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Great Blu Ray image transfer but.....
on 28 October 2012
Christopher Lee gives a bravura performance, which should please both his, and Hammer film fans, however, after the rather disappointing recent BD releases of The Curse of Frankenstein, the much criticised CGI "enriched" version of The Devil Rides Out, and the original problems with Dracula Prince of Darkness, you would have thought Hammer would have ensured that this transfer would prove totally uncontroversial - and on my initial scan of the disc it seemed to be. However...
Although the sound is the original mono audio, and is theoretically presented in uncompressed PCM - there may be coding problems as several people have felt that it does not have the depth of the original DVD audio. I did not really notice this initially as I was more concerned with the image quality, but have now had a proper listen and they are absolutely right. The dynamic range seems faulty with weak base elements, particularly in the early sections of the film. So beware, in case there is a product
re-call. However the video at least is a clean and detailed transfer, with good depth of colour etc presented in an unmatted 2.55:1 version - although it was actually designed to be shown in the 2.35 CinemaScope format. Shame about the sound. It's weird that Hammer seem to have shot themselves in the foot four times in a row.
Tall Stories: The Making of Rasputin The Mad Monk with Denis Meikle, the author of A History of Horrors and Jonathan Rigby, author of Christopher Lee: The Authorised Screen History and Andrew Cook, author of To Kill Rasputin. The legendary Barbara Shelley, and Francis Matthews, also provide some background together with David Huckvale, author of Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde who discusses the music.
Brought to Book: Hammer Novelisations discusses the Hammer book tie-ins with Rigby and Mark Gatis
World of Hammer Episode "Costumers" is the weakest item and does not really add much to the package as it gives very limited information on its subject just lots of extracts and unnecessary plot detail.
However all is redeamed with the Stills Gallery of posters, lobby cards etc and behind the scenes shots and information on the Rasputin "free beard" marketing gimmick !
The Audio Commentary features Christopher Lee, Suzan Farmer, Francis Matthews and Barbara Shelley