3-D Rarities [Blu-ray]
Frequently bought together
A Collection of 22 Ultra-Rare and Stunningly Restored 3-D Films
It has taken over 30 years for the 3-D Film Archive to assemble and restore the material in 3-D Rarities, an eye-popping collection of ultra-rare and long-lost movies, which Flicker Alley and the 3-D Film Archive are proud to present here for the first time on Blu-ray.
Selections include Kelley's Plasticon Pictures, the earliest extant 3-D demonstration film from 1922 with incredible footage of Washington and New York City; New Dimensions, the first domestic full color 3-D film originally shown at the World's Fair in 1940; Thrills for You, a promotional film for the Pennsylvania Railroad; Around is Around, a 3-D animated gem by Norman McLaren; Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott, the only 3-D newsreel; Stardust in Your Eyes, a hilarious standup routine by Slick Slavin; trailer for The Maze, with fantastic production design by William Cameron Menzies; Doom Town, a controversial anti-atomic testing film mysteriously pulled from release; puppet cartoon The Adventures of Sam Space, presented in widescreen; I'll Sell My Shirt, a burlesque comedy unseen in 3-D for over 60 years; Boo Moon, an excellent example of color stereoscopic animation...and more!
Presented in high-quality digital 3-D, all films have been stunningly restored and mastered direct from archival materials. Meticulously aligned shot by shot for precise registration of the original left/right elements, these historic 3-D motion pictures have never before looked this good.
The date of the first documented exhibition of a 3-D film occurred on June 10, 1915. 3-D Rarities commemorates the centennial of 3-D motion pictures!
Bonus Materials Include:
- Introductions by Leonard Maltin and Trustin Howard.
- Essays by Julian Antos, Hillary Hess, Thad Komorowski, Donald McWilliams, Ted Okuda, Mary Ann Sell and Jack Theakston.
- 3-D photo galleries - Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), New York World's Fair (1939), Sam Sawyer View-Master reels (1950) and 3-D Comic Books (1953).
- 3-D footage directed by Francis Ford Coppola from The Bellboy and the Playgirls (1962).
- Commentary tracks by Thad Komorowski and Jack Theakston.
TO WATCH THE 3-D VERSIONS OF THESE FILMS, YOU NEED:
- 3D HDTV
- COMPATIBLE 3D GLASSES
- BLU-RAY 3DTM PLAYER OR PLAYSTATION 3 SYSTEM*
- HIGH-SPEED HDMI CABLE
This Edition Is Also Viewable in 2D, Playable on Your Standard Blu-ray Player
Please note: The Lumière test footage, previously listed as part of the contents, is no longer available to our project partners, 3-D Film Archive, to include in this publication. We regret this inconvenience and still hope that you will enjoy the many other rare treasures and supplemental bonus features in this specially-curated collection.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Package Dimensions : 7.1 x 5.42 x 0.58 inches; 2.93 Ounces
- Director : various
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Surround Sound
- Run time : 2 hours and 27 minutes
- Release date : June 23, 2015
- Actors : Macdonald Carey, Richard Carlson, Nat 'King' Cole, Charlie Crafts, Joanne Dru
- Studio : Flicker Alley, LLC
- ASIN : B00VGXABLI
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I write 3D reviews for Home Theater Forum. I own a collection of well over 100 3D titles and have excellent knowledge of how those titles look on a quality home screen.
I am also very much aware of how awful today's Hollywood 3D releases have become. The industry has ruined the 3D format. It's failure has nothing to do with the public's disinterest in the format, but rather Hollywood's disinterest in providing anything thrilling to look at. Most (or nearly all, actually) of what is released today to theaters and Blu-ray are upconversions done in post production. This means that filmmakers simply shot their film flat and then converted it afterwards. This is not how it was done in the 1950s during the "Golden Era" of 3D filmmaking, and as thus, what Hollywood is giving us today is a pale comparison of what viewers were treated to decades ago.
The death of 3D is totally the fault of of today's filmmakers. Nobody believes in shooting natively in 3D, nor wants to provide the smallest amount of pop-out to give audiences something hair-raising to remember, long after the final credits roll.
Allow me to give you some "highlights" from my Home Theater Forum review. Some rewording has been done to provide better formatting here on Amazon.
3-D Rarities is the most prized Blu-ray in my library of well over 100 3D titles. It is the absolute best 3D title currently available -- and it accomplishes that task without being Avatar.
While some may greatly argue with my opinion, I beg you to read further, as I will attempt to explain why this release is so very, very important and how it succeeds in pleasing all audiences, whether you prefer dramatic pop-out or simply wonderful depth to enhance the onscreen visuals.
It all starts with my first meeting with 3-D Archive Preservationist, Robert Furmanek. It was not too surprising that he found me through this forum, given the fact that I was touting myself as an HTF 3D ADDICT. Knowing how much I appreciated the format, he invited to his home to treat me to a showing of classic archive material he was looking to get released. That meeting took place in 2012.
At that point, I had never seen any classic 3D material. Everything I knew about 3D was based upon recent releases. My opinion at the time was that anything from the classic era of 3D could never live up to the grandeur of Avatar or anything being brought to Blu-ray at the time. I could just imagine Mr. Furmanek's interest in showing me the material he had acquired.
That meeting with Bob Furmanek literally changed my life.
Now most of that material that I was privately shown can be shared with this release of 3-D RARITIES.
One of the most startling moments for me -- which brings home the historical significance of the contained material -- comes at the disc's very first presentation, Thru' The Trees. Here is a look at our nation's capitol during the early 1920s, including a reunion of Civil War veterans at Arlington Cemetery. Though the footage is a little rough, one gets a nice sense of depth and spacing while sitting in awe of the documented footage.
There are some terrific pop-outs that include an old hag delivering a poisonous concoction that extends off the screen before being thrown in your face. Later, a delivered hot dog protrudes so far off the screen that it comes inches from the the viewer's lips. The effect will be quite memorable for those that rarely see this kind of protrusion from their current 3D titles.
But Wait! Things are about to get even better. A sequence from 1935's John Norling/Jacob Leventhal tests takes us to the Thunderbolt rollercoaster on Coney Island. I swear to you, watching the coaster car climb to the very top of the tracks and then plunge itself downward, across a 118" projected screen, was a pretty queasy experience for me. I would estimate some others will feel exactly the same way no matter what their screen size.
Most viewers should enjoy the 1940 promotional short, Thrills For You, which features the Pennsylvania Railroad, the most elegant method of rail travel for its time. Though there is no pop-out to be found here, the method of photography provides a very interesting level of depth of the inside capacity of the train and the passing landscape alongside it.
Another highly enjoyable short (though a bit too lengthy for its own good) is New Dimensions, Chrysler's promotional short that premiered during the 1940 World's Fair. It took nine weeks to photograph the stop motion animation, set to music, which depicts the building of a Plymouth Sedan. The fascinating short provides an adequate amount of depth as automobile parts are "magically" placed into position. It should be noted that the short has been restored from the only known surviving 35mm Technicolor print. It looks wonderful.
There are several drawn animated features from Canadian resident Norman McLaren that include: Now Is The Time, Around Is Around and Twirligig. I found Twirligig the most captivating watch for its animated optics that come right off the screen and dance inches before the viewer's face. It's almost a hypnotic sort of sensation that should elicit a few "oohs" and "aaahs" from all who view it.
My favorite segment within this package M.L. Gunzburg Presents Natural Vision 3-Dimension. Originally shown in 1952 as a prologue to Bwana Devil, this short serves as an educational tool to audiences not familiar with the new technology that had just crept into their theaters. Not only does the short feature the beautiful Shirley Tegge (1949's Miss USA), but also the very popular Beany and Cecil who get to experiment with their own glasses. I hope viewers will find this as entertaining as I did, as I feel it is one of the best shorts within this assemblage.
For those of you who cherish trailers, there are plenty to be found here. We have four from 1953: It Came From Outer Space, The Maze, Miss Sadie Thompson and Hannah Lee. Though Hannah Lee succumbed to financial and technical problems prior to its release, in my opinion it is one of the best trailers in the collection due to its noteworthy pop-out near its close.
Perhaps the short that put the biggest smile on my face was the Casper The Friendly Ghost cartoon, Boo Moon, produced in 1953. You know, I haven't seen a Casper cartoon since I was a kid. Bob Furmanek had originally shown it to me back in 2012, but I had forgotten about it. So, when I saw the familiar logo and music suddenly appear onscreen, I felt like a kid all over again. This time, I was watching a full-fledged 3D cartoon -- and it looked AWESOME -- thanks to its perfectly layered placement of objects. No doubt, those of you who grew up in the Casper era are going to really enjoy this short.
What puts this collection at the very top of my HOME THEATER FORUM TOP 3D TITLES list is partly historic, but more for the fact that it will please those who love pop-out and those who love only depth that the format provides. Most everything presented here has a very "exaggerated" dimensional look and feel to it. Those who grew up with View-Master stereoscopes are really going to appreciate the intensity of the 3D. Those who like pop-out, on the other hand, are going to be exceptionally thrilled by a myriad of close encounters with objects that project themselves directly at the audience. This is the kind of stuff that Hollywood of today won't even consider doing. And, if you are as bored with today's 3D filmmaking as I am, you will view 3-D Rarities as a breath of fresh air.
I would estimate that because you are reading this review, you love film and have a keen interest in 3D. Well, imagine yourself going into an old attic, rummaging around the multitude of spider-web covered artifacts that are strewn across the floor. Suddenly, you uncover an old box without a label. You open it -- and behold -- you find an aged collection of 3D movie reels. Your entire body tingles with excitement knowing the treasure you have just uncovered.
That is the feeling I had when I first saw much of this material for the first time back in 2012. I experienced the same feeling this very week when I watched 3-D Rarities for the first time and discovered even more stuff I had never seen before.
And you know what? This isn't even the tip of the iceberg as far as what material still lies out there. I have seen things in Bob Furmanek's personal collection that may never be released. HTF Members who came out to our 2012 meet were treated to much of the same material that is copyright protected and may never see the light of day.
This is the real stuff when it comes to 3D. It's the kind of disc you'll throw on to demonstrate to friends exactly what your system is capable of producing. Don't expect today's Hollywood films to come close to the the level of dimensional enjoyment you will experience here.
This Collection of 22 Ultra-Rare and Stunningly Restored 3-D Films is in Commemoration of The Centennial of 3-D Motion Pictures! It has taken over 30 years for the 3-D Film Archive to assemble and restore the material in ‘3-D Rarities,’ an eye-popping collection of ultra-rare and long-lost movies, which Flicker Alley and the 3-D Film Archive are proud to present here for the first time on Blu-ray. Presented in high-quality digital 3-D, all films have been stunningly restored and mastered direct from archival materials. It has been meticulously aligned shot by shot for precise registration of the original left and right elements, these historic 3-D motion pictures have never before looked this good.
The selections includes Kelley's Plasticon Pictures, the earliest extant 3-D demonstration film from 1922 with incredible footage of Washington DC and New York City; New Dimensions, the first domestic full colour 3-D film originally shown at the World's Fair in 1940; ‘Thrills For You,’ a promotional film for the Pennsylvania Railroad; ‘Around is Around,’ a 3-D animated gem by Norman McLaren; ‘Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott,’ the only 3-D newsreel; ‘Stardust in Your Eyes,’ a sort of hilarious stand-up routine by Slick Slavin; trailer for ‘The Maze,’ with fantastic production design by William Cameron Menzies; ‘Doom Town,’ a controversial anti-atomic testing film mysteriously pulled from release; puppet cartoon ‘The Adventures of Sam Space,’ presented in widescreen; ‘I'll Sell My Shirt,’ a burlesque comedy unseen in 3-D for over 60 years; ‘Boo Moon,’ an excellent example of colour stereoscopic animation...and more!
Presented in high-quality digital 3-D, all films have been stunningly restored and mastered direct from archival materials. Meticulously aligned shot by shot for precise registration of the original left/right elements, these historic 3-D motion pictures have never before looked this good.
Video Resolution: 1080p [Black-and White and Colour]
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1, 1.66:1 and 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Running Time: 147 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Flicker Alley
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: These early films were exhibited using the red and green process but the preservationists involved in restoring these films have converted them to the modern polarized process with some astonishing results. We see a travelogue of Washington DC and New York City with some amazing depth, followed by some “gag” footage that uses the process to its fullest bringing various objects off the screen and into your face. Audiences at the 1939 New York World’s Fair were the first to see the new polarized 3-D process, similar to the modern 3-D we have today, and the disk features the second polarized 3-D film, ‘Thrills for You’ , a promotional film from the Pennsylvania Railroad documenting the wonders of traveling by train. This is followed by a Chrysler promotional film, New Dimensions, which features a stop-motion look at building a car with many objects hitting you in the face.
It has taken over 30 years for the 3-D Film Archive to assemble and restore the material in 3-D Rarities; all films have been stunningly restored and mastered direct from archival materials by 3-D Film Archive Technical Director Greg Kintz. Meticulously aligned shot-by-shot for precise registration of the original left and right elements, these historic 3-D motion pictures have never looked this good. ‘3-D Rarities’ is the demonstration disc that belongs in the collection of every aficionado of 3-D films. The 3-D effects in this collection put most modern efforts at 3-D to shame. Bob Furmanek, Greg Kintz, Jack Theakston, and the late Dan Symmes have restored these short films to the point that they almost certainly look better than they ever have in the past. The ‘3-D Rarities’ has a varied collection of films divided into 2 main categories:
Part 1: The Dawn of Stereoscopic Cinematography
‘Kelley's Plasticon Pictures’ [1922/1923] [7:47] This footage includes ‘Thru’ The Trees – Washington, D.C.’ which features footage of Washington, Arlington Cemetery, and West Point in the 1920s and has what may be the only existing film footage of Civil War veterans attending a memorial. Then there is ‘Thru’ the Trees’ where we have footage, particularly of lives up to its name as the shots are excellently composed to create the illusion to make you feel that "you are there." Though it is very old, some of the effects are just wonderful in their use of depth of field.
William T. Crespine l / Jaco Leventhal Tests [1924-1927] [5:44] Most of the photographed footage includes some great money shots like a man pointing a gun, a witch throwing acid, and a Nathan's hot dog on the end of a long stick. It also delivers a range of activities that break through the fourth wall, including a baseball game, a parade and even a Charlie Chaplin imitator.
John Norling / Jacob Leventhal Tests  [3:25] This footage includes Riverside Drive as it enters the George Washington Bridge, the Thunderbolt rollercoaster on Coney Island, and baseball players pitching and sliding towards the camera. This demo gags get a bit more involved, but some things don't change, as more baseball players sends the ball right at the audience.
‘Thrills for You’  [8:26] This film was produced by the Pennsylvania Railroad and promotes the luxury features of its train cars for travellers in the 1940s. It also shows off a luxury train of the era quite well, including a striking look at the manufacturing process, which has good quality 3-D effects.
‘New Dimensions’  [9:08] This film was produced for the New York World's Fair by the Chrysler Motors in 1940 and is a Technicolor remake of Chrysler's 1939 black and white 3-D film ‘In Tune With Tomorrow.’ The film shows the assembly of a luxury Plymouth sedan with stop-motion animation and it is brilliant animation. It is a remarkably innovative and surprisingly entertaining stop motion short from Chrysler and one of many dawning shorts filmed and released at the outbreak of the Second World War.
‘Now is the Time’  [3:13] Animator pioneer Norman McLaren produced this film for the National Film Board of Canada and you can now see Norman McLaren's work afresh in this stunning new print. Originally commissioned for the 1951 Festival of Britain, Norman McLaren created stereoscopic films in approximately five weeks, the like of which had not been seen before. Now experience the ground-breaking work of Norman McLaren in a new dimension. This is a very well-made 3-D, which also lends itself to 3-D very well.
‘Around is Around’  [7:28] This is an early abstract animated short 3-D film by animation master by Norman McLaren demonstrates some of the best spherical use of 3-D that may ever be seen. Presented in a new restoration of this 1951 short, which the first stereoscopic animated film ever made, in using a cathode-ray oscilloscope to create an incredible 3-D effect, especially with waveforms and made something even more surreal, but which works just as well as 3-D eye candy.
‘O Canada’  [1:32] Take a 3-D trip across Canada with this animated interpretation of a National Film Board of Canada presentation anthem that takes a 3-D trip across the country from coast to coast by Norman McLaren with the national anthem played over animation representing the character of Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It is a technique later adapted to create the star-gate sequence in Stanley Kubrick's ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ but it is a very well-made 3-D film and shows off the love for Canada.
‘Twirligig’  [3:35] This early abstract 3-D stereoscopic animation was hand-drawn by Gretta Ekman, a disciple of Norman McLaren's. Offering beautiful, if not bizarre subjects, to create something equally unusual, artistic and it combines the techniques used in the previous three films, to create something equally unusual and artistic.
‘Bolex Stereo’  [10:32] This fascinating promotional film was produced by Bolex Cameras to promote its 16mm 3-D film camera. The film is a travelogue that includes footage from Hawaii. This was slightly the weakest short for me was actually the “Bolex Stereo” promo. It was a very an Interesting addition to the set, not least for the aspect ratio, but the 3-D itself was not particularly deep and I presume that is was filmed with the home cine camera which they were advertising. It's a product of its time without a doubt, and has great 3-D effects and a look at times long gone.
Part 2: Hollywood Enters the Third Dimension
M.L. Gunzburg Presents Natural Vision Three-Dimension  [5:23] This short features "3D Beany and Cecil" which is the American Television classic children’s characters in 3D and are the reason to check this out, as it brilliant 3-D. You also get to meet Miss Third Dimension, and pretty women were a must in the early days of 3-D. Lloyd Nolan ‘Peyton Place’ and Shirley Tegge, Miss U.S.A. of 1949, preceded ‘Bwana Devil’ during its theatrical release. We hear about the health benefits of the Natural Vision 3-D process.
Original Trailer: ‘It Came From Outer Space’  [3:39] This was the first ever trailer produced in 3-D to promote the actual 3-D feature film.
Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott  [16:36] This is the first and only 3-D newsreel and feature the Heavyweight Championship match at Chicago Stadium from 15th May, 1953. This was really interesting to view, especially with the slow motion look at the knockout punch by Rocky Marciano, that made Jersey Joe Walcott lose the boxing match. The fight itself is tremendously short, the film deals gets a brilliant 3-D presentation of a sporting event is very intriguing.
Original Trailer: ‘Hannah Lee’  [2:07] Approximately 18 seconds of this trailer is presented flat due to some stereo footage remaining lost, but the real enjoyment is in the awkward delivery of star John Ireland as he attempts to sell the film by directly addressing the audience.
Stardust In Your Eyes  [6:10] Stand-up comic Slick Slavin [aka Trustin Howard] presents his impressions of various Hollywood personalities including James Cagney, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Peter Lorre and Humphrey Bogart, in this short film produced by Phil Tucker and was originally shot to accompany the 3-D feature ‘Robot Monster.’
Original Trailer: ‘The Maze’  [2:16] Richard Carlson introduces ‘The Maze’ to theatrical patrons in this trailer was shot by director William Cameron Menzies. The beginning of this trailer, which has some of the best 3D effects of the entire disc, gives way to very traditional horror filmmaking, and makes the kind of film you want to see.
Doom Town  [15:25] This short documentary features an atomic bomb test in Nevada features some brief footage of Las Vegas and was an anti-nuclear test documentary and the first documentary to be shot in 3-D, is excellent. This short premiered in Los Angeles on 2nd July, 1953, with ‘College Capers’ and ‘The Maze’ before disappearing from distribution for decades before recovery of the original negatives by Bob Furmanek in the 1980s. Even so, seeing an atomic bomb in 3-D colour is something to behold and totally spectacular.
The Adventures of Sam Space  [9:13] Two boys, Chuck and Sam find a time capsule in a cave and take it to Professor Seateck. The professor finds that the capsule contains a message that had been sent to the planet Meeca whose inhabitants helped Earth in its defense against attacks by the Space Islands in 1960. Sam, Chuck, and the Professor travel to Meeca with the Meecan robot Robo. They are attacked by the Space Islands en route, but arrive safely to meet with the friendly Meecans. This short was produced originally in 1953 in the style of George Pal's Puppetoons by Paul G. Sprunck, a writer/director who had worked on the Puppetoons. Though obviously aimed at kids, it might be a little too much for some. As a piece of animation history, it's just fun, with 3-D work that gives you the image and a good depth of 3-D.
I'll Sell My Shirt  [9:54] Another oddity from 1953, ‘I’ll Sell My Shirt’ features the so called “comedy” team of George “Beetlepuss” Lewis and Charlie Crafts in a burlesque film featuring a swinging (literally) stripper and an uncomfortable bit of the two men doing all they can to get another woman undressed. It’s actually one of the rarest of all 3-D films and certainly appeals to an audience of its time. Feminists today will be horrified, but it is an interesting curio nonetheless. This burlesque film produced by distributor Dan Sonney features Dorothy Burke on a swing and comedians George "Beatlepuss" Lewis and Charlie Crafts. I thought this was very unfunny, with two men who are misogynous dinosaurs who would not be allowed to be filmed in the 21st Century and a complete waste of film.
Original Trailer: ‘Miss Sadie Thompson’  [3:00] This trailer is zoomed in to 1.66:1 from the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This was really great to see this, such a shame they cannot release the whole film in 3-D and I suspect the original 3-D film has been lost forever or the negative is damage beyond repair. Rita Hayworth in 3-D seems like a pretty solid business plan, and to cast her in a classic story adapted from a W. Somerset Maugham tale was a pretty smart move. This trailer capitalises on her attractiveness and the more sordid elements of the plot, and though the 3-D isn't mind-blowing, it's 3-D that is worth viewing and gives you another perspective on Rita Hayworth.
‘Boo Moon’  [7:33] ‘Boo Moon’ is a theatrical cartoon short released in 1954 in 3D format as a “Stereotoon” and it was produced by the Famous Studios for the Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon series and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Casper emerges from a subway station, following a crowd of scared strangers. He encounters a man saying "see the wonders of the moon for ten cents," and offering a sight through a telescope. Casper scares the man away, and then uses the telescope to see the moon. He then flies to the moon for a visit. Casper lands on the moon, disappointed to find no man on the moon. He lies down to nap, then tiny moon men emerge from holes. They capture Casper, like Lilliputians did to Gulliver, and then place him in a cage on wheels, in which they tow him to the Ruler of the Moon, King Luna. The King addresses Casper as a monster, and treats him as an enemy. Casper playfully picks up King Luna, and the king has him placed in the royal dungeon. A dejected Casper is imprisoned. Then animated trees attack the city of the moon men. The moon men defend their fortified city with flaming missiles. The tree monsters fight back with water, and then breaks through the town walls. When the fight seems lost to the tree monsters, Casper escapes his cage, and helps the moon men. Casper goes underground. The friendly ghost then pulls trees' parts through the moon surface and ties them together, immobilising the trees. The frustrated trees writhe and strain against the knots Casper has tied. Casper and the moon men have won. Then, and only then, does King Luna embrace Casper as a friend. King Luna knights Casper for the valiant defence of his people. Then all the moon men join in singing the Casper theme song. This Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon short is presented in 3-D in its original theatrical widescreen aspect ratio. This short has been shown for years on American Television in a pan and scan version with the left and right sides chopped off the screen images. The 3-D imagery and restoration are totally awesome and is really excellent and spectacular; and such a shame there is not more of these fantastic 3-D Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon shorts. The 3-D cartoon is a totally vibrant animation, which takes advantage of Casper's translucent look to achieve some great fun 3-D effects. Voice Cast: Cecil Roy (Casper), Jackson Beck (King Luna/Moon People), Jack Mercer (Moon People) and Allen Swift (Lookout characters). Directors: Izzy Sparber and Seymour Kneitel. Composer: Winston Sharples. Animators: Gordon Whittier, Larry Silverman, Myron Waldman and Nick Tafuri.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The shorts are presented in a form of good to really excellent 1080p encoded image. The video presentation is really excellent and the Black-and-White footage, particularly in the 1920s, has very good grey scale with solid blacks and fine contrast. As we move into the Technicolor era in the 1940s, colours are rich and vivid with far less in the way of visible print damage than we have any right to expect. The occasional scratch or fibre are visible in the aperture is the exception rather than the norm. The 1920s footage looks terrific with the only major flaw being some fading noticeable between the left and right views. The Casper short, Boo Moon, with its vibrant colours and pristine images, actually looks better than many 1080p encoded image transfers of animated shorts being released from other larger studios. The video presentation is not perfect, but very nearly so. Enough cannot be said about the sublime quality of the 3-D presentation in this release. Alignment issues have been corrected for this release, and other than a few isolated instances where flaws in convergence have been baked into the prints, the 3-D presentation approaches perfection. There is occasional ghosting images was minimal to non-existent when viewed on my active display. This is a definitely a Blu-ray reference quality 3-D presentation. Please Note: The films can also be viewed in 2-D for those without a 3-D TV curious about these historic films, but will miss out on something totally spectacular in 3-D.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The audio is presented in a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound is really excellent for what it is, since directional audio between the 1920s and 1953 was fairly non-existent in film. The audio has greater dynamic range than we have any right to expect, and there is none of the hiss or popping that is often perceptible in releases from this era. Dialogue and music are blended really consistently well for a very fine audio mix.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: ‘Kelley's Plasticon Pictures’ [1922/1923] [7:47] Commentary by Jack Theakston: Here we get a nice “Hi” from Jack Theaksto and here he tells us that we are watching the oldest surviving American 3-D film in “StereoScopic.” The Kelly of “Kelly’s Plasticon Pictures” is William Van Dorin Kelley, a colour film pioneer and invented in 1913 by William Van Doren Kelley and Charles Raleigh, whose company Prizma Incorporated was responsible for the production of short 3-D films. This particular 3-D short was rediscovered by the 3-D Film Archive in February 2006 and luckily they were able to preserve the film in the nick of time, because the original nitrate film began to degrade very badly. Here Jack Theakston explains in great detail of the technical information on the “Prizma” colour film process and the problems they encountered. On the 27th December 1942 K William Van Doren Kelley exhibited a 3-D short entitled ‘Movies of the Future’ at the Rialto Theater in New York City. William Van Doren Kelley would certainly have been aware at the time, of the coming of a number of 3-D films, including a September 1922 screening of the first American 3-D feature ‘The Power of Love,’ shown in Los Angeles and also inventor Lawrence Hammond’s “Teleview” system, which would premiere 5 days after ‘Movies of the Future’ at the Selwyn Theater in New York. Many of William Van Doren Kelley’s 3-D films had their first booking at the Rialto Theater or the Rivoli Theatre in New York, as to the 3-D short ‘Thru’ The Trees – Washington, D.C.’ was never shown to a paying audience, but instead was shown to a Technical Convention in Swampscott in Massachusetts on 27th June 1923 and at the Society of Motion Picture Engineers meeting in October 1923 and both 3-D film demonstration was done by William Van Doren Kelley himself, personally. At these meetings, William Van Doren Kelley explained in great detail of the technical features of filming in his Prizma 3-D format. When the 3-D short was discovered by accident, it was sent to the YCM Laboratory in Burbank in California and Richard Dayton first cleaned up the nitrate negative for damage, but sadly such degrading cannot be stopped or reversed, it can only be slowed down, so preserving this 3-D short was very important, Richard Dayton also repaired the splices and the perforation damage, permitting this delicate print go through an optical printer and then first made a new negative and then attempted colour separation, in order to get discrete left and right images. The final shots seem to have been taken around Coney Island area and the train shot is unknown, but was probably in the New York City area or Brooklyn. The girl on the swing of course is always used in 3-D film shorts or demonstration reels, and it is not a 3-D short without the obligatory roller coaster ride. So ends a very interesting first of three in total audio commentaries and Jack Theakston is a very knowledgeable expert of all aspects of this 3-D short and is well worth a view with this audio commentary.
Audio Commentary: William T. Crespine l / Jaco Leventhal Tests [1924-1927] [5:44] Commentary by Jack Theakston: Once again we get a nice “Hi” from Jack Theakston and again informs us that we are watching a 3-D Demonstration Reel, that was either filmed by William T. Crespine l or Jaco Leventhal or both of them, he is not sure, as there was not much historic information on the 3-D test reel. As a precursor to the previous 3-D test reel, this one is a 1923 3-D demonstration Test Reel and was shown in the Roxy Theater and was totally rejected for not having “enough off screen activity effects.” But in 1925 Pathé took up the baton for 3-D films and designated it as “StereoScope” films and carried on until 1926. We then move on to the WestPoint Academy shot, which was filmed in 1925 and obviously had more off-the-screen filmed activity and the convergence image was way off and the restoration credits must go to Dan Sims and the wonderful 20/20 3-D film restoration process. The old hag we see on the screen is from 1926 and as will observe there is a black ring in front of the 3-D lenses, well Jack Theakston reckons it was used to inform the person in front of the camera where to aim their finger for the 3-D effect. The next shot is of the horrible gross hand with the long black nails, and Jack Theakston thinks it is the worst 3-D effect ever and I agree, as you get a lot of ghosting images. The boy with the slingshot was filmed in 1926 and again notes the black ring in front of the camera lens. Next up is the cannon shot and again was filmed in 1926 and you get to see some amusing animation at the end and the convergence was also way off to. Next up is the man who is a photographer and again was filmed in 1926 and Jack Theakston informs us that the guy behind the camera, who makes the lens comes towards us, is a gag they used many times to demonstrate the 3-D effect. Next up is the man with the sword and was filmed in 1925 and seems to have been copied from the Pathé Stereo Cards. Next up is the man in the costume with a gun and was filmed in 1927 and again was based on the Pathé Stereo Cards of 1925. Next up is one of Jack Theakston’s favourite 3-D test film and also the weirdest, which was filmed in 1926 and it is of the animation of the Chinese puppet men who chops of a man’s head. Next up is a man with a bow and arrow, which was filmed in 1926. The Chaplin impersonator was filmed in 1927 and again was based on the Pathé Stereo Cards system. And so ends another audio commentary by Jack Theakston of this particular 3-D Test Demonstration reel, was okay, but he was not very forthcoming with the technical know-how on the 3-D process, especially what we heard in the previous 3-D Demonstration Test reel. But despite this, so do give it a whirl, as it makes watching this 3-D Demonstration so much more interesting, than watching it without the audio commentary.
Audio Commentary: ‘Boo Moon’  [7:33] Commentary by Thad Komorowski: Here we are personally introduced by Thad Komorowski and says a big “Hi” and Thad Komorowski informs us about the Casper the Friendly Ghost and the Paramount Pictures Cartoon entitled ‘Boo Moon,’ which was brought out in 1953 just as the craze for 3-D was going out of fashion. But Thad feels this “Stereotoon” were wonderful and were even more spectacular 3-D effects that paramount Pictures were good at, but this particular 3-D animation was very expensive to make and it shows how Paramount Pictures loved these cartoons and especially in 3-D and I personally think this Casper the Friendly Ghost 3-D cartoon is stunning and we are told that at the time, the typical cost of this 3-D animation was around $30,000 and eventually they made two 3-D cartoons at a cost of $70,000 and even if the 3-D craze had lasted, the cost would have been totally prohibitive, especially at the time they made the two 3-D cartoons, which is a shame. But something Thad Komorowski points out and something I noticed, is that the King on the moon, is the same one that was in the Max Fleischer Gulliver’s Travel cartoon, and was done by the same cartoonist. Thad Komorowski also praised the 3-D animation and especially the brilliant Technicolor images, that seem to burst out of the screen, but originally only saw this Casper the Friendly Ghost with a faded print on American TV, but now seeing it for the first time on this Blu-ray disc, he cannot rave enough over it and I second it, as the colours are spectacular. Thad also tells us that why Casper the Friendly Ghost was so successful, especially with children is because the style is timeless and still today children love these special cartoons, because a lot of thought went into making these Casper cartoons. So ends another nice audio commentary and is well worth a listen.
‘The Bellboy and the Playgirls’  [18:00] This 3-D footage sample was an American-German 1962 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who wrote and produced this approximately 18 minutes of footage this film and it features June Wilkinson and Don Kenney. The actual film was released with the tagline: “June is busting our all over! In COLOR plus the new depth perception . . . it puts a girl in your lap!” Showing impressive depth of impressive cleavage and it's also notable for being edited by arguably the greatest exploitation American film director Jack Hill.
3-D Photo Galleries:
‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’  Producer Carl Laemmle used CameraScope to create 3-D stills to promote the feature starring Lon Chaney, and these stills are presented here in 3-D and what a shame the actual film could have been shot in 3-D as it would of looked spectacular.
‘New York World's Fair’  The 3-D View-Master stills produced for the World's Fair are presented here with spectacular results. I use to own a View-Master and at the time I thought it was spectacular and wished films were in the same stunning 3-D images and these images brought all the magic back. With the 15 pictures from the 1939 World's Fair in New York are more effective in terms of the 3-D on the title side with a moody piece of art-deco design, than the sculptures and exhibits they depict on half of each frame, but they are well worth a look.
‘Adventures of Sam Sawyer’  The two 3-D View-Master images are presented on the right side of the screen with the text narrative presented on the left. The frames advance periodically without the necessity of using the arrows on your remote control, but readers of the text narrative may wish to press pause occasionally before advancing to the next frame. Again the 3-D images are truly spectacular.
3-D Comic Books: This demonstrates how the 3-D Film Archive can transfer anaglyphic 3-D comic books from the 1950s and since into amazing awesome 1080p quality 3-D and is a stunning presentation and the 3-D images look far superior, than when you actually look at the actual 3-D Comic Books, which includes Mighty Mouse, Tor, Captain 3D and the Three Stooges, as well as a selection of ads, “Blinkies” (which shows a different image to each eye) and a parody of the concept of 3D. As someone who was always disappointed with 3-D comic books and it is really great to see it done in a proper way here in a very professional way and again they look totally spectacular.
BONUS: The beautiful stunning lushly illustrated 24 page booklet with Introductions by Leonard Maltin and Trustin Howard [aka Slick Slavin]. Plus essays by Julian Antos, Hillary Hess, Thad Komorowski, Donald McWilliams, Ted Okuda, Mary Ann Sell and Jack Theakston. It’s a really great companion with this stunning 3-D Blu-ray presentation.
Finally, this is definitely reference quality 3-D on a disc that you are likely to watch many times and I can tell you it is that good. The video and audio presentations are consistently excellent on these short films. I hope that ‘3-D Rarities’ enjoys the success that it deserves, and that the film studios that are sitting on top of unreleased 3-D films from the Golden Age of 3-D and please take notice of this release and let those films out of their vaults. I hope that we see the release of Volume 2 of ‘3-D Rarities’ some day in the very near future. ‘3-D Rarities’ is a must-have triumph for any 3-D Blu-ray Collector’s Library. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
Top reviews from other countries
I am so sad that 3D has lost its appeal because I was unaware that it was even used in the First World War and this blu-ray shows
how cleverly it could bring realism to movies in the subsequent years up to the 1950's.
My view is that 3D would still be thriving if Tv manufacturers had followed the lead of cinemas and stuck to stereoscopic devices
which need only cheap glasses for viewing or even explored variations of the glasses free 3D Toshiba Laptop or 3D Gadmei Tablet both
of which give amazing 3D images of my blu-rays and home videos plus those broadcast around and including the 2012 Olympics.