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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Graveyard Tramps')

Directed by Denis Sanders
USA 1973

 

"Invasion of the Bee Girls" is the best schlock soft-core science fiction movie since maybe "The Vengeance of She." It may, in fact, provide a clue to the most puzzling aspect of that 1968 epic. You will recall that Olinka Berova, who played She, was plagued by a strange buzzing in her ears. This was in fact the sound track calling her back to the trackless wastes of lost eons, although for a long time we didn't catch on. All we knew was that every time she heard the buzzing, Olinka started taking off her clothes. Members of the audience were even moved to float a few tentative buzzes themselves. Now comes a movie in which every time we hear the buzzing on the sound track a man drops dead of an acute coronary.

The doctor's diagnosis in each case is that the men seemed to be suffering from extreme sexual fatigue at the time of their deaths. I am not entirely sure how this diagnosis is made in an autopsy, but then perhaps I do not really want to know.

Anyway, the men are dropping dead around a high-security government plant, and so William Smith is dispatched to have a look into things. He plays a federal agent, which is a little startling if YOU are a B movie fan and the name William Smith means anything to you. He is the king of the motorcycle movies, known throughout the genre as Big Bill Smith. He always plays the leader of the other gang, a science he brought to an art in "Hells Angels on Wheels," not to mention "C. C. Rider," in which he took on Joe Namath armed only with a chain. Anyway, Big Bill doesn't get very far in his investigation until he stumbles onto an amazing hypothesis: The deaths are somehow linked to the sexual habits of the queen bee. I am not entirely clear how he figures this out, but there is a short documentary on bees in the movie to help us understand.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 1st, 1973

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DVD Comparison:

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC MGM - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:24:39  1:24:57
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.96 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate: SECRET KEY

Bitrate: MGM

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles  None  English, French, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Secret Key

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 (original 1.85?)

Edition Details:

• Dr. Dildo's Secret
• 2069: A Space Odyssey
• Trailers / adverts

DVD Release Date: June 15th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 17

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85

Edition Details:

• Invasion of the Star Creatures (opposite side)
• Trailer (2:25)

DVD Release Date: February 15th, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 16

 

Comments:

ADDITION: MGM - Region 1 NTSC - June 10': It looks like the Secret Key was taken from an open matte print - but, obviously, one in pretty rough shape. The MGM is anamorphic in the original theatrical 1.85 and we lose some information on all 4 sides. It has been stated that the MGM has a briefly cut scene (or some nudity from that scene) but the Secret Key appears to show no more... but I haven't scrutinized. After watching I actually expected the MGM to be a longer running time as it appeared to me to have more scenes. If both are cut - it is reported to be minor. Both include the attempted 'rape' scene involving Victoria Vetri.

Other notable differences, aside from the obvious (1.33 open matte vs. 1.85 theatrical aspect ratios, cleanliness, etc.) are that the Secret Key starts with the R-rated 'cat' logo and it has 2-3 scenes that are (intentionally?) color-overexposed - see the very last set of captures. I tend to think the effect was meant to be in the theatrical (who would post-invent it) but I have no idea - it seems totally out of place when it is used.

The MGM has optional subtitles (see sample below) and shares the single-layered, dual-sided DVD with only a trailer and has 'Invasion of the Star Creatures' on the opposite side of the disc.

Big difference here and the MGM , beyond everything else, is significantly cheaper - get it while you can - some of these Midnite Movies tend to go out-of-print.

NOTE: Charles P. sent us this in email: "The MGM DVD looks and sounds the best, of course, but it is also missing footage here and there, especially at reel changes. The most egregious bit of missing footage that I noticed (there many be many more deletions, perhaps some very tiny due to damage - I didn't notice) is almost an entire scene! If you watch the scene on the MGM DVD, there is a noticeable cut and jump in the logic of the scene. Some of the footage on the MGM version is extremely cropped on all 4 sides, which is why I went back to the PD version for those shots as I believe a different incomplete source was used to try to cover that gap of missing footage, perhaps a 16mm print that was already cropped to some degree. I don't believe the scene was edited for content, though I can't explain how MGM has the elements and apparent rights to the film and only have a worn, incomplete theatrical print in the vault from which to work.

I uploaded the scene in question HERE, though I don't think it will be up long because of the nudity and this website's "no nudity" policy, so check out this clip while you can! The deleted footage starts at 1:20.
" (Thanks Charles!)

***

ON THE SECRET KEY DVD: Firstly, the Midnite Movie Edition at 1.85:1, available HERE, is going to be the superior edition. We will compare and I think it should blow this 'Secret Key' package away.

The film is very cool, grindhouse/sexploitation stuff. The other two features here are not worthy of the time invested but Invasion of the Bee Girls is! - The alt features are described as: "2069: A Sex Odyssey: Five sexy astronauts from the all-female planet Venus invade a town nestled at the foot of the Alps. Their mission: seduce enough Earth-men to continue their race for another 10,000 years! Dr. Dildo’s Secret: Obsessed with the desire to create a perfect woman, a mad scientist grows facsimiles in his basement – and breathes them into life through sex!" Ho-hum... although the Sex Odyssey has enticingly bad DUBBING (which is amusing).

The print used for this DVD transfer has extensive scratches - which in itself is not such a poor thing to replicate the genre. Most will recall the Rodriguez/Tarantino Planet Terror and Death Proof and how scratches were intentionally added to give this nostalgic effect. But aside from the 1.33 print, reported to be theatrically shown in 1.85, the transfer is very low caliber - interlaced with an appallingly low bitrate, hazy and it shares the dual-layered disc with 2 (count'em 2!) full features and some trailers.

Audio is likewise weak - 2.0 channel with no optional subtitles.

Anyway, bottom line is to not bother with this 'Sleazy Sci-Fi of the 70s' DVD and wait for our Midnite Movies disc comparison. I've ordered it so it should be coming soon... 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus

 

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT


Additional Features:

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT

 


 

Subtitle sample from MGM

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 


Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 

Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution Secret Key - Region 0 - NTSC MGM - Region 1 - NTSC



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