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The Awakening [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Charlton Heston, Susannah York, Jill Townsend, Stephanie Zimbalist, Patrick Drury
  • Directors: Mike Newell
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jun. 2007
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000N3T2Q2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,733 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Egyptian horror starring Charlton Heston as an American archaeologist who discovers the tomb of an Egyptian Queen. Opening the seal of the tomb, his pregnant wife gives birth. It's not until years later that he realises the two events are linked, his baby daughter possessed by the evil spirit of the dead queen. Faced with an awful choice, he realises he must destroy his daughter if he is to protect mankind.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The CinemaScope Cat TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 Dec. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In 1962, an archaeologist (Charlton Heston) discovers the tomb of an evil Queen of ancient Egypt. Her tomb is opened up at the exact moment his wife (Jill Townsend) gives birth to a baby girl. 18 years later, his daughter (Stephanie Zimbalist) shows signs of being possessed by the spirit of the evil Queen. Adapted from the 1903 Bram Stoker novel JEWEL OF THE SEVEN STARS (and previously made in 1971 under the title BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB) which has been influential in just about every Mummy movie ever made, this was the first theatrical feature of director Mike Newell, best known for FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL. For a horror film, THE AWAKENING lacks any real sense of horror. The film seems to have used the popular 1976 film THE OMEN as a blueprint even down to some of the gory death scenes as when poor Susannah York inherits Lee Remick's plunging fall. That sanest of American actors, Heston can't quite convey the madness necessary for his final scenes and the uncharismatic Zimbalist is only able to summon up some genuine sense of evil in her very final scene. The cinematography (lensed in Egypt and England) is by the legendary Jack Cardiff and there's an appropriately mysterious score by the jazz composer, Claude Bolling.

The 2007 Optimum Classics release from Great Britain is a nice looking 1.85 widescreen transfer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Oct. 2013
Format: DVD
The Awakening is directed by Mike Newell and collectively adapted to screenplay by Clive Exton, Chris Bryant and Allan Scott from the Bram Stoker novel The Jewel of Seven Stars. It stars Charlton Heston, Susannah York, Jill Townsend and Stephanie Zimbalist. Music is by Claude Bolling and cinematography by Jack Cardiff.

Heston plays archaeologist Matthew Corbeck, who after discovering the tomb of disgraced Egyptian Queen Kara discovers his daughter is possessed by Kara's spirit and to save mankind he may have to destroy her.

It's honourably serious, a willing attempt to make an intelligent end of the world type picture with flecks of troubling family dynamics. The production value is top draw, every effort has been made to make it look great, with lavish photography (nice to see a film of this type actually be filmed in Egypt), skillfully crafted set designs and an evocative score that drifts across the sands with distinction. Hell, even the casting of Heston at a time when his star had considerably faded, still gave the production some weight. If only it wasn't so immeasurably dull and distant!

The makers, obviously tugging on the coat tails of The Omen and Mummy movies previously, never develop the edgy themes bubbling away just below the narrative's surface. It's often feels like a big compromise was put forward by an executive, a request that they must ensure deaths are the draw card and to hell with the possibility of making a substantial brain tickler. Or it could just be that there were too many writers in the mix?! So what we essentially get is a laboriously paced movie going through the motions until the next death scene arrives, and then it's back to some slow brooding again.

The cast are solid, the ending suitably downbeat, and if you like Omen type deaths then there are a couple here worth your time, but you may need plenty of energizer drinks to keep you awake first. 4/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 20 Sept. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Glancing over the credits of The Awakening, you can't help thinking so many talented people, such an ordinary film. Charlton Heston, director Mike Newell (making his debut), legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff (Black Narcissus, A Matter of Life and Death), editor Terry Rawlings (Alien, Chariots of Fire) and a trio of quality scribes in Ten Rillington Place screenwriter Clive Exton and Don't Look Now co-writers Allan Scott and Chris Bryant. The latter's involvement makes you think that Nic Roeg could have really made something of the material at that time. Certainly this should have been much better than it is. It's not that it's a rehash of Bram Stoker's Jewel of the Seven Stars that served as the basis for Hammer's infinitely superior Blood From the Mummy's Tomb less than a decade earlier - producer Robert H. Solo had remade even better source material with surprising intelligence and success with 1978's Invasion of the Body Snatchers - more that it's a horror film that doesn't chill and which feels like it's only just getting down to business when it ends. It certainly has the kind of budget Hammer could only dream of, but none of the compensating imagination.

It's one of those films which it's obvious the leading man has taken on largely because he turned down a similar film that proved a huge hit and figures that he'd better not miss the boat a second time, in this case Charlton Heston clearly regretting his decision not to make The Omen.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Brison-Main on 27 Jun. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As an earlier reviewer pointed out this movie boasts a far higher budget and production value than Hammers adaption of the same Bram Stoker novel. This movie looks and sounds beautiful but the complete film is much less than the sum of its parts. Apart from Charlton Heston (who is miscast and wears a succession of distracting wigs) the acting is good and there are some decent set pieces. The film makers have obviously taken their cue from "The Omen" rather than Hammer and while they manage to capture some of the tone and mood of that film, they fail to achieve any of its unnerving qualities.

I suspect than the unevenness of the film is due in part to the large budget. I don't know anything about the production history but suspect that the final cut may suffer from studio interference. The last half hour features some bizarre editing choices.

The DVD features no extras and the film is presented full screen. The picture quality is watchable; better than VHS but not great.

Having watched both "The Awakening" and "Blood From The Mummy's Tomb" in the last two weeks I would have to say that the Hammer version, while far from perfect in itself, is the most satisfying of the two adaptations.
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