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Directed by St. John Legh Clowes
UK 19
48

 

Based on the shocking novel by James Hadley Chase, No Orchids for Miss Blandish is mixture of sex, violence and low morals made it one of the most controversial films of the late 1940s. The story tells of a pampered heiress (Linden Travers) who is abducted on her wedding night by a gang of small time hoods, in what starts out as a jewel robbery and turns into a kidnapping/murder when one of them kills the groom. Despite her terrifying ordeal, Miss Blandish finds herself falling in love with the gang leader, Slim Grisson (Jack LaRue). They plan to run off together, but the rest of the gang can t see parting with a potential million dollar ransom, or leaving a witness alive -- even if it means killing Slim Grisson to get to her. The book itself was ferociously condemned, provoking George Orwell and praised the sets, the acting, the smoothly effective direction are all good. Chase's novel was alleged to be the most popular book amongst serving British troops during WWII.

***

Possibly the most controversial British film ever produced, this lurid crime drama caused an unprecedented storm of controversy upon release: local councils banned it, the Bishop of London denounced it, and MPs demanded an investigation into the BBFC for allowing it to be seen. Based on the notorious novel by James Hadley Chase (which itself was condemned by George Orwell), No Orchids for Miss Blandish is a mixture of sex, violence and immorality, and tells the brutal story of a kidnapped heiress who falls for one of her crazed captors. This fascinating example of British film noir, which the Monthly Film Bulletin described as “the most sickening exhibition of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on a cinema screen”.

 

Posters and Book covers

 

Theatrical Release: April 13th, 1948

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Comparison:

VCI Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Cover

   

Distribution

VCI Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Indicator
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:43:08 1:43:36.710 1:43:17.816 / 1:43:10
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate:  6.9 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

Disc Size: 22,676,728,512 bytes

Feature Size: 20,940,355,584 bytes

Average Bitrate: 23.96 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 48,035,829,227 bytes

Feature Size: 29,362,745,664 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.96 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate Kino: Blu-ray

Bitrate: Indicator: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit) DTS-HD Master Audio English 1085 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1085 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles None None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: VCI

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Video Interview with Richard Gordon and Richard Nielson by Joel Blumberg (34:08)
• Audio Interview with Richard Gordon, Richard Nielson and Tom Weaver (39:18)
• British Trailer (2:06)
• American Trailer (1:42)
• Photos Gallery

DVD Release Date: May 25th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Lorber

 

Disc Size: 22,676,728,512 bytes

Feature Size: 20,940,355,584 bytes

Average Bitrate: 23.96 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Original Theatrical Trailer (2:06) and 5 other film trailers

Blu-ray Release Date:
March 20th, 2018
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio: Indicator

 

Disc Size: 48,035,829,227 bytes

Feature Size: 29,362,745,664 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.96 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Miss Blandish and the Censor (2019): ex-BBFC examiner Richard Falcon discusses the controversial film's history with the British Board of Film Censors (41:12)
• Interview with producer Richard Gordon and actor Richard Neilson (2010, 34:24): filmed interview with the famed US distributor-producer, and the actor
• Soldier, Sailor (1945, 49:21): World War II docudrama, conceived by No Orchids for Miss Blandish’s writer-director St John Legh Clowes
• Original British and American theatrical trailers (2:06 + 1:42)
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Robert Murphy, analysis of the different versions of the source novel, an extract from an essay on No Orchids for Miss Blandish by George Orwell, news accounts of the controversy surrounding the film’s release, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
• UK premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies

Blu-ray Release Date:
May 27th, 2019
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - April 19': The short story is that the Indicator improves on every front. The transfer offers, seamlessly branched to include the US cut "Black Dice", is on a dual-layered Blu-ray disc, 1.37:1, with a max'ed out bitrate. It has richer, deeper black levels, is crisper and may have a sliver more information in the frame. The UK transfer is superior on most fronts but notable in the contrast layering.

As for audio, Indicator use a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original English. It has resonance and is marginally crisper. The score by George Melachrino (Appointment With Crime Eight O'Clock Walk) sounds supportive if relegated to subtleness. The Indicator offers optional English subtitles and is a Region FREE Blu-ray.

Indicator include many supplements. Firstly, the already-mentioned ability to see the US cut of the film. There is a 41-minute video piece entitled Miss Blandish and the Censor (2019) with ex-BBFC examiner Richard Falcon discusses the controversial film's history with the British Board of Film Censors bringing up all the facets of the decision on the film's reputation of controversy. Included is a 1/2 hour interview, from 2010, with producer Richard Gordon and actor Richard Neilson filmed interview with the famed US distributor-producer, and the actor - as found on the VCI DVD. Alexander Shaw's Soldier, Sailor (1945, 49:21) is a World War II docudrama, conceived by No Orchids for Miss Blandish’s writer-director St John Legh Clowes about life aboard merchant ships with the Maritime Regiment of the Royal Artillery. There are also original British and American theatrical trailers and an image gallery with on-set and promotional photography. The package contains a limited edition (3,000 copies) exclusive booklet with a new essay by Robert Murphy, analysis of the different versions of the source novel, an extract from an essay on No Orchids for Miss Blandish by George Orwell, news accounts of the controversy surrounding the film’s release, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits.

This is a wonderfully complete releases and the definite one to own for No Orchids For Miss Blandish. Indicator do it again - the best Blu-ray company in Europe and certainly comparable to Criterion for world #1. This has our highest recommendation!

***

ADDITION: Kino Lorber Blu-ray - February 18': The new Kino is single-layered and essentially bare-bones. The 1080P, looks quite strong at times - surface scratches are evident but the image towers over the interlaced VCI DVD. It has some impressive moments in HD with nicely layered contrast and excellent, shadow-rich, cinematography by Gerald Gibbs (X The Unknown). It looks consistent in-motion.

DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel (16-bit) lossless audio, reasonably unremarkable with a score is by George Melachrino (Appointment With Crime Eight O'Clock Walk). There are no subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is Region 'A'-locked.

No extras aside from a trailer for No Orchids for Miss Blandish and 4 other films. The VCI should be commended for their supplements. I warm closer to this odd, very rough (at times) effort. For hardcore Noir completists and fans of Brit 'Dark Cinema'. Enjoy!

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: Firstly, there is a UK version, that I don't own, from "Simply Media" HERE - but I have heard it is of extremely poor a/v quality. We may compare one day but it's quite an odd-duck film so it may never transpire.   

It's another interlaced (see combing example in last capture), but dual-layered VCI effort. It actually looks extremely good - very clean - decent detail but contrast spears a little green. VCI should really stop releasing interlaced transfers - it's 2010 for cuss sake! On the positive it is one of the best transfers from this outfit that I've seen.

As usual, no subtitles - and, unremarkable but audible 2.0 channel sound. It's weaker than the impressive video this area but not enough to make issue even with the varying of Brit accents. I'm fairly forgiving considering the clandestine showing of the film - considered a noir but it's certainly debatable. Extras are decent with a brand new 35-minute video interview with Richard Gordon and Richard Nielson by Joel Blumberg and a 40-minute audio Interview with Richard Gordon, Richard Nielson and Tom Weaver. Good show! We also get the British and American (Black Dice) trailers and a photo gallery.

As for the film - this is a weird one alright - it certainly looks noirish but as Kenneth Turan HERE states in his roundup of the "Footsteps and Fog: British Film Noir,” series put on by the UCLA Film & Television Archive;

"At least one film in this series comes close to being beyond categories, and that is "No Orchids for Miss Blandish." Based on a James Hadley Chase novel and allegedly set in the New York underworld, it was filmed entirely in Twickenham with a largely British cast sporting American accents that are uncertain at best. And that isn't the half of it.

With both a "rich girl loves gangster kidnapper" plot and a costar (American actor Jack La Rue) that echo the outré "The Story of Temple Drake," "No Orchids' " combination of thuggish savagery and Ed Wood-style filmmaking affronted the sensibilities of 1948 Britain something fierce. The Monthly Film Bulletin, called it "the most sickening exhibition of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on a cinema screen." Seen today, it is hard not to agree with New York's Film Forum, which called it "the most bizarre British film ever." You have been warned
."

More tame by modern standards but still has an 'edge'.  

Gary W. Tooze


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2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Combing from interlaced DVD transfer
 

1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Cover

   

Distribution

VCI Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Indicator
Region FREE -
Blu-ray



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