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115 of 116 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2008
What with their impressive roster of 1930s GOTHIC-HORROR chillers and this batch of essential 1950s sci-fi, UNIVERSAL have served, extremely well, the requirements of those interested in fantasy cinema that stretches further back than just the latest multiplex blockbuster.

In their day, these were amongst the all-time highlights on offer in this field, and though they are obviously the result of significantly lesser budgets than today's glossy-but-mostly-braindead cinematic outings, these movies retain the personal stamp of the creators who filmed them, and as a result are more personal--and engaging-----than much of today's sprawling epics, which tend to bludgeon the viewer senseless with non-stop spectacle.

Anyone caring to build a DVD collection of 1950s sci-fi classics can do so now very cheaply [although 'FORBIDDEN PLANET' and the first two 'QUATERMASS' movies are at time of writing, fairly expensive]: most decent films of this genre from other studios, like FOX'S 'DAY THE earth STOOD STILL', 'THE FLY', PARAMOUNT'S 'WAR of the WORLDS' etc,are available at a reasonable price, and this boxset of 7 UNIVERSAL outings are a fine cornerstone of such a collection.

Housed in 7 individual 'slimline' cases which may anger some purists---but it's not an issue for me-----with decent extras in the cases of ' LAGOON' and 'IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE', the only colour entry [there were relatively few 50s sci-fi movies shot in colour] is pulp-action adventure 'THIS ISLAND EARTH'.

All of these films are worthy additions to the serious buff, but personal highlights include 'IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE' [here enjoying a lavish, ultra-clear treatment] and 1957s' 'INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN', which remains THE superior essay of searing, escalating 1950s paranoia.

The only disappointment I had here was in the less-than-satisfactory print of 1956's 'INVASION of the BODY SNATCHERS', rightly regarded as a genuine classic in this category, a low-key but apocalyptic nightmare vision of stolen identity on a global scale: given UNIVERSAL'S usually impeccable record in putting out decent-quality prints from their back-catalogue, it's rare indeed that the quality of such a noted piece should be adequate/merely watchable rather than pristine and cleaned-up, as it obviously deserves.

I hope to cover the individual films here [on their own merits] at some point, and until a decent print of 'BODY SNATCHERS' finally emerges--if ever------this overall set is highly reccomended, and represents fine value, and still worthy of 5 stars.

P.S. 'TARANTULA' is also on here, but sometimes omitted from descriptions: it's another fine 'mutated insect on rampage' outing.
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126 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2010
It Came From Outer Space (1953)
-------------------------------
Commentaries: Audio commentary by film historian Tom Weaver
Extras:
"The Universe According to Universal" - an original documentary on 'It Came from Outer Space' (31:46)
Photograph and poster gallery (5:08)
Theatrical trailer (1:18)
Subtitles: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English HoH, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish and Swedish
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Picture Format: Non-Anamorphic
TV System: PAL
Soundtrack(s): English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; German Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono

Invasion of the Body Snatchers AKA Sleep No More (1956)
------------------------------------------------------
Subtitles: English HoH
Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
Picture Format: Non-Anamorphic
TV System: PAL
Note: Two versions of the movie, color & black/white

Thing From Another World (The) AKA The Thing (1951)
---------------------------------------------------
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Picture Format: Non-Anamorphic
TV System: PAL
Soundtrack(s): English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Incredible Shrinking Man (The) (1957)
-------------------------------------
Subtitles: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish and Swedish
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Picture Format: Anamorphic
TV System: PAL
Soundtrack(s):
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono
French Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono
German Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono
Russian Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono
Notes: Coded R2/R4/R5

This Island Earth
-----------------
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Picture Format: Anamorphic
TV System: PAL
Soundtrack(s): English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Tarantula (1955)
----------------
Subtitles: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish and Swedish
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Picture Format: Non-Anamorphic
TV System: PAL
Soundtrack(s): English Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono; German Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono
Notes: Coded R2/R4/R5

Creature from the Black Lagoon (The) (1954)
-------------------------------------------
Commentaries: Audio commentary by film historian Tom Weaver (subtitled)
Extras:
Photo gallery
"Back to the Black Lagoon: A Creature Chronicle" -documentary (39:25 min)
Theatrical trailer
Subtitles: English, Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Czech, Hungarian, and Romanian
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Picture Format: Non-Anamorphic
TV System: PAL
Soundtrack(s): English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Notes: Region 2/4 encoded
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Seven 'old classic' Sci-Fi films a couple of which are truly classic and a couple of which are simply 'old'.
1) Invasion of the Bodysnatchers: the original and the best. Far outstrips any of the remakes being genuinely scary. (Anti-communism being the drive.)
2) Tarantula: giant spider wreaks havoc on a small part of Arizona. Not exactly terrifying to the modern watcher but fraught with warning. Considering this film is 55 years old it manages to point out that meddling with Mother Nature to improve and increase foodstocks (as in Genetically Modified Crops) is not to be entered into lightly.
3) The Thing from Another World: the original version of the film best known by 'John Carpenter's The Thing'. It lacks the menace of Carpenter's version and the alien is too easily destroyed. Whilst defintely a classic sci-fi film its classicism comes more from its style, acting and direction rather than its portrayal of the original story "Who Goes There?" Well worth watching but I prefer John Carpenter's The Thing.
4) Creature from the Black Lagoon: Superb creature-feature with terrific acting and script. One of the best of all time and with a remake due next year (2011) you owe it to yourself to watch this first.
5) This Island Earth: Metaluna is under attack by the warlike Zargons who are intent on destroying Metaluna by throwing piloted comets at it. The Metalunans only hope lays in gaining control of an atomic power source capabale of powering their vast planet-covering forcefield, so they coerce human scientists into building this device to aid 'world-peace'. Of course time runs out and the supreme Metalunans had decided to take over Earth for themselves but their planet is destroyed before they can leave. Basically a daft (there are too many holes in the plot/scheme of the Metalunans) but fun film.
6) The Incredible Shrinking Man: Simply a fabulous film one of the top ten sci-fi movies of all time. Tight script, direction and, above all, plot make this one sci-fi movie that should be seen. Black and White it may be but it is a superbly colourful story. (I suggest comparing the 'horror' of the 100 foot tarantula in 'Tarantula' with the genuine horror of a common house spider when you're only an inch[2.5cm] tall.).
7)It Came from Outer Space: From Ray Badbury's story, a spacecraft crashes in the remote Arizona desert - before the advent of CGI it was easier to 'destroy' cactii, rocks and caves than buildings, bridges and cities - and only one couple see it happen. Naturally nobody believes them until it's too late. Amazing how much suspense can be created by a water bubble filter. A true classic, expect to be entertained not taught.
So as a set I would suggest it is a must for the serious sci-fi fan. It will also help you work out some of the more subtle geek comments in 'The Big Bang Theory'.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Seven Science Fiction movies from the 50's which, I would like to say, greatly influenced my early love of SF, but it wouldn't be true. I only saw one of these at the cinema and that was The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) which probably saw in 1958 when I was around ten. The rest I saw some years later on tv. With the exception of Tarantula! (1955) and, to an extent, Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954), they can all be considered early classics, or landmarks, in SF cinema and this, for the price I paid (less than a tenner), is good value to have this collection in its individual slimline cases.

I excepted Tarantula! and Creature on the ground that they're creature-features rather than genuine SF. The former is bog-standard stuff (you can see the real tarantula's legs partly disappearing from time to time), the latter is very good of its type (the monster not being completely unsympathetic) and both were directed by Jack Arnold.

Arnold also directed the terrific Shrinking Man which holds up really well and It Came From Outer Space (Jack Arnold, 1953) which probably looked much better in its original 3-D, at least to judge from the comments in the accompanying documentary. The latter is unusual in that aliens look totally alien and aren't bad guys. This can't , of course, be said for Invasion of the Body Snatchers (directed by the great Don Siegel, 1956) which still holds up as a masterpiece of paranoia and as the best version of the story, even with the studio-imposed happy ending.

That leaves The Thing From Another World (1951) and the only film in the set to get a 12 rating as opposed to PG. Debate still goes on over whether or not Christian Nyby directed it or producer Howard Hawks. Oddly, I like it better than when I first saw it, though I love John Carpenter's body-popping remake. Lastly is This Island Earth (1955) an early space-opera which is rather overshadowed by its contemporary Forbidden Planet but is still one of the influences on Star Wars. It's also the only colour movie in the set, though there is also a colourised version of Body Snatchers to choose from -but don't.

Apart from It Came and Creature which both have decent documentaries and other stuff, these are very much bare bones editions -trailer and subtitles and that's it. Still, it's a nice set for an sf movie fan.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2010
This set combines the most iconic and influential science fiction movies of the 1950s. They are all classics and high quality films. This set therefore gives a very good overview of the genres like paranoia sci-fi (with the influential Body Snatchers), creature feature (Tarantula), horror Sci Fi (The Thing), space opera (this island earth). The films have really stood the testof time and are all worth watching and still very enjoyable. The discs do not have any extras, excpet Body Snatchers which offers the colourizes version. The picture quality of the films is okay but at times actually a bit disappointing, especially Body Snatchers which in the black and white version never gets a clear picture. But of course it is great value for money.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2008
I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through this collection. Every film present is rightly labelled as a 'Sci Fi classic'; I do not mean every film is brilliant but important to the genre. I was particularly surprised at the quality of film making on offer (prior to purchase I had only seen Creature). The Special effects are fantastic and Tarantula was a very pleasant surprise, I thought I would be laughing but I was actually drawn in. If you are a fan of Sci-Fi/ Fantasy then this box set is an ideal purchase. Well done Universal !!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2009
What a great box set, 7 classic films all in one place.
Ok, so the picture may be a little grainy on some of the films but lets not forget that the most recent of these was still made nearly 60 years ago so you can't expect crystal clear digitally produced sharpness, if you want that go and buy a new film on dvd.
The fact that one or two of the movies are actually the universal special editions with a documentary added was a bonus.
I like the slim-line cases it means that the whole box-set doesn't take up to much room on the shelf and you have the space to add to your collection.
For the price you can't beat it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2009
This is the box set for anyone seeking entertaining escapism.
It is the ideal alternative to the endless diet of repetitive soap operas, endless reality TV, and Z list celebrity shows.
With one purchase you can embark upon seven journies through space and imagination.
Share the suspense and menace from the `Creature from the Black Lagoon`.
Sympathise with the plight of `The Incredible Shrinking Man`.
Take an interstellar trip from the Laboratory to another World with `This Island Earth`.
Feel the isolation, and threat from `The Thing from Another World`.
Experience the paranoia, and fear in `The Invasion of the Body Snatchers`.
Reflect upon the attitudes in `It Came from Outer Space`, and for those with aracnophobia, shrink from the menacing `Tarantula`.
This is Hollywood Sci-Fi at its best, from an age when the `A` Bomb was new, and the future World unknown.
Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
These delightful and very fifties film's, have competent actors telling a simple storyline, with the help of delightful effects and most refreshingly of all no CGI.
I'm not totally against modern films using CGI, the trouble I find is, they rely on it too much, which pushes the story into the background, and it's only recently that it's started to look realistic. I prefer films from the fifties which use a well detailed model, lit well.
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, **** 1956. (B&W Letterbox & Colour Full Frame.)
The Thing from Anoter World, ***** 1951.
The Incredible Shrinking Man, ***** 1957.
This Island Earth, ***** 1955. (Colour.)
Creature From The Black Lagoon, *** 1954.
It Came From Outer Space, **** 1953.
Tarantula, *** 1955.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2010
This box-set is a classic for the reason alone that it contains 'Invasion of the body snatchers', 'The Thing', and 'Incredible Shrinking Man'. Some of the other films are fluff (This Island Earth is particularly bad) but most are ok. Still giving this 5 stars, but I wouldn't bother watching 'Invasion of the body snatchers' in it's colourised version, but would stick to the original black and white version also provided.
Great value for money if you like thought provoking sci-fi. If your idea of great sci-fi is Avatar then this might not be for you. Buy this if you liked The Outer Limits (original series).
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