1930S, Blu Ray, CLASSIC, Classic Hollywood, film, Film Detective, FILM HISTORY, independent, independent film, review, reviews, studio history, thriller, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, vampire, VAMPIRES

THE VAMPIRE BAT(Restored)

THE VAMPIRE BAT (1933) –FILM DETECTIVE (BLU RAY ) $19.99. Restored. Release date : April 25,2017 . 63 min. Region 1. B&W with tinted sequences. https://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Bat-Special-Detective-Restored/dp/B01LTIAUJ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490377335&sr=8-1&keywords=vampire+bat+the+film+detective+restored+version

Also available on DVD for $14.99.
Throw out those other public domain videos and DVDs that you may have of this 1933 film. Film Detective has just released a magnificent UCLA Film and TV Archive restoration that reveals details often lost in murky and dark copies of this film. Not only that, there is an hereto unseen (at least by this writer) hand tinted sequence that alone makes this disc a must have.

Majestic Pictures began releasing films in 1925 under the state’s rights system of distribution. Unlike the major studios who had hubs throughout the country ,smaller independents would sell or lease their product on a local, territorial basis . The distributors would each handle a certain region (or sometimes just a certain state) and release the films in that territory.

In 1935, Herbert J Yates, who owned the Consolidated Film Industries film developing laboratories, decided that he wanted to get into direct film production .Six smaller independents were forced to merge under the new Republic banner or face foreclosure on outstanding lab bills. Among the studios that were folded under the new banner was Majestic. Until then, Majestic produced slicker fare than many of their other rivals, using bigger name stars and renting out space from larger motion picture companies.

Among Majestic’s releases were THE SINS OF NORA MORAN (1933) starring Zita Johann (best remembered for starring in Universal’s 1932 classic THE MUMMY), THE WORLD GONE MAD(also 1933, with Pat O’Brien,Evelyn Brent ,and Neil Hamilton (later tv’s Commissioner Gordon on BATMAN) and the first sound version of THE SCARLET LETTER(1934) starring Colleen Moore and Henry B Walthall (a D.W. Griffith stock company star,who had played the same role of Chillingworth in the 1926 silent version). Certain Majestic Pictures were produced by real estate developer Phil Goldstone . Goldstone was wealthy enough that he could invest in movies while the rest of the country was suffering through the effects of the Stock Market Crash and Depression.

That may be one of the ways that he was able to afford to rent the Universal European Street sets (destroyed in a fire in 1967) as well as many studio interior sets, giving their low budget THE VAMPIRE BAT such a polished look. Also helpful was their hiring of such well known stars as Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill (making this their third hiss and scream pairing, the previous being W.B.’s DOCTOR X (1932) and MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933),as well as Dwight Frye (Broadway star now doomed to forever play variations of twitchy half mad characters due to his outstanding performance in Universal’s DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN (both1931) )and Melvyn Douglas (fresh off of Universal’s THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932) and playing in a similar light disbelieving manner) .

Director Frank R Strayer had been directing films since the mid 1920s and had done the poverty row THE MONSTER WALKS (Ralph M Like Productions,1932) prior to getting this assignment. He directed in a fast ,no nonsense style, but also had some fairly elaborate camera set ups and moves in this picture that are quite effective .

Later, Strayer would direct CONDEMNED TO LIVE (Invincible ,1935 )another vampire film variant that like THE VAMPIRE BAT also at one point used Bronson Canyon.

 

Screenwriter Edward T Lowe,Jr had written the earlier mentioned WORLD GONE MAD and later moved up to bigger studio productions, writing several Charlie Chan and Bulldog Drummond films , before returning to vampires with his one two punch of HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Universal,1944)and HOUSE OF DRACULA (Universal ,1945).

 

Cinematographer Ira H. Morgan had begun with Gaumont News before switching to lensing features . His sound era films seem all to be for smaller studios like PRC (FOG ISLAND,1945),his last work being for Bert I Gordon,THE CYCLOPS(Allied Artists,1957),filming once again around – Bronson Canyon!! His other work is always competent, but never as assured as it seems to be in THE VAMPIRE BAT.

 

Charles D Hall is credited with art direction, but his work on this project may have been minor, as again it mostly standing sets on the Universal backlot.

 

Set in a fairytale -like Teutonic Village of Kleinschloss (German for small castle,so even the budget affected the name ! ),the setting,like many Universal horror films of the 1930s, is a mix of modern day (the outfits and medical equipment )and unnamed past era (the village and villagers).

 

Several of the local villagers have been found drained of blood with two puncture marks upon their throat. The Burgomeister (Lionel Belmore, the Burgomeister from FRANKENSTEIN, and a council member in SON OF FRANKENSTEIN(1939,Universal),talking of type casting!)and the village elders suspect it to be the work of a vampire. The Police Chief Karl (Melvyn Douglas) pooh poohs these notions . He turns to Dr Niemann (Lionel Atwill) . Niemann does not dismiss the villagers ideas out of hand ,much to Karl’s annoyance. Making it easier is Karl’s romance with the lovely Ruth (Fay Wray).

 

Suspicion falls on village simpleton Herman (Dwight Frye)who has the innocence of a child ,but has an odd habit of keeping bats as pets .

 

Padding the film out to a feature length is (not very) comic relief is Karl’s hypochondriac Aunt Gussie (Maude Eburne,theatre trained actress who often played humorous characters, and appeared in films like THE BAT WHISPERS (United Artists,1930)and the little seen Columbia thriller FOG (1933). Here, you really want the killer to get her,though it is more the writing than her performance.

THE VAMPIRE BAT title is a bit misleading, as the ending veers a bit into a science fiction explanation. Still, it remains a superb example of early Gothic horror,and at a crisp 63 minutes, does not overstay its welcome.

As stated earlier ,the FILM DETECTIVE print comes from a restored fine grain print and it is indeed a revelation.The image is incredibly sharp ,and details often lost in more murky prints now stand out. For example, early in the film, the town lamplighter Kringen (George E Stone) looks up at the rooftops late at night. In the past, we could never see what he was staring at, but now we see a shadowy leap from one roof to another ! Miss Wray is photographed beautifully,with her natural red hair rather than the blonde look so familiar to all from KING KONG (RKO,1933).

 

 

Most interesting is seeing a sequence with the villagers carrying torches ,the flames of which have been hand tinted red yellow and orange. It is quite eye catching and I was unaware that it had ever been done to this film. Hand tinting had been used in other films to give them a bit of punch . Bela Lugosi’s THE DEATH KISS (K.B.S.,1932)hand tinted a few frames of a gun firing for a shock effect . Other films were often tinted for effect, but not so easy was the hand tinting used in these films.

 

Besides the magnificent print, FILM DETECTIVE has also for the first time that I am aware of added a commentary track. They have chosen film historian (he had worked on the film magazine SCREEN THRILLS ILLUSTRATED) and film producer/director Samuel M Sherman (Independent International). Sam is a very nice and knowledgeable man, but he needed a co-commentator to keep him focused. His commentary track is quite monotonic and often sounds as if he is reading from notes ,and for lengths of time does not comment on the action on screen.

 

What he does do is provide incredible research on producer Phil Goldstone (how he generously allowed soldiers to stay gratis in his hotels rather than have them stay on the streets,as well as how he got into film production) as well as who did the actual hand tinting of the film (Gustav Brock).

The other extra is a newly shot featurette with the son of Melvyn Douglas, Gregory Hassleberg.
(Melvyn) Gregory Hesselberg was born in 1926 to Douglas and his first wife Rosalind Hightower .When they divorced, Gregory stayed with his mother and did not see his father for years. Douglas married actress Helen Gahagan (SHE ,RKO,1935)and later Douglas petitioned and won the right for Gregory to live with them . Gregory Hassleberg has fond memories of his father,coming to discover how truly talented he was by watching him perform. It is a nice little insight into the fine actor.

FILM DETECTIVE is to be highly commended for this release, and it deserves to be added to the collection of every classic horror film buff.

Recommended.

Kevin G Shinnick

Don’t forget to vote for SCARLET for this year’s RONDO AWARDS (2016) under category #17, best website or blog of 2016. Thank you.

http://rondoaward.com/rondoaward.com/blog/

 

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1930S, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, cult, Film Detective, FILM NOIR, friend, genre, Hammer Films, Hitchcock, Horror, humor, RICHARD VALLEY, Uncategorized

NINE YEARS ON

NINE YEARS ON

It is hard for me to grasp still but that it has been nine years since writer, playwright, editor, publisher, actor, and friend RICHARD VALLEY passed away.

richard-valley

What I wrote quickly then
http://scarletstreet.yuku.com/topic/4623/SADDEST-NEWS-I-VE-HAD-TO-POST-HERE?page=1#.V_47YvkrLIU

kevin g shinnick
SADDEST NEWS I VE HAD TO POST HERE-

Posts: 15257
Oct 12 07 11:37 AM

RICHARD VALLEY, SCARLET STREET EDITOR, has passed away at age 58.

He leaves behind a beloved mother, and his love of over a quarter century,
Tommy Amorosi.

scarlet-st-1

Since then, many other fanzines have ceased publications, many other friends in the genre have gone on to join him in the great beyond, and many of the issues that were important to him have become political fodder once again.

To me, though, it is a personal loss of a man who was a great true and loyal friend who could irritate the hell out of me and then move one with his extreme generosity and kindness.

I have been lucky to have had four truly great friends in my existence, and though now two have departed, I still cherish them all.

I hope that each and every one of you is fortunate enough to know or have known such a shining presence in your life.
-Kevin G Shinnickscarlet-issue-55

Feel free to share any memories that you have of Richard and SCARLET STREET.

I hope you enjoy the https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/    and share it with your friends.

richard-valley

BIG THANKS to JOHN C STOSKOPF for preserving SCARLET STREET and painstakingly scanning them to post them online for people to enjoy the work of Richard and so many contributors.  http://scarletstreetmagazine.blogspot.com/

https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/remembering-where-we-come-from-rest-in-peace-richard-valley/?preview_id=2richardvalley

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1960s, American International Pictures, Blu Ray, british, Classic Hollywood, cult, Film Detective, FILM NOIR, Francis Ford Coppola, genre, Horror, Jack Hill, Luana Peters, Patrick Magee, review, Roger Corman, The FilmGroup, thriller, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, William Campbell

DEMENTIA 13 blu ray Film Detective

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DEMENTIA 13 (Blu Ray) Film Detective, available July 26,2016. Region Free. $14.99 /75 minutes. B&W. https://www.amazon.com/Dementia-Detective-Restored-Version-Blu-ray/dp/B01GQL7FC2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468009990&sr=8-1&keywords=dementia+13+film+detective

On the Tim Lucas extra of the recently released BLOOD BATH  Arrow Blu Ray (https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/blood-bath/), we find that  Roger Corman, as always, was looking for inexpensive projects that he could distribute through his Filmgroup company. Several of his protégés pitched ideas. One of them was a young Francis (Ford) Coppola, who, according to biographer Gene D. Phillips: “‘A man goes to a pond and takes off his clothes, picks up five dolls, ties them together, goes under the water, and dives down, where he finds the body of a seven-year-old girl with her hair floating in the current…then he gets axed to death.’ Corman responded enthusiastically, ‘Change the man to a woman, and you’ve got a picture, kid!'”*

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The other ideas were ignored (among them one offered by Jack Hill) and Corman set aside about $20,000 to make the film in Ireland.
Corman already had some actors in Europe, and he wanted them used, which is why William Campbell, Luana Anders, and Patrick Magee hopped from YOUNG RACERS (Filmgroup,1963) over to Ireland to film DEMENTIA 13 (the two male leads would then jet over Yugoslavia for the troubled but fascinating BLOOD BATH, released in various incarnations and names).ucla
UCLA grad Coppola had by this time only done some short student films, as well as work on two softcore comedies. Corman hired him and Coppola’s first job was helping edit and redub some of the Russian films Corman had acquired for U.S. distribution. He was working as a sound operator on THE YOUNG RACERS when he pitched his idea to the producer.screen-shot-2013-07-26-at-10-33-30-am
With his lead actors in place, Coppola and a small crew went to Ireland to make their Psycho inspired thriller. Luckily for them, Irish actor Patrick Magee was able to convince several members of Ireland’s Abbey Players to take small roles.

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When they arrived, Coppola did not have a finished script in hand but had a secretary with him to dictate script ideas. He also met a British producer Raymond Stross (who owned a chain of British movie theatres as well as producing films like the Freddie Francis directed THE BRAIN (Raymond Stross Productions,1962 a UK/West German co-production), inspired by Donovan’s Brain by Curt Siodmak ). Somehow the director  convinced Stross to give him matching funds, all of which Coppola deposited into his own bank account. Corman was furious that Coppola had sold off UK rights without telling him and wanted to withdraw his share of the funding, but since it was in Coppola’s private account, there was nothing that he could do.The-brain-movie-poster
A group of UCLA film students came over, including John Vicario, camera operator and Vicario’s girlfriend Eleanor Neil. Coppola eventually married Eleanor after the film wrapped.

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When the film was finished, Corman felt that the film did not work, and so had Jack Hill brought in to film some additional (violent) scenes that were shot in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California. Hill received credit for second unit work on the picture.Dementia-13-still-4
When it was first released, Corman had a  prologue filmed for  a D-13 test, which involved an actor playing a psychiatrist ask the audience what scared them. (This prologue as well as an audio commentary by William Campbell were on ROAN’s 1996 DVD of the film .)

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The story involves a series of violent murders that take place around Castle Haloran in Ireland. They all seem to start when Louise (Luana Anders), the American wife of John Haloran (Peter Read ) tries to hide John’s death by heart attack so she won’t be cut out of the will. Since he died while they were in the middle of a lake, she dumps his body overboard (an eerie scene, for she also dumps over a small transistor radio playing some rockabilly, it’s music garbles as they both float downward.DEMENTIA13

 

This leads into the impressive title sequence animation Paul Julian, who had also worked in similar capacity for Corman on ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS (A.A.1957) and THE TERROR (AIP,1963). He had been a production designer on the Oscar nominated short film THE TELL TALE HEART (UPA,1953). Julian’s eerie art is well matched by the harpsichord and horn score by another Corman regular, composer Ronald Stein.The_Tell-Tale_Heart1953
Returning to the story, Louise convinces the family that John was called away on business. There we are introduced to the matriarch of the family, Lady Haloran (Eithne Dunne ) who seems to be cut from the same cool cloth as Judith Anderson was as Mrs. Danvers in REBECCA (Selznick ,1940).

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Every year they have a ceremony that is a macabre memorial to a sister Kathleen, who drowned seven years earlier. Lady Haloran holds a strong powerful hold over her two sons, Richard (William Campbell), a sculptor (a passion that he also had in BLOOD BATH) who wishes to marry Kane (Mary Mitchel), another American woman, and younger brother Billy (Bart Patton), who still misses his little sister.

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The ceremony of the three family members ends as it does every year, with the mother collapsing at the daughter’s gravesite. This year the ceremony is observed by Louise, who gets the idea that she might drive the older woman mad so she can break the will in case John’s body is discovered. This sets off a series of violent murders by axe.
Family friend, Dr Justin Caleb (Patrick Magee) begins to suspect that the murders are a result of the death of young Kathleen. The thing is, who is the killer?

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The film is an effective gritty little who done it, with a lot of wonderful visuals and a strong cast, particularly actress Eithne Dunne. The Northern Ireland born actress had joined the Abbey Theatre in 1939 . playboy 1946  as pegeen  burgess meredith as christyShe had appeared on Broadway in 1946 with  Burgess Meredith in PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD .PWW

 

However, American actor Karl Schanzer does the worst Irish accent ever as potty game poacher Simon (Schanzer had appeared in Coppola’s nudie cutie TONIGHT FOR SURE (Premier,1962) as well as SPIDER BABY (American General,1968).
Though obviously inspired by PSYCHO(Paramount,1960), it also made me think of many of the Hammer black and white psychological thrillers, especially PARANOIAC(Hammer/Universal,1963).

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700-year-old Howth Castle near Howth Road, Dublin, Ireland adds major production value to the film, and is practically a character in the story. The castle was later used for some flashback scenes in DUCK YOU SUCKER (U.A., 1971). The locale of James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake “is Howth Castle and Environs. Legend has it that due to an affront to a guest in 1576, an extra plate is set out at every meal, a custom still honored at the castle today.castle_2_lge

Additional scenes were shot at Ardmore Studios in Ireland. The film was allocated nine filming days, but additional shooting days were required, especially for the reshoots by Jack Hill.

Though critical reviews were mixed at the time of its release, but the film was not very expensive and so easily made a profit. The film was also released in the U.K. as THE HAUNTED AND THE HUNTED. The BBFC made several cuts, ironically the footage shot by Jack Hill was among them. These cuts were later restored to British prints.dementia_13_poster_04
The Blu Ray from FILM DETECTIVE is huge improvement from previous released copies of this film that I have seen. No longer will you need to watch all those dark muddy public domain prints that have long been available. Details are sharp though at time grain seems to exist in the original negative. This is supposedly the first time that the film has been released in its proper 1:78:1 aspect ratio.dementia1307
The mono sound is clear though a bit low, a problem easily corrected by increasing your television volume.

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The only extra is clear easy to read English subtitles, that follow the dialogue and action.

While appreciative of such a lovely print, I do wish that FILM DETECTIVE had gotten someone to do a commentary track for the film,or ported over the extras from Roan’s out of print DVD (Campbell’s commentary and the D-13 prologue) .

That said, the most important thing is that this film can finally be seen in a viewable version.

Recommended.

Kevin G Shinnick
*-Godfather: The Intimate Francis Ford Coppola ( University Press of Kentucky )- by Gene D Phillips .Page 22

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DEMENTIA 13 (Filmgroup,1963) Blu Ray released by Film Detective
Producer: Roger Corman
Associate Producer: Marianne Wood
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola
2nd Unit Writer and Director: Jack Hill
Cinematography: Charles Hanawalt
Film Editing: Stuart O’Brien, Morton Tubor
Art Direction: Albert Locatelli
Set Decoration: Eleanor Neil (Coppola)
Sculptures: Edward Delaney
Music: Ronald Stein
Cast: William Campbell (Richard Haloran), Luana Anders (Louise Haloran), Bart Patton (Billy Haloran), Mary Mitchel (Kane), Patrick Magee (Dr. Justin Caleb), Eithne Dunne (Lady Haloran), Peter Read (John Haloran), Karl Schanzer (Simon), Ron Perry (Arthur), Barbara Dowling (Kathleen Haloran).
BW-75m.

 

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HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (TWILIGHT TIME BLU RAY)

HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (TWILIGHT TIME BLU RAY)

 

TheHoundOfTheBaskervilles_BD_HighRes__42035.1463758810.1280.1280 limited edition 3,000 units- Original release Hammer/ United Artists -1959- Color – 86 minutes $29.95

      http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/hound-of-the-baskervilles-the-blu-ray/
TWILIGHT TIME has gone all out with their release of Hammer’s classic adaption of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes story  THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES. Issued previously on DVD by MGM, the new Blu Ray cleans up both sound and image to make this hound appear as if it was made recently.

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Peter Cushing is Sherlock Holmes. Before Jeremy Brett, Cushing was perhaps the closest to the character ever put on film. Rathbone and Bruce had gone further and further from the novels though they had been (and to many still are) the template in many people’s minds of what the Great Detective and his Boswell were like. In strong support was Andre Morell as Watson. Gone was the bumbling but lovable blustery Nigel Bruce and in his place was a man whom you felt had been a soldier, and while not as clever as Holmes, was at least an intelligent sounding board who had been a doctor.

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Hammer was riding high from their back to back hits reinventing of Dracula and Frankenstein, and so they looked around for another popular character that might fit into their technicolor blood and thunder stylish thrillers. Their choice fell onto adapting perhaps the most famous mystery of all time877083538.3.l.
First serialized in nine parts from August 1901 until April 1902 in The Strand Magazine, the complete novel was first published as THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES: ANOTHER ADVENTURE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES on March 25,1902 by George Newnes with a print run of 25,000 copies at 6 shillings each. 15,000 more copies were printed for India and the British Colonies on April 2,1902, with the American edition coming out at $1.25 on April 15th (print run of 70,000). Illustrations were done by the man most identified with drawing the Dynamic Detecting Duo, Sidney Paget.hounde by paget

 

http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/publication-hound-baskervilles

HOUND has proven to be the most enduring of the Holmesian tales, which is interesting because Holmes disappears for about half the middle section of the book and Watson taking the lead. Still it’s Gothic atmosphere with dark moors, castles, curses and hell hounds still stirs the imagination of readers over 114 years later. The tale has been adapted onto radio, comics, stage and of course film adaptations.

 

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To me, the Hammer film leads the pack (see what I did there?). Casting, script, direction, music, set design, every aspect of the film from beginning to end is a treat for any longtime fan of the Great Man as well as a perfect way to introduce new fans to the tales.

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The Hammer Hound begins back in the 1700 s as the original Sir Hugo Baskerville (David Oxley ,
 who also appeared as The Doctor in Hammer’s YESTERDAY ENEMY (1959) and it is sad that he was not used in more of their films) has kidnapped a young woman for obviously unsavory pleasures during their debauched hunting party (a reference to the notorious Hellfire Club, perhaps). The poor woman escapes and the Lord glowers over a bannister and in a tight close-up says “The BITCH has escaped!” (a phrase that I am sure gave censors coronaries). They takeoff after the poor unfortunate who struggles through the deadly bog, only to be caught, and on an ancient site of sacrifice, he pulls out a dagger and stabs her to death. Moments later, a low growl is heard, and the man turns to the camera as a look of horror crosses his face.

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Jump to Baker Street and we see that we are being told the tale of the Baskerville curse by a friend of the family, Dr. Mortimer (Francis De Woolf, who had been Black Ben in CORRIDORS OF BLOOD (MGM,1958) asks,” What do you think, Mr Holmes?’ A quick cut, and we see Cushing, deep in thought, a hand across his face as he sits splayed out in an armchair, then suddenly cries “’AH!” but not to the case but a chess move he had been puzzling. This is one of the finest introductions that Holmes has ever had on screen and Cushing does not disappoint in his well studied charactization for a moment. His Holmes is intense, so even when not moving, you have a sense that he is a coiled spring, ready to set off at a moments’s notice. Balancing him superbly as Dr Watson is Andre Morell, who played Cushing’s nemesis in the controversial BBC adaptation of NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR (1954) that propelled Cushing to national fame (he would later be Cushing’s antagonist in the superb CASH ON DEMAND (Hammer/Columbia ,1961 ,as well as appearing in 10 RILLINGTON PLACE, also released on Blu Ray previously reviewed here on the Street https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/10-rillington-place-twilight-time-blu-ray/).

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Christopher Lee plays an aloof Sir Henry Baskervilles, who softens when he gets to Baskervilles Hall and meets Marla Landi (and who would later meet with pirate Chris Lee in Hammer’s THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER (Columbia,1962)). Other superlative actors in the film are scene stealer Miles Malleson (who portraying a befuddled undertaker nearly cracks Peter Cushing up in HORROR OF DRACULA (Hammer/Universal,1958) as a Bishop who is also an amateur Arachnologist, John Le Mesurier (Dr Tranter in JACK THE RIPPER, Embassy 1959) a marvelous proper Barrymore the Butler, and Ewan Salon (also in JACK THE RIPPER as Sir David) is a wonderful Stapleton.High-Def-Digest-www.highdefdigest_.com-Blu-ray-Reivew-Hound-of-the-Baskervilles_3_

 

I don’t wish to go into too many details, especially if you have seen it there is no need and if you haven’t you will want to enjoy discovering the wonderful story on its own.

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Production values are top notch ,with Bernard Robinson wonderfully redressing and adding to prior set pieces from Hammer ( it is often fun to watch Hammer Films just to see how brilliantly sets were dressed and redressed to such great effect from film to film), Jack Asher’s Technicolor photography has never looked so colorful as it does in this new Blu Ray release , and James Bernard’s score once again is quite stirring .The screenplay by Peter Bryan ,while not entirely faithful to the Doyle novel , is quite faithful in tone and spirit (Bryan ,a former camera operator ,would also pen Hammer’s PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES(Hammer /Fox,1966) as well as the original story for TROG (WB,1970))and Hammer’s treasure director Terrence Fisher deftly guides his ensemble through an engrossing and entertaining 86 minutes.13533200_1608127842850264_617244119448671006_n

The sound is in crisp clear 1.0 DTS-HD, with no noticeable pops or hiss, and the hound’s first howl and growl are quite chilling with the proper speakers. Subtitles are in English and follow the dialogue almost exactly.

Extras on this Blu Ray, besides the glorious region free 1080p High Definition / 1.66:1 / Color transfer, include
-An Isolated Music and effects track, you can enjoy Bernard’s score as well as seeing which sound bites are foleyed in.800__hound_baskervilles_06_blu-ray__blu-ray_
-An audio commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Writer /Director Steven Peros, who have infectious respect for the film and its place in Hammer History.
-A Second Audio commentary moderated by friend of SCARLET film historian and filmmaker Paul Scrabo, Lee Pfeiffer, and Hanker Reineke, who cover both the film and where it varies from the Holmesian canon.

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-A video interview with Margaret Robinson, who discusses her involvement with the film, in particular making the mask used on the Hound. Though warned the dog might bite her, the lovely woman recalls that the dog decided that she was alright and never had a problem with it.
Reversible blu ray artwork
A nice overview booklet on the film written by Julie Kirgo.

Ported over from the previous MGM DVD release are
-Actor’s Notebook: An interview with actor Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee reading excerpts from the original Novel.
-The Theatrical Trailer.

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Limited to only 3,000 copies, I would suggest that any fan of Holmes, Hammer, Cushing and company, or just great filmmaking should snap this film up!

HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
Kevin G Shinnick

Note: The U.K. Arrow release of this film has a lot of extras not available here, including historian Marcus Hearn commentary, commentary by Kim Newman and Mark Gatis, a documentary on Andre Morell, and a 1986 documentary called THE MANY FACES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. That it has both the Margaret Robinson interview and Lee reading Hound excerpts, it is a shame that the other wealth of extras from ARROW had not been ported over. Still, with the wealth of extras that TWILIGHT TIME has given us, this is petty nitpicking and most important, they have given us perhaps the finest presentation of this classic that we are likely to see.

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TIME TABLE

TIME TABLE (1956) originally released by United Artists .79 minutes. Crime Drama. B&W.
$ 7.98 Alpha Video. Available from OLDIES.COM
(http://www.oldies.com/product-view/7594D.html )      POSTER ALSO AVAILABLE :  http://www.oldies.com/product-view/7594PS.htmlalp7594d

TIME TABLE begins on a train speeding through the night in Arizona. A physician (Wesley Addy, later the sheriff in HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE (1962)) is summoned from his compartment to check out a passenger who has taken ill. He goes and tells the waiting porter , conductor , and wife of the sick passenger that he suspects that the man has polio and is contagious .The doctor has the train car isolated and asks to be taken to the baggage car for his medical bag. Just as we think we are going to have a medical drama like PANIC IN THE STREETS (1950) TIME TABLE turns into a very fast paced heist thriller with a lot of unexpected twists and turns.

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Directed by actor Mark Stevens (FROZEN ALIVE (1964)), who also stars as insurance investigator, Charles Gorman, keeps this entertaining Film Noir moving at a quick pace. The script by Aben Kandel (later to write scripts for Herman Cohen
horror films from I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF (1957) to CRAZE (1974)), from an original story by Robert Angus (producer of the first season of THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET!) has the well planned caper starts to fall apart almost as soon as it begins when unexpected variables begin to occur. Well photographed by cinematographer Charles Van Enger (who mostly worked on TV but did lens BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA (1952)), it is a shadowy world that befits the story and its characters.

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You may recognize two brief but important character appearances in the film. The first is Jack Klugman (TV’s THE ODD COUPLE) in his second film appearance * as a stoolie getaway driver. The other is Alan Reed, who looks like he was the template for James Gandolfini. His voice will sound familiar to many, as he was the original Fred Flintstone!

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I have been careful not to give away too much of the plot of this short but well-crafted little 79 minute b&w gem, so you can discover them for yourselves. This is a B film in the best possible sense, a super supporting feature done economically but quite effectively.11143730_1574048846167403_1992782247097042989_n

ALPHA VIDEO once again releases a film that other distributors overlook. The print is a bit muddy, but that is to be expected, and I am doubtful we would see a better quality print released to DVD.

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Kevin G Shinnick

*- Did you know Klugman’s first film role was in a Larry Buchanan quickie western in 1952 ?According to IMDBD ,he appeared in a $16,000 quickie called GRUBSTAKE for the director later made (in)famous for such films as MARS NEEDS WOMEN (1967) . Stanley Kubrick was almost the cinematographer, but Buchanan would not meet his salary requests. Anyone ever see GRUBSTAKE aka APACHE GOLD?

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THE TERROR (1963) Blu Ray from Film Detective -review

THE TERROR (1963) Color. NTSC .79 min. $14.99 Blu Ray -Film Detective  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F5SXHSI/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1/184-0196101-0815836?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_r=0Z1A4BV8BWV7VTMB1PEG&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=1944687762&pf_rd_i=B00NX19C2U

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In 1959, Roger Corman and his brother Gene formed Filmgroup to make films that would give them a bigger cut of the profits of the films that they were making (Roger had formed Palo Alto Productions to produce his first films). They distributed a few of the films but decided they need Allied Artists and American International Pictures to get them a wider distribution in the long run. Finally, the Corman’s decided to fold Filmgroup. The Corman’s never bothered to copyright the films they made for and distributed by Filmgroup (they had bought some foreign adventure and fantasy films which they also distributed or represented under the banner), and so all of these titles have fallen into Public Domain status.
This is why films like QUEEN OF BLOOD (1966), THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960), and NIGHT TIDE (1961) have been widely distributed by many fly by night video distribution companies using prints of questionable sound and picture quality.

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In this batch of P.D. films were also THE TERROR (1963). This one seemed to appear in a lot more of the bargain bins due to the fact that
a)-it had recognizable star names (Karloff, Nicholson)
b)- it was color.
The problem is a lot of these budget videos and later DVDs were from 16mm dupe prints, and were often splicy and muddy color and sound. Since it was so long available in this fashion, studios try and stay away from releasing better prints because they fear the average buyer is unaware of the differences in quality.

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Therefore, it is a pleasure to say that FILM DETECTIVE has gone that extra step to find original 35mm elements to release a Blu Ray that makes the film look as if it was lensed recently.

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Legend has it that as Corman was finishing his A.I.P. film THE RAVEN (1963) a few days ahead of schedule, the director realized he Still had Boris Karloff contractually signed for four more days to work, as well as having some impressive standing sets left over from previous films (kudos of the great Daniel Haller, Corman’s answer to Hammer’s brilliant set designer Bernard Robinson). He had writers Jack Hill and Leo Gordon cobble something together to utilize the star and the sets. Corman was known for shooting his films quickly, including THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960) over two days and one night. He finished Karloff’s scenes in the required four days *

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The film, (known during shooting as “Lady of The Shadows”) however, was not quite complete, and like a Frankenstein monster, it was patched together with new scenes over a 9-month period with various (uncredited) directors such as 26-year-old actor Jack Nicholson, Jack Hill, Monte Hellman and Francis Ford Coppola, and I am sure several others did pick up shots. **

 

The plot has Lt. Andre Duvalier (Jack Nicholson, who had played Peter Lorre’s nebbish son in THE RAVEN that same year) a soldier in Napoleon’s army who has been separated from his regiment (with Big Sur California substituting for undetermined Prussian territory.)

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Exhausted and hungry, he is surprised to see a beautiful woman named Helene (Sandra Knight, Nicholson’s wife at the time). She shows him a source of fresh water then has him follow her. Suddenly she begins to walk as if in a trance into the ocean. Andre tries to rush in and save her when he is attacked by a falcon and sinks under the waves (Nicholson claimed that he nearly drowned filming this sequence).

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He awakes in the home of Katrina (Dorothy Neumann) and her mute servant Gustav (Corman regular Jonathan Haze). When Andre inquires about the Helene, the old woman shows him her pet, the very bird that attacked him, also named Helene. Andre awakes at night and goes off looking for the girl, eventually finding her in the forest. Silently she leads him through the woods when suddenly Gustav appears, and says there is danger (a continuity error, as hadn’t we just been told he was mute?). Tossing a rock, he shows that the girl was leading him to a quicksand trap. Gustav, in a harsh whispery voice says that Helene is possessed but if the soldier wants to find her, to go to the castle of Baron Von Leppe and find Eric who knows the full story.

Andre confronts Katrina, who tries to stop him from going to the castle, then pleads that he not tell the Baron that he knows of her whereabouts.

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He comes upon the castle (impressive matte paintings by Albert Whitlock, lifted from THE PIT & THE PENDULUM(A.I.P.,1961)) and he spies Helene in windows. Andre demands to be admitted “In The Name of the Government of France”. He is greeted by Baron Victor von Leppe (Boris Karloff) himself, who says that he was at his devotions and did not hear earlier.The Terror-Corman

 

Karloff is superb in his role, alternately haughty as well as subtly humorous. Considering that he didn’t have a full script makes his performance all the more impressive.

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The Baron admits the soldier, noting that the name Duvalier was once of a noble house until the French Revolution. Andre admits his father was the Count Duvalier, until he lost his head (the film seems set in 1806, so his father was executed between 1793-94). He says that he saw the girl in one of the windows but the Baron says he is mistaken. He points out a painting of a young woman (by artist Bert Schoneberg) and the soldier says that it is a portrait of the woman whom he is seeking. The Baron asks him to observe the date of the painting, which is 1786. It is a portrait of the Baron’s late wife, Ilsa. The Baron says that the castle is unoccupied except for the Baron and his servant Stefan (the ever reliable Dick Miller, billed here as Richard and giving a subtler performance than usual) and that Andre is the first visitor to the castle since the turn of the century.

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Duvalier wanders the castle grounds and cellars, finding the crypt of Ilsa, which has ominously had its cross removed from above the entrance. He is startled at one doorway by the appearance of Helene (or is it the spirit of Ilsa) who when he looks back has gone.

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It seems Stefan followed Andre during his search and tells the Baron that the soldier may have heard things in the village. The Baron feels Andre must leave as soon as possible but under his own accord due to his rank and position. Stefan confronts Andre at the Baroness’ crypt, telling him that the Baron removed all religious articles when she died and that the crypt has been sealed for 20 years. He also tells him that the soldier’s horse has bolted and run away. Andre feels he is being lied to and asks who is Eric?

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Dark secrets come out about who Eric is, and how the Baron’s wife died, plus a tale of revenge and the hidden tale of how  Katrina is involved. It all ends with gory murder (a character gets his eyes clawed out by the falcon in a for the time graphic fashion and falls to his death) and the castle falling into ruin (this time by flooding as a change of pace from the usual fire that ended Corman’s Poe films) and a character rotting away before our eyes (the putrefaction effect, uncredited seems similar to that of Vincent Price melting in the previous year’s TALES OF TERROR (A.I.P.,1962) makes me feel that it was by Lou LaCava).

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The picture quality on this FILM DETECTIVE Blu Ray release is superb. The blues and reds in the Pathe color print are incredibly vibrant, shaming the current trend of shooting in drab metallic tones. This release truly shows off the superb cinematography of John M Nickolaus Jr and the uncredited Floyd Crosby. Wide shots and two are employed throughout, with close-ups used powerfully and sparingly. The clearer picture also clearly shows when stuntman Dennis Jakob, with dark hair, substituted for Karloff in the climatic flooding sequence. Still, the flooding sequence must have been a great strain on the 76-year-old star, who would later develop pneumonia filming in the cold sound stages of Italy for BLACK SABBATH(AIP,1964). Also, we can see near the end that Sandra Knight’s mid drift is blurred, due to the fact that she was pregnant during filming (giving birth to daughter Jennifer September 13,1963).

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Harry Reif’s set decorations give the production a lot of value. The costumes by Marjorie Corso are simple but effective (especially nice is the uniform worn by Nicholson as well as the rich blue robe worn by Karloff). Kudos to editor Stuart O’Brien on assembling so many disparate scenes and making a somewhat cohesive whole. The mono sound is very good (though a bit low on certain dialogue sequences, easily corrected by adjusting the volume). The score by Ronald Stein (with some additional bits by Lex Baxter) is lush and effective. All of these technicians and artists make THE TERROR look a lot more lavish and expensive than it is. Subtitles for the dialogue are excellent.

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The only quibble I have is that I wish that they had gotten someone like David J Skal or Tim Lucas to do an audio commentary for the film. One of the things that DVDs and Blu Rays offer that streaming does not allow are extras like that, and companies should use that for their advantage.

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IMDB lists a running time of 81 minutes, though this disc runs 79 minutes 14 seconds. I see nothing that would be cut nor any time compression. During the film’s original U.K. release, the bloody eye scene was trimmed, but this print seems to be complete.

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All in all, Film Detective is to be commended for the loving care with which they have restored this film.

RECOMMENDED.

-Kevin G Shinnick

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*-Karloff’s salary included a $15,000 deferred payment that he would receive once the movie made over a certain amount. In May 1966, Corman told the Horror Icon that THE TERROR never hit the profit threshold, and so the star would not be getting any money. However, he said he WOULD pay the actor the $15,000 if he worked a few days on another project. The star agreed (today there would have been lawsuits galore) to the undetermined future film. Luckily, it turned out to be TARGETS (Paramount,1968), Peter Bogdanovich’s first full feature debut. The film made extensive use of clips from THE TERROR.

Other films have used clips from the film, including CAMPFIRE TALES (Sub Rosa,1991), AVENGED (Uncork’d ,2014), and TRANSYLVANIA TWIST (Concorde ,1989). In the latter film, a sort of AIRPLANE! (Paramount,1980) for horror fans, Dexter Ward (Steve Altman), enters a room and encounters Karloff courtesy of footage from THE TERROR. This is a doubly clever idea, considering the piecemeal way that the Corman film was made.


**- Corman tried to regain copyright on the film in 1990 for release through his New

Horizon -Concorde company. To do this, he rehired Dick Miller 27 years later to film new footage for the beginning and the end of the film as a framing device. Miller claimed that the payment for these scenes was the most he ever got from Roger Corman! Sadly,I have been unable to find this version on VHS or DVD. thehaunting 1963 corman

(In the U.K.,the film was also known as THE HAUNTING . Confusing to say the least ,as there was also the THE HAUNTING (MGM ,1963) .

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