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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

A Game of Death [Blu-ray]


(Robert Wise, 1945)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: RKO Radio Pictures

Video: Kino Lorber



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

Runtime: 1:12:11.160

Disc Size: 16,562,345,500 bytes

Feature Size: 15,352,774,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.94 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 21st, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1553 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1553 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps



English, None



Audio Commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith
Trailers - The Quatermass Xperiment (2:13), The Earth Dies Screaming (2:14), 99 River Street (2:13) and No Highway in the Sky (2:09)





Description: Newly Mastered in HD! The great Robert Wise (Run Silent Run Deep, The Haunting) directed this suspense thriller based on the classic Richard Connell (Meet John Doe) story, The Most Dangerous Game. A shipwrecked Don Rainsford (John Loder, Sabotage) washes up on a homicidal big-game hunter s Caribbean island where the madman hunts human prey for his personal island habitat. A Game of Death is a thrilling adventure yarn, which was beautifully shot in glorious black-and-white by the great J. Roy Hunt (I Walked with a Zombie, Crossfire) and also featured wonderful performances by Audrey Long (Born to Kill, Desperate) and Robert Clarke (The Man From Planet X, The Hideous Sun Demon).



The Film:

Lured too close to shore by misplaced channel lights, the yacht carrying noted big game hunter and author Don Rainsford hits a corral reef and sinks, throwing its passengers and crew into shark-infested waters. Rainsford, the sole survivor, swims ashore and makes his way to a mysterious-looking fortress. Inside, he is greeted by Eric Kreiger, the master of the house, and his servant Pleshke. Kreiger, a fervent hunter, recognizes Rainsford's name and insists that he join him and his guests for dinner. Escorted by Pleshke as he goes to change his wet clothes, Rainsford is puzzled by the bars on the windows. At dinner, after introducing Rainsford to his guests, Ellen Trowbridge and her brother Robert, Kreiger boasts that he bought the island as a hunting preserve and has stocked it with the most dangerous game in the world.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE


RKO Radio's A Game of Death was the first official remake of Richard Connell's The Most Dangerous Game, given a contemporary WW2 twist. Novelist Rainsford (John Loder) and brother-and-sister shipwreck victims Ellen (Audrey Long) and Robert (Russell Wade) are among the innocents stranded on remote island at the mercy of Nazi madman Krieger (Edgar Barrier). Fancying himself a sportsman, Krieger offers his captives an hour's head start before he begins hunting them down like animals. The by-now-familiar plotline is not as compelling as in the original 1932 version of Most Dangerous Game or the 1956 Mexican-based remake (Run for the Sun), thanks to the pedestrian acting of everyone except Edgar Barrier. Still, Robert Wise imbues the story with plenty of tension, especially in the closing reels.

Excerpt from B+N 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 A Game of Death looks fairly good in 1080P. Detail and the early muddy contrast seem to pick-up as the film runs along - as, possibly, the density of the source improves. It can be a shade inconsistent with tighter close-ups followed by less sharp visuals. I liked many of the shots with interesting lighting and shadow useage. There are speckles but no extreme damage. There is a heavy texture but I wouldn't say it's the biggest attribute. This Blu-ray gave me a watchable, and pleasurable, viewing in regards to the picture quality. It's not dynamic but very serviceable.





















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1553 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are effects in the film - but are limited by the production quality. There is some minor depth. The Paul Sawtell (Inferno, Silver City, The Fly, Denver and Rio Grande, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea), an a mix of other composers, score exports an ominous horror-based tone and is very supportive of this fine thriller. The dialogue was not crisp but consistent - and probably on-par with the production. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

I've really been enjoying audio commentaries by film historian Richard Harland Smith - and this is no exception. He references this re-make with background of the performers, Wise and adds plenty of detail on clips used from the original, to garner further appreciation of the production. It's light and well-paced. There are also trailers for The Quatermass Xperiment, The Earth Dies Screaming, 99 River Street and No Highway in the Sky.



I had never seen A Game of Death but it's very much like the original The Most Dangerous Game. So, I enjoyed it quite a lot - as well as the minor differences. It's such a good story and I loved the slow build - great atmosphere of the luxurious house on the deserted island and the one-dimensional characters. Really, if you enjoyed the original - then this has the same appeal. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray is solid enough for a rewarding viewing and the commentary adds further value. Fans of the genre and era are encouraged to see this.  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 38% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

March 26th, 2017


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
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Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

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Gary W. Tooze






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