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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Unearthly Stranger [Blu-ray]

 

(John Krish, 1963)

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Independent Artists

Video: Network

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:19:20.291

Disc Size: 17,926,314,298 bytes

Feature Size: 16,686,630,912 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 3rd, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Original Theatrical Trailer (2:42)
Image Gallery (1:24)
Promotional Material PDF

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A cleverly conceived, eerily atmospheric sci-fi chiller, Unearthly Stranger stars future Baron Munchausen John Neville as a scientist engaged in an experimental project like no other; Gabriella Licudi is his beautiful but otherworldly wife, who becomes the subject of great interest for his government superiors. This original, intelligent and compelling feature from award-winning Avengers director John Krish is presented here in a brand-new High Definition transfer from the original film elements, in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.

TP91 is a secret and highly complex formula which will enable man to project himself through time and space, but when Dr Munro succeeds in solving the first part of it he is found dead before he can pass on the invaluable result. His successor quickly senses that both he and his new wife are now in grave danger...

 

 

The Film:

Unearthly Stranger from the UK is a very small film with practically no special effects that generates its interest and suspense through mood and interactions among a handful of characters. Even though it was picked up by American International Pictures (AIP) for a U.S. release, it features no American stars for wider, trans-Atlantic commercial appeal (unlike the first two and far better known Quatermass films from Hammer, The Quatermass Xperiment, 1955, and Quatermass II: Enemy from Space, 1957, which featured tough-guy American Brian Donlevy badly miscast as the urbane scientist Bernard Quatermass).

Unearthly Stranger is high concept and very low budget. It's a fairly late entry in the aliens-sabotaging-humanity's-attempts-to-conquer-space subgenre that was so popular at the beginning of the space age.

Excerpt from FilmsFromBeyond located HERE

Unearthly Stranger is one of these British alien invasion films and has gained a minor reputation. The film opens on a particularly good atmosphere of paranoid tension (all shot in black-and-white as the most paranoid thrillers of this era and many of the abovementioned works were) with John Neville urgently recording a message into a tape machine and running through the streets of London. John Krish directs in striking contrasts between sweating faces and the background, or of John Neville outlined against a spiral staircase. This presages well for the film.

Excerpt from Moria located HERE

A gripping science fiction picture that is surprisingly sharp in its approach. Instead of getting lost in the usual science fiction traps of space and time chatter, UNEARTHLY STRANGER concentrates on a rather touching love story. The romance between the leads--earthling Neville and alien Licudi--leads to marriage before husband Neville discovers that his wife has unusual traits. When he notices that she sleeps with her eyes open, has no pulse, and doesn't react to heat, he begins to put two and two together. This, with the fact that practically his entire team of scientists has mysteriously died, leads Neville to the conclusion that his wife's a bit odd. She admits that she's part of an alien project but insists that she loves Neville. Her alien mind controllers have her dying in his arms with her face disintegrating in tears. When Neville, distraught, goes to his workplace, secretary Marsh--another alien, one who does not love him--tries to kill him.

Excerpt from TVGuide located HERE

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

Unearthly Stranger appears quite decent on Blu-ray from Network in the UK.  The image has some nicely layered contrast, reasonable detail and plenty of depth. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp on the single-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. The 1.66:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is serviceable providing an appealing presentation. There are some minor speckles and light scratch marks. This Blu-ray does its job with a simple, straightforward, unmanipulated transfer.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frame-specific damage sample

 

 

Audio :

Network offer an uncompressed linear PCM 2.0 channel track with modest depth but the film doesn't require an abundance with such low budget, or non-existent, effects. The score is by Edward Williams - who has done compositions for documentaries almost exclusively outside this science fiction film. I liked it especially in the opening. There are optional English subtitles (see sample) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

There is only an original theatrical trailer, gallery of images - mostly posters and lobby cards and in the root of the disc is a Promotional Material PDF file.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Unearthly Stranger is notable for its bare effects but it still has the appealing cache of a British science-fiction mystery. I would only appreciated it more if it was longer - fleshing out the alien angle a bit more thoroughly. It definitely has scenes evoking Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The Network Blu-ray provides a decent HD a/v and I liked the cover as well. It's probably best suited to being the start of a double-feature sci-fi night. I don't rate this highly but will certainly watch again one day. 

Gary Tooze

July 15th, 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 3500 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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