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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The 3 Worlds of Gulliver [Blu-ray]

 

(Jack Sher, 1960)

 

Only available at present from Indicator in their The Wonderful Worlds Of Ray Harryhausen, Volume One: 1955-1960 Blu-ray Boxset

 

           

 

Indicator's The Wonderful Worlds Of Ray Harryhausen, Volume One: 1955-1960 Blu-ray Boxset has 20 Million Miles to Earth, It Came from Beneath the Sea and The 3 Worlds of Gulliver

 

 

and their The Wonderful Worlds Of Ray Harryhausen, Volume 2: 1961-1964 Blu-ray Boxset, coming out in November 2017, has Mysterious Island, Jason and the Argonauts and First Men in the Moon

 

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures

Video: Twilight Time / Indicator (Powerhouse) UK

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:38:37.161 / 1:38:37.953

Disc Size: 46,323,144,483 bytes / 37,519,697,772 bytes

Feature Size: 20,678,215,680 bytes / 30,913,318,272 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.97 Mbps / 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 24 / 12

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case / Custom BD Case

Release date: December, 2016 / September 25th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1 or 1.78:1 / 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1891 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1891 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2068 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2068 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2043 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2043 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Isolated Score:

LPCM Audio Undetermined 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles (both):

English (SDH), None

 

Extras (both):

Audio Commentary by Film Historians Randall Cook, C. Courtney Joyner, and Steven C. Smith
Isolated Score and Effects Track
The Making of The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (7:31)
The Harryhausen Chronicles (57:56)
This Is Dynamation! (3:25)
Original Theatrical Trailer (3:22)

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

Limited to 3,000 Copies!

 

Audio Commentary by Film Historians Randall Cook, C. Courtney Joyner, and Steven C. Smith
The Making of "The 3 Worlds of Gulliver" (5:22)
Interview with Peter Lord (10:14)
Interview with David Sproxton (9:29)
Interview with Dave Alex Riddett (8:38)
Isolated Score
Theatrical Trailer (3:22)
Image Gallery

 

Bitrate:

1) Twilight Time (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Description: The phenomenal team of special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen, composer Bernard Herrmann, and director Jack Sher bring their gifts to bear on The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), a spritely adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s acerbic satire, Gulliver’s Travels. Satire gives way here, however, to the fantastical tale of a doctor (Kerwin Mathews) and his stowaway fiancée (June Thorburn) who adventure first to Lilliput – a land populated by four-inch-tall schemers – and then to Brobdingnag, where giants prove no more politic.

 

1)  (1.66:1) - Blu-ray TOP

2) (1.78:1) -  Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

The Film:

This Gulliver's travels are unexpectedly realistic, at least from a visual standpoint. Indeed, they may be a little too credible for very young children, or those of an impressionable nature. For, while yesterday's matinee audience seemed to enjoy the blustering Lilliputian emperor and his doll-like army, there were some audible howls of fright in the second half, when Gulliver's life was repeatedly menaced by some physically awesome giants.

While the adults will find it all too mechanical to really capture the imagination, and may resent the unclear ending that seems certain to provoke some youthful queries, they should be grateful for a children's film that treats a classic without condescension or burlesque.

Excerpt from theNYTimes located HERE

The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver I first saw on the big screen, and in color, and later saw it a few times on television, but not for a quarter century or so. So, I had to rewatch the 100 minute film. Kerwin Matthews, from The Seven Voyages Of Sinbad, does a surprisingly good job as the semi-zomboid, but buff, Dr. Lemuel Gulliver. He plays Gulliver as a real guy his genuineness makes up for his sometimes wooden reactions. June Thorburn plays his fiancée (then wife) Elizabeth. She’s sufficient eye candy, and that alone is reason enough to justify her sweet insertion into the tale (she is not in Swift’s novel). Gotta love her silly ‘Don’t ever wanna lay eyes on you again moment’ after Gulliver objects to her naïve-te regarding the purchase of an old shit shack. None of the other actors who play any of the other characters leaves that great an impression, although the girl who plays Glumdalclitch (Sherry Alberoni, a child star on the original The Mickey Mouse Club on television) does a solid job with the little she’s given. Her petulance and warmth make her the only semi-realistic character in all of Lilliput (land of the tint people) or Brobdingnag (land of the giants).

This film features less of the stop motion photography Harryhausen was noted for, and more visual tricks involving split screens and traveling mattes, to make use of forced perspective in portraying Gulliver against his smaller and larger costars. Cinematographer Wilkie Cooper is credited in the film, but, realistically, he was, in effect, just a cameraman for Harryhausen.

Excerpt fromTalkingPix located HERE

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

The 3 Worlds of Gulliver comes to Twilight Time Blu-ray in a dual-layered, 1080P transfer but it offers both the 1.66:1 aspect ratio version of the film and, a separate but identical technical transfer, via a 1.78:1 version. From Lawrence French's excellent article in Cinefantastique (interview with Ray Harryhausen HERE) we know that Ray Harryhausen never really wanted his movies to be projected in any of the then new “widescreen” formats. He accepted the 1.85 aspect ratio (for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) under protest from the studio, but he hated working in the extreme widescreen formats, especially when he had to make First Men in the Moon in Panavision. So while the negative format for The 3 Worlds of Gulliver was 1.37:1 - it was shown in 1.66:1. I don't quite follow the inclusion of the 1.78:1 which feels like a compromise and the screen captures below don't show a significant difference although some, generally superfluous, space at the top and bottom is gone. The visuals are reasonable but not overwhelming. Contrast has some decent layering and colors look true and fairly tight in the HD transfer. I appreciate the grain textures. It looks quite consistent in-motion with no damage or speckles.  I see no evidence of manipulation or noise. This Blu-ray gives a good presentation but splitting into two separate transfers (1.66 + 1.78) the overall bitrate becomes lower. I'd have preferred sticking with the 1.66:1 even if the 1.78:1 composition may be slightly superior in some people's opinion.

 

Indicator don't mess around with the two ratios and only transfer The 3 Worlds of Gulliver in 1.66:1. So as opposed to sharing the dual-layered disc, Indicator have been able to max out the bitrate gaining the edge in the image with warmer flesh tones, better grain and a noticeably superior presentation in-motion. We've added some exact frame comparison captures but the superiority may also depend on your computer viewing device. Framing is exact and I suspect the source is the same - and also a 4K restoration from the original camera negative. 

 

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

 

 

1) Twilight Time (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Twilight Time (1.78:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Indicator (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Twilight Time (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Twilight Time (1.78:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Indicator (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Twilight Time (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Twilight Time (1.78:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Indicator (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Twilight Time (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Twilight Time (1.78:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Indicator (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1891 kbps (24-bit) sounds clean with a few richer moments in pushing the film's fantasy-genre requirements for the effects and depth. The great Bernard Herrmann (Cape Fear, The Magnificent Ambersons, Taxi Driver, The Wrong Man, Dressed to Kill, etc. etc.) does the score and while more passive than we usually here from him is still represented beautifully in lossless. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

A similar pattern here, Indicator go linear PCM and Twilight Time to DTS-HD Master - both 24-bit. I find the LPCM produce and authentically flatter audio but it has better support for the higher end where the DTS-HD can have more bass support. I suspect that few will make an issue - they both sound great with an uncompressed transfer. Both have optional English (SDH) subtitles, offer an isolated score and both are Region FREE - limited to 3,000 copies.

 

 

Extras :

There is an audio commentary by film historians Randall Cook, C. Courtney Joyner, and Steven C. Smith discussing a lot about the production from Harryhausen to Herrmann - the latter's score is included in an isolated score and effects track option. The Making of The 3 Worlds of Gulliver is an 8-minute piece with Harryhausen and we also get the hour long The Harryhausen Chronicles - Richard Schickel's documentary that explores the craftsmanship and artistry of Harryhausen's career in stop motion animation. This Is Dynamation! runs just over 3-minutes and there is an original theatrical trailer plus the package, limited to 3,000 copies, has liner notes by Julie Kirgo.

 

Indicator include the same audio commentary by Film Historians Randall Cook, C. Courtney Joyner, and Steven C. Smith, plus The Making of "The 3 Worlds of Gulliver", isolated score and trailer. We lose the hour-long The Harryhausen Chronicles and the short This Is Dynamation! advert but gain three interviews - Peter Lord talks about Harryhausen and how his films affected him- lasting over 10-minutes, ditto with David Sproxton for 9.5 minutes talking about the impressiveness of Harryhausen's monsters and the difficulty of creating their magic. Lastly is 8.5 minute with Dave Alex Riddett who described his 8mm projector as a youth and wondering how the effects were created. There is also an image gallery and the boxset has an exclusive 80-page book with new essays, and film credits.

 

Twilight Time (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Indicator (1.66:1) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The 3 Worlds of Gulliver is more wonderful fantasy in the era of Harryhausen, Schneer, Herrmann etc. . It is entertaining and has a strong nostalgic appeal. Definitely a fitting part of a rainy Sunday afternoon home theatre matinee. The Twilight Time Blu-ray provides a 1080P and lossless audio transfer for the film and further value with the commentary, isolated score, Harryhausen Chronicles documentary and liner notes. It's a complete package reminding us of a wonderful time for this brand of adventure-fantasy cinema. Certainly recommended!

 

Some may consider this the lesser of the three films of The Wonderful Worlds Of Ray Harryhausen, Volume One: 1955-1960 boxset but it's reassuring that so much effort went into this Blu-ray. It's a full package - devoid of the superfluous 1.78:1 space-waster - and producing a superior video presentation plus some worthwhile supplements including the commentary, Hermann's isolated score, three interviews and the booklet. We'll review the other two Blu-rays in this boxset but this has started on a very positive front. Stay tuned!   

Gary Tooze

January 7th, 2017

September 2017

Indicator's The Wonderful Worlds Of Ray Harryhausen, Volume One: 1955-1960 Blu-ray Boxset has 20 Million Miles to Earth, It Came from Beneath the Sea and The 3 Worlds of Gulliver

 

 

and their The Wonderful Worlds Of Ray Harryhausen, Volume 2: 1961-1964 Blu-ray Boxset, coming out in November 2017, has Mysterious Island, Jason and the Argonauts and First Men in the Moon

 

 

 

 




 

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