Master of the World appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film came with an inconsistent transfer.
Granted, the movie’s reliance on tons of effects/process shots meant that the results came with inevitable limitations. The effects elements often came with lackluster definition/colors as well as lots of print flaws.
Parts of the film not impacted by effects worked better but still tended to be up and down. Sharpness seemed erratic. Much of the movie showed reasonably good delineation, but occasional soft spots materialized as well – more than I expected. I saw no issues with shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent.
Print flaws turned into the image’s primary distraction. Throughout the film, I saw a mix of specks, spots, streaks, lines and other issues. Some parts seemed reasonably clean, but I still saw more defects than I’d like.
Colors seemed fine. These could be a bit on the heavy side, but I surmised that resulted from the cinematography. When necessary, the hues looked pretty positive. Blacks were fairly dark and deep, while shadows showed mostly nice clarity. The image had good elements, but the negatives left it as a “C-“.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA Stereo soundtrack, it seemed acceptable for its age, though not without weaknesses. The stereo presence mostly worked via the score, which spread across the front pretty well.
Effects also blossomed in the right and left channels, though not in a particularly smooth manner. Elements tended to be fairly speaker-specific and didn’t blend in a concise manner. Still, they showed some ambition.
Audio quality was erratic, mainly due to the effects. Those components tended to become rather distorted, as any loud material crackled. This wasn’t a terrible issue, but it created distractions.
Music seemed a bit too bright but was reasonably well-presented. Speech was a little tinny but came with appropriate intelligibility. The breadth of the stereo image gave the mix a boost, but the distortion of the effects took away points.
By the way, I noticed a definite drop in volume around the movie’s 45-minute point. This wasn’t a huge change, but it prompted me to turn up my receiver’s volume a few notches – and then turn it back down later in the film. The shifts perplexed me.
A few extras fill out the disc, and we open with an audio commentary from actor David Frankham. Along with moderator Jonathan David Dixon, we learn about the source novels and their adaptation, story/character areas, how Frankham got his part and reflections on cast/crew, effects and music, and production thoughts. We also get a brief – and substance-free – taped message from actor Mary Webster.
The commentary doesn’t give us a tight examination of Master, but it still proves to be enjoyable. Most of its pleasures come from Frankham’s memories of his career and co-workers, as those elements bring us fun stories. As long as you don’t expect a Master-focused chat, you’ll like this track.
A documentary called Richard Matheson: Storyteller runs one hour, 12 minutes and five seconds. This offers an interview with writer Matheson conducted in 2001. We learn what led Matheson to movies as well as influences and reflections on his work. Information about Master crops up around the 16-minute mark and lasts two minutes, 40 seconds.
As such, fans shouldn’t expect to learn much from Matheson about the movie on this Blu-ray. That’s not a disappointment, though, as “Storyteller” doesn’t promise in-depth info about Master. Instead, it brings us a career overview, and it’s a pretty good one. The show lacks a particularly concise structure, but Matheson delivers a nice array of thoughts about his career.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get two photo galleries, both of which offer running video montages. “Gallery I” fills two minutes, 18 seconds and includes 27 images, while “Gallery II” goes for one minute, 59 seconds and provides 23 pictures. Across these, we find a nice mix of publicity materials and shots from the set.
Despite the presence of the normally solid Vincent Price, Master of the World fizzles. It suffers from a slew of filmmaking and storytelling issues, all of which make it plodding and silly. The Blu-ray brings us erratic picture and audio as well as a few informative supplements. I can’t find much about Master to make it a worthwhile effort.
Note that this version of Master of the World comes only as part of the four-disc “Vincent Price Collection III”. That set also includes Tower of London, Diary of a Madman, An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe and Cry of the Banshee.