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.
I'm a huge fan of the Shadow as a character in the comics, novels / magazine stories, and radio dramas. The film in 1994 was such a let down to what could have been. When I read about what this edit was trying to do I had to see it. Thanks to lapis molari for their excellent work here.
There were three elements of change I really felt watching this version: the credits, the flashbacks, and the tone. The first is the most obvious. The new title sequences were expertly done and with pinache. Wonderful shots of the comics were a fantastic introduction to the film which itself was trying to keep some of that sequential art vibe. The choice to split up the flashbacks in parts into the various dream sequences was also a relief. We didn't really miss out on anything from the material left on the cutting room floor, and the pacing was drastically improved. Finally the tonality work, cutting some poor humor choices, trimming shots, and so on, did a nice job trying to pull the strings together.
Sadly, as lapis molari notes in the edit description, there's only so much that can be done with the source material. The writers missed opportunities to dive into the Shadow's network of agents and show them as his investigative strength. There could have been much more emphasis placed on his ethical choices and what it means to be irredeemable, yet struggling. Honestly, the franchise deserves another shot on screen. For as many times as they've rebooted Batman, the Shadow could bring something truly wonderful to the big screen.
But until then, this fan edit will have to suffice. Well done.
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.
As someone who grew listening to the radio shows on the KNX Drama Hour, an L.A. news radio station that played old time radio at night, I was super excited about this! I only watched a few of the TV episodes, but certainly watched the 94 film and liked it very much. Though I liked it, it always felt it was missing some of the grit of the old radio/tv versions. As well as a lil too much fluff and not enough left to the imagination.
This fanedit did the trick and is highly recommended for any Shadow fan!
Technically speaking it is very well done and nothing stood out that took me out of the watching experience (which is always my benchmark for me from the technical side). I will say and I get it, it's done 4:3 for the old timey feel, but I would have loved it 16:9. With our monster TVs these days, it's just more enveloping and (IMO) makes a better viewing experience.
Thanks for your hard work and sharing this Lapis!
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyFebruary 20, 2022
You grew up with the old radio shows? That is awesome! Thanks for the positive review.
I need to correct one detail: the aspect ratio is 16:9 (a.k.a. 1.78:1) not 4:3.
The Shout Factory blu-ray opens-up the matte from the theatrical release of 1.85:1, so we get a little more information at the top and bottom. See a comparison of blu-ray releases at www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare/shadow.htm and testsbluray.com/2021/10/07/test-blu-ray-the-shadow.