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Category:    Home > Reviews > Theatrical Film Shorts > 3D > Silent > Experimental > Stop Motion Animation > Animated > Industrial > Tr > 3-D Rarities (1922 - 1952/Flicker Alley Blu-ray 3D)/The Puppetoon Movie (1987 compilation/B2MP Limited Edition Blu-ray Set)/Thunderbirds Are Go! (1966)/Thunderbird 6 (1968/United Artists/MGM/Twilight

3-D Rarities (1922 - 1952/Flicker Alley Blu-ray 3D)/The Puppetoon Movie (1987 compilation/B2MP Limited Edition Blu-ray Set)/Thunderbirds Are Go! (1966)/Thunderbird 6 (1968/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)


3D Picture: B+ Picture: B Sound: B-/B-/B Extras: B-/B+/B Films: B+/B-/B & C



PLEASE NOTE: The Puppetoon Movie limited edition Blu-ray is now only available from B2MP at the link below and is unfortunately limited to only 3,000 copies, while the Thunderbirds double feature Blu-ray is from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies, sold strongly upon arrival and copies are still left. We'll talk about how valuable it is and update you on the release of the original TV series on Blu-ray worldwide in the meantime. Both can be ordered from the links below.



When TV finally started to arrive in the late 1940s in U.S. homes, the Hollywood Studio System (which was on the way to slow collapse for reasons to long to go into here) started mixing things up. Some of the studios sold their old films & catalog to TV (Paramount to Universal, Warner to a third party), while all but Disney started shedding their animated shorts divisions, plus live action shorts and other specialty films. This included some of the most important animation ever made and extended to other animated artforms like stop-motion animation, some still under copyright, others not. The three releases here are all terrific new releases all serious film fans need to know about...



3-D Rarities (1922 - 1952) is a remarkable new collection from the great independent home video company Flicker Alley, issuing this new Blu-ray 3D collection (also here in 2D) that features a priceless collection of 3D as an art, technical innovation, technical breakthrough and great entertainment. Running a never-long-enough 147 minutes, it is a crash course and history lesson on how early and how good 3D was in the beginning and how out of the way filmmakers had gone to present it.


The contents on this great disc (to extrapolate on the press release) includes...


Kelley's Plasticon Pictures, the earliest extant 3-D demonstration film from 1922 with incredible footage of Washington and New York City.


3D test by Jacob Levinthal with William T. Crespinel (1924 - 1927) & John Norling (1935).


New Dimensions, the first domestic full color 3-D film originally shown at the World's Fair in 1940 showing the stop motion animated construction of a Chrysler/Plymouth automobile in color.


Thrills for You, a promotional film for the Pennsylvania Railroad meant to promote the technology all over the place.


Around Is Around, a 3-D animated gem by Norman McLaren.


O Canada and Twirligig in polarized 3D from Canada (both 1952).


Bolex Stereo (1952) promotes the legendary movie camera company's effective, successful 3D attachment you would attach to their highly engineered (and still expensive to this day!) 16mm cameras and make instant 3D movies. The aspect ratio now looks like a cell phone, but it works and this attachment is also still very expensive, but Bolex's advertising was always top rate too. This shows you how much!


M.L. Gunzberg Presents Natural Vision Three-Dimension (1952) is a great short to demonstrate and promote the format, which was a success and worked well, as this short proves.


Original Theatrical Trailer for Universal Pictures' It Came From Outer Space (1953) which is in 3D and the film remains one of the greatest 3D films ever made.


Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott, the only 3-D newsreel.


Original Theatrical Trailer for Hanna Lee (1953) from the troubled Pathecolor independent Western in 3D, save a few seconds. Now I really want to see the film!


Stardust In Your Eyes, a hilarious standup routine by Slick Slavin.


Original Theatrical Trailer for The Maze, with fantastic production design by the legendary William Cameron Menzies, who was also a film director himself.


Doom Town, a controversial anti-atomic testing film mysteriously pulled from release.


The Adventures Of Sam Space, a widescreen puppet short considered lost at one time.


I'll Sell My Shirt, a burlesque comedy unseen in 3-D for over 60 years.


Original Theatrical Trailer for Miss Sadie Thompson (1953, Columbia Pictures), a 3D, Technicolor, stereophonic, musical remake of Rain with Rita Hayworth that has yet to be issued on Blu-ray 3D restored itself, but is oddly interesting.


and Casper in Boo Moon, an excellent example of color stereoscopic animation, one of the most expensive animated shorts ever made and one of the greatest appearances of Casper ever!


An incredible collection, these are all must-see films and this disc is worth going out of your way for!



Arnold Leibovit's The Puppetoon Movie (1987 compilation) was an attempt to reintroduce the amazing stop motion animation shorts by George Pal, an animator who eventually became a major film director, producer and legendary fantasy filmmaker in Hollywood. The film only lasts 79 minutes, but it is a great documentary intro that includes entire shorts to show what was made and how amazing it remains, especially more than ever in this era of a glut of usually really, really bad digital animation. The great independent B2MP label has issued the film in a Limited Edition Blu-ray set that includes a bunch of the original shorts in their entirety and much more. Here's all the goodies you also get, to paraphrase the press release...


Puppetoons (High Definition):
And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street
500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
The Sky Princess
Rhapsody in Wood
Date with Duke
Jasper and the Beanstalk
Rhythm in the Ranks


The Great Rupert (High Definition, B/W) starring Jimmy Durante, Terry Moore, and the Puppetoons


Previously unreleased interview footage (Standard Definition) with Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, Gene Roddenberry, Roy Disney, Wah Chang, Duke Goldstone & Russ Tamblyn.


BONUS
Puppetoons (Standard Definition as better prints need to be found and were not available, for now we hope):
What Ho She Bumps
Mr. Strauss Takes A Walk
Olio for Jasper
Philips Cavalcade
Jasper's Derby
Hoola Boola
Ether Symphony
Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
The Magic Atlas
Jasper and the Haunted House
The Philips Broadcast of 1938
The Ship of the Ether


The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (Standard Definition); Arnold Leibovit's inspired tribute to George Pal


Audio commentary by Arnold Leibovit and Jerry Beck


The Philips shorts actually are incredible, elaborate ads for their amazing cathedral radios that are worth serious money today and are ever stunning, while the Jasper films are considered politically incorrect and can be on the racist side, but like animated cartoons from the major studio catalogs of MGM, Warner, Disney and others, it is a product of its time. At their best, they are also remarkable and not always racist, but the worst parts can get ugly, so parental discretion is advised. Otherwise, the use of color, amazing puppet & model design and visual tricks make watching these like entering another world as they should be and deserve serious rediscovery. Too bad the dated, controversial side of Jasper holds them back, but the same can be said for Disney's Song Of The South, though I am 100% against the censorship and pleased these are not being hidden. Like the Sam Space short in the Rarities set, the art of puppeteering is not seen enough and people love it more than current studios give them credit for from these shorts to Team America to recent TV commercials and music videos and some British TV series that landed up becoming hits and a few classics from Lord Lew Grade and ITC in England.



The theatrical film versions of the hit ITC British SuperMarionation TV series Thunderbirds, David Lane's Thunderbirds Are Go! (1966) and Thunderbird 6 (1968) had received rare DTS DVD releases from MGM, which we reviewed at this link:


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/1406/Thunderbirds:+International+Rescue+Edition+(1966


Recently, Twilight Time reissued the films on Blu-ray with missing footage added to Go! And limited to only 3,000 copies, it sold out quickly. However, it looked and sounded better, had more extras and is a great set fans should track down with footage only shot for these films and not recycled from the TV show. More on the tech side and extras, but we should also address the TV show briefly.


Unfortunately, Twilight Time did not issue the Blu-ray version of the TV show in the U.S., but Shout! Factory did. While the picture and sound were reportedly good and the aspect ratio was correct at 1.33 X 1, it lacked extras. That was still better than earlier European Blu-rays which horrified fans by cutting the image to 1.78 X 1 for fake widescreen, ruining the show. Still, more extras are out there and unless you are a hardcore diehard fan of the show buying/owning several sets, turns out a special Japanese box set with 1.33 X 1 transfers has a ton of extras and a big price tag. All the SuperMarionation shows are being upgraded to HD transfers and their live action sister shows U.F.O. (which git its own Japanese mega Blu-ray box set) and Space: 1999 (see the Season One Blu-ray set elsewhere on this site as the second & final season is still being restored as we post this review), so the demand is out there and being met. I just hope we see more Blu-rays in the U.S., especially as the A&E DVD box sets sold well years ago and were not just stuck with DVD repackagings in 'The States' as it were.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition images on the Rarities shorts have various aspect ratios, usually 1.33 X 1 until the early 1950s arrive, looks remarkably good throughout and have been carefully upgraded to look great via 3D Blu-ray set ups by a great team of serious 3D fans and scholars who really deliver the goods and this release belongs on the same shelf as any and all the other major Blu-ray 3D releases we have ever seen. Yes, it is that good.


The 1080p digital High Definition image transfers across all the Blu-rays here look really good throughout and rarely show their age. It likely helps that the color in most of the shorts in both sets and the 2.35 X 1 Techniscope presentations of the Thunderbirds films are from films originally issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor. In the best shots, which are many, you even get demo shots including on the 3D Casper short, many of the vintage Puppetoons and both Thunderbirds. Since the shorts have been almost lost, orphaned or abandoned, it is all the more amazing in the case of the shorts, but the two Thunderbirds features look much better here than they did in their decent, if soft DVD presentations. The black and white 1.33 X 1 1080p Rarities shorts don't disappoint either with nice sharpness and clarity that can defy their age at times. That makes all three releases true collectors items just based on the visual playback quality, which is impressive, surprising and delivers.


Sound is also as good as it is going to get with most of the Rarities shorts in lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mixes to push the sound as much as possible, with silent films often with stereo music and newer shorts in true stereo. The main Puppetoons film is presented in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) in a 4.0 lossless mix and PCM 2.0 Stereo, while the rest is in PCM 2.0 Mono. The Thunderbirds films offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes from their DTS DVD presentations, upgraded a bit (by default?) with a little more warmth and detail, though a key battle scene in the first film loses some impact in a slight mixing error that you can hear more clearly in the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 lossless mix included on the film, featured on both films for purists.



Extras in in all three cases include well illustrated booklets (a nice foldout in the Puppetoon case with a Jerry Beck essay) on the films including informative text that are excellent complements to the Blu-rays. Essays by Julian Antos, Hillary Hess, Thad Komorowski, Donald McWilliams, Ted Okuda, Mary Ann Sell and Jack Theakston are in the Rarities booklet, while Julie Kirgo writes on Thunderbirds in it's booklet. With all the shorts in the first two sets, the makers had to distinguish how to say what is an extra, so Rarities includes an introduction by Leonard Maltin and Trustin Howard, 3-D photo galleries on Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site from Flicker Alley), New York World's Fair (1939), Sam Space Sawyer View-Master reels (1950, later known as the GAF View Master before current owners Fisher Price/Mattel bought it up) & 3-D Comic Books (1953), 3-D footage directed by Francis Ford Coppola from The Bellboy and the Playgirls (1962) and audio commentary tracks by Thad Komorowski and Jack Theakston. See the Puppetoon review above for its extras, which I kept with its main content because the shorts are from the same series.


Thunderbirds repeats many of the DVD's extras including animated photo galleries, their original theatrical trailers, and full-length audio commentaries by Sylvia Anderson and director David Lane ans three featurettes. The first film offers History & Appeal, Factory Of Dolls & Rockets, and Epics In Miniature, while the second offers Lady Penelope, Building Better Puppets and Tiger Moth. New extras on both films are Isolated Music Scores, the first film newly adds a feature length audio commentary by film historians Jeff Bond & Nick Redmond, Excitement Is Go! - Making Thunderbirds documentary, previously unseen test footage of Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Come With Me To The Rushes and What Does FAB Mean? featurette and the second film adds A Call From Stanley Kubrick and A Television Tribute. Needless to say these extras far exceed the U.S. Blu-ray set for the series.



You can order The Puppetoon Movie limited edition Blu-ray at:


http://b2mp.net/home/


...and to order the Thunderbirds Twilight Time limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at this link:


www.screenarchives.com



- Nicholas Sheffo


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