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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 14 August 2017
It's an old hammer horr all right Peter Cushing is as always pretty good! The American actor is annoying and the snow scenes are laughable, I guess older is good needs to be remade.
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on 26 September 2005
We've been pretty lucky in America during the past five years of the DVD boom. (I know DVD has been around twice that, but it's only the past five years the studios have started listening to you and I about what WE want on DVD) I've gotten to see more quality Hammer Studio releases of wonderful movies, like "The Abominable Snowman", then I ever did during the vhs era. And a lot of this thanks goes to AnchorBay Entertainment, who went out of their way to get permission to release them, in their original aspect ratio, and in the best possible shape they could find. This DVD is one of the gems of my collection.
The picture quality is stunning for such an old film. And to know that many of the outdoor and indoor Himalayan sets were put together in England is astounding. The sound is crips and clean. And the picture is animorphic Widescreen for those lucky enough to have a Widescreen TV.
If you don't know the story, briefly, Dr. John Rollason (Cushing) is a gentle, humane scientist working in the Himalayas with his wife and friend/co-worker, supposedly catalouging rare plantlife in a hostile region. We discover shortly that American explorer and exploiter, Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker) and his partner (Played by Robert Brown) are hooking up with Rollason for an expedition to find the one, true Yeti. Both men are driven, one by the purity of science and humanity, the other by his greed and hunger for fame. They are pushed to the limits in an hostile world that can kill at anytime. And when they come face-to-face with the Yeti, the clash of personalities no longer matters, because each man must now face his own fears alone with the only true weapons that will work; their strengths, and their weaknesses.
This was a pretty giant production for Hammer. And they handled it wonderfully, giving us B-Horror hungry fans something a giant step above flesh-eating monsters and alien invaders; they gave us an intellegent, thinking-man's adventure story.
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VINE VOICEon 13 September 2011
After my review's of two other Hammer films from Icon (Quatermass Experiment/Quatermass 2 and X the Unknown) I was very trepidatious, to say the least, about this DVD. However of the three it's most certainly the best. Icon have retained the original aspect ratio and the picture (while not outstanding) is good enough and the sound is a similar story. It's a relief as this is a great film with the legendary Peter Cushing and thankfully the quality of print does not spoil the enjoyment. It's a shame this didn't extend to the others I purchased and have sadly had to return for a refund. I'm glad to say this film is recommended.
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on 2 April 2009
This is not your average monster movie!

A convincing cast led by Peter Cushing, with Forrest Tucker to add appeal for the American market.

This is a very intelligent look at the Abominable Snowman legend. There was quite a buzz in the early 50's about conquering Everest, and seeing unidentified footprints high in the snowfields.

Here is where Hammer caught the public's imagination, with this low budget effort. But please don't be put off by the low budget bit, if anything it made the production more efficient at telling a good story, without the need to substitute the story for eye-candy effects.
I hope you take a look at this almost forgotten gem from the Hammer vaults.

An excellent anamorphic transfer, beautifully shot in B&W. Also included is a superb retrospective documentary with the legend Val Guest. All go to make this a worthy addition to any classic horror collection.
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on 27 February 2012
This review relates to the DD edition of this movie - a company which seems all but defunct at this stage. This is too bad because all their Hammer releases (specifically the two Quatermass and "The Abominable snowman") are miles ahead of what Icon did with these titles. The DD DVDs (that can still be found but which are getting increasingly expensive) are crisp, clear copies with very good commentaries by Val Guest, Nigel Kneale and/or Jimmy Sangster, and all hosted by Hammer guru Marcus Hearn. The commentary on "Snowman" by Val Guest is fun, informative, full of anecdotes (fascinating bit on Hitchcock). He is complemented by interventions of writer Nigel Kneale, who clearly did not see eye-to-eye with him on the picture, even if the writer had to acknowledge by the end that the movie was good!
And how good this movie is! Like Quatermass 2 it stands as a classic, with an environmental theme which has never been more accute than now, so needless to say that the pictture has not aged a bit. Cushing shows his versatility as an actor, and the film moves seemlessly from a monastery filmed at the small Bray studios to vast snowy landscapes at Pinewood through vast mountainscapes in the Pyreneans -- all great and credible alternatives to the Himalaya. As always with Guest, the so-called "monster" is understated, and "Snowman" demonstrates that the journey is often more rewarding than the destination. A great effort, highly recommended in this edition.
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on 31 March 2003
"The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas" finds botanist John Rollason (Peter Cushing) encounters American Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker) at a monastery and joins a sortie led by Friend to find the legendary Yeti. The crass American wants to bring the Abominable Snowman back as a carnival exhibit. However accidents, Friend's recklessness and the Yeti methodically reduce the membership of the expedition. Finally, only Friend and Rollason are left to face the Yeti. This 1957 film was one of the earliest Hammer pictures, made just before "The Curse of Frankenstein" put the studio on the map and created its signature style. The script by Nigel Kneale is actually adapted from "The Creature," a one-act teleplay broadcast in 1955 that also starred Cushing. As the creator of the Quartermass series, Kneale's scripts for "The Quartermass Experiment" (a.k.a. "The Creeping Unknown") and "The Enemy from Space" (a.k.a "Quartermass II") had laid the foundation for Hammer's future success. Again director Val Guest was brought in to work behind the camera. Kneale's script is first rate and suffers only at the end when the confrontation with the Yeti fails to meet our heightened expectations. Guest's direction is limited because the set for the Himalayan mountainside was on the studio's back lot, intercut with stock footage of mountaineering that fails to convey any sense of reality. Cushing's performance is solid, as you would expect, and he works well off the blustery Tucker, who gets to ham it up as the high-handed American. This DVD includes audio commentary by Guest and Kneale, the original theatrical trailer, and the Peter Cushing segment from "World of Hammer."
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on 28 March 2014
This Region 1 DVD from Anchor Bay weirdly pairs up two movies from totally opposite ends of the Hammer spectrum, in terms of both era and subject matter; about the only things they have in common are that they both feature company go-to guy Peter Cushing taking second billing to a B-list American leading man, and that neither is in any way representative of the company's best output.
The Abominable Snowman (1957) was adapted, like Hammer's then-recent Quatermass movies, from a Nigel Kneale-scripted BBC serial, and gave Cushing his second starring role in a Hammer movie (following the same year's The Curse of Frankenstein), in this case repeating the same part he played in the television version, that of a botanist who joins a Yeti-hunting expedition in the Himalayas. Compared to the disquieting Quatermass films and the full-blooded Frankenstein flick, this is quite a tame effort that didn't even rate an `X' certificate when it first played in British cinemas; director Val Guest dials down the gruesome details, instead opting for a subtler, more suggestive approach, befitting Kneale's vision of the title creatures as intelligent, gentle race, sought as part of a cynical money-making scheme by greedy humans. As was the case with most 1950s' Hammer films, an affordable lead with perceived appeal in the US was deemed vital by the producers, and here we have Forrest Tucker (Sands of Iwo Jima) playing the leader of the hunting party, replacing the TV original's Stanley Baker (ironically, probably a far bigger draw to UK audiences). The two stars are backed up by the wonderful Richard Wattis (Carry On Spying), and by Robert Brown, who would later succeed Bernard Lee as M in the James Bond series.
The second of the two movies is Shatter (1974), a low-rent espionage / martial arts thriller that came about as part of a short-lived co-production deal between Hammer and the prolific Shaw Brothers of Hong Kong (which also resulted in the off-the-wall, but not unlikeable, kung-fu / horror hybrid The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires). It feels like exactly what it was supposed to be, a pilot film for a proposed television series based around the exploits of the title character, an international hitman who eliminates troublesome targets on behalf of western governments. Fast approaching the end of the line as a viable production company, Hammer were running out of ideas by this stage, and this derivative B-movie makes that very clear; mixing up a bit of sub-007 jet-setting with some shoehorned-in kung-fu action, the film centres around assassin Stuart Whitman's attempts to steer clear of hired killers after he's conned into eliminating an African dictator that the CIA didn't actually want dead. The high-kicking action is provided by unpersuasive Bruce Lee wannabe Ti Lung as Whitman's sidekick / bodyguard, whilst the part of the main villain is taken by Anton Diffring, for once not playing a Nazi, but still effectively slimy as a crooked banker. In his very last Hammer film appearance, Cushing turns up as a shifty MI6 operative who attempts to warn off the protagonist before he gets in over his head, and though he has a very limited amount of screen time, Cushing is still the best thing about the movie (it's actually a joy watching him play a less-than-admirable character for a change); he certainly out-shines the haggard-looking Whitman, phoning in a generic tough guy turn and looking like he'd rather be in the hotel bar than on the set.
The movie is surprisingly vicious and violent, with some quite bloody assassination and execution scenes which certainly make the viewer sit up and take notice; but it is compromised by both Don Houghton's banal screenplay and the ham-fisted direction from Hammer head-honcho Michael Carreras, who took over shooting the film after he fired original choice Monte Hellman (Cockfighter). Carreras, son of company ambassador Sir James, always liked to get involved in the creative side of the operation, and had helmed several Hammer efforts in the past, but his list of directorial credits reads like a rundown of some of the company's worst movies (1964's The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, 1967's Prehistoric Women), and his work here again never rises above the passable.
Given the ridiculous prices quoted on Amazon for this DVD double bill, and the fact that the earlier and superior of these two flicks is currently available as a perfectly adequate Icon Entertainment Region 2 release, you'll need to be a Stuart Whitman fanatic or a hardcore kung-fu aficionado to even consider shelling out for it.
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"Suppose they're not just a pitiable remnant waiting to die out. They're waiting, yes, but waiting for us to go..."

Following their success with The Quatermass Xperiment, Hammer reunited writer Nigel Kneale and director Val Guest for 1957's The Abominable Snowman. Like Quatermass, it's an adaptation of a BBC TV production written by Kneale and directed by Rudolph Cartier, 1955's The Creature, which starred Peter Cushing and Stanley Baker. For the big screen version Baker was replaced by Forrest Tucker - Hammer always had their eye out for affordable American actors to help their export prospects - but Cushing returned as the idealistic scientist who unsuspectingly finds himself on an expedition to find the Yeti for far more mercenary motives than his own (Arnold Marle and Wolfe Morris also reprised their TV roles as the high Lhama and a native guide).

Combining early ecological awareness with the very real 50s fear of nuclear annihilation, there aren't as many ideas as in the best of Kneale's work, the majority of the film devoted to the plot mechanics of the fairly simple storyline, reserving the most intriguing speculation for the last act when it becomes increasingly clear that the expedition are their own worst enemy and that the unseen Yeti might not be a dying species waiting for their own extinction but a more mentally sophisticated one awaiting man's self-extinction so they can take his place. No conclusions are ever reached - even the possibility of a psychic link between the Lhama and a `sensitive' member of the expedition and the creatures is left as an open question - even though it does spell out that man is the real beast here, his hunger for knowledge bringing only destruction. As Cushing spells out, in a precursor of Quatermass and the Pit's "We're the Martians now" moment, "Suppose we're the savages. Perhaps for them we've been the Dark Ages."

It's a decent movie rather than a great one, but Guest's direction combines nicely with Bernard Robinson's deceptively economical production design and Arthur Grant's cinematography to make the most of their limited resources and the impressive use of the `HammerScope' ratio and some well integrated location footage of the Pyrenees helps give the picture a feeling of scale that belies the predominantly backlot shooting. Shame about Robert Brown's wild overacting, though.

Icon's recent batch of budget-priced Hammer films on DVD have been justly derided for atrocious picture quality, but unlike Captain Kronos, X the Unknown or their Quatermass Xperiment and Quatermass II double-bill, this title alone seems to have escaped with a very respectable 2.35:1 widescreen transfer that, a little bit of edge enhancement in the early scenes aside, doesn't disappoint even if there are no extras. Taken from an uncut UK print complete with censor's certificate, Warner Bros. logo and original title (the film was released in the US in a slightly cut version as The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas), it's certainly a good bet considering the ridiculously high prices Anchor Bay's deleted US DVD now goes for.
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on 7 February 2015
An unexpectedly well-made and thoughtful film. There are no back projections of scenery - only effective studio-bound shots blending well with excellent footage of real snow-covered mountains. Thankfully the film is also free of the obligatory cheerful-chappie English characters that seemed to abound in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in war films. The excellent b&w white widescreen picture seems to add a little gravitas to the film, too.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 September 2011
Maybe I am nit picking!! I love this atmospheric film and have it on DVD from a few years ago. My comment here is...NONE of these reviews (so far) can apply to the icon release of 12 Sep 2011...cos it ain't been released yet! So can we try not to be too eager to buy until we have an idea of the quality of this release. I do wish Amazon wouldn't do this (but I love you)!-----(22Sep)I took Trevor Willsmer's advice and ordered this. I have to say it is much better than my older DD DVD. This is correct Scope and good picture and sound. It is one of my all time favourites, even tho I can't quite put my finger on why - but it's "comfortable" - well written (obviously) and well acted. I was particularly impressed wth Dickie Wattis playing it pretty straight, which for him was very unusual. Cushing never hands in a bad perf and even big blustering "Tuck" plays his part well. It gets on with things and the ending, without saying too much, is just right. Highly recomended as unpretentious honest British (horror)cinema. I am tempted to see just how bad the "Quatermass" Icon DVD's are...maybe I'll wait just a bit longer.
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