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Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi Blu-ray

 

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)


The Black Cat (1934)                     The Raven (1935)

 

 

This trio of classic 1930s horror films Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, and The Raven is also distinguished by a trio of factors regarding their production. Most notably, each film is based on a work by master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe. Part of the legendary wave of horror films made by Universal Pictures in the 30s, all three feature dynamic performances from Dracula's Bela Lugosi, with two of them also enlivened by the appearance of Frankenstein's Boris Karloff. And finally, all three benefit from being rare examples of Pre-Code studio horror, their sometimes-startling depictions of sadism and shock a result of being crafted during that brief period in Hollywood before the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code's rigid guidelines for moral content.

Director Robert Florey, who gave the Marx Brothers their cinema start with The Cocoanuts in 1929, worked with Metropolis cinematographer Karl Freund to give a German Expressionism look to Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), with Lugosi as a mad scientist running a twisted carnival sideshow in 19th-century Paris, and murdering women to find a mate for his talking ape main attraction. Lugosi and Karloff teamed forces for the first time in The Black Cat, a nightmarish psychodrama that became Universal's biggest hit of 1934, with Detour director Edgar G. Ulmer bringing a feverish flair to the tale of a satanic, necrophiliac architect (Karloff) locked in battle with an old friend (Lugosi) in search of his family. Prolific B-movie director Lew Landers made 1935's The Raven so grotesque that all American horror films were banned in the U.K. for two years in its wake. Specifically referencing Poe within its story, Lugosi is a plastic surgeon obsessed with the writer, who tortures fleeing murderer Karloff through monstrous medical means.

Significant and still unsettling early works of American studio horror filmmaking, these three Pre-Code chillers demonstrate the enduring power of Poe's work, and the equally continuous appeal of classic Universal horror's two most iconic stars.

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 21st, 1932 / May 3rd, 1934 / July 8th, 1935

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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There are Bonus 1080P Captures for The Black Cat and The Raven located here:

Distribution Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime

Murders in the Rue Morgue  1:00:37.925

The Black Cat: 1:05:30.301

The Raven: 1:01:19.133

Video

Blu-ray One

Murders in the Rue Morgue:

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,756,920,537 bytes

Feature: 20,739,332,928 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.12 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Blu-ray Two

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,440,178,384 bytes

Black Cat : 21,202,663,680 bytes

The Raven: 21,590,395,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.22 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Murders in the Rue Morgue  Blu-ray:

Bitrate The Black Cat  Blu-ray:

Bitrate The Raven Blu-ray:

Audio

Murders in the Rue Morgue:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

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

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

The Black Cat :

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

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

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated Music and Effects:

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

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

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Masters of Cinema

 

Edition Details:

Murders in the Rue Morgue Audio commentary by Gregory William Mank
The Black Cat Audio commentary by Gregory William Mank
The Raven Audio commentary by Gary D. Rhodes
The Raven Audio commentary by Samm Deighan
Cats In Horror a video essay by writer and film historian Lee Gambin (12:47)
American Gothic a video essay by critic Kat Ellinger (14:59)
"The Black Cat" episode of radio series Mystery In The Air, starring Peter Lorre (26:02)
"The Tell-Tale Heart" episode of radio series Inner Sanctum Mysteries, starring Boris Karloff (26:42)
Bela Lugosi reads "The Tell-Tale Heart" (13:21)
Vintage footage (0:49)
New Interview with Critic And Author Kim Newman (28:49)
Trailer Murders in the Rue Morgue (1:35)
PLUS: A 48-PAGE collector s booklet featuring new writing by film critic and writer Jon Towlson; a new essay by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas; and rare archival imagery and ephemera


Blu-ray Release Date:
July 20th, 2020
Custom Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 8 / 6 / 6

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema Blu-ray (July 2020): Masters of Cinema have transferred Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), The Black Cat (1934) and The Raven (1935) to a Blu-ray boxset entitled "Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi". We have compared some 1080P screen captures to the Shout! Factory Blu-rays part of their Universal Horror Volume One boxset (REVIEWED HERE) and their single Blu-ray of Murders in the Rue Morgue (compared to the Elephant Films Blu-ray, HERE.) Bottom line The Masters of Cinema is not significantly different but superior in-motion, a shade brighter in spots on Murders in the Rue Morgue and can show the Shout! to be slightly cropped on The Black Cat . The UK package has two dual-layered Blu-rays - the first with Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) offering both the original audio and the altered one found on the French Elephant Blu-ray. The second BD disc has The Black Cat (1934) and The Raven (1935). All three films are transferred with max'ed out bitrates. These actually look very good; Murders in the Rue Morgue is a little rough around the edges but still a surprisingly strong image throughout most of the film with some light damage and scratches in spots. The Raven looks the weakest (softest) initially but improves as the film runs and the The Black Cat is the least effected by its age. The HD presentations are really very pleasing with impressive contrast levels and plenty of rich thick grain.

NOTE: Thank to Javier and George for helping discover the re-sequenced version "Easter egg" of Murders in the Rue Morgue in this package. So, the Eureka disc contains TWO versions of Murders in the Rue Morgue - even though this is not advertised.

"In 2004, film critic Tim Lucas published an article in his bi-monthly film magazine Video Watchdogtitled "Re-arranging the RUE MORGUE", which speculated on a possible alternate version of the film, re-arranged to potentially be closer to director Robert Florey's original intentions.
Gary L. Prange, a classic horror aficionado, would later expand upon the Lucas version, and the further revisions were proposed in a letter published in Video Watchdog#114 This unofficial version would become more widely known when other fans created bootleg DVDs to be sold or freely distributed at film and horror conventions.
Specific details of the scene order suggested by Lucas and Prange can be found in the booklet packaged with this release.
Presented here is an arrangement of the film which follows the scene order suggested by Lucas and Prange, with one small adjustment made. In Lucas and Prange's original arrangement, Dupin's first on-screen visit to the morgue takes place BEFORE the carnival sequence. Later on in the film, Dupin will tell his friend Paul that he visited the morgue AFTER the carnival.
This version of the film therefore has Dupin visit the morgue following the carnival sequence.
"

To access this version from the menu:
(1) You toggle down to the Stills Gallery to highlight, then (2) toggle left on the remote to highlight the film title Murders in the Rue Morgue and press OK on the remote. As Javier says: "Makes much more sense in terms of continuity and flow and actually improves the film."

On their two Blu-rays, Masters of Cinema use linear PCM dual-mono tracks (24-bit) in the original English language. We still have the gravelly Swan Lake Overture in the opening for Murders in the Rue Morgue and occasionally pops in the audio. MoC offer the original and alternate (upgrade - new music) tracks - the second found on the Elephant Films Blu-ray. Scores in the other two films are by Clifford Vaughan and Heinz Roemheld (I, Jane Doe, Ruby Gentry, Dangerous, The Monster that Challenged The World, The Land Unknown, The Mole People, 1933's The Invisible Man) all sounding flat and dramatic with minor depth. Masters of Cinema offer optional English (SDH) white (not gaudy yellow) subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-rays.

NOTE There is an isolated music and effects track available for The Raven. Rich tells us in email: "I received the discs today, and the “isolated music and effects track for The Raven” which you mentioned in your review is not the original music. Where there is no dialogue the original music and effects remain, but where in the original film there is music with dialogue, in the UK version either there is no music or else they dubbed in new music. The new music sounds like classical pieces, probably taken from the MCA record library. I really didn’t think someone had found 85 year-old dubbing tracks – in fact I believe that in 1935 they were subtitling their foreign releases. Why they even bothered to include this with the disc is a mystery."

The Masters of Cinema Blu-ray offers a stacked supplements including a repeated commentaries by Gregory William Mank (author of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration, with a Complete Filmography of Their Films Together) on Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Black Cat . A repeated one on The Raven by Gary D. Rhodes (Bela Lugosi and the Monogram Nine) and a new one, also on The Raven by, one of my favorites, Samm Deighan. She talks about the Pre-Code era and going above and beyond in terms of nudity and gore. She discusses about how this era is quite special in terms of the developing the horror cinema genre and adapting Poe to the screen - his poems and the themes of madness in his work. There is plenty more with a 13-minute 'Cats In Horror' video essay by writer and film historian Lee Gambin (author of Massacred by Mother Nature: Exploring the Natural Horror Film) and he shares his extensive knowledge of 'cats-in-horror-films'. American Gothic is a new video essay by critic Kat Ellinger running a 1/4 hour. She talks about the Gothic genre in both literary and cinema terms. She discuses the history of the word and I found it very educational. We get the 26-minute "The Black Cat" episode of radio series Mystery In The Air, starring Peter Lorre, a "The Tell-Tale Heart" episode of radio series Inner Sanctum Mysteries, starring Boris Karloff and 13-minutes of Bela Lugosi reading "The Tell-Tale Heart". There is some brief vintage footage (also found on the Universal Horror Volume One) and I really enjoyed the new 1/2 hour interview with critic and author Kim Newman (author of Nightmare Movies: A CRITICAL GUIDE TO HORROR FILMS) discussing Edgar Allen Poe and Universal. He talks about the creativity of the early 30's, Bela and much more - I love his passion. There is a trailer for Murders in the Rue Morgue and the package has a 48-page collector's booklet featuring new writing by film critic and writer Jon Towlson; a new essay by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas; and rare archival imagery and ephemera.   

Masters of Cinema's "Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi" is fabulous with totally re-watchable films that allow you to sink into the Pre-Code era. I love so much about these films; the Art Deco or Bauhaus style in The Black Cat, Bela and Karloff eyeing each other, Poe's insane characters (and why) and the Pre-Code naughtiness. Great Blu-ray package by The Master of Cinema - filled with valuable extras + booklet plus appreciated high-grade transfers. And a great cover! One I will be re-visiting and enjoying many times over the years. Our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray 1

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray 2


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

 

 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Elephant Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


More Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


More Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Captures
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 


Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

There are Bonus 1080P Captures for The Black Cat and The Raven located here:

Distribution Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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