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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
The Hound of the Baskervilles [Blu-ray]
(Terence Fisher, 1959)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions
Video: Arrow Video / Twilight Time
Region: 'B'/ Region FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:26:34.439 / 1:26:35.440
Disc Size: 44,814,779,140 bytes / 32,657,229,859 bytes
Feature Size: 26,739,453,312 bytes / 26,174,017,536 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps / 29.93 Mbps
Chapters: 13 / 24
Case: Transparent Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: June 1st, 2015 / July, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
LPCM Audio Undetermined 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English
1882 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1882 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1800 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1800
kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2037 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2037
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
•New audio Commentary with Hammer experts Marcus Hearn and Jonathan Rigby
• Release the Hound: new interviews with hound mask creator Margaret Robinson and assistant director Hugh Harlow (30:20)
• Andre Morell: Best of British - a featurette looking at the late great actor Andre Morell and his work with Hammer (19:43)
• The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes a 1986 documentary looking at the many incarnations of Conan Doyle's celebrated character, narrated and presented by Christopher Lee (46:04)
• Actor's Notebook: Christopher Lee an archive interview in the which the actor recalls his experiences of making The Hound of the Baskervilles (12:59)
• The Hounds of the Baskervilles Excerpts read by Christopher Lee (14:36 + 6:24)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (1:59)
• Image Gallery
• Audio Commentary with Film
Historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros
Description: Sherlock Holmes is the most filmed character of
all time but it is arguably this 1959 re-telling of Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle's classic tale The Hound of the
Baskervilles, from legendary horror studio Hammer and
starring genre stalwarts Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee,
which stands as the super sleuth s finest cinematic hour.
In the 17th century, the arrogant, cruel Hugo Baskerville (David Oxley) brutalizes a servant and prepares to turn the man's daughter over to his equally depraved companions, but she escapes. When he catches up with the girl in a ruined abbey, he kills her and then is attacked and killed himself by a huge hound that is never seen. The audience then learns that this story is being told in flashback to Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) and Dr. Watson (Andre Morell) by Dr. Richard Mortimer (Francis DeWolff). He was the physician and friend to the late Sir Charles Baskerville, who recently died -- apparently of fright -- on the Devonshire moors near that same ruined abbey. Holmes is very skeptical, but agrees to meet Sir Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee), who has just arrived in London to claim the estate. Sir Henry is cold and aloof but becomes convinced he's in danger when he's almost bitten by a tarantula. Holmes insists that he not go to Baskerville Hall alone, so Holmes sends Watson to Devonshire with Sir Henry.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
The best Sherlock Holmes film ever made, and one of Hammer's finest movies. Fisher, at the peak of his career, used Conan Doyle's plot to establish a stylish dialectic between Holmes' nominally rational Victorian milieu and the dark, fabulous cruelty behind the Baskerville legend. This opposition is expressed within the first ten minutes, when he moves from the 'legend' with its strong connotations of the Hellfire Club (the nobleman tormenting a young girl with demonic satisfaction) to the rational eccentricities of Baker Street. Holmes is indeed the perfect Fisher hero, the Renaissance scholar with strong mystical undertones, and Cushing gives one of his very best performances, ably supported by Morell (who does not make the usual mistake of overplaying Watson). Lee is in equally good form as the Baskerville heir, and Jack Asher's muted Technicolor photography is superb.Excerpt from Timeout located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Hammer Studio's The Hound of the Baskervilles gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Films in the UK. It is dual-layered with a max'ed-out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. Colors show depth and there is no noise in the, many, darker sequences. The 1080P supports a very thick, film-like, presentation in the original 1.66:1 frame. It's only minor flaw are a few unnoticeable speckles. This Blu-ray looks excellent in-motion with impressive detail in the few close-ups.
I know that Twilight Time have had joint ventures with other UK producers and there is a lot of parity between these Blu-ray releases. Also a high bitrate if a notch below the Arrow - the image quality is almost exact - with a few grains of texture different. It also looks great in-motion!
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Captures
Arrow utilize a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. It is clear, flat but packs an eerie presence along with screams exporting depth. India-born James Bernard (Plague of the Zombies, Dracula Prince of Darkness, These Are the Damned, Across the Bridge, The Curse of Frankenstein) score adds to the Moor's spooky atmosphere and benefits from the lossless transfer. There is an optional score/effects track, optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Lossless and 24-bit if using DTS-HD Master as opposed to liner PCM. The Twilight Time is 2.0 channel and a bit more robust - but again, only the very discerning would not significant differences. Bernard's score elevates the atmosphere and still sounds exceptional. There are also English (SDH) subtitles but the Twilight Time (limited to 3.000 units) is region FREE.
Arrow include a new audio Commentary with Hammer experts Marcus Hearn (who has done other commentaries for films; Night of the Big Heat, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell etc.) and Jonathan Rigby (commentaries include Frankenstein Created Woman and The Mummy among others) and they impart some impressive knowledge about the production and stars. Release the Hound is a new 1/2 hour video piece with interviews with hound mask creator Margaret Robinson and assistant director Hugh Harlow - as well as discussion by Mark Gatiss and Kim Newman. Andre Morell: Best of British - is a 20-minute featurette looking at the late great actor Andre Morell and his work with Hammer. The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes is a 45-minute, 1986, documentary looking at the many incarnations of Conan Doyle's celebrated character, narrated and presented by Christopher Lee. We get a 13-minute Actor's Notebook: Christopher Lee as an archival interview in the which the actor recalls his experiences of making The Hound of the Baskervilles. We 20-minutes worth of audio-only excerpts of Christopher Lee reading The Hounds of the Baskervilles, an original theatrical trailer and image gallery. The package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper and a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Hammer archivist Robert J.E. Simpson, illustrated with original archive stills and posters.
A few similarities and a few differences. The Twilight Time as 2 commentaries - David Del Valle and Steven Peros on the first and a second with Film Historians Paul Scrabo, Lee Pfeiffer, and Hank Reineke. Wonderful additions for the serious fans - notable value to the US release. The 13-minute Actor’s Notebook: Christopher Lee is duplicated as is a 1/4 hour with Hound Mask Creator Margaret Robinson (although minus assistant director Hugh Harlow) and the repeated Christopher Lee Reads Excerpts from The Hound of the Baskervilles. There is a trailer, and the it also has the ability to access the isolated Music & Effects track. There are the usual liner notes from Julie Kirgo.
Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray
I'm sure many region 'A'-locked fans will be ecstatic that this gem is now available is such a similarly sterling Blu-ray package. Another strong release from Twilight Time - solid a/v, commentaries, interviews, isolated score etc.... and absolutely recommended!
June 5th, 2015
July 12th, 2016
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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