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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Joseph Cates
USA 1965

 

Every now and again, a movie washes up on the fringes of the industry that's unlike anything else of its time – or any time. Who Killed Teddy Bear (no question mark) certainly qualifies; rarely discussed or even mentioned, it's not quite forgotten, either – it's hard to forget.

By 1965, the barriers were starting to be breached in what could be shown, or even implied, on the screen (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf dates from that year). But Who Killed Teddy Bear rubs, brusquely and suggestively, against just about every taboo obtaining then or now. It's a New York story, but of the grotty 1960s, when Manhattan led the nation as an example of how American cities were surrendering to crime and vice and ugliness at the core.

Spinning platters in a seedy discotheque, Juliet Prowse starts getting obscene phone calls then finds a decapitated teddy bear in her apartment. Police detective Jan Murray takes the case, which holds an obsessive interest for him. Four years earlier his wife had been raped and murdered; now the world of perversion and fetishism has become his life, both professionally and privately (despite a young daughter, who listens to him listening to his lurid tapes from her bedroom). Prowse becomes so shaken by the stalking that she can't quite trust him, or for that matter her tough-as-nails boss Elaine Stritch, who, invited home to serve as protection, makes a pass at her. Shown the door, Stritch, in a slip and fur coat, wanders the dark streets and back alleys, where....

Top billing goes to Sal Mineo, 10 years after his debut as Plato in Rebel Without A Cause, as a waiter in the club. Back home he has a child-like grown sister, whom he locks in the closet when he's making the rounds of the porn shops and peep shows near Times Square. [...]

Excerpt of review from Bill McVicar for imdb.com located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 1965 (New York City, NY)

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DVD Review: Network - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Network

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:26:45 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.96 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Network

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� Court Martial Episode 'The House Where He Lived' (1965) (48:04)
� LSD: Insight or Insanity? (1967) (18:07)
� Theatrical Trailer (2:10)
� Still Gallery for Who Killed Teddy Bear and Court Martial (4:08)
� PDF of the original publicity and promotional brochure

DVD Release Date: January 26th, 2009
Keep case

Chapters 12

 

 

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Who Killed Teddy Bear

 

Edgar Wallace Mysteries Edgar Wallace Mysteries Vol. 1 Edgar Wallace Mysteries Vol. 2 Edgar Wallace Mysteries Vol. 3 Edgar Wallace Mysteries Vol. 4 Edgar Wallace Mysteries Vol. 5 Edgar Wallace Mysteries Vol. 6 Edgar Wallace Mysteries Vol. 7

 

 

Comments

Who Killed Teddy Bear is an unusual movie - part 1960's independently produced crime drama filmed on location in New York City, like Blast of Silence, part provocative exploitation flick, anticipating roughie subgenre that came in place of "nudie cuties" to grindhouse theaters around the country. Anton Holden's roughie Aroused, about a maniac killing prostitutes on the streets of NYC shows how the storyline would be adapted for grindhouse crowd the following year without any sentiments seen in this film.

At the center of Who Killed Teddy Bear is Juliet Prowse as Norah, a DJ at the discotheque who starts receiving obscene phone calls from an unknown admirer. Top-billed Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause) plays a waiter at the club, Lawrence, living with his demented sister Edie (Margot Bennett) and going to the gym and grindhouse movie theaters on his free time. Elaine Stritch is the manager of the club with Sapphic attraction to Norah and Jan Murray is a police lieutenant Dave Madden whose wife was raped and killed a few years back and who takes Norah's case too personally. Beautifully lensed by Joseph Brun (The Last Mile, Odds Against Tomorrow, Cinerama Holiday) with some noir flair, the film features a score by Charles Calello and songs written by Bob Gaudio, both of Four Seasons fame, including a haunting title song and groovy beat songs heard in the discotheque scenes and during an unforgettable dance-off between Sal Mineo and Julie Prowse.

The film was never released on authorized DVD in the US and it's unknown who would be film's distributor. UK release from Network came out in 2009 and was already ripped to Youtube with slightly modified aspect ratio. The film mostly looks OK - the full screen image has many lines and scratches, but the contrast during the majority of film is decent. There are a few scenes starting at 14:30 taken from lower quality print (as in capture 4) - while majority of the film has black bars on the sides, these inserts fill out the whole screen, but look softer and muddier. The Network releases is edited - some scenes are missing compared to 94-minute complete version available on tape from 16-mm prints - the edits are noted in Ken Anderson's write up (there are many spoilers for the film). The mono soundtrack is unremarkable, but decent. The dual-layered disc is stacked with extras starting with a trailer, pdf of the original promotional brochure and a still gallery. The remaining extras are not related to the feature, but to the film's star - there is an episode of British-American 1965 series Court Martial featuring Sal Mineo and educational short LSD: Insight or Insanity? narrated by Sal Mineo and seen on several educational shorts compilations. Above mentioned still gallery also includes promotional stills, including some in color, from Court Martial black-and-white episode. A nice package that we can recommend for the film alone, but hopefully film gets restored to all its glory.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


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scratches on the frame

 


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Distribution

Network

Region 0 - PAL

 

 



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