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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


A Little Background     Openers     


    Modus Operandi     The Scorecard:     

Emotive Connection      Audio     Operations    Extras     The Movie     Equipment





From Hell - BRD

(The Hughes Brothers - 2001)





Studio: 20th Century Fox (USA) / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (USA)



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Feature film: 1080p / AVC @ 19 MBPS

122 minutes

Supplements: HD/SD



English DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio

French DD 5.1 Surround

Spanish DD 5.1 Surround



English & Spanish



• Commentary by the directors, writer, cinematographer and Robbie Coltrane

• Alternate Ending with optional commentary by Albert Hughes

• Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Albert Hughes

• Trivia Track

•  Original Theatrical Trailer


32 chapters

Standard Blu-ray case:

1 disc: 50GB dual layer

Release Date: October 9, 2007



From Hell ~ Comment

The atrocities of the still unidentified fiend we have come to know as Jack the Ripper has been a favorite subject for the cinema, both serious and exploitive, from at early as the 1923 German silent film, Waxworks.  My personal favorites inspired by the legendary Ripper include both Hitchcock's original silent version of The Lodger with Ivor Novello and John Brahm's 1944 remake with Laird Cregar, as well as the 1979 romantic thriller,Time After Time, with Malcolm McDowell, Mary Steenburgen and David Warner), and by extension, The Ruling Class with Peter O'Toole as Jack reincarnate.


In From Hell, we have a film based on the series of comic books of the same name by writer Alan Moore and artist Eddie Campbell, published throughout the early 1990s.  They develop a theory put forth in the 1970s in a book by Stephen Knight titled Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution in which it is posited that the murders were the result of a conspiracy between the Royal Family and the Brotherhood of Freemasons to cover up an illegitimate offspring via Prince Albert Victor.  The film, which features Johnny Depp and Robbie Coltrane as detectives on the trail, adopts the same premise.




From Hell ~ The Score Card


The Movie : 6

It is the year 1888 in Whitechapel, a London slum where prostitutes and gangs of all sorts abound.  Things are about as ugly can be as the girls are threatened for little cause and working conditions suck.  Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) takes on the responsibility of caring for one of their own who has been carted away by the authorities.  As if things couldn’t get worse, their group is brutally whittled away in a series of gruesome murders.  Enter Inspector Abberline (Johnny Depp) who, with the aid of absinthe and laudanum, is visited by visions that clue him into solving his cases.  Sergeant Godley (Robbie Coltrane – whom we have seen as Harry Potter's lovable Rubeus Hagrid on the one hand and the caustic Dr Fitzgerald in the British TV detective series, Crackers on the other) keeps the investigation grounded as the bodies and suspects pile up.


Image : 9 (8.5~9/9.5)

The score of 9 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs.  The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.


Even though the blacks block up fairly quickly in dark scenes, of which there are many, I suspect this Blu-ray image is a pretty fair rendition of its former theatrical self.  Grain is expected, but it does not devolve into actual noise.  Excepting anomalies with the focus present in the original film, the image has very good sharpness and resolution.  As for the color, it is often deliberately filtered, especially in the Whitechapel and Brotherhood scenes, but reds and flesh tones come out nicely as needed, which is a good thing for slashers.












Audio & Music : 9/8

At least as good as the image is the audio quality, with plenty of ambient atmospherics to go round, so to speak.  There's some nice bass that emphasizes the sense of impending catastrophe.  Dialogue is always clear and effects are properly placed.


Operations : 8

Except for their being not being very easily discerned against a low contrast background, the menu is straightforward and easy to use.



Extras : 6

The commentary by directors Albert & Allen Hughes, writer Rafael Yglesias, cinematographer Peter Deming is quite good as they discuss character development and how and why the film differs from Alan Moore's graphic novel.  Little else is of much interest.




Recommendation: 6

I realize this borders on heresy, but I am not and have never been a fan of Heather Graham.  I mean, I understand the attraction; but for me, aside from her alabaster complexion, she has little to recommend her.  I don't ever quite get the charismatic connection that her opposite number - in this case, Depp - is supposed to have.  Since a good deal of the emotional interest (as opposed to the lurid aspects of the case) in the plot requires my making that connection, the film does not persuade. Added to this difficulty is that her little group, while in desperate circumstances to be sure, simply aren't paying attention to the dangers that lurk in the shadows.  If these were random killings, that would be one thing, but when your friends are being killed off one by one and you go off in the night by yourself, it stretches my sympathy.


Leonard Norwitz
October 20th, 2007





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