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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Thing With Two Heads [Blu-ray]

 

(Lee Frost, 1972)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Saber Productions

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:31:18.514

Disc Size: 23,328,551,036 bytes

Feature Size: 23,134,967,808 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 23rd, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2064 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2064 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The Thing With Two Heads is a film that answers the age-old question: Are two heads better than one? Despite his deteriorating health, incredibly rich and deeply racist brain surgeon Maxwell Kirshner (Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend, Dial M For Murder) plans to be around for a very long time. What better way to achieve his goal than to transplant his still cognitive noggin onto the body of a healthy human being? Having performed similar experimental surgeries on animals, Maxwell convinces his colleagues to perform the groundbreaking and unsanctioned medical procedure on him – the first successful head-graft. With his body in rapid decline, Maxwell’s head is transplanted onto the first available body. And that would be death row inmate Jack Moss (Rosey Grier, Skyjacked, Timber Tramps). Did we forget to mention that Jack Moss is black? The Thing With Two Heads, directed by Lee Frost (The Black Gestapo, Private Obsession), from a screenplay by Lee Frost, Wes Bishop and James Gordon White, co-stars Don Marshall (Uptown Saturday Night, Terminal Island), Roger Perry (Count Yorga, Vampire), William Smith (Conan the Barbarian, The Outsiders) and Jerry Butler (A Bronx Tale, La Bamba).

 

 

The Film:

What a heck of a thing to happen to a guy. He's a black man, convicted of murder and unable to persuade anyone of his innocence. He's sentenced to the electric chair (apparently because the Supreme Court's jurisdiction doesn't include American-International Pictures). He's willing to do anything to get another chance at life, so he volunteers for a weird medical experiment. The next thing he knows, he has Ray Milland's head parked alongside his left ear. This leads us to a philosophical point: is it better to be alive with Ray Milland's head plugged into your neck, or to be dead?

Most of us would probably take Ray Milland, I guess. It's not often you get to meet a real movie star. But Roosevelt Grier, who plays the escaped convict, doesn't have such an easy choice.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert located HERE

 

The Thing with Two Heads is a remarkable movie. The plot is, in a word, ludicrous. Ray Milland is nothing short of brilliant, and Rosey Grier holds his own. As far as I know, the movie was shot without going over the budget. One infers that Milland and Grier were able to keep straight faces during the shooting; this alone stands as testament to their professionalism as actors. The aforementioned plot is reason enough to watch this movie, which, despite understandably high expectations, will not disappoint. I rarely watch a movie more than once. The Thing with Two Heads is an exception. It's hard to say what I like best about the movie. The interchanges between Milland and Grier are humorous; they would almost qualify as banter. The special effects are unpretentious, even sublime. The movie may seem dated (it becomes quickly obvious that the shooting took place in the early 70's), but this only adds to its charm. I recommend its viewing highly.

Excerpt from Blaxpoitationpride.org located HERE

 

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

The Thing With Two Heads has arrived on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is only single-layered and it is bit softer than I would have anticipated. The effects (two heads) are quite good close-up but can look terribly weak in distance shots ala Grier running with a mannequin head taped to his neck. This is not particularly bright with no vibrancy in the colors.  The outdoor sequences look at bit better (and there are a lot). Detail is modest and there is no real depth but there is some grain and this may be a close approximation of how this low budget flic looked theatrically.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Olive use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 2064 and effects (motorcycle) carry some weight and the unremarkable score by Robert O. Ragland seems to benefit as well, although it is quite a hodge-podge.  There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with their releases. This should have had multiple commentaries and interviews with the filmmakers... at a bare minimum.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Pure classic - forget Antonioni or Bresson - THIS is the real deal! The Thing With Two Heads transcends genres while expressing deep, universal, humanistic themes. No one ever forgets watching it. The Olive Blu-ray (weak cover though) gives you the film in 1080P. That's all... but that's enough. Cinema this bad elevates to a level of greatness unparalleled since Ed Wood. One of the worst films ever. A must-own. 

Gary Tooze

June 17th, 2015

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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