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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Robert Wise
USA 1945

 

A literary classic becomes a horror classic at the hands of masters Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Val Lewton!

Screen icon Boris Karloff plays the title role in the Val Lewton adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Body Snatcher, directed with subtle calculation by versatile Robert Wise (West Side Story, The Sound of Music). A doctor (Henry Daniell, The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake) needs cadavers for medical studies and Karloff is willing to provide them ... one way or another. The film also features a wonderful supporting performance by fellow horror icon Bela Lugosi.

***

While this adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic short story - very loosely based on the exploits of the infamous Edinburgh resurrectionists Burke and Hare - might lack the haunting brilliance of Cat People (1942), I Walked with a Zombie (1943) and The Seventh Victim (1943), it is certainly far more accomplished and evocative than some critics have suggested. In an effort to pull in the punters, Karloff and Lugosi received dual star billing, despite the fact that the latter is relegated to a minor supporting role and dispatched halfway through the movie. Lewton himself co-authored the script under the pseudonym Carlos Keith.

Excerpt from Channel 4's capsule located HERE

***

Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi were given top billing in the Val Lewton-produced The Body Snatcher, but the film's protagonist is played by Henry Daniell. A brilliant 18th century London surgeon, Daniell can only make his humanitarian medical advances by experimenting on cadavers, which is strictly illegal. Karloff plays a Uriah Heep-type cabman who is secretly a grave robber, providing corpses for Daniell's research. The low-born Karloff enjoys blackmailing the aristocratic Daniell into silence; the two actors' cat-and-mouse scenes are among the film's highlights. Eventually, Karloff turns to murder to supply fresh bodies to Daniell. The doctor can stand no more of this, and kills Karloff. But though Daniell may be able to escape the law, he cannot escape his conscience, which manifests itself in the voice of the dead Karloff, whose repeated mantra "NEVER get rid of me! NEVER get rid of me!" drives Daniell to his death. Though billed second, Lugosi has an embarrassingly small part, though the scene he shares with Karloff is one of his best-ever screen moments. The Body Snatcher was based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson, which in turn was inspired by the homicidal career of notorious grave-robbers Burke and Hare.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 25th, 1945

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Warner Home Video (Val Lewton boxset) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

Box Cover

 

    

    

Distribution Warner Home Video
Region 1 - NTSC
Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:18:01 1:18:08.558    
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.22 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 30,240,289,966 bytes

Feature: 23,421,960,192 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate DVD:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

Dolby 2.0 channel

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1688 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1688 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

Subtitles English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
S
tudio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer
• Commentary by filmmaker Robert Wise

DVD Release Date: Oct. 4th, 2005
Keep Case
Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio:
Shout! Factory

 

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 30,240,289,966 bytes

Feature: 23,421,960,192 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• NEW You’ll Never Get Rid Of Me: Resurrecting THE BODY SNATCHER Featurette (11:55)
• Audio Commentary With Director Robert Wise And Writer/Film Historian Steve Haberman
• Documentary – Shadows In The Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy (53:27)
• Still Galleries (5:31) – Posters, Lobby Cards, Movie Stills


Blu-ray Release Date:
March 26th, 2019
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Shout! Factory bring the delicious  Val Lewton-produced horror film The Body Snatcher to Blu-ray. It's on a dual-layered Blu-ray in 1080P with a max'ed out bitrate. Compared to the DVD in Warner's Val Lewton Horror Collection DVD set the 1080P is significantly brighter showing much more detail and information. It is a remarkable differeence! I was kind of used to the darkness of the Warner after years of viewing - so this much brighter image took a bit of getting used to - and was almost like seeing a different film. It has some minor waxiness but my overall viewing was incredibly positive and I enjoyed the HD presentation with over 5X the bitrate of the SD. It looks marvelous, thick and film-like, in-motion by comparison. 

The audio is transferred in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono track (24-bit).
There are minor aggressive effects, near the conclusion, with some horse-drawn carriage sounds but minor depth via the lossless There is a wonderful score by Roy Webb (A Bill of Divorcement, Notorious, The Spiral Staircase, The Curse of the Cat People, I Married a Witch, The Fallen Sparrow, The Window, Journey Into Fear, I Walked with a Zombie etc.) which is impacting in the lossless. The audio quality is pleasing and dialogue clear and audible. There are optional English subtitles on this Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Shout! Factory include the audio commentary with director Robert Wise and Writer/Film Historian Steve Haberman as found on the 2005 DVD where Wise goes into detail about Lewton's active contributions to the finished product of his films and much more. It is very informative. There is also the strong, 53-minute, Constantine Nasr 2005 documentary – Shadows In The Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy about the great 1940s horror movie producer also featured on the 2005 DVD release of "The Val Lewton Horror Collection." It has inpout from William Friedkin, Steve Haberman, Joe Dante, Guillermo del Toro, Kim Newman, Val E. Lewton (son of Val Lewton), Drew Casper, George A. Romero, John Landis and many more.. There is a new dozen-minute featurette You’ll Never Get Rid Of Me: Resurrecting THE BODY SNATCHER discussing the film with Gregory William Mank (author of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration, with a Complete Filmography of Their Films Together). There are also extensive stills galleries of Posters, Lobby Cards, and Movie Stills.

The Body Snatchers is a beauty! One of the more subtly creative horror films of the 1940's. Like many Lewton films - it seems to get better each time you see it as you see more evolving in the narrative.  The
Blu-ray transfer provides an HD presentation of a highly desirable vintage horror where all the pieces seem to fit into place with Karloff, a brief Lugosi, shadows, a mist-infused cemetery and a brilliant adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson's short story. Absolutely recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample - Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


More Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Captures
 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

  

 

Box Cover

 

    

    

Distribution Warner Home Video
Region 1 - NTSC
Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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Gary Tooze

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