Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Directed by Roger Corman

USA 1962

 

 

Having made their mark on American horror cinema with three colourful adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe The Fall of the House of Usher, Pit and the Pendulum and Tales of Terror Vincent Price and director Roger Corman enjoyed a brief hiatus from the macabre author with Tower of London. Shot in black and white, the film was loosely based on the Universal horror picture of the same name as well as two Shakespeare plays: a dash of Macbeth and a dollop of Richard III.

Price plays Richard of Gloucester, brother to a dying king and eager to take his place on the throne. When he is overlooked in favour of their sibling, the Duke of Clarence, things take a murderous turn. Richard goes on a murderous rage, only for the ghosts of those he has slain to return from the grave and haunt him...

Less well-known than the Poe movies, Tower of London is no slouch. Price relishes the opportunity to flex his Shakespearean muscles, just as he would eleven years later with Theatre of Blood, and Corman works wonders, as usual, with his low budget. If you've ever wondered what a drive-in Shakespeare film would look like, you re in the right place!

***

A remake of the 1939 feature of the same name, Tower of London (1962) was an attempt by director Roger Corman to do a more horrific portrayal of Richard III, the infamous Duke of Gloucester, who was nicknamed "Crookback" due to his misshapen anatomy. A potential heir to the throne of England, Richard (Vincent Price) proceeds to remove any obstacle in his path to the monarchy through murderous acts; one victim is locked into an iron mask with a live rat, another is drowned in a vat of wine. Madness eventually clouds the duke's judgment and brings about his demise.

[...]

Though Tower of London is no masterpiece, it's still an enjoyable Grand Guignol, thanks to Vincent Price's flamboyantly villainous performance and the atmospheric cinematography which favors dank corridors and secret passageways lined with cobwebs. Most interesting is the fact that Price also appeared in the 1939 version of Tower of London but as a victim - the ill-fated Duke of Clarence. Another fun trivia tidbit: Price had originally committed to starring in an adaptation of Poe's The Gold Bug but began work instead on Tower of London when the former project died in "development hell." It was also directly after starring in Tower of London that Price began his long and successful partnership with the Sears Roebuck and Company chain, buying inexpensive European art for their American stores.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE


  Posters

 

Shout! Factory - (Vincent Price Collection III) - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray LEFT

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

 

    

 

 

 

Distribution

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:19:41.818 1:19:49.826 
Video

Disc Size: 30,702,442,049 bytes

Feature Size: 17,430,927,360 bytes

Total Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

Disc Size: 29,716,032,137 bytes

Feature Size: 22,887,899,136 bytes

Total Bitrate: 32.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1605 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1605 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

LPCM Audio English 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles

English, None

English (SDH), None

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Shout! Factory

 

Disc Size: 30,702,442,049 bytes

Feature Size: 17,430,927,360 bytes

Total Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

Edition Details:

DISC 2:
TOWER OF LONDON
High Definition 1080p (1.66:1)/DTS Master Audio Mono/1962/B&W/Not Rated/80 minutes

• High Definition Master from a fine grain film print
• Interview with director Roger Corman (7:11)
• “Producing Tower of London” – an interview with producer Gene Corman (14:04)
• Two episodes of Science Fiction Theatre: “One Thousand Eyes” (26:09) and “Operation Flypaper” (1956 - 26:05) both starring Vincent Price (in Standard Definition – 52 minutes)
• Posters, Lobby Cards and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery

12-page liner notes leaflet

Blu-ray Release Date: February 16th, 2016

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

Disc Size: 29,716,032,137 bytes

Feature Size: 22,887,899,136 bytes

Total Bitrate: 32.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
• Brand-new audio commentary by Vincent Price's biographer David Del Valle and Tara Gordon, daughter of actor-screenwriter Leo Gordon
• Interview with director Roger Corman (7:11)
• Producing Tower of London, an archive interview with producer Gene Corman (14:04)

Slideshow (4:31)
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford
• FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector's booklet containing new writing on the film by Julian Upton

 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 13th, 2017
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 12

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray January 2017: Firstly, The Vincent Price Collection Volume III is completely reviewed HERE. The Arrow transfer is more technically robust and the image is brighter but I don't see any strong differences after that. It still looks excellent - rich contrast, heavy black levels - beautiful - same 1.66:1 AR.

Arrow use an authentic linear PCM mono track (16-bit). Screams carry minor depth although the sound is flat. Tower of London's score is by Michael Andersen and it adds atmosphere benefitting from the uncompressed. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Extras include a new, informative, commentary by Vincent Price's biographer David Del Valle and Tara Gordon, daughter of actor-screenwriter Leo Gordon. It covers a lot of ground adding appreciation for the 1962 production. As well are the same interviews with director Roger and Gene Corman - as found on the Shout! Factory, a new slideshow of posters, lobbycards and stills. The Arrow package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford and for the first pressing there is a fully illustrated collector's booklet containing new writing on the film by Julian Upton.

I keep getting more out of Tower of London each time I see it and the commentary certainly augmented the appeal. LOVE the black and white visuals and Vincent Price's mannerisms of insanity. Great COVER and the package by Arrow has the commentary and collector's booklet as further enticement. Recommended! 

***

ON THE VINCENT PRICE SET III - Firstly, the films are divided on the 4 Blu-ray discs as follows:

Disc 1) Master of the World

Disc 2) Tower of London

Disc 3) Diary of a Madman and An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe

Disc 4) Cry of the Banshee (both Director's Cut and AIP 'theatrical cut' versions)

Video: All are dual-layered and different from the previous volumes less feature - sharing per Blu-ray. A few brief comments - the beginning of Master of the World (High Definition Master from the inter-positive) has many scratches (as did the DVD as I recall). But we've compared a few captures and there is a definite improvement in the color depth (blues and reds) and there is much more information in the frame. I haven't figured out why it is longer than the German Blu-ray - even taking into effect the PAL speedup of the SD.

I really liked the appearance of Tower of London (via a High Definition Master from a fine grain film print.) Black levels are piercing and it may be very marginally waxy, but in-motion the visuals are impressive.

Diary of a Madman (High Definition Master from the inter-positive film element) also looks very strong with solid detail, plenty of depth and no bothersome flaws. The HD image quality is quite pleasing in-motion. It shares the disc with the 53-minute An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe, in SD (and looks it!) It is prefaced with this text screen:

The youngest film - Cry of the Banshee looks the best with excellent contrast and detail. Skin tones are warm and colors authentic. It has plenty of depth and no speckles or damage. The, shorter, AIP 'theatrical version' is a notch less technically robust - and it shows if you peer too close. It is also from the only surviving element in MGM’s Vault; a color reversal intermediate. It's a difference (notably duller and with more speckles scratches etc.) and is prefaced with this text screen:

Audio is all DTS-HD Master for all films. Master of the World has a score by Les Baxter (X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, Panic in the Year Zero, US version of Baron Blood, The Beast Within) which I wasn't partial to but the sound is clean and supportive. More notable would be the score for Diary of a Madman by Richard LaSalle (The Night the Bridge Fell Down, Twice-Told Tales, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Wonder Woman) which, I felt, added some flavor to the narrative. Cry of the Banshee is another Les Baxter effort and I thought it helped me appreciate this wayward film a bit more adding atmosphere. There are optional English subtitles for all feature films (except the AIP Cry of the Banshee) and the Blu-ray discs are all region 'A'-locked.

Extras are extensive with commentaries for Master of the World (with actor David Frankham) and Diary of a Madman + An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (with film historian and author Steve Haberman for both) and Haberman again on Cry of the Banshee (Director's Cut only). These are good with special Kudos to Haberman for Madman + Cry - I haven't finished the one for An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe. Commentaries are probably the best way to build appreciation for a film, IMO - recall in Volume 1 (now OOP) all six films have audio commentaries and 2 of them offered 2! The Master of the World disc also has the 1 1/4 hour extended cut of “Richard Matheson: Storyteller” which the iconic writer's frankness is also refreshing. There is a theatrical trailer and two nifty galleries. Disc 2 has a standard 7-minute interview with director Roger Corman and, double that time, with a much more thorough “Producing Tower of London” featuring an interview with producer Gene Corman, Roger's brother. I found it quite interesting. There are two, 26-minute, episodes of Science Fiction Theatre: “One Thousand Eyes” and “Operation Flypaper” from 1956 both starring Vincent Price and in Standard Definition. This disc also has a Posters, Lobby Cards and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery. Disc 3 (Diary of a Madman) has the previously mentioned, hour-long An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (Master created from the original 2” tape masters in SD.) Aside from Haberman's audio commentaries there is a 21-minute interview with writer / producer / director Kenneth Johnson regarding An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe, a theatrical Trailer and Poster and Lobby Card Gallery for Diary and a Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery for An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe. The 4th and final Blu-ray disc has the Haberman commentary (DC only) and a good interview with director Gordon Hessler entitled “A Devilish Tale of Poe”. It runs almost 18-minutes. There are the usual trailer, TV and Radio Spots and Posters, Lobby Cards and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery. The package also contains a 12-page liner notes leaflet with many color photos and film credits.

Not the stellar films of the previous 2 volumes but still some desirable Vincent Price work... in 1080P! and the package offers immense value in terms of the extras. It's hard to resist and we do recommend!  

Gary W. Tooze

 

 

 


Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Menus


Arrow - Region 'B' Blu-ray


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

 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 
More Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Captures
 

Box Cover

 

    

 

 

 

Distribution

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray



Search DVDBeaver
S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!