Jules Verne on Blu: Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

May 27, 2012 | By

His love is like a red-red-rose, you know.

There have been many versions of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth – animated specials, limited animated TV series, TV movies, a Spanish production with aging / slumming stars, a 3D version [M], and a great big dud still being sold as co-starring Emo Philips – but the best (and most fun) remains Fox’s 1959 production, starring James Mason, Arlene Dahl, and Gertrude the goose (sporting eyeliner like the Little Rascals’ dog, Pete).

Oh yes: and Pat Boone who, unbeknownst to me, until I read Julie Kirgo’s liner notes and looked closely at the poster art, got billing above Mason, which illustrates Fox clearly packaging their G-rated sci-fi fantasy towards the burgeoning teen audience.

Even without the top billing, the film’s fine, and Boone’s fine in his role as Mason’s youthful and eager-beaver egghead assistant. Also fine is Bernard Herrmann’s organ-saturated score, and the HD transfer used for Twilight Time’s limited edition Blu-ray.

Apparently certain message boards have been peppered with overly picky critics who feel the Journey transfer is deeply flawed (which prompted filmmaker & Kritzerland producer Bruce Kimmel to voice his own views in a lengthy blog). I’m not going to wade into that conflagration, as I think it’s a variant on the longstanding war between collectors who are aware of things like film grain, film stock, and flaws inherent to certain widescreen processes, and a small minority who can’t understand why things in 2012 can’t look perfect, given Warner Home Video’s recent 4K and 8K transfers of classic films like Casablanca [M] (1942) and Ben-Hur (1959), respectively.

Just not going there, but in the review [M] I do address the flaws I caught and what I think they are, given CinemaScope was never a perfect format with perfect lenses and perfect multi-track sound design.

Today was going to involve a bit of Doors Open Toronto jaunting, taking pictures of assorted buildings like last year, but alas there’s too much work to do at the keyboard, and I have to design a main title sequence for a short film that has to be done by the end of the week.

Hopefully some of you are taking advantage of the weather and taking pictures of some of the city’s unique architecture, given the knuckleheads in charge of issuing Smash Building! permits tend to favour developers. Last week I was pleasantly surprised to see many older buildings being repurposed in Ottawa – not by retaining a window or facade, but actually making use of entire edifices, which said knuckledheads tend to disfavour here.

This is not a particularly smart city. Our mayor is a buffoon, you know.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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