I had done a fan edit of The Shadow many years ago, and had been quietly planning on doing a Redux version in HD....
...but now, I don't really have to as Lapis Molari's fan edit pretty much checks most of my boxes.
This is a very solid and entertaining fan edit. The audio and video quality is excellent. No jarring technical issues such as flash frames were noticed.
Most of the cringey/inappropriate humour has been expertly cut. Lines like "oh that knife" has been seamless removed. Though as Saltl4f3 commented there is one brief sequence where a line of awful dialogue by the Shadow was simply muted it and covered with music, when a simple cut would have worked a bit smoother.
To maintain the mystery of The Shadow, Molari removed the prologue origin and then re-wove it into movie at different points as flashbacks. While I am uncertain if all the chosen imagery works or if the flashbacks play a bit too modern (I think a soft focus framing might have worked better to fit with 1930s film production style), the idea is brilliant and improves the narrative tremendously.
Overall, a FUN fan edit that left me yearning for me. So I guess, in the end, I am HAPPY! lol
For me the question was not whether this edit would replace the theatrical cut for me, because that was already achieved by Bionic Bob's "The Shadow Strikes!" many years ago. The question was if this would be able to replace Bob's version. And the verdict is: it ultimately doesn't, but comes real close to doing so, and in any case stands proudly next to it.
On one hand, this has the advantage to being HD (which is both a blessing and a curse, given how terribly fake some of the backdrops look in hi-res), but on the other I tend to agree more with Bob's cuts, particularly the exchange about the tie. Yes, I know it was personal preference to keep it, and I get the intentions behind it (the old radio show inserted product placement this way), but for me it feels incredibly out of place. A good idea for me would have been keeping Khan asking about the tie, as it fits nicely with the "Nice tie" in a later scene (showing that Khan is loving modern American fashions just as he loved American bourbon), but then cutting to Lamont calling him a barbarian, without playing along. But again, personal preference is always respectable.
On the other hand, I absolutely LOVED the way the opening scenes were inserted as flashbacks. That was brilliantly executed (this did beat Bob in this aspect). I also appreciated the pulp covers in the new credits sequence, even if I would have wished for a few small tweaks. For instance, have the background fade to black under the title exactly when the music theme's strongest part kicks in and not slightly after, to give it more force. Incidentally, while I like the music Bob used for his opening, Goldsmith's awesome main theme (aka The Poppy Fields) is always welcome back.
UPDATE: After my original review, lapis molari went back and straightened out the technical issues I originally pointed out for a version 2 that's already uploaded. Except for the fact that the 1930s Universal logos remain pixelated due to a lower quality source, but that's very minor. The new version of the problematic "Next time you get to be on top" works much better, and of course gone is the flash frame. Now what was a very good edit already, turns into an excellent one. Highly recommended for every fan of pulp-style narratives.
And a big thank you for including subtitles! Since English is not my first language, having subs always makes things a lot easier for me.
Owner's replyJuly 15, 2021
Version 2 is ready with two improvements:
- removed loose frame in water tank (how embarrassing!), and
- trimmed the shot of the muted line "Next time you get to be on top" down to only 24 frames.
What a good edit! This is easily the best form the movie has seen. It feels significantly closer to the pulps and does a wonderful job of getting rid of some of the awful jokes and flaws of the film. Highly recommended to anyone who even saw anything good that stood out to them in the original film. This is an objective improvement, and it is created very lovingly.
I had, totally coincidentally, recently re-watched 1994's "The Shadow" for the first time in well over a decade and walked away feeling it was a movie that could be improved with a solid re-edit. Lo and behold, I stumble across "The Shadow Knows" and find Lapis Molari has addressed every issue I had with the film! The movie now starts where it logically should, in New York, and the at times painful prologue sequence has been excised and repurposed as dream sequences. Well done! The new opening credit sequence is creative and well-implemented, and considering I'd just seen the theatrical cut recently I was astounded at how seamless the cuts were.
As noted in the change notes, the most noticeable - for me, probably because I'd just seen the theatrical cut - are the cuts to the finale, which do make it feel a bit rushed but it works well despite that. My biggest nitpick is something the editor could do nothing about: the fanedit is in 1.78:1 aspect ratio as presented in the Shout Factory blu-ray and not the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Aside from that, excellent!
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyJuly 15, 2021
The Shout Factory bluray changed the 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio into 1.78:1 by opening up the matte (nothing was cut left or right, instead a little was added top and bottom). If you prefer the theatrical ratio, you can crop the edit to match it.
An excellent bit of restructuring, showing off the magic of what opening in medias res can do for a film. The Alec Baldwin Shadow was never going to be a masterpiece, but Lapis Molari almost gets it there (the bitey knife out of some low-tier Monty Python routine and Penelope Ann Miller are, sadly, insurmountable problems). The film's desire to showcase Shadow's proto-Batman qualities instead of leaning more heavily into his radio presentation as more of a Thin Man/Sherlock Holmes-style detective with a knack for hypnosis doesn't do the character a lot of favours on the silver screen where the Dark Knight will always cut a more impressive visual, but at least Lamont Cranston makes a valiant go of it, and Lapis' edit centers on the best aspects of the movie, namely the cinematography, the genuinely charismatic and charming villain and Peter Boyle's affable cabbie sidekick.
After watching this edit, I wanted to see a 90's-movie pulp hero universe play out with Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy, Billy Zane's Phantom, The Rocketeer... definitely not a feeling I had on my viewing of the original cut. The fact that I wanted more of this movie is a testament to Lapis' skill at re-shaping a movie into something fresh and enticing.