CineSavant Column

Saturday June 1, 2019


Scream Factory has issued a list of extras for their upcoming This Island Earth disc release, and it sounds ideal. I have a book from years ago with a long Bob Skotak essay on the film’s making, and he’s been tapped for a commentary. I imagine that by now Bob will have the answers to 500 more questions about the filming of this borderline Technicolor/Eastmancolor picture. At this level of scholarly interest we don’t often see such a sterling example of professional courtesy — I believe that Tom Weaver was offered this commentary gig, and immediately recommended Skotak as the right man for the job. Skotak’s 2015 chat track for Queen of Blood will give you an idea of the depth of his knowledge & understanding of these older sci-fi thrillers. Tom of course would have been great too.

The show will be presented both widescreen and flat, which should appease the aspect ratio vigilantes (what? No 2:1?) Especially interesting is the fact that the 3-D Archive specialists have restored the original Perspecta Stereophonic Sound audio-distribution setup… I’ll be eager to hear Bob Furmanek’s expert definition of what Perspecta was and how it was created from a mono track. This time we’ll get to see David Schecter analyze the film’s music scoring — I haven’t seen Mr. Schecter since a convention in 2000. A new documentary is present as well.

And a close associate gives us this happy thought:

“If you look on the Shout! Factory site, there are several requests from MST3K fans to include the comedy feature version. I’m glad they were ignored.”

When that MST3K theatrical feature was released, I immediately lamented that it would likely hold up a decent restoration of This Island Earth, a grim thought later confirmed by a Universal employee. Even though we had to wait 24 years, these nice restorations are a good incentive to try to stay alive and hang around for a while longer.

Talk about never being satisfied — when it comes to new hungering for vintage Sci-fi on Blu-ray, I’m truly incorrigible. All this and announcements for Alphaville, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mothra, 4D Man, Quatermass 2 and Quatermass and the Pit!  Now all we need is a righteous Blu-ray release of Paramount’s dazzling new restoration of George Pal’s The War of the Worlds.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson