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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Deadly Bees [Blu-ray]


(Freddie Francis, 1966)


Coming to the UK on Blu-ray, May 6th, 2019:


Review by Gary Tooze


NOTE: The Olive Blu-ray is compared to the German Wicked Vision Blu-ray HERE



Theatrical: Amicus Productions

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:23:44.060

Disc Size: 24,069,134,111 bytes

Feature Size: 23,833,202,688 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.20 Mbps

Chapters: 9

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)






• None





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.



The Film:

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!).

Quite why they don't take him seriously is anyone's guess - although plot expediency might explain it, I suppose.

Excerpt from BritishHorrorFilms located HERE

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."

You can bet one thing, for sure. Mr. Hitchcock would never have sanctioned a sloppy, raucously framed little thriller like this, especially since it stems—ever so broadly—from H. F. Heard's classic chiller, "A Taste for Honey." It's true. Paramount wasn't even aware of it yesterday, but there it was on the screen, tucked in a corner of the opening credits.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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.















Audio :

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.


NOTE: The Olive Blu-ray is compared to the German Wicked Vision Blu-ray HERE




Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.



Well, what can you say? I don't think The Deadly Bees is as poor as its reputation. You'd just expect more from Amicus and director Francis. Suzanna Leigh is pretty cute and I liked the Brit-farm atmosphere but, yes, there are some things wrong with this odd film - notably the plot. For those keen on bad cinema, though - it's 57% OFF at Amazon pre-order. I watched it till the end - which is some kind of positive. The Blu-ray (another cool cover) is fine, typically bare-bones and should provide a decent enough HD presentation for you

Gary Tooze

October 22nd, 2015

Amicus was another British film production company. They were based out of Shepperton Studios, and produced films from the early 60's  to 1977. They specialized in Horror movies, in a similar vein to Hammer Studios (Peter Cushing often starring) but also made portmanteau films in that genre. They were revived in 2007 with Stuart Gordon's Stuck, Here are a few of their titles available on digital:

The City of the Dead (1960)

The Deadly Bees (1965)

Dr. Terrors House of Horrors (1965)

The Skull (1965)

The Amicus Collection

Torture Garden (1967)

Madhouse (1974)

The Land That Time Forgot (1975)

At the Earth's Core (1976)

The People That Time Forgot (1977)

Tales From The Crypt / Vault Of Horror)


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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