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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Bat [Blu-ray]

 

(Crane Wilbur, 1959)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Liberty Pictures

Video: Film Detective

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:20:03.131 

Disc Size: 21,991,654,347 bytes

Feature Size: 21,676,505,088 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.44 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1782 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1782 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (yellow), none

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Vincent Price stars in this thriller about a down-trodden country estate that becomes the site of a horrific murder. Prolific writer/director Crane Wilbur (He Walked by Night, Crime Wave) helms this feature, with a cast that includes Agnes Moorehead, Gavin Gordon, and in her last film role, Darla Hood of the Our Gang comedies. But which of them is the mysterious killer known as The Bat? You'll find out soon enough. But beware -- the scream you hear may be your own!

 

 

The Film:

This fourth film version of the Mary Roberts Rinehart-Avery Hopwood stage chestnut The Bat is so old-fashioned in its execution that one might suspect it was intended as "camp" (though that phrase wasn't in common usage in 1959). Agnes Moorehead plays mystery novelist Cornelia Van Gorder, whose remote mansion is the scene for all sorts of diabolical goings-on. The "maguffin" is a million dollars' worth of securities, hidden away somewhere in the huge and foreboding estate. Vincent Price is seen committing a murder early on-but he's not the film's principal villain. Others in the cast include Gavin Gordon as an overly diligent detective, and former Our Gang star Darla Hood as a murder victim. The Bat was adapted for the screen by its director Crane Wilbur, himself a prolific "old dark house" scenarist and playwright.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

At a remote country mansion called the Oaks, feisty mystery writer Cornelia Van Gorder (Agnes Moorehead) is dismissive of reports that her new summer home was once the stalking grounds for a mad killer known as the Bat, who slashed out the throats of his victims. Meanwhile at a nearby cabin, Dr. Wells (Vincent Price) is approached at gunpoint by his hunting companion, a bank president (and full-time owner of the Oaks), about a scheme to make off with a million dollars in stolen bonds. A convenient forest fire provides a distraction by which Wells kills the thief in self-defense before learning the location of the money. Along with a colorful assortment of characters, Dr. Wells ends up at the Oaks for a dark, spooky evening which finds the Bat returning to his old murderous habits. Or has he?

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

 

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

New kid on the block Film Detective sent me a couple of their new Blu-rays (BD-Rs) releases - among them 1959's The Bat with Vincent Price and Agnes Moorhead cited as 'hi-def restoration from 35MM archival film elements'. Technically, I'm impressed - 1080P, 23.976 fps, max'ed out bitrate, 1.85:1 AR, 24-bit audio - and aside from some frame-specific marks/speckles and some light vertical scratches that last a bit longer - it's of pleasing quality!  Contrast has some decent layering and visuals are fairly tight in the HD transfer. It looks quite consistent in-motion.  I see no evidence of manipulation, DNR or noise - and better yet - I kinda liked the film! This Blu-ray provides an impressive presentation with frequent depth!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Film Detective use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1782 kbps in 24-bit! The effects are not overwhelming (a few, Lenita Lane, screams and minor gunplay) but the score by Louis Forbes (Pitfall, Silver Lode, The Man Who Cheated Himself, The Crooked Way, Escape to Burma, Slightly Scarlet, The River's Edge) does real service to adding atmosphere and tension although it is fairly sparsely utilized. You can hear some of the bass depth via the uncompressed track. There are optional English subtitles (in a bright yellow font - see sample) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Frugal with no extras and only one menu screen. That's okay - it is reflected in the reasonable price.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Bat (PD?) is a simple thriller reminding me of a William Castle production - horror elements relying heavily on the film's secrets and villains with potential twists in the offing. It's a wonderful setting in the secluded house. The bare-bones Film Detective Blu-ray is a BD-R but provides a solid, and surprisingly good, a/v transfer for the film. I think there is value here for those who appreciate this genre - yes, recommended! 

Gary Tooze

November 3rd, 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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