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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Die Screaming, Marianne [Blu-ray]

 

(Pete Walker, 1971)

 

 

 

 

Pete Walker is a British film director, writer and producer, who, in the 60s and 70s, confined his output to primarily horror and sexploitation films, often blurring the line and overlapping the two genres. Walker's work was initially dismissed as pedestrian, however some contemporary critics, found enlightened and challenging subtexts in his oeuvre of commercially-made exploitation films. As with Hammer Studios Walker's film are being revisited. The latter for their social relevance which frequently contained attractive young women at odds with the moral codes of mainstream society. He has stated "All I wanted to do was create a bit of mischief."

Walker's work is being recognized on Blu-ray by Kino (Redemption), BFI and others. A list is below:

 

For Men Only (1968)

Man of Violence (1969)

The Comeback

 (1978)

Die Screaming, Marianne

(1971)

The Flesh and Blood Show

(1972)

Frightmare (1974)

House of Whipcord

 (1974)

House of Mortal Sin (1976)

Schizo

(1976)

Home Before Midnight (1979)

House of the Long Shadows

 (1983)

The Pete Walker Collection I

The Pete Walker Collection II

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Pete Walker Film Productions

Video: Redemption / Kino / Screenbound (UK)

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' / Region 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:40:51.754 / 1:40:35.208

Disc Size: 34,385,989,856 bytes / 24,507,823,064 bytes

Feature Size: 28,808,598,336 bytes / 19,504,551,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.65 Mbps / 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 10 / 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Red Blu-ray case

Release date: February 12th, 2013 / July 3rd, 2017

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

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
Commentary:

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

 

Subtitles (both):

None

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Pete Walker and film critic Jonathan Rigby

An Eye For Terror - Part 1 (12:22) - 2012 interview with Pete Walker produced by Elijah Drenner

• 3 Pete Walker Trailers

 

Commentary with Walker and film critic Jonathan Rigby
Walker on the Wild Side (18:31)
4 Pete Walker Trailers

 

Bitrate:

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Description: Marianne (Susan George, Straw Dogs), following the sudden death of her mother, stands to inherit the family fortune, along with several documents that could incriminate her corrupt judge of a father. Now, her sister and her father both want their hands on Marianne's inheritance and they'll stop at nothing, even murder, to get it!

 

 

The Film:

The first horror film from notorious British director Pete Walker, this is a brutal but rather pedestrian pulp thriller about a fetching young go-go dancer (Susan George, in her first starring role) who is stalked in and around an isolated house by ruthless assassins determined to prevent her from reaching her 21st birthday. It seems Marianne is in line for a sizable inheritance from the man she claims is her father -- a crooked magistrate whose career is threatened by her very existence. As if that weren't enough, knowledge of the girl's newfound wealth inspires a team of would-be kidnappers who show up at the villa to beef up the body count. Fans of Walker's blood-drenched thrillers might detect a glimmer of burgeoning talent here, but the suspense is hampered by a clunky script and silly dialogue, and the lovely George is probably just warming up for the following year's Straw Dogs. Also known as Die Beautiful, Marianne.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Marianne (Susan George) is a go-go dancer in Portugal who flees her family. Stumbling down a hillside she is nearly run over by creepy Sebastian (Christopher Sandford) who just happens to be on his way to London. He offers her a lift and, a fortnight later, she is living with him in his flat when he springs a surprise registry wedding on her. Desperate to get out of the situation, she fills in the best man's name on the form and technically ends up marrying him instead. The best man, Eli, is played by the familiar baby-face of Barry (Doctor In The House) Evans who gives the film the unfortunate appearance of a 1970s' sitcom whenever he is on screen. Walker has since said that he would have preferred to have had his friend Ian McShane play the part instead if he had been free at the time. Or anyone else, really...

Excerpt from VideoVista located HERE

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

Die Screaming, Marianne came out as part of a British Horror Quadruple Feature of Pete Walker films on DVD, reviewed HERE, and late last year (2012) Redemption offered it as part of their The Pete Walker Collection on Blu-ray HERE.  While it certainly looks better than the previous SD - there is still some minor digitization present. It is clean and a bit glossy. This is dual-layered with a strong bitrate and has many positives to the 1080P image quality. Colors seem brighter and truer than SD could relate, detail is surprisingly strong, notable in close-ups, and the contrast exhibits decent black levels. The many daylight scenes are bright and impressive. This Blu-ray is a bit flat but produces a worthy presentation.

 

The Screenbound is a notch below the Kino. The UK Blu-ray is single-layered and the transfer has a far lower bitrate which detracts from the contrast - producing a lighter, less authentic, image. It's not fatally poor but is a bit weaker shifting negligibly to the right and it has the same weakness around the 21-minute mark. I suspect it was part of the production. Still very watchable, just inferior because it is less technically robust - however, depending on your system, many might not make issue.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - TOP

2) Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes in the form of a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo track at 2304 kbps. I wouldn't say it was robust although a few effect instances stand-out for their depth. Cyril Ornadel's score isn't particularly remarkable but seems strangely suitable for the film and probably benefits a bit from the uncompressed rendering. There are no subtitle options and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Exact same rendering - linear PCM 2.0 channel (24-bit) - still some instances where the music is very loud - noticeable when we switch back to dialogue. Overall, it supports the film with a few less tight instances and the Screenbound, likewise, does not have subtitles and their Blu-ray is Region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

There is a commentary by Pete Walker and film critic Jonathan Rigby as the director reminisces about the production. There is also a 12-minute An Eye For Terror - 'Part 1' 2012 interview with Pete Walker and Elijah Drenner, as well as 3 Pete Walker film trailers.

 

Same commentary and there is an 18-minute interview with Walker - revealing as always - plus we get 4 trailers from the director's films.

 

Kino - Region 'A'- Blu-ray

 

 

Screenbound - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Aside from Susan George's undeniable 'IT' factor - Die Screaming, Marianne isn't much of a film. It does, however, have a weird, compelling curiosity to it. Perhaps it is the goofy 70's fashions, or the Eurocentric and UK locales. The Blu-ray does its job quite well for those keen enough can indulge in the commentary. But, I'd say to those who haven't seen it - don't get your expectations too high.

 

This has a Pete-Walker-esque charm and the film is saved by Susan George - half because of her overflowing sexuality - all lips, eyes and British teeth with Judy Huxtable giving flashes of support - and the other half, the mysterious-ness of her character. I still like it - an odd, UK entry that wanders around with a hidden purpose. Without Miss George though - it's far less watchable. The odd title evokes Giallo. The Go-Go dancing is goofy enough to look real. Your call. 

Gary Tooze

February 9th, 2013

September 20th, 2017

 

 

 

 




 

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Gary Tooze

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