Director: Jack Sher

Starring: Kerwin Mathews, Jo Morrow, June Thorburn


Director: Nathan Juran

Starring: William Hopper, Joan Taylor, Frank Puglia


Director: Don Chaffey

Starring: John Richardson, Raquel Welch, Percy Herbert

Columbia Tristar has released many of special effects maestro Ray Harryhausen's films on disc, including Jason and the Argonauts and  the Sinbad films (The 7th Voyage of SinbadThe Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger). 

20 Million Miles to Earth is a classic monster-on-the-loose B-movie from 1957, about a reptilian creature that arrives on Earth with an expedition returning from Venus. The film is presented in widescreen ratio of 1.85:1, and this generally seems appropriate. Picture quality is inconsistent, but is occasionally very nice indeed, suggesting that any shortcomings were almost certainly present when the film left the camera. The disc also contains the film’s theatrical trailer.

The 3 Worlds of Gulliver is an ambitious, somewhat stodgy adaptation of Swift’s fabulous novel, but, although unquestionably more ambitious than 20 Million Miles…, Gulliver seems technically more primitive. It wasn’t the first Harryhausen film made in colour (that was The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, in 1960), but it still presented Ray with considerable new challenges, with its numerous travelling matte and split-screen forced perspective shots. The 3 Worlds of Gulliver look positively vibrant on the new disc, which offers considerably better colour balance than the rather green-tinged VHS presentation. Gulliver, too, is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Comparing it to the VHS version reveals that this has been achieved by cropping interesting picture information from the top and bottom of the image, but the resulting compositions seem generally tighter, and more cinematic. Film grain is still a problem during effects shots, but this seems unavoidable due to the photochemical processes prevalent at the time.

All of Columbia’s Harryhausen discs so far (including 20 Million Miles... and Gulliver') have contained two valuable bonus featurettes: The Harryhausen Chronicles (an hour long career overview and tribute) and This Is Dynamation (a short piece touting the advances in special effects techniques developed for 7th Voyage). The Gulliver disc contains a five-minute interview with Harryhausen about the film, illustrated with storyboards and photo’s, which makes its debut here, as well as contemporary trailers for Gulliver and two other Harryhausen titles: The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

After making note of the obvious effort that Columbia Tristar has put into its Harryhausen discs, it comes as something of a disappointment to see the 1.85:1 non-anamorphic transfer that Studio Canal offers (via Warner Home Video) for the 1966 genre classic One Million Years B.C. It’s significantly better than the company’s artefact-ridden, virtually worthless Dracula – Prince of Darkness and She releases, though, and has strong colour and good contrast. Hammer fans will be grateful for the film’s corny trailer (“You will indeed live in another world, another time!”), and the disc’s interesting new video interviews with Raquel Welch (8m) and Ray Harryhausen (12m), even though both have irksome lipsync problems. The disc contains the long (96m) version of the film (the version that’s always been available here on video – most American versions are about ten minutes shorter).











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