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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 31 May 2014
The problem with the Blu-ray is that from a film to another it can be a significant improvement or no improvement, or it could still be worse.
Before buying the Dracula (Hammer 1958) in Blu-ray (Lions Gate Edition), hoping to get a better picture than my old DVD version (Warner Bros. edition), I compared The Curse Of Frankenstein (Hammer 1957) already purchesed in Blu-ray (from the same Lions Gate), with the same Frankenstein film I bought a few years ago in DVD Warner bros edition.
I was well inspired, because I found that the old DVD (Warner Bros.) has better image than the Blu- Ray (from Lions Gate). The Blu-ray image is grainy and overexposed. Furthermore, there is a "cyclic jerk" in the movements. The DVD (Warner Bros.) is presented in widescreen, so the image is slightly cut on the top and bottom. But aside from that, my old DVD from Warner is much better.
Tip : Be very careful before you buy your Blu-rays. In some cases it is really an improvement (for example The Blood Beast Terror [Blu-ray] [1968], from Odeon). But in other cases, it is a useless waste of money.
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on 23 October 2012
To put this aspect ratio into perspective I offer the following

I was a Projectionist showing this film at the ABC Cinemas In Dewsbury UK & it was shown in WideScreen
as all films after THE COMMAND with Guy Madison (First Warner CinemaScope film)to be shown on the ABC circuit.
All NON SCOPE films were shown in a ratio of 1,66 to 1.85,depending on what screen you visited.

The aspect ratio being dictated by the size of the proscenium.Plates were cut out to fit the screen,
though not done to exact measurements,as any Projectionist will tell you. The plates were cut to match the screen and masking installed.
So the aspect ratio varied from screen to screen.

When Curse Of Frankenstein came out all the ABC Cinemas in the UK had been converted for WideScreen.
I used to do relief work at various throughout the country and all showed Curse in WideScreen.

CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN was shown in WIDESCREEN.Whether that was the intention originally before it was filmed,well that's another story.

The 5 Stars are for the Film not the dodgy transfer to Blu-ray.

Hope this helps.
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VINE VOICEon 23 October 2012
So far I have been really pleased with the successful revival of the Hammer brand, especially the fact that the `new' Hammer has shown a welcome commitment to their legacy by investing in this restoration programme. The HD versions of Dracula Prince of Darkness, Plague of the Zombies, The Reptile (and Quatermass and the Pit and Paranoiac) have been excellent, as I'm sure the next suite of releases will be. And let us not forget that this is after all a commercial activity, and Hammer presumably want to appeal to older long-standing Hammer aficionados as well as entice a new generation to embrace the pleasures of British Gothic. Hence the enhancements that have been made to The Devil Rides Out, which I am in favour of as the dodgy (and unfinished) special effects have always marred the film for me and ultimately diminish its impact. (Having said that I do hope that this sort of interference is kept to a minimum and has only been applied judiciously in this instance to address a long standing and well known shortcoming - I would not be happy for this approach to be extended to other films with notoriously underwhelming special effects, say The Lost Continent for example where the papier-mache-and-string effects are part of the charm.)

However, in this instance, I don't think this Blu-Ray transfer of one of Hammer's crown jewels is going to satisfy either the old Hammer fan or the new devotee. Sadly, after a week of viewing and re-viewing this title, alongside a re-bought copy of the Warner DVD release - re-bought because I'd sold my original copy in anticipation of this Blu-Ray edition - my feeling is that this is the most disappointing of the official Hammer BR releases to date. I need to emphasise that the criticism here is not in the knee jerk `whatever they've done it's bound to be wrong' line. But comparing the image quality of the older Warner Bros DVD version with both the Academy and widescreen versions on the BR here, even though they are clearly derived from the same source (evident in the `young' Frankenstein scenes) , the image quality - the colour, the sharpness - is undoubtedly better on the older DVD. (I'm not going to talk about the version of the film on the DVDs in this new edition - as these simply replicate the image quality of the BR.)

I have absolutely no technical expertise or inside knowledge in these matters, but using just the evidence of my own eyeballs, there is no contest. The versions of the film on this BR are washed out, faded, blurry and lacklustre. The image on the WB DVD is cleaner and more crisp, the colour far more vivid, lush and just more `Hammer, than this muddy BR. In other ways the BR looks like a step backward. Look at the scene where Frankenstein and Krempe cut down the corpse from the gibbet. On the BR there is a continual flickering through the entire scene; on the WB DVD no such flickering is evident. (If other people could confirm this just to allay my fears that I might have a dodgy copy). This is even more dismaying because on the Universal Monster Box, the problem of flickering in the substantially older Universal movies has been highlighted and corrected. Annoyingly in Curse of Frankenstein, it seems to have been introduced where it did not before exist. So the bottom line as regards the film itself is that in future it'll be the WB DVD version that I'll be watching.

I've not even addressed the aspect ratio issue, which has been done to death on the official Hammer blog and elsewhere, but my reservations on this score are less pronounced than over the generally poor image quality. (Though I am persuaded that a widescreen presentation is the correct one, so the concerns expressed elsewhere as to how Hammer have dealt with this issue add to my wariness about ordering future offerings sight unseen, particularly in relation to the release of the Dracula Blu-Ray next year.)

Moving on to the rest of the package, there's the usual making of doc with archive of Michael Carreras and Jimmy Sangster plus the welcome irreverence of Melvyn Hayes, a short and moving tribute to Peter Cushing, and then in SD the earlier Terence Fisher Hammer feature Four Side Triangle, the lame duck (but fascinating historical artefact) TV pilot episode of Tales of Frankenstein and the World of Hammer `Frankenstein' segment. These are included as extras on the Blu-Ray and also included on the 2nd DVD. Exclusively on this 2nd Extras DVD is a pdf `booklet' (not provided as hard copy insert) on the genesis of Curse of Frankenstein. There is also the indispensable commentary by Jonathan Rigby and Marcus Hearn on both the BR and DVD versions of the film. All very worthwhile - it's just a shame that the jewel they are meant to offset is less than glittering.
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on 22 November 2012
Now that the fuss has died down a bit over Curse of Frankenstein, I've been viewing the disc and here's my own personal opinion without influence from either camps. I find the academy framed version generally pleasing but with an uncomfortable amount of dead space whereas the 1.66:1 is noticeably tight. Using the settings on my TV to fake a 1.66:1 from the academy version with higher framing ("common top") is somewhat better but still not without it's faults. Therefore my own conclusion would be that the Warner DVD version got it right in adjusting the matte on a shot by shot basis (though, that of course from cropped more tightly to 1.77:1). That would have created a far more pleasing to the eye 1.66:1 version, even if not 100% accurate. The academy version would be absolutely fine to be left as an option though I do believe calling it the OAR is erroneous. Neither aspect ratios as presented on the disc are completely satisfactory.

Regarding the picture quality, I have always reserved judgement on this due to the original negative being, to all intents and purposes, lost. Now that I've had a good look at the Blu-ray version, I think that many people are being unfairly harsh. It is soft, yes, but it's also quite naturally filmic without any objectionable digital tinkering. It may be true that going back to the best available colour separation elements (which were apparently made when it was discovered the film stock was degrading) and recombining them wholly in the digital domain could render superior results, but that would be costly and the ball is in Warner's court as they have the elements, not Hammer.

Overall, while not without it's faults, it's certainly not as terrible as some are making out. People, including myself, are now understandably wary of pre-ordering new Hammer discs due to some of the poorly worded PR and frankly bizarre decisions made of late (I refer you to the inexplicable lack of original effects on The Devil Rides Out). My advice is not to let it spoil the enjoyment that this disc can offer because it's very far from awful. Add to that a rather nice extras package which includes another full length film among the number, it's not a bad release if not perfect.
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VINE VOICEon 12 October 2013
Anyone watching this for the first time will be a little gob smacked that this can be labelled a Blu Ray disk... it's not at all. Yes it may state that on the box and on the disk, but the picture and sound quality are of DVD standard. There is simply no picture detail in this film at all. The worst this film looks is in the beginning as actors faces look like someone turned the contrast all the way up. To sell this just as a DVD would have made more sense, with the explanation that due to source material Blu Ray quality wasn't achievable. Sadly they decided to sell this as a HD transfer, and as expected there's a fair bit of fan anger. I have read Hammer's explanation of the problems they had remastering the film, but it likely won't satisfy those who've spent their hard earned.

As for the film itself I've always loved it. It's one of Cushing's finest performances, and Christopher Lee's version of the monster is excellently portrayed. Along with Hammer's Dracula these were the cornerstones of Hammer's output, true horror classics (I don't include The Mummy in this as for me it was overlong in scenes and quite boring). The new added scenes to Frankenstein are nice to see.

It's real shame Icon/Lions Gate were only able to achieve this level of quality. I suspect many will be sending there's back. In contrast Icon's other release Dracula looks much much better, but then I'm guessing there was probably still good source material for that.
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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2015
Doctor Victor Frankenstein tells the story from his jail cell of his obsession with creating life and how he came to create a creature using dead bodies. The one that started it all, The Curse Of Frankenstein is a slow build but tense film with an excellent performance from Peter Cushing in one of his most famous roles as the insane Doctor Frankenstein, the first of 6 films that he would play the role and Christopher Lee before being later cast as Dracula makes for a sympathetic monster. While the later sequels would get camp, this was played completely straight and is a faithful adaptation of the original novel and a good solid remake of Universal's classic horror film and a good start to Hammer horror. Picture quality considering the age of the film is excellent on bluray.
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on 26 February 2016
Lionsgate U.K. have gained the rights to Curse of Frankenstien
and have given the film a new HD restored transfer in 2 screen ratios
the 1st is the original Theatrical ratio full screen 1:37:1
and the 2nd is new wider ratio of 1:66:1 which looks incredible, much better than the old full screen format
the picture looks very Good very nice sharp & clear restoration in both ratios
the version is Uncut runtime at 86mins so there's some extra scenes that have been inserted back in the film
that wasn't in the original dvd version, the extra scenes are more Gore scenes
that were to much to handle for the British censor board back in 1958 so they were cut out
these extra scenes are very Lame now compared today's Gory scenes
the new 1:66:1 ratio which is my preferred ratio looks much better than the old full screen format
i still get black bars on either side of my widescreen TV but they're only about 1 inch in width
so obviously the wider ratio is much better to watch
the sound quality is much better sounding in new Master audio stereo mix, the old dvd version was only Mono sound
so the sound quality has been boosted up for sure
Lots of new special features
a new retrospective featurette FRANKENSTIEN REBORN made just for this blu-ray release-35mins runtime
new interviews with writer Jimmy sangster, Hammer historians Marcus Hearn, Johnathan rigby
and others are interviewed talking about how curse of Frankenstein came to be filmed
LIFE WITH SIR Documentary
which is a Doco on actor Peter cushing, Peter cushing's secretary and eventually his carer Joyce broughton
is interviewed about his Peter's Life, emotional interview more about his personal life rather than the Hammer films he starred in
there's also TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN TV pilot which was broadcast to TV back in 1958
Digitally remastered in 1:33:1 ratio
there's also the world of Hammer featurette-curse of frankentein
plus a bonus film FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE
plus trailer and photos, all this on 1 Blu-ray Disc incredible
time to upgrade for sure, 5 stars for this blu-ray
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on 26 April 2015
The film that made Hammer Pictures. This film is gothic horror at its best and it has the dream team of Cushing and Lee. It has many extras included and there is a bonus film called The Four Sided Triangle - loosely based on the Frankenstein theme. A wonderful DVD to add to your collection.
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on 19 November 2015
Classic horror from the Hammer studio's, the great Christopher Lee in his only performance as the Monster, Peter Cushing is a brilliant as ever, it's very innovative in it's makeup/prosthetics for it's time, very good adaption of Mary Shelly's novel, which like Bram Stoker's 'Dracula', 'The Mummy' Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde' I had when I was a boy at school from a book club, on Ladybird Book's, I like the new bonus feature's on the DVD, the original film poster artwork and the documentary about Peter Cushing, wonderful!.....
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on 12 October 2012
The third disappointing Hammer Blu-ray release is about to let fans down who were hoping for the definitive CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Instead what we'll be getting is an academy ratio version that whacks significant info from the sides, and a thoroughly botched Widescreen version that crops the top of the frame so tightly that heads bump the ceiling. Even the Warner DVD did a better job framing the image. It's a shame because the source used here is clearly superior to the Warner release and could have provided a beautiful master had only someone been watching what they were doing.
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