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The Girl Hunters [Blu-ray]
(Roy Rowland, 1963)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,512,673,724 bytes
Feature Size: 21,115,041,792 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.50 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 21st, 2014
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1685 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1685 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
• Commentary by Spillane expert Max Allan Collins
• Interview with Mickey Spillane (29:59)
Description: Private Eye, Mike Hammer's sexy secretary Velda is missing... and Mike's hot on her trail. Mickey Spillane himself, the best-selling author of The Girl Hunters, turns in a "tremendous" performance (Time magazine) in the leading role. Count on some pulse-pounding action when Hammer tangles with a ruthless band of communist spies determined to see him dead. But even more dangerous might be the seductive, bikini-clad widow (Shirley Eaton, Goldfinger) who's caught Hammer's eye. Spillane's Mike Hammer murder mysteries have sold in the millions across the world. And The Girl Hunters is vintage Spillane - fast and furious. And now see it from a Brand New HD master loaded with extras!
Novelist Mickey Spillane portrays his own creation, Mike Hammer, in The Girl Hunters. Hammer has spent seven years in an alcoholic funk after the supposed death of his secretary, Velda. He is brought back to the land of the living by his old friendly enemy, police lieutenant Pat Chambers (Scott Peters), who wants Hammer to extract some information out of a dying federal agent. This puts Mike on the trail of a subversive communist organization, the key to which seems to be sexy Laura Knapp (Shirley Eaton), the widow of a murdered senator. When Hammer determines that following this espionage trail may lead to relocating Velda, who might not be dead after all, he pursues matters with his usual fascistic tendency to pummel first and ask questions later. The Girl Hunters is the film in which Mike Hammer incapacitates an opponent by literally nailing the latter's hands to the floor. But that's kid stuff compared to the fate in store for the treacherous Laura Knapp. The Girl Hunters was filmed in its entirety in England
Ian Fleming may have posed with a gun for a photograph, but he never got
the chance to play his creation James Bond on the screen. Ernest
Hemingway was a man of action, but he left the screen portrayals of
Robert Jordan and Jake Barnes to professional actors. In fact, authors
of popular literature have rarely appeared in more than cameo roles. Of
those few who have left their typewriters to step before the camera,
Mickey Spillane was the most daring. In The Girl Hunters (1963)
he took over the role of his most famous creation, the violence-prone
detective Mike Hammer. The results were as rough as Spillane's gumshoe.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Much to the delight of his fans, Mickey Spillane as Mike Hammer in The Girl Hunters has made it to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber (although it starts with a 'Scorpion Releasing' logo). The image quality is quite good. This is single-layered with a supportive bitrate and I expect this is as good as the film has ever looked on digital. There is a tightness and depth - and contrast shows some pleasing layers. Pretty solid. There may be a shade of Cinemascope 'mumps' with the 2.35:1 visuals marginally horizontally stretched. This Blu-ray seems to do its job but is slightly marred by some damage and heavy speckles in the final scene.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1685 kbps has some depth but the film is fairly restrained. We get a score from Philip Green (The Man Who Finally Died, Basil Dearden's Victim, The League of Gentlemen, Sapphire and All Night Long) There are some aggressive effects but I don't recall the audio being remarkable. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
There are some good extras - a commentary by Spillane expert, and my friend, Max Allan Collins. Max knows Spillane! In 1998 Mickey Spillane agreed to participate in a documentary about his life and career, directed by mystery writer and filmmaker Max Allan Collins (author of the book The Road to Perdition). Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane's debuted at a noir festival in Courmayeur, Italy and a condensed cut was prepared by Collins for Criterion's Kiss Me Deadly Blu-ray. Max also did an interesting commentary on VCI's DVD of Allan Dwan's Slightly Scarlet. There is also a keen 1/2 hour interview with Mickey Spillane (holding a piece!) and a 10-minute video with the lovely Shirley Eaton. There is also an original trailer.
November 26th, 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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