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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Devil's Disciple [Blu-ray]


(Guy Hamilton, Alexander Mackendrick, 1959)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Hill-Hecht-Lancaster Productions

Video: Kino Lorber



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

Runtime: 1:23:30.296 

Disc Size: 20,292,965,500 bytes

Feature Size: 17,486,094,336 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.84 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 24th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1567 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1567 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)






• Trailers for The Devil's Disciple (2:56), Scalphunters (3:13), Cast a Giant Shadow (3:40), The Train (4:36) and Run Silent, Run Deep (3:02)





Description: Newly re-mastered in HD! The third of seven films screen legends Burt Lancaster (Run Silent, Run Deep) and Kirk Douglas (Cast a Giant Shadow) have appeared together in is a satirical take on the American Revolution by George Bernard Shaw (My Fair Lady), boasting a cutting performance from acting great Laurence Olivier (Rebecca). When Dick Dudgeon (Douglas) learns his father was executed by the British for treason at the onset of the Revolutionary War, he steals the body for a proper burial, ignoring the pleas of his friend, Minister Anthony Anderson (Lancaster) who’s a peace-loving person who ends up becoming a belligerent firebrand of a rebel trying to save Dudgeon’s life. Adapted for the screen by John Dighton (Roman Holiday) and Richard Kibbee (Vera Cruz) and featuring strong direction by James Bond veteran Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger).



The Film:

This film version of George Bernard Shaw's satirical take on the American Revolution had a troubled production history (with a director change in mid-production), but nevertheless boasts a cutting performance by Laurence Olivier. Shaw's tale depicts his version of how the British lost the American colonies: because of a stupid mistake at the War Office someone forgot to tell Lord North to join up with General "Gentleman" Johnny Burgoyne (Laurence Olivier) and smash the rebels. Burt Lancaster is on hand as the Rev. Anthony Anderson, a peace-loving parson who ends up becoming a belligerent firebrand of a rebel. Also is tow is Kirk Douglas as Dirk Dungeon, who, in typical Shawvian irony, starts out as a unrepentant, cowardly scamp and ends up as the personification of Christian virtues.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE


While Olivier was busy filming with Lancaster and Douglas, Leigh, who had been growing increasingly histrionic, suffered a violent mental collapse. Leigh had had a long history of psychological problems, and Olivier knew that this episode put an end to any hopes that she might fully recover.

It's no wonder, then, that he seemed to lose focus while working on the The Devil's Disciple. Leigh's condition, of course, was his main concern. But he was also frustrated that, no matter how he tried, he couldn't land the money for an English production of a film by a British playwright, while Burt Lancaster could with no trouble. During shooting, whether it was an intentional dig at their star status or not, Olivier consistently reversed Lancaster's and Douglas' names, calling them "Kirk" and "Burt" respectively. Lancaster, at least, grew increasingly irritated by this as filming continued.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of The Devil's Disciple looks consistent in 1080P. There is a little softness but it appears to be inherent in the source. Contrast shows some layered and there is depth is spots. Detail is modest to good.  The mostly natural-lit sequences showcase some decent visuals. The source is clean, but maybe a shade overly bright. This Blu-ray gave me a watchable, and superior, viewing in regards to the picture quality.


















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1567 kbps in the original English language. There are some effects in the film - musket fire, a notable explosion, horses etc. They sounds quite deep at times. Richard Rodney Bennett's (Far From the Madding Crowd, The Witches, Equus, Billy Liar, The Man Who Could Cheat Death) score is supportive and it sounds very pleasing via the DTS-HD. It all sounds fine with clear consistent dialogue. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Only trailers for The Devil's Disciple, Scalphunters, Cast a Giant Shadow, The Train, and Run Silent, Run Deep.



The Devil's Disciple is a very interesting film... and a good one with intriguing performances and pointed, fascinating dialogue - almost Shakespeare-esque from Shaw. Yes, this is a fairly unique film - I don't recall such a storyline incorporating this brand of satire and amusing portrayals. Olivier and Lancaster are brilliant and Kirk is a shade, intentionally, hammy. I really enjoyed it and had no idea of what direction it was heading. I will definitely watch it again.   The Kino Lorber Blu-ray
gives a good presentation although I'd have appreciated more supplements _ I think the film is worthy of some discussion. For those that haven't seen this - we recommend! 

Gary Tooze

October 27th, 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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