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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Medusa Touch [Blu-ray]

 

(Jack Gold, 1978)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

Video: Henstooth

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:49:07.332

Disc Size: 22,123,645,937 bytes

Feature Size: 20,278,487,040 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 1st, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1611 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1611 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1571 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1571 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Kim Newman and Steven Jones

Behind the Scenes: Destroying the Abbey (18:14)

• Trailer (2:51)

DVD

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Richard Burton stars as John Morlar, a man who claims to possess a terrifying power. When Morlar is savagely attacked in his London flat Detective Brunel (Lino Ventura) investigates and the trail leads him to Morlar's psychiatrist (Lee Remick) for answers. He learns that Morlar believes that he has telekinetic power, including the ability to make planes crash and buildings crumble. As Brunel digs into the case his worst fear may soon be realized-that Morlar's power is real and that he can wreak havoc at will.

 

 

The Film:

In The Medusa Touch Brunel (Lino Ventura), a French detective on temporary assignment with Scotland Yard, investigates a mysterious series of disasters. The uncanny events begin happening shortly after writer John Morlar (Richard Burton) was hit over the head by an unknown intruder and rendered comatose. Slowly, Brunel begins to connect the strange things that are happening in the world with the deranged dreams of the comatose Morlar. He gets the final clue he needs from Morlar's reluctant psychiatrist, Dr. Zonfield (Lee Remick), who holds the key to Morlar's past. Once it is discovered that Morlar has the ability to think horrible thoughts and make them come true, Brunel and Zonfield must take off with dispatch to a London cathedral, where the Queen is scheduled to make an appearance -- but Morlar is thinking about the cathedral, and it is crumbling fast. Well-liked in Britain, this movie did not do well in the U.S.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Gold's Midas touch with prestige TV material here for once transfers to the big screen with a full-blooded approach to the most implausible hokum. A skilful blend of the familiar (casting, English locations) and the outrageous (the script's mix of whodunit, disaster movie and telekinetic thriller) produces a beguiling entertainment in which half the fun's to be had from constructing a coherent synopsis out of the loony mess of flashback, foresight, eccentricity and even ecology. Ventura's a French sleuth on Common Market secondment to the Yard; Burton's a mysteriously troubled author with murderous mental powers. Watch for the bouncing cathedral bricks at the end.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

The Medusa Touch comes to Blu-ray from the suspicious Henstooth label - who've brought us some debatable DVDs (Close My Eyes, Cross of Iron, The Man in the Iron Mask). But I am happy to say that this Blu-ray is surprisingly adept. It's only single-layered but has a supportive bitrate for the 1 3/4 hour feature. More over it is a progressive 1080 transfer, although a bastardized 1.78:1 (from its original 1.85:1). Some of the film's effects are a bit transparent (the crashing plane) but I frequently noted depth in the visuals.  This Blu-ray holds up quite well - let's hope Henstooth will continue this trend! What a pleasant surprise.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is in the form of a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1611 kbps. The score is by Michael J. Lewis (11 Harrowhouse, Julius Caesar) and is fairly subtle with some aggressive outbursts - this style seems to suit the film very well and effects export depth. There are optional English subtitles (see sample) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

We get an enjoyable and informative commentary by Kim Newman and Steven Jones (who, as I recall, gave a great double-team commentary on Tourneur's I Walked With a Zombie) plus a 20-minute Behind the Scenes piece entitled 'Destroying the Abbey' which is just that (B-roll of that scene) with no narration. There are also a trailer and the package has a, second disc, DVD with the feature and extras in SD.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Hmmm... yes, this is a keen Brit sci-fi, mystery, psychological thriller and Burton and Remick (a favorite) only add to the tense, uncertain, atmosphere. It has some of the same appeal as The Exorcist and The Omen. I really enjoyed this Blu-ray- lot's of close-ups of eyes (I love it!) I think the a/v was strong enough to be impressed and great to have the commentary. Certainly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

September 23rd, 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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