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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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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 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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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 8 February 2013
What can I say? If you're planning to buy this Blu-ray simply because you're expecting a Blu-ray quality image, think twice. The transfer is almost enough to make you weep. There's absolutely no doubt that the Warner DVD of this film is a superior image. It is sharper and the colour is richer. By contrast, the Blu-ray image is extremely soft and and the colours muddy. The issue of the aspect ratio and the extras is outside the scope of this review; when I buy a Blu-ray, I expect superior image quality, full-stop. It's a tragic, missed opportunity by Hammer.

As a post script, I should also mention that the TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN TV pilot extra is also a disappointment in terms of image quality. My Arrow Films public-domain DVD copy is just as good, if not better. Subjectively, it appears fractionally sharper, in my opinion.

Three stars for the content, but only one for the actual image quality. If that's all you're interested in, you'll need to buy the Warner DVD, either as a back-up or as an alternative.
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on 22 February 2013
This film is superb! My bad comments are only on the lame blu ray transfer!
The picture quality of this blu ray is no better than previously dvd's.
It seems like no digital restoration has been made! The worst picture quality blu ray i've seen so far.
If the future hammer releases on blu ray will have this kind of picture quality,better save your money-don't buy it.
I hope that Lions gate will not make the same mistake with dracula 1958.
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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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on 18 July 2013
Please note that my review is for the DVD of this film and not the Blu-Ray, which I have not seen. This was the film that introduced the horror world to Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Terence Fisher and Hammer films and was originally released back in 1957. It is a true landmark film. It is easily the best of all of the Hammer Frankenstein series, in my opinion and is one of the true greats of Hammer Horror overall too. I never tire of watching this film, which is why I decided to buy the Blu-Ray/DVD combo version and it has not disappointed me. It is interesting to note that this version contains the original, censored "eyeball" scene, which was cut from previous video, DVD and cinema version, though the scene in question is very short. It is a pity that the famous "severed head in the acid bath" scene is still missing, though, but perhaps we will never see that, though some stills from this scene still exist in various books. I think that Hammer fans will be waiting forever for the definitive, uncut version of this film, but I regard this new release as the best version of the film released to date. I noticed that some reviews have slated this release for alleged inferior picture quality, but I also own the old 2002 Warners release of this title and the picture quality is no better or no worse than that version. It is as good as can be expected from a film of this age, so it is a little unrealistic to expect superb quality. However, this film is a true classic, regardless of that and I have no hesitation in recommending it without any reservations at all, especially to Hammer or classic horror fans. A true horror classic and it always will be. Five stars from me!
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on 15 May 2017
Peter Cushing at his sinister best and one of the most shocking scenes in early Hammer with that bullet shot through "the monster's" eye. It's great, it's horrible, I love it!
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on 30 December 2012
OMG ! I'm a Hammer Fan & was so looking forward to this. But the Blu-ray is terrible the picture quality is ghastly so bad it almost look like the picture is ghosting in some scenes I certainly won't be getting rid of my Warner Bros original box set of The Curse.../Dracula/The Mummy. The picture quality on these is superb.Really the Blu-ray is not worth the money, I just hope Dracula has had a better treatment then this one ?
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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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