Tuesday, May 8, 2012
42ND STREET FOREVER: BLU-RAY EDITION Review
Various Countries/Various Years
Directed By: Various
Written By: Various
Color/225 Minutes/Not Rated
The days of old New York, the seedy, grimy, dangerous New York are long gone. No longer is the biggest city in America anything other than a giant tourist attraction and essentially one big advertisement. The streets we saw Frank Zito stalk in Bill Lustig's Maniac have been cleaned up, and you'll be more likely to encounter an overpriced dinner at a chain restaurant than a vigilante who uses a flame thrower to get even with the scum of the city such as in The Exterminator. The bright lights and marquees of the infamous 42nd Street, where only the bravest would dare catch the latest porno flick or gore drenched horror movie that was just too much for the multiplex of the suburbs, have long been dimmed and replaced with boutique shops. It was commonplace to have to fend off the advances of hookers, potential muggers and just plain crazy people to see whatever movie struck your fancy that week. Movie going will never be the same as it was in the 1960s-80s on and around 42nd Street in Manhattan.
Synapse Films was not satisfied with letting the tradition fade in to memory so in 2005 they released the first volume of the 42nd STREET FOREVER series on DVD. This was a 2+ hour compilation of trailers from the films that made the disc's namesake infamous. With everything from The Undertaker And His Pals to Centerfold Girls we were blessed with a chance to discover the previews to these movies, which was often better than the actual movie itself! Now, almost seven years and six volumes later Synapse Films has released 42nd STREET FOREVER: The Blu-Ray edition. This is a 3+ hours (closer to 4) compilation of trailers from across the series to form a best of in HD. Horror, sexploitation, blaxploitation, women in prison, sci-fi, it's all represented here for your enjoyment in the 80+ individual trailers.
The condition of the trailers in 42nd STREET FOREVER: The Blu-Ray Edition were all over the place but Synapse Films has done a nice job of restoring them to a pleasant looking quality while not taking away from their natural film roots. They've also left all of the scratches, dirt and grain present in the trailers which only adds to what is trying to be accomplished. If you want sparkling clean trailers on this set than you're obviously missing the point and this isn't for you. If you appreciate these movies than you probably get it and will appreciate the work done. The transfer is 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen in full HD 1080p. The disc is region ABC.
Like the video side of things, the audio is properly restored while not taking away from the gritty roots of these films. A DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track is lively and clear, without sounding like they tried to pump up things artificially. The alternate track is an audio commentary track that is crisp and clear with no noticable hissing or crackling. The audio levels are spot on for both tracks.
The lone extra is the audio commentary track that was previously mentioned. There are 3 contributors, Edwin Samuelson (AVManiacs), Michael Gingold (Fangoria) and Chris Poggiali (Temple Of Schlock). They work well with one another and the track offers up informative insight on each trailer as they play (except for one that no one wanted to say anything about... I happen to love that film, ha!). There are laughs to be had with the track as the guys have fun and seem to start get a little delusional towards the end of the nearly 4 hour brain melting romp. If there was to be only one special feature on the disc then this was a good choice.
The Bottom Line
If you've never looked into a trailer compilation it may not seem like something that is for you. A couple hour of previews of movies, I get the trepidation. The fact is, at least with the 42nd STREET FOREVER series, is that it's so well put together that it's a blast. Whether you're brave enough to tackle the whole disc in a single sitting or you want to make a movie night awesome by playing trailers before each movie just like a theater there is tons of entertainment here. Pack the fridge full of beer and the couch full of friends and pop in a few trailers during your next movie night and I promise you it'll be great. True movie fans will appreciate the art of the trailer.
42nd STREET FOREVER: The Blu-Ray Edition is available HERE
Film - 8.5/10
Picture - 8/10
Audio - 8/10
Extras - 8/10