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The Deadly Bees [Blu-ray]
(Freddie Francis, 1966)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Amicus Productions
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,069,134,111 bytes
Feature Size: 23,833,202,688 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.20 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 27th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1834 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1834 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Description: Noted British horror director Freddie Francis and author Robert Bloch, who wrote Psycho, combined their talents for this tale of terror. Pop singer Vicki Robbins (Suzanna Leigh) collapses from exhaustion and takes a vacation on a small resort island. She soon meets Mr. Hargrove (Guy Doleman), a difficult man with a failing marriage who owns the resort and keeps bees as a hobby. Charming Manfred (Frank Finlay), who also lives on the island, keeps bees as well, and he soon strikes up a friendship with Vicki. However, when first a dog and then Hargrove's wife are killed by bee stings, Vicki discovers that someone on the island is breeding a strain of killer bees, and she has to find out who is responsible and what can be done before they kill again. Keep an eye peeled for a short appearance by the British beat combo The Birds, whose guitarist, Ron Wood, would later become a star playing with The Faces (featuring Rod Stewart) and The Rolling Stones.
Stupidity reigns in The Deadly Bees, from the opening scene, when
an unnamed government ministry gets a letter from a nutter threatening
to unleash hordes of killer bees on an unsuspecting public (they throw
it in the bin, despite it not being the first missive from said nutter -
who has even given his address!).
Having handled his winged killers so brilliantly in "The
Birds," it's a pity Alfred Hitchcock wasn't on hand to coach "The
Deadly Bees," especially the humans, in the British-made double-bill
that opened yesterday in neighborhood theaters. The other flaperoo is
called "The Vulture."
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Deadly Bees gets a Blu-ray release from Olive Films looking better than the film, probably, deserves. No - it's not as bad as its reputation. This is typically single-layered but has a very high bitrate. It's a shade dull and dark but a few of the colors carry a richness. It's in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio - a few speckles but the source seems acceptable. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering but the film's meager effects don't do the image any favors.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is transferred to a DTS-HD Master mono track at 1834 kbps (24-bit). The audio effects are about the same caliber as the video effects - minimal and little to export besides the 'humming'. The score is by Wilfred Josephs (notable for TV series music in I Claudius and The Prisoner) and it adds a shade to the creepiness. There is nothing exceptional though about the audio but I suspect it is an accurate representation of the original production. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.
October 22nd, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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