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The Valley of Gwangi [Blu-ray]
(Jim O'Connolly, 1969)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Warner Brothers/Seven Arts
Video: Warner Archive
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 29,748,915,718 bytes
Feature Size: 27,907,885,056 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: March 14th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2019 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2019 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
•Return to the Valley (8:04)
• Gwangi and Vanessa (DVD Easter Egg) - 1:03
• Trailer (2:44)
Description: Cowpokes head into a mysterious Mexican valley
to head 'em up and move 'em out. But they're not looking for
little doggies. They're looking for great big dinosaurs.
A Charles Schneer/Ray Harryhausen fantasy for Dynamation special effects fans only: a reworking of the King Kong structure that has turn-of-the-century Wild West show boss Franciscus venturing into Mexico's Forbidden Valley in search of prehistoric specimens. A formula writing credit for William Bast, one of the very few screenwriters to have been characterised on screen: by Michael Brandon in the telemovie James Dean, which tracked the friendship between the actor and Bast from UCLA to Dean's death..Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE
Promoter Tuck Kirby arrives in a small Mexican town to visit T. J. Breckenridge, his ex-partner and girl friend who now owns a financially troubled Wild West show. Tuck suggests that she sell the show and marry him, but T. J. boasts of a new attraction that promises to make her wealthy. She shows Tuck a miniature horse which she obtained from Carlos, a gypsy who defied native superstition by removing the creature from the nearby Forbidden Valley. Baffled, Tuck takes the tiny animal to British paleontologist Prof. Horace Bromley who claims that it belongs to a species believed to have been extinct for over 50 million years. Before the horse can be put on display, however, it is stolen by gypsies and returned to the Forbidden Valley. Despite warnings about Gwangi, the monstrous 14-foot reptile that rules the valley, Tuck, T. J., and several cowboys enter the area and find themselves in a prehistoric world.Excerpt from TCM located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Valley of Gwangi appears pretty solid on Blu-ray from The Warner Archive. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. It has been transferred in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The only issue is that with the higher resolution you see the weakness in the real-life screens behind or adjacent to Harryhausen's excellent effects. It's a function of the way it was produced but the tight lines of 1080P cause a disparity between the general sharpness and those visuals with effects. Generally, though it looks excellent - great colors - a shade inconsistent but that would be too picky. The monsters look fabulous. This Blu-ray offers a pleasing presentation - far in advance of SD.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is rendered in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 2019 kbps (24-bit). It doesn't have any flaws and the effects carry some weight in the dinosaur and horse sounds. This is partially a western andthe original score is by Jerome Moross (notable for wholesome western tracks for The Jayhawkers, The Big Country, Have Gun - Will Travel (TV) and large productions like The War Lord and The Cardinal)- it runs parallel to the film adding to the action adding an air of excitement and adventure. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Not much and all from the last DVD (I think). Return to the Valley runs juts over 8-minutes and has lots of Harryhausen back-slapping as he also discusses the film. Gwangi and Vanessa was a brief DVD Easter Egg with Harryhausen talking about his young daughter's input in the Gwangi dinosaur models. There is also a trailer.
March 14th, 2017
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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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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