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Author Topic: The Body Snatcher (1945)
Akshay Nanjangud
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 637
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Nov 2011


 - posted July 15, 2013 06:13 PM      Profile for Akshay Nanjangud   Email Akshay Nanjangud   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I looked at the Index of Reviews, appears this one hasn't been reviewed.

Discussion on the feature: A few years before 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers', Robert Wise and Val Lewton picked up a short-story by Robert Louis Stevenson on .... guess what ..... body snatching! Unlike aliens in Don Siegel's extraterrestrial and psychological body snatching, here the medical profession snatches bodies. Bodies 'snatched' from graves are used as reference points to perform surgeries. So who is the Body Snatcher? No one better than Boris Karloff to do this job. He has so much fun with this role, and .... he has so much fun in his scene with Bela Lugosi.

A point to note, Robert Wise, who went on to 'The Sound of Music' and 'West Side Story', directed Karloff and Lugosi in this B-movie. But don't let that B-movie tag fool you .... this is an A-grade B-movie, if there is such a thing. Anyway, this shows that even A-list greats sometimes start B-movie small.

Discussion on the print: This is a neat print mounted on two 800' reels. Sound isn't great but the dialogue is understandable. The contrast on the image is good, but the print is grainier in comparison to the best Super 8 prints. I got it used from a collector who purchased it from Derann's used films list. Could it be a Derann print? Anyone certain about this?

Naturally, all opinions and counter-opinions are welcome, even encouraged.

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Brian Stearns
Master Film Handler

Posts: 487
From: Lexington
Registered: Jun 2013


 - posted July 16, 2013 01:21 AM      Profile for Brian Stearns         Edit/Delete Post 
Good review you saved me time asking about this because I see your selling it on eBay. Good luck

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Akshay Nanjangud
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 637
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Nov 2011


 - posted July 16, 2013 03:20 AM      Profile for Akshay Nanjangud   Email Akshay Nanjangud   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Brian, have you seen the Mountain Films print of 'King Kong'? Both prints are nearly the same quality, 'The Body Snatcher' is marginally superior. Of course, this is just an opinion.

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Robert Crewdson
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1031
From: UK
Registered: Jun 2013


 - posted July 16, 2013 03:52 AM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From memory, I think The Body Snatchers was by Mountain Films.

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Hugh Thompson Scott
Film God

Posts: 3063
From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
Registered: Jan 2012


 - posted July 16, 2013 04:36 AM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
It was Robert,they released a group of Val Lewton films over the
years, including "Bedlam" 4x400', 2x400' & 1x400'
"The Cat People" 2x400' & there is a feature length print out there, but not known who turned it out.
"Isle of The Dead" 2x400'
"Curse of the Cat people" 5x400', not sure if this was Mountain/Portland, or a DFS release.
"The Body Snatchers" was done as 4x400' & 5x400'

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Akshay Nanjangud
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 637
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Nov 2011


 - posted July 16, 2013 04:43 AM      Profile for Akshay Nanjangud   Email Akshay Nanjangud   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The print quality here is consistent with Mountain Films, in my experience.

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Robert Crewdson
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1031
From: UK
Registered: Jun 2013


 - posted July 16, 2013 05:33 AM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I found this artwork on an earlier thread http://8mmforum.film-tech.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=005585

I remember seeing this on BBC2, the print they had was not very good, but interesting scenes of Edinburgh. I preferred the other version of Burke & Hare starring Tod Slaughter.
Wish I had been able to purchase more Mountain features, but I was shooting a lot of film as well as collecting. Although not a fan of Sci-Fi and supernatural, I used to be tempted to buy Wasp Woman, and the now legendary Plan 9 from outer Space.

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Lee Mannering
Film God

Posts: 3216
From: The Projection Box
Registered: Nov 2006


 - posted July 16, 2013 05:58 AM      Profile for Lee Mannering     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is a film I absolutely love with Lugosi and Karloff together. My main interest of the film is Bela Lugosi being a life long fanatic of his films, but the pairing is always a bit special as well and it was great so see them in this Robert Wise gem which I stumbled upon a super 8 print way…..back. It’s set in the late 1820's/1830’s which makes it a dark watch with Karloff creeping around and ‘friend Joseph’ aka Lugosi also creepy. I popped my 8mm print onto two 800ft reels which it has sat for many a year and was wondering what to watch this week so I now have the start of a programme idea. Many will be surprised that some regard The Body Snatcher as Karloff’s best picture probably as Lugosi was also in it with him more than anything.

On Super 8 Sound it often becomes available now and at a relatively low price most of the time and a reasonably good print from Mountain Films. I’m finding that some of the old Mountain Films are going a bit with a sort of silvery glaze to them when looked at under a light but at present this print is fine. Re the sound I vaguely recall re recording it some years back to improve it.

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Akshay Nanjangud
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 637
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Nov 2011


 - posted July 17, 2013 02:48 PM      Profile for Akshay Nanjangud   Email Akshay Nanjangud   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lee, can you tell me how good the results of your re-record were?

Question for everyone, why are collectors able to record better quality sound than the labs that release prints? I mean, they are experts and should be selling the best quality. Why did Red Fox, Derann, etc. do this?

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Lee Mannering
Film God

Posts: 3216
From: The Projection Box
Registered: Nov 2006


 - posted July 18, 2013 04:03 AM      Profile for Lee Mannering     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don’t want to sound as though I am blowing my own trumpet but I have always been rather proud of my own re-records and the sound of this is good. More recently audio is picked up from Blu-Ray, but usually its DVD, Laserdisc or Hi-Fi VHS. I must have done BS a bit ago so it probably came off Hi-Fi VHS. Enjoyable film Akshay and often overlooked on super 8 even though it has quite a bit of back stage history attached to it. Bela Lugosi was taken ill during the films making and Robert Wise had to personally look after him during filming to see him through it for instance.

My own thoughts on re recording better quality onto super 8 stereo/mono striped film is that most of the old 8mm distributors were using fairly ancient equipment to record 8mm films at high speed and from a separate magnetic track lifted often from 16mm optical prints. The combination of old very well used equipment and multiple transfers before it got to super 8 stripe would lower analogue sound quality. By re-recording today using often re-mastered audio on disc from the start with a direct link to a good super 8 projector you can sqeeze the maximum from super 8 sound stripe. As mentioned previously I even went to the trouble of fitting gold audio sockets to avoid oxidization and use high quality audio cables as well with gold ends which is about as much as you can do. I pretty much always use a Eumig 900 range projector for recording as I found it gives such a rich sound quality which suits my ears anyway.

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Akshay Nanjangud
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 637
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Nov 2011


 - posted July 18, 2013 03:19 PM      Profile for Akshay Nanjangud   Email Akshay Nanjangud   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks so much for the explanation Lee. I needed that.

Recently I had 'Horror of Dracula' re-recorded from German to English by Lance Alspaugh. He kept telling me the audio won't be the best, you will hear rumbles, etc.. When we screened the print, the sound blew us away. The rumbles were quite light and didn't mask any dialogue. This got me wondering why the top film distributors couldn't do as good a job as collectors. So I asked the question.

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Brad Kimball
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1171
From: Highland Mills, NY USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 18, 2013 11:28 PM      Profile for Brad Kimball   Email Brad Kimball   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Nostalgia Merchant also released this title on super 8 as well as other RKO titles, but apparently for a very brief time so their prints are very rare and hard to come by. I've always been curious about the quality of their film prints having never seen one.

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Panayotis A. Carayannis
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 969
From: Athens,Greece
Registered: Jul 2008


 - posted November 17, 2013 02:17 PM      Profile for Panayotis A. Carayannis   Email Panayotis A. Carayannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mountain released THE CAT PEOPLE complete in 4x400 and also THE GHOST SHIP IN 4X400.

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