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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Visa to Canton" or "Passport to China")

 

Directed by Michael Carreras
UK 1960

 

Don Benton (Richard Basehart), a former World War II combat pilot, now running a travel agency in Hong Kong, refuses to take political sides and flatly rejects an offer to do espionage work for the United States.

When Mao Tai Tai (Athene Seyler), an old Chinese woman who more or less adopted Benton during the war years, asks him to try to find her missing grandson. Benton sets out on a dangerous mission, flying into Communist-controlled China to try to rescue a girl and take her back to Hong Kong.

Knowing that the grandson was piloting a Formosan aircraft that disappeared over mainland China, Benton obtains a passport through a Russian friend, Ivano Kang (Eric Pohlmann).

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

A pilot slips his plane into Red China to rescue an American girl trapped there, but when he lands he discovers that the girl has a surprise for him--she wants him to fill his plane with Chinese refugees and fly them out of the country, too.

Excerpt from IMDb located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 26th, 1960

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

only available presently as part of Hammer Volume Five: Death & Deceit Blu-ray package

Distribution Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:14:57.951        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 29,884,999,252 bytes

Feature: 21,410,841,984 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.89 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1092 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1092 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 29,884,999,252 bytes

Feature: 21,410,841,984 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.89 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• New audio commentary with Kevin Lyons, editor of The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Films and Television
• Hammer’s Women: Lisa Gastoni (2020, 14:18): profile of the Visa to Canton star by critic and writer Virginie Sélavy
• Ticket to Ride (2020, 18:46): film historian Vic Pratt explores the film’s themes, characteristics and production history
• Bond Before Bond (2020, 14:28): appreciation of Edwin Astley’s score by David Huckvale, author of Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde
• Original UK theatrical trailer (2:24)
Image gallery - 58 promotional and publicity materials
• Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Josephine Botting, an account of the RB-47 affair which mirrored events in Visa to Canton’s storyline, selected excerpts from the original Hammer publicity manual, and film credits


Blu-ray Release Date:
March 30th, 2020
Custom Blu-ray package (see below)

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Indicator Blu-ray (March 2020): Indicator have transferred, another Hammer Studio's film, Michael Carreras's Visa to Canton (aka "Passport to China") as part of their Hammer Volume Five: Death & Deceit Blu-ray package. It offers two presentations of the film: Visa to Canton, with the original UK title sequence, and Passport to China, with the alternative US title. These are seamlessly branched and aside from the opening credits the transfer is exactly the same. There are inconsistencies - mostly with contrast and some damage (see samples below). The grain is abundant and clunky at times. I would say this is in the lower half of HD video appearance although almost certainly the available source as it is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. Detail can have strong moments in a few close-ups but can also be hazy at times - verifying its inconsistency. In the final tally - it looks quite modest.   

On their Blu-ray, Indicator use a DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. Visa to Canton doesn't have an abundance of audio effects, but there are some that come across authentically flat plus there is an, occasionally energetic score by Edwin Astley (Contraband Spain, The Giant Behemoth 1962's The Phantom of the Opera, The Naked Prey)  sounding adventurous with traditional Chinese overtones. Indicator offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

The Indicator Blu-ray offers a new audio commentary with Kevin Lyons, editor of The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Films and Television who immediately talks about the dual UK/US titles giving other examples in the Hammer Universe, also honestly stating he has no idea why the US title is different. Kevin has worked at the BFI as a Documentation Editor, and at Sight & Sound. He is well-prepared and a pleasure to listen to as he has extensive knowledge of British cinema. We get another new segment of Hammer’s Women this one about Lisa Gastoni (Wrong Number, Seduction, Wild Wild Planet) profiled by critic and writer Virginie Sélavy for almost 1/4 hour. Ticket to Ride is a new exploration of Visa to Canton's themes, characteristics and production history by film historian Vic Pratt for almost 20-minutes. Bond Before Bond is a new 1/4 hour appreciation of Edwin Astley’s score by David Huckvale, author of Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde. There is an original UK theatrical trailer and an image gallery with 58 promotional and publicity materials. The package has a limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Josephine Botting, an account of the RB-47 affair which mirrored events in Visa to Canton’s storyline, selected excerpts from the original Hammer publicity manual, and film credits.

Visa to Canton (aka "Passport to China") is not premium Hammer with some negligible Asian representations. It's only partially saved by stalwart Basehart and sexy Lisa Gastoni. However, the Indicator Blu-ray advances appreciation with their abundance of supplements including the revealing commentary and many video extras and booklet. This is another viable inclusion in the Hammer Volume Five: Death & Deceit Blu-ray package. I had never seen it - so, as a Hammer completist, it has that value as well.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

 


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Damage Samples

 

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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

only available presently as part of Hammer Volume Five: Death & Deceit Blu-ray package

Distribution Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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