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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'O Homem do Planeta X" aka "El ser del planeta X" aka "L'homme de la plančte X')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/ulmer.htm
US 1951

The king of the Bs, Edgar G. Ulmer was renowned for his ability and his preference for shooting all his features on shoestring budgets. Most directors would feel creatively restricted by the lack of funds, but Ulmer was stimulated by the challenge. Indeed, he turned out some of the most imaginatively filmed genre pieces ever to come out of "Poverty Row," a term reserved for low budget studios like Monogram. Ulmer started his movie career working on several milestones of European cinema, including The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919), Metropolis (1926), and Sunrise (1927), usually as a set designer and assistant director. He started directing his own features in 1933 and created such groundbreaking genre films as The Black Cat (1934) and the film noir classic Detour (1946). For his science fiction film The Man From Planet X (1951), Ulmer completed the B-picture during a six day shooting schedule, having shot it on sets left over from the Ingrid Bergman epic, Joan of Arc (1948). The result is that rarity - an artful and thought-provoking science fiction thriller that is all the more remarkable considering the film's modest budget.

Lead actor Robert Clarke (The Hideous Sun Demon), who was paid a mere $350 a week for starring in The Man From Planet X, recalled the film in an interview with Anthony Petkovich for Psychotronic Magazine:

"It was the first film ever released about an invader from another planet. We were in production after Howard Hawks' The Thing and that of course was a big budget film. But they were waiting for the snow to fall. Ken Tobey told me that they waited for two or three months! In the meantime, Aubrey Wisberg and Jack Pollexfen started making Planet X. We were in production in Hal Roach Studios on one sound stage with only a couple of shots that were done exteriorly.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

***

An inexpensive but atmospheric sci-fi film, Man from Planet X takes place on a lonely Scottish island. Science professor Raymond Bond is monitoring the orbit of the mysterious "Planet X," which has entered the solar system and is travelling close to Earth. A spaceship lands from this planet, out of which pops a strange little man who looks something like an Easter Island statue. He has come to make contact with friendly Earthlings, but evil scientist William Schallert wants to exploit the spaceman's highly developed intellect for his own selfish ends. Schallert's nastiness turns the alien against the other Earthlings; the creature enslaves their minds and transforms them into zombies. Both Schallert and the alien are eventually destroyed--as Planet X, failing to establish a bond with Earth, spirals off into deep space.

***

Stuck with a lacklustre cast required to spout pages of inane gab, and sets so crude that his only option is to keep them shrouded in mist, 'never say die' Ulmer still manages to finesse a few glimmers of pulp poetry. The silent alien who's arrived for no clear reason on the Scottish moors (perhaps to justify the mist?) looks disconcertingly like a prissy schoolmaster, and his spaceship is quite stylish, even though it's clearly a diving bell with a flashing light on top. The general air of a bad dream is established from the start, as a bored-sounding physicist announces the end of the world three weeks from now.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

  Posters, Comics etc.

Theatrical Release: March 9th, 1951

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Comparison:

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

    

 

    

Distribution MGM - Region 1 - NTSC Shout! Factory
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:10:33 1:10:33.354
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.52 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Disc Size: 23,258,753,339 bytes

Feature Size: 22,299,064,320 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.60 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1568 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1568 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1696 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1696 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1697 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1697 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles Spanish, French, None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (1:52)

DVD Release Date: February 20th, 20001
Keep Case
Chapters: 36

Release Information:
Studio: Shout! Factory

 

1.33:1 Disc Size: 23,258,753,339 bytes

Feature Size: 22,299,064,320 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.60 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Author Tom Weaver, Joe Dante, David Schecter and Film Historian Dr. Robert J. Kiss

• Commentary by Gary D. Rhodes and Arianne Ulmer Cipes
• Theatrical Trailer (1:54)
• Image Gallery

 

Blu-ray Release Date:  July 11th, 2017
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 18

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray July 17': This new Shout! Factory Blu-ray is cited as being a "NEW High-Definition transfer taken from a fine grain-print".  I'm not crazy about the appearance. It has a ratio difference from the DVD, is brighter, sometimes excessively so, and looks soft at times. The damage is the same although is less prominent on the 1080P. I wonder if this has had some digitization effect to minimize the scratches - that weren't an issue, regardless. I reduced a few of the 1080P caps to 720 and the SD looked better to me. It shouldn't. I'll live with the BD for a while and se if I can do some further comparisons. So far, I'm not very impressed with the Blu-ray visuals. The, many, cue-blips are not visible (see last capture.)

ADDED: We review a lot of older films on Blu-ray and one thing that seems consistent is that damage marks (scratches etc.) become more prominent in the higher resolution - as all detail, generally, improves. When there has been a film-level restoration these damage marks can be removed - I don't think that has happened here as I see the same damage marks (see Margaret Field's face in the second last capture) but the prominence of the scratch has been diminished on the Blu-ray. It looks like it has been done through digitally altering the contrast. This is why we see some of the compared screen captures darker and some lighter... I strongly suspect that the single-layered, bare-bones, DVD was just a straight transfer of the (same) source - it is consistent and no reason to go through the expense of scene-select manipulation. The Blu-ray has the benefit of 1080P resolution - more visible grain, a more subtle expression... but I also think the BD has some horizontal stretching OR the DVD has vertical stretching. I lean to any distortion being with the Blu-ray (less natural - fatter faces). I don't consider this, latter point, to be a big issue and most won't notice or care. Someone, very high up in the chain of studio digital transfers, once told me that 99% of the time that the darker image is the more theatrically correct. The DVD is darker but it also has a smaller resolution with those inferiorities going against it (less grain, less film-like etc.) as well as the audio and extras. It's not about saying one is better than the other - as people watch them on different systems, have different expectations and different sensitivities. The Blu-ray has the two commentaries and that, alone, is worth the price of the package.

Competent DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (24-bit) at 1568 kbps. Effects exist but are modest - however, they do carry maximum more depth than the lossy SD. There is an original score by Charles Koff (Abilene Town) and it's standard fare - benefitting from the lossless. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

There is an audio commentary by Tom Weaver (author of the upcoming Universal Terrors 1951-1955: Eight Classic Horror and Science Fiction Films), Joe Dante, David Schecter and film historian Dr. Robert J. Kiss that goes into detail about Ulmer and minutia of the production. It is excellent and we also get a second commentary by Gary D. Rhodes (co-author of Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster with Tom Weaver) and Arianne Ulmer Cipes, daughter of Edgar G. Ulmer. It, likewise has value - a super addition. There is also a theatrical trailer.

I love this genre and The Man From Planet X - a quintessential example of the charismatic production inferiorities that make these pulpy popcorn'ers so watchable and desirable. I will continue to investigate the 1080P image but the twin commentaries make this, alone, essential.

Gary W. Tooze  

 


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MGM - Region 1 - NTSC

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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Subtitle Sample Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Box Covers

 

    

 

    

Distribution MGM - Region 1 - NTSC Shout! Factory
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

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