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Frankenstein Created Woman [Blu-ray]
(Terence Fisher, 1967)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: Millennium Entertainment / Shout! Factory / Anolis (Germany)
Region: 'A' / 'A'/ 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:31:40.250 / 1:31:49.962 / 1:31:45.000
Disc Size: 21,840,914,982 bytes / 48,685,227,726 bytes / 44,917,850,862 bytes
Feature Size: 14,689,179,648 bytes / 24,706,191,360 bytes / 25,941,080,064 bytes
Video Bitrate: 19.91 Mbps / 32.00 Mbps / 31.93 Mbps
Chapters: 12 / 12 / 12
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Media Book
Release date: January 28th, 2014 / June 11th, 2019 / October 16th, 2020
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 / 1.66:1 / 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
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)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1608 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1608 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Digital Audio German 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN
English (SDH), none / English (SDH), none / German, none
• Commentary featuring Derek Fowlds, Robert Morris and Jonathan Rigby
• Frankenstein Created Woman trailer (2:28)
•World of Hammer Episode with Roy Skeggs - The Curse of Frankenstein (25:56)
• World of Hammer Episode -Peter Cushing (24:54)
•New Documentary - Hammer Glamour (44:05)
•Animated Stills Gallery (7:06)
• Envelope with 5 'Exclusive" Collector Cards
• NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve
Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
•Audio Commentary with Uwe Sommerlad and Volker Kron
• Audio Commentary with Dr. Rolf Ciesen and Dr. Gerd Naumann
• Documentary: Frankenstein and the Two Faces of Eve (1:05:03)
• Documentary: Metaphysics and Murder (23:35)
• Interview Robert Morris (Hans) (11:17)
• Interview Eddie Collins and Joe Marks (12:11)
• American Double Feature Trailer (1:56)
• American Trailer (2:38)
• American TV Spots (1:01 / 0:21)
• Three Radio Spots (60/30/20 seconds)
• German Programme
• British Program
• Gallery (7:55)
Description: Hammer Studios followed up Evil of Frankenstein with this entertaining sequel, again starring Peter Cushing as the quintessential mad scientist obsessed with the reanimation of dead bodies and the creation of superhuman creatures. His latest project involves transferring the mind of a wrongly-executed man into the body of his lover (former Playboy centerfold Susan Denberg), whose own suicide left her horribly disfigured. After restoring her beauty, the Doctor performs the mind-transference, which comes off without a hitch... until the lust for revenge against his executioners begins to surface. He/she then pursues this vendetta by seducing and murdering those who wronged him. Hammer stalwart Terence Fisher directs this quirky entry with his usual flair -- aided considerably by a decent budget -- and spices things up with a fair share of titillation (courtesy of Ms. Denberg).
A dead and frozen Baron Frankenstein is re-animated by his colleague Dr. Hertz proving to him that the soul does not leave the body on the instant of death. His lab assistant, young Hans, is found guilty of murdering the local pub owner with whom he had an argument where he foolishly swore to kill the man and Frankenstein acquires his body immediately after the execution. Hans had been quite friendly with the dead man's daughter Christina who returns just in time to see him guillotined. Distraught, she commits suicide and is brought back to life by the good Doctor but with Hans' brain replacing her own. As memories return to her - Hans' memories in fact - she sets out to pursue and kill those responsible for having sent him to his death. ...Frankenstein Created Woman (1967).Excerpt from Amazon located HERE
A bit of history is in order here. Hammer Films was founded in 1932 and
spent its first few decades doing the same thing as other British film
concerns--that is, struggling to find an audience. Their farce comedies
and crime thrillers were competently made, even fitfully brilliant, but
remained stubbornly local. Then, in the mid-1950s, the studio's
management noted that a few of their science fiction offerings were
performing better at the box office than anything they'd done
before--and had even started to crack the elusive American market.
Hoping to chase that success, the studio produced a pair of horror films
adapted loosely from the stories of Frankenstein and Dracula. These were
not like the gothic horror films that Universal Studios had made their
bread and butter. Instead, The Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of
Dracula (1958) were ripe with sexuality and Technicolor gore. They were
instant sensations, earning back more than thirty times what they cost
to make, and establishing "Hammer Horror" as an
internationally-recognized brand name for a special kind of screen
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Frankenstein Created Woman is a lesser, if still highly interesting, late 60's Hammer Studios feature that is surfacing on Blu-ray. This transfer is not a good representation of the HD format's capabilities but there are a few positives. It is single-layered but 1080P and the visuals are fairly consistent although there are speckles. It has been moved from the original 1.66:1 to 1.78 aspect ratio but I wouldn't say composition suffers terribly. Colors seem a shade dampened but retain a rich quality. Black levels seem solid enough and detail is modest. This Blu-ray does a fair job with the print which seems in acceptable condition - it could have benefited with a good cleaning though. There is no real depth - appearing mostly flat and I don't see excessive digital manipulation. The outdoor sequences look the most impressive. Overall, it seems ahead of SD - but not by a significant amount Home Theatre devotees of the new format might be anticipating.
The Shout! Factory is a massive improvement over the Millennium Blu-ray edition. The new Blu-ray is in the proper 166:1 aspect ratio, show more information in the frame, detail advances and the overall image tightens, it has over 50% higher bitrate on dual-layered disc, colors are richer (there is a blue-leaning where the Millennium had an earthy brown tinge) and contrast is more layered. There are minor speckles but no distracting. Not much of a contest with the Shout! Factory winning hands down.
The Anolis image quality is the same as the Shout! Factory - sometimes I thought it looked better but I can't back that up with anything. Essentially, it's the same 1080P presentation with the same colors, framing, detail etc..
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No boost going on here - only a simple Dolby Digital 2.0 channel track as Millennium does not taking advantage of incorporating a lossless audio track. There are, optional, Universal-like English subtitles positioned underneath the character speaking.My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Another hefty improvement for the Shout! factory transfer with a 24-bit lossless DTS-HD Master track. This is evident in every aspect of the film's audio including the score is by James Bernard (Dracula Prince of Darkness, These Are the Damned, Across the Bridge) and is one of the appealing characteristics creating some desirable Hammer-esque atmosphere. There are optional English subtitles on this Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.
The Anolis takes a step back with the 24-bit Shout! Factory audio transfer having a slight edge. I don't consider it a deal-breaker - the Bernard score is still very atmospheric and an effective part of the viewing experience. The Euro release may just lack the same level of bass. It offers, only, optional German subtitles and the Blu-ray is Region 'B'-locked.
There are some very worthwhile extras - a commentary featuring knowledgeable Hammer experts Derek Fowlds, Robert Morris and Jonathan Rigby who cover extensive details of the studio and this particular production as well as Cushing and the other performers. We also get two 25-minute World of Hammer Episodes with Roy Skeggs - one entitles The Curse of Frankenstein and another solely on Peter Cushing. Some may be keen on the new documentary Hammer Glamour which runs just shy of 45-minutes. I assume it is relating to the book of the same name (HERE) and the video has five of Hammer's females stars - Valerie Leon, Caroline Munroe, Martine Beswicke, Vera Day and Madeline Smith reflecting back on working in the genre. They offer some interesting stories. There is also a trailer, an animated stills gallery and the package contains an envelope with 5 'Exclusive" Collector Cards.
As well as the previous commentary with Derek Fowlds, Robert Morris, And film historian Jonathan Rigby, Shout! Factory also add a new audio commentary with author/Film Historian Steve Haberman (Silent Screams: The History of the Silent Horror Film) and Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr. It is delightful, informative and well-worth the indulgence offering comparisons to other Hammer efforts and discussion of the studio's regulars. There are also new interviews with 80+ year old actor Robert Morris, who played Hans in Frankenstein Created Woman lasting a dozen minutes. There is a 10-minute new interview with camera assistant/clapper loader Eddie Collins and 2nd assistant Director Joe Marks recalling the production. There are vintage (and duplicated) supplements like the World Of Hammer episodes The Curse Of Frankenstein and another on Hammer Star: Peter Cushing running over 20-minutes each. The same 3/4 hour Hammer Glamour featurette is included and theatrical trailers, TV and Radio Spots plus a stills galleries of glossies, posters, and Lobby cards.
The Anolis has a few advantages here. Firstly, although not for non-German speakers, there are two commentaries. These are by Uwe Sommerlad and Volker Kron with the second by Dr. Rolf Ciesen and Dr. Gerd Naumann - as stated, both are in the German language. What I thought was a huge bonus to this package are a new (2020) Frankenstein and the Two Faces of Eve - an hour-5-minute-long documentary that 'digs deep into Hammer Horror's gender-bending cult classic Frankenstein Created Woman'. It was written by Kat Ellinger, directed by Dima Ballin and has input from Gavin Baddeley, Joe Dante, Kat, Steve Haberman, David Huckvale, Robert Morris and Constantine Nasr all providing unique perspective on the subtle aspects of the film with clips, advertising etc. It's worth the price of the Blu-ray alone. There is also a 24-minute documentary, Metaphysics and Murder with Dr. David Huckvale discussing the Bernard score. We get the same interview with Actor Robert Morris (Hans) and with Camera Assistant/Clapper Loader Eddie Collins And 2nd Assistant Director Joe Marks - found on the Shout! Factory, and both running about a dozen minutes each. After that are trailers (both theatrical and 'Double Feature), Radio and TV Spots, some media related text screens and a gallery. Plus the package itself is a 24-page Mediabook with photos and text (in German.)
Millennium - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Anolis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Frankenstein Created Woman is lovable Hammer fodder with Peter Cushing and sexy Susan Denberg. It is not an iconic effort from the studio (more murder than horror) but is memorable and full of the charismatic charm that we covet from Hammer. Shout! Factory's Blu-ray wins in every category - a/v as well as new, extras, the commentaries and interviews garner appreciation and fans should pick this up as the definitive issue to-date.
Even forgetting that the two commentaries are in German (valuable for German-language audiences), the new Anolis offers the immensely valuable Frankenstein and the Two Faces of Eve and Metaphysics and Murder documentaries that outshine the video supplements of the other two Blu-rays.... plus the image is at the same high level as the Shout! Factory, and it's in a nice Mediabook package. Hammer completists should indulge. "Hammer's previous Frankenstein films were concerned with the physical aspects of the Baron's work, the interest here is in the metaphysical dimensions of life, such as the question of the soul, and its relationship to the body." h/t Wikipedia. NOTE: There is also an alternate 'B' cover Mediabook Blu-ray limited edition HERE. A super package from Anolis!
January 18th, 2013
June 11th, 2019
November 4th, 2020
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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