Good Films. Nice Price. So What's The Catch ?
E. Parsons | 07/24/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Well, if there is a catch, it's the picture quality. Althoughthe DVD states that the films have been 'digitally remastered fromsources provided by National Film Museum', all that really proves is that the prints held by National Film Museum aren't that good. They picture quality is what you might charitably describe as 'mediocre' - not awful, not great, merely OK. The print for 'The Most Dangerous Game' is a bit grainy with slightly too much contrast and on-screen motion appears blurred instead of crisp. 'The Vampire Bat' is shown in a sort of greyish / light blue tint. As this is the first version I've seen, I can't say if it's supposed to be like this. What I do know is that my Leonard Maltin Movie Guide bills 'The Vampire Bat' as lasting 71 minutes with the warning 'beware of shorter prints'. Guess what folks? This version only lasts 61 minutes...so I assume this is one of the shorter prints Leonard Maltin refers to.So why have I given the DVD three stars? Well, despite the shortcomings and a lack of special features, this is still over two hours worth of the wonderful Fay Wray. Both films provide cracking entertainment - especially 'The Most Dangerous Game' - at a fairly reasonable price. The sound quality is fine and like I say, the picture quality is not completely terrible.Finally, in case you didn't already know, 'The Most Dangerous Game' is also available on the 'Criterion' range of DVDs. For a few dollars more you'll find a much better print of the film and their DVD also features a movie commentary. So, if you're only interested in 'The Most Dangerous Game', I strongly recommend you check out the Criterion DVD instead."
For what its worth...
E. Parsons | 01/06/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I actually think there is a lot to like about this collection of 2 Fay Wray classics, especially if you know what you are getting from the start. What you are getting are 2 films, mastered from some pretty tired source material, on one DVD. The digital mastering is rather "so so" for these films, with some only a few minor artifacts not eminating from the original film source (lines, pixlation, etc). With these techinical weaknesses in mind, I think most veiwers will find a lot to enjoy here.I first saw "The Vampire Bat" when I was 9 years old on TV. It certainly made an impression on me. What starts out to be a creepy, standard vampire flick, actually turns into a diverting murder mystery. Fay Wray is naturally luminous and Melvyn Douglas is at his leading man sexiest. Sure, there are some formulaic elements to the film: the squeemish spinster, the vengeful townfolk, lots of talk about vampire and werewolf lore (and even a wasted appearance by Dwight Frye, who seems lost in his Renfield role from DRACULA 2 years before). All these formulaic elements add up to a great hour of entertainment. This particular print of the THE VAMPIRE BAT is weak, but certainly not awful.THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME is an exciting predcesor to THE VAMPIRE BAT on this disc. A popular short story turned into movie, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME is an intelligently written and wonderfully atmospheric film. Joel McRae is oh so macho as a man washed ashore from a sunken ship onto an island where he is not alone. An eecentric millionaire snare wayfaring travelers to his island, only to hunt them down for sport. This ghastly concept has not lost a bit of its punch. Fay Wray is actually given a role with some substance and plays it with lots of conviction. The beautfiul photography makes this a visual feast. Unfortunately, the print for this film has a very soft image almost throughout. This takes a little getting used to at first, but soon you are so caught up in the story, you forget.If you are looking for pristine images of these films, this is not the disc for you. But considering the age of the films and the nominal price, you will not be disappointed. Criterion Collection has released THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME on one of their deluxe editions. For a little less you get an ok copy, plus the wonderful THE VAMPIRE BAT added on on this two-on-one DVD from Slingshot (a better value in my mind)."
Good movies, but substandard quality
Robert S Bauer | Louisville, KY United States | 09/06/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Both movies are a very good addition to any classic or horror movie collection. This disk, however, is not! The video transfer is supposedly "restored", but you would never know it. The Most Dangerous Game was watchable, but certain scenes were very washed out with lots of dirt and scratches. I had even worse success with The Vampire Bat. The movie started ok, but my DVD player actually had trouble reading the disk about mid-way through. It got so bad, that I had to stop watching the movie. If your main interest in this disk is, The Most Dangerous Game (by far the superior of the two films), then I suggest the Criterion release."
Substandard Materials Make for the Worst-Looking DVD Yet!
bella | New Jersey USA | 07/07/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"These two golden age horror films are done a gross disservice by E-Biz's DVD pressing. Ostensibly struck from 35mm original elements from The National Museum (whoever they are!), what we are given in reality is a scratchy, overly-bright and, most unforgiveably, OUT OF FOCUS, copy of "Most Dangerous Game"! My public domain Beta copy from 15 years ago looks better than this! The soundtrack is equally poor, filled with loud hiss. "The Vampire Bat" fares slightly better; this copy looks no worse than the old pd-videotape copies. At least it's in focus throughout. But this print is NOT complete. My old tape copy runs almost three-minutes longer. My advice is to avoid this disc. "Game" is also available on Criterion, so that's the one to buy. This is "Bat's" DVD debut, so stick with any of the numerous acceptable tape copies until somebody gets it right on DVD."