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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Reptile [Blu-ray]

 

(John Gilling, 1966)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions

Video: Studio Canal

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:30:05.666

Disc Size: 32,761,761,129 bytes

Feature Size: 24,277,616,640 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.57 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 18th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

The Serpent's Tale (21:50)
World of Hammer with Roy Skeggs - Episode Wicked Women (24:54)
Restoration Comparison (2:17)
• Trailer (2:02)

DVD available

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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.'

 

 

The Film:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

Extras :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Reptile has classic Hammer atmosphere. I was in the perfect mood and enjoyed it very much. The film has a well paced build and plays off its creature-feature attributes. It has an abundance of the Hammer charm that makes these films so special. There are detractions that push it slightly below average - but nothing worth quibbling over. The Studio Canal Blu-ray provides a decent a/v presentation and includes valuable supplements. Fans of the Studio's work will probably want to indulge. I will revisit this as a Hammer double feature one late Friday evening. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

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.

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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