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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Captain Clegg aka Night Creatures [Blu-ray]

 

(Peter Graham Scott, 1962)

 

Only available in Indicator's Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows Blu-ray set with The Shadow of the Cat, Captain Clegg, The Phantom of the Opera and Nightmare

or buy directly from Indicator:

Bonus Captures:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions

Video: Final Cut Entertainment / Universal (part of the Hammer Horror 8 Film Collection Blu-ray set) / Indicator (part of Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows with The Shadow of the Cat, Captain Clegg, The Phantom of the Opera and Nightmare)

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' / Region FREE / Region 'B'

Runtime: 1:18:48.720 (4% PAL Speedup) / 1:22:10.133 / 1:22:10.091

Disc Size: 22,931,666,486 bytes / 45,084,587,688 bytes (shares with Phantom of the Opera - 1962) / 49,127,791,177 bytes

Feature Size: 16,572,026,880 bytes / 22,034,644,992 bytes / 23,424,172,992 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.98 Mbps / 31.99 Mbps / 34.97 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 18 / 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Custom Digibook inside cardboard slipcase / Transparent case inside hard box (see below)

Release date: June 23rd, 2014 /  September 13th, 2016 / June 28th, 2021

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.0:1 / 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080i / 25 fps / 1080p / 23.976 fps / 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1851 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1851 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1044 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1044 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 112 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 112 kbps / DN -30dB

 

Subtitles:

English, none

English (SDH), Spanish, French, None

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• The Making of Captain Clegg--Narrated by John Carson with contribution from historian Wayne Kinsey (30:42)
The Mossman Legacy--George Mossman's Carriage Collection--Introduced and hosted by historian Wayne Kinsey (6:36)
Stills Gallery (2:42)

 

None

 

Audio commentary with film historian and filmmaker Constantine Nasr (2021)
The BEHP Interview with Peter Graham Scott (2004, 201 mins): career-spanning filmed interview, made as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring Graham Scott in conversation with Darrol Blake and John Sealey
Hammer’s Women: Molly Arbuthnot and Rosemary Burrows (2021, 13:48): overview of the prolific Hammer wardrobe mistresses by film historian Josephine Botting
Kim Newman Introduces ‘Captain Clegg’ (2021, 13:55): appreciation by the critic and author
Peter Cushing: Perspectives (2021, 28:59): documentary looking at the life and work of Peter Cushing, featuring contributions from actors Derek Fowlds, Judy Matheson and Madeline Smith
Smugglers’ Gothic (2021, 21:21): David Huckvale, author of Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde, on Don Banks’ score and the influence of the head of Hammer Films’ music department, Philip Martell
Making of ‘Captain Clegg’ (2014, 32:00): documentary narrated by actor John Carson, with insights from film historian Wayne Kinsey
The Mossman Legacy (2014, 6:53): Kinsey discusses the contributions of transport historian and collector George Mossman to Hammer productions
Night Creatures theatrical trailer (1:01)
Image galleries: promotional and publicity material
Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with new essays by Frank Collins and Kieran Foster, extracts from original press materials, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits

 

Bitrate:

1) Final Cut - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

Description: Captain Collier (Patrick Allen) and his band of sailors show up to an English coastal town to investigate reports of “Marsh Phantoms” who ride by night spreading terror to the town. The Captain suspects that the local reverend (Peter Cushing) might be hiding something. Are the phantoms genuine or a cover for illegal smuggling activities?

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

 

The Film:

Despite the American title of this movie (NIGHT CREATURES) and a subplot concerning ghosts on horseback, this isn't really a horror movie, nor does it act like one; it's more of a period crime melodrama (the original title, CAPTAIN CLEGG, is much more accurate). This may be one of the reasons that this remains one of the more obscure Hammer thrillers, but those who choose to seek it out may well enjoy it. The story is solid and entertaining, and the performances are strong throughout, particularly from Peter Cushing, Oliver Reed, and Michael Ripper (who nearly steals the whole movie as the local undertaker).

Excerpt from Sci-fi-film located HERE

Adapted from the Russell Thorndike novel, Dr Syn, Hammer’s Captain Clegg, was a somewhat horrific pirate adventure about smuggling in the Romney Marshes by celebrated pirate Captain Clegg and his men. The story has been filmed twice previously, in 1937 by Gaumont-British, starring George Arliss and Margaret Lockwood, and was released in the same year as this version by Walt Disney with Patrick McGoohan in the title role.

Excerpt from Brit Movie located HERE

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

Captain Clegg (or Night Creatures) was part of Universal's Hammer Horror Series DVD set. It gets a 1080i transfer (50hrz - PAL) to Blu-ray from Final Cut Entertainment in the UK. It is single-layered with a supportive bitrate for the 1-hour, 18-minute, feature. It seems reasonably consistent. Generally the visuals are pleasing with a few impressive close-ups. Colors have some richness and there is no noise or artifacts that I could see. This Blu-ray gave me a decent presentation in the lesser-seen 2.0:1 aspect ratio (original 1.85:1?). Regardless, the 1080i video quality was only acceptable - nothing dynamic although very watchable.

 

The initial complaints of this 2016 Hammer Horror 8-Film Collection Blu-ray set is that The Phantom Of The Opera, The Brides Of Dracula, The Curse Of The Werewolf, and Night Creatures (aka Captain Clegg) are all presented at the aspect ratio of 2.0:1, when they should be, as they were theatrically, in 1.66:1 to 1.85:1 (depending on the film). This boxset is presented as follows:

Blu-ray Disc 1 - "The Brides Of Dracula" & "The Curse Of The Werewolf"
Blu-ray Disc 2 - "Night Creatures" & "The Phantom Of The Opera"
Blu-ray Disc 3 - "Paranoiac" & "The Kiss Of The Vampire"
Blu-ray Disc 4 - "Nightmare" & "The Evil Of Frankenstein"

So far, the image quality look to be from the similar source as the European transfers in terms of color, detail, grain, brightness etc. And three of those are in 2.0:1 as well (Final Cut - UK's
The Phantom Of The Opera, The Brides Of Dracula and Night Creatures (aka Captain Clegg)
.

 

The image for this HD transfer is very similar in appearance but the Final Cut is in PAL timing. This may be an issue for those sensitive to the 4% speedup. The new Universal transfer uses the 'Night Creatures' title. Colors are a shade bolder and richer and it has a significantly stronger bitrate (approaching 50% higher!) and I found it looked smoother and superior in-motion.

 

Indicator's Blu-ray (June 2021): Indicator have transferred Hammer Studio's Captain Clegg (aka Night Creatures in the US) to Blu-ray, as part of their Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows Blu-ray with The Shadow of the Cat, The Phantom of the Opera, Nightmare joining Captain Clegg. The Blu-ray has two presentations of the film: Captain Clegg, with the original UK title sequence, and Night Creatures, with the alternative US titles layered-contrast, seamlessly branched. It's an upgrade with max'ed out bitrate and superior contrast - notable in-motion. It is in the accurate 1.85:1 aspect ratio - not Universal's disputable 2.0:1. It's not a wide disparity but does show more information in the top and bottom of the frame, losing nothing on the side edges. Colors are bolder and richer (Yvonne Romain's red outfit in the subtitle capture below.)

 

NOTE: We have added 46 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

 

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

 

1) Final Cut - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Final Cut - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Indicator (Captain Clegg) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

3) Indicator (Night Creatures) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Final Cut - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Final Cut - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

Audio :

Final Cut utilize a linear PCM mono track at 1536 kbps. It is clear, flat but has a bit of punch.  The score adds to the period horror and benefits from the lossless transfer. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Universal advance with their audio transfer as well - a DTS-HD Master in 24-bit (as opposed to 16) adds a deeper, more resonant, richness to the period atmosphere accenting the adventure aspects of the film. There are optional English (see sample), Spanish or French subtitles offered and the Blu-ray disc is Region FREE.

 

On their Blu-ray, Indicator use a DTS-HD Master 1.0 mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. It advances marginally on the Don Banks (Rasputin the Mad Monk, The Evil of Frankenstein, The Mummy's Shroud) score that carries an authantic flat expresasion - as well as the effects. Indicator offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

 

Extras :

Final Cut include two new featurettes. Running 1/2 hour The Making of Captain Clegg is narrated by John Carson with contribution from historian Wayne Kinsey and deals with specifics of the production - before and during shooting. The Mossman Legacy--George Mossman's Carriage Collection is 7-minutes and is introduced and hosted by historian Wayne Kinsey. There is also a stills gallery.

 

No extras that I have found on the Universal Blu-ray Boxset.

 

The Indicator Blu-ray is, once-again, stacked. First up is a new (2021) audio commentary with film historian and filmmaker Constantine Nasr. He discusses every facet of Captain Clegg from the cinematography by Arthur Grant, special effects wizardry by Les Bowie, value of producer John Temple-Smith, and screenplay writer Anthony Hinds based on the novel by Russell Thorndike as well as the performers and director Peter Graham Scott. There is also a BEHP Interview with Peter Graham Scott (2004, 201 mins): career-spanning filmed interview, made as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring Graham Scott in conversation with Darrol Blake and John Sealey on 23 July 2004. It runs a whopping 3-hours and 20-minutes covering extensive ground on his career, Hammer, Captain Clegg and more. We get another new segment of Hammer’s Women. Molly Arbuthnot and Rosemary Burrows provide an overview of the prolific Hammer wardrobe mistresses by film historian Josephine Botting running shy of 1/4 hour. We get another new appreciation by the critic and author Kim Newman introducing ‘Captain Clegg’ running 14-minutes with vital tidbits of the production. Peter Cushing: Perspectives is a new 1/2 hour documentary looking at the life and work of Peter Cushing, featuring contributions from actors Derek Fowlds, Judy Matheson and Madeline Smith. Smugglers’ Gothic is a new 20-minute video with David Huckvale, author of Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde, on Don Banks’ score and the influence of the head of Hammer Films’ music department, Philip Martell. The Making of ‘Captain Clegg’ is a 2014 documentary narrated by actor John Carson, with insights from film historian Wayne Kinsey running 1/2 hour. The Mossman Legacy is also from 2014 and has Kinsey discussing the contributions of transport historian and collector George Mossman to Hammer productions. Lastly, is an original theatrical trailer and image galleries of promotional and publicity material. The Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows Blu-ray package has a limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Emma Westwood, extracts from original press materials, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits.

 

Final Cut - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Captain Clegg is a good Hammer production. I was in the perfect mood after Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter. I was wondering why it all seemed familiar - then I remembered watching the DVD of Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. The film has wonderful sets and costumes and interesting character development. There is suspense, action, sexy Yvonne Romain, plus Hammer stalwarts Cushing and a young Oliver Reed. The Final Cut Blu-ray provides a decent, if not progressive, a/v presentation and includes supplements. Fans of the Studio's work will likely want to indulge. This is a good Hammer period adventure piece - a shade short - lighter on the horror - but still very worthwhile. Recommended!

 

The Final Cut's value lies in the extras as the Universal provides a better, and more accurate, a/v presentation. Purists may snub their collective noses at the AR but this is the best the film has looked on digital to date. The price of the Universal Box is excellent at about $7.50 per film at the writing of this review. It's hard to say no to this Blu-ray set as there is still immense value here. Stay tuned for further comparisons...

 

Despite the less-frequent pirate sequences, this is still a historical (18th Century) swashbuckler adventure with all the Hammer charm we love with reference to the mysterious Romney marshes. It's based on Russell Thorndike's novel, "Doctor Syn: A Tale of the Romney Marsh". It's a superior adaptation to the Disney version focusing on the good/evil paradigm and anti-hero protagonists. It has Peter Cushing and is another essential part of Indicator's Hammer boxsets. This is easily the best Blu-ray edition offering both versions, original mono audio and the girth of supplements including the valued Nasr commentary plus other new extras including, Kim Newman, Hammer's Women, 3+ hours with the director etc.. How can Hammer fans resists Indicator's Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows Blu-ray Set? Strongly recommended!

 

 

Gary Tooze

July 14th, 2014

September 25th 2016

June 1st, 2021

 

Only available in Indicator's Hammer Volume Six: Night Shadows Blu-ray set with The Shadow of the Cat, Captain Clegg, The Phantom of the Opera and Nightmare

or buy directly from Indicator:

Bonus Captures:


 

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.

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Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
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Gary W. Tooze

 

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