Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Little Green Men, Big Fancy Package

I was tempted to just post that photo as one of our "Today's Mood" posts because I can't imagine a better fit for how eird I feel today, but let's elaborate a bit since this is information worth sharing -- that is a still from William Cameron Menzies' 1953 sci-fi classic Invaders From Mars, which 1) I have somehow never seen, (sidenote: I don't think I have ever seen Tobe Hooper's 1986 remake either!) and which 2) is getting an ultra-fancy 4K blu-ray release on September 26th! No i don't know how I've never seen this movie before either but here's an excellent excuse to fix that if ever there was. It's coming from the fine folks at Ignite Films and you can pre-order it right here. I mean take a gander at the trailer and see what wondrous work they did making this thing look spiffy:

That looks like a big blast of old-fashioned fun, don't it? 
I've got the press release with all the details after the jump...



Special Bonus Features Include a Restored 4K Version of the Original 1953 Trailer and a Newly Commissioned 2022 Trailer, an Interview with the Film’s Star, Jimmy Hunt, an In-depth Look at the Restoration Process Led by Film Preservationist Scott MacQueen, Plus a New Documentary about the Film Featuring Interviews with Directors Joe Dante, John Landis, Visual Effects Academy-Award Winner Robert Skotak, and Other Luminaries.

“This stunning 4K restoration will make even those who’ve seen the film umpteenth times feel like they’re seeing it for the very first time but through magical new eyes.” – Multiple Visual Effects Academy-Award Winner, Robert Skotak (Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day) LOS ANGELES, CA (JULY 25, 2022) – Ignite Films has dropped a new trailer and the official poster ahead of the upcoming release of its sensational 4K restoration of William Cameron Menzies’ 1953 Invaders From Mars. The sci-fi classic will be released on Blu-ray & 4K UHD on September 26, 2022, just ahead of the film’s 70th anniversary, with pre-orders beginning today, announced Jan Willem Bosman Jansen, founder of Ignite Films.

Special bonus features include a restored 4K version of the original 1953 trailer and a newly commissioned 2022 trailer, an interview with the film’s star, Jimmy Hunt, an in-depth look at the restoration process led by Scott MacQueen, Restoration Supervisor, plus a new documentary about the film featuring interviews with directors Joe Dante (Gremlins), John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), Multiple Visual Effects Academy-Award winner Robert Skotak (Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day), and other luminaries. These extras and the documentary were produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Alter (David Lynch’s Inland Empire, Doug Ellin’s Ramble On).

“I’m excited for audiences, old and new, to finally be able to watch this masterpiece of both film and restoration on Blu-ray and 4K UHD!,” said Ignite Films Director Jan Willem Bosman Jansen.

“We have taken great care to cover as many aspects of the movie in our bonus materials and design to bring it back to life for as wide an audience as possible. The work we have done is also a homage to the overall genius of William Cameron Menzies, and I cannot speak for him of course, but I think he would be thrilled with how his movie looks today,” he added.

Fearful memories of this timeless 1953 bone-chiller still haunt the dreams of fans who have never forgotten the story of David MacLean, a young boy (Jimmy Hunt) who witnesses an alien invasion. Invaders from Mars was filmed from a child's point of view, using exaggerated sets and upward angles. It became a modern classic and was also one of two early 50s classic alien-invasion science fiction films (the other is Robert Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still) reflecting Cold War tensions, the Red Scare and paranoid anxiety typical of many films in the 50s.

Invaders From Mars stars Jimmy Hunt, Helena Carter, Arthur Franz, Morris Ankrum, Leif Erickson, and Hillary Brooke.

Cinecon will honor former child actor Jimmy Hunt with a special screening of the 4K restoration of Invaders From Mars at this year’s festival, which will run Labor Day weekend, from September 1-5, 2022 in Hollywood. Other special screenings of the 4K restoration have wowed audiences at the TCM Classic Film Festival, Hollywood, CA in April, Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, Italy, and the Fine Arts Film Festival, Venice, CA in June.

The restoration of Invaders from Mars has been much hoped for and a long time coming -- but the process was not an easy one. Leading the effort was longtime enthusiast and preservationist of classic cinema Scott MacQueen, who previously was head of preservation at UCLA Film & Television Archive for more than a decade, before retiring in 2021.

The biggest challenge for MacQueen was that the color negative confirmed for printing in SUPERcineCOLOR lacked many shots and needed to be sourced from 70-year-old prints.

“Invaders from Mars was one of the most complex projects I have ever undertaken,” said Restoration Supervisor Scott MacQueen.

“In the days of analog restoration, it would not have been possible, but 21st century digital tools have been game-changers. Released in an archaic process that is irretrievable today Invaders from Mars was pieced together from five different sources. Additionally, eight minutes of European scenes and an alternate ending, and the original trailer, have been preserved. As star Jimmy Hunt says, ‘Invaders from Mars has never looked so good,’” added MacQueen

The 4K restoration process of the sci-fi classic Invaders from Mars required a lengthy search for the final elements, which was conducted by Ignite’s Janet Schorer. Additionally, it was imperative to locate the elements necessary to fill in the gaps in the original camera negative, which was stored with great care at the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The George Eastman Museum and National Film and Sound Archive of Australia were instrumental in supplying additional key elements which were essential to completing the film.

Bonus Features

Restored 4K original 1953 trailer AND a newly commissioned 2022 trailer
Interviews with star Jimmy Hunt, William Cameron Menzies’ biographer James Curtis and recollections of Menzies’ eldest granddaughter Pamela Lauesen
Featurette with acclaimed film directors John Landis, Joe Dante, editor Mark Goldblatt, special visual effects artist and two time Oscar Winner Robert Skotak (foremost expert on Invaders from Mars), and enthusiast and film preservationist Scott MacQueen
John Sayles’ introduction at Turner Classic Movie Festival in Hollywood, April 2022
Before/after clips of restoration – original negative and archival film elements - with film restoration supervisor Scott MacQueen
Restored segments in 2K of the Alternate International Version -- alternative ending and extended Planetarium scene
Gallery with original Press Book pages, behind the scenes photos from the restoration process
Twenty page extensive essay on the restoration process: “Invaders From Mars: A Nightmare of Restoration” by Scott MacQueen

Product Details

Studio Ignite Films
Run Time: 78 minutes
Director: William Cameron Menzies
Certificate: Approved
Helena Carter Dr. Pat Blake
Arthur Franz Dr . Stuart Kelston
Jimmy Hunt David MacLean
Leif Erickson George MacLean
Hillary Brooke Mary MacLean
Morris Ankrum Col. Fielding
Max Wagner Sgt. Rinaldi
William Phipps Maj. Cleary (Bill Phipps)
Milburn Stone Capt. Roth
Janine Perreau Kathy Wilson

Languages: English (original version), Latin Spanish
Closed Captions: English SDH
Subtitles: PT-BR, FR, DE, IT, JP, KR
Theatrical Release Year: 1953
Number of Discs: 1


Frank said...

It’s an amazing movie. Although it’s told from the perspective of a kid, adults take him seriously. And it get creepy when both is parents are taken over. Some terrific sets and camera angles. Although the Nariabs are goofy looking, it’s well worth seeing.

One weak point… to pad out the run time, they use too much stock footage of military vehicles.

Matt said...

I remember seeing this on TV zone afternoon, I did not have high expectations but while there were some cheesy elements I was surprised how much suspense it was able to generate. The restoration looks terrific!

Eugene said...

I'm old enough to have seen this in a theatre as a child and the sound that comes out when someone is sucked in through the sand somehow alarmed me more than the movie and stayed with me for a very long time. This restoration looks great. Certainly a product of its time. Hope there are some good extras. As a kid I was convinced that the movie was made in 3D which my small town theatre didn't have. It was only later that I found out it wasn't, and then I thought it should have been.