S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
The Reptile [Blu-ray]
(John Gilling, 1966)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 32,761,761,129 bytes
Feature Size: 24,277,616,640 bytes
Video Bitrate: 32.57 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: June 18th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
•The Serpent's Tale (21:50)
• World of Hammer with Roy Skeggs - Episode Wicked Women (24:54)
• Restoration Comparison (2:17)
• Trailer (2:02)
Description: This Hammer horror classic is set in Cornwall, where the village folk are dying from mysterious snakebites. Nearby a young woman suffers under a curse which regularly transforms her into a reptile. Made at Bray studios, on the same sets that were used for 'Plague of the Zombies.'
This chilling monster film metaphorically examines the horrors brought home by British colonialism. Harry and Valerie (Ray Barrett, Jennifer Daniel) inherit the Cornwall home of Harry's brother, who died under mysterious circumstances. The local villagers are tight-lipped and afraid, and the couple's neighbor, the hostile Dr. Franklin (Noel Willman), hides in a large mansion with his frightened daughter Anna (Jacqueline Pearce) and a strange foreign man (Marne Maitland). The truth is that Franklin had been investigating a secret tribe of snake-people on his last trip to Borneo, and they had reacted to his intrusion by making Anna one of them. As a result, the girl turns into a hideous cobra-woman every winter, with bulging eyes, a scaly face, and large, venomous fangs. Other than the unusual monster, The Reptile may as well be a direct remake of Hammer's The Mummy, a film which this one apes in many of its contrivances. Director John Gilling does manage some effective setpieces, such as the sulfur-spring below the mansion, which keeps Anna warm as she writhes beneath a blanket to shed her skin. Underrated character-actor Michael Ripper appears in one of his more substantial roles as Tom, the local pub-owner, who goes from avoidance to digging up graves and risking his life to save the couple. There are some inconsistencies in Anthony Hinds' script, but the film is handsomely mounted and delivers its share of shocks.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Down in remoter Cornwall, courtesy of Hammer horror, a doctor is busily experimenting and villagers are foaming at the mouth, turning black, and dying of snake venom. Made back-to-back with Plague of the Zombies and shot on the same sets, it's slower and moodier than its companion-piece but strikingly Conan Doyleish in its stately costume horrors. Jacqueline Pearce is terrific as the unfortunate cobra-girl, victim of her father's pursuit of forbidden knowledge.Excerpt from Timeout located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Reptile gets a reasonably strong transfer to Blu-ray from Studio Canal in the UK. It is dual-layered with a high bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. It has some inconsistency with the opening (around the title sequence), appearing quite weak but straightens up after that looking stronger as it rolls along. Generally the visuals are pleasing with a few exceptional scenes showing great clarity and depth. Colors are flat but authentic and there is no noise in the darker sequences. The 1080P supports acceptable contrast adding some minor depth in the 1.66:1 frame. There are hints of manipulation but suggest it is merely the less-stable source. It's quite clean showcasing some hi-def detail and there are no unforgivable flaws with the rendering. This Blu-ray gave me a pleasurable 1080P presentation. Nothing less than I was anticipating.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Studio Canal utilize a linear PCM mono track at 1536 kbps. It is clear, flat but has a bit of punch. Don Banks (The Evil of Frankenstein, The Mummy's Shroud) score adds to the fog-soaked atmosphere and benefits from the lossless transfer. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Studio Canal include two new featurettes. The Serpent's Tale runs a full 22-minutes and gives some informative background on the production from Hammer expert Marcus Hearn. There is also a 25-minute Roy Skeggs World of Hammer segment - Wicked Women - which is as good as it sounds! There is a remarkable, split-screen, restoration comparison and a trailer. The package also contains a DVD of the feature.
February 11th, 2014
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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