Blu-ray Review “The Ray Harryhausen Double Feature: She and H.G. Wells’ Things to Come”

rayharryhausen-doubleActors: Randolph Scott, Helen Gahagan, Nigel Bruce, Raymond Massey
Directors: Lansing C. Holden, Irving Pichel, William Cameron Menzies
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Legend Films
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Run Time: 500 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Ray Harryhausen Double Feature consists of “She (1935)” and “H.G. Wells’ Things to Come (1936)” as well as a bonus film “The Most Dangerous Game (1932)”. Now, if you are a fan of Ray Harryhausen then you would already know that he did not do the special effects for these films. But what you might not know was that he was behind the colorization and restoration of these three classic films. So this release is presented by him in terms of him acting primarily as the color consultant. So it might be a little stretch calling this a “Ray Harryhausen Double Feature” but still these are classics and it is nice to see them getting a nice Blu-ray transfer to high definition.

“She” Official Premise: From the creative team that brought you King Kong, a thrilling tale of adventure, immortality and lost love. A group of explorers, led by the dashing Leo Vincey (Randolph Scott), sets out on a mission in search of the legendary flame of life, a mysterious force that bestows immortality. Their perilous journey takes them to the heart of a remote glacier where they are taken captive by the beautiful but impossibly cruel She.

“H.G. Wells’ Things to Come” Official Premise: A landmark collaboration between writer H. G. Wells (Island of Lost Souls), producer Alexander Korda (The Thief of Bagdad), and designer and director William Cameron Menzies (Gone with the Wind), Things to Come is a science fiction film like no other, a prescient political work that predicts a century of turmoil and progress. Skipping through time, Things to Come bears witness to world war, dictatorship, disease, the rise of television, and finally, utopia.

Both “She (1935)” and “H.G. Wells’ Things to Come (1936)” have been restored to high definition from their original 35mm film elements and for films that are nearly 80 years old they look quite impressive. Since these have been selected and personally color-designed by Ray Harryhausen himself, you know that there was some love given to them. Also in this collector’s set we get both the color version of the film along with the original black-and-white format. Even though the transfer looks good, the audio tracks are not really up to Blu-ray par standards. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono tracks may not be perfect but they are able to deliver for these aged film, especially with Max Steiner’s amazing score on “She”.

The special features are impressive, especially for a Legend Films release. The bonus film “The Most Dangerous Game (1932)” is available on the extra DVD included, also in both color and black-and-white. The Blu-ray disc includes a great commentary track for “She” by Ray Harryhausen and Mark Vaz. We get some great details about the colorization and restoration. There are “Colorization Process Interviews with Ray Harryhausen” and “Film Interviews with Ray Harryhausen”, which is a must watch for any fan of his work. There are 12 minutes of classic sci-toy commercials, which are a great retro piece. Lastly there is a biography and filmography included for Ray Harryhausen.

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