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This Island Earth (1955)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I was surprised to find that YouTube has a fine copy of his movie! The picture quality is excellent, and it was added to YouTube a year ago, so they've had plenty of time to take it down.

If you don't have a DVD of this movie, here's your chance to be a cheapskate and get it for free! Very Happy
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____________________ THIS ISLAND EARTH


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But if YouTube does take it down, here's another version that's TWO years old, and the picture is just as good. However, this version is fourteen minutes shorter, and it sounds a bit "sped up". Rolling Eyes

__________________ This Island Earth 1955


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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
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alltare
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just received the super duper blu-ray edition of TIE. The picture is GREAT- much better than my DVD. The colors have been significantly enhanced, and the image doesn't look washed out, as many of the earlier releases were. The extras alone make the disc worth buying, but the movie itself is the jewel of this release.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Alltare, you silver tongued devil, you talked me into. My copy will arrive tomorow!

Thanks! Cool


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Maurice
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never noticed before that when Exeter's saucer zips by the camera after they observe the Earth it is blue-shifted as it approaches the camera and red-shifts as it recedes! Doppler shift!

This doesn't happen the next time we see the flyby tho.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

___________________________________

I've always wondered why the DVD of This Island Earth has a 4:3 aspect ratio. I know that movies not shot with an anamorphic lens were shot so that the frame could be masked off at the theater to fit the wide screen ratio.

That's why Harryhausen's films on VHS tapes and the old laser disc are in 4:3, while the DVDs are 16:9 . . . which produces very different pictures.

These first examples are screen shots form the older DVD of 20 Million Miles to Earth that allow the view to chose "full screen" or "wide screen". As a devoted fan of Harryhausen's animation, I want to see all the parts of the ymir being cut off by the 4:3, like the writhing tail and those great three-jointed legs!


16:9

.

4:3



The ground at the bottom of the fame to he left of the ymir shows the downward slant of the hill the camera was on as it looked down on the farm. With that part of the hill in the frame, we get the impression that the ymir is standing on it

In this next scene, the 4:3 cuts off part of the ymir's uplifted left hand and all of his right arm!

16:9



4:3



In this case, the 4:3 offers a less impressive vista of the ymir and the elephant battling in the streets of Rome.

16:9



4:3



The shot of the saucers in front of the Capitol is also an example of a scene we need an Imax-like image to appreciate the stunning composition.

16:9



4:3



This last one is a masterpiece of composition. The dramatic upward slant of the steps leading up to the Supreme Court building gives us the impression that we're standing on the ground gazing up at this jaw-dropping spectacle!

16:9



4:3



As for This Island Earth, a friend once told me to try watching it with my TV adjusted to 16:9 in a way that cropped off a portion of the top and bottom, the way it would look if a wide screen version DVD was released which looked similar to the Harryhausen movies' wide screen versions.

I was surprised to see how well that worked! I made a screen shot of the scene below with the image at 4:30, then I made a cropped version that bordered the image exactly where it was bordered on my TV when I created a 16:9 version.

4:3



16:9



That one scene at least seems to have "extra" portions of the frame that could be blocked off for 16:9. Here's a few other examples that work pretty well, too.

4:3



16:9



4:3



16:9



4:3



16:9



By the time the movie reaches the Metaluna scenes the frame is so packed with interesting details that I set the TV back to 4:3 . . . but that made me suddenly resent the smaller image with the black bars. Sad

Oh well . . . Rolling Eyes


4:3



16:9


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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:22 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Maurice
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Afraid your 4:3 and 16:9 labels are largely reversed.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maurice wrote:
Afraid your 4:3 and 16:9 labels are largely reversed.

Oops, thanks. I got interrupted and had to shut my computer down before I was finished with the post, so now it's longer, and I fixed the error you pointed out.

Thanks.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Well, well . . . I just watched my new Blu-ray of this movie, and it's includes the 16:9 version that looks exactly like the cropped screen shots I made in the post above!

It also includes the 4:3 version which the old DVD has. Plus, the bonus features are, as Maurice said, wonderful!

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alltare
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:24 pm    Post subject: This Island Earth's Alien Condenser Beads and Other Devices Reply with quote

For those who have not read the "This Island Earth" novel or the original "Thrilling Wonder Stories" magazine serialization, I thought it might be worthwhile to see how the "condenser beads" and other Metalunan devices were described. All of the following was found in the first few pages of the novel. I could not find a downloadable copy of the book, but all 3 of the Thrilling Wonder Stories issues are available, and they are essentially the same as the book:

(1) The Alien Machine
https://archive.org/stream/Thrilling_Wonder_Stories_v34n02_1949-06#page/n73/mode/2up

(2) The Shroud of Secrecy
https://archive.org/stream/Thrilling_Wonder_Stories_v35n02_1949-12#page/n63/mode/2up

(3) The Greater Conflict
https://archive.org/stream/Thrilling_Wonder_Stories_v35n03_1950-02#page/n91/mode/2up

At the beginning of the book, Cal Meacham's sidekick, Joe Wilson, received this letter in response to an order he had placed for XC condensers. His description is much more detailed than we see in the movie, and the specifications are different:

"Dear Mr. Wilson
We were pleased to receive your order of the 8th for samples of our XC-109 condenser. However we find that our present catalogue lists no such item nor did we ever carry it. We are, therefore, substituting the AB-619 model, a high-voltage oil-filled transmitting-type condenser. As you specified, it is rated at 10,000 volts with 100% safety factor and has 4 'mf. capacity with 100% safety factor.
...
Respectfully yours,
A. G. Archmanter
Electronic Service—Unit 16".

After reading the letter, he put it down slowly and picked up the box of beads which had come with it. He picked up a bead by one of the leads that stuck out of it. The bead was about a quarter of an inch in diameter
[quite a bit smaller than the movie's condenser] and there seemed to be a smaller concentric shell inside it. Between the two appeared to be some reddish liquid. Another wire connected to the inner shell but for the life of him Joe couldn’t see how that inner wire came through the outer shell. There was something funny about it, as if it came directly from the inner without passing through the outer. He knew that was silly but it made him dizzy to try to concentrate on the spot where it came through. The spot seemed to shift and move, “Ten thousand volts!" he muttered. “Four mikes!’’ Joe held out the letter to Cal, who scanned the page swiftly and flipped it back onto the desk. “You could just about build a fifty kw transmitter in a suitcase, provided you had other corresponding components to go along.” [By the way, "mf" and "mikes" both mean "microfarads", which is a unit of electrical capacitance. Also, condensers are referred to as capacitors today].

In the book, there are other devices mentioned that are products of the same alien group, such as toothless gears that looked like ordinary wheels. One of Cal's coworkers commented, "Believe it or not those things would transfer any horsepower I could use and I had up to three hundred and fifty. There was perfect transfer without measurable slippage or backlash, yet you could take the wheels off the shafts just as if there was nothing holding them together. The craziest thing you ever saw. It wasn't friction, it was something else—we don’t know what."

Another alien invention, a kind of rock tumbler, is described this way:
Cal caught a glimpse of the contents of the box that Joe was examining. It was wriggling. “What have you got now? An earthworm farm?” Joe looked up, his face still wearing a bewildered and distant expression. “Oh, hello. Cal. This is a tumbling barrel.” Cal stared at the contents of the box. It looked like a mass of tiny black worms in perpetual erratic motion. “What’s the gag this time? That box of worms doesn’t look much like a tumbling barrel. This isn’t another Electronics Service 16 product, is it?” "No" said Joe. "Metalcrafters sent over this sample. Wanted to know if they could sell us any for our mechanical department. The idea is that you just dump whatever needs tumbling into a box of this compound, strain it out in a few minutes and your polishing job is done.” Cal asked, "What makes the stuff wiggle?” "That’s the secret that Metalcrafters won’t tell", replied Joe.

Soon afterward, Cal ordered an interociter "kit" from the Metalunan catalog he had received. As he tried to figure out how to assemble his new toy, he made the observation that the interociter screen was not a big inverted triangle, but rather, a 16 inch square: "It was obvious that certain parts of the miscellaneous collection constituted a framework for the assembly to be mounted on. He gathered these together and set them up tentatively to see if he could get some idea of the size and shape of the finished assembly. One thing stood out at once. On the bench was a cube of glass, sixteen inches on a side, filled with a complex mass of elements. Twenty-three, terminals led from the elements to the outside of the cube. One side of it was coated as if it were some kind of screen. And within one of the framework panels there was an opening exactly the right size to accommodate the face of the cube".
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I must confess, I was disappointed in the first of the three novelettes.

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Too much of the story was about Cal Meachum ordering various components from Electronic Service Unit 16, and then finally building the interocitor. Joe Wilson is a minor character and doesn't help him build it.

The endless details pertaining to electronic components like capacitors and resistors and a dozen other things was meticulously described — but since 90% of it went right over my head, it was little like eating Chinese food; it fills your head with facts, but an hour later you don't remember a damn thing. Sad

In the last few pages he talks with a man on the interocitor (not Exeter, just a regular guy), and then he gets on the pilotless plane and departs.

However, alltare's excerpts above include some of the interesting non-electronic items from the aliens that other workers at Ryberg receive, items which demonstrate advanced technology the amazed Earthlings can't explain.

And I must admit, it was kinda fun spotting dialogue and Metalunan technical terms that made it into the movie, so reading through it was still enjoyable.

Just a bit disappointing . . . Rolling Eyes

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:04 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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The second novelette, The Shroud of Secrecy, has some fascinating info about the "aptitude tests" that were given to the two other people Cal meets (Ruth Adams and a man named Ole Swenberg) when he joins the Peace Engineers.

After I started reading the novelettes I suddenly wondered if Ruth Adams had to build a interocity like Cal did.

It turns out, however, that the Peace Engineers had plenty of other ways of testing the intelligence of prospective applicants. Ole tells Cal that his test was a series of books that somehow bestowed a photographic memory on the reader . . . just be looking at the books! Shocked

Ole tells Cal that he tore the books apart "molecule by molecule" to find out how they affected the reader's brain, but he never discovered the secret. However, in the process of reading the various books he ordered (thus gaining all the knowledge they contained) he became an expert on biology, biochemistry, and electrical engineering!

What an amazing concept! Cudos to Mr. Jones, eh? Very Happy

The Peace Engineers (somehow) knew about Ole's determined investigation of the miraculous books, and even though he hadn't cracked the secret, they were still impressed with his efforts. So, like Cal, they hired him.

Guys, reading these novelettes is giving me a keen new appreciation for the movie by providing additional story elements that the movie doesn't include.

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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I liked the central concept of the story, that Earth was being used just like the US Navy used the natives on Pacific islands as a source of labor in World War Two. Meachum didn't realize at first that he and the other Peace Engineers were unknowing cogs in a vast interstellar war.

Hence....THIS ISLAND EARTH

A brilliant title.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Here’s a few more observations about the second This Island Earth novelette.

We know from earlier scenes in the first novelette that engineers in other fields at Ryberg also received amazing examples of technology that tested their own abilities to unlock their secrets. Apparently only Cal had done well enough to qualify for the Peace Engineers, because he was the only one from Ryberg who was brought to the Peace Engineer's complex (which is located several miles from Phoenix, Arizona, by the way.)

Ole Swenberg tells Cal that as far as he knows, Cal is the only person to ever build a work interocitors as his "aptitude test". And, like in the movie, it blew up after Cal spoke with the man from the Peace Engineers who invited him to join the organization.

As a result of his success, Cal is given the job of plant director in the factory that assembles interocitors. Unlike the movie, neither Cal nor Ruth are famous atomic energy researchers, nor are the Peace Engineers only interested in new ways to produce atomic energy, the way Exeter's organization is in the film!

In the novel, they’re developing technological innovations that far surpass anything found on Earth. And the interocitor itself has become a important part of the story.

The movie’s version of what the Metalunans want from the Earthlings simplifies the story, which is unavoidable when you got just ninety minutes to tell the tale to a general audience.

But the novelette describes wonderful examples of strange alien technology, even in small objects like "toothless cogs" and small worm-like micro-machines that surround a metal part and polish its surface.

Another change the film made was the way Ruth Adams and Steve Carlson (the Russell Johnson character) told Cal they didn't trust him at first because he might have been subjected to the "thought transference device". However, I just finished the second novelette, and it does hints that people minds are being altered if they learn too much about the secret aspects of the Peace Engineers.

What is in the novelettes which inspired those elements in the movie is the fact that Ruth and Ole Swenberg tell Cal that they have deep suspicions about the sincerity and true intentions of the Peace Engineers.

But Cal clings to the belief that the secret aspects of the strange organization might not be as sinister as Ruth and Ole believe.

This is another case in which the movie simplified the dramatic elements, along with tossing in a bit more villainy by having Exeter and Brack spy on the humans with their interocitor, not to mention their private discussion about using the thought transference device on humans to insure their cooperation.

All in all, the second novelette is more interesting than the first one, and the story has definitely captured my interest.

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Cowboy
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This site has sort of inspired me somewhat. I saw This Island Earth at a drive-in theater when I was a kid. Remember drive-in theaters? Anyway I didn’t remember a thing about it. Sooooo, I bought a copy on line and watched it a few days ago. I am impressed. For the time it was made the movie is very good. I liked it a lot. Way cool flick!
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