So per usual, I rewatched the original again before watching bob's edit. I also avoided reading any reviews of his edit as well as his cutlist and intention (all I knew was black and white and 4:3 AR).
I remember really enjoying The Shadow as a kid. I thought it was a cool movie. But this was the first time I'd seen it in at least 15 years. So as I rewatched it, my mind was already working thinking of what I would cut or change to improve the movie.
Enter: The Shadow Strikes. Very cool DVD menu! And the edit itself...bionicbob, to quote Chris from Family Guy: "get outta my head!" I love that you removed the intro scene with the flying posessed dagger in Tibet and all that jazz. Worked perfectly to just use the flashback stuff. And having the movie start with The Shadow dealing with some bad guys is definitely a stronger start to the movie.
Also have to say you did an awesome job removing all the horrible humor in this movie. "Nice tie, Brooks Brothers, is that midtown?" God, I wanted to puke when I heard that crap. So glad that was removed!
The 4:3 and B&W definitely worked for this movie since it takes place in the 30s or 40s IIRC? It could have easily remained widescreen and color, but those changes that bob made worked fine for me.
This is the first bionicbob fanedit that I've ever seen. (Unfortunately the source material/subject matter of most of his edits have been movies or shows that I have either never seen or am not a fan of). But I thoroughly enjoyed this edit.
The editing was invisible to me. Audio and Video quality was up to par, although there was some graininess and dots and lines at various points on the video ;)
I hope that some of your future projects also cover material that I'm a fan of as I'd love to see more of your work! Well done bionicbob!
bionicbob is not only a very active member of the fanediting community but a very prolific releaser of high quality edits of films that I often find near and dear.
It has been many a year since I last watched the original film, but I remember enjoying it on VHS more than once; and while it features a very well constructed plot that I often found vaguely reminiscent of the serial type adventure of the Indiana Jones entries from the 80s, it is elevated with some great production value and quite a good direction. But flawed by a shall we say, somewhat distracted performances from the leads actors and it suffers from a few excesses that thankfully Bob has remedied with this release:
A/V quality, I have to say I really enjoyed the Black and White treatment - it fits the time period, look and film of the movie perfectly. And with it, one of the 90s excesses I mentioned has been resolved in one fell swoop: the somewhat over the top coloring of the film is thankfully gone for good, and the experience is all the better for it.
The inclusion of classic radio clips as a framing device is a dead on way to introduce a character like the Shadow and the editing is completely seamless, and given that the original source is a years old DVD encode I applaud what has been accomplished on this edit.
However I did notice some slight stretching of the frame to the sides throughout the edit, and perhaps this is an issue of the original encode and not much can be done about it. - All in all a solid 9/10.
Visual Editing - Not a single noticeable cut, the whole edit flows completely unhindered and its quite enjoyable. As mentioned,I enjoyed the The B&W treatment quite a bit, and some added effects were added on top - scratches and marks here and there that I understand are meant to give a period piece look and feel, but felt just a tad too much at times (such as when Cranston is being driven by his loyal Cabbie associate/friend), nothing too hindering but I wish they'd be toned down juuust a little bit. 9/10
Audio Edition - In a word : perfect. As mentioned, some Radio clips were seamlessly added on top of a brand new credits sequence that fits perfectly with the edit; a very few scenes from the main feature were suppressed and I couldn't find a single noticeable change. 10/10
Narrative - The narrative from the original is pretty much intact, and it's a good thing; the quite flat tension release humor is completely gone and the most over the top scenes involving Lamont Cranston's dubious past were smartly trimmed down to show the audience what is necessary to follow the plot. 10/10
Enjoyment - A real pleasure, I enjoyed the experienced thoroughly for the reasons already exposed. 10/10
In shot, another not to be missed quality release from bionicbob, congrats :)
A slew of retro movies came out in the 90s, doubtless inspired by the Indiana Jones series. Where the Jones’ movies were rooted in action oriented cliffhangers, the 90s era films, Dick Tracy, The Phantom, Rocketeer, and The Shadow, among others, harked back to 30s pulps and comics. I saw the later films theatrically and was disappointed by each. Eventually, I bought Tracy and Shadow on laserdisc for a buck each.
The Shadow could have, and ought to have been, an excellent ride. Alec Baldwin had more screen charisma in his role than Beatty, Zane, Campbell, or much later, Jude Law. He and Penelope Miller also sparked undeniable chemistry, perhaps not romantic, but they definitely worked as a couple. Then there was the set design and costumes, all top notch.
Unfortunately, the movie was undermined by poor writing and sloppy direction. The Shadow seemed aimed at eight year olds, circa 1950s. The narrative was gauzed in fuzzy, misplaced nostalgia. No one bought in, not adults, not teens, not children. By the 90s, we were all much too sophisticated.
Bionic Bob has done a remarkable job, raising the enjoyment several levels. The black and white sheen is perfect, not only with the Manhattan set design, but with characters, especially in gowns and tuxedos. What cuts Bob made, I could not tell, yet the narrative flows quicker and seems less silly than I remember.
The sound mix was a dynamic, often aggressive, two channel LPCM. Too loud during action sequences (drew comments from others in the room), too quiet with dialogue. I ended up using headphones. I hate suggesting this, especially as a music geek, but I think normalized audio might have worked here.
The black and white seemed inconsistent. Pristine sharp in some scenes, soft focus in others, and scratchy and dirty in others. I didn’t mind, but every time a scratch appeared I noticed.
Aside from those quibbles, BB’s The Shadow Strikes! is a classy improvement, easily recommended.
Bionic Bob has prevented a fanedit from ever being created.
Because The Shadow is one I had been considering to edit some day, and in a way that'd be very similar to this: B&W, cutting out bad humor, removing the opening. It wouldn't have been the exact same thing, but close enough.
However, The Shadow Strikes leaves me so happy that I no longer feel the need to do it myself. THIS is The Shadow for me now.
The original is, I think, a very mediocre movie, but with much to like in it: gorgeous production design and costumes, a cast of supporting players to die for, an amazing Jerry Goldsmith score, and of course the fact that it's about The Shadow. The original Batman! But it was weighed down by a weak script, stock Hollywood shoehorned humor, and uninvolved and uninvolving lead performances. I know Bob disagrees, but I find Baldwin wooden and dull in this role, and the attempted Nick and Nora dynamics fal flat because he and Penelope Ann Miller never achieve a millionth of the sparks Powell and Loy created. As such, I might have reduced that a bit for the edit. But the rest? Huge improvement overall. Removing the opening not only spares us the sight of Baldwin in a silly wig, but enhances the character by making him more mysterious, we don't exactly know how this Ying Ko was and why he is so legendary, which certainly beats presenting him as a skinny Jabba the Hutt cosplaying as Fu Manchu. And don't get me started about the one-liners. “Next time you get to be on top”? WHAT?
Being that this movies is the 1990s (expensive) equivalent to the 1930s and 40s (cheap) B-movies, it not only looks great in B&W but also gets an aesthetic that completely embraces its origins. I would have even gone more extreme in the contrast/brightness tweaking to make it more era-appropriate, but it's nice enough as it is. Extra features are a nice addition, particularly one of them gives us both a lot of great Shadow covers AND the removed Original Sin song! What's not to like?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'd love to live in a parallel universe in which Bionic Bob's edits play in drive-ins. They deliver exactly the kind of fun good B-movies are supposed to deliver. Thanks so much for making them!
It took me a long time to finally see the theatrical version of The Shadow. For some reason it always looked like a poor knock-off of Burton’s Batman which had jumped on the bandwagon and arrived too late. In fact, it was only when I heard Bob was lending his skills to a fanedit, that I finally picked up the DVD to watch it.
My fears were partly confirmed by viewing the normal cut. Perhaps not necessarily in the “Burton Batman” comparison, but whilst I enjoyed certain aspects of the movie such as the excellent production design and Jerry Goldsmith’s majestic score, director Russell Mulcahy struggles to consistently engage the viewer with too many moments coming across as flat and rather uninspiring. Some of the blame must also lay with David Koep’s average script.
However, Bob’s said intention to inject some life into the film, to bring out the best elements was more than enticing enough to make me want to see The Shadow Strikes!
Firstly, the change to black and white does absolute wonders for the film. Whether it’s because the film noir style lends itself naturally to the old fashioned “serial” feel of The Shadow character, or just that it gives the film a little more gravitas, I’m not entirely sure.
There’s little doubt that the film benefits from an injection of urgency too. Some expert invisible cutting is evident here, creating a Shadow which feels more energetic and fun. Granted, the original cut was not particularly over long in its running time, but it had the feeling of a film dragging its heels – never a good thing. Thankfully, Bob has eradicated this problem, even managing to make Baldwin more convincing in the title role.
Granted, the film still has problems. It still can’t quite leap off the screen at you with the kind of vibrance or excitement which you so desperately want it to have. However, Bob’s version is a vast improvement and unquestionably is now my “go to” version. The Shadow Strikes, indeed! ;)