Icons of Adventure Collection


The Stranglers of Bombay (1960)       The Terror of the Tongs (1961)


Pirates of Blood River (1962)       The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964)

 


Titles

 

 


 

The Stranglers of Bombay (1960) - One of Hammer and Terence Fisher's most notorious and Sadean horror movies, about the thuggee atrocities in India in the 1820s. Guy Rolfe battles against a fatal sect of Kali worshippers whose mascot is a sexy teenager called Karim (Devereux). As men have their tongues pulled out or are castrated, Karim drools and wriggles so much that the film became a cult sensation on the continent and was cut in England. Actually, it isn't at all bad, even on a straight adventure level, and the Karim figure remains one of the purest incarnations of evil in all of Fisher's work. Be prepared for a few laughs, though, as rural Bucks is substituted for the sweltering plains of India.."

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

 

The Terror of the Tongs (1961) - Treading similar territory to Hammer’s The Stranglers of Bombay (1960), Terror of the Tongs is a colourful and rather silly Hong Kong melodrama embellished with ceremonial hatchet murders and 'bone-scraping' tortures. Directed with gusto by Anthony Bushell and scripted by Jimmy Sangster, the film is hampered by some tight production values and a procession of English actors masquerading as Chinese in make-up is far from convincing and not at all respectful. Set around the harbour of Hong Kong in 1910, a ruthless gang called the Red Dragon Tong have thrived off the proceeds of slavery, drugs, vice, corruption and protection rackets. Aboard a Victorian steamer arrives Mr. Ming (Burt Kwouk) with evidence that names members of the Red Dragon organisations, fearing for his own safety and that the letter won’t reach its destination, he hides it in a book intended as a gift for the daughter of the ship’s captain. No sooner does Ming set foot on the dock than he is attacked and killed by one of the Tong wielding a ceremonial hatchet. .

Excerpt from BritMovie located HERE.

 

Pirates of Blood River (1962) - Hammer Studios goes pirate, but it feels more like a western. In the opening scene a heaving adultress is pursued by puritans through the underbrush until she jumps in the lake, at which point she is consumed by piranhas. It's not that they're misogynists, more that they're highly selective observers of history. Features one of the more visually impressive cadres of pirates put down to celluloid (Michael Ripper, Peter Arne). Christopher Lee cuts quite the figure as leader eyepatch, all dressed in black, save for a blue scarf on his head and a silver belt of power. Unfortunately he also distracts from himself in enormous measure-is he a Romanian pirate? What could that accent possibly be? Does this sort of thing plague other actors who appear in too many vampire flicks? Are there any? My favourite scene finds Oliver Reed, typecast as a lusty drunken pirate (was he truly so bountiful that he could be typecast as anything? I mean, he was really even some form of purist puritan, wasn't he?), drunkenly trying to slog through the swamp.

Excerpt from Brilliant Observations on 1173 Films located HERE

 

The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964) - One of Hammer's few forays beyond the horror genre, The Devil-Ship Pirates is a decent action romp done on a shoe-string budget but with all of the usual Hammer flair. Those expecting a rousing sea yarn won't find it here - most of the film takes place on land for obvious budget reasons. However since Hammer was adept at creating something out of nothing, the film is full of the traditional Hammer strongholds - notably the lavish period sets, the costumes and a solid cast of British talent. In fact one could argue it's basically one of Hammer's horror efforts, with Christopher Lee's Captain Robeles as the "Dracula-esque" villain based in his own lair with henchmen, a dashing hero to save the day and a wench for both to fight over. The sets are great as always with the creation of the period almost perfectly replicated including the village square - even the replica ship they created. Christopher Lee makes for an excellent villain once again and his Captain Robeles is suitably nasty. He also gets to show off his more-than-capable fencing skills numerous times throughout the film. Clearly Lee is enjoying himself without the need for a set of fangs and a cape!.

Excerpt from Popcorn Pictures located HERE.

Posters

Theatrical Releases: Various from 1960 - 1964

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Sony - Region 1 - NTSC
Time: over 5 hrs. 32 minutes total on 2 discs
Bitrate: Disc 1
Bitrate: Disc 2
Audio English (original) , DUB: French
Subtitles English (CC), French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.66, 2.35 

Edition Details:

• Commentaries on all 4 films

• Cartoon - The Merry Mutineers

• Chapter One of 1953 serial - the Great Adventures of Captain Kidd

• Two Reel Comedy - Hot Paprika

• trailers


DVD Release Date: June 10th, 2008

Keep case
Chapters:
12 each X 4 = 48

 

Comments:

NOTE: Sent to ud in email - Here is an update to the site's review of the latest Hammer Film collection, 'Icons of Adventure.'
The Stranglers of Bombay featured in that collection is cut. What is cut is the controversial sadistic reactions to the stranglings from Marie Devereaux, which caused a sensation in reviews at the time. The actual male violence that she is reacting to is kept in.
The British video copy in 1994 was first to make these cuts. The original British release featured these shots intact, and the British Film Institute possesses an uncut copy. The BFI also possesses a script that I've consulted for a PhD I'm working on about femmes fatales in 20th century British cinema. The scrpt directives for Devereaux's character suggest, during a strangling,
KARIM looks on leeringly, and kneels at PRIEST’s feet, her hand reaching for his leg”, or during a branding scene, “she leans forward eagerly, feasting her eyes.”

So Hammer fans will have to hope that a future British DVD release might render this censored American release redundant. (Thanks Gary M.!)

****

The two discs are divided as follows:

 

Disc 1 (DVD9 - Dual-layered/single-sided):
-
Pirates of Blood River (1962) 16X9 2.35:1      

- The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964) 16X9 2.35:1

Disc 2 (DVD9 - Dual-layered/single-sided):
-
The Stranglers of Bombay (1960) 16X9 2.35:1      

- The Terror of the Tongs (1961) 16X9 1.66:1

The 4 main features/ 2 discs of this boxset are housed in a standard keep case (ugliest cover of the year) with two holders and none of the films are sold separately by Sony at this time although you may find some PD/alt-region editions exist. All four features are coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard and all features are anamorphic in their original aspect ratios, progressively transferred.

Each have original English audio and an option for a French DUB. There are English (CC) or French subtitles in a large yellow font (see samples below). There are extras - discussed below.  

Image: Visually these look acceptable if not stellar - limited by their virtual single-layering. Most would consider the transfers unremarkable but I think they are a slight notch above what you might expect - Pirates of Blood River might be the weakest with the image appearing somewhat hazy at times. Contrast and detail on The Stranglers of Bombay is quite strong and colors on the remaining three are fairly bright an I noted no undue manipulation to enhance them. They are all anamorphic and progressive and I doubt anyone will quibble with the way they look for less than $5/film. The box claims they were 'remastered in high-definition' which can mean any number of things but I don't dispute the claim although the disc bitrates remain very low (respectively 4.48 + 4.49 mb/s).   

Audio - All original (monaural or 2.0 channel) with no noted issues of dropouts or hiss. Subtitles seem to follow the dialogue although the font used is grotesquely colored yellow and absurdly large.

The extras include a commentary for each film! Participants include Marcus Hearn (The Hammer Story author), Hammer film editor Chris Barnes, art director Don Mingaye and writers Jimmy Sangster and David Z. Goodman. I sampled about 20-30 minutes of each and they seem to be running smoothly with lots of chatter about Hammer itself as well as some specifics on the particular film in question. Great inclusion Sony although the films may not have warranted a full commentary each - it is still appreciated. Also included is the first chapter of the 1953 Columbia serial The Great Adventures of Captain Kidd, a Technicolor "Scrappy" cartoon (The Merry Mutineers) from 1936 and on the second disc Hot Paprika a ho-hum 1935 two-reeler short with Scottish comedian Andy Clyde. Finally there are trailers for the films and which is nice way to initiate viewing in my opinion.

Overall impression: Poor menu artwork and packaging cover design detract from what is a decent set with surprisingly abundant supplements. The films are mostly mid-range Hammer efforts but I soldiered through them with some genuine pleasure. I suspect most venturing into this territory will be aware of what to expect but I'd like to give a plug to the similarly priced Hammer Horror Collection (review HERE) which has better transfers and films - plus substantially more of them (eight!). Still Stranglers and Tongs were decent adolescent boyhood cinema and the price of this collection is pretty decent for what you are getting.             

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus


 


 

 

The Stranglers of Bombay (1960) 
 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

The Terror of the Tongs (1961)

 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 


Pirates of Blood River (1962)

 

Screen Captures

 

 


The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964)
 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Sony - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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