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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Sex Thief [Blu-ray]

 

(Martin Campbell, 1974)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Drumbeat

Video: Redemption

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:33:14.171

Disc Size: 18,570,278,782 bytes

Feature Size: 18,366,498,816 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.03 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 22nd, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 908 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 908 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, GoldenEye, The Green Lantern) directs this sexy 1970's comedy following the exploits of a masked man (David Warbeck) who seduces his willing victims -- and the two bungling policemen who can't seem to catch him. The ribald crime romp, which marked Campbell's directorial debut, also stars Jennifer Westbrook, Gloria Walker and Michael Armstrong (who also co-wrote the screenplay).

***

From its opening title sequence, it is apparent that director Martin Campbell intended his first feature, a low-budget sex romp called THE SEX THIEF, to be an homage to the James Bond series. Irresistible to women of every variety, the roguish title character (David Warbeck) channels his inner Connery, muttering witty double entendres, relishing the danger of his secret mission, forever sidetracked by beautiful women.

THE SEX THIEF is especially fun to watch knowing that Campbell eventually achieved his dream—directing not one but two James Bond films (GOLDENEYE and CASINO ROYALE), as well as the tongue-in-cheek blockbusters GREEN LANTERN and THE MASK OF ZORRO. THE SEX THIEF is a fascinating precursor to those large-budget Hollywood films showing that, from the beginning of his career, Campbell knew the kinds of films he wanted to make and had the talent to deliver on his promise.

 

 

The Film:

This Brit Comedy stars David Warbeck as a masked thief whose dalliance with crime has more to do with fun and passion than robbery. He is a criminal by choice, not by necessity. As two policemen attempt to track him down--offering plenty of raunchy commentary along the way--THE SEX THIEF delivers one funny punch line after another.

This version entitled 'Her Family Jewels' dubiously resurfaced in the UK years later under the premise that semi-famous British thesps (Dianne Keen, Christopher Biggins) had once appeared in an X-rated movie. RADA trained Michael Armstrong who acts in the film as a breast obsessed cop and wrote the film under demonic alter ego 'Edward Hyde', is most familiar to exploitation fans for the much banned Mark of the Devil as well as the autobiographical Eskimo Nell. Viewers familiar with the latter will no doubt feel a sense of deja vu here as several characters and scenarios make premature appearances in The Sex Thief. Another discovery is actress Gloria Walker aka Gloria Maley who went from being worked over by Warbeck's buzzing 'simulator' to providing blood and guts effects for the gruesome Inseminoid (1980)- a more diverse career move is hard to imagine. The Sex Thief rises above the typical British sexpo thanks to some pointed raunchiness, a surprisingly subversive script and a charismatic leading man. Warbeck was once apparently the mysterious house breaking protagonist of the Milk Tray ads whilst director Martin Campbell recently made the big budget James Bond movie (and is linked to the remake of Alfred Hitchcocks stunning film 'The Birds') two things worth pondering while you watch The Sex Thief.

Excerpt from thewholebrevitything at IMDb located HERE

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

The Sex Thief appears on Blu-ray from the Redemption arm of Kino. It is in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio.  The image quality shows some grit and heaviness and despite its weak appearance  in comparison to modern features - I expect that this look quite accurate to its original roots. Contrast is possibly a shade boosted but otherwise this single-layered rendering does its job. Skin tones are quite cool although Brits can sometimes look this pale. This Blu-ray image is very consistent throughout. As with the original production - its is quite imperfect but advances beyond an SD representation. I don't see much point in complaining about this video appearance too much.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Authentically mono and unremarkable via the DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel at 908 kbps. I imagine it sounded like this originally - occasionally scattered and weak but audible and supports the film well enough not to deter the presentation. No subtitles. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Nothing - not even a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This is kina cute but really seems like a waste to put it on Blu-ray. The salacious title of The Sex Thief lives up to its bawdiness but has its share of goofiness too. It's no classic of this sub-genre and is not something I can recommend but any interested can probably guess what they are in for. 

Gary Tooze

January 14th, 2013

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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