Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Matt Helm - The Silencers|
Actors: Dean Martin, Stella Stevens, Daliah Lavi, Victor Buono, Arthur O'Connell
Director: Phil Karlson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy
In this swinging, space-age spy adventure, Matt Helm (Martin) battles the Big O, an organization that wants to sabotage the American atomic missile system, with a bevy of beauties. Stars Dean Martin!
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Censorship And Bad Cropping Give Helm Hell!
Edmond Gauthier | USA | 04/05/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I've waited many years to see this fearsome foursome of cheese find a decent release in DVD. Sadly, thanks to bad cropping and seemingly random censorship, it still hasn't happened yet.
The four films are, of course, The Silencers, Murderers' Row, The Ambushers, and The Wrecking Crew. (A fifth intallment was storeyboarded but never shot.)
Letting the studio off the hook by saying things like "widescreen areas always crop full frame versions," is being much too gracious in the face of these money-grabbing studio weasels who also CUT entire parts of the film and never even gave you an original trailer.
And I should know about the widescreen concept, since I am, after all, the chairman of the WWS - the Widescreen Watchers Society. (Yes, my organization has a movie site online, but an Amazon review is not the place to plug it by posting links to it.)
Rather I just wanted to point out that it is instead within the "full frame" or "standard screen" format that all cropping takes place. The most dominant style is pan-and -scan, which is done by zooming in on whatever the film editor decides is the most important area on screen at any given moment.
That's why you often end up with the ridiculous sight of one person chattering happily away to the air for long periods of time, since you can't see the other person he's talking to. And because of the zoom effect, naturally you also get a more blurred focus on the overall picture.
But a presentation in widescreen, whether it be a regular rectangle (Vista-Vision style) or a more narrow rectangle (Panavison style), or somewhere in between, never cuts out frames and/or zooms in after the fact at any point. This gives you the vast difference of ultimate picture composition in crystal clarity, resulting in the best total viewing experience possible - which is why the original director filmed it that way for its theatrical release in the first place!
How today's studios stamping out inferior DVDs think the public will never notice such a huge difference is completely mind-boggling! And who buys most of the DVDs of older movies anyway? Film buffs who are very picky about such things to begin with!
RECOMMENDATION: Wait until all four films are put out together in an improved deluxe edition - TRUE widescreen (non-cropped and non-censored), featuring behind the scenes featurettes (which they shot back in the '60s as long commercials for such films), surviving crew interviews, trailers, etc. Otherwise, forget it.
Hey, Rat Pack fans - or just fans of Dean Martin in general - you know ol' Dino deserves far BETTER than this shoddy treatment! Mama mia!"
A word about the cropping
M. Peters | 01/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I won't review the film as this has been done by others. However, I would like to add some thoughts about the "cropping" issue--
To many fans of DVD, a key selling point is seeing a film the way it was orginally presented in the theatre.
Most people are aware today that widescreen films shown on a full frame standard TV's are cropped-- that is, they are panned and scanned and you lose information (images). Pan & Scan changes the composition of the film.
With this in mind, people expect to see ALL of the composition when a film comes out on DVD and is viewed on a widescreen televison-- not less. However, there are exceptions:
In some circumstances, the director of a film will compose a shot with more information than is meant to be conveyed to the audience.
The "extra" information is never meant to be seen. When the film is "matted" for release, the additional info is covered up and you are left with the director's original conception of the shot.
Now here's the thing: when the film is shown on commercial television in a standard full screen format, the "matts" are opened up and the film subjected to pan and scan. In this case, you may now see parts of the shot that were covered up-- and also lose other parts that were originally shown.
The bottom line here is that this release of "The Silencers" shows the film in its "matted" form the way it was shown in theatre's. People who have seen the film on television all these years became accustomed to seeing the "open matt" pan & scan version. They have seen more information than was intended and now think that the released DVD version has been "cropped" because the afore mentioned images are now missing.
Here's a great example: (warning: spoilers below)
A previous reviewer makes mention that in a certain part of the film, actress Nancy Kovack is shot in the back and we her bare bottom. This reviewer then complains that in the DVD version, we don't see that far down. The conclusion that is drawn is that this scene is to riske' for the DVD version for some reason and has been cropped or edited out.
As explained above, this is simply not true.
In the pan & scan "open matt" scene, we see the actress wearing only a shirt and pantyhose. Dean Martin is holding her and we see Kovack from the back. As she is shot, Kovack arches up and we see her pantyhosed butt come out of the shirt.
This "nyloned butt" shot was never intended to be seen-- remember this was a film made in the mid 60's-- nudity simply wasn't going to make it in to a film that was rated the way this one was.
Further, there was also another bit of nudity just slightly earlier in the same scene that is in the "open matt" pan & scan version-- Kovack in shirt and pantyhose rushes up to Dino and we see both of the actors side by side.
As Kovack turns towards Martin, her short shirt lifts and parts slightly, and we see a glimpse of Kovacks "front" (for want of a more descriptive term).
Again, this was not meant to be seen and never would have made it past the censors during the original release.
So, in this instance, viewers have seen a more racy version of the film on televison than was ever shown in theatre's-- the complete opposite of what is expected with a DVD release-- hence the complaints.
They didn't do the film justice!!!!!!!!!!!!!
berigan | jonesboro, ga United States | 11/17/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I have been a fan of this film ever since I saw it as a young teenager...lots of attractive women, guns firing backwards, Bond type driving a station wagon(a station Wagon????) And never for a moment does it take itself the least bit seriously!
So, I was glad to see this film come out on dvd finally, but they sure cropped the image, even though it is widescreen! How do I know this??? Well, the film just ran on cable last month, full screen version, and when Daliah Lavi shoots Nancy Kovack in the back, just before she was to stab our hero Matt, you see her behind as she jumps up(She is only wearing one of his shirts)....so...when the DVD comes out, and you get to this scene...it is cropped so you are not shown the offending buttocks!!!! A film from 1966 is too hot for DVD today??? Why??? I thought the big selling point for DVD was to be the chance to see films as they originally were shot and shown on the big screen...I guess not, but they still get your 20+ bucks. Who knows what else they cut/cropped from the film?????
The image quality is fine,(though the adventures of Robin Hood from 1938 still looks better) but no extras... and you know this is the only time it will be out on disc....."
The Silencers Revisited
Gary Marotta | Lisle, Illinois United States | 04/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dean Martin's Matt Helm and James Coburn's Derek Flint were both well done serio-comic Superspies in the James Bond genre. While the two Flint flicks have been available on DVD for some time, The Silencers is the first Matt Helm film to make it to DVD. After watching The Silencers, my only question is--When will the rest of the Matt Helm movies be available on DVD?"