Steven W. Hill | Chicago, IL United States | 05/08/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Sadly, this box set of four individually packaged DVDs is a disappointment. The picture quality is startlingly poor (WOMAN IN GREEN seems to be the best while DRESSED TO KILL is the worst). All the titles are blurry and too high-contrast, not to mention scratchy (of course) and the sound is fairly poor.The packaging is a mixed bag - the covers all reproduce original poster art, which I think is terrific, but there are no inserts, and (despite how minor this is) the spines are dead boring. The movies themselves are almost immaterial...they're good, classic sleuthing mysteries with the enjoyable and unforgettable team of Rathbone and Bruce and a host of supporting characters. Each disc also includes a selection of 7 or 8 original Rathbone/Bruce radio broadcasts, which is a terrific extra (with very good sound) that makes up a bit for the poor quality of the films.The back cover of the cardboard slipcase reads "The enclosed four DVD titles were miraculously restored from the only known surviving prints, which were extremely damaged." Call me a doubting Thomas, but I just can't believe we couldn't have had something better than this for these film favorites."
Tenth-generation VHS on DVD!
William F. Flanigan Jr. | North Potomac, MD USA | 07/09/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This boxed set is a video joke, correction, a "boxed-set" video rip off. Unless, of course, you like to watch old-time radio on DVD (more on this later). In very small print at the bottom of the back of the box is this warning: "The enclosed four DVD titles were miraculously restored from the only known surviving prints, which were extremely damaged." This would surely be news to Universal who holds the copyright on each film as well as, say, buyers of the pristine, "Hi-Fi" VHS prints released in the late 1980's by CBS/Fox on the Key Video label! All four DVD films are derived from NON-DIGITAL source materials, and sure look like boot-leg versions--all the usual tip offs are present including damaged frames (lots), unwatchable over exposed frames (lots and lots), totally unwatchable under exposed frames (beyond lots), garbled/garbage sound (when you can actually hear something), etc. All that seems to be missing are the back of heads in the way of the screen and people blocking the screen as they come and go from their theater seats. (Curiously, some of the film previews/trailers look and sound better than the films!) The only item of possible interest in the video domain is a 1930 filmed lecture by Holmes-creator (and frequent destroyer) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (using Bill Fox's MovieTone sound-on-film process) with video and audio that far surpasses the films themselves! (This lecture was originally released commercially on 16mm film by the long-defunct Blackhawk Films.) Then there are the 30 half-hour radio shows done by Rathbone and Bruce (while they were making the Holmes films at Universal) sponsored by a long defunct wine company--the commercials are included for reasons known only to the box-set producer! These are for the most part excellent stories, but, alas, the boot-leg problem is also present. The sound is terrible unless you turn off "effects" and thereby direct all audio to the front L/R speakers of your audio/video system. So if your are interested in seeing what Sir Arthur looked like toward the end of his life and enjoy listening to old radio shows with your DVD player, this box set is for you. However, if you are a fan of the Rathbone/Bruce Holmes films, wait for a name brand to reissue them on DVD (or rerun your old Key Video VHS tapes). Bottom line: Avoid (as always) off brands in all things DVD!"
Beware--another bargain basement dud
Steven W. Hill | 05/05/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"What a disappointment. I bought this thinking it would use the superb prints that were available on laser disc from CBS Fox a few years ago. But these look and sound like ancient TV prints that might pass muster at 3 am--the sound might not pass even then. Terror By Night is the worst; and the company has the nerve to begin with a card boasting of its committment to film restoration. Nothing is restored here, to say the least. The additions are neat, if you like old radio shows, but this box is too expensive to warrant the kind of bargain basement garbage put out by companies like Medacy. The truth is, because DVDs are so much cheaper to manufacture than Lasers, a lot more sleazes are getting involved in it. Basil and Nigel deserve much better."
Do not buy this!
Nathan J. Muller | 07/13/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I wish I would have heeded the reviews before buying this boxed set. The picture quality is awful and I could not make out the dialogue. This is like buying a book from Amazon and not being able to read it! There should be a recall on this product and refunds issued to the purchasers. At the least, this product should be pulled off the Amazon site in the interest of maintaining good customer relations. This product is a blight on the whole DVD industry."
Nathan J. Muller | 07/29/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This set has its good points and its bad points. As other reviews have stated, the quality of the films isn't great. However, some of the reviews tend to exagerate the poor quality of the discs. The movies certainly don't look and sound perfect, but the quality is not atrocious either. "The Woman in Green" and "Terror by Night" are the best in quality. They actually look and sound quite decent, although there is a scene missing from "Terror by Night". "The Secret Weapon" varies in quality. About half of it looks and sounds fairly good but then other parts look a bit grainy or have black dots on the screen. However, the picture problems are not so bad as to make the film unwatchable. "Dressed to Kill" is the worst in quality. It looks a little fuzzy and the sound, while audible, could be better. This one is watchable as long as you don't demand perfect quality. The extras included in the set are great. The radio shows and the interview with Doyle have already been mentioned so I won't go into that in any detail. But this set is worth buying if you're interested in the extras. If not, then I wouldn't recommend it as the films themselves are not really worth the money."