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The Monster of Piedras Blancas [Blu-ray]
(Irvin Berwick, 1959)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Vanwick Productions
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 20,849,846,472 bytes
Feature Size: 20,737,130,496 bytes
Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 13th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1810 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1810 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• English, None
"The sleepy little lighthouse community of Piedras Blancas
has a big problem when bodies begin piling up (thankfully
there s the ice room at Kochek s Store for meats and
groceries) and a scale from a thought-to-be-extinct
prehistoric amphibian is found nearby. Could this be the
work of ... The Monster of Piedras Blancas?
Lonely lighthouse-keeper Sturges (John Harmon) keeps mostly to himself, doing his job, which includes warning people away from the beaches and caves near the Piedras Blancas lighthouse. But when two fishermen are found dead, all-but-beheaded and without a trace of blood in their bodies, that brings Constable Matson (Forrest Lewis) and Dr. Jorgenson (Les Tremayne) snooping around. And suddenly the village is being stalked by some kind of monstrous creature, capable of killing anyone in its path. Sturges reveals what he knows, but this may be too late to save his daughter Lucy (Jeanne Carmen) or himself.Excerpt from B+N located HERE
If The Monster of Piedras Blancas plays better than its low-budget, independent origins tell you it should, that's because there was more to the production than met the eye. Producer Jack Kevan, who also designed the monster suit (and may have worn it -- it depends which account you believe, as to whether it was Kevan or supporting player Peter Dunn inside the suit), was a veteran of Universal and had worked on such movies as Jack Arnold's Creature From The Black Lagoon; and Irvin Berwick -- making his directorial debut here -- had been in the business for a decade as well, first at Columbia (where he worked as a dialogue coach on pictures directed by William Castle) and later at Universal (where he worked with Jack Arnold). When work started to dry up at Universal in the second half of the 1950's, Kevan and Berwick formed their own production company, Vanwick, and The Monster of Piedras Blancas was their first project. Berwick's and Kevan's connections in the industry allowed them to draw on some very able talent from the affordable end of the acting and production spectrum, with the result that for around $150,000 or so, they got a picture that looked like it was made for (and worth) two or three times that much. Don Sullivan (The Giant Gila Monster) is a decent young male lead, convincing in his role and conveying sincerity, which is exactly what was needed; and Jeanne Carmen could pull off the role of the not-quite-ingenue daughter, and was sufficiently . . . pneumatic-looking to hold a special appeal for older male viewers.Excerpt from AllMovieGuideE located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Monster of Piedras Blancas arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but has a max'ed out bitrate and the print used is in excellent shape. The image quality is very impressive. There is frequent depth, layered contrast and gives a fine presentation in the bastardized 1.78:1 aspect ratio (from 1.85:1). The Blu-ray gets high marks for the surprisingly strong visuals that actually add to its nostalgic 'B' charms.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is transferred to a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1810 kbps - 24-bit. There is no real score credited but the film's audio and music add to the 50's creature-feature atmosphere. The effect sounds are hokey but directly in-line with the original theatrical viewing I'll wager. Crisp and tight - pretty much on par with the strong video. There are optional English 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.
September 15th, 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 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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