Twilight Time Blu-ray: First Men in the Moon (1964) / Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

First Men in the Moon (1964) / Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

Blu-ray Company: Twilight Time

Men on the Moon: Starring:  Lionel Jeffries, Miles Malleson, Edward Judd, Martha Hyer, Norman Bird

Journey to the Center of the Earth: Starring:  Pat Boone, James Mason, Arlene Dahl, Diane Baker, Thayer David, Alan Napier

Plot: First Men in the Moon: A modern-day U.N. lunar mission which discovers—lo and behold!—that a motley little 19th-century human crew has beaten them to it. The intrepid explorers, encountering everything from a giant centipede to some particularly nasty oversize insectoid creatures.

Plot: Journey to the Center of the Earth: An Edinburgh professor and assorted colleagues follow an explorer's trail down an extinct Icelandic volcano to the earth's center.

My Review and Thoughts:

Films: 4/5

Here is two imaginative adventures that only the olden days of movie making could do. In today’s cinema world, tricks and special effects are done with computer animation and a flick of the wrist on a keyboard. These two films where old school, stop motion or trick of the camera brilliance with amazing sets and costumes. I grew up loving films with stop motion animation, or people in rubber costumes. I am a diehard fan of giant monster films and most of all Ray Harryhausen. Ray had apart in creating one of the films I am reviewing, First Men in the Moon. Both these films are a magical journey of exploration of the imaginative mind. The childhood adventures and make believe, come to life with these two extraordinary films of fancy. I remember first seeing, First Men in the Moon, at a Sat. Matinee during my childhood. A local theater would run double features for kids or adults, mainly geared, to children out of school in the summer time. For a dollar, you got two features, and about 10 cartoons on the big screen. This was in the glorious 80’s and if you brought a canned food item, for the poor, you got a bag of popcorn free.

My first adventure with, First Men in the Moon, is a grand memory of my childhood days. I never had a good childhood, I was abused in many horrible ways at the hands of an adult, but my one true escape, was the wonders of cinema. My childhood mind could block away the horrors of my life, and take a trip into wonders, fantasy, adventure, and these two films, First Men in the Moon and Journey to the Center of the Earth are pivotal parts of my childhood. Believe it or not, Cinema in a sense saved my life. Cinema gave me an outlet to feel safe, or at least for a couple hours to wash away my torment. I was able to adventure inside the stories and hide away from my pain.

I first saw Journey to the Center of the Earth the same way as, First Men in the Moon. The double bill matinee. I am so excited that I have been given the chance and opportunity to experience these two wonderful, imaginative creations of storybook wonderment, brought to life, once again by the amazing company, Twilight Time with two wonderful Blu-ray's. Two masterful examples of created perfection for old school cinema.

These two Blu-ray’s are cinema perfection. Both imaginative pieces of cinema. Lovingly transferred, and fixed, and beautified on a new outlet of clarity. Both of these have 5,000 Unit pressing’s. These old school pieces of science fiction bliss, should be sought out.

First Men in the Moon was adapted from one of the greatest writers of fantasy and science fiction to ever grace the written world, none other than H.G. Wells. Journey to the Center of the Earth was adapted by another one of my all-time favorite writers, Jules Verne. Both equally brilliant in telling fanciful stories of the adventurous imagination of our dreams.

First Men in the Moon is one of my favorites, because Ray Harryhausen had a part in creating the film. This wild trip to the moon is mixed with camera tricks and amazing sets, and imaginative ideas, of what the moon is. The book was written in 1901 and the film came to light for the wonders of cinema in 1964. This is a film of the old school lover of science fiction and the dreamer of make believe. A great film for kids and the family. Wonderful acting by the whole cast. The characters come to life in fanciful ways, and the adventure, and exploration of the moon, through their actions, lend to the science fiction wonderment of the film. Directed by an amazing director. A director that has done some of the great’s of my childhood, such as, the sci-fi B-movie classic, 1957’s The Deadly Mantis. Nathan Juran directed so many from my double bill, Saturday Matinee films of cheesy excellence, or a late night, all night, Drive-in flare, that he was so good at. From, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Brain from Planet Arous, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. He not only did feature films, he did some of the great sci-fi TV series, such as, The Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and my personal all-time favorite, Land of the Giants. He was a multi-talented director from Western’s, to dramas, to the mastery of Science Fiction. First Men in the Moon is his prime example of thee golden art-form in creating wonderment's, for the mind and the imagination.

First Men in the Moon stars the wonderful Lionel Jeffries. An important actor that should always be remembered. From TV to main features, he was a performer that could grace cinema in any style character he brought to life. Sometimes a side character, or a doctor, or someone that was part of the situation, but always in masterly form. He was a perfect character actor in many of his roles. Also starring another passionate performer, Norman Bird. He had a vast career in movies, and in TV. I will always remember him as the voice of Bilbo Baggins in the 1978’s animated version of, The Lord of the Rings. Acting in close to 200 performances, he was a true and stable performer. He had a mastery of his characters, and his character of Stuart in, The First Men in the Moon, is no different. Also starring the very beautiful and stunning Martha Hyer and Betty McDowall, two amazing actresses that graced the cinema world, both big and small, and there memories in the history of cinema will never be forgotten.

Journey to the Center of the Earth is also another adventure into the realm of imagination, childhood wonder and the adult side of exploration. Another fanciful story and also film. Written by the amazing Jules Verne and originally published in 1864. The film is wonderfully directed by Henry Levin. Levin was best known for his comedies, such as, 1962’s If a Man Answers, 1960’s Where the Boys Are, 1959’s The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacke. He also worked alongside Horror and Giallo filmmaking master Mario Bava for the 1961 Fantasy film, The Wonders of Aladdin, but in reality, it is, Journey to the Center of the Earth that he is best known for.

This stars the wonderful James Mason. Mason is one of my all-time favorite actors. He had a style and attitude toward his characters that few actors have. There is a sophisticated reality toward his persona's. His character of Sir Oliver S. Lindenbrook in Journey to the Center of the Earth is no different. Well over 150 acting performances in his career. 

Gracing such amazing pieces of cinema as, 1954’s A Star is Born, 1950’s North by Northwest, 1962’s masterpiece, Lolita. His long career from the 1930’s till 1985 was a mix of high class performances. Many will know him from some of his most famous roles, Nazi Erwin Rommel in 1951’s The Desert Fox, and the other that I love him in, 1954’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, where he plays the famous character Captain Nemo. I also am a huge fan of 1978’s The Boys from Brazil where Mason is golden in the part of Eduard Seibert. But in all his career, I think it would be his role in Stephen King’s masterpiece TV movie 1979’s Salem’s Lot playing Straker that I always end up remembering. Now he also acted in another film that Twilight Time graced with their amazing Limited Edition Blu-ray, the wonderful War, Action Drama, 1966’s The Blue Max READ MY REVIEW HERE.

Journey to the Center of the Earth also stars the beautiful and stunning Arlene Dahl playing the part of Carla Goetabaug. She started in the 60’s becoming a television regular, playing pivotal characters in Burke’s Law, Love Boat and others. She is possibly best known now for writing and also becoming her own business woman creating and running Arlene Dahl Enterprises. Her products consisted of Lingerie and makeup. Now here is a little trivia for all you cinema buffs out there that might not know this, she is the mother to action star and b-movie icon, Lorenzo Lamas. Also another little trivia is her granddaughter Shayne Lamas, was a part of the 2002 TV reality show, The Bachelor, and was picked at the end of the show as the winner. Whatever Dahl was a part of, she is a stunningly beautiful and vibrant actress that owns anything she performed in. Her last acting was in 1999, but she makes TV appearances as herself quite often in TV programs or documentary’s. Currently as of this writing she is filming a documentary to be released in 2016 about Broadway.

Journey to the Center of the Earth has been done many times in the film cinema world. Countless adaptions have been on both, the big screen, and the small screen, but it will always in my viewpoint be this adaption, that I return to the most. Wonderful acting, solid direction and a fanciful imagery of imagination and wonder, that only Jules Vern could create.

All those that were involved with The First Men in the Moon and Journey to the Center of the Earth, would be proud to see these masterly crafted Blu-rays. Twilight Time did both films justice. Beautiful wonderful examples of amazing products that the cinema world needs.

Audio/Video: 5/5

First Men in the Moon:  Excellence is how to simply put it. I don’t think First Men in the Moon has ever looked or sounded any better than this product has done. It’s crisp, clear and vibrant in every way.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA
1964 / Color

Journey to the Center of the Earth: Like First Men in the Moon, this is a priceless example of how to treat a film with high class imagery and sound quality. This is another prime example of how to treat a film that is older and bring out for a new generation to explore. Simply put, this is listening heaven, and eye candy, in the craftsmanship put into this product.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
1959 / Color

Extras: 4/5

First Men in the Moon:
Isolated Score Track
Randall William Cook Introduces the “Men in the Moon". This runs almost five minutes, clocking in at 4 minutes 54 seconds.
Audio Commentary with Ray Harryhausen and FX Artist Randall William Cook. 
Tomorrow the Moon is a fun old-school and somewhat silly feature on how close the space race is, and it’s closing purpose, running 4 minutes 33 seconds.
Original Theatrical Trailer.
Awesome hearing and listening to the master Harryhausen. The price of admission for this Blu-ray is worth it, just for this special feature. Harryhausen is a god of stop motion animation and should never be forgotten. He was a pioneer and an extraordinary man. He gave the world of cinema so many imaginative characters and situations that only a master talent could do. He gave me a mind of adventure and imagination that I cherish every day.

Journey to the Center of the Earth:
Isolated Score Track
Audio Commentary with Actress Diane Baker, and Film Historians Steven C. Smith & Nick Redman
Original Theatrical Trailer.
The commentary of this one is utterly fantastic hearing Diane Baker talk about the film and also learning about the history of the film through the historians, is a golden ticket in itself. I love listening to the making and history of films and these commentaries are always very informative and the products that Twilight Time brings out, sometimes have these commentaries, and they are highly regarded by me, and for those who love cinema period.

Both come with the special feature that most Twilight Time films come with. The isolated music, so you can listen to just the soundtrack of the film. This special feature I always look forward to because I am a huge music lover and soundtracks are something very important to the pieces of cinema.

The music from Lionel Newman in the film First Men in the Moon sends you the watcher on the adventure. The sounds and tunes is like an exploration all its own. This is fantastic example of an isolated music track. His vast career started in the 1930’s and went on until his death in 1989. 

Mastering over 300 credits to his name in the music department. From TV to motion pictures and everything else, from writing, to composing, to conducting. From great works as composer on 1968’s The Boston Strangler, to 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1954’s There’s No Business like Show Business, 1976’s horror masterpiece The Omen, also working in an uncredited role as music supervisor on the sci-fi classic 1977’s Star Wars, and it’s sequels. He also was involved in other movies, that Twilight Time Limited Edition release’s brought out, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre READ MY REVIEW HERE, and Flaming Star READ MY REVIEW HERE. From TV’s The Green Hornet, to Lost in Space, to Batman, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, Daniel Boone, Mash, and so many others. He was a talented guru of music. He had his hands in so many wonderful films and television series that his legacy lives on, and through Twilight Time, they honored him greatly with this Blu-ray.

The isolated music track for Journey to the Center of the Earth is no different; it is an excellent listen just the same. The man behind the music really needs no introduction to cinema lovers. Bernard Herrmann. He is the master behind some of the greatest music scores of all time. He was a regular on Hitchcock films composing such masterpieces as Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo and many, many other Hitchcock films. Now he also did beyond Hitchcock films such as the masterpieces Citizen Kane, Cape Fear, Fahrenheit 451, and Taxi Driver. Whatever he graced with his master talent, was a true one of a kind music orgy of total perfection that left a movie, with so much more glory, when it had his, musical talent. He was a multi-award winning master composer. He worked his talent from 1941 all the way until 1976. His last four movies in the 70’s was an array of his talent from, De Palma’s Sisters and Obsession, to Cohen’s, It’s Alive, to Scorsese’s, Taxi Driver. He left his stamp in the music and movie world for all generations to experience. He also was graced by another Twilight Time release with his music score from The Bride Wore Black CLICK HERE TO READ MY REVIEW. His music is still being used today in films and TV, most recently in the awesome first season of American Horror Story and on the big screen in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.


Product Rating: 5/5

Both these are must own Blu-ray’s. You should treat yourself to, two imaginative sci-fi Drive-in, late night mastery’s of exploration of the fanciful of the mind. Twilight Time did a fantastic job at honoring both of these old school sci-fi trips into a time when stop motion animation, and sets, and costumes, and props where the masters of Special Effects, how I miss those days. Today in a world of computer run effects, where CGI has destroyed and run rampant in falsifying craftsmanship, at least we have the classics to return to, and Twilight Time has honored both these films with two fantastic Blu-ray’s, on their Limited Editions, 5,000 Unit pressing. Don’t wait, make sure you buy as soon as possible.


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