Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Max Fleischers Superman: Collector's Edition

Max Fleischers Superman: Collector's EditionProduced during 1941-42, the classic Superman cartoons of Max and Dave Fleischer remain among the finest works in animation history. Unfortunately, their public-domain status has resulted in several DVD compilations of variable quality. Bosko's "Diamond Anniversary Edition" is the best Superman disc available. All 17 cartoons are uncut and presented in the order of their original theatrical release. However, it should be noted that the Fleischers were responsible for the first 10 Superman cartoons (including "Japoteurs"), with the remaining shorts produced by Famous Studios during 1942-43. Despite a few memorable efforts, such as "Jungle Drums" and "The Underground World," the Famous animators were unable to duplicate the Fleischer magic. Since the cartoons were expensive to produce, it was no surprise that Paramount and DC Comics agreed to end the series after two years. Still, the best Superman shorts "The Mechanical Monsters" (1941) and "The Bulleteers" (1942) are mini-masterpieces that evoke the comic-book spirit better than any live-action film. The print quality of Bosko's Superman disc is excellent, even though a first-generation master of "Terror on the Midway" has yet to surface.

Having seen a number of the early Superman cartoons on other "public domain" compilations, I can say with confidence, DON'T BUY THE OTHERS!!! Bosko Video has a reputation for putting out high quality products and this collection is nothing less than fantastic. The images are superbly clear and the audio is nearly flawless (no, there are NO new or altered sound effects added).

As much as I love the continuing modern adventures of super heros like Superman, Batman, and Spiderman, the earlier stories and artwork for each hero have always been my favorites. The Fleischer cartoons capture the early art-deco look and feel of the original Superman / Action Comics era. The artwork is great and the stories are timeless. This is the series that spawned the well know lines: "Faster than a speeding bullet...... More powerful than a to leap tall buildings in a single bound.....Superman" These cartoons are the epitome of early American comic book heros.

The only complaints I have (and really, this is nothing) is that each episode starts with an added supscript "Originally Released October 1942" for a few seconds. Having this appear before the cartoon starts at all would have been better instead of inserting over the actual film itself. It would have been better suited to a booklet, which leads to my other complaint. There is no booklet. They do make up for it with a nice video intro regarding Superman and the cartoon series however.

This set is a real steal for the price, and it contains all of the early episodes, complete and fully restored. I would suggest this set for fans who prefer the early look of comic book heros, art deco animation, and Superman in general. Fans of period-look films like The Iron Giant or Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow will also love this (especially when Superman fights robots). Fleisher cartoons have always been great, but all too often the are butchered in the public domain. This is a rare example of Fleisher's work presented in such quality.

Buy Max Fleischers Superman: Collector's Edition Now

Superman The Ultimate Max Fleischer Cartoon Collection. Hitting the DVD battlefield to conquer your pocketbook is yet another version of the 17 cartoons produced by Fleischer/Paramount studios from 1941-43. Up to now the only version worth having was the Bosko video release called The Complete Superman Cartoons Diamond Anniversary Edition My only complaint about that DVD was the inclusion of the date of each cartoons release super-imposed over the opening of each cartoon. Now about VCI's new release Superman The Ultimate Max Fleischer Cartoon Collection. Using the word "Ultimate" is dangerous. It raises ones expectations to see the best possible release of these wonderful cartoons. VCI slightly misses the mark. The majority of the cartoons are indeed great to look at, but I find it strange that the music at the end of almost every cartoon is the same. That would not be annoying if it were not for the fact that each of the cartoons originally had different and uniquely individual fade out music. The most annoying part of the presentation are the two cartoons TERROR ON THE MIDWAY and THE MUMMY STRIKES. I was awed to see that the opening of TERROR ON THE MIDWAY looked far inferior visually to the version seen on Boskos release. VCIs attempt to cover the defects in the very opening of the cartoon, (Emulsion scratches etc. since no other pre-print has popped up) the VCI editors chose to freeze frame a series of shots that were originally seen in a slow pan. This is not only startling to see but destroys the artistic integrity of the short. MUMMY STRIKES suffers the same quality drop visually. The remainder look excellent. The extras are very enjoyable. The audio interview with Joan Alexander (The voice of Lois Lane on the radio and in the great 1966 Superman Animated series as well) gives some very enjoyable memories of her career. There is a Kirk Alyn Superman Serial trailer from 1948 that looks o.k. And the inclusion of the "Bonis" cartoon SNAFUPERMAN is o.k. but it looks like it was lifted from a previous Laserdisc release. All in all for a retail of $9.99 (With a pre-order from Amazon of $6.99, it is worth the price.....but not Ultimate. The Ultimate Max Fleischer Cartoon Collection is available May 30th.

Read Best Reviews of Max Fleischers Superman: Collector's Edition Here

First off, I thought I was seeing things when the disc starts out with an ad for all this New Age slop. The company is called GAIAM and boy, do I hate them. Their logo can be seen on the lower right side of the screen throughout the discs. The sound is completely off. Lois' mouth moves to Clark Kent's voice in many scenes. There is no excuse for such sloppiness. Everyone involved with this should be ashamed of themselves. They have completely disrespected these cartoons. How could they release this with such obvious flaws? It's just ignorant. Do not buy this.

Want Max Fleischers Superman: Collector's Edition Discount?

This will be to the point:

Sound is out of sync.

Company logo is distracting.

Dust and imperfections are still present, so the presentation is not pristine, as described.

I recommend the same 17 episodes found on the Warner Brothers DVD set for better quality and price.

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