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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Devil Rides Out [Blu-ray]

 

(Terence Fisher, 1968)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions

Video: Studio Canal

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:36:02.666

Disc Size: 45,453,085,247 bytes

Feature Size: 28,273,643,520 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.93 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 22nd, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Marcus Hearn and Christopher Lee and Sarah Lawson

Black Magic: The Making of The Devil Rides Out (33:34)

The Power of Light: Restoring The Devil Rides Out (11:30)

Dennis Wheatley at Hammer (12:42)
World of Hammer with Roy Skeggs - Episode Hammer (24:50)
Stills Gallery (5:00)
DVD available

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The debonair Duc de Richleau has been trusted with the care of his deceased friend's son, Simon Aron. The Duc discovers that the young man has been seduced into joining a Satanic cult headed by the diabolic Mocata, who is intent on making Simon one of the Devil's disciples. Having rescued Simon from a bloodied ritual, de Richleau is pursued by Mocata, who will stop at nothing to destroy the Duc and his friends, even summoning the Angel of Death itself. Starring Christopher Lee in one of his personal favourite roles and based on the celebrated novel by Dennis Wheatley, The Devil Rides Out is one of Hammer's most accomplished and thrilling mystery horrors.

 

 

The Film:

Adapted by Richard Matheson from a novel by Dennis Wheatley, The Devil Rides Out admirably adopts a restrained approach to its horrific material. Christopher Lee plays a French nobleman, Duc De Richeleau, who is worried sick over the bizarre behavior of his friend Simon (Patrick Mower). Richeleau has every reason to be concerned: unless drastic measures are taken, Simon will lose his soul to Satan within three days. Two black masses are performed (one a bizarre Felliniesque orgy), but neither satiate the Devil's appetite. As the story races to its climax, it looks as though Richeleau's own niece (Rosalyn Landor) will have to be sacrificed. The film's best moments belong to Charles Gray, playing the charming, hypnotic leader of the devil cult which holds Simon in its thrall. The Devil Rides Out was released in the U.S. as The Devil's Bride.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Over the years, this film's reputation has grown enormously, and its cult status must be as high as any horror movie. Richard Matheson, who scripted it, was able to improve immeasurably on Dennis Wheatley's ponderous novel, and it is consequently the best film that Fisher and Hammer ever made, an almost perfect example of the kind of thing that can happen when melodrama is achieved so completely and so imaginatively that it ceases to be melodrama at all and becomes a full-scale allegorical vision. Christopher Lee has never been better than as the grim opponent of Satanism, and the night in the pentacle during which the forces of evil mobilise an epic series of cinematic temptations rediscovers aspects of mythology which the cinema had completely overlooked.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

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

The Devil Rides Out gets a very strong transfer to Blu-ray from Studio Canal in the UK. It is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. It is obvious that it has been restored and looks brilliantly clean, crisp with bright, rich colors and frequent depth. It looks quite marvelous in 1080P. Contrast looks very effective in the 1.66:1 frame. The image quality is super with only some very minor hints at showing noise in some of the darker scenes. But that could simply be the textures masquerading themselves. This Blu-ray provided one of the most impressive Hammer HD presentations I've yet seen. Fabulous.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Studio Canal utilize a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. It is clear, flat but has varying degrees of punch. India-born, Hammer regular, James Bernard (The Plague of the Zombies, Dracula Prince of Darkness, These Are the Damned, Across the Bridge, The Curse of Frankenstein) score adds a wonderful, haunting, atmosphere and definitely 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 the old commentary (from 2000 as found on the Anchor Bay SD) with Marcus Hearn and Christopher Lee and Sarah Lawson. It still offers some value. There are some excellent documentaries. Black Magic: The Making of The Devil Rides Out runs over 33-minutes and has plenty of sound bytes from those in-the-know hosted by humorous Mark Gattiss. There is information on Matheson's screenplay - how it differed from the novel as well as Terence Fisher as a director and James Bernard's memorable score. It is quite a good piece. The Power of Light: Restoring The Devil Rides Out is 11-minutes on the restoration process with some minor, but impressive, enhancement of the special effects. There is also a piece on Dennis Wheatley at Hammer. Wheatley was the English author whose prolific output of thrillers and occult novels made him one of the world's best-selling writers from the 1930s through the 1960s. This has a dozen minutes on his interactions with Hammer. Lastly are are another World of Hammer piece -25-minutes of the episode simply entitled 'Hammer' and there is a stills gallery. The dual-format package includes a DVD of the feature with the extras.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Devil Rides Out might be my favorite Hammer film. I have watched it three times since getting the Blu-ray. I have trouble identifying what it is that I like so much about it, but I suspect that iconic Richard Matheson's script significantly escalates my level of appreciation. The Studio Canal provides an amazing a/v presentation and includes extensive supplements. This is a tremendous Blu-ray package and we strongly recommend! 

Gary Tooze

April 7th, 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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