Fans of classic 3-D movies can celebrate, The 3-D Film Archive’s magnificent restorations of Sangaree, Those Redheads From Seattle, and Jivaro return to Blu-ray 3D in Kino Lorber Studio Classics' three-film set Paravision Dreams: The Golden Age 3-D Films of Pine and Thomas. After the rights for these three films lapsed they went out of print and commanded a hefty gray market price tag, but this new set repackages the same three discs so you can save a chunk of change and expand your collection of three-dimensional classics at the same time. Highly Recommended
The unfortunate side of reviewing discs is you come across a number of gems that you want to shout from the tallest mountain and tell the world about but the world doesn’t pay attention - or at least until it’s too late. Since Blu-ray 3D is largely a niche-within-a-niche format, most folks didn’t spring for films like the rich action/drama Southerner Sangaree, the plucky and entertaining musical Those Redheads From Seattle, or the exotic jungle adventure Jivaro when they had the chance.
The rights lapsed, the discs went out of print, and people just couldn’t get them anywhere in any market without paying a hefty price on eBay. I actually had someone track me down through Facebook to offer me some serious cash for my discs. I was tempted, but unwilling to part with them. Now that Kino Lorber Studio Classics and Paramount have recently entered into a new distribution agreement, that gentleman and many others like him can get these great movies and enjoy them at home without forking over an extra arm and a leg.
As these discs are 100% identical to the discs already released only repackaged, there’s nothing new to report so the following will be excerpts of my previously published reviews:
“On the surface of things, Sangaree has a very simple plot fitting within the tried and true mold of a costume period drama. If the novel it was based upon was published today, one could only imagine the cover artwork to prominently feature a bare-chested virile male posing with a languid sultry damsel in a flowing dress. In point of fact, the scene on the boat where Arlene Dahl and Fernando Lamas first meet is precariously close to making that simple pinup image a reality. Thankfully, the film finds a dramatic footing and keeps the story focused on Lamas' Carlos and his struggles to navigate a society that looks down on him as a lesser man simply for the station he was born into.
There are plenty of other actionable qualities to keep the characters apart from each other without it feeling like the filmmakers are smashing a square peg through a round hole. A nice side plot about piracy and a rival Georga family comes together to keep a little bit of mystery about the film so that we're not reduced to watching lusty languid romantics between two attractive people. One shouldn't doubt the legitimacy of the romantic tension between Lamas and Dahl as the pair would wed soon after the film finished shooting. Some great action set pieces and smart use of three-dimensional staging keeps Sangaree from sinking into the swamp of mediocrity. It certainly isn't Gone With The Wind, but the film holds its own and proves to be very entertaining.” 4/5
Those Redheads from Seattle
“The fun of going to the movies is seeing a show. While it's good to enjoy some gritty realism, every once in a while it's nice to just go for some pure colorful, and musically-driven eye-popping escapism. 1953's Those Redheads From Seattle is just that sort of undemanding but entertaining sort of picture. Produced in the heyday of 3-D, Those Redheads From Seattle offers up a simple enough story, some catchy tunes, terrific 3-D antics, and provides an interestingly subtle commentary on modern feminism.
In previous Blu-ray disc reviews, I've noted that with few exceptions I'm not overly fond of musicals. I get tired of incessant singing when a simple conversation would move things along more efficiently. To that point, Those Redheads From Seattle is a musically-driven film without actually being a traditional musical. The song and dance numbers feel like they're a part of the story rather than a pause in the action. Since the Edmonds sisters are all singers and musicians and Johnny's club features chorus girls, there's an actual motivation for the singing and dancing. And when the song is done, the film gets on with the plot and moves forward.
While the story itself may not be the most impressive, Those Redheads From Seattle does stand as an important piece of cinematic history. On top of being the first 3-D musical ever produced, this film is also the first 3-D widescreen feature released by Paramount Pictures. To that end, the film is a visual delight. The technicolor offers up a rich primary pallet while the 3-D adds an incredible amount of foreground and background depth while kicking up the fun of the film. There's always something to look at and enjoy and the 3-D restoration work performed by 3-D Film Archive ensures there is never any eyestrain to endure. It's just a good fun ride with great visual flair and a fun story. Those in the mood for a lighthearted good time will find plenty to enjoy with Those Redheads From Seattle.” 3.5/5
“Jivaro - also known as Lost Treasure of the Amazon was a product of bad timing. Originally shot in stereoscopic 3-D, the format was in a steep decline at the box office and so the film was only released flat theatrically. 3-D Film Archive brought their traditional A+ restoration game for this wild adventure movie. It's the 3-D that makes Jivaro work and something special. In all honesty, if I had to see it only flat, I probably wouldn't have thought too much of it beyond 90-minutes of diverting entertainment. In 3-D the camera setups, staging, and all of the great locations come to life and give the film some needed urgency and visual excitement.
Breaking down the romantic storyline coupled with a jungle adventure, Jivaro plays like 1932's Red Dust with Clark Gable and Jean Harlow combined with an Allan Quatermain story for some action with The Treasure of the Sierra Madre for an extra dash of gold-lust driven intrigue and betrayal. The film can be a tad disjointed feeling at times as the story is front-loaded with romance with the back end full of action and danger. The shift in pace was a little jarring, but the whole ride is a great time.
With the same swagger and energy that he bright to Sangaree, Fernando Lamas commands the screen as the macho but honorable Rio. There are a few moments where it feels like he was hired just to stand there and be a big slab of beefcake for Rhonda Fleming to work off of, but when the action gets rolling he's in good form. Fleming's Parker is thankfully not just a damsel in distress. While she's certainly attractive and is a worthwhile love interest, she's at least a capable character and not afraid to pick up a rifle when necessary.
As a fan of B-Movies and classic adventure and horror movies, I really enjoyed the supporting cast assembled for this flick. The most famous is obviously Lon Chaney Jr. as a cheat trader that Lamas gets into a friendly fistfight with. If that wasn't enough, familiar faces like Richard Denning, Brian Keith, Marvin Miller, Nestor Paiva, and the voice of Carmen Sandiego herself Rita Moreno all have fun little roles - Jivaro is chock full of recognizable character actors.” 4/5
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Paravision Dreams: The Golden Age 3-D Films of Pine and Thomas brings together the three previously released (and briefly) out-of-print Blu-ray 3D releases of Sangaree, Those Redheads from Seattle, and Jivaro. Each disc in this collection is the exact same BD-50 disc as before. Each disc will auto-detect your 3D television at startup, but if not, there’s a sub-menu option that gives you the option to watch each film in 3D or 2D. The discs are housed in a standard three-disc case. Each disc gets its own tray to occupy and is not stacked on top of the other. On the inside of the insert artwork is a brief but informative little essay from Mike Ballew detailing Paramount’s early adoption of 3-D films, their Paravision system, and these three films from producers William H. Pine and William C. Thomas. Each disc loads to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.
Again these are the same transfers as before. Folks had hoped that 3-D Film Archive might have been able to utilize their anaglyph transfer system if these films got reissued as we've seen for Flesh for Frankenstein or Dynasty, but sadly that wasn't an option here. To fully enjoy in 3-D, you'll need a compatible television set or projector system.
It's with some measure of equal parts joy and relief that this 1080p 1.33:1 3-D restoration effort is another masterful triumph for the 3-D Film Archive team. Sangaree was the first 3-D feature film processed and printed in Technicolor and it looks gorgeous. Colors are lush and vivid and leap off the screen - in addition to the impressive three-dimensional effects. Reds and yellows are stunning but the prominent bright and bold indigo blues really catch the eye. Flesh tones are accurate and healthy so all of the performers look great.
Film grain is present throughout but is nicely resolved so as not to be too intrusive or distracting. There are a few moments where grain does become a bit thick, but these are very brief usually around the frames accompanying an optical transition.
Interestingly enough, Sangaree was not originally intended to be a 3-D feature. In fact, it was ten days into filming before it was shut down and restarted with 3-D cameras. So it's to that point that I'm actually a bit awestruck at how effective the 3-D photography is considering by all accounts it was a literal afterthought. The camera maintains a steady presence to allow for a great sense of foreground and background depth along the Z-Axis without any irritating eyestrain or ghosting effects. Even simple setups offer a great sense of depth with several "out-of-the-screen" effects. A knife throw is a particularly effective gimmick shot. Another sequence where a mob of people with burning torches runs toward the screen is another well done moment as is a bar fight in the middle of the film where chairs, barrels of beer, and broken tables burst towards the screen. While there are a handful of gimmicky elements, much of the film is focused on creating the deep "window into a world" sort of 3-D effect that makes the image feel natural and realistic.
Considering the image was sourced from 4K scans of the original negative and 2K scans of the interpositive and the previously mentioned color fading issues, I'm happy to report there is little distracting damage present. There are a few patches of speckling and a handful of brief moments where some slight vertical scratches appear, but they're not very severe or disorientating and don't negatively impact the 3-D experience. At the end of the day, this is a beautiful image and the effective 3-D presentation is terrific. Vintage 3-D fans have a lot to be excited about with this release. 4.5/5
Those Redheads From Seattle
Like previous restorations of such films as Gog, September Storm, and A*P*E, the fine folks over at 3-D Film Archive have delivered another impressive restoration effort on a meager budget for Those Redheads From Seattle. As detailed in their Before/After Restoration Demo in the bonus features, the team at 3-D Film Archive had to deal with numerous instances of speckling, jitter, misaligned Left/Right elements, and color fading. The image below is from the 3-D Film Archive's Facebook page just to give you a rough idea of where this film started prior to the restoration effort:
As far as the final results go, I'm damned impressed with this 1.66:1 1080p 3-D transfer. Just looking at the elements you can tell that the restoration effort was an uphill battle. Detail levels are overall very strong. Some moments look better than others but for where it counts in close-ups, middle shots, and some of the establishing shots look terrific. Clothing, facial features and makeup, and the production design work look great. Clarity may be a little too good in a couple places where you can clearly see the backdrop scenery curtain billow ever so slightly. Colors enjoy that rich primary-heavy pop with bright reds, blues, and yellows. Flesh tones have that wonderful rosy hue to them. Black levels are also very strong aiding the terrific sense of depth. The 2-D presentation is fine if flat viewing is your thing, but the film really does come to life in 3-D.
There are numerous scenes where the cast will frequently make use of the space of the room to walk from a deep background into the foreground and back again. Scenes in Johnny's club are cluttered with people and objects occupying every nook and cranny. Depth along the Z-Axis is terrific with plenty of deep background moments and numerous pop-out-of-the-screen bits to keep the 3-D photography by cinematographer Lionel Lindon engaging without causing painful eyestrain. That said, considering the wear and tear this film endured over the years, this isn't a completely flawless presentation. Speckling has been mitigated, jitter removed, and 3-D alignment issues fixed, but some color shifts do remain. Saturation can shift shot-to-shot within a given scene. It's noticeable, there's no denying that, but it isn't so distracting as to ruin the experience or the 3-D presentation. Like their previous releases over the past few years, Those Redheads From Seattle is yet another terrific vintage 3-D restoration from 3-D Film Archive. Fans should be very pleased to see the results on their home 3-D screens. 4/5
Outside of a single screening in 2006, this 1.66:1 1080p presentation is the first time Jivaro has been seen in its originally filmed and intended 3-D! Newly restored from 4K scans of the original camera negatives as well as 2K scans of the interpositive elements, Jivaro is stunning in 3-D! 3-D Film Archive has delivered yet another incredible restoration effort that is an absolute marvel to see in three-dimensions. The film was a rare example of using an adjustable 3-D camera system rather than a fixed setup allowing the image to adjust to objects in the foreground, middle ground, and background. The results create an easier three-dimensional experience on the eyes while creating a huge canvas for the action to take place on with every object occupying unique space along the Z-Axis.
What's great about this 3-D experience is how well it manages the gimmicky out-of-picture effects - whether it be a fist, shrunken head, or spear - the effect is terrific without ghosting or causing any eyestrain. The establishing shot of the village Rio's Trading Post is located is an interesting example where the static wide-shot has people moving around the background with an optically-added building roof sticking out in the foreground - and the image is seamless! Another great moment is when Rio, Alice, and the rest of the rescue party make their way into the Amazon with the leafy jungle set creating a beautiful three-dimensional vista with plenty of object spacing throughout the frame.
The restored elements are also in great shape. Aside from a brief vertical scratch and very sporadic speckling that's hardly even noticeable, the image looks clean of any serious debris. Details are crisp giving fine facial features, clothing, makeup, and the impressive set design work plenty of room to shine. Film grain is apparent but stable and never intrusive - even in 3-D. Colors are bold and robust with strong red, blue, and yellow primaries saturating much of the image while the green jungle is rich and vibrant. Black levels are also on point without any crush issues to report. The only image oddity arrives during some brief stock image shots that become instantly noticeably flat. But the shots are so quick that the effect isn't that jarring from flat to 3-D and there isn't any eyestrain or visual side-effects. At the end of the day, this is another incredible piece of work from 3-D Film Archive. Every classic, shot-on-film 3D film needs to be handed over to them - each release just gets better and better. 4.5/5
Sangaree arrives with a strong DTS-HD MA 1.0 mono track. Dialogue, sound effects, and the great score by Lucien Cailliet offer up a terrific soundscape. Even in mono, there is an effective sense of depth and imaging to the sound elements. The bar fight sequence or the mob at the end outside the warehouse are auditory high marks where there is a lot of activity all at once that comes through clearly without any distortion or loss. Free of any notable instances of hiss or pops, the audio is clean and clear and lends itself perfectly to this film.
Those Redheads From Seattle
Those Redheads From Seattle was originally released in three-channel stereo sound. Unfortunately, the original three-channel tracks were lost decades ago, but the restoration team at 3-D Film Archive have done a bang-up job replicating the experience. The English DTS-HD MA 3.0 track sounds fantastic capturing all of the dialogue, hustle-and-bustle of a boom town, and the song and dance numbers beautifully. Vocals sound crisp and lively while sound effects, background elements, and the music by Sidney Cutner and Leo Shuken work to create a sense of rich atmosphere and space. Imaging is terrific as there is constant movement between the left, center, and right channels. Levels are also spot on as there is never any call for adjusting volume. An English DTS-HD 2.0 mono track has also been provided, and it is pretty good, but the 3.0 mix is the clear and audible winner in my opinion.
Packed with an English DTS-HD MA 2.0, the audio mix is strong, but can be a bit unremarkable outside of basic highlights. Dialogue exchanges are clean and clear which is important because so much of the front end of the film is very conversation-focused. Action scenes come with some punch and pizzaz but sound effects don't quite come alive. They're a bit canned and static feeling at times. Weather effects do punch things up nicely, there's a nice thunderstorm sequence and later in the movie when the rescue party has to cross a river along a decaying rope bridge that gives some sonic delights. Where I'm a bit soft feeling towards this mix is that it's just not very dynamic in atmospherics. The elements have their place, but locations don't arrive with a sense of place or space. But really that's a small gripe when everything else works so well.
Those Redheads From Seattle
Now that Sangaree, Those Redheads from Seattle, and Jivaro are back in circulation with properly restored 3-D transfers from the incredible team at 3-D Film Archive, folks better run out and grab them! I was flattered by the cash offers to break up my Classic 3-D movie collection but that was a loss I wasn’t willing to live with. Each of these films is entertaining in its own unique way and holds a place in film history. William H. Pine and William C. Thomas - also known as “The Dollar Bills” - oversaw the production of three fun, different, and very entertaining shows that are a visual treat. Most importantly, you don’t have to be a Blu-ray 3D aficionado to fully enjoy them, but that added three-dimensional visual punch comes in handy, especially for those Fernando Lamas pictures!
This set thankfully resurrects each of these films' already existing discs so if you missed out you don’t have to worry about overpaying on the collector’s market. If you already have them, you don’t need to snag this set unless you want a backup copy. The restored transfers from 3-D Film Archive are wondrous so if you have a working television set or are rocking a projector, you’re in for a treat! Highly Recommended.