Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dubs That Time Forgot at AnimeJUMP!

Mike Toole has posted a review of Toei's 1971 animated feature film THE WORLD OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN, a forgotten dub if there ever was one. I'm sorry I haven't kept up with Mike's reviews of old anime oddities, but we'll try to keep you up to date from here on out...

8 comments:

Chris Sobieniak said...

Interesting to think of the weird things you do find for cheap prices.

I rarely buy those type of DVDs myself as I'm not nuts about them. I've seen some "Catcom" DVDs at a Value City location near me once, but I wasn't too interested in take them home, even with the extra crap thrown in such as the extra cartoons and commercials. Reading how this one had the Kool-Aid ad featuring Bugs and the Monkees wasn't too obvious. I have an MPEG of that ad somewhere in my collection. Still it doesn't come close to something like the "Belly Bongo!"

In the case of DVDs like this, you can expect very worn-out pritns utlized, mostly 16mm material, and/or video masters such as those of 3/4" U-Matics or even VHS if taken from some cheaper source. Shame thinking of things that do go into the Public Dormain as you tend to see this sort of thing happen all the time. A few managed to get decent releases, while one or two might just be in the PD due to a simple error such as the title getting misspelled.

One familiar film of yesteryear, "It's a Wonderful Life" used to pop up everywhere until Republic Pictures managed to discover or laid claim to the music in the soundtrack as being copyrighted, and as such, the film has only been seen on one TV network and has only one DVD release in the US. Though I still miss the days when we had companies like Hal Roach Studios put out a colorized version in the '80s. :-)

Last year, someone who once e-mailed me after reading some of my Usenet posts told me she had the licensing rights to two of Toei's animated features, "Tatsu no ko taro" (Taro the Dragon Boy), and "Dobutsu takarajima" (Animal Treasure Island). She asked me for copies of these films in English for which I gave her, and she wanted to know where could she find a 16mm copy of Treasure Island since she wanted to incldue the English track on the DVD she wanted to release, for which I didn't have any leagues other than telling her to check eBay. Apparently she felt I was some animation nut that I was going to devote a lot of time on this such as doing linear notes for the DVD cover (I was flattered by that). I haven't gotten back with her about it, and I'm not sure if the project went any further at all.

Personally, if I had my own label, I'd release one of Toei's classics, "Puss 'n Boots"! So far I had to pick up (possibly illegit) a Russian DVD of the film that contains a Japanese 5.1 track along with a Russian track that is essentially the dialogue spoken over the Japanese soundtrack (most Eastern European dubs do this). While the disc was encoded for whatever region it served, the video itself wasn't PAL as stated on the box, but looked like they ported the Japanese NTSC master instead, so I didn't have to content to typical converting crap on my DVD players.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=617&item=6379445863

If I ever get around to doing so, I'd love to put out an English version using my own VHS copy of this film along with the DVD to produce a widescreen edition! That would rock! Too bad I'm probably the only one ever interested in doing so!

Anonymous said...

Actually, I've already done this. The only problem is, the source video I used was grabbed off the net-- it's not true widescreen (it's 4:3 with letterboxes) and it's only 352x240. The audio synchs up very well, though-- only had to make a few cuts and stretches to get everything in synch.

I'll need to get the Japanese Puss DVD to make a good-looking version. Currently I'm giving the same treatment to Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon, which is MUCH more difficult-- lots of weird little cuts in the dubbed version. The English audio is in bad shape, too. :-(

--Mike Toole

Chris Sobieniak said...

Thanks for the ifno. Well I know I could do a much better job on my area, given that I do have the DVD of the Russian Puss 'n Boots bootleg or whatever to work with. If I knew how to use Adobe Encore, I bet I could find a way to author a DVD with both Japanese and English tracks accordingly! That would kick ass!

Would be neat to try that with "Animal Treasure Island" if I ever do find a 16mm copy that was free from splices (figured most would be worn out by now), as well as a copy on DVD of the widescreen edition.

In collecting things on 16mm. I've been able to find a few intersting things, such as a version of "Panda & The Magic Serpent" that is the dubbed edition, but features English "dubtitles" on the screen, leading me to believe this must've been made for the hearing impaired or some purpose. I've also found two episodes of a show Sunrise produced in the mid '70s called "Kum Kum" and one episode of an adaptation of "The Yearling" that was distributed by MGM in the '80s in some markets (don't think any US station aired it).

Sometimes I find some real novelties that otherwise don't get brought up much, such as a film that was put out by Encylopeadia Britannica in the late '50s called "Korochan the Little Bear", an animated piece mostly dealing with safety and other typical problems kids would face. Another 16mm piece that I remember a lot from childhood was "The Rolling Rice Ball", produced in stop-motion. Haven't seen that film yet, as I rarely use my 16mm projectors as much, usually to save on bulbs as I don't have much resources to utilze much anymore.

davehellmerrill said...

I don't wanna say I doubt that the woman has the rights to "Animal Treasure Island", but it's strange how every other film from that era and from that distributor is in the public domain, or is owned by whoever bought out AIP - Orion - New World's catalog.

Carl Horn mentioned something similar about someone talking to him about "Little Norse Prince", and nothing's come of that either. I think these are people sniffing out anything Miyazaki worked on, in the hopes of cashing in.

The Catcom DVDs are great in that they're DVDs of things that ordinarily would not get a DVD release, but there's not a lot of effort put into restoration.

Chris Sobieniak said...

QUOTE:
>>At 5:23 PM, davehellmerrill said…
I don't wanna say I doubt that the woman has the rights to "Animal Treasure Island", but it's strange how every other film from that era and from that distributor is in the public domain, or is owned by whoever bought out AIP - Orion - New World's catalog.>>

That's quite true. I think MGM currently has the AIP/Orion catalog (whatever's left of it perhaps). Not sure about New World though.

>>Carl Horn mentioned something similar about someone talking to him about "Little Norse Prince", and nothing's come of that either. I think these are people sniffing out anything Miyazaki worked on, in the hopes of cashing in.>>

I'm only surprised someone hasn't pounced on getting the rights to release "Future Boy Conan" here, I'd love to release that!

>>The Catcom DVDs are great in that they're DVDs of things that ordinarily would not get a DVD release, but there's not a lot of effort put into restoration.>>

That's true. Other times there are those companies that try to do soemthing unique or different in order to assume copyright over a product such as the "digital restoration" method with at times isn't anything like what you would expect from a decent company to do. Worst we've had for the past few years might include DVDs of PD cartoons that have their soundtracks redone in 5.1 surround that adds in additiona sound effects or whatever else ruin the original integrity of said film.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Thinking about the Public Dormain thing a little, it reminded me of the many companies that have released the Abbot & Costello version of "Jack & The Beanstalk" which wasn't terribly a great print but one I still liked watching none the less. A close friend of mine at Film Threat did an article you can read here.
http://www.filmthreat.com/Features.asp?Id=1156

Yet what makes it rather funny is seeing this film pop up on Turner Classic Movies a few times in what appeas to be a very decent edition (also a Turner logo is seen in the opening). Perhaps Time Warner currently owns the film but since it was never renewed, we're stuck with a lot of PD copies galore.

davehellmerrill said...

I believe it's Time Warner that owns the MGM catalog, actually. Jeff Martin from The Right Stuf contacted them about Prince Planet, and they responded by saying that they weren't interested in doing anything with the property, and that it would cost more in legal fees to even find out about transferring the rights than anybody was willing to spend. So they're in kind of legal limbo.

I'm pretty sure that Time/Warner wouldn't lift a finger to protect their trademark on any of these old shows; Something Weird has released two episodes of Prince Planet so far and I don't think they got in any trouble.

Future Boy Conan's rights are probably tied up in about six different places; Alexander Key's estate would probably have to give approval or something.

Chris Sobieniak said...

>>At 11:11 PM, davehellmerrill said…

I believe it's Time Warner that owns the MGM catalog, actually.>>

Technically, Time Warner I think owns the MGM library up to the mid '80s. Everything MGM produced afterwards is still owned by themselves. Ted Turner bought out MGM in '86, but sold the studio to some Italian guy a year later, but kept the films himself (under the banner, "Turner Entertainment Co.", which can still be seen on most WB titles of the MGM material). OTOH, MGM as it stands today is a shell of it's former self, but managed to buy into a few othe libraries over the years such as the Orion/AIP library.

Some message board members I know over at a web forum had to go through telling this every now and then to some clueless newbies.

>>Jeff Martin from The Right Stuf contacted them about Prince Planet, and they responded by saying that they weren't interested in doing anything with the property, and that it would cost more in legal fees to even find out about transferring the rights than anybody was willing to spend. So they're in kind of legal limbo.>>

That sucks! I guess a fundraiser isn't in order then if that's not gonna help! (don't know why I even said that, but there's always some obsessive fan that does his part to be an a$$hole in the bunch)

>>I'm pretty sure that Time/Warner wouldn't lift a finger to protect their trademark on any of these old shows; Something Weird has released two episodes of Prince Planet so far and I don't think they got in any trouble.>>

Still haven't bought that DVD I once spotted at Best Buy or some place.

>>Future Boy Conan's rights are probably tied up in about six different places; Alexander Key's estate would probably have to give approval or something.>>

Perhaps. I just find myself feeling jealous for a few places in the world that already has the series released on DVD. I had to download the Italian version a while ago (alongside the fansub I got previously). It's such a good series that I have to keep watching it over and over.

I feel TOO old-skool!