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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Return of Dracula [Blu-ray]

 

(Paul Landres, 1958)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Gramercy Pictures

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:17:14.630

Disc Size: 23,282,098,967 bytes

Feature Size: 22,559,514,624 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 18th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1941 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1941 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• Trailer (2:13)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: For those who like their vampires with that certain European panache, The Return of Dracula is sure to thrill. Francis Lederer (The Man I Married) stars as the titular Count this time using the pseudonym Bellac Gordal as he travels from his Transylvania home to the United States. In the guise of being a distant relative on vacation, The Count takes up residence at the home of the Mayberry family in sunny California.

Quicker than you can say I like my stake rare, The Count ... er ... Gordal is up to his old nocturnal tricks and comes under the scrutiny of young Rachel Mayberry (Norma Eberhardt, Problem Girls) whom Gordal has set his sights on, which may be her undoing.

The Return of Dracula, directed by Paul Landres (Bill Elliott Detective Mysteries) from Pat Fiedler s script, co-stars Ray Stricklyn (The Lost World), Virginia Vincent (The Hills Have Eyes), John Wengraf (The Pride and the Passion), Gage Clarke (The Bad Seed), Jimmy Baird (The Black Orchid) and Greta Granstedt (They Never Come Back).

 

 

The Film:

Little known, apparently (since Carlos Clarens and Les Daniels both ignore it in their key books on the horror genre), but a surprisingly 'deep' piece of schlock, ignoring most of the drive-in requirements of the time and building up a flat, grey, joyless picture of vampire Lederer searching for 'love' in Middle America - and thus the regeneration which only the New World can give his dying 'culture'. Mucho cheapo, and probably for devotees only, but they ought to find it quietly remarkable.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

On the surface, this low-budget vampire story seems nothing more than the basic Dracula story transplanted to California, and on the level of plot, that's pretty much what it is. But there's a lot of creativity at work here; the whole movie seems oddly paced, but this ends up making it just seem all the more unsettling. There are also a lot of touches that flesh out the vampire cliches and draw the viewer into the situations; the way that the men getting ready to stake the vampire wait until the rays of sunlight actually start coming over the horizon, the rather startling detail that the vampire's victims hear his voice talking to them while we viewers don't hear a thing, and the way the immigration man twiddles his cigarette lighter all fascinate and draw us into the story.

Excerpt from Dave Sindelarof SciFiFilm.org located HERE

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

The Return of Dracula arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but has a max'ed out bitrate. The source seems to have good density and the image is dark with piercing black levels. It's consistent and watchable in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio without detrimental flaws. There isn't much depth but no noise or speckles/damage. The Blu-ray does its job well in producing a healthy 1080P image.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Olive use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1941 kbps (24-bit) in the original English language. There are sparse effects in the film - but the Gerald Fried (Curse of the Faceless Man, A Killer in the Family, The Baby, and Kubrick's films Fear and Desire, Killer's Kiss, The Killing and Paths of Glory as well as venturing later into work in TV - Star Trek - and also the notable Joseph H. Lewis' western Terror in a Texas Town) score extends the suspense - you may also hear some Gregorian Chants in the background. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Only a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Return of Dracula is not Hammer and it has some production weaknesses but it told a reasonable more modern vampiric tale. I wouldn't say it's part of the 'so bad it's good' category. If you like innocent 50's 'B' cinema and a bowl of popcorn - this is not a poor way to start a Friday Night double-feature. The Blu-ray (cool cover) is fine, typically bare-bones but has some charm if you're in the right mood. Keep your expectations low and enjoy! 

Gary Tooze

October 20th, 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.

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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