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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Spencer Gordon Bennett

USA 1959

 

When a nuclear-powered submarine, the Tiger Shark, sets out to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances near the Arctic Circle, its fearless crew finds itself besieged by electrical storms, an Unidentified Floating Saucer, and lots of hairy tentacles.

***

Seasoned serial director Spencer Gordon Bennett helmed this story of a one-eyed, octopoidal space alien, wreaking havoc upon atomic subs at the North Pole. The monster is determined to take over the world, though it seems ill equipped for that purpose. Heroes Arthur Franz, Dick Foran, and Brett Halsey head underwater to neutralize the alien's submerged flying saucer. The cast is peopled with such veterans as Tom Conway, Bob Steele, Victor Varconi, Selmer Jackson, and Jack Mulhall. Movie buffs may wish to take note of the exterior scenes in Atomic Submarine; several of them are played out in front of the easily recognizable studios of Allied Artists, formerly Monogram and later the home of LA's PBS channel 28.

Posters

Theatrical Release Date: November 29th, 1959

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DVD Comparison:

Criterion (4-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Screenbound Pictures - Region 0 - PAL

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Screenbound Pictures - Region 0 - PAL RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

as part of Criterion's Monsters and Madmen DVD Box Reviewed HERE (The Haunted Strangler / Corridors of Blood / The Atomic Submarine / First Man into Space)

     

 

Distribution Criterion Collection spines # 364 (#365-368) - Region 1 - NTSC

Screenbound Pictures

Region 0 - PAL

Time: 1:12:06 1:08:57 (4% PAL Speedup)
Bitrate:

Criterion

Bitrate:

Screenbound Pictures

Audio English (original mono)  English 2.0 Dolby
Subtitles English, None None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:  
 Audio commentary by producer Alex Gordon and writer Tom Weaver
 New video interview with actor Brett Halsey
 Original theatrical trailers and radio spots
 Stills galleries featuring production and publicity photographs
 Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
 PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by Bruce Eder and Michael Lennick


DVD Release Date: January 23rd, 2007

3 transparent Keep Cases with overlapping spindle-holders
Chapters: various

Release Information:
Studio: Screenbound Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
 Trailer (2:05)

DVD Release Date:
February 29th, 2016
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

 

 

Comments:

The Criterion is only available in the Monsters and Madmen DVD Box Reviewed HERE.

Unlike Screenbound Entertainment's Thunder on the Hill this is a standard SD 1.33:1 transfer (not anamorphic 1.33:1 matted to 1.78:1). It's also single-layered but looks very strong for SD with a supportive bitrate. It matches up well against the Criterion - possibly from the same source. Audio is consistent without major flaws. There are no subtitles and only a trailer as an extra.

So it's drawbacks against the Criterion are the PAL speedup, no subtitles and the US disc offers extensive extras including a commentary for all 4 films in the boxset. Price is always a factor though.

***

ON THE Criterion Monsters and Madmen Boxset (January 2007): The 4 main features of this boxset are on dual-layered discs although only one exceeds a 4.7 Gig size so the dual layering seems mostly superfluous. They are housed in two individual transparent keep cases (see image above) - discs overlapping on dual spindles. The covers are on opposing sides of the case. They are not sold separately at this time and can only be obtained in Criterion's Monsters and Madmen Boxset. They have been transferred in the NTSC standard, coded for Region 1.

Those who know me and have read some of my comparable genre reviews on this site may recognize that I am a big sucker for 1950's modest production sci-fi and horror features. I find them the perfect diversion from the often heavy art films that are my first love and that the DVDBeaver site is better known for. So, I am thankful that, perhaps, someone at Criterion feels that same way - hence this unique package.

Image: All four are progressively transferred and in their original screen ratio (1.33:1). Criterion have done their digital restoration magic (boosting black levels at times to bring up sharpness), but there were obvious limitations on how much effort that wanted to put in and the, probable, weak condition of the sources. For the most part they look very good, perhaps even better than the screen captures will indicate. At times they can look exceptional and other times acceptably average. The Haunted Strangler, Corridors of Blood and The Atomic Submarine are fairly even but First Man into Space is a bit weaker with some dirt and digital noise showing through. For films of this ilk these look as good as they ever will on digital disc.

NOTE: All four, to my knowledge, have been released previously on DVD (by Image Entertainment in region 1) - and if history is any judge they are most probably in very frugal transfers with bare-bones extras and no subtitles.

Audio - Decent with very minimal audible hiss and overall dialogue remains consistent and clear. It is expected that there is some dynamic weakness considering the age of the films but it is easily good enough for standard viewing. The mono tracks sound very consistent and discernable.

All 4 features have optional white (black border) subtitles in English at Criterion's usual level of completeness.

Extras - the package is stacked with a commentary for each film by the principles (producers Alex and Richard Gordon and writer Tom Weaver). They are kind of fun for the most part but if you are expecting a Tony Rayns level of film analysis or critique you will no doubt be disappointed. Some of the anecdotes of production may give you a chuckle though. On top of the commentaries are trailers and interviews - with Day and costars Francis Matthews and Yvonne Romain (Corridors of Blood) and Day, screenwriter Jan Read, and costars Jean Kent and Vera Day (Strangler) actor Brett Halsey (Submarine) and director Robert Day and costar Marla Landi (Space). I found the 'Censors cuts' interesting - what was and was not allowed, so as to adhere to code - and why. Plus there are some fairly extensive little liner notes booklets included (2) that show some care went into their production (perhaps more so than in any of the creation of the films themselves).

Like much of what Criterion does - this is not going after the biggest slice of the pie. These particular films are downright bad, by any standard, and most people will not really get into the enjoyable 'popcorn' feel that this package aims towards. Personally, I had a ball and will re-watch The Atomic Submarine with friends sometime soon. If you ever get in the mood they make nostalgic and fun double features. As long as you know what you are in for - we warmly recommend!    

Gary W. Tooze


Criterion DVD Menus


 

Screenbound Pictures - Region 0 - PAL

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Screenbound Pictures - Region 0 - PAL RIGHT

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Screenbound Pictures - Region 0 - PAL RIGHT

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Screenbound Pictures - Region 0 - PAL RIGHT

 

 


More Screenbound Pictures - Region 0 - PAL Captures

 

Frame specific damage mark on the UK disc

DVD Box Covers

 

as part of Criterion's Monsters and Madmen DVD Box Reviewed HERE (The Haunted Strangler / Corridors of Blood / The Atomic Submarine / First Man into Space)

     

 

Distribution Criterion Collection spines # 364 (#365-368) - Region 1 - NTSC

Screenbound Pictures

Region 0 - PAL




 

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Gary Tooze

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