Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pleasing presentation.
Although some minor softness interfered with a few wide shots, I thought that most of the film seemed well-defined. Despite a few slightly soft shots, the movie usually came across with nice delineation. Moiré effects and jagged edges remained absent, and I saw no edge haloes or digital noise reduction.
Black levels appeared deep and rich, with some fine contrast
throughout the film. I also found shadow detail to seem nicely
clear and not too heavy.
Print flaws remained absent, so I saw no specks, marks or other concerns. I felt happy with this strong transfer.
Though not as impressive, the movie’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack held up well. Dialogue was mildly thin but appeared relatively clear and distinct, with no edginess or concerns related to intelligibility.
Effects were similarly crisp and accurate and they showed little distortion. The music sounded smooth and appropriately
Bright, so whole it lacked much dynamic range, it showed acceptable clarity. For a film from 1948, this seemed like a successful soundtrack.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD version? Audio seemed smoother and clearer, while visuals appeared tighter and cleaner. The Blu-ray offered a nice upgrade.
The Blu-ray brings back mostx of the DVD’s extras, and we start with am audio commentary from film historian Thomas W. Mank. In this running, screen-specific piece, Mank covers cast/crew, the development of the film and aspects of the production, its release and aftermath.
Mank gives us a fine historical commentary. While he seems a little too obsessed with the financial details of the production, he still discusses a nice array of topics and gives us many useful insights.
Hosted by David J. Skal, Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters runs 33 minutes, five seconds program. It offers notes from Abbott and Costello in Hollywood co-author Ron Palumbo, Lou Costello’s daughter Chris Costello, collector/archivist Bob Burns, film historian Bob Madison and Bela Lugosi’s son Bela G. Lugosi.
We learn about the Abbott and Costello team and their move to Hollywood, cast and performances, makeup and effects, story/characters, the work of the director and the tone on the set, and the film’s legacy. “Meet” offers a decent overview. It lacks great depth but it adds useful notes as well as some fun footage from the production.
In addition to a re-release trailer, we find two featurettes under the 100 Years of Universal banner. “The Lot” goes for nine minutes, 25 seconds and features comments from filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Peyton Reed, Ivan Reitman, Peter Berg, John Landis, Ron Howard, Michael Mann, Phil Alden Robinson, and John Carpenter, NBC Universal Archives and Collections director Jeff Pirtle, Universal Studios Hollywood tour guide Molly Orr, and actors Dan Aykroyd, Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep.
This one takes us around the Universal Studios locations and tells us a little about movies made there. What does any of this have to do with Abbott? Very little.
Midway through a short discussion of Universal horror, we get a quick snippet from the film but that’s it, so no one discusses the flick at all. Despite the featurette’s disconnect from Abbott, it seems pretty fun. While it aims to promote the greatness that is Universal, it’s still light and likable.
“Unforgettable Characters” lasts eight minutes, 18 seconds. It features a slew of movie snippets as a narrator tells us about different Universal roles – a few monsters receive mention. It’s mildly entertaining but it essentially exists as an advertisement.
To my surprise, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein becomes an entertaining little film. Frankly, I expected it to stink but instead I found a consistently funny and delightful piece. The Blu-ray offers very good picture along with satisfying audio and a few interesting bonus materials. Costello works well.