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Fanatic or Die! Die! My Darling! [Blu-ray]
(Silvio Narizzano, 1965)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hammer Films
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 37,433,781,944 bytes
Feature Size: 27,181,832,640 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.72 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: October 30th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1056 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1056 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
• House of Horror: Inside ‘Fanatic’ (14:27)
The full package has four box set exclusive booklets with new essays, contemporary reviews, historic articles, and full film credits.
Description:Based on the novel Nightmare by Anne Blaisdell and adapted to the screen by Richard Matheson (The Incredible Shrinking Man , House of Usher ), Die! Die! My Darling! charts a young American woman's descent into a nightmare of captivity, psychological torment and physical abuse orchestrated by an elderly religious fanatic. Patricia Carroll (Stefanie Powers) has just arrived in London to marry her fiancé but first decides to pay a brief visit to Mrs. Trefoile (Tallulah Bankhead), the mother of her deceased fiancé whom she'd never met. At first Patricia is welcomed into Mrs. Trefoile's home and urged to spend the night which she does, but when she reveals her plans to marry, her hostess turns malicious. Patricia is imprisoned in the house as the obviously demented Mrs. Trefoile (she sleeps with a teddy bear and talks to her dead son when not quoting the Bible) prepares to "purify" her soul so Patricia will be worthy of her dead son's love for eternity. Aiding Mrs. Trefoile in keeping Patricia a prisoner are her housemaid Anna (Yootha Joyce), her butler Harry (Peter Vaughan) and Joseph (Donald Sutherland), a mentally challenged handyman which is a charitable description of his imbecilic character.
One of the best of Hammer's psychological thrillers, mainly thanks to Richard Matheson's ingenious and terrifying script (adapted from a novel by Anne Blaisdell) about a religious crank who gradually becomes homicidal. There are plenty of Psycho rip-offs - notably at the climax - but Tallulah Bankhead is great in the title role, and for once the basis of the plot seems disturbingly credible. Admittedly Narizzano (who made the awful Georgy Girl) has little to offer in the way of direction, but then Matheson's scripts tend to be able to look after themselves.
Tallulah Bankhead returned after 12 years to make her final film, DIE, DIE, MY DARLING. She is the eerie Mrs. Trefoile, an elderly religious fanatic whose son was killed in an auto wreck several years ago. When her son's former fiancee (Stefanie Powers) stops by the mansion for a visit, Mrs. Trefoile kidnaps her and keeps her locked up in the basement in order to cleanse the girl's soul, making it fit to be reunited with her son in heaven. Bankhead is superbly cast and performs far above par...
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Fanatic arrives on Blu-ray from Indicator out of the UK. Firstly you get the option for the US or UK titles but the presentation is seamlessly branched and is the same quality from then on. The image quality is very impressive - extremely sharp, great color balance and contrast is at peak levels. Dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate - plenty of depth - far in advance of what I was anticipating! This Blu-ray offers a brilliant presentation in 1080P.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred via a linear PCM authentically mono at 1152 kbps (24-bit). There is modest depth in the infrequent effects. The film's music is notable for the score by Wilfred Josephs (The Deadly Bees, notable for TV series music in I Claudius and The Prisoner) and it adds another layer to the suspense. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable world-wide.
Another new documentary - House of Horror: Inside ‘Fanatic’ details production information and runs 1/4 hour. Another segment of Hammer’s Women- this on on Tallulah Bankhead with Kat Ellinger exploring the life and work of the inimitable star of stage and screen for a scant 10-minutes.David Huckvale shows an appreciation on for Wilfred Josephs - the composer of this film's score and his work as exported by the author of Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde for 14-minutes. This is excellent. Fanatical Detail is a new piece on the continuity supervisor Renée Glynne and second assistant director Stuart Black who recall the making of Fanatic for 9-minutes. Matthew Lombardo on Tallulah Bankhead and ‘Fanatic’: the acclaimed playwright discusses his play Looped and his fascination with Tallulah Bankhead for 7-minutes. As discussed, we get the Die! Die! My Darling! alternative title presentation of Fanatic with the US opening. There is an original trailer and an image gallery. The full package has four box set exclusive booklets with new essays, contemporary reviews, historic articles, and full film credits. This edition is limited to 6,000 copies.
October 30th, 2017