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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Comedy > Adventure > Romance > Superhero > Action > Animation > Horror > Vampire > British > Jungle > Adventures Of Hajji Baba (1954/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis (2015/DC Comics/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Satanic Rites Of Dracula (1973/Hammer

Adventures Of Hajji Baba (1954/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis (2015/DC Comics/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Satanic Rites Of Dracula (1973/Hammer)/Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959/Paramount/both Warner Archive Blu-rays)/Unnamable (1988/MVD Visual/Unearthed Blu-ray)



4K Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B/B+/B/B/B Sound: B-/B+/B/B-/B Extras: C+/B/C-/C-/B Films: C+/B/B/C+/B



PLEASE NOTE: The Adventures Of Hajji Baba Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while The Satanic Rites Of Dracula and Tarzan's Greatest Adventure Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.



Here's a group of very interesting releases for both their genres and the name characters involved...



We start with a big production release by Fox in early Cinemascope intended as an event film. The underrated Don Weis directed The Adventures Of Hajji Baba (1954) with John Derek (yes, the eventual husband of Ursula Andress and Bo Derek) in the hero title role as a mere barber who is asked to protect a Princess that he lands up falling in love with. Of course, the casting of actors who are NOT the ethnicities of the persons they are playing is rampant here, so it constantly shows its age, et al. However, it is such an interesting romp, you have to see it once to believe it.


The title song is sung by no less than Nat King Cole, arranged by Nelson Riddle and composed by the composer of the film's entire music score, Dimitri Tiomkin. It tries to be as 'exotic' and also comical at times, dramatic at others. It is not bad and helps the film from aging worse. Amanda Blake (soon Miss Kitty on the massive TV hit Gunsmoke) almost steals the show as the villainess, so good she could step right into a Marvel or DC Comics movie and fit right in. she gives the films its best weight.


Besides the great costumes and production design, the rest of the cast includes Elaine Stewart, Thomas Gomez, Rosemarie Bowe, Donald Randolph, Paul Picerini, an uncredited Claude Akins (Sheriff Lobo on two later TV shows) and stuntman/actor Paul Baxley (also uncredited) making for a real interesting cast. Derek just plays the semi-innocent guy act and he's OK in the role, but it is all the bells, whistles and unexpected quirks that makes this one worth a look, flaws and all.


It is those flaws that led Fox to license this one as a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray, but you can see that they were putting some money on the screen and had high expectations that this would be above any B-movies that tired to be exotic cheapies. Nice they succeeded as much as they did.


The 1080p 2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film which might have had a hard time capturing the beautiful color here. This is in the older, wider version of CinemaScope before adding optical (wavy lines or minibars) soundtracking on the film print cut the wideness for good to 2.35 X 1, but Director of Photography Harold Lipstein (Damn Yankees, Hell Is For Heroes, Night Of The Grizzly, Pal Joey) knew what to do with the frame and it is part of the fun of watching the film.


Fox was at the tail end of using dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version for 35mm release prints during the middle of the wider CinemaScope era, switching to Color by DeLuxe by the time this arrived in theaters, but it looks like they were thinking Technicolor until that change.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix sounds like it has been remastered off of the4-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects soundmaster, though the audio can still show its age. A DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix is also included, but is not as good.


Extras include a well-illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds an Isolated Music Score with Sound Effects and an Original Theatrical Trailer.



DC/Warner Animation has begun upgrading some of their older DC animated features to the 4K UHD format, one of which is Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (2015).


The timing is appropriate, as the new live action Aquaman movie is about to hit theaters in a few weeks and the character is center stage in many's minds. It's too bad that the live action Justice League film last year wasn't a bigger success as this film shows some of the potential with the characters and where they could potentially go with another live action entry, but time will tell at this point. This new edition looks slightly better on the 4K UHD format, and offers up two new commentaries from DC heads that comic nerds (like myself) will want to take in.


Mostly focused on Aquaman's character and Atlantis, this exciting animated feature picks up after the events of Justice League: War. Ocean Master, Aquaman's brother, leads an army of Atlantian troops and faces off against his brother in a match so epic that the Justice League have to intervene. With the fate of the throne and world peace in swing, Aquaman, the Justice League, and Mera must face Ocean Master and his army to make things right once again.


The impressive voice cast includes Matt Lanter (Timeless) as Aquaman, Sam Witwer (Star Wars: Rebels) as Orm, Jason O'Mara (The Man in the High Castle) as Batman, Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs) as Flash, Nathan Fillion (Castle) as Green Lantern, Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, Rosario Dawson (Sin City) as Wonder Woman, Jerry O'Connell (The Death of Superman) as Superman, Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) as Shazam, Sumalee Montano (Critical Role) as Mera, Sirena Irwin (Superman: Unbound) as Queen Atlanna, and Harry Lennix (Man of Steel) as Manta.


The animated film is presented in 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, both of which are of the standard for the format. The animation is on par with previous animated films from DC and looks a bit sharper and a little cleaner here. It isn't necessarily a HUGE jump from the (also included) 1080p Blu-ray edition, but enough to be noticeable.


A digital copy is also included.


Special Features (as the press release notes) include...


Aquaman: The New King (NEW featurette) - An immersive look at Arthur Curry's evolution from guardian of the ocean to the King of Atlantis and key member of the Justice League.


Audio Commentary (NEW) - Renowned former DC Editor and current Creative Director of Animation Mike Carlin, Creative Director of Animation, and Throne of Atlantis screenwriter Heath Corson share their insights into the legend of Aquaman.


Scoring Atlantis: The Sound of the Deep (Featurette) - Every great film needs a great musical score. Filled with emotion, music takes us on a dynamic journey as we adventure with the hero. Throne of Atlantis takes us on that quest through the eyes of Arthur Curry.


Robin and Nightwing Bonus Sequence - Producer James Tucker provides video commentary for this exciting bonus sequence where Robin and Nightwing join forces.


Throne of Atlantis: 2014 New York Comic Con Panel - The entire, lively one-hour panel discussion between actor Matt Lanter, producer James Tucker, screenwriter Heath Corson, character designer Phil Bourassa and dialogue director Andrea Romano.


Villains of the Deep (Featurette) - From Ocean Master to Black Manta to King Shark, each villain operates from his own deep sense of conviction, presenting an incredible challenge for the hero in Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman. This documentary goes into the biographical details of the villains.


A Sneak Peek at The Death of Superman - The Death of Superman is widely considered one of the most popular stories in the Superman canon and the DCU. This sneak peek at the exciting new film discusses the story and its place in pop culture.


A Sneak Peek at Reign of the Supermen - An exciting look at the new film which brings the epic and emotional story of a world without the Man of Steel to life.


Plus Bonus cartoons from the DC Comics Vault:


Batman: The Brave and the Bold, "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!"


Batman: The Brave and the Bold, "Evil Under the Sea!"


and Aquaman, "Menace of The Black Manta" and "The Rampaging Reptile-Men"

Justice League Unlimited, "Far from Home".



Warner Archive brings us another welcome update to the Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing/Hammer library in this much better looking edition of The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) than ever seen on disc before. This film, since it was at point in the public domain (for home video at least), had several unimpressive releases over the years (namely on DVD). So even upon seeing the first few frames of this new Blu-ray from Warner Archive, I knew I was in for a treat.


We also recently reviewed the Dracula: A.D. 1972 Blu-ray, which is also available on disc from Warner Archive here...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/15312/Dracula+A.D.+1972+(Hammer/Warner+Archive+Bl


The most daring of the series in terms of sexual content and violence, The Satanic Rites of Dracula also takes place in present day 1970s where Dracula is once again resurrected and brought out of his traditional period setting. Brought back by Satanic magic with a plan to unleash a fatal virus onto the world, it's up to Van Helsing's descendant (Cushing) to stop this plan before it becomes reality.


Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a nice sounding DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix, this is by far the best that this film has looked or sounded that I have been on video on any format. The colors are much more balanced and there's more detail on titles, backgrounds, and characters.


Special Feature: HD Trailer.


Again, a shame there wasn't more in the bonus features department like interviews with surviving cast members or some insight by a historian on this iconic series of films, but I'll take a better presentation for now. Another Dracula Hammer title from Warner Archive is due soon, so be on the lookout for it and our coverage.



John Guillerman's Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959) is a full color British-produced film from the cycle that starred Gordon Scott as a more pumped up (pre bodybuilding-era) and less all (versus Johnny Weissmuller) has a bunch of British villains trying to exploit Tarzan's jungle and besides boasting some location work atypical of most of the many films with the legendary hero (from MGM, RKO and going back to the silent era), this one has Sean Connery as a supporting character just a few years shy of becoming James Bond. That makes this the biggest curio of all the Scott entries.


I give Scott credit for jumping into the role, as he's not bad, but the makers had the rights to use Weissmuller's 'Tarzan Yell' which dates back to early sound cinema and it is always a sad break from suspending disbelief. The Yell (even after Carol Burnett hijacked it forever) continued to be recycled until the 1980 MGM Tarzan with Bo Derek (who was NOT Tarzan in that film) and that is the kind of thing besides old film stock footage that kept these films in the B-movie realm.


The iconic Anthony Quayle and Niall MacGuinness also star, so this has a little more name power than the usual installment, which is why Warner Archive apparently picked this for Blu-ray release. Paramount originally distributed this one, but it is among a number of releases (like the old 1970s Filmation animated TV show, reviewed elsewhere on this site from Warner) that the Edgar Rice Burroughs' estate got the rights back to and now own. Warner released the latest Tarzan feature film, so they are going with them for their back catalog, while Warner owns the old MGM and RKO Tarzan's, making that a hugely comprehensive collection.


The resulting film here is mixed, but worth look just to see what they did and who showed up.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, especially when your adding old stock footage, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film I've seen, especially in the Connery scenes that I remembered best. Though it is a combo I usually see on old Columbia Pictures, we actually have EastmanColor by Pathe as the format here and as usual, it can look a bit off and inconsistent in spots. However, at this point, color was very expensive and lower budget films felt better to have some good color than black and white. It was also a way to separate the new Tarzan's from the insanely successful black and white Weissmuller era.


Also helping matters was having Director of Photography (Edward) Ted Scaife, B.S.C., (Curse Of The Demon, Khartoum, Play Dirty (both also issued by Twilight Time, reviewed elsewhere on this site), The Liquidator, The Kremlin Letter, the later Tarzan The Magnificent, The Dirty Dozen, Young Cassidy) has the talent to make it look even better than most cameramen would have been able to, so cheers to him for making this look better than most such films of the time.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is a little better and clearer than expected, from the original monophonic optical theatrical sound, while Douglas Gamley's score is fitting. Gamley is a bit underrated, scoring films like City Of The Dead, Another Time, Another Place, Vault Of Horror, Asylum, Madhouse, And Now The Screaming Starts, The Land That Time Forgot and work on other big films. Diehard soundtrack music fans will find this a curio and wish it had an isolated music score, if the music exists like that. Again, this is above your usual B-movie.


The only extra is an Original Theatrical Trailer, though some kind of featurette would have been nice considering its special status.



Finally, Unearthed Video presents the classic H.P. Lovecraft film The Unnameble (1988) on Blu-ray for the first time ever! Featuring one hell of a scary monster, The Unnameable is a must see for fans of Lovecraft literature. The film has been remastered in 4K from the original camera negative and this edition comes with a new color correction approved by the filmmakers. Since this film has just been seen in inferior incarnations in the past, this is a welcome upgrade!


The film stars Mark Kinsey Stephenson, Charles Klausmeyer, and Eben Ham.


Violent and campy, The Unnamable follows a group of college students from Miskatonic University who go to a haunted 18th century mansion for a weekend getaway. What they don't know is that the mansion is inhabited by an unnamable creature... that looks to stalk her victims in the name of a family curse.


The film is presented here in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a great sounding English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix along with mixes in LPCM 2.0 stereo, depending on your home theater preference.


Special Features...


Video interview with actors, Charles Klausmeyer and Mark Kinsey Stephenson


Video interview with actor, Eben Ham


Video interview with actor, Laura Albert


Video interview with actor, Mark Parra


Video interviews with R. Christopher Biggs, special makeup effects artist and makeup artist, Camille Calvet


Audio commentary with Charles Klausmeyer, Mark Stephenson, Laura Albert, Eben Ham, Camille Calvet and R. Christopher Biggs


ans Slipcase (First 2,000 Units Only)



This is a bloody nice edition of this great cult classic that I highly recommend to horror fans!



To order The Adventures Of Hajji Baba limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:


www.screenarchives.com


and


http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/


...and to order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, The Satanic Rites Of Dracula and/or Tarzan's Greatest Adventure, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo (Baba, Tarzan) and James Lockhart

https://www.facebook.com/jamesharlandlockhartv/


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