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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Jivaro 3-D (Blu-ray)
Jivaro 3-D (Blu-ray)
Kl Studio Classics // Unrated // March 26, 2019 // Region A
List Price: $34.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jesse Skeen | posted March 26, 2019 | E-mail the Author
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Director Edward Ludwig followed up 1953's Sangaree with another 3D movie starring Fernando Lamas for Paramount, but due to all the problems with the format back then it was only shown in flat 2D, unseen in its proper 3D format until 2006's 3-D Film Expo. Bob Furmanek and company at 3-D Film Archive have now once again miraculously produced a restoration for home viewing on 3D Blu-Ray.

Having been produced under a few titles including "Lost Treasure of the Amazon" before ultimately settling on Jivaro for the savage natives of the story, Lamas stars this time as Rio Galdez who runs a trading post in a small South American town inhabited by locals and a few American misfits. He frequently trades with the local Jivaro tribe, as he seems to be the only one who can do so in a civilized manner. It's understood that nobody dare set foot in their territory, as they will immediately attack anyone who does. But some are tempted by the legend that a big stash of gold is hidden there in a place called the Valley of the Winds- some have ventured in and been killed, but others are still determined to find it. Vinny (Morgan Farley), one of Rio's associates, finds a map confirming this but Rio doesn't think it's legit.

Later Rio brings the American fiancé of local Jerry (Richard Denning), Alice Parker (Rhonda Fleming), in for a visit via a lengthy boat trip. Jerry has been away from her for about two years but has exaggerated a bit to her about the fortune he's been making in the area. When they arrive back in town, it turns out that Jerry has already ventured out into Jivaro territory to find the treasure. Rio gets a gang together to venture in and find him, but Alice insists on coming along also. Thus begins the real adventure of this movie, but it takes more than an hour of its 91-minute running time to reach that point. While this is hyped as the main part of the movie, the time it takes to get to it after many dialogue scenes will have many thinking "Get on with it already!" The performances are a bit on the campy side, especially from Lamas who exudes macho-ness and never keeps his chest covered. While this was supposed to be shot on location (and the first movie to do so in 3D), it was actually shot in Hollywood which is rather obvious with the fakeness of the mostly outdoor settings.

The 3D of course is the main attraction of this disc release. As always, 3-D Film Archive has worked miracles to bring us this presentation with resources below those of major studios. What makes the initial 2D theatrical release all the more tragic is that although the use of 3D isn't really exploited, great attention was paid to the distance between the two camera lenses on each shot, known as the interaxial. Most films kept that distance about the same throughout, but here it was adjusted for each individual shot in order to make the effect most pleasing and effective.

Picture and Sound:

Framed at a 1.66 aspect ratio, the picture is very clean for the most part. Color is rather light but this is likely its intended look. The only noticeable imperfection is the dip in quality noticeable in shots that are transitioned using dissolves, an effect common on older films. The 3D doesn't really call attention to itself (the disc does include a 2D viewing option, and viewing it that way it isn't obvious that you're missing anything) but provides a more immersive experience. It's likely that had 3D movie production continued in that era, the emphasis would be more on this immersion than gimmicky "out-of-the-screen" effects- there's only one obvious shot of that here but also a few missed opportunities, and an effort that doesn't quite work (when Rio unpacks some folded fabrics). The 3D is still far stronger than most recent digital 3D productions, and certainly makes you feel more like you're in the actual location rather than just watching it on a screen. A subtle use of 3D is the layering of many shots, placing many objects in the foreground, a middle layer with the main action, and the background behind them. Unfortunately this also makes the fakeness of the studio location and rear-projection effects all the more apparent. Another such subtlety is during scenes involving rain, some of it appearing to be falling in front of the screen. A few shots are set up with the actors walking into the frame, with an interesting effect during the movie's climactic battle.

The mono audio track is presented in 2-channel DTS Master Audio and stays properly centered if you have your sound system set to do so. The quality isn't the best but about on par for a modest production of this vintage; dialogue is reasonably clear but overall it's a bit below high fidelity standards.

Extras:

The lack of a commentary track on the Sangaree disc was a bit disappointing, but that's been made up for here with one with 3-D Film Archive's Jack Theakston and Hillary Hess who share a wealth of information about the movie's 3D photography and other aspects of its production. As in previous Archive commentaries there's a cut-in halfway from Mike Ballew and Greg Kintz with information on how the movie was restored for 3D viewing here although it isn't mentioned how easy it was to find both the left and right eye views given that this was never publicly shown in 3D until 50 years later.

An 8-minute segment from the movie is also presented with a shot-by-shot analysis, with text appearing onscreen showing the date and camera specs on each shot. A 2D trailer for the movie is also included (but the disc is still flagged for 3D so you can keep your glasses on during this, as the display will keep its settings for them and otherwise be too bright) along with a 3D teaser for The Maze and 2D trailers for Cease Fire, Sangaree and Those Redheads from Seattle.

Final Thoughts:

Truth be told Jivaro isn't a great movie, at best it's the sort of lesser-known movie that might have shown up on a UHF station during a weekend afternoon. It's got a bit of charm however, and the actual treasure hunt is pretty exciting once it finally gets going. Fans of 3D, particularly of the "golden age" movies will be very happy to see this though, and purchasing this disc (during a rather troubled time when hardware support for 3D has become absolutely pathetic, with projectors being the only currently available displays that can display it) will ensure that the 3-D Film Archive will be able to give similar treatment to other titles out there and hopefully help the market for equipment availability. Even if you haven't been wow'd too much by the post-2000 3D efforts, many of which have been post-conversions of 2D photography, these vintage titles are reason enough to keep 3D capability on future displays. This is said to be the last Paramount title that Kino Lorber will be able to issue at least for a while; while that studio's label has been rather stingy on older films it's great that they were able to make the 3D releases from Kino possible. Ironically it seems that their own label will no longer be issuing 3D titles- Mission Impossible: Fallout and the forthcoming Bumblebee lack any 3D disc release- hopefully we won't have to wait fifty years to see those in 3D at home (could Paramount just let the 3-D Film Archive handle those if they don't want to bother with them themselves?)

Jesse Skeen is a life-long obsessive media collector (with an unhealthy preoccupation with obsolete and failed formats) and former theater film projectionist. He enjoys watching movies and strives for presenting them perfectly, but lacks the talent to make his own.

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