201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

Discuss Blu-rays released by Indicator and the films on them.

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jlnight
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#26 Post by jlnight » Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:07 am

colinr0380 wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:35 am
They remain the few Franco films to have been shown on the main UK television channels, with the only others being Female Vampire and The Awful Dr Orloff in Channel 4's Eurotika season in late 1999 (though Virgin Among The Living Dead turned up on the digital Horror channel a few years back).
Surely you're forgetting the obvious one: Vampyros Lesbos! That must have been in 2000 or 2001 but in the mid-90s the soundtrack was picking up fans during that exotica/lounge phase amongst collectors, to the extent that the track The Lion and the Cucumber was in rotation on the old MTV Europe!

ITV definitely had Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein scheduled in 1992 and also had The Devil Came from Akasava in 1987 as part of one of their Continental seasons. These may have been London region only though.

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colinr0380
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#27 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:57 pm

Vampyros Lesbos was the film that got me interested in Franco (after being left rather cold by the Fu Manchu films), and I still think its arguably his best film, especially for the way that it riffs on all the familiar Carmilla-style themes whilst pushing any semblance of 'plot' into almost pure symbolic abstraction. though I did not see that from television but from the Redemption VHS tape from that same 1997 period, which had a version of the tape that featured that music video. It probably helped that the piece featured in Jackie Brown the same year too, so it is another example of Tarantino using artifacts of film's past in his latest work and bringing it to prominence for a new generation.

Although I actually prefer the strip club theme tune (NSFW) more! It is probably me just being strange but that club performance scene actually always amuses me by making me think of those programmes about how to sell your home that the television schedules are full of, as if it is giving handy tips on how to make your house look more attractive and spacious to buyers by simple deployment of carefully placed mirrors, a candelabra or two and a few whispy fabrics draped in strategic positions! ("Look there is enough room to roll around on the floor, it is just that roomy! So I'm sure your three piece suite will fit just fine!")

(I also picked up Tender and Perverse Emmanuelle at the same time, which despite being BBFC edited was still quite an eyeful back then! Though really all paled in comparison to when Redemption released Borowczyk's Behind Convent Walls and Flavia The Heretic. Thank God for Nigel Wingrove's naughty nun obsession in getting those released!)

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reaky
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#28 Post by reaky » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:56 am

I definitely saw Dracula, Prisoner of Franco on ITV. I’d never seen anything by the Spanish hack before, and was enticed by the title, which was redolent of 1940s Universal or 1970s Marvel. Imagine the drop of my jaw at the ineptitude on display.

Orlac
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#29 Post by Orlac » Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:55 am

I enjoy that one purely for the music, but it's a bizzare mess, very little dialogue.Shame, as I'd love to see Howard Vernon as Dracula in a proper film.

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MichaelB
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#30 Post by MichaelB » Tue Sep 22, 2020 5:32 am

Final specs:

The Face of Fu Manchu:

Image

The Brides of Fu Manchu:

Image

The Vengeance of Fu Manchu:

Image

The Blood of Fu Manchu:

Image

The Castle of Fu Manchu:

Image

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Thornycroft
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#31 Post by Thornycroft » Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:22 am

Mondo Digital

Turns out there's an extra viewing option for Face of Fu Manchu not mentioned in the published specs:
Mondo Digital wrote:You actually get two viewing options here, the standard theatrical framing throughout and, as discovered during the restoration process, a full aperture version of the third reel, which was damaged on the left side before the film's release and was zoomed in on all theatrical prints and prior video transfer to compensate. It's a nice option to have, and if you don't mind the thin white scratches fluttering against the edge of the left side, it's nice to see the extra image info that had always been hidden before for such a significant chunk of the running time.
Despite my fondness for Franco I'd never been very interested in any of Lee's Fu Manchu series but the sheer amount of interesting contexual material packed into this set is making it very hard to pass up.

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MichaelB
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#32 Post by MichaelB » Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:16 am

Yes, that was a very interesting discovery - that the negative damage was clearly present back in 1965, and that every previous release of the film (including theatrical) had to crop and zoom reel 3 in order to hide it.

So of course the Indicator restoration could simply have followed suit, and nobody would have been any the wiser (unless you'd also examined the negative, there's no way of knowing), but the fact that it's only one reel meant that it didn't need a huge amount of extra disc space to offer people a choice via seamless branching. And it's easy enough to tune out the damage, as it's right at the extreme left of the frame.

Incidentally, I echo his praise for the Don Sharp interview - he's a terrific raconteur, and he's had a really interesting career, although it gets a bit depressing towards the end when he outlines (in masochistic detail) just how many projects collapsed prior to shooting. I was editing the interview at the same time as working on The Lineup, and I couldn't help but think that Dons Sharp and Siegel had a great deal in common when it came to consistently intelligent but firmly no-nonsense treatment of tight budgets and schedules - indeed, Sharp was so good at action scenes that he remained in demand as a second unit director for over a decade into his career as a director proper.

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Finch
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#33 Post by Finch » Wed Oct 07, 2020 1:21 am


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MichaelB
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#34 Post by MichaelB » Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:48 am

Message from Powerhouse:
RELEASE DATE CHANGE

Unfortunately, a last-minute manufacturing issue has caused a hold-up to the outer packaging of our two October titles – The Fu Manchu Cycle and Sweet Charity – and, as such, we are having to change the release date by a week to 2 November. We share your frustration in this, and will endeavour to send out direct pre-orders as soon as they arrive at the warehouse.

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tenia
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#35 Post by tenia » Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:05 pm

Thornycroft wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:22 am
Turns out there's an extra viewing option for Face of Fu Manchu not mentioned in the published specs:
Mondo Digital wrote:You actually get two viewing options here, the standard theatrical framing throughout and, as discovered during the restoration process, a full aperture version of the third reel, which was damaged on the left side before the film's release and was zoomed in on all theatrical prints and prior video transfer to compensate. It's a nice option to have, and if you don't mind the thin white scratches fluttering against the edge of the left side, it's nice to see the extra image info that had always been hidden before for such a significant chunk of the running time.
I watched the first movie a few days ago, choosing the "complete picture area" presentation and was surprised by what the damage looks like. I can understand some people wondering what's happening on the left side of the frame, but it's actually "nothing more" than a persistant kinda dotted vertical scratch. It's pretty light and overall onubstrusive, so if people are afraid of how damaged this could have to zoom the picture to hide it, I'm quite certain most have actually seen way worse than this. It is however interesting to offer the zoom-in version, since this is how it was projected back in the time.

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MichaelB
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#36 Post by MichaelB » Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:36 pm

When we discovered that original theatrical prints had been cropped back in 1965, it made perfect sense to offer both viewing options.

The scratch is the kind of thing that's infuriatingly hard to remove digitally (this is true of vertical tramlines in general, and other damage that's held over multiple frames - a notorious example being the white speck in the middle of the frame throughout two lengthy shots in Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye. Since this is present in every known version of the film dating back to theatrical prints from 1973, it's assumed that it's from a speck of dirt that got into the optical printer when the dissolve between the two shots was created - but although you'd think a small white speck was easy enough to remove, the problem is that the camera is constantly moving, as is the grain, and so it's pretty much impossible to paint it out digitally in such a way that you wouldn't still be aware that something was weird about the shot. A single frame, yes. 850-odd frames, no.

Handily, the damage in The Face of Fu Manchu is right at the extreme left-hand side of the frame, so the cropping makes little difference compositionally - but it's nice to (finally!) be able to see what was originally intended.

Orlac
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#37 Post by Orlac » Fri Oct 30, 2020 7:57 am

I note in "The Guardian Interview with Christopher Lee", from 1994, that he again makes the claim he hadn't made a horror film since TO THE DEVIL, A DAUGHTER. Then what the heck are HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS, HOWLING II, CURSE III and, to a lesser extent, GREMLINS 2?

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MichaelB
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#38 Post by MichaelB » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:00 am

It's a bit late to quibble about that now, surely?

Orlac
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#39 Post by Orlac » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:09 am

Of course It just always ammused me whenever he would make this claim.

Then again, I felt a twinge of sympathy for him when the first question from the audience is essentially "sign my posters!"

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MichaelB
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#40 Post by MichaelB » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:23 am

As a regular Q&A host, I always cringe at stuff like that - just how oblivious do you have to be to waste what's always a very limited amount of time on something so navel-gazing? David Robinson handled that very well, I thought: he shut it down briskly (so briskly that I didn't even have time to insert "(AUDIENCE GROANING)" in the SDH subtitles, but don't think that I wasn't sorely tempted), and moved on.

I had a Q&A a couple of years ago when I was told in no uncertain terms that I had fifteen minutes maximum, and the organisers suggested that I didn't involve the audience. I thought that that would be going a bit too far, so I opened with "OK, I've been told that we have fifteen minutes before the auditorium needs to be cleared. I'm going to let you have half that time for questions, but please keep them short and on-topic. You've probably all been to Q&As before, so you know exactly the kind of thing that people groan at - so please try not to do that here". They behaved impeccably, and in fact it was a really good session.

Orlac
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#41 Post by Orlac » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:11 am

I remember a Doctor Who convention where the first question was for a hug from Colin Baker...which he duly granted to the lady in question, whilst she got some free pics taken by her friends!

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Dr Amicus
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#42 Post by Dr Amicus » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:01 am

I was at a Lee Q&A and he received a really stupid question about his birthday being on or close to Peter Cushing's or Vincent Price's ( I forget the details). That got treated by him with the contempt it deserved and led to him querying with the audience about their birthdays.

Orlac
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#43 Post by Orlac » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:15 am

I'd be too scared to ask him a question!

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tenia
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#44 Post by tenia » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:38 am

I've been at Q&A between video labels professionnals and even those people managed to ask stupid pointless superficial questions. Fortunately though, most of the public Q&A I've attended managed to avoid these kind of rubbish wasted time, though the Francis Ford Coppola one from last year was so bad Thierry Frémaux had to stop taking questions from the attendance and rely on the few actors there to ask more interesting questions instead.

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domino harvey
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#45 Post by domino harvey » Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:00 pm

Image

Orlac
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#46 Post by Orlac » Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:31 am

Interview with Tsai Chin in today's Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/n ... ky-grandma

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Black Hat
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#47 Post by Black Hat » Tue Nov 10, 2020 4:11 am

Ok that's it, seeing DH post a tweet from one of the Red Scare ladies in a thread about the Fu Manchu movies is enough to compel anyone to return, for at least for one post, from lurking. 2020 has done it again!

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reaky
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#48 Post by reaky » Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:03 am

I once saw Michael Haneke sit through one of those interminable disquisitions that have a “Wouldn’t you agree?” appended, to which he responded with a blunt “No.”

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MichaelB
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#49 Post by MichaelB » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:45 am

A typically massive CineOutsider review.

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EddieLarkin
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Re: 201-205 The Fu Manchu Cycle

#50 Post by EddieLarkin » Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:40 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:45 am
A typically massive CineOutsider review.
It's really impressive the extent covered by the extras, and very nice to see so many of the video essays are much longer than is typical. Frayling and Rigby going nearly an hour?! And Thrower not far behind.

I remembered that 6 years ago I actually called for/predicted a set like this would appear from a UK indie one day. Not quite as amibitous as I'd originally hoped, but I think I was far more ignorant back then of licencing realities. In every other aspect though the Indicator set has far exceeded any and all expectations.

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