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Sabu!
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 3 Discs
FEATURES
  • Includes the films Elephant Boy, The Drum, and Jungle Book

Sabu!


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: , Robert Flaherty
Starring: Sabu
2011 | 286 Minutes | Licensor: ITV Global Entertainment

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $44.95 | Series: Eclipse from the Criterion Collection | Edition: #30
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: November 29, 2011
Review Date: November 27, 2011

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SYNOPSIS

In the thirties and forties, the young Indian actor known as Sabu (born Selar Shaik) captured the hearts of moviegoers in Britain and the United States as a completely new kind of big-screen icon. Sabu was a maharaja's elephant driver when he was cast in Elephant Boy, a Rudyard Kipling adaptation directed by documentary trailblazer Robert Flaherty and ZoltŠn Korda that would prove to be enormously popular. Sabu went on to headline a series of fantasies and adventures for the British film titans the Korda brothers, transcending the exoticism projected onto him by commanding the screen with effortless grace and humor. This series collects three of those lavish productions (which also included the classic The Thief of Bagdad):Elephant Boy, the colonialist adventure The Drum, and the timeless Jungle Book.

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

Criterionís 30th Eclipse set, simply titled Sabu!, presents three films featuring the young star, including Elephant Boy, The Drum, and The Jungle Book. The three films are presented over three single-layer discs in their original aspect ratios of about 1.33:1.

The transfers are incredibly inconsistent between each disc, and I canít say any of them look particularly great. Elephant Boy doesnít appear to have had any restoration done to it presenting all sorts of problems like scratches, marks, debris, stains, splices, and more. On the other hand the transfer is probably the strongest one of all three films. Thereís a little bit of noise but artifacts as a whole arenít too noticeable, the image is sharp when the print allows, and contrast is strong throughout.

The Drum presents the worst presentation in the set, and Iíd almost swear it came from a video source, but it more than likely comes down to the fact itís really just an awful transfer, an interlaced one at that. Occasionally there are weird, jumpy, banding effects (the first two grabs below for the film show pinkish/greenish striping) and it vibrates up and down, looking like a well-worn video tape. The image is smudgy, lacks much in the way of definition, with long shots especially heinous (thereís no definition,) and colours are muted and pale. It also presents jaggies, ghosting, heavy compression noise, pixilation, halos, and more. The print is also in shoddy condition with many marks and bits of debris, but in this regard itís still better than the condition of Elephant Boy.

The Jungle Book presents a much better transfer, though itís not without its issues. Compression noise is a bit of a problem and definition is really only so-so, even for DVD. But colours are brighter and bolder, if not perfect, and the print is in better condition than the other films. Though itís transfer is a bit weak, the overall condition of the print and the fairly vibrant colours make it the more pleasing of the three.

In all itís a mixed bag and probably the weakest Eclipse set Iíve yet seen from Criterion, and is a set that includes possibly one of the worst DVD transfers Iíve seen in a long while.

6/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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Elephant Boy

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Elephant Boy

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Elephant Boy

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Elephant Boy

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Elephant Boy

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The Drum

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The Drum

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The Drum

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The Drum

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The Drum

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Jungle Book

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Jungle Book

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Jungle Book

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Jungle Book

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Jungle Book

AUDIO

Each film gets a Dolby Digital 1.0 track and again they each vary in quality, though generally speaking Elephant Boy and The Jungle Book sound the best. They still present a general weakness and lack fidelity, but are still fairly easy to hear. The same cannot be said for The Drum, which presents a messy, hard to hear track. For this one volume levels are low and background noise makes it even harder to hear.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Common with Eclipse sets there are no disc features, but we again get some decent liner notes by Michael Koresky who covers Sabu, his career, and the Kordas.

1/10

CLOSING

Easily the weakest Eclipse set Iíve come across in a long while, presenting two middling presentations and one of the worst overall presentations Iíve seen on a DVD in a long, long time (The Drum.)




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