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Werewolf of London aka "Le Monstre de Londres" [Blu-ray]
(Stuart Walker, 1935)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Universal Pictures Company Inc.
Video: Elephant Films
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,736,380,069 bytes
Feature Size: 20,138,072,064 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: April 27th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1804 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1804 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1919 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1919 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• "Le Loup-garou" par Jean-Pierre Dionnet (8:41)
• Le Film Par Jean-Pierre Dionnet (9:53)
• Galerie Photos
• Bands-Announces (1:40 trailer for Werewolf of London and 10 others - all with French subtitles)
Advert booklet (in French)
Second disc DVD included
Description: Originally intended as a vehicle for Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, this Universal production predated The Wolf Man by six years, but failed to whip up audience enthusiasm for the monster popularized by Lon Chaney, Jr. in the studio's later classic. Henry Hull stars as botanist Dr. Glendon, whose foray through Tibet in search of a rare night-blooming "marifasa lupina" ends when he is savagely attacked by man-beast Yogami (Warner Oland). Recovering back in London, Glendon begins to undergo the hideous transformation into a wolf-like monster at the next full moon (courtesy of makeup work by Jack Pierce), and learns that only the bloom of the marifasa can reverse his condition -- a cure which is currently being sought by yet another lycanthropic predator.
"Werewolf of London," a Universal picture featuring Henry Hull,
is credited to a story by Robert Harris, but it goes back further than
that. It goes, in fact, back to Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and
Mr. Hyde," and permits Mr. Hull to be transformed, before the startled
eyes of the audience, from a frock-coated botanist into a fanged apeman
with homicidal tendencies and a wolf's howl swelling in his throat.
As seems to be the case with so many Universal pictures of this genre, 'Werewolf of London' revolves around a soon-to-be-tragic scientist Dr. Glendon (Henry Hull), who while on a trip to Tibet to search for a rare flower is bitten by a werewolf. Returning to London with the said flower he's visited by Dr. Yogami (Warner Oland) who reveals that he was the wolf and explains Glendons fate to him.
Boasting a confidence at sweeping from location to location and coming in at just over an hour 'Werewolf of London' boasts a good pace and incident-packed narrative that other Universal films sometimes lacked. Instead of building the wait for the monster up like the more famous 'Wolf Man' does, it sets its stall out from the very beginning and has a werewolf attack in the first ten minutes.
And once Glendon returns to London, the further attacks and transformations are pleasingly not cut back, giving you plenty of monster for the money. Although the film's dated quite noticeably, the look of Ye Olde London is still spookily atmospheric, conjuring up associations of Jack the Ripper and Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde as Glendon prowls the streets as a wolf killing at leisure.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Werewolf of London arrives on Blu-ray from Elephant Films in France - along with a few other Uni-Horrors not picked-up for North American release. The image is adeptly transferred with a high bitrate but the source is excellent with plenty of rich grain textures. The visuals are clean - very few speckles - and no remarkable damage. Contrast layering benefits the 1080P visuals. This Blu-ray has a genuine feel with a reasonable film-like sense to it. Visually I expect most fans will be very pleased.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Elephant Films use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1804 kbps (24-bit) in the original English with a similar optional French DUB. It suffers from its age but its consistent. Aside from usual atmospheric conventions, the drama is exported adeptly via the scoreby Karl Hajos (Supernatural, Summer Storm) sounding supportive via the lossless. There are, fully, optional French subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable worldwide.
Some discussion (in 1080i) in French by Jean-Pierre Dionnet, and introduction, but not English-friendly (no subs). There is a photos gallery and 11 trailers of films from this collection including one for this film. A PAL DVD is included.
June 17th, 2016
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 3500 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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