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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Deadlier Than the Male [Blu-ray]


(Ralph Thomas, 1967)





Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Greater Films Ltd.

Video: Network



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

Runtime: 1:37:36.750

Disc Size: 24,890,599,002 bytes

Feature Size: 17,473,990,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 8th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



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



English (SDH), none



Original Theatrical Trailer (3:01 - HD)
Archive interviews - Richard Johnson - 5:03 , Elke Sommers - 5:13, Sylva Koscina - 3:44, Nigel Green - 5:52, Steve Carlson - 4:43
Archive location reports (15:17 + 14:22)
Extensive image galleries (HDs - Portraits - 6:48, Production - 16:12, and Promotional - 2:48)





Description: Richard Johnson gives a suave performance as Hugh 'Bulldog' Drummond in this cool '60s take on the exploits of H.C. McNeile s famous fictional hero. Giving Bond a run for his money, Deadlier Than the Male sees Drummond involved with daring escapes, murderous plots, femmes fatales and dolly birds by the score! The film is presented here as a High Definition transfer from the original film elements in its original aspect ratio.

When insurance underwriter Hugh Drummond learns of the deaths of top oil executives at the hands a pair of beautiful but brutal female assassins he is convinced that it is the work of an international crime syndicate. His investigations uncover that the syndicate is after a big oil concession, and to get it they must commit regicide...



The Film:

It's all about how two gorgeous females, Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina, spend their time tripping around London and the Riviera, blithely bumping off unsuspecting males with spear guns, hypodermic injections (which paralyze the victims so they may be tossed off roofs), time-bombs placed adroitly in apartments, and bullet-loaded Corona cigars. It seems they are disposal units for a business syndicate, directed by Nigel Green, who uses unorthodox methods in trying to corner rights to Saudi Arabian oil.

In the end, of course, they are outwitted by a suave international gentleman, Richard Johnson, after a lot of boudoir sleuthing and rather perilous exposure of himself to the ladies' wiles.

Obviously, this colorful trifle is intended to be taken as a spoof, a high-camp travesty of the comic-book cliché of the beautiful woman as a deadly scorpion.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Yup, two incredibly gorgeous henchwomen walk out of the surf in their bikinis, armed with a spear-gun, and use that spear-gun to penetrate one surprised and happy spy. Urusla Ander's similar Bond scene has got nothing on this. Their bodies, their non-chalant attitude towards seduction and murder, their borderline lesbian chemistry... mmph.

And that seduction is taken up a notch when the duo abducts a junior agent, strips him half-naked, and does an incredibly erotic (and disturbing) take on the Rosa Klepp in From Russia with love. Alternatingly motherly, Mrs Robinsonian and plan sadistic, you can be sure the kid can't really decide whether he should jizz himself with lust or piss himself with fear.

Excerpt from EvilBabes located HERE

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

The fun and sexy spy-spoof Deadlier Than the Male gets a Blu-ray from Network in the UK. It's single-layered with a modest bitrate. The image quality doesn't seem as tight and crisp as may have been anticipated. I don't know if it is the transfer or source but it is definitely soft - almost waxy at times although digitization seems unlikely.  It's very clean with few speckles and no noticeable damage. Colors are true but marginally dampened. There is no depth and the grain clumps like noise. It's not a good HD presentation but it's fairly consistent (looking a shade sharper later in the film). I'd say that this Blu-ray is watchable but suggest that this film should look better than it does in 1080P.


As Michael Brooke states in our FB Group HERE, "Techniscope can look great if the original neg has been properly preserved - see Arrow's 'Day of Anger' or 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' for excellent examples. But a common problem with the format is that the image is sometimes softer than it should be when converted to anamorphic 35mm - as it needs to be in order to make it showable in cinemas. So pre-print materials other than the original camera negative might be significantly flawed in this respect."

























Audio :

Network use a linear PCM 2.0 channel track (16-bit) for Deadlier Than the Male. It lacks depth but dialogue is clear. The score is by Malcolm Lockyer (Dr. Who and the Daleks, Island of Terror, Night of the Big Heat, Bang Bang, You're Dead, Ten Little Indians) and adds to the thrills and action sounding pleasing, if lacking intensity, in the uncompressed. There is also the annoying theme sung by The Walker Brothers.  There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Network include five archival interviews running about 25-minites in total - presumably shot at the time of the film's release. We hear from Richard Johnson, Elke Sommers, Sylva Koscina, Nigel Green, and Steve Carlson. There are 2 archive location reports running about 1/4 hour each and show the stars at the locations - the waterfront and swimming in the ocean. There are also extensive image galleries in HDs labeled 'Portraits', 'Production' and 'Promotional'.



Deadlier Than the Male is all at once, cute, a thriller, sexy and has just enough for the viewer to choose leaning towards satire/spoof or a genuine Bond-esque adventure. Performances seem undecided on what genre to embrace but it's still a good time.  The Network Blu-ray provides a lesser presentation but some good supplements. I'd love to compare this to a superior BD one day but this seems the only game in town, at present, and the film is worth an enjoyable and nostalgic spin. 

Gary Tooze

July 13th, 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.

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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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Gary W. Tooze





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