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The Camp on Blood Island [DVD] [1958]

4.1 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Carl Möhner, Andre Morell, Edward Underdown, Walter Fitzgerald, Phil Brown
  • Directors: Val Guest
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Oct. 2010
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002ZV4W10
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,971 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Near the end of World War II, Allied soldiers are held prisoner in a Japanese camp on Blood Island. When Colonel Lambert (Andre Morell, The Bridge on the River Kwai) finds out that the Allies are about to win the war, he knows that the Japanese will kill all of the prisoners in their camp and the women’s camp on the other side of the island. It is up to Lambert and his cohorts to keep the Japanese officers from finding out about the Allies, while arming the prisoners in case the guards learn the truth. Based on a true story, THE CAMP ON BLOOD ISLAND is a compelling tale about the savagery of war.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a gritty and sometimes harrowing POW drama that goes some way to depicting some of the atrocities suffered by British prisoners inside Japanese prison camps during World War II. This film was made in 1958 by Hammer Studios and filmed in black and white in a ratio known as Megascope. The film was considered quite shocking when it was first released and certain scenes still have a strong impact when viewed today.

Set in the Malay Peninsula in 1945, the story centres on a group of British prisoners who discover that the war is over and that the Allied Forces have been victorious. The problem is that they must keep this news from reaching the camp's sadistic commandant, Colonel Yamamitsu, who has vowed to execute all the prisoners if Japan surrenders.

There are some very tense moments in this film and the levels of violence and brutality are quite high at times for a film made in the 1950s. It is not a Hammer horror film as such but certain scenes do have the power to shock just like some horror movies.

The excellent cast includes Hammer regulars such as André Morell, Barbara Shelley, Michael Ripper and Richard Wordsworth and it was directed by Val Guest, who directed many other important films for Hammer. It is hard to believe that the same director went on to make saucy comedies like Confessions Of A Window Cleaner and Au Pair Girls in the 1970s!

This DVD presents the film in its original Megascope ratio of 2.35:1 and includes an interesting collectors booklet so this is pretty much an essential purchase for fans of Hammer films and fans of classic British cinema.
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Format: DVD
One of Hammer's biggest hits in the late 50s when the studio was reinventing itself as one of Britain's most successful independent producers, The Camp on Blood Island has become something of a rarity in the subsequent decades: too violent for TV in the 60s, too politically incorrect today (it's not been seen on UK TV since 1979) and too downmarket for revival houses, its UK DVD release is the first opportunity many will have had to see what all the fuss was about. Despite looking to all intents and purposes like a quickie low-budget Bridge on the River Kwai knockoff - it even stars Andre Morell from Lean's film to lend it some gravitas - Hammer had submitted the script to the censors a year before its bigger budgeted rival and got a surprisingly soft ride for a script about atrocities in a Japanese P.O.W. camp. This may have possibly been because of its roots in a true story about prisoners faced with a massacre by their captors trying to keep the news from them that the war is over, but it didn't stop the UK critics tearing it to shreds as tasteless and racist exploitation or audiences flocking to it en mass, making it a huge box-office success.

While the film certainly has its fill of sadism and casual killing, it's surprisingly tasteful, the black and white photography downplaying the blood and the beheadings kept off camera and director Val Guest and cinematographer Jack Asher doing a surprisingly good job of hiding his low budget and British locations. Unfortunately there's no hiding some dismal miscasting of the Japanese roles.
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This is a lost Hammer Classic.
Not shown on TV since 1979 because of politically correct views changing in the world, it is a gritty and well crafted film showing how nasty the Japanese were to British prisoners of war.

I know nowadays people don't like to see a nation being given bad press, and "Not everyone is the same" attitude, but this film honestly depicts what happened all those years ago, and what is the problem with showing that? There are plenty of other war films around showing how nasty the SS and the German army were, so this is no different. But I suspect at the time, becuase it was linked with the name Hammer, it immediately got an undesireable link with horror, and exploitation, which is a shame because it is a very fine film indeed.
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Very good image quality of monochrome, solid contrast in widescreen, that was originally shot in Megascope. The dvd from sony has a 24 page booklet, as ever, by Marcus Hearn that is vivid and interesting. In short, what the film deserves at the very least, given that it did sterling business when released. What we have been denied on tv or otherwise since those heady days of x certificates, is now here as intended. Admittedly there is the alternate dubbed word of 'tramp' rather than 'whore' but this is hardly enough to undermine such a solid, brutal piece of cinema that can be an important comment on sadism, as much as it is upon the dubious ethics wavering within war. The censors may well have seen it's 'based on truth' and real testimony as sufficient to merit the film being relatively unhampered. Accordingly, director Val Guest made a film in 1959, Yesterday's Enemy, that revealed an example of a British Captain's inhumane behaviour, specific to one man, in some ways balancing the account regarding who is blameless in war.

The film bears witness to japanese atrocities, but more particularly one infamous camp sadist & a scenario of desperate final days of war under threat of someone who has nothing to lose. This makes for a pacey, direct, crisply directed piece of almost documentary feel where suspense comes naturally when everyone involved is in peril perpetually. Any attempt to bring to mind It Ain't Half Hot Mum will however be scuppered very, and i mean very, readily. This is serious, even with it's occasional flaws. Not to be criticised generally is the acting from all concerned. Morrell, Shelley, Wordsworth..the list goes on throughout. This is solid film making, even on a tight budget, despite the brevity of film length.
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