Monday, October 8, 2012

Something Old, Something New

October 2012 is an important month for fans of 3-D movies. For the first time, a couple of classic 1950s era stereoscopic features are finally available on 3-D Blu-ray for home viewing. Universal has just released CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON as part of their 8-disc box set honoring Universal’s classic horror movies (for now, CREATURE is only available in this box set), and Warner Bros. has put out a disc
of Alfred Hitchcock’s DIAL M FOR MURDER. To celebrate the releases, both studios have arranged one-time theatrical screenings of their digital restorations, with DIAL M showing last month in Hollywood, and
CREATURE showing on October 16th at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.

I attended the screening of DIAL M and did see some problems with Warner Bros. new transfer (which I’m assuming is the same as the new Blu-ray). The image suffered from a lack of sharpness and exhibited some odd edge artifacts, as if it was transferred from a positive print several generations removed from the original negatives. Also, the image was cropped from its original “square” aspect ratio to 16:9 widescreen which removed the top and bottom of the image, and created a strange framing with no headroom. These issues aside, it was still great to see DIAL M in 3-D, and see how the picture is as much about the spatial placement of objects on the set, as it is about the action. DIAL M FOR MURDER is a good movie in 2-D, but the added depth, and sense of space in 3-D makes it great.

Speaking of great use of space in a classic 3-D feature, the LA 3-D Club will be hosting a special screening of the 20th Century Fox picture INFERNO on October 28th at the Downtown Independent. INFERNO
is one of my all time favorite 3-D movies, and we are thrilled to be able to bring you this showing of the HD digital restoration done by the late Dan Symmes. INFERNO will show on a “Desert Noir 3-D” double bill with actor/director Thomas Jane’s DARK COUNTRY, and is a great way to spend the Sunday night before Halloween.

Fox currently has no plans to release INFERNO on Blu-ray, but I hope to be able to change that. Warner Bros. has already announced that they are going to release HOUSE OF WAX, and I can only hope that Universal will eventually make CREATURE available on it’s own (hopefully along with REVENGE OF THE CREATURE and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE). If these titles prove popular to the home market, then perhaps we will finally see more movies from the Golden Age of 3-D on home video.