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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
The Pirates of Blood River [Blu-ray]
(John Gilling, 1962)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hammer Film Production
Video: Twilight Time / Indicator (Hammer Volume Five: Death & Deceit)
Region: FREE/ Region 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:26:58.254 / 1:26:58.004
Disc Size: 25,603,566,734 bytes / 41,681,803,909 bytes
Feature Size: 25,043,103,744 bytes / 25,557,501,504 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps / 34.86 Mbps
Chapters: 24 / 10
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case / Custom case (see below)
Release date: October, 2017 / March 30th, 2020
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2021 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2021 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2002 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2002
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1996 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1996 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48
kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
• English (SDH), None
• Audio Commentary with Writer Jimmy Sangster, Art Director Don Mingaye, and Film Historian Marcus Hearn
• Trailer (2:03)
• Isolated Music Track
• Liner notes by Julie Kirgo
Limited to 3,000 Copies!
Audio commentary with
screenwriter Jimmy Sangster, art director Don Mingaye, and
Hammer historian Marcus Hearn (2008)
Description: Hammer Studios goes quasi-historical with The Pirates of Blood River (1962), with Kerwin Mathews starring as a Huguenot outcast taken up by a bloody band of pirates led by the elegant Frenchman, Captain LaRoche, incarnated by the great Christopher Lee. Oliver Reed, Glenn Corbett, Michael Ripper, and Peter Arne co-star; other Hammer regulars include director John Gilling and cinematographer Arthur Grant.
In a Caribbean village populated by religious refugees, Jonathon Standing (Kerwin Mathews) gets caught in an affair with the wife of a prominent local. Standing is sent to a nearby penal colony, but he is eventually freed by pirates commanded by LaRoche (Christopher Lee). The pirates then force Standing to lead them to his settlement, where LaRoche and his men battle the villagers and search for treasure. And when the pirates learn that there's gold on the island, things really get cutthroat.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
American Kerwin Mathews — Sinbad in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad — stars as fiery young Jonathon Standing, the member of a Huguenots settlement on a remote island somewhere that I don’t think is ever clearly defined. The Huguenots were basically the early Protestants, frequently at odds with Catholic kings and churches and prone to being persecuted and going to war with dominant Catholics throughout the 1500s, well into the 1600s. The island settlement, then, is one of relative secrecy, and it is lorded over by a council of religious elders who dole out law based on strict Protestant interpretations of the The Bible. This apparently worked well for many years, but by the time Jonathon Standing comes around to make out with buxom Hammer glamour regular Marie Devareaux, the council has become largely corrupt, creating tension throughout the townsfolk, who feel that the elders have given in to petty power obsessions and greed rather than dictating the word of God. Jonathan’s own father is the head of the council, but even if some vestige of an honest and noble man still exists within old Jason Standing (Andrew Kier, actually the same age as Kerwin Mathews), he is too weak-willed against the other members of the council for it to matter. In fact, when Jonathan himself violates the rules of the town by comforting the abused wife of one of the council members, Jason condemns the popular young man to hard labor in the colony’s prison — a virtual death sentence, we learn. The conviction of Jonathan only serves to make the crowds angrier, but like most angry crowds, there is much muttering beneath the breath and complaining, but no one is quite ready yet to take up the torches and pitchforks.Excerpt from Teleport-City located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Hammer Studio pirate film The Pirates of Blood River comes to Twilight Time Blu-ray in a single-layered, 1080P transfer with their usual high bitrate. It was also on DVD in the Icons of Adventure Collection, reviewed HERE. The visuals are strong in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio with rich colors and plenty of depth. No artifacts and some minor gloss/waxiness. The image is clean without speckles or marks. This Blu-ray gives a crisp, bright presentation - far in advance of SD. Very pleasing!
I can detect very little difference in the two 1080P transfers. The Indicator is more technically robust and has a slight advantage in-motion. Otherwise an equally string HD presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray Captures
The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 2021 kbps (24-bit) sounds clean with a few richer moments in pushing the film's aggressive requirements in the form of gunfire, tree-felling and fist-fight/wrestling. The score is credited to Gary Hughes (The Devil-Ship Pirates) who did a few swashbucklers. It sounds solid in the lossless adding to the film's adventure traits and is also partially available in an isolated score track. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.
Indicator go linear PCM mono (24-bit) for the audio. It is authentically flat and, again, not much variance from the Twilight Time - perhaps a bit crisper in the high-end notable in the Gary Hughes score. The Indicator also offers optional English (SDH) subtitles and their Blu-ray package is Region 'B'-locked.
Twilight Time include a good, if a bit scattered, older audio commentary (from 2008) with writer Jimmy Sangster, art director Don Mingaye, moderated by film historian Marcus Hearn. It's quite revealing and I really enjoyed the discussion. There is also a trailer, Twilight Time's usual isolated music track and the package has liner notes by Julie Kirgo.
This is where Indicator vault ahead. They include the same 2008 Sangster/Mingaye/Hearn commentary but a whole lot more. Also included is another new segment of Hammer’s Women - this one is about Marla Landi. A profile of The Pirates of Blood River actor (also know for Hammer's 1959 The Hound of the Baskervilles) by writer and film historian Kat Ellinger running 11-minutes. We get a new appreciation of ‘The Pirates of Blood River’ by the acclaimed horror author Stephen Laws who also introduces the Hammer film for shy of a dozen minutes. From 1993, Indicator include an archival video recording of the acclaimed actor Andrew Keir in conversation with Stephen Laws at the Manchester Festival of Fantastic Films running over 20-minutes. Another new video piece is Did I Write That? that has Jonathan Rigby, author of English Gothic, providing a personal account of the career of screenwriter Jimmy Sangster for almost 3/4 of an hour. It is excellent. Motifs of the Cheerful Heart is a new 8-minute appreciation of Gary Hughes’ score by David Huckvale, author of Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde. Yes, We Have No Piranhas is a new 10-minute video essay on the censorship history of The Pirates of Blood River citing specific scenes. There is the original theatrical trailer and a Trailers From Hell segment with Brian Trenchard-Smith commentaryfrom 2013. Indicator include an image gallery of 75 promotional and publicity materials and the package has a limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Lindsay Hallam, Jimmy Sangster on The Pirates of Blood River, a selection of promotional materials, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits.
Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Still super Hammer fun... and Indicator is the way to go with the abundance of appreciated supplements. A total 'keeper'... (NOTE: We will review the rest of the Indicator set; Hammer Volume Five: Death and Deceit soon.)
October 27th, 2017
March 12th, 2020