Barefoot Adventure (1960)

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Released 5-Mar-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Surfing None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1960
Running Time 74:29
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bruce Brown
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Del Cannon
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Bud Shank


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles French
German
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Barefoot Adventure is a surfing movie made in 1960 and depicts surfing action from California and Hawaii. The film was the third film by producer Bruce Brown, a pioneer of the surf film genre. After producing Barefoot Adventure, Bruce went on to his next project, the legendary Endless Summer.

    In Barefoot Adventure we follow a number of surfers during 1960 as they surf breaks in both northern and southern California in addition to the north and south shores of Hawaii.

    In the first part of Barefoot Adventure the action is concentrated in California at spots up and down the coast. The Californian surfing spots visited include Huntington Pier, Trestles, Steamer Lane and the Wedge.

    Approximately two-thirds of the surfing action is located in Hawaii on both the north and south shores. Spots highlighted in Hawaii include Ala Mona, Yokohama, Waimea, Sunset and Makaha. Many of these places had been ridden for the first time only a few years preceding the making of this film, and famous breaks such as Pipeline were yet to be surfed.

    A short introduction by Bruce Brown precedes the film itself, in which he explains that the original narration for Barefoot Adventure was not able to be located when they were preparing the film for re-release and what you will hear is a new narration written by himself with assistance from his son Dana. In the introduction we are also told a little about the original release of the film, including a story of the time when he hired a auditorium with a seating capacity of one thousand and had only six patrons turn up. In the middle of the film, the original intermission is included, and at this point Bruce Brown gives a short history outlining what happened to many of the surfers featured in the film.

    In between the surfing action there are numerous staged comedic scenes. The comedy scenes are quite corny but are typical of surfing films of the day. These comic situations provide an insight into the lifestyle that surrounded the surfing scene at the time. Even though these bridging scenes are very obviously staged, they are quite amusing and serve to nicely break up the surfing action.

    The main surfer that we follow throughout Barefoot Adventure is Del Cannon who acts in the majority of the comedic connecting scenes and is also featured heavily in the surfing footage. There are numerous other famous surfers of the time featured throughout including some footage of Jack O'Neil showing off his new rubber shirt. Jack later went on to have some success marketing his wetsuits.

    Barefoot Adventure is an entertaining look back at the Californian and Hawaiian surfing scene of 1960. It is an enjoyable example of the early surfing movie genre whose influences can still be seen in surfing movies today. While technologies have changed from the forty pound ten to twelve foot boards used in this movie, the laid-back attitude that still exists in amateur surfing today is clearly evident.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality of this film is acceptable considering the state of the source elements involved.

    The movie is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is therefore not 16x9 enhanced.

    Even before viewing this disc I was aware that there were going to be numerous problems with the material. The packaging describes some of the problems they faced when preparing this film for re-release. The original elements of Barefoot Adventure were stored in Bruce Brown's attic and had been separated for use in other projects. Finding the original footage and then cleaning old splicing tape from the stock took many hours and was done mainly by Bruce Brown's son Dana. From what I am able to determine from the copyright messages in the film and on the packaging this restoration was done for the 1990 video release of the film.

    The picture is always quite soft and shows some film grain, but considering the quality of the original elements this is to be expected. Shadow detail also does not pose any problems here as all shots are brightly lit in full sunlight with no dark scenes present.

    Colour is acceptable throughout and is consistent with film processes of the time, i.e. the colours look like a 1960s film and not the bright vibrant colours we expect from today's films.

    Some MPEG artefacts can be seen during the copyright message at the start of the transfer and at 6:16 and 7:54 but due to the poor quality and short duration of these shots they are not disruptive. The newly-recorded introduction shows a number of analogue tape errors which can be seen at 0:59, 1:03, 1:06, 1:14 and 28:25. Each of these errors only occur for one or two frames.

    Aliasing poses no real problem for this transfer and only occurs once, at 28:27 during a shot of a car radiator grille.

    Unfortunately, the original footage has suffered a large amount of damage over the years and this is quite obvious when viewing this disc. There are constant film artefacts that can be seen in every shot. Initially this is very distracting but you are able to accept and ignore these as time progresses.

    In addition to the scratches and marks visible throughout the film other damage has occurred to the stock. At 6:10 clear evidence of water damage can be seen for a period of a few seconds. Also, at most splicing points in the movie damage is clearly visible, with a single frame showing the top or bottom half in negative or totally black. This results in a quick flash being visible at many of the edit points during the film.

    The subtitles included are shown in a white font with a black edge and are easy to read at all times. I am unable to comment on the accuracy of these subtitles. It should be noted that the DVD does not carry the Italian, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles claimed on the packaging.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only a single Dolby Digital 1.0 192 Kb/s audio track presented on the disc. As the original narration was lost it is unfortunate that when recording this new soundtrack that they did not produce at least a stereo mix.

    Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand. Audio sync did not pose a problem during the opening introduction and intermission. As the movie is presented with only a voice-over, sync was not an issue during the feature. No dropouts were detected.

    While the original narration was lost, the original score by Bud Shank is intact and is presented with the feature. This jazz score is a nice change from the classic Dick Dale guitar-based soundtrack you would expect.

    There is no use made of the surround channels and the subwoofer was not utilized at all.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras on this disc.

Menu

    This is a 4x3 static menu themed around the movie. It provides access to subtitle selection and a list of available scenes.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Both versions of this film appear to be identical except for the usual PAL vs NTSC issues. The R1 version of this disc is presented in a snapper case compared to the Amaray case we get here in R4. Both versions are nearly identical but due to the better case and extra resolution provided by PAL I would recommend the R4 version.

Summary

    Barefoot Adventure is an entertaining look back at the early 60s surfing scene and would be enjoyed by anyone with even a passing interest in surfing.

    The video quality is disappointing, but due to the condition of the source materials is unlikely to ever be presented in better condition.

    The audio is unimpressive but adequate for the requirements.

    The extras are non existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Thursday, March 15, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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