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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Ballad of Tam Lin" or "The Ballad of Tam-Lin" or "The Devil's Woman" aka "The Devil's Widow")

 

Directed by Roddy McDowall
UK 1970

 

She drained them of their manhood - and then of their LIVES!

 

Legendary Hollywood goddess, Ava Gardner (Pandora and The Flying Dutchman, One Touch of Venus) delivers a mesmerizing performance in director Roddy McDowall's wickedly suspenseful tale of decadent young thrill-seekers and the sinister seductress who holds them spellbound. The top-notch cast includes Stephanie Beacham (TV's The Colbys, Dynasty), Cyril Cusack (Fahrenheit 451), Richard Wattis (The Importance of Being Earnest) and Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous). Acting great Roddy McDowall's one and only directorial effort. Beautifully shot in scope by Billy Williams (Gandhi).

***

Based upon the Celtic legend Tam Lin, a young man is bewitched by a beautiful, heartless, aging sorceress to become her lover. When his attention wanders to a lovely girl, he is doomed to ritual sacrifice by the sorceress.

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 1970

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:46:55.200       
Video

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,306,902,101 bytes

Feature: 33,610,659,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Imprint

 

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,306,902,101 bytes

Feature: 33,610,659,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary from author and journalist Dr Adam Scovell
NEW Audio Commentary with film historians Vic Pratt and Will Fowler
NEW Interview with Ian McShane (11:04)
NEW Interview with Stephanie Beacham (10:01)
NEW Interview with Cinematographer Billy Williams;
Interview with Actress Delia Lindsay (7:47)
Interview with Actor Kiffer Weisselberg (25:57)
Interview with Assistant First Director Peter Boyle (17:61)
Interview with Roddy McDowall Biograpgher David Del Valle (11:45)
NEW "Tam Lin & the representations of the witch in film" Visual Essay from author Kat Ellinger (25:29)
Trailer (2:10)
Roddy McDowall Remembers Ava Gardner (17:33)
Photo Gallery
Limited Edition slipcase on the first 2000 copies with unique artwork.


Blu-ray Release Date:
November 26th, 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside slipcase

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Imprint Blu-ray (March 2022): Imprint have transferred Roddy McDowall's Tam Lin to Blu-ray. Olive also released this on Blu-ray in 2013 HERE. Although we haven't reviewed it - we can bet it was a bare-bones edition without subtitle options. The film was stalled on release - being re-cut, by AIP, with the title eventually changed to The Devil's Widow. It languished until Tam Lin had a new transfer struck from the director's own 35mm print. This Imprint Blu-ray is a dual-layered 1080P transfer with a very high bitrate. Colors, notably greens, can look quite rich and pleasing with bright exteriors. It has some slight inconsistencies in the first few minutes but settles to be more than acceptable. Contrast is well balanced and dark interiors hold their own via the 1080P. There are a few speckles but the 2.35:1 is impressively rendered with only a hint of video-like flatness. Billy Williams cinematography is showcased very appealingly in this HD presentation. I thought it significantly established an eerie mood in, and around, Traquair House in Scotland.

NOTE: We have added 54 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Imprint use a linear PCM dual-mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. Tam Lin has just a few aggressive sequences that appear later in the film. The film score is by Stanley Myers (The Blockhouse, The Greek Tycoon, The Wind, The Wilby ConspiracyEureka, Cimino's The Deer Hunter, Roeg's Insignificance, Harold Becker's The Boost, Pete Walker House of Mortal Sin and Frightmare, etc.) and substantially adds to the mysterious aura accentuating the character's bourgeois indifference with contemplative subtlety. I found that it really added to the film experience. There is a kind of 'Tam Lin theme' performed by Pentangle who also do "The Best Part of You" in the film. Imprint offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Imprint Blu-ray is stacked offering two new and insightful commentaries. The first is by Dr Adam Scovell (author of Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange) and I found his insights and comparative films revealing. The second commentary has film historians Vic Pratt and Will Fowler (authors of The Bodies Beneath - the Flipside of British Film and Television) who likewise provide an in-depth approach to this British film and others of the era and genre. There are new audio interviews with Ian McShane and Stephanie Beacham - running about 10-minutes each. We also spend time with actors Delia Lindsay (2nd Coven in Tam, Lin) and Kiffer Weisselberg sharing thoughts. There is a 17-minute interview with Assistant First Director Peter Beale and I really enjoyed the thoughts of David Del Valle for almost a dozen minutes. Premium as a supplement is Kat Ellinger's new 25-minute visual essay "The Mother, The Magus and the Crone: The Ballad of Tam Lin - A Modern Fairy Tale". She discusses the director's misunderstood intentions regarding Tam Lin, witches, the performances and much more. It's very worth the indulgence. There is an archival piece where Roddy McDowall remembers Ava Gardner under the "Legendary Ladies of the Silver Screen" 18-minute video, a trailer and photo gallery. This package has a limited edition slipcase for the first 2000 copies.

Roddy McDowall's Tam Lin is a wonderfully unusual film of under-explained mystery that speaks volumes under Ava Gardner's penetrating gaze - of which there are multiple close-ups. There is an embracing subtext involving witchcraft, the idle rich, hangers on, sex and love. It is a sly, and at times spooky, Brit folk horror produced by Alan Ladd, Jr. (who we lost just the other day at 84 - RIP.) I had never seen Tam Lin and it held up to my anticipation via Imprint's Blu-ray a/v transfer and loaded extras including the excellent commentaries and Ellinger's visual essay. Wow. This is a keeper for sure.

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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