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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Brides of Dracula [Blu-ray]

 

(Terence Fisher, 1960)

 

Also available from a third party seller at an inflated price in the US:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions

Video: Final Cut Entertainment

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:25:30.792

Disc Size: 30,673,429,002 bytes

Feature Size: 21,699,790,848 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 26th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.0:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

The Making of The Brides of Dracula narrated by Edward de Souza and featuring interviews with Yvonne Monlaur, Jimmy Sangster, Hugh Harlow, Pauline Harlow, Don Mingaye, Margaret Robinson and Tony Hinds (31:07 in 1080P)
The Brides of Dracula Stills Gallery (2:23 in 1080P)
The Brides of Dracula Theatrical Trailer (1:01 in 720P / 4:3)

DVD of the Feature included

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Classic horror starring Peter Cushing. A young teacher on her way to a position in Transylvania helps a young man escape the shackles his mother has put on him. In doing so she innocently unleashes the horrors of the undead once again on the populace, including those at her school for ladies. Luckily for some, Dr Van Helsing (Cushing) is already on his way.

 

 

The Film:

Hammer Films and director Terence Fisher followed the excellent Horror of Dracula with this well-made, richly-colored sequel which suffers only from the conspicuous lack of Dracula himself -- since Horror's Christopher Lee had declined participation in further Dracula sequels for the time being. In his stead, we have young, blond Baron Meinster (David Peel) providing the requisite vampiric threat. Though imprisoned in the family estate by his mother, Meinster is released from his silver chains by an unsuspecting French teacher (Yvonne Monlaur), through which he gains access to a veritable smorgasbord of nubile wenches at a girls' school. Fortunately, master vampire killer Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is on the case. Besides featuring some of the best acting, photography and period detail of the Hammer Dracula series, this is also one of the first to delve into the more sexual aspects of vampirism, with implicit suggestions of incest, sadomasochism and homosexuality.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

"Count Dracula, monarch of all vampires, is dead." So begins The Brides of Dracula, with a stentorian bit of narration that sets the stage for an un-Dracula film while at the same time evoking the immortal opening lines ("Marley was dead: to begin with") of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Before audiences can process the implications of this disclaimer, Terence Fisher slashes the frame with the image of a hackney being driven pell-mell through the mossy, mist-choked Transylvanian countryside. In the driver's seat, Hammer trouper Michael Ripper ignores the entreaties of the sole passenger (Yvonne Monlaur) to slow down as he steers the coach into the main square of a somber Carpathian village. Stranded by her driver in the hamlet's discomfiting inn, our heroine laments that she will arrive too late to accept a coveted teaching position at a girls' academy in nearby Badstein but is rescued through the intervention of a local aristocrat (Martita Hunt), who takes the girl under her wing with the expected disastrous results. As if ripping a page or two from Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) while anticipating Roger Corman's The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), The Brides of Dracula has the wizened and witchy Baroness Meinster bringing the girl into her home not for care and comfort but as food for her ravening monster of a son, whom she keeps shackled and safe from the world in the depths of their ancestral manse.

Excerpt from TMN located HERE

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

On Amazon it is stated that 'Universal has remastered this to the correct 2:1 LB of the original US release.' for this Final Cut Entertainment Blu-ray out of the UK. Appealingly, it is region FREE. It is dual-layered with a high bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The opening visuals can look a bit crushed but it settles in to be quite consistent after that. There is extensive grain textures. We've compared to the Universal SD transfer from their Hammer Horror package (reviewed HERE). It looks significantly crisper and shows more information on the side edges but, of course, loses on top and bottom for the aspect ratio change from 1.66 to 2.0:1. Aside from reds (blood etc.) colors are not particularly rich and flesh tones gain warmth (as compared to the DVD.) I noted no noise in the darker sequences although the grain can be so thick it can strongly resemble compression artifacts (some have commented that they feel it, actually, IS compression artifacts). The 1080P supports acceptable contrast adding occasional minor depth. I don't see excessive manipulation although there may be some as the image can look frail at times.  It's quite clean showcasing some impressive detail and there are no unforgivable flaws, IMO, with the rendering. This Blu-ray gave me an enjoyable presentation - far more film-like than my 2005 DVD. This image is imperfect but the best we are likely to get. Those who project may see the, perceived, artifacts more prominently.

 

Brian says (on FB): "Looks to me like like the grain suggests it's from a multigen source...internegative perhaps, or possibly separation masters. I believe this was released in dye transfer Technicolor."

 

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

 

Universal (Hammer Horror Series) - 1.66:1 - Region 1 - NTSC DVD TOP vs. Final Cut - 2.0;1 - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Universal (Hammer Horror Series) - 1.66:1 - Region 1 - NTSC DVD TOP vs. Final Cut - 2.0;1 - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is transferred via a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps and it sounds clean and consistent. Malcolm Williamson (The Horror of Frankenstein) did the score and its lavish orchestral flourishes benefit from the lossless rendering. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Final Cut include a solid 30-minute featurette entitled "The Making of The Brides of Dracula". It is narrated by Edward de Souza and features interviews with Yvonne Monlaur, Jimmy Sangster, Hugh Harlow, Pauline Harlow, Don Mingaye, Margaret Robinson and Tony Hinds. It's very informative hearing the memories of the writer, crew and cast, as well as Christopher Lee did not reprise the title role. It is transferred in 1080P. There is also an HD The Brides of Dracula Stills Gallery and a theatrical trailer. There is also a DVD of the feature included.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Brides of Dracula is one of my absolute favorite Hammer horrors. It is at the height of the British studios classic work. Fisher builds the atmosphere well and plays well off the usual Hammer attributes. Kudos to Sangster's excellent script. The Final Cut Blu-ray provides, what appears to be, an authentic, 1080P, presentation and includes an educational supplement. There are still niggling complaints about the AR and the artifacts. Still, fans of the Studio's work - on both sides of the pond -  may wish to indulge. The Brides of Dracula is wonderful entertainment and the Blu-ray is available! 

Gary Tooze

February 17th, 2014

Also available from a third party seller at an inflated price in the US:


 

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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