS-HD Master 3.0 channel at 2423 kbps (24-bit) and you can easily decipher the 3-channel separations - which are surprisingly adroit and definitely add a unique atmosphere to the presentation. As it was on The Monolith Monsters the score is credited to the trifecta of Henry Mancini (Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation), Herman Stein (This Island Earth) and Irving Gertz (Plunder Road) and it exports the usual drama heard in creature-style-features - augmented by the lossless transfer.  There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

Extras seem to duplicate the previous DVD from 2002 which includes a feature commentary with film historian Tom Weaver who does a great job filling in holes in the production including authorship of the script. There is also the 1/2 documentary The Universe According to Universal as well as 2D and 3D theatrical trailers!

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
In verification I was able to sample the 3-D on a friend's system (he had glasses!) and those sequences remain pretty kitschy. The restoration of It Came From Outer Space brings this 50's gem to Blu-ray and fans of this genre and especially the 3D process should be very pleased with the result. A very reasonable price and this is absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

October 7th, 2016

Coming out on Blu-ray in the UK - October 17th, 2016

and is already out in France (not in 3D):

Finally coming to Amazon US February 2017:

 




 

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Gary Tooze

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